Women’s Health

Your health is important, at any stage of your life!

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Pregnancy is such a joy but can also come with its own set of aches and pain. Upper and lower back pain are the most common and physical therapy can help. Washington Physical Therapy offers treatment for back pain, training for proper exercising, and education on body mechanics, posture, and techniques to control the aches and pains of pregnancy.

Occasionally these pains can persist after the birth of your child. Physical therapy can help with the focus on getting you back to life without pain. Treatments address pain relief, muscle strengthening and flexibility, and education on posture and body mechanics.

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Incontinence, sudden urge, bowel dysfunctions, pelvic pain have the power to limit everything we do from working to recreation and social activities. Approximately 10-12 million people live with these problems. Women are twice as likely to be affected but it can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. Approximately 30% of men and women living at home and over 50% of people in nursing homes have bladder control problems.

What is even more distressing is that they do not know that there are treatments to help control these problems. Physical therapy treatments are a safe and effective way to control these problems without the use of medication.

At Washington Physical Therapy, we customized our program to addresses your specific problem, needs, and goals. Sandy and Susan focus on education, strengthening, biofeedback, bladder retraining and physiologic control of bladder urges.

a big word, but by breaking the words down into its parts becomes easy to understand its meaning:

  • Lymph – We all have lymph nodes, which are spread throughout our bodies. The lymph system is part of the circulatory and infection control systems. Remember when your Mom would feel your neck when you were sick? She was checking for swollen lymph nodes. If they were swollen, your body was fighting an infection.
  • Edema – This basically refers to swelling somewhere in the body. Edema is more than the type of swelling you get with a sprained ankle and it can be much more debilitating.

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Put these two words together and you get LYMPHEDEMA – swelling due to a problem with or overloading of the lymph system. One of the main causes of lymphedema is cancer of the breast, cervix/uterus, or prostate. When the surgeon removes the cancerous organ/tissue, many of the nearby lymph nodes are removed to help prevent the cancer from spreading. The lymph system follows arteries/veins around the body; arteries deposit nutrients to the cells and the vein takes 90% of the cell waste products away to be recycled. The lymph system removes the remaining 10% of the waste.

That is where physical therapy can help. Susan Gonsky, PT, is trained on the proper treatment of lymphedema. She teaches you how to do lymphatic drainage massage, the use of compression bandages and compression garments, sets up a personalized exercise program, and helps you understand more about lymphedema, its causes, and how to control it.

  • Lymphatic drainage massage – Teaches the lymph fluid (the backed up traffic) to go a different route back to the heart. It is like detouring traffic around road construction.
  • Compression bandages/compression garments – These steps help to push the lymph fluid back into the lymph system and up the limb. Once the edema is reduced, compression garments maintain the smaller size of your arm or leg.
  • Exercises – Getting muscles moving helps the lymph system move the fluid along. After surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment, you are often weak with decreased motion in your joints. Exercising helps you return to a higher level of activity and to feel better.
  • Education – It is important to understand what is happening, why the treatments are set up the way they are, and the things you need to do to control lymphedema. The more you know and understand, the more successful the treatments will be.
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Neurosomatic disorders, including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, affect an estimated 5 million Americans 18 and older although most people are diagnosed in middle age. 80-90% of those people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. Long-term chronic pain associated with these disorders can dramatically affect an individual’s lifestyle—decreasing activity levels significantly or stopping them altogether. When an individual’s activity level decreases, the body gradually loses its tone and conditioning. This cycle can be interrupted by a gentle and gradual increase in activity that is supervised by medical specialists.

Washington Physical Therapy has developed a program specifically for individuals with these disorders. The components of the exercise program include:

  • Comprehensive stretching program
  • Instruction in pacing techniques and problem-solving
  • A cardiovascular component, with upgrades done in one-minute increments
  • A strengthening program for the muscles used in the functional activities of daily living. Muscle groups targeted include those used in walking, transferring, and reaching.
“Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

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Falling and balance issues can be serious, leading to broken bones, sprains, and bruises (besides need to call “911” in order to have someone help you get up). The human balance system is dependent on information received from the eyes, muscles, joints, and the inner ear. Many things in life can cause a disruption to your balance…sprained ankles, muscle weakness, lack of use, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, and issues with the inner ear.

The inner ear system for balance is referred to as the Vestibular system. If the inner ear is damaged, the brain may receive incorrect information, which can result in dizziness or imbalance problems. The severity of this problem ranges from a “swimmy head” to nausea and loss of balance. Physical therapy treatments can help resolve and/or control these symptoms. At Washington Physical Therapy we offer Vestibular Rehabilitation. Treatment includes movements to “recalibrate” the inner ear (Hall-Pike maneuver) to positional habituation (repetitive exposure to the positions that create dizziness to the patient habituates to the sensation and as a result minimizes the symptoms).