I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hazards of Inactivity

It is still common thought that resting when one is ill or infirm is the best way to recover.  However, research has shown that activity is a better way to recover because people will be at less risk for comorbidities and will return to their prior level of function more quickly since they do not become so debilitated.

Here are some risks of prolonged inactivity:
  • emotional and behavioral changes1
  • decreased intellectual capacity2
  • altered sensation, vision, pain perception, and coordination3
  • decreased bowel action, leading to constipation and diarrhea from fecal impaction4
  • decreased ability to cough, leading to a greater risk of pneumonia5
  • orthostatic hypotension6
  • venous stasis7
  • deep vein thrombosis7
  • muscle atrophy8
  • osteopenia9
  • kidney stones10
  • contractures11
  • pressure ulcers (AKA bed sores)12
While someone who is recovering from illness or surgery may not feel like getting up due to fatigue, pain, or general deconditioning, it is best to get them up, change their position, and get moving!  If they are unable to do so on their own, obtain a prescription for Physical Therapy so that the therapist can help them improve their level of physical functioning and provide education to family members and caregivers.

  1.  Carek PJ, Laibstain SE, Carek SM (2011). Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Int J Psychiatry Med, 41(1): 15-28.
  2. Ratey JJ, Loehr JE (2011). The positive impact of physical activity on cognition during adulthood: a review of underlying mechanisms, evidence and recommendations. Rev Neurosci, 22(2): 171-85.
  3. Positioning in a Wheelchair: A Guide for Professional Caregivers of the Disabled Adult by Mayall and Desharnais. Slack, 1990.
  4. Simren M (2002). Physical activity and the gastrointestinal tract. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 14(10): 1053-6.
  5. Arora S, Flower O, Murray NP, Lee BB (2012). Respiratory care of patients with cervical spinal cord injury: a review. Crit Care Resusc, 14(1): 64-73. 
  6.  Convertino VA (1992). Effects of exercise and inactivity on intravascular volume and cardiovascular control mechanisms. Acta Astronaut, 27: 123-9.
  7.  Broderick BJ, O’Briain DE, Breen PP, Kearns SR, Olaighin G (2010). A pilot evaluation of a neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) based methodology for the prevention of venous stasis during bed rest. Med Eng Phys, 32(4): 349-55.
  8.  Coker RH, Wolfe RR (2012). Bedrest and sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 15(1): 7-11.
  9.  Krolner B, Toft B (1983). Vertebral bone loss: an unheeded side effect of therapeutic bed rest. Clin Sci (Lond), 64(5): 537-40.
  10.  Hwang TI, Hill K, Schneider V, Pak CY (1988). Effect of prolonged bedrest on the propensity for renal stone formation.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 66(1): 109-12.
  11.  Brower RG (2009). Consequences of bed rest. Crit Care Med, 37(10 Suppl): S422-8.
  12. McKinley WO, Jackson AB, Cardenas DD, DeVivo MJ (1999). Long-term medical complications after traumatic spinal cord injury: a regional model systems analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 80(11): 1402-10.

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