Physical therapists (PTs) can play a key role in postpartum health for mothers for a range of issues beyond weight loss, according to a recently published article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The article quoted APTA members in its examination of the musculoskeletal changes that can occur in women after birth, particularly among women who have more closely spaced babies later in life.
In the article, APTA members Jessica McKinney, PT, MS, Debra Goodman, PT, and Marianne Ryan, PT, OCS, explained the changes that can take place in a woman's abdominal and pelvic muscles, as well as in the general shape of the spine, and described how scarring or the wrong exercise intensity levels can create problems for women who have not established stable core strength. Secili Destefano, PT, DPT, OCS, director of research for APTA's Section on Women's Health, described how age and hormonal changes can impact recovery.
While women face many postpartum challenges, physical therapy can strengthen the key muscles that help to counter incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and other issues. The problem, according to WSJ reporter Sarah Nassauer, is that women are exposed to a huge amount of health information both prenatal and postpartum, and unless obstetricians take particular care, important elements—such as clear instruction on the proper way to do Kegel exercises—can be missed along the way.
APTA's consumer website, www.MoveForwardPT.com, offers extensive women's health resources for patients, some of which are directly related to the musculoskeletal issues associated with postpartum recovery.
A recent Medscape article draws attention to research showing that the loss of skeletal muscle mass in men with osteopenia or osteoporosis increases risk of fracture by roughly 3 times over men who have these conditions but less muscle loss. Researchers believe the results point to the importance of focusing not just on bones but on muscle function as well.
Age-related loss of muscle, called sarcopenia, was found to be an independent risk factor for nonspine fractures, with normal men showing a risk of about 10 per 1,000, and men with sarcopenia showing a risk of about 15.7 per 1,000. Among men with both sarcopenia and osteopenia/osteoporosis, risk rose to 30.5 per 1,000.
Sarcopenia can be managed effectively through resistance exercises and dietary changes. APTA offers a consumer guide to sarcopenia and frailty at MoveForwardPT.com and features courses on frailty and mobility in the APTA Leaning Center (search "frailty" and "mobility").
APTA members have a unique opportunity to lend their scientific expertise to physical therapy research on an international scale by applying for appointment to the Education Congress Scientific Committee of the European Region of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (ER-WCPT). The committee will oversee the development of the program of the 4th European Congress on Physiotherapy Education, set for November 11-12, 2016, in Liverpool, UK.
Appointments will be made with attention to a balance of talents, but ER-WCPT is particularly interested in physical therapists with strengths in research/education, research/clinical practice, scientific program planning, publication/presentation, and e-learning. Committee appointments run from 2014 through spring of 2017, and during that time members can expect to attend 1 or 2 quarterly meetings (videoconferencing available) and other duties as assigned. Expenses for meeting attendance will be reimbursed.
APTA members interested in serving on the committee should submit a CV, letter of support from APTA, and statement (500-word maximum) that addresses previous experience, the ways in which the applicant's expertise will benefit the committee, and ability to devote the necessary time to the project. Deadline for application is November 15, 2013, but APTA members should contact Rene Malone at email@example.com no later than November 6 to arrange for the required APTA letter of support.
Appointment decisions will be made by the end of January 2014. Applications and additional questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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