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Physical Therapy Is Critical in Order to Slow the Progression of Debilatingly Diseases

Updated on January 31, 2015

Some Facts About Physical Therapy

Regular physical therapy strengthens our body and our morale. Range of motion keeps muscles from atrophy. No one shared this information with me when I was diagnosed. It wasn't until I spent a few months in a nursing home that I discovered this.

I spent three months in Johns Hopkins as doctors sought to find the cause of my symptoms. I could no longer stand and pulsating nerve pain ravaged my body. Once diagnosed, my doctor treated me Baclofen and Tegretol. Then, he transferred me to rehab.

Exhausted from the pain medicine, I kept refusing to have my legs ranged or work with the therapist. But, luckily, a persistent physical therapist prepared me for life in a wheelchair so that I could care for my nine-year-old son.

But, that's when it ended. I didn't realize the benefits of ongoing physical therapy and no one explained this to me. So, my legs began to atrophy and my ability to transfer independently slowly diminished.

Of course, every situation is different for each of us even if we have the same disability.Also, physical therapy is not always covered by insurance companies.

However, I cannot stress enough how valuable physical therapy is in our lives. If you're a family member or caregiver, please encourage and help your loved one with this.

Therapy ranges anywhere from $60 to $150 or so per hour. Ask your doctor for an order or prescription for ongoing physical therapy, justifying why it is medically necessary. If you're insurance company refuses to pay, file an appeal. Find an ombudsman to help you. Contact your local representative if you run into roadblocks. Fight for what you need. Never give up.

You want to have the best quality of life possible under difficult circumstances. Sometimes, many physically challenged persons find themselves in a situation where there income disappears and they're stuck on SSI. There are waiver programs for Medicaid patients that provide many services. I will address this in another hub.

Also, there are a private-pay physical therapists that will come to your home for about $70 an hour.

My physical therapist ranging my leg.
My physical therapist ranging my leg.

Range of Motion

There are three types of Range of Motion: Passive, Active with assistance, and Active.

Passive range of motion keeps muscles from atrophy (deteriorate, shrink up, tightened). This is usually done by a physical therapist or a CNA (certified nursing assistant); but a family member or friend can also perform passive range of motion. It's important for someone who is paralyzed or bedridden to be ranged at least five times a week.

Active with assistance: This is when the patient participates according to their ability. For instance, my disease weakens my muscles to the point that now I will never be able to walk again. But, I can still move my legs slightly. With my therapist's assistance I push and pull my legs to help maintain and rebuild the muscle tone I have lost. Tone is measured on a scale of 1- 5 (5 being the best). My quads are at a 2, my hamstrings are 0.2 to give you an idea.

Active range: The patient is able to stretch their arms and legs in various ways (if they are able). I can actively range my arms and i lift weights. I can also do half sit-ups which help strengthen my trunk.

The video below demonstrates each of these forms. If you are a caregiver, family member or friend, be sure to have a physical therapist come to the patient's house a few times to teach you how to handle your patient properly. Osteoporosis is common with sedentary persons, so necessary precautions must be used so as not to break a bone.(My femur was accidentally broken by an inexperienced physical therapy student. During the surgery, my doctor discovered I have "spongy" bones, a severe form of Osteoporosis.

So take care but don't neglect this exercise. It will greatly improve the patient's quality of life and help prevent blood clots and atrophy.

How to Do Range of Motion

Exercising with Theraband & Weights

Carpal Tunnel and Ulnar Issues

I am bedridden and a writer, so I am constantly typing on my laptop. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a part of my life. In fact, many people suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Also, it effects the ulnar nerve, which causes quite a bit of pain. Stretching and massage help to relieve the pain. One exercise I do is called the Prayer. Holding your hands in a prayer position and press them together for a few moments, then release and do a few more repititions.

The photo below shows several ways to ease arm and carpal tunnel pain.


Arm-strenghtening Tips for the Bedridden Patient

Lifting weights benefits muscles and bones. We all know this. Even if one is bedridden, lifting weights not only keeps muscle tone and lessen pain, it also improves our mental health.

Start out with two-pound weights and work your way up to five-pounds as you can. I also use a five-pound shake weight when I do my exercise routine.

These are exercises my physical therapist taught me.

If you are bedridden, as I am, start out with two-pound weights and five reps of each exercise.

  • Stretch your arm behind your head with the weight in your hand and hold the position for a few moments, then slowly lift your arm over your head and down to your side. Never go beyond the point of pain.
  • Stretch your arm towards your hip. Lift weight up and down as many times as comfortable.
  • Lying flat, with elbow bent, lift weight, extending your arm towards the ceiling.
  • Lying flat, with elbow bent, bend arm towards head of bed and bring it back to 90 degree angle.
  • Using a shake weight: Holding it with both hands, elbows bent, hands towards the ceiling. Bring weight over your head and back again.
  • Using a shake weight: Holding with both hands, elbows bent, hand towards the ceiling, lift weight straight up and down

Be a Caring Neighbor

Please if your neighbor lives alone and is elderly or disabled, take the time to see if they need anything.

These days we tend to be so busy, we have difficulty finding the time to help our elderly and disabled neighbors. Please, take a few minutes when you can. You will not only bless your neighbor, but you may find that it has blessed you, as well.

Learning Tools

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Do you have any other tips concerning physical therapy or exercises?


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