Special thanks to Alpine's Lymphedema Specialist, Antara Quiñones, DPT, for submitting this article for publication.
If you have had breast cancer treatment in the form of radiation, lumpectomy, or mastectomy, you are at increased risk of developing arm lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a failure of the lymphatic system to move lymph fluid out of the extremity. If left unchecked it can lead to skin changes, infection, and decreased function. The best results to avoid the development of lymphedema involve early intervention.
Here are some important items to know when it comes to post-cancer treatment:
Download “6 Things You May Not Know About Lymphedema” Flyer & Poster curtesy of LymphedemaTreatmentAct.org.
Photo courtesy of the mayoclinic.com
Special thanks to Kristi Moore, MSPT, program director for Alpine PT’s Dance Medicine outreach.
As a physical therapist for many years, I want first and foremost to say that I love working with dancers! This population has a unique sense of body awareness and a strong motivation to keep dancing.
In my quest to offer the best possible treatment for our area dancers, I pursued and attained top certification in Dance Medicine from New York Physical Therapy.
I was driven to understand dancers’ needs and to know how best to help them. Doing so helped me realize the unique demands they place on themselves and their bodies.
Knowing the unique needs of my patients and what they want to accomplish is vital and is especially important with my work with dancers.
This can be as simple as understanding the motions that dancers go through, including the terminology they use. Yet it can also be as complicated as understanding how their entire body is working to create a fluid dance motion.
Through my specialized training, along with the experience I’ve gained over the years working with dancers, I’ve become a better observer of movement, especially observing dancers and what is needed to take a less functional dance motion and help it flow into a functional and elegant movement.
I’ve gained a deep respect for dancers and their ability to create movement that is both beautiful and at times extremely difficult. It’s always been my aim to help patients continue doing the activities they enjoy, and dance is no exception.
In the event I am working with an injured dancer, I design the therapy plan such that she is able to continue dancing, often by making some modifications in the rehabilitation and training program. If the injury requires that the dancer take time off to heal, I do all I can to get her dancing again as soon as possible.
On a final note, I’m also a huge proponent of injury prevention and education for dancers and attempt to help dancers understand how they can be better aware of ways to prevent an injury from occurring.
For more information on our Dance Medicine approach at Alpine, click here.
Special thanks to Claire Antonioli an avid dancer who is also currently in her final internship at Alpine Physical Therapy in preparation to become a physical therapist.
Having been a dancer for many years, I have had a lot of physical therapy . . . some good, some bad. In many ways, dancers are without question athletes. We use our bodies every day in a physical capacity and push ourselves to our limits. However, unlike many other athletes, there is also an artistic component to our physical outlet. Yet we also need our health care providers to acknowledge our differences from other athletes.
As in all populations and professions that are physically demanding, dancers end up with a lot of injuries and live with a certain amount of pain on most days. Resultantly, our pain tolerance is high. In the event we seek medical help, it’s likely because we honestly think something is terribly wrong. Over my dancing career, I have sought out physical therapy at least five times. From these experiences with the good, the mediocre, and the bad PT experiences, I’ve generated a few do’s and don’ts for those who intend to treat dancers.
There were a few common characteristics in the physical therapists that I bonded with and felt gave me excellent care. They treated the physical therapy session like a conversation where I learned from them, but they also learned from me. We negotiated about time spent doing exercises and how much I was able to participate in class and other aspects of care. It was not just the PT telling me what to do; rather, they looked for my input and made an effort to compromise.
In summary, dancers like all people just want someone who understands where they are coming from and who provides excellent care. In some ways, we might be harder to understand than the general population. When you help get us back to what we love the most, you’ll have a dedicated patient for life.
For more information on our Dance Medicine approach at Alpine, click here
Special thanks to Alpine's Lymphedema Specialist, Antara Quiñones, DPT, for submitting this article for publication.
While cancer treatment is the leading cause of Lymphedema in the United States, it is not the only cause. Other cases of lymphedema arise due to hereditary conditions, venous issues, and even a mosquito-born parasite called filariasis.
Congenital lymphedema effects five to 10 percent of the United States population and impacts females more than males. It typically presents at puberty and can (rarely) show up later in life.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency if left unchecked can eventually overwhelm the lymphatic's buffer system. If caught early enough and treated with venous intervention therapies and compression garments, the lymphatic system can correct itself.
However, if vein treatment, diuretics, and compression are no longer working then the lymphatic system is likely overwhelmed and would benefit from Complete Decongestive Therapy.
Fortunately for the United States, filariasis has been eradicated and is not typically an issue.
If you have questions regarding chronic swelling, you are invited to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with our lymphedema specialist by calling 406-541-2606.
For more information on Alpine’s approach to Lymphedema Management, click here to visit our webpage devoted to this topic.
Cancer treatment is the leading cause of lymphedema (limb swelling) in the United States.
Alpine Physical Therapy's Lymphedema Management Program is helping survivors better manage their risk by providing the gold standard treatment of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT).
There are two phases of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT):
Phase 1: Intensive CDT
Phase 1 CDT focus is moving lymph fluid out of the arm, hand, or other part of the limb to reduce swelling and other symptoms of lymphedema.
Phase 2 CDT focus is maintaining the results of Phase 1 on your own.
To learn more about CDT we invite you to stop by for a free 15-minute consultation. Antara Quiñones can be reached at Alpine’s North Clinic (406-541-2606) or click here for a full description of Alpine Physical Therapy's Lymphedema Management Program.
It’s apparent within minutes of meeting Hannah Clark that she has a burning desire to succeed by working and playing hard. She enjoys her work with the USFS, sometimes 10 to 14-hour shifts, climbing, hiking, scrambling around mountains marking timber and gathering data. When at home, she is planting, painting, demoing, or building around her property. When at play, she enjoys hunting, biking, rafting, yoga, running, and skiing.
When Hannah incurred a severe back injury in 2014, that led to a lumbar discectomy due to muscle loss in her leg, she was eager to get back to her active lifestyle. Unfortunately, at the beginning of her healing process, she faced insurance claim denials and slow healing. These challenges led to protective maladaptive patterns; movement impairments—pain avoidance behavior.
A year after the surgery, Hannah was still struggling with returning to her pre-injury state. She decided to look for a new Physical Therapist (PT) and chose Alpine Physical Therapy (Alpine PT) because she heard, "they do PT different”. At Alpine PT Hannah began to understand her body and her pain, she began to overcome deep seated maladaptive movement patterns which reduced her pain. She was told to relax, even slouch, and noted her muscle spasms and pain decreased when she followed this instruction. With the help of her PT, Sam Schmidt, MPT, at Alpine, Hannah learned how to trust her body again, how to control her body, and ultimately got her life back through movement.
Hannah is now stationed in some of the burliest mountains in Alaska, navigating remote terrain in harsh weather, and doing it without pain or fear (unless the brown bears are interested in her....). Hannah is a fine example of how movement and understanding pain can help heal and regain life. Thanks, Alpine PT and Sam!
Alpine Physical Therapy continues to run a state of the art Vestibular Rehabilitation clinic that helps Missoulians who suffer from vertigo, dizziness, imbalance, and spatial disorientation.
Demonstrated above is an example Vestibular Rehab exercise practicing dynamic balance movements while performing laser pointer coordination drills. This is an effective exercise we use to improve visual and proprioceptive (coordinating where your head is in space) using a laser pointer on a headlamp to improve balance and eye-neck-body coordination.
You're not alone! 69 million Americans suffer from dizziness or imbalance. Click here for more about the symptoms of a vestibular disorder or information on help that is available to you.
We are ramping up for our fall session of Fit to Fight! The fall session starts on September 5th, and there are still spots available!
Fit to Fight is a local exercise based cancer support program. We meet twice per week during the sessions at Peak Health and Wellness Center at 5000 Blue Mountain Road.
The small organized group exercise sessions include individual tailoring. Each session consists of stretching, breathing & relaxation, resistive strengthening, and endurance training.
Sessions are designed and supervised by a physical therapist from Alpine Physical Therapy. Call 406-251-2323 or visit our website fittofightmt.org for more information.
Peter wanted to return to serious backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and backpacking – all upright activities with bipedal movement. At the point that the CoreAlign was released Peter was primed to increase his training in a standing position. Peter had such a strong foundation of movement, control, balance, and flexibility that CoreAlign was the next level that offered exactly what he needed for his long-term rehabilitation goals. It was truly after using CoreAlign that we saw Peter returning to long days of ski touring, deep Alaskan backpack trips, and even surfing!
When I start to feel my age, do I accept it? Heck no! I get scheduled with Mary Mischke, DPT, at Alpine Physical Therapy. You see I am over 70 now (yeah, that sounds weird to me too), but I refuse to stop going. I won't stop playing, working, relaxing, traveling, or learning.
I had to call Mary recently after going through the summer full force; my body was needing a tune up. The Downtown Alpine PT crew got me set up, and in no time I learned about how to best keep my body going (I think this time it was my knee).
This past weekend I was able to spread two full truck beds of gravel by myself and had time to get in my first stand up paddle board lesson (the proof is in the pictures below)!
Thanks to Mary and the folks at Alpine PT for keeping me young because I just won't stop, especially to just get old!
70-year-old Alpine PT patient
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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