How to Create an Ideal Home Work Space

As many people are working from home these days, it is important to think about your home work space.  If your work space is not ideal, you could develop neck, shoulder, and back pain. Therefore, check out these tips below on how to create a home work space to prevent pain and injury:

  1. When sitting at your work space, your feet should be flat on the ground. You should be sitting all the way back in your chair so that your lower back is supported by the chair’s backrest and your knees should be about level with your hips.
  2. Your computer screen should be level with your eyes, and about an arm’s length away from your face.
  3. Your elbows should be supported by your chair’s armrests or on the surface in front of you, and your wrists should be straight as they are typing.
  4. While sitting at your work space, it is important to remember to keep your shoulders back and your head looking straight ahead (rather than down at a screen).
  5. You should perform 15-20 backwards shoulder rolls and/or 10 shoulder blade squeezes every 30 minutes to an hour as a reminder to keep your shoulders down as you work. If you feel your shoulders rising, it might be a good time to take a quick lap around the house to help your body relax.

If you have questions about your work space set-up or exercises you can perform to improve your posture, reach out to us to set up a physical therapy evaluation! We would love to help you set up your home office. During a telehealth video visit, we will be able to see your home work space to evaluate your set-up real time! To schedule, give us a call at 443-524-0442 or visit our website at www.hpt.machtmedicalgroup.com.  Written By: Dr. Chloe Smith
Staff Physical Therapist at Harbor Physical Therapy

Telehealth PT- Can I Eventually Return to In-Person Physical Therapy at HPT??

Of course! During COVID-19,  Harbor Physical Therapy is offering telehealth physical therapy for the safety of patients and staff. We are committed to providing our patients with the best possible care during this time through telehealth physical therapy in the safety of your home. However, once the risk of exposure has decreased, you can transition safely back to your in-person treatment sessions at Harbor Physical Therapy.

Telehealth- What Equipment Do I Need for my Physical Therapy Session?

While absolutely no equipment is required for a telehealth PT session, some pieces of equipment that the PT might ask for you to grab during the session are: a tennis ball (lacrosse ball or other type of firm ball), a theraband from your home exercise program, a towel roll, a broomstick, a pillow, and/or canned goods (great for adding weight to an exercise). The therapist will typically let you know before your appointment time if any equipment is necessary. If the therapist has something else planned or requires more equipment, he/she will contact you prior to your first appointment, or will discuss it with you during your appointment time. Some patients also find it helpful to have a water bottle or a cup of water close by for easy access during their appointment time!

Written by: Dr. Chloe Smith
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT

Telehealth- Where in my House Should I do my Telehealth Physical Therapy Session?

You can perform these telehealth sessions in any part of your home. Your physical therapist can adapt your session to the space available. During a typical telehealth session, the patient will perform exercises in a variety of positions, including laying on their back/stomach/side, sitting in a chair or at the edge of a bed, and standing. Therefore, an area large enough for the patient to change positions is ideal. If the patient has the capability to use a camera phone, a laptop, or other portable technology, the patient is able to move to different places around the house during the session as necessary to complete the exercises. As always, please let your PT know if you feel uncomfortable performing an exercise or feel you do not have space adequate for performing the exercise, as there are other variations of the exercise you can try instead. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your session!

Written by: Dr. Chloe Smith
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT

Who can Benefit from Telehealth Physical Therapy?

A lot of people who are used to being seen in-person for PT sessions may be wondering, will telehealth PT still benefit me? The answer is YES!

Reasons that patients come to PT vary widely. Regardless of your diagnosis, whether you suffer from aches and pains, a specific injury or surgery, a neurological condition, or general deconditioning to name a few, there is more often than not an exercise component to your treatment. Exercise is key to improving strength, flexibility, range of motion, and endurance.

The great thing is that patients can easily be instructed on how to do their exercises through video. Even if you do not have any exercise equipment at home, your physical therapist will be able to adapt your exercise program to your specific needs and home environment.

You may still be asking yourself, what about the hands-on treatment I receive during my sessions? Don’t worry! Your PT can provide you with self-manual techniques that you can use to work on your tight muscles or stiff joints.

While the amount of time until we will be able to see you again in-person is uncertain, one thing that you can be certain of is that you don’t want to regress on all the progress you may have already made in PT. If you have never had PT before, you can easily start now from the comfort of your own home regardless of your condition. Our PTs will be able to assess you and provide you with the best treatment plan possible!

If you would like to schedule an appointment, go to www.hpt.machtmedicalgroup.com and click the book now button or call us at 443-524-0442.

Written by: Dr. David Reymann
Staff Physical Therapist at HPT

 

Harbor Physical Therapy Video Visits

As our country and the world battles the global pandemic of COVID-19, HPT has transitioned to video visits to continue to safely treat our patients.

Why do a video visit?

It’s an easy commute! Just like an in-person PT session, the physical therapist is there to offer their expertise to help you continue to progress forward with decreased pain, increased strength, and an increased quality of life. You will receive one-on-one attention throughout the session to help you reach your physical therapy goals.

What does a video PT visit look like?

During a video visit, one of our physical therapists will connect with you over video while you are in the comfort of your own home. The first few minutes will involve a chat with the therapist as you update them on how your injury or condition has evolved since you last saw them. The physical therapist may talk you through some self-massage and self-mobilization techniques that you can perform at home using things like tennis balls, towels, and belts so that you can continue to get the relief you need with the guidance of an expert. The rest of the session will involve a combination of safe strengthening, stability, and stretching exercises designed to help progress you forward. At the end of the session, the PT might ask for you to demonstrate the exercises from your home exercise program to make sure that your form is correct and to give you pointers on how to progress the exercises as necessary at home.

Does Insurance cover this?

Yes, most insurances are covering physical therapy video visits.  Some insurances are making video visits free!  If you would like to learn more about your insurance coverage, email info@machtmecicalgroup.com

How do I schedule a video visit?

There are a few ways to schedule your first video visit. Please visit our website at http://www.machtmedicalgroup.com/harborphysicaltherapy/, call (443) 524-0442, or email info@machtmedicalgroup.com to schedule your appointment today.

 

What is a Trigger Point?

A trigger point is a painful spot within a muscle which becomes painful when pressed upon.  When pressed on, trigger points feel like “knots” or tight bands in the muscle, and are usually tender. Healthy muscles usually do not contain knots or tight bands and are not tender to pressure.

There is not conclusive research on the definition of a trigger point.  However, many characteristics have been observed for decades by researchers all over the world. There are many mechanisms by which we develop trigger points. Some of those mechanisms include poor posture, injury to a muscle, muscle overuse, and repetitive stress overload. Trigger points limit range-of-motion and cause muscle fatigue.

Physical Therapy is a common treatment option for trigger point pain. Physical Therapy addresses trigger points by identifying and treating the primary driver of the trigger point.  This is done through trigger point release techniques, massage, dry needling, therapeutic exercise, and posture re-education.  If you are interested in learning how physical therapy can help with your trigger point pain, make an appointment at Harbor Physical Therapy.

The Big 3 Ws (What, Why & When) about a Home Exercise Program (HEP)

What is a HEP?

A HEP is a set of customized exercises that patients complete at home to maintain and improve on therapeutic gains from their Physical Therapy sessions. HEPs are designed to be practical, simple and complimentary so that patients can perform at home with little to no guidance.

Why do I need a HEP?

For almost all physical therapy patients, an essential component of recovery is supplementing your physical therapy sessions with your recommended HEP. Poor compliance with performing the HEP will slow the rehab process and prevent the patient from reaching their physical therapy goals.  Here’s an analogy to help drive home the point.

Imagine if you had an infection, and your doctor gives you an antibiotic to take twice a day for 2 weeks. If you skip taking your antibiotics medication for 2-3 days, you don’t give your body the best chance to fight off the infection. The infection persists, and the treatment might take longer and be more expensive. So, performing your HEP is a way of daily taking your exercise medication to supplement the gains made with your physical therapist.

When should I get a HEP?

We as therapist have done you the patient a big disservice if we don’t give you the tools to maintain and progress the gains you make during your sessions with us. A HEP should be provided from day 1 of your therapy and periodically updated as you progress over the weeks and months. Upon discharge from physical therapy, an updated and final HEP should be provided. In the event of symptom exacerbation post physical therapy, your HEP should provide you with tools to manage your symptoms and maintain a state of wellness.

 

Written by:
Dr. Nelson Emokpae
Physical Therapist at HPT

How to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Many people will experience lower back pain during the upcoming winter season. It may be from shoveling, decorating, or your usual daily activities. A common reason people experience lower back pain is due to muscle tightness. To help decrease muscle tightness, try these stretches below.

  1. Lower Trunk Rotation– This stretch helps to decrease muscle tightness located at your lower back and upper butt region. Perform 10 repetitions and hold for 5 seconds each.

  2. Single Knee to Chest stretch– This stretch helps to decrease pressure on your spine by creating flexion. Perform 4 on each side and hold for 30 seconds each.

  3. Seated Hamstring Stretch– This stretch helps to increase hamstring flexibility. This will decrease the hamstring muscle from pulling on the back musculature causing pain.

If you continue to have pain, please contact Harbor Physical Therapy for a thorough evaluation to determine the source of your back pain and an appropriate plan of care.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a treatment involving a thin needle, used to target a painful trigger point. A physical therapist feels for the trigger point and then inserts the needle. The needle helps to release the tightness, stimulate blood flow, and promote relaxation to the aggravated muscle. Dry needling is one possible treatment option to be used in conjunction with massage, exercise, heat/ice to help manage pain.  Results can vary from person to person and can range from very short term (hours-days) to more permanent effects.  A physical therapist in the state of Maryland receives special education after physical therapy school to receive a certification in dry needling.  At Harbor Physical Therapy, Dr. David Reymann is a certified myofascial trigger point therapist.  If you are interested in trying dry needling or learning more about it, give Harbor Physical Therapy a call at 443-524-0442.