Blog

What is Physical Therapy?

According to The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), “Physical Therapists (PT) examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.” When working with an PT, clients receive an individualized evaluation and treatment plan focused on the restoration, maintenance and/or promotion of optimal physical function across the lifespan.

Where do they practice?

  • Schools
  • Private clinics / outpatient clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Inpatient rehabilitation programs (also known as ARU or IPR)
  • Home Health
  • Skilled nursing facilities

What is the difference between a physical therapist (PT) and physical therapy assistant (PTA)?

The three largest areas of differences include level of education, responsibility and annual salary. Physical therapists are required to have a doctoral degree in physical therapy and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). In short, they are responsible for evaluating clients, creating treatment plans and supervising PTAs.

Physical therapy assistants are required to have an associates degree and pass the PTA exam provided by the FSBPT.  PTAs are responsible for carrying through with the established plan of care set by the evaluating physical therapist and is an integral part of the healthcare team.  

Both careers require coursework in physics, biology, anatomy and physiology, general chemistry and kinesiology. In 2019, the U.S. News and World Report listed physical therapy jobs as #16 in Best Health Care Jobs and #20 in 100 Best Jobs overall. Physical therapy assistants came in at #3 for Best Health Care Support Jobs.

PTs have an incredible amount of career flexibility given the different populations of people they serve.  Therapists have the opportunity to continue their learning and earn any of the following advanced certifications:

  • Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Certified Specialist (CCS)
  • Clinical Electrophysiologic Certified Specialist (ECS)
  • Geriatric Certified Specialist (GCS)
  • Neurologic Certified Specialist (NCS)
  • Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS)
  • Pediatric Certified Specialist (PCS)
  • Sports Certified Specialist (SCS)
  • Women’s Health Certified Specialist (WCS)

Take home points:

  • Got physical goals? Physical therapists work to keep you healthy and moving- regardless of your physical abilities and challenges.
  • Given the diverse populations and conditions therapists treat, the job outlook for both physical therapists and physical therapists are on the rise. In 2019, the United States Department of Labor projected a 18-22% increase in job growth through 2028.  
  • How do you find a physical therapist in California?  Search RehabGAB.com! Can’t find what you’re looking for? Send us an e-mail @ info@RehabGAB.com

Resources:

November 5, 2019 / by / in
­­What is Speech Language Pathology and Audiology?
What is Speech Language Pathology and Audiology?

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and we’d like to celebrate by spreading the word by telling you more about what they do and how they can help you! We’ll recap a lot of the basics here, but to find more specific information please visit the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) website- link is listed below.

How do I know if I need a speech therapist or audiologist?

SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY (SLP)

Think speech therapists only work on speech? No way! They assist people of all ages with cognition, spoken and written communication, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), resonance and nasal airflow, feeding and swallowing and more! In more simple terms, SLPs help people to produce and understand communication, despite any disability or difficulty.

But, what can speech therapists do for me, really?

They can help you with the less serious side of things like reducing a stutter, dropping that accent your friends make fun of you for, or help improve your thinking skills so you can win every round of Scattergories. More seriously, they can help you and/or someone you love if they’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition (ie. autism, cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, stroke, brain injury, meningitis, etc) that can affect their ability to have a conversation with you. Speech therapists work in healthcare settings (such as hospital, sub-acute care, inpatient medical rehab, or an outpatient clinic), private practice, schools and now in telehealth! It takes approximately seven years of education in to become a speech therapist. A SLP with advanced knowledge, skills and experience can opt to apply to be Board Certified Specialist (BCS). Other specific certifications include:  child language and language disorders; fluency and fluency disorders; and swallowing disorders.

What is the difference between speech therapy and audiology?

AUDIOLOGY

ASHA defines audiologist as “healthcare professionals who provide patient-centered care in prevention, identification, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders for people of all ages.” Basically, if you’re having hearing and/or balance issues, you should have a conversation with your doctor about seeing an audiologist.

Still not sure when to see an audiologist? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I ask people to repeat themselves often?
  • Does it seem like people around you are mumbling?
  • Do you avoid social engagements and/or places with a lot of background noise?
  • Do you have ringing in your ears?
  • Have you been diagnosed with a medical condition that could affect hearing loss (ex. diabetes, brain tumor, brain cancer, etc)?
  • Have you had exposure to excessively loud sounds?
  • Have you experience any head trauma?
  • Ask people to speak close to you? Or on either your right or left side?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself for your child

  • Does it seem like they are ignoring you, caregivers and/or teachers (but not being defiant/behavioral)?
  • Do they have frequent ear infections?
  • Do they pull at their ears?
  • Been diagnosed with a medical condition that could affect hearing loss (ex. head injury, brain cancer, meningitis, encephalitis, chickenpox, measles, etc)?

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of the questions above, it may be time to see an audiologist. See your primary care physician to discuss your hearing, speech, communication and/or thinking concerns and search www.RehabGAB.com to find one near you! Note: RehabGAB is now serving Southern California and growing throughout California.

Resource(s)

American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA)

May 17, 2019 / by / in
What is Occupational Therapy?
What is Occupational Therapy?

What is occupational therapy?

According to The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), “Occupational therapists (OT) and occupational therapy assistants (OTA) help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).” When working with an OT, clients receive an individualized evaluation and treatment plan focused on the following occupations:

  • Activities of Daily Living (ADL including bathing, getting dressed, eating, etc)
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Livings (IADL includes cooking, driving, housework, managing finances, medication management)
  • Rest and sleep
  • Education
  • Work
  • Play
  • Leisure
  • Social participation

Occupational therapists work within the following areas:

  • Children and youth
  • Health and wellness (ie lifestyle redesign, prevention)
  • Productive aging
  • Rehabilitation / physical disability
  • Mental Health
  • Work and Industry (ie functional capacity evaluations, work hardening, ergonomics)
Where do occupational therapists practice?

Where do they practice?

  • Schools
  • Private clinics / outpatient therapy clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Inpatient rehabilitation programs (also known as ARU or IPR by insurance companies)
  • Home Health
  • Skilled nursing facilities

What is the difference between an occupational therapist (OT) and an occupational therapy assistant (OTA)?

The three largest areas of differences include level of education, responsibility and annual salary. Occupational therapists are required to have a masters or doctoral degree in occupational therapy and pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam (NBCOT). In short, they are responsible for evaluating clients, creating treatment plans and supervising OTAs. Occupational therapy assistants are required to have an associates degree and pass the OTA exam provided by the NBCOT.  Both careers require coursework in ethics, biology, psychology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and rehabilitative theory. In 2019, the U.S. News and World Report listed occupational therapy jobs as #11 in Beast Health Care Jobs and #13 in 100 Best Jobs overall. Occupational therapy assistants came in at #22 for Best Health Care Support Jobs.

OTs have an incredible amount of career flexibility given the different populations of people they serve.  Therapists have the opportunity to continue their learning and earn any of the following certifications:

  • Hand therapy
  • Physical Agent Modalities (PAMS) includes, but is not limited to, paraffin baths, hot/cold packs, contrast baths, ultrasound, electrical stimulation units.
  • Gerontology (BCG)
  • Mental Health (BCMH)
  • Pediatrics (BCP)
  • Physical Rehabilitation (BCPR)
  • Driving and Community Mobility (SCDCM or SCDCM-A)
  • Environmental Modifications (SCEM or SCEM-A)
  • Feeding, Eating and Swallowing (SCFES or SCFES-A)
  • Low Vision (SCLV or SCLV-A)
  • School Systems (SCSS or SCSS-A)
What is the difference between an occupational therapist (OT) and an occupational therapy assistant (OTA)?

Take home points:

  • The clients voice matters! OTs offer their clients an individualized evaluation and treatment plan WITH the input from the client and/or other stakeholders (ie family, caregivers, school/work personnel, etc).
  • OTs believe that participation in activities improve overall health and well-being. If you’ve got goals, write them down because there’s an OT out there ready to help you!
  • Even though many people have a hard time explaining what occupational therapy is, the profession is highly skilled and the clinicians have 6+ years of education.
  • How do you find an occupational therapist in California?  Search RehabGAB.com! Can’t find what you’re looking for? Send us an e-mail @ info@RehabGAB.com

Resources:

April 9, 2019 / by / in
Brain Injury

Just open the newspaper or turn on the television, and you’ll hear stories of people being affected by brain injury every day.  Given the high prevalence of brain injury internationally, there is a growing body of research, medical advancements, specialized certifications for healthcare professionals, and communities committed to improving quality of life for those affected directly and/or indirectly by brain injury.

What are the types of brain injury?

  • Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI): Also known as a concussion is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that causes the skull and brain to make contact with one another.
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Caused by an external force such as a fall, assault, accident and/or blow to the head.
  • Acquired brain injury (ABI): Is hereditary, congenital, and/or degenerative. This could include stroke, infectious disease, seizures, tumors, metabolic disorder, lack of oxygen, drug overdose.

Knowing the location of injury often helps to anticipate what some of the symptoms a survivor may experience. Healthcare providers break it down into the following locations:

  • Frontal lobe: Attention, concentration, awareness, inhibition of behavior, problem solving
  • Occipital lobe: Vision, reading, writing
  • Parietal lobe: Depth perception, visual perception, identifying right/left
  • Temporal lobe: Memory, understanding language, hearing, sequencing, sexual behavior, identifying objects
  • Brainstem: Regulates body temperature, breathing, level of arousal, heart rate, sleep/wake cycles, movement
  • Cerebellum: Balance, coordination, control of eye movement, speech
  • Left side of brain: Language, speaking, control of right side of body
  • Right side of brain: Visual perception, control of the left side of body  

Brain injuries, depending on the location and severity of injury, can affect people physically, cognitively and psychologically. Here are some examples:

  • Physical
    • Ambulation (walking)
    • Balance
    • Coordination
    • Endurance
    • Strength
    • Transfers (getting from one place to another such as from getting in/out of the shower)
    • Vision (double/blurred vision, may ignore/misjudge the visual field, etc.)
  • Cognition
    • Awareness / Insight (may not recognize changes in abilities)
    • Behavior (may experience frustration, irritation and/or disinhibition (loss of control over one’s behavior))
    • Communication (both expressing oneself and understanding others)
    • Executive function (attention, following directions, planning, thinking, regulating behavior)
    • Memory (short and long term)
    • Perceptual skills (ability to make sense of visual, auditory and tactile information)
  • Psychological / Psychosocial
    • Anxiety
    • Apathy
    • Difficulty initiating tasks / conversations
    • Depression
    • Difficulty controlling emotions
    • Changes within their relationships (co-workers, family, friends, significant others)
    • Changes in self esteem
    • Grief/loss
    • Isolation
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What healthcare professionals specialize in brain injury rehabilitation?

  • Audiologist
  • Certified Brain Injury Specialist
  • Neurologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiatrist (PM&R)
  • Physical Therapist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Speech and Language Pathologist

Healthcare providers often talk about the Glasgow Coma Scale and the Rancho Los Amigos Levels of Cognitive Functioning Scale in the early stages of recovery. What’s the difference?

RehabGAB Important Things to Know About Brain Injuries

Important things to know:

  • Every brain injury, regardless of its more specific classification (ex. mTBI, acquired brain injury, traumatic brain injury) is different.
  • People who have a sustained a brain injury (at all levels) can live a fulfilling and active life! Like everyone, this takes work. Reaching out for assistance in the areas we struggle the most, helps to break through our most challenging activities.
  • You’re not alone! There is a massive network of healthcare professionals, survivors, caregivers, support groups and organizations who want to help you.
  • Sometimes a tune up is needed. Just because you and/or a loved one has received services from a brain injury specialist in the past, doesn’t mean there isn’t benefit from intermittent follow-up. Check in your medical team on a consistent basis to provide them with updates on what is and isn’t working for you. 
  • Don’t forget about the caregivers! They’re working just as hard as their loved one and need support too. We can all benefit from taking breaks, reconnecting with a friend, exercising and/or finding a support group; but caregivers especially need to find ways to add this to their schedule.
  • Knowledge is power. This blog post is only an introduction to brain injury. There are resources listed below, however, do your own research by reading research articles/ blogs, listening to podcasts, and/or attending classes that cover this topic.

Where can I find more information?

Don’t forget to write your questions down and have them ready for when you speak with a healthcare professional. Reminder: RehabGAB helps to locate physical, occupational and speech therapists that specialize in brain injury rehabilitation in your community. Contact your primary care physician to connect with other healthcare providers.

March 12, 2019 / by / in
Pelvic Rehabilitation

Embarrassed already?  For some of us, just reading the title of this blog post makes us squirm. Luckily, there are healthcare providers who specialize in pelvic health and don’t feel this way so you can get comfortable with them on your journey to recovery.  Here’s another shocker – we all have a pelvis!  That’s right, this blog post is for women AND men. Let’s cover the basics…

What healthcare professionals specialize in pelvic health and/or rehabilitation?

  • Urologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Gynecologist
  • Neurologist
  • Orthopedic doctor
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Psychologist

What are a few of the commonly treated conditions?

  • Bowel incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal muscles after having a baby)
  • Endometriosis
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness
  • Orthopedic trauma (fractured or broken pelvis)
  • Osteitis pubis
  • Pain (when sitting, during intercourse)
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
  • Pregnancy and post partum
  • Prostatitis
  • Pudendal neuralgia
  • Scar tissue (often after surgery or cancer)
  • Transgender pelvic health
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vaginismus
  • Vulvodynia
Pelvic Rehabilitation by RehabGAB

Let’s cover a few common myths…

  • Pelvic Rehabilitation is for women. Check out the commonly treated conditions above and you’ll notice some are gender specific while others occur in both men and women.
  • Kegel exercises are the answer to most pelvic health concerns.  If this were the case, you wouldn’t need the extensive list of healthcare providers listed above.  Kegel exercises may be one of the strategies used to help you reach your goals, however, it likely won’t be the only recommendation provided by a healthcare professional.
  • If you’ve seen one healthcare provider, you’ve seen them all. Wrong! In many cases, an interdisciplinary team approach is recommended. While some of the coursework may overlap, each discipline has very specific training. In short, this gives you more treatment options.
  • There’s not a lot of resources. The general public may not be talking about this topic as openly as we’d like but there’s help out there!  See the short list of resources below to get you started.

Take away points:

  • A glass of wine prior to being sexually intimate may treat your shyness, but its not the answer if you’re suffering from one of the conditions listed above. Connect with an expert that can help you meet your goals.
  • Knowledge is power. This blog post is only an introduction into what pelvic rehabilitation covers. There are resources listed below, however, do your own research by reading research articles/ blogs, listening to podcasts, and/or attending classes that cover this topic.
  • There’s no shame in reaching out and getting help!

Where can I find more information?

Don’t forget to write your questions down and have them ready for when you speak with a pelvic health professional. Reminder: RehabGAB helps to locate physical and occupational therapists that specialize in pelvic rehabilitation in your community. Contact your primary care physician to connect with other healthcare providers.

February 14, 2019 / by / in
Sports Medicine: The Basics

Sports medicine is a specialty that focuses on prevention and treatment of injuries related to sports and exercise. Like most medical fields, sports medicine has been changing and expanding in the past few decades. What was once dominated by physicians, is now an interdisciplinary group of highly skilled healthcare professionals.  Physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, athletic trainers and personal trainers each care for their patients with highly specific evaluation and treatment methods. While each of these professionals overlap in the conditions they treat, their methods both differ and support one another… and this ultimately benefits you! Here are a couple frequently asked questions:

What are commonly treated conditions in sports medicine?

  • Acetabular Labral Tears
  • Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Separation
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
  • Concussion
  • Glenoid Labral Tears
  • Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome)
  • Shoulder injuries (rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, impingements)
  • Tendinitis
  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Torn Meniscus
  • Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury (typically overuse of overhead motions or throwing)
  • and more!

Where can I find more information?  

These are only a few resources we found to get your search started, but remember to do your own research too (ie researching healthcare providers/systems, blogs, podcasts, etc).

Take away points

  • You’re not alone! There are a variety of healthcare providers who can help you avoid and treat sport and exercise injuries.
  • Talk to your primary care physician. Starting the conversation will help you create a plan.
  • Do your research! Read articles and talk to different healthcare professionals. The more you know, the better you can direct your own healthcare.
  • You don’t have to be an Olympian to benefit from sports medicine! Healthcare professionals help people at all levels of fitness and ability.

*Note that RehabGAB.com is an online directory of physical rehabilitation only. If you are interested in connecting with a physical therapist, search our website! If you are looking for a sports medicine physician, surgeon, athletic trainer and/or personal trainer, please contact your primary care physician to discuss the options within your local community.

https://www.RehabGAB.com/specialty/sports-medicine/

January 15, 2019 / by / in