Are you Lazy or Deconditoned?

New York City’s summer weather is hot! COVID has the gyms closed.  You’ve been relaxing – enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer in the Hamptons or Jersey Shore. Taking a day off here and there is no problem, but if you’ve been consistently missing your regular run, bike ride, or gym session and notice some aches and pains showing up, you might have the beginnings of DECONDITIONING. 

What is Deconditioning?

Exercise creates many changes in your body – your heart begins to pump blood more efficiently, your muscles use oxygen more efficiently, they contract in a more coordinated manner, and your body gets more efficient turning food into fuel to name just a few. Deconditioning is the reversing of these changes. Exercise is a “use it or lose it” kind of thing, and deconditioning is the process by which we “lose it.” 

How long does it take to decondition?

As with most things related to a system as complex as the human body, it depends. According to the ACSM, two weeks without exercise can lead to significant loss of cardiovascular fitness. Two to eight months of detraining can erase virtually all of your gains. As you detrain, cardiovascular fitness tends to decline first, with muscle strength declining later. 

Other factors are your age, and your exercise history. If you’re younger, you’ll probably lose fitness at a slower rate than someone older. If you’ve been consistently exercising for a long time, or at a high intensity, your losses will probably be slower than for someone who just started. 

Other factors are your age, and your exercise history. If you’re younger, you’ll probably lose fitness at a slower rate than someone older. If you’ve been consistently exercising for a long time, or at a high intensity, your losses will probably be slower than for someone who just started. 

Solutions for Deconditioning!

If you’re just undergoing a period of increased time commitments at work or with family, using a shortened exercise routine can help minimize your losses. Even one session a week will help you keep most of what you’ve gained. Other options are to use shorter but more intense interval training sessions, or breaking up your activity into multiple short chunks during the day. If your layoff was longer, it may take just as long to retrain as it did to make the gains initially. If you’re having those aches and pains due to inactivity or need help designing a safe program to either maintain your fitness or gain it back after a layoff, Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT can help. Injury and illness are other common reasons for detraining. Dr. Palmer can not only help you recover faster, but they can also find activities to maintain your fitness while safely working around an injury or illness. 


Suffering from an injury or pain? Considering surgery, medication or physical therapy as treatment?  We would enjoy answering your questions and concerns in a FREE Discovery Session.  Contact Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT at Jim@PalmerConciergePT.com.

Are You A Passive Patient or an Active Consumer of Healthcare?

Think about the last time you made a big purchase, say $1,000 or more. Did you go out and buy the first thing you saw? Take one recommendation from somebody? Or did you research it, learn some things, compare it to other options, and select something that was right for you? Most people tend to be educated and research large purchases like cars, televisions, or the newest iphone. So why do we so often fail to do this with healthcare?

By becoming more educated healthcare consumers we can go from passive patients who take the first recommendation that comes from a practitioner to an active consumer who weighs options and makes choices. Here are some questions to talk through with your practitioner the next time a healthcare decision comes up.

What are the benefits or expected results?

When a treatment or procedure is recommended, the patient often assumes that it will make them “better.” But what the patient expects and what the healthcare provider expects are often two different things. For example, a patient having back surgery expects to be pain free after surgery. The surgeon probably doesn’t expect that to happen. Outcomes from back surgeries are terrible. A large study of 1450 patients in the Ohio worker’s comp system showed that after 2 years 26% of patients who had surgery returned to work. Compare that to 67% of patients who didn’t have surgery. There was also a 41% increase in the use of painkillers in the surgical group.

Patients want to hear about the benefits of a treatment, but they often don’t ask or care about the risks. To be an educated consumer, you need to. If one treatment has a 3% edge over another, but has a high risk of making you itchy or causing frequent headaches, do you want it? Going back to the back surgery study from before, the researchers found a 1 in 4 chance of a repeat surgery and a 1 in 3 chance of a major complication.

With surgery you risk infection, blood clots, complications with anesthesia, and a whole host of other things. These risks need to be compared with other treatments. In the case of back pain, physical therapy is a valid alternative with a much lower risk profile. You might have some soreness with physical therapy, you might sweat some and be challenged with exercise, but the risks of PT compared to surgery are minimal. 

What are the alternatives?

Don’t feel bad asking about alternative treatments. If you were looking at a certain car you wouldn’t go out and just buy it. You’d at least consider the competitors and probably even test drive them. You should at least look at the other options in healthcare too. Maybe the first recommendation that your practitioner makes is the right one for you, but if you don’t consider the alternatives you’ll never really know.

Why this treatment over the other ones?

This is the question where the rubber meets the road. You’ve learned about all the options, now you can see if your practitioner is balancing the risks and benefits to make the right choice for you. Staying with the back pain example, research shows that more than 40% of people who seek care for back pain will not receive a treatment of known effectiveness. Back pain is also the #1 reason for opioid prescriptions, despite a 2016 recommendation from the CDC to avoid prescribing opioids for back pain, and opt for non-drug treatments like physical therapy. By asking for the rationale and carefully weighing options, you can avoid being one of the people who gets an ineffective treatment.

Back pain is also the #1 reason for opioid prescriptions, despite a 2016 recommendation from the CDC to avoid prescribing opioids for back pain, and opt for non-drug treatments like physical therapy.

What’s it cost?

This last question is becoming more important as patients bear an increasing share of the cost of healthcare. Even if you don’t have a high deductible plan or hefty co-pays, by being financially responsible today, you’ll probably see smaller price increases in your premiums down the road. That back surgery that we’ve been talking about? It’ll likely cost between $60,000 and $80,000. So if we put the whole picture together, a patient who takes the first recommendation for surgery will have a $60,000 procedure that leads to a higher risk of disability, and a higher risk of long term painkiller use, while risking infection, and blood clots. Don’t forget the 25% chance that you’ll get to do it all again in a repeat surgery. Seems like a bad deal. An educated consumer would learn that physical therapy is a viable alternative to surgery with comparable outcomes, much less risk and lower cost. In fact, a large study of 122,723 subjects showed that people with back pain who got physical therapy in the first 14 days lowered their healthcare costs by 60%. It’s easy to see why bargain shoppers love PT!

Suffering from an injury or pain? Considering surgery, medication or physical therapy as treatment?  We would enjoy answering your questions and concerns in a FREE Discovery Session.  Contact Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT at Jim@PalmerConciergePT.com.

3 Quick Exercises for Dads in 15 Minutes

There’s a constant struggle of people trying to balance busy schedules with wanting to stay in shape and workout. It can be difficult to know what exercises to choose that don’t take too much time, but that also accomplish the desired effect.

In honor of Father’s Day this year, I want to share with you these 3 quick exercises. These workouts were chosen specifically to keep dads strong and in shape, and they can be completed in only 15 minutes. 

Squats:  

To lift up your children or climb that steep hill with ease, I recommend performing squats.  You will strengthen your complete lower body in one exercise.  For a proper squat, start in standing position with your feet shoulder width apart.  Reach your arms straight forward.  Now “sit back”, lowering your buttocks towards the floor and stop when your hips are at the same height as your knees.  Keep your head up and back straight!  Pause, then push up to standing.  Squats may be made easier by using a chair to sit down and stand up from.  Squats can be made more difficult by holding weights in your hands.  Complete 10-15 squats. Rest.  Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 squats.  

Push Ups:

To push a couch across the floor, the baby jogger uphill, or lift children overhead for play with ease, I recommend performing push ups.  You will strengthen your chest, shoulders, arms, triceps and biceps in one exercise.  For a proper push up, start in push up position on the floor with your arms wide apart and body straight.  Now lower your body to the floor by bending your arms.  Keep your head and back straight!  Pause, then push up to your starting position.  Push ups can be made easier by resting on your knees instead of your toes.  Push ups can be made more difficult by placing your hands close to your body instead of wide apart.  Your child can climb on your back for additional resistance.  Complete 10-15 push ups. Rest.  Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 push ups.  

Pull Ups:

To pull junk out of the garage, pull the baby jogger up stairs, or have a tug of war with the neighbors with ease, I recommend performing pull ups.  You will strengthen your upper back, shoulders, arms, and biceps.  For a proper pull up, take a wide grasp of a pull up bar or top of a sturdy door.  Place a soft towel on top of the door to protect your hands.  Your body should be handing towards the floor.  Now pull your body upward so that your head comes above the bar.  Keep your head and body straight!  Pause, then lower your feet to the floor.  Standing pull ups can be made easier by resting your feet on a chair, then using your legs to assist you by pushing up to bring your head above the bar.  An alternative pull up is to lie on the floor, head and upper body under a sturdy desk or table.  Take a wide grasp of the desk edge, and pull your upper and lower body up toward the bottom side of the table.  Leave your heels on the ground.  Complete 10-15 pull ups. Rest.  Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 pull ups. 

 If you’re interested in finding the right solution to resolving your pain without medication or surgery, contact us before 7/15/20 to claim your FREE 30-minute Discovery Session. Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT will learn about how pain and injury has affected your life and solutions that he can provide for you.

Testimonial from a dad: “After Dr. Palmer helped my wife with her hand, when I woke up with a frozen neck that I couldn’t move for a couple of days, she encouraged me to contact Dr. Palmer. We arranged a couple of TeleHealth sessions and he knew exactly what was wrong, and gave me a simple exercise. Within a couple of days, my neck’s range of motion was actually better than normal! I can’t thank Dr. Palmer enough. I’ve been to a few PTs; you won’t find a better one than Dr. Palmer!”

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Yours in better health,

Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT, CMP, COMT

Palmer Concierge Physical Therapy

Jim@PalmerConciergePT.com