Monthly Archives: January 2016

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): More Than Just the Winter Blues–How PT Can Help

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While it is common to experience the “winter blues” as the days get shorter and temperatures get colder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of clinical depression that interferes with an individual’s ability to regulate mood and function during the winter months. SAD is due, at least in part, to changes in levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter. As we spend less time in the sun during the winter months, levels of serotonin in the body can decrease. Decreased sunlight and longer periods of darkness can also affect sleep by throwing off your body’s internal clock and decreasing levels of melatonin, a sleep-regulating neurotransmitter.

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SAD is diagnosed more commonly in women and individuals who live far from the equator. It is also more common in individuals with a personal or family history of depression or bipolar

disorder. A qualified psychiatric specialist must diagnose SAD. Symptoms of SAD include the following:

  • Marked decrease in energy
  • Loss of interest in activities that previously brought you pleasure
  • Excessive sleep
  • Weight gain and craving for high-carbohydrate foods
  • Depressed mood
  • Heightened feelings of emotional sensitivity, interpersonal difficulties, and irritability

 

If you experience several of these symptoms simultaneously in the wintertime, consult a psychiatrist or other mental health professional to determine whether you are suffering from SAD.

 

In addition to proper psychiatric care, physical therapy can have a beneficial impact for individuals with SAD. Exercise has been shown to have tremendous positive effects for individuals with SAD and other mood disorders. Exercise increases mood- and sleep- promoting neurotransmitters and can help to regulate chemical imbalances that result from changes in circadian rhythms and light exposure.

 

A physical therapist can assist in developing an exercise program that will improve an individual’s neurotransmitter production, thus alleviating symptoms of SAD. Physical therapy should always be used in conjunction with psychiatric care for individuals with SAD or any other mental health condition.

 

If you have been diagnosed with SAD and would like to learn more about how exercise and physical therapy can improve your condition, request an appointment with Freehold Physical Therapy today.


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Improve Treatment Outcomes with Massage Therapy

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Massage is often viewed as a luxury treatment, an opportunity to relax and unwind after a long day or while at the spa on vacation. However, massage therapy is an effective intervention in the prevention and treatment of a variety of conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. More and more, massage is being incorporated as a part of standard treatment protocols as an adjunct to physical therapy and other interventions.

 

Some of the health benefits of massage therapy include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Relief from pain and muscle tension
  • Positive feelings of comfort and connection
  • Improved energy

 

Typically, your massage therapist will take your medical history and get an understanding of your current health and what you are hoping to get from the massage. Based on this information, he or she will determine which massage technique is most appropriate for you. The following are common massage therapy treatments.15482404_l

 

  • Swedish Massage. This gentle form of massage involves long strokes and kneading and commonly employs oils and lotions as a part of the treatment. Swedish Massage is recommended for relieving muscle tension, improving range of motion, alleviating stress, and stimulating energy.
  • Deep Tissue Massage. Recommended in the treatment of muscle damage from injuries, deep tissue massage uses deeper, more forceful strokes, which have a greater impact on the muscles and connective tissues.
  • Trigger Point Massage. When cramps develop in localized sections of muscle fibers due to strain on the muscle, injury, or prolonged muscle contractions, trigger point massage therapy can be used to target and relieve these sources of discomfort.

 

Massage therapy is also commonly used before or after physical therapy in order to loosen the muscles and prepare the body for treatment. To learn more about the role of massage therapy in your treatment program, request an appointment with Freehold Physical Therapy today.


Sprains, strains, fractures, oh my! Pain and impaired mobility are serious business, but there is hope. At Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold, our professional therapists collaborate with physicians to provide care that alleviates pain, restores function, and gets you back in the game faster. We encourage you to learn more about our team — and what we do best.