Medical Briefs: Concussions, TV Watching, & Hip Strengthening!

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News about concussions is breaking all the time! Research on the topic is alive and well in both concussion prevention, treatment, and how to know for sure an athlete is safe and ready to return to athletic participation. So here’s the latest from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Berlin this year:

  • During a game or practice, an athlete suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated immediately by medical personnel, or if medical personnel is not available on-site, the athlete should be referred to a medical facility for urgent evaluation.
  • Baseline (pre-season) neurocognitive (like Impact used locally) testing is helpful in interpreting the test results of an injured athlete, but not required to make the test useful.
  • Neurocognitive testing is not only important for deciding on return to play decisions, but also on return to school/academics without limitations decisions.
  • Recovery from concussion should not be solely rest-based; eventual addition of sub-symptom-threshold, sub-maximal exercise should be considered carefully to increase the pace of recovery from concussion.  This should be done with the guidance of a healthcare professional with extensive knowledge of concussion rehabilitation.
  • Vestibular and cervical rehabilitation (available at MotionWorks Physical Therapy in our post-concussion program) and sometimes psychological intervention may also be helpful when athletes are recovering from concussions.
  • So far, the efforts to reduce contact and number of tackles during practice and training for football has not been effective so far in reducing the number of concussions in that sport.

Watching TV

In the “Not a Shocker” category, the TV-watching habits of adults related directly to increased risk of mobility issues in older adults according to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. Matching TV watching and other sedentary behaviors in the hours per week to the average number of hours per week spent in light to moderate physical activity, and asked the same participants to report mobility issues in survey one decade later. Interestingly, sedentary behavior and mobility problems were not very related; however, TV related sedentary time and mobility issues were. In fact, watching 3-4 hours of TV per day increased the odds of experiencing a mobility disability by 25%, while watching TV for 5 or more hours per day increased this risk by 65%. The more participants were physically active, this reduced the risk of having a mobility disability; however, high levels of TV time mitigated some of the benefits of being physically active in this study. Obvious take home? Get off your duff, and there’s nothing that great on TV anyway- limit those Netflix binges and work out to stay healthy and independent!!

Finally, if you are considering or pushing off a total knee replacement surgery, hip strengthening is the key before and after to improve your knee function pre-and post-surgery according to a study from Loyd et al, just published in the September, 2017 peer-reviewed journal Physical Therapy. Hip strength also is worse after knee surgery, and is frequently a forgotten part of the post knee replacement rehab program. Strengthening the hip abductors is extremely important after surgery and is a strong determiner of how well and fully you recover after surgery. Want to know how to strengthen your hip abductor? Check out our Build a Better Body: Strengthening the Hips for all the info you need to strengthen your hip with no special equipment or gym memberships required!