New Blog Purpose and a Load!

The Purpose:

Astute readers will notice, the Tag Line for NPA Think Tank has changed. I decided to change this in order to truly reflect my purpose in writing. I hope you enjoy!

And…The Load: The BackTpack.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) sent a press release telling all about their endorsement of this oddly designed and named backpack. I went to the homepage to look into what sort of research this backpack went through to gain the endorsement of a professional organization such as the APTA. Obviously, not much. In fact, the designer even included a personally conducted survey that is not published anywhere but her own site in the “research” list.

I’m sure the design is fine, and indeed seems to make sense biomechanically. However, at a time when the Physical Therapy profession is striving for autonomy and basing the argument largely on our ability to practice based off solid scientific evidence, an endorsement by the APTA of this product seems out of place. I do think children should not be required to carry ANY heavy loads, especially home-work.

Finally, I pretty sure no kid I know would wear this.

Labels: , ,

More Birds…

Since bird conservation has unintentionally become the story of the day, here is a good one.

I love the underdogs. Most interesting about this article is than in less than 1 week, hatchling #15 was able to find safety in a flock of similarly behaved birds. Quite intelligent and very different from the human tendency to hide and become recluse when on your own. Which brings me to tomorrow’s topic…

Labels: ,

Be Nice to Vultures.

A group of researchers anounced today that a rare vulture species, the Slender-Billed Vulture, (which is a particularly pleasant name for a vulture) has been found in Cambodia. This sounds cool, but a little research will lead you to find out that as few as 10 years ago, this species was not rare at all. In the past 10 years 95% of scavenger raptors have disappeared from Indochina. Yikes!
The drug Diclofenac, part of the NSAID family, is often given to cattle in India and Pakistan to treat lameness or fever. This drug is not used in the United States, or Cambodia…thankfully. Diclofenac can be found in the dead bodies of cattle…by the vultures, and it kills them.
A good overview of the situation can be found here.
Those interested can visit the hapily-acronymed, GRIN, or Global Raptor Information Database.
Incidentally, this area in Cambodia is very remote and home to many other globally endangered species, including the often overlooked Dhole. Another Dhole page.
Did you know the Dhole was once the focus of an X-files episode?


Mirror Post from Metro Spirit Blog: Caring for your back…

Of course back pain is a complex issue and there really is no golden egg of knowledge that can cure everyone’s back pain. But, since most of us have it at some point in our lives, it seems a good subject to get rolling on.

Fact: Most Back Pain gets better on its own. Really.

Fact: Almost 20% of spinal fusion surgeries, a rather common procedure aimed at reducing back pain, need to be re-done. This is 1 in 5. This is according to a study recently released in a leading peer reviewed journal, Spine. Read the abstract here.

The recommendation of the authors of this study, which looked retrospectively at more than 24,000 cases is that surgeons must tell their patients the high likelihood of needing a second surgery in the next 11 years (random time frame, I know). It seems spinal surgery may not be the fix it is made out to be.

So, the one thing you need to know is this: Back pain often gets better on its own and aggressive interventions like surgery are not always the solution. Explore less invasive treatments for your back pain and learn what your options are.

Part II: Less Invasive treatments for low back pain…coming soon!

Labels: , , ,


A recent survey found that:
“Men drink more per day than women, while people in the Northeast consume more than those in any other region.

One in five would swap lunch for coffee.

Twelve percent would give up three hours of sleep and one in 10 would skip brushing their teeth.”

What would you give up for coffee?

I would glady never eat breakfast again to preserve my coffee, then again, I am a male hailing from the Northeast…what do you expect?

Labels: ,

Value-Based Insurance Design

This, from the Evidence in Motion Blog…really nerdy article , but fun for me…

I agree, this would never go over, but the idea is great!

Value-Based Insurance Design:
” I read with great interest an article [2 week access] in Health Affairs written in part by Michael Chernew professor of health care policy at Harvard.

One feature of this design has co-pays varying inversely to the ‘benefit’ of the service. This would encourage those to seek out services whose benefit exceeds the cost of the service while discourag…”

Labels: ,

"The benefits are overstated, overpromoted, and giving people false expectations"

Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement surgery. Those were the comments on such from Dr. Kristaps J. Keggi, an orthopaedic surgeon at Yale University.

Hip Replacement is my topic today as it’s been on my mind due to a patient I saw this morning for an evaluation. This man’s x-rays told the story of a severely degenerated hip, “with total loss of joint space.” This man needed a hip replacement. Here’s the catch: neither he nor his orthopaedic surgeon wanted to give him one. He was too active. Too active can be interpreted two ways: either he was still functioning at such a high level the insurance company would not reimburse it or, he was still to active so he obviously must not be in that much pain.

There is a segment of the population that will seek out surgery as an almost instant gratification, but that is another blog entry, and this man was surely not in this category. I was impressed by his tenacity in caring for his hip, his toughness in dealing with what must surely be a painful condition, and his pride for doing both of these things with class. Obviously, I was very motivated to help him. I was able to modify his exercise routine, prescribe some joint mobilizations, and work on improving adjacent joint actions. These things not only offered him some immediate relief, but I’m guessing will help him for some time until he is ready to have his replacement.

I like to keep this blog somewhat based on headlines I find and give my input on such. This article, in the New York Times discusses my headline about Minimally Invasive Joint Replacements. In short, it reads: make sure you need a joint replacement, make sure you have a joint replacement specialist who performs plenty of operations each year, and do not place so much emphasis on minimally invasive that you end up with minimally effective. Which ever way you look at it, it’s a major operation and results are the most important. As with most operations, good outcomes are a result of matching patients with the right procedure. So if your hips are hurting, take your time, maximize your strength, function and flexibility before hand, and talk to your health care team. Then come see me for therapy afterwards!