Thursday, January 23, 2014
Physical therapy vital to recovery

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

In 1989 I had surgery on my finger because of a softball injury. The orthopedist felt that the repair would only last a year or so before they would have to go back in and fuse the joint due to arthritis and inability to bend the finger. This summer will mark 25 years since the surgery without the need for a repair. If I had to point to one thing as the reason for that, it would be the physical therapy that I received after the injury. The orthopedist had me get 1 hour of therapy twice a day for two weeks. As part of that therapy, I was taught how to continue doing ongoing therapy for the next few months. I used that advice to constantly work the tendons in my finger. I did it so much that people thought I had a nervous habit of squeezing my hand on a constant basis. There are two key lessons to be learned here. The first is that physical therapy can do some very wonderful things. The second is that the therapy does begin and end with the visit to the physical therapists office. For example, we now know that the best results for patients with hip and knee replacement surgery occur when the patient has physical therapy prior to the procedure. That allows the muscles to be ready for the surgery. It allows the muscles to be ready for the recovery. Better the preparation yields better results. Recently someone asked me about the criteria for finding a good physical therapist. One of those criteria is to make sure that the therapist does the kind of thing that you need. If you are going to have joint replacement surgery, there is a good chance that there is a therapy group that your surgeon works with on a regular basis. Thus the surgeon can be a good source of information. In my case, I was sent to a therapist that worked with my orthopedist who was a hand surgeon. Thus, the therapist knew what the expectations were for that orthopedist. That being said, most physical therapy procedures are done by all physical therapists. It is similar to an ear infection. The family physician, the pediatrician and the ENT doctor will all prescribe the same antibiotics. You do not need a specialist. That is the case with most injuries that physical therapists treat. For that reason, it is more about the interaction that you have with the therapist in most cases. You need to feel comfortable with the individual. You will be seeing him/her multiple times. The visits will be more frequent and longer than they would be with your physician. For that reason, you will need to have a connection that you feel comfortable with. Along similar lines, it is important to recognize that the therapy does not stop when you leave the office. For that reason, you need to have someone who can make it clear as to what you need to do for your home program. If it gets too confusing, you will not do it. If it is too hard, you will not do it. The therapy does not end at the time you leave the office. Another consideration is convenience. Since the visits will be frequent and it is necessary to continue with them, you need to make sure that you attend them all. If the location is not convenient you might miss visits. That will be counterproductive. Physical therapy is an important part of many treatment regimens. There are a number of factors that are involved in selecting a physical therapist. However, one of the most important ones is the drive that the patient has to follow a strict regimen.

Sussex health care providers partner with Plus 3 Network

Healthier Sussex County, a collaboration between Beebe Healthcare, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and Bayhealth  Milford Memorial, announces a partnership with the Plus 3 Network. The Plus 3 Network partnership will focus on decreasing the percentage of overweight and obese residents of Sussex County by encouraging more physically active. This initiative was selected by Healthier Sussex County because, according to the Delaware Health Tracker, 67 percent of all adults in Sussex County are overweight or obese.   As part of the Healthier Sussex County, members enrolled in the Plus 3 Network will be raising funds in support of Sussex Outdoors - a public awareness campaign focused on making families aware of opportunities for outdoor activities and increasing those opportunities. To join the Plus 3 Network: " Visit " Create a new account " Join the Healthier Sussex County Clubhouse " Download the Plus 3 app to your phone (optional) " Start logging your activities and earning money for Sussex Outdoors.

Hospice plans Grief Retreat The Family Support Center will hold a Grief Retreat for adults who have experienced a loss from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Delaware Hospice Center, Milford. Spending time with others who know what you are going through helps your healing. Dr. Judy Pierson, licensed clinical psychologist, will lead discussions on topics such as what to expect when grieving, accessing & expressing our feelings of loss, soothing and caring for self, educating your support network, and honoring our loved ones. There is no charge for this outreach program. However, lunch is available for a $5 fee. Registration is required as space is limited. Register by contacting Michelle August at 800-838-9800 or

Learn more about TBI More than 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and of these, nearly 1.4 million are treated and released from hospital ERs. The reality is most will require continuing supportive care to regain their lives, and while victims work to recover, the injurys lasting effects can strain families and cost employers more than $60 million annually in lost productivity. If you know someone affected by this condition, join the Sussex County Advisory Committee on Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities for its next meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan 27. Robert P. Corsa, commissioner of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and Brain Injury Association of Delaware, will present TBI/ABI: The Silent Epidemic. The meeting will be held at the Sussex County Administrative Offices West Complex, 22215 N. DuPont Blvd., Georgetown.  For more information on the Sussex County Advisory Committee on Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities, an 11-member panel, visit

Diabetes support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a free diabetes support group from 5 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27, at the hospital. As a person with diabetes, are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would just like to share with others coping with diabetes? The support group will feature a webinar offered by the American Association of Diabetes Educators on the topic of Diabetes and the Mouth: A Two-Way Street. There will also be a question and answer period. Registration is required. To register and for more information about the support group, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals Diabetes Education Dept. at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Funding for MS research projects The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has committed another $19.4 million to support up to 38 new MS research projects. A portion of funds raised at events throughout the state of Delaware are sent to national to fund these projects which now include a clinical trial to test whether ibudilast, a re-purposed therapy, can protect the nervous system and slow or stop progressive MS; a study to determine if dance as a form of exercise improves physical activity, walking, balance and fatigue in people with MS; and a project examining whether potential benefits of vitamin D therapy depend on an individuals gene. MS affects more than 1,550 people in Delaware and 2.3 million worldwide. Learn more by contacting the National MS Society at

Flu targets young, middle-aged Flu season started slowly, but cases are increasing and impacting younger age groups. Its not too late to benefit from a flu shot. Delaware logged 107 confirmed cases of influenza as of Dec. 28, 2013, with no flu deaths. Only five of those flu cases were among people age 65 and over. The shift in risk groups this season is due to the prevalence of the H1N1 strain of influenza, which has historically had a greater impact on young and middle-aged adults. Nationally, the spectrum of illness observed thus far in the 2013-14 season has ranged from mild to severe and is consistent with that of other influenza seasons. Locally, vaccinations are available from DPH at: " Adams State Service Center, age 6 months and older, 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. Call 856-5213 for an appointment. " Milford Riverwalk, age 3 and up, 253 NE Front St., Riverwalk Shopping Center, Milford. Call 424-7130 for an appointment. For more information, visit or call 800-282-8672.