Common Complications from Knee Replacement Surgery

common complications from knee replacement surgeryTotal Knee Replacement (TKR) surgery is now the most commonly performed elective surgery in the United States. Wear and tear on joints is the most common reason for joint replacement. This happens when years of activities cause the cartilage lining to deteriorate, causing bone to rub on bone, a source of great pain.

You could lessen the damage done over the years by ensuring that you wear good footwear with soles that will absorb some of the impact, limit excess weight and keep leg muscles in good shape.

If you decide to have knee replacement surgery, you should know that every surgery, no matter how major or minor, can pose the risk for complications.

Common Knee Replacement Surgery Complications

Although serious complications are rare, it’s important to be informed about the issues that could potentially arise following knee surgery. Knee replacement surgery complications are usually fairly minor and can be treated successfully when dealt with immediately.

The risk for complications can increase depending on your age and overall health, as well as how well you’re following your rehabilitation program. A few common complications following knee surgery include:

Infections. While the number of people who experience infections following knee replacement surgery is quite low (only 1.8%), there is still a slight risk of infection. In fact, the surgical team takes several preventative measures to reduce the risk for any infection while knee joint is exposed. Hospitals also utilize special air filters in operating rooms to reduce the amount of dust particles in the air.

Blood clots. Changes in the way blood flows and its ability to clot following surgery can sometimes result in blood clots forming in the deep veins in the leg. This is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and it usually occurs within two weeks of the surgery. Preventative measures to reduce the risk for DVT include taking blood thinning medications following surgery, as well as employing techniques such as exercising, elevating the leg or wearing support stockings.

Stiffness or loss of motion. Some people may experience increased or continuing stiffness following knee surgery, usually as a result of the formation of scar tissue or swelling. Physical therapy usually alleviates stiffness and improves range of motion, although severe cases may require a follow up procedure to further break up scar tissue and adjust the prosthesis.

Nerve or artery damage. While the nerves and tissues are healing, some people may experience numbness for a period of time. This usually disappears throughout the recovery process. There’s also a slight risk that arteries can get damaged during surgery, due to the fact that they are located directly behind the knee.

Allergy to metal components. Prior to surgery, it is important to determine whether you or someone you love is allergic to metal such as titanium or cobalt-chromium based alloy used in the knee implant to avoid an allergic reaction. If you’re unsure of any allergies, discuss the topic with your surgeon; or, if you are aware of your allergy, it’s important to inform the surgeon before your procedure.

Dedicate Your Time to Therapy after Surgery

Emphasis on therapy after surgery is just as important as the operation itself. Though you are anxious to return to home, the newly replaced joint needs professional attention to ensure adhesions, or tissue do not form and attach to the wrong place. If tissue does form in the wrong place, it will ultimately limit your range of motion or flexibility and will be painful to work through and release.  You will also benefit from the encouragement of professionals that will help you move in a safe manner, limit your pain and ensure the best outcome without limitations in your abilities to move freely and enjoy life.

Throughout your knee replacement recovery time, it’s important to not overdo it and stay on top of your recommended rehabilitation program. Avoid putting unnecessary stress on your knee, and monitor your form when you’re lifting, bending, kneeling and sitting. How quickly you recover will depend on factors such as your age, physical condition and your overall strength. Most people can start moving soon after surgery, and within three to four months are generally pain-free and enjoying all the activities they previously enjoyed.

For post operation rehabilitation, consider Moving Forward Rehabilitation at an American Senior Communities location near you. Contact the ASC Referral Line at 888-996-8272 or for additional information.


5 Ways Assisted Living Improves Quality of Life

assisted living communities improve quality of life for residentsAlthough some seniors may associate the thought of moving to an assisted living community with the loss of their independence, many residents report the exact opposite after making the transition. Living alone in the home can present a wide variety of challenges to seniors as their health begins to decline. In fact, some daily activities can even become downright dangerous.

Assisted living communities offer 24-hour care and amenities for those who need some assistance with activities of daily living, but do not yet require the medical care a skilled nursing home provides. This means that while privacy and independence are always encouraged, both residents and their families have peace of mind that day or night, help is available if it becomes necessary.

Assisted Living Services Promote Independence

While change can be a challenge at any age, seniors in assisted living communities generally adjust to their new lifestyles after a short period of time. Then, they begin to reap the benefits of all the amazing assisted living services and amenities that make their lives worry-free.

Enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle. When you move into an assisted living apartment, you’ll receive help with some of those housekeeping tasks that may have become difficult, like cleaning the bathroom or doing laundry. In fact, the staff will even go as far as changing lightbulbs for residents, so there’s no worry about the dangers associated with climbing a ladder.

Stay safe and comfortable. Modifying your current home so you can move about safely and easily after mobility has become limited can be an expensive endeavor. However, assisted living communities are designed with seniors’ unique needs in mind, with wider doorways and hallways for better accessibility. Plus, if an accident such as a fall were to occur, help would arrive in just minutes.

Engage with others on a regular basis. Assisted living communities recognize the importance social interactions have on your overall health, so daily and weekly activities are always offered. Continue building those important relationships and find new friendships with those who share similar interests.

Age and live healthier. Residents enjoy three nutritious meals each day. Plus, meals can be customized to individual dietary needs to ensure optimal health. Stay physically fit by taking part in senior exercise programs and classes taught by staff who specialize in senior health.

Have all your healthcare needs attended to. Finally, one of the most important benefits of moving to an assisted living community is simply knowing that should your health needs change, the level of care you receive will adjust, too. You’ll receive assistance with medication management, plus help with activities like bathing, dressing or eating as needed.

Staying independent as you age means sometimes accepting a helping hand. At an assisted living community, you’ll receive the proper care you need and so much more!

American Senior Communities offers comfortable assisted living apartments with a variety of amenities throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.

St. Patrick’s Day in Indianapolis

st. patrick's day in indianapolisIt’s time to don your green attire and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Whether you’re of Irish descent or are just Irish at heart, it’s time to enjoy some parades, music, festivities and of course, traditional Irish food and beverages!

The Irish population in Indianapolis started growing in the 1840s, as many immigrants began moving westward from the East Coast for employment opportunities, especially with the railroads. By the 1900s, the Irish made up 5% of the total population of Indianapolis. While the city hosts an annual Irish fest in September to celebrate Irish heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is also a major Irish event in the city!

St. Patrick’s Day Events in Indianapolis

If you’re looking for ways to paint the town green, there’s no shortage of options this St. Patrick’s Day in Indianapolis. The city is getting ready for a weekend full of events and activities celebrating all things Irish!

Here are a few ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Indianapolis this year:

The Greening of the Canal

On Thursday, March 16 at 5 p.m., the Hoosier Lottery helps prepare Indianapolis for St. Patrick’s Day by turning the Downtown canal green! This has been a tradition for 21 years now, and takes place at Ohio and West streets. This is a must-see St. Patrick’s Day event for both long-time Hoosiers and those new to the city.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Block Party

Get to Vermont Street by 10 a.m. to kick off your St. Patrick’s Day with free coffee and donuts, plus music from Eunan McIntyre. Then, at 11:30 a.m., the 37th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins marching down Pennsylvania Street with 90 units of floats, balloons, marching bands, pipe/drums, Irish dancers, mascots and so much more! Hang out after the parade for the Block Party and the crowning of the 2017 Irish Citizen of the Year, Mary Coffey.

IFD St. Patrick’s Day Party

Following the Indianapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Union Local 416, located at 748 Massachusetts Avenue, will host a free party, open to the public. The event kicks off with a memorial service to honor fallen firefighters of the 1890 Bowen-Merrill fire, and then guests will enjoy festivities and bagpipers throughout the day.

20th Annual Indianapolis Downtown Irish Fest

Enjoy live music all day and into the night at The Rathskeller, located at 401 E. Michigan Street. The venue will feature Irish dancers and authentic Irish food. There’s no cover charge for this event.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from American Senior Communities! Have a safe, fun day!

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior healthcare services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.


How Seniors Are Using Technology to Stay Connected

seniors and technologyWith technology advancing so quickly in the past few years, sometimes it can be difficult for older adults to feel like they’re keeping up with the pace. However, a recent study from Pew Research Center suggests that more and more adults over the age of 65 are using technology to stay connected with each passing day. In fact, 60 percent of seniors go online on a regular basis, and almost 80 percent of these seniors now have cell phones.

Although older adults have historically been slower to adopt and adapt to new technology, Pew research also reveals that the 71 percent of seniors who are spending time online are doing so daily, and 34 percent of those online are using social media. In fact, the internet has been an important element in reducing feelings of loneliness, social isolation and depression.

Seniors and Technology: Staying Connected and Engaged in Life

Today, computers, tablets and cell phones for seniors make it easier than ever for them to stay connected and engaged in the world around them. However, seniors do tend to utilize technology differently than the younger generation. They use their cell phones more for basic communication purposes, while younger adults use them more for multimedia purposes that relieve boredom. Also, many younger adults have started to abandon Facebook for other social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, but seniors are finding Facebook quite useful for staying connected to family and friends who do not live nearby. In fact, a study in 2014 revealed that 56 percent of older adults online are using Facebook, up from 45 percent the year before.

Online community groups offer an additional way for seniors to stay connected to those who share similar interests or health conditions. These groups range in topics from entertainment to discuss favorite books, movies or television shows, hobby and crafting groups, to health-related groups where seniors can share their experiences and challenges with common issues affecting their daily lives.

Additionally, seniors are also turning to the internet more often to get news. Of course, many still read the newspaper or watch the nightly news on TV, but online news offers a more immediate way to get timely coverage about what’s going on in the world.

Finally, technology for seniors also provides some fun! There are countless interactive games that can be played on computers, tablets and smartphones, and while some offer simply mindless ways to pass some time, others actually provide an interactive way to improve cognition and overall brain health. As an added bonus, many of these games can be played with others online, allowing for some friendly competition and social engagement. Check out the AARP’s website for some great games that involve critical thinking and strategy skills that can boost memory.

The stereotypes about seniors and technology, in regards to them being “afraid” of it or too stubborn to give it a try, are slowly starting to fade. Many senior living communities and assisted living communities utilize technology in a variety of ways. They also sometimes offer classes and workshops to residents to help them realize all the ways technology can help them stay connected to those both near and far.

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior healthcare services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.

National Nutrition Month® 2017

national nutrition month 2017Every March, National Nutrition Month® is celebrated by Americans across the country who are dedicated to making healthier food choices. The campaign was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics back in 1973 as a week-long event, expanding into a month-long campaign in 1980 as the topic of nutrition grew in popularity.

The theme of National Nutrition Month® in 2017 is Put Your Best Fork Forward, which serves as a reminder that we all hold the tools in our path to proper nutrition. Drastic changes all at once are not necessary; even taking small steps to change eating habits throughout the month of March will improve health over time.

The Importance of Good Nutrition for Seniors

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds us that eating right doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated, and for seniors, proper nutrition is even more vital. Although aging does bring certain changes to seniors’ metabolisms, this age group needs the proper nutrients possibly more than their younger counterparts to stay healthy and out of the hospital. Plus, proper nutrition for seniors helps reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Additional benefits of a healthy diet for seniors include the fact that nutritious foods help keep all systems of the body functioning as they should, making it easier to maintain an ideal weight, build stronger bones and teeth, enjoy less issues with digestion, and even improved cognitive function.

National Nutrition Month® Activities to Celebrate Healthy Eating Habits

Making small steps to incorporate nutritious foods and beverages is the right way to start improving nutrition habits. For instance, start by introducing more fruit, vegetables and whole grains into your diet while eliminating sugary beverages like sodas. Food choices should be nutrient-rich to make those calories you’re consuming count! In other words, choose foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients to keep you feeling better overall, while also managing your weight and keeping you active.

For seniors, certain nutrients become even more essential. For example, older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health, so think about adding foods like vitamin D-fortified milk, yogurt, leafy green vegetables, or even fortified cereals or fruit juices. Most people over the age of 50 also do not get enough vitamin B12 in their diet, so incorporate more lean meats, seafood, or ask your doctor if you need a B12 supplement.

Potassium and fiber are also crucial nutrients for seniors. Higher levels of potassium can help reduce the risk for high blood pressure – just make sure you’re also reducing your salt intake. Fruits and veggies are good sources of potassium. Fiber not only helps you stay regular, but it also provides benefits like lowering the risk for heart disease and preventing type 2 diabetes. Whole grain breads, cereals, beans and certain fruits are all rich in fiber.

This March, start making some of these changes to your diet as a way to celebrate National Nutrition Month®. Really think about what’s on your fork before it goes into your mouth! Small steps can go a long way in improving your overall health and wellness.

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior healthcare services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.


The Best Ways to Prevent a Stroke

stroke prevention tipsAccording to the American Heart Association, almost 800,000 people every year suffer a stroke. In fact, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. While stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability, it’s also the leading preventable cause of disability.

What Causes a Stroke?

There are two types of stroke: ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic strokes account for around 87 percent of all cases, and they occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain becomes obstructed. These obstructions are usually due to the development of fatty deposits clogging the vessel walls, which is known as atherosclerosis.

The other 13 percent of strokes are known as hemorrhagic stroke, which results when a weakened vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain. The blood then accumulates, compressing the brain tissue.

Additionally, there are transient ischemic strokes (TIA), which are known as “mini-strokes” caused by a temporary blockage. This type of stroke does not cause brain damage, but it may induce stroke-like symptoms lasting several minutes up to a few hours.

Stroke Prevention Tips

While some of the risk factors for stroke include age, gender and family history, lifestyle and habits also play a main role in an increased risk for stroke. As up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, managing chronic conditions and living a healthy lifestyle are key in reducing the risk.

Managing Chronic Health Conditions

One of the first tips to prevent a stroke is to simply effectively control any health conditions you have already, including:

  • Managing high blood pressure by getting it checked regularly.
  • Controlling type 2 diabetes by managing blood sugar levels.
  • Getting proper medical treatment for heart conditions like coronary artery disease atrial fibrillation.
  • Treating circulation problems like atherosclerosis with proper medications or surgery.
  • Reducing high cholesterol levels that cause blockage in the arteries.

Changing Lifestyle Habits

The second controllable factor in stroke prevention is to make healthy lifestyle choices. These lifestyle factors can also have a positive effect on the medical conditions mentioned above, and include the following:

  • Quitting smoking and drink in moderation. Smokers are at a higher risk for stroke, and alcohol can raise blood pressure.
  • Staying physically active. Exercise helps people maintain a healthy weight and lower blood pressure, and a recent study shows that those who engage in regular physical activity five or more times each week have a reduced risk for stroke.
  • Eating a nutritious diet. Healthy eating habits offer a variety of benefits like reducing the risk of many chronic diseases, also assist in weight loss and maintaining an ideal weight.

It’s also important to be able to recognize the signs of stroke so medical treatment can be given right away. Stroke symptoms can come on suddenly and without warning, and a person doesn’t have to be exhibiting all the signs to be having a stroke.

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior healthcare services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.

The Latest from the National Institutes of Health on Diabetes

diabetes researchOver the past 60 years or so, we’ve learned a lot about type 2 diabetes. In 1952, the first federal research grants were funded by the American Diabetes Association, and just a few years later the first oral medications to treat the condition were made available to the public. Then in 1970, the first glucose meter was developed by the Ames Company, making checking blood sugar levels easier for diabetes sufferers.

Since then, more research has been conducted continually, helping us learn more about this disease and the risk factors involved, as well as prevention and management tips. However, despite the strides in research that have been made, as of 2011, type 2 diabetes still affects more than 29 million people and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. This is why these studies continue to be so important in the years ahead.

Recent Research Surrounding Type 2 Diabetes

Today, monitoring type 2 diabetes can be done through blood sugar tests done conveniently at home. As more studies continue to be done surrounding the condition, new and more effective treatments, as well as better prevention methods, will emerge.

In late 2016, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the development of a new task force, established to “coordinate and accelerate progress in nutrition research across the NIH and guide the development for the first NIH-wide strategic plan for nutrition research for the next 10 years.” Because nutrition is a major component in managing diabetes, this research will provide more insight into controlling the condition. The task force will be led by Griffin P. Rodgers, the director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the branch of the NIH that conducts research on diabetes and other related conditions.

In the NIDDK’s 2017 Recent Advances and Emerging Opportunities report, issued annually since 2001, more recent diabetes research has been compiled regarding insulin and beta cells, a type of cell found in the pancreas that make up around 65-80 percent of the cells in the islets. What was discovered is that the human pancreas has four separate subtypes of beta cells, and that the islets from people with type 2 diabetes have abnormal percentages of the different subtypes. Researchers then examined how these newly discovered subtypes functioned, and they found that insulin secretion in response to glucose did differ among them. This discovery could ultimately lead to new treatment based on the subtype differences quickly emerging.

The report also discusses the role obesity plays in type 2 diabetes. It was found that obesity causes an inflammatory response that drastically affects metabolic health. As the body tries to combat obesity by triggering inflammation, this can lead to a shift in the metabolic “set point” that maintains weight and blood glucose at heightened levels, which can ultimately result in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

In addition to diabetes research from the NIDDK and the NIH, in 2016 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced their Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, which would encourage both employers and insurers to institute diabetes prevention strategies with the goal of providing community-based programming and intervention that keeps people as healthy as possible by preventing the onset of diabetes.

American Senior Communities offers a variety of senior healthcare services throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.


Can You Reduce Your Risk for Dementia?

tips for preventing dementiaWhile there’s currently no cure for dementia, more recently researchers have been focusing on the prevention of the disease over the treatment of it. Certain risk factors like age and family history cannot be controlled, of course, but studies are showing promising results in regards to making certain lifestyle changes and preventing dementia. In fact, some of these studies have proven that a combination of small adjustments to your daily life can not only slow down the progression of the disease, but also reverse some of the cognitive decline that has already occurred.

Prevention Strategies to Reduce Your Risk and Fight Dementia

Research for a cure for dementia continues, but in the meantime, it’s important to take certain steps in preventing and fighting the onset of cognitive decline. Studies have shown that certain healthy habits have been effective in preventing and delaying some of the symptoms of dementia. As an added bonus, these healthy habits not only reduce the risk of cognitive decline, but they are also effective in reducing the risk of other chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis and more.

Fight dementia by incorporating these healthy lifestyle habits into your daily routine:

Exercise regularly. Seniors benefit in many ways from regular exercise, but studies have also shown that physical activity may help protect the brain. Exercise gets the blood flowing, and increases the number of small blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. Plus, exercise also helps stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain connections and make new ones that are vital in healthy cognition.

Keep the brain stimulated. Intellectual stimulation is also associated with a lower risk for dementia, so setting aside time every day to keep your brain active is also key in preventing dementia. For instance, try an activity as simple as memorizing shopping lists. Or, keep crossword puzzles, brain teasers and strategy games part of your daily routine.

Eat a well-balanced diet. Meals consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and little added fat or sugar may help decrease the risk for cognitive decline – plus, a healthy diet also helps you maintain an ideal weight and reduce the risk for other chronic conditions. More recently, studies surrounding those who enjoy the Mediterranean diet, which includes eating lots of fish, legumes, olive oil, vegetables and the occasional glass of red wine, have reported less instances of dementia.

Avoid isolation. Humans thrive in social settings, and maintaining a strong support network and continuing to build relationships in later years may help protect against dementia. Find activities that keep you involved in the world around you, like volunteering, joining a club, taking a senior fitness class, or even just scheduling weekly lunch dates with family or friends.

Manage stress levels. High levels of stress negatively affect our bodies in a variety of ways, and it can also take a toll on brain health. Chronic stress leads to shrinkage in a key memory area of the brain, which hampers nerve growth. Try some deep breathing exercises and add time every day to indulge in activities you enjoy.

Get quality sleep. Adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep nightly, and many studies reveal a link between poor sleep and a higher level of beta-amyloids, the brain-clogging proteins that further interfere with sleep. Plus, deep sleep is necessary for the mind to recover, form memories, and flush out toxins. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, eliminating stimulating activities, caffeine and late afternoon naps to ensure you’re sleeping as soundly as possible.

Additionally, keep in mind that bad habits like smoking or excessive drinking that have negative effects on the body can have the same negative effects on the mind. Cut these habits out of your life as soon as possible. Plus, if you already have some chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, it’s important to properly manage and control them to prevent further complications from arising.

American Senior Communities offers person-centered dementia care at our Auguste’s Cottage and a variety of assisted living memory care apartments throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.


Weight Loss Tips for Seniors

weight loss tips for seniorsMaintaining a healthy weight is important at any age. Those who pack on extra pounds may find themselves more at risk for a variety of health problems, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even some cancers. For seniors, changes in the metabolism, decreases in strength, muscle mass and flexibility, lower energy levels, plus chronic aches and pains can make it easy to gain weight over time.

However, while it may be a little bit tougher and take slightly more time to see results, seniors can lose weight as effectively as their younger counterparts.

Senior Weight Loss Secrets

The same weight loss rules everyone should follow also apply to seniors: eating a healthy diet that consists of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy while limiting empty calories from sugars, plus burning more calories daily than you consume. However, if you’re over the age of 60, there are a few additional senior weight loss tips to keep in mind:

Adjust your attitude. Gaining weight does not have to be just another downside of aging. While adding daily physical activity may present some challenges at first, it’s still important for seniors to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Try joining a senior fitness program so you can work out with your peers. Or, talk some friends into forming a walking group or taking some classes together like yoga or water aerobics. Making it a group affair also provides the added benefit of social interaction that helps seniors avoid loneliness and depression.

Change your eating habits. If your eating habits haven’t changed since you were in your 20s or 30s, you definitely can expect your weight to increase. This is because seniors need less calories overall; for example, a woman in her 50s only needs around 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day, depending on her level of activity. Instead, if you’re looking to lose weight, make sure you’re bumping up the amount of protein you eat. Protein not only helps support muscle growth and repair, but also keeps you feeling fuller longer than carbs and fats would.

Improve your strength and flexibility. Muscle mass decreases as you age; by age 50, you have 20 percent less muscle than you did in your 20s. By adding strength training exercises, you can get some of that muscle mass back. But don’t forget to add in stretching exercises to your routine, too! Stretching keeps you flexible and limber, and reduces your risk of injury in any workout.

Stay hydrated. Studies show that seniors are less likely to recognize when they are thirsty. Or, you may drink less than you need to avoid running to the bathroom all the time. However, your body can easily mistake thirst for hunger, which means you may turn to snacking on foods with little nutritional value. Try to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day; you can also get more water from foods like cucumbers or tomatoes that are naturally rich in water.

Patience is a virtue. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t losing weight right off the bat. Remember, you may not be able to work out for as long and as hard as you used to, and it may take time to increase the weights in your strength training exercises. However, seniors are just as able to reach a healthy weight as someone 40 years younger. Plus, try to focus more on losing fat, not necessarily weight, as muscle weighs more than fat! Invest in a body fat measurement tool, or take manual measurements of your waist, arms and hips as your progress to your goal.

American Senior Communities’ New Energy Wellness program is a unique fitness program for seniors designed to promote an active lifestyle. Contact us today to request more information.


Rehabilitation for Back Pain Relief

rehab for back painWhile almost everyone experiences back pain at some point throughout their lives, for seniors, it’s a far more common occurrence. Back pain in seniors can be due to a variety of reasons, whether because they suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis or simply due to just normal wear and tear on the spine.

Aging itself is the number one reason for lower back pain in seniors. The vertebrae in the spine are protected by disks filled with a jelly-like substance that acts a shock absorber, but over time, these disks begin to wear away, shrinking down until the vertebrae rub together, causing pain and stiffness many seniors suffer from daily.

There’s also a common condition called spinal stenosis, where the area around the spinal cord begins to narrow, putting more pressure on the cord and spinal nerves. Osteoporosis can also make the vertebrae more vulnerable to fractures that cause chronic pain.

Rehab for Back Pain: Exercises for a Strong, Limber Back

When seniors suffer from chronic back pain, it’s important to visit the doctor to make sure something more serious isn’t going on. Plus, there are certainly things they can do to help provide some back pain relief, like taking over-the-counter medications or alternating cold and warm compresses.

However, experts suggest one of the best ways to relieve back pain is to simply get up and move. While rest is of course necessary, taking it too easy can have adverse effects. Exercise and rehab for back pain help strengthen muscles in your back, stomach and legs, plus they help support the spine. When done in a controlled and gradual manner, exercise keeps the muscles, ligaments and joints in the back healthy and fluid, as well as reduce the recurrence of pain.

When seniors suffer from lower back pain, they’re often referred to a rehabilitation program that provides physical therapy, especially before considering additional options for relief like surgery. The goals of the physical therapy exercises are to decrease pain and improve overall function, plus provide the senior with a way to prevent problems in the future.

Here are some of the best lower back rehab exercises that can provide some pain relief:

Abdominal crunches. Partial crunches not only help strengthen stomach muscles, but they also strengthen the muscles of the back. However, avoid doing full sit-ups as they can put too much pressure on the discs in the spine.

Stretching exercises. Stretching exercises help loosen the joints by activating the fluids inside of them, helping to reduce damage caused by friction. Plus, stretching lengthens the muscles, keeping them long and less susceptible to injury. Doing hamstring stretches can be particularly beneficial in back pain relief.

Water aerobics or swimming. Water provides a way to do a “no impact” workout, since the buoyancy of the water counteracts gravity. Plus, aerobic activity strengthens the lungs, heart and blood vessel to help keep seniors in better shape physically. Just be careful of any movement in the water that could twist the body.

Walking. For seniors with chronic lower back pain, walking just three times a week for 20 minutes at a time helps strengthen both abdominal and back muscles to provide pain relief.

Core strengthening exercises. Improving core strength is vital for better stamina, stability, coordination and posture. Plus, a strong core helps support the spine and protects from future injury.

American Senior Communities offers quality rehabilitation for seniors in our Moving Forward Rehabilitation program throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.


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