Relay For Life: Huntsville Walks To End Cancer

Relay for Life

Relay for Life is an annual event celebrated not just in Huntsville, AL but in cities around the world. What began as one man’s quest to make a difference has grown to the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world.

Relay for LifeDr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Washington, wanted to help raise funds for his local American Cancer Society. He decided he would raise money by doing something he enjoyed—running. In May 1985, Dr. Klatt circled the track at Baker Stadium for 24 hours for a total of more than 83 miles. Friends and family donated $25 to run or walk certain lengths with him and that year, he raised $27,000. Inspired by his success, Dr. Gordy worked to develop Relay for Life into a spark that lit the world on fire.

Relay for LifeAs Relay for Life evolved, the event became structured around teams. Anyone can form a team and teams can be as large as one or 100+. Teams set fundraising goals and raise funds throughout the year. Fundraising ideas range from traditional to over-the-top creative.

By 2012, Dr. Klatt was still actively involved in Relay for Life, but that year, for the first Huntsville Relay for Lifetime, he participated as a cancer survivor. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier that year. He battled cancer until August 2014 when he succumb at age 71 to heart failure.

Today, Relay for Life is observed by more than 4 million people in over 20 countries. It continues as an annual overnight event that applauds survivors, recognizes caregivers and honors those who have lost the battle with cancer.

Relay is held in a variety of venues including stadiums, town squares, conference halls Huntsville Relay for Lifeor other areas laps can be walked. One year, Huntsville had it under the rocket at the Space and Rocket Center! It is a festive atmosphere with music, food, laughter and tears.

Teams create team t-shirts and decorate tables and tents to surround the walking track. Survivors kick off the walk with the first Victory lap. Caregivers take a recognition lap and participants take laps in honor or memory of friends and family in the battle.

Huntsville Relay for LifeWhen night falls, the Luminaria Ceremony is performed. It is a beautiful and moving way to honor survivors and those who have lost the battle to cancer. Luminaria bags have the name of the honoree written on them and can be decorated to make the Luminaria unique and special or cut with stars, circles, or other shapes to enhance their glow when lit. The light inside each Luminaria represents a life, which shines with the Hope for a cancer-free world.

The American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives from cancer. 75% of their funds go to cancer research, patient support, detection and treatment, and prevention and education. And their efforts have been effective. There has been a 23% decline in cancer death rates since 1991. But they can’t do it alone. Won’t you help? Join a team Huntsville Relay for Lifetoday!

 

What is the Victory Summit? Parkinson’s Disease Education Extraordinaire!

Parkinson's Disease Education

Parkinson’s Disease Education

The Davis Phinney Foundation has partnered with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to present The Victory Summit® Parkinson’s education symposium.

What is the Victory Summit?

The Victory Summit is Parkinson’s Disease education extraordinaire! It features presentations from leading movement disorder neurologist and therapists around the country. Session have an educational focus and are designed to equip attendees with information to make knowledgeable decisions about their healthcare. Attendees are connected with local resources who understand the fight and are ready to partner with them.

The Victory Summit showcases educational events around the country. After Nashville, the Victory Summit moves to Durango, Colorado, then Toronto, Canada, and concludes it’s 2017 tour in Oaklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Who is Davis Phinney?

Davis Phinney is a former professional road bicycle racer whose career spanned two decades. Among other accomplishments, he won the Bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics and two stage victories in the Tour de France. He retired from professional cycling in 1993 and, after years of struggling with fatigue and mental fogginess, he was diagnosed, at age 40, with Young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2000.  In 2014 he established the Davis Phinney Foundation with a goal of improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease and promoting and funding research.

 

Parkinson’s Disease Education in Huntsville, AL

Parkinson's Disease EducationThe Huntsville Parkinson’s Disease Support Group charted a bus to attend the Victory Summit in Nashville.  Group member had the privilege of meeting members from the Vanderbilt Movement Disorder team and listening to updates from leaders in treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.

The group provides local support and Parkinson’s Disease education.  They meet on the second Sunday of each month at Willowbrook Baptist Church and invite speakers to present on various

Parkinson's Disease Educationtopics of interest related to living with Parkinson’s Disease.  In addition to meetings, the group gets together for voice and balance classes, monthly breakfast and special events.  Join them for facts, friends, support!

 

Speech Therapy Month at Therapy Achievements

Written by Jaime Richardson, Speech Therapist

May is Speech Therapy Month.  And Speech Therapy Month is a great month for a new beginning!  Do you feel fatigued?  Have muscle stiffness?  Difficulty swallowing?  Trouble getting your words out?  Or trouble putting things in order to complete daily tasks that typically are routine? If so, you are not alone. These things can happen if you have  Stroke, Brain Injury, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or other Neuromuscular conditions.

The good news is that these symptoms that can be treated. Many people living with these problems can gain more independence and enjoyment in everyday activities by attending Speech Therapy.  And Speech Therapy Month is a great month for giving it a try!

We may be the place just for you.  Our Speech Therapists at Therapy Achievements will give you an individualized evaluation.  Using the results from the evaluation, a treatment plan will be tailored to your needs.  The evaluation may include assessment of your muscle strength, flexibility and coordination for speech and swallowing and your ability to concentrate, pay attention to and remember information.

Please talk to your doctor about your symptoms and see if therapy is the right course for you. Therapy Achievements wants to be your advocate and help provide the plan of care specific to your needs at this time. Contact us for more information today!  May Speech Therapy Month be the beginning of something beautiful for you!

May is Speech Therapy Month

Jaime Richardson, Speech Therapist at Therapy Achievements

Jaime Richardson MS, ccc-SLP

Jaime Richardson joined Speech Therapy at Therapy Achievements in 2015.  She has a degree in Sociology with minor in Psychology from the University of North Alabama and Master’s in Speech Language Pathology from Alabama A and M University.  She specializes in swallowing disorders and  cognitive rehabilitation.  She works with people with Brain Injury, Memory Impairment, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.  She is certified in  VitalStim Myofascial Release, and the LSVT Program.  

Jaime loves to read, play the piano and enjoys composition with interests in sound and proper hearing mechanics for functional healthy daily living. She is a native of North Alabama and loves the outdoors!

Therapy Achievements is a Rehabilitation Center that provides Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy for Balance and Movement, Speech and Swallowing, Swelling from Lymphedema and Edema, Driving Rehabilitation and Functional Living Skills for visual and cognitive re-training.  We help people with Brain Injury, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Lymphedema, Head and Neck Cancer, Vertigo and Dizziness, and other disorders that interfere with mobility and function.  We offer VitalStim Technology, Saebo Technology, LSVT LOUD Treatment, LSVT BIG Treatment, and Neuro-Developmental Treatment.

 

Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy: Vocal and Swallow Rehabilitation

Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy: Vocal and Swallow Rehabilitation

 

Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy

Alexander McGuiggan had Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy

Three men.  Three different symptoms.  Alexander McGuiggan noticed a hoarse voice at Christmas and by March his voice had deteriorated to a whisper.

Stewart Farmer noticed difficulty breathing that suddenly progressed and he was constantly short of breath.

Alec Smith noticed a tickly throat and husky voice at the end of the day.  Two years later he had no voice, a bad cough, was breathless and produced huge amounts of phlegm and mucus.

Each of these men had different symptoms, yet each was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx.  And each of them underwent treatment that included a  laryngectomy, radiation therapy and speech therapy.  Fortunately, each had success with their treatments.  With the help of speech therapy after laryngectomy they were able to re-gain their ability to speak and swallow.

Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy

Stewart Farmer had Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy

 

Speech therapy after laryngectomy teaches people to breath in a new way.  It helps people re-gain olfactory function.  But most importantly, it is vital for learning to speak and swallow.  Speech therapy often starts before surgery or radiation therapy.  To understand treatment and therapy, it is first important to understand the mechanism of cancer of the larynx, then the components of therapy:

 

Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy

The Larynx

The Larynx:

The larynx is located at the upper end of the trachea.  It contains two bands of muscles called vocal cords.  Vocal cords prevent food and liquids from entering the airway, and are important for breathing, speaking and swallowing.

Cancer of the larynx:

Cancer of the larynx occurs when malignant cells enter the larynx.  It may be caused by excessive smoking, drinking, or exposure to HPV.  Often times, the cause of larynx cancer is unknown.

Medical Treatment:

Medical treatment of larynx cancer may include one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

Surgery:  Partial vs Total Laryngectomy

For people who require surgery, they will have one of two possible procedures:

  1.  Partial Laryngectomy:  this  involves removal of the part of the larynx harboring the tumor.
  2.  Total Laryngectomy:  this involves removal of the entire larynx and some adjacent tissues

If a total laryngectomy is required, it results in the following changes:

  • The trachea is re-directed and is no longer connected to the nose and the mouth
  • A permanent opening called a stoma is created at the base of the neck that cannot be reversed or closed
  • Air passes in and out of the lungs through the stoma

Laryngectomy Vs. Tracheostomy

Laryngectomy  and tracheostomy are two procedures that create an opening in the trachea with placement of a stoma.  Although they are similar in this way, they are different in the following ways:

Tracheostomy Laryngectomy
A hole is created in the trachea through an incision through the neck Complete removal of the larynx with re-direction of the trachea.
Mainly used to treat airway obstruction. Used to treat cancer of the larynx
Patient is still able to breathe through the nose and mouth Patient now breathes through a stoma
Speech occurs through a speaking valve. There is no change in the voice and it sounds normal. Speech occurs through TEP or electrolaryx. Speech is never “normal” again.
Changes are usually temporary Changes are permanent and not reversible.

Vocal Rehabilitation, Swallow Rehabilitation

Laryngectomy Airway

Pulmonary Changes after Laryngectomy:

Because the trachea is re-directed and is no longer connected to the nose and the mouth, patients who undergo laryngectomy can no longer cough mucous into their mouth or blow their nose.  Instead, they cough up mucous through the stoma.  Inhaled air no longer humidified by the nose and mouth.  Instead, air must be moistened by spraying the stoma filter with water.

Swallowing Changes after Laryngectomy:

With laryngectomy, the epiglottis and hyoid bone are removed and the esophagus is reconstructed.  Because of this, there is disruption in air pressure regulation, saliva production, and peristalsis during swallowing.  In addition, the sense of taste and smell are disrupted as air no longer passes through the nose.

Vocal Rehabilitation, Swallow Rehabilitation

Laryngectomy Stoma

Laryngectomy Care:

After a laryngectomy, the skin around the stoma needs to be cleaned twice a day to prevent odor, irritation and infection.  If the skin becomes irritated or red, it should be left uncovered and use of solvents should be avoided for two days.

The most important part of stoma care is to make sure no water or foreign objects enter the stoma.  People with laryngectomy must be very careful while bathing, showering or shaving.  They need to avoid cleaning the stoma with thin paper towels or tissues to prevent paper from entering the stoma. Instead, they should use a cloth towel.  In addition, they need to avoid spraying anything directly into the stoma.  Instead, they should spray the stoma cover with water 2-3 times per day to keep it hydrated.

Speech Therapy after Laryngectomy

Speech therapy after laryngectomy includes:

  • Swallow Rehabilitation – transitioning from a feeding tube to eating by mouth
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation – learning to protect the airway and breath in a new way
  • Olfactory Rehabilitation – using the Nasal Airway Induced Maneuver to maximize smell and taste
  • Vocal Rehabilitation – training in esophageal speech techniques and voice production devices

Swallow Rehabilitation:

Olfactory Rehabilitation: The Nasal Airway Induced Maneuver

Because air no longer passes through the nose, taste and smell are impaired after laryngectomy.  Fortunately, there is an exercise called the Nasal Airway Induced Maneuver that can help.  In one study, 46% of laryngectomy patients trained in this maneuver re-gained their sense of smell.   Also called “Closed Mouth Yawning”, it involves lowering the jaw, the floor of the mouth, the tongue, and soft palate with lips closed. This induces negative pressure in the oral cavity and oropharynx which generates airflow in the nasal cavity.

Vocal Rehabilitation:  3 types of speech

Because laryngectomy involves removal of the vocal cords, normal vocalization is not possible.  There are three types of alternative speech:

1.  Esophageal Speech

Technique:
  • Air is swallowed into cervical esophagus
  • The swallowed air is expelled out causing vibrations of the pharyngeal mucosa
  • These vibrations, along with articulations of the tongue cause speech to occur
Obstructions to Esophageal Speech:

Impediments to development of esophageal speech can include:

  • Cricopharyngeal spams (this may be treated with cricopharyngeal myotomy or Botox injections to enable development of esophageal speech)
  • Reflux esophagitis
  • Thinning of muscle wall in PE segment
  • Denervation of muscle in the PE segment
  • Poorly motivated patients
Advantages of Esophageal Speech:
  •  Hands are free
  • No further surgeries or equipment are required
Disadvantages of Esophageal Speech:
  •  Significant training is required and 40% of patients are not able to develop esophageal speech
  • Quality of voice is poor
  • Patient is only able to speak in shorts bursts and cannot speak continuously
  • Patients are not able to control loudness and pitch control
  • Frequency is 65 Hz which is significantly lower than normal male and female voices

2.  Electrolarynx Speech

Technique:
  • Battery operated vibrating device is held in the submandibular region
  • Muscle contracture and changes in facial muscle tension causes the rudiments of speech
  • Initial training to use the device begins before surgery
Vocal Rehabilitation

Electrolarynx for Voice Production

Advantages of Electrolarynx:
  • Easy to learn how to use
  • Allows immediate communication
  • Additional surgery is avoided
  • Can be used while training in other Vocal Rehabilitation techniques

 

Vocal Rehabilitation

Hands Free Electrolarynx

Disadvantages of Electrolarynx:

Starting at $600, cost could be an issue for some

Speech quality is mechanical

Difficulty to use on the phone

 3.  Tracheo-Esophageal Prosthesis (TEP) Speech

Technique:
  • A small hole is made in the rear of the stoma leading to the esophagus. Once this puncture heals, a prosthesis is fitted and inserted into the opening.
  • To speak, you cover the stoma with your thumb or finger and simply force air through the prosthesis into the esophagus. This air movement vibrates the walls of the esophagus and you can create sounds and words normally with your lips, teeth, and tongue, etc.
  • The prosthesis has a one-way valve in it to prevent swallowed food and liquids from entering your stoma. Additionally, your stoma can be covered with a special valve, called a Hands-Free that closes when you wish to speak, thus forcing air into the prosthesis.
  • TEP is considered the gold standard among various voice rehabilitation procedures.

TEP Can be indwelling or non-indwelling:

Indwelling Prosthesis Non-Indwelling Prosthesis
Can be left in place for 3-6 months Removed and cleaned every 2-3 days
Requires a specialist for placement Can be place by patient
Less maintenance Periodic maintenance
Advantages of TEP:
  • Can be performed after laryngectomy, radiation or chemo therapy, neck dissection
  • Fistula can be used for esophago-gastric feeding during immediate PO period
  • Easily reversible
  • Speech develops faster than Esophageal Speech
  • High success rate
  • Speech is intelligible and closely resembles laryngeal speech
Disadvantages of TEP:
  •  Unless using the Hands Free model, patients need to manually cover stoma during voicing
  • Patients must have good pulmonary reserve
  • Additional surgical procedure is needed to introduce it.
  • If not applied correctly, posterior esophageal wall could be punctured.

By working with a speech therapist trained in these alternative speech options, people who undergo laryngectomy can re-gain the type of speech and voicing that works best for them.

It is encouraging to know the number of laryngectomies decreased by 48% between 1997 and 2008, and the number of new cases of laryngeal cancer decreased 33% during the same time. For those who face laryngectomy, advances in technology and the availability of speech therapy after laryngectomy ensure they will be able to re-gain the best possible speech and swallow function for the best possible quality of life.

Jaime Richardson

Mandy Bell and Jaime Richardson are two of the speech therapists at Therapy Achievements who work

with Head and Neck cancer patients. They are certified in myofascial release and have advanced training in treatment of swallow dysfunction.

Mandy Bell

 

 

For more information on how Therapy Achievements can help with treatment of Head and Neck cancer or to set up an appointment, call 25-509-4398.

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Brain Injury Awareness

March is Brain Injury Awareness month and to increase brain injury awareness in Huntsville, the Alabama Head Injury Foundation sponsored a float in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  Members from local brain and spinal cord injury support groups braved the cold to raise awareness of brain injury and steps to prevent it.

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other organizations focused on raising brain injury awareness include the Brain Injury Association  and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.  Their message is simple:

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Safe:

Think Ahead and learn the common causes of TBI, so you can take steps to prevent TBI during everyday activities, at work, while playing sports, or during a deployment.  Safety measures you should take before getting on a bicycle or motorcycle, driving and playing sports include:

Wear a helmet (and make sure your children wear helmets) when you:

  • Ride a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter or all-terrain vehicle
  • Participate in a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey or boxing
  • Use in-line skates or a skateboard
  • Play baseball, softball, football or lacrosse
  • Ride a horse
  • Ski or snowboard
  • Zip line, rock climb, bungee jump, hang glide or participate in any other activity that involves heightsWear a seat belt… of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications.
Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wear a seat belt…

Every time you drive or ride in a car, truck or other motor vehicle, wear a seat belt. Small children should always sit in the back seats of cars, away from airbags, and use safety seats or booster seats appropriate for their size and weight (according to state laws).

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never drive while vision-impaired or under the influence…

of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications.

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prevent falls by:

  • Clearing tripping hazards such as loose rugs, uneven flooring or walkway clutter
  • Using nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors, and installing grab bars next to the toilet, tub and shower
  • Installing handrails on both sides of stairways
  • Improving lighting throughout the home
  • Exercising according to your doctor’s instructions to improve lower-body strength and balance
Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make living areas safer for children by: 

  • Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Installing window guards at open windows
  • Making sure that your child’s playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand
  • Supervising children carefully, especially when they’re near water
Brain Injury Awareness
Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know the signs:

Concussion, also known as mild Traumatic Brain Injury, often goes undetected or undiagnosed initially because the symptoms can be subtle and varied. Think Ahead to recognize mild TBI by learning common signs and symptoms.

  • Headaches or neck pain that do not go away;
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions;
  • Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading;
  • Getting lost or easily confused;
  • Feeling tired all of the time, having no energy or motivation;
  • Mood changes (feeling sad or angry for no reason);
  • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping a lot more or having a hard time sleeping);
  • Light-headedness, dizziness, or loss of balance;
  • Urge to vomit (nausea);
  • Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions;
  • Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily;
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste; and
  • Ringing in the ears.

 

Brain Injury Awareness

Brain Injury Awareness

 

 

 

 

Get help:

If you think you, or someone else you know, has a TBI, please Think Ahead and seek medical help as quickly as possible to improve chances of a full and complete recovery.

Therapy Achievements

Therapy Achievements helps people with brain injury recover function after brain injury. Our staff has extensive experience working with brain injury after trauma, stroke, or medical conditions that impact brain function.  We offer physical, occupational and speech therapy to help people re-gain balance, the ability to walk, and hand function.  We provide visual and cognitive re-training, training in activities of daily living and identify adaptive equipment to help people re-gain the ability to participate in functional activities.  Programs are tailored to an individual’s needs and we are in-network with most health insurance providers.  Have you or someone you know suffered from brain injury?  Call us today at 256-509-4398.

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support Group

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support Group:

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support

 

Brain and spinal cord injury occur in young adults – people between the ages of 18 and 34 – more than any other age group in the United States.  Every year 1.7 million people sustain a brain injury and  12,000 people sustain a spinal cord injury .  Brain and spinal cord injury are correlated to risky behavior such as:

  • * Injury-prone sports:  Skateboarding, football, cheerleading, hockey, and skiing are among the top injury-prone sports
  • * Distracted Driving:  Texting, Using a cell phone or smartphone, Eating and drinking, Talking to passengers, Grooming, Reading, including maps, Using a navigation system, Watching a video, Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player are the top reasons for distracted driving
  • Substance Abuse:  30% of people requiring rehabilitation after injury were intoxicated at the time of their injury
  • Exposure to violence and violent behavior:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 11% of traumatic brain injury deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits combined are related to assaults
Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support

Young adults are more likely than other age groups to be engage in or exposed to risky behaviors and men are two and one-half times more likely to die from injuries resultant from  accidents (unintentional injuries), homicide, and suicide –   the three leading causes of death in young adults.

One of the most devastating and long-lasting result of brain and spinal cord injury is isolation.  The National Resource Center explains after injury, many survivors describe feeling lonely — even when they are surrounded by other people. This loneliness may arise for many different reasons.

  • Difficulty talking to other people or understanding what others are saying are common problems survivors face after injury. Communication problems can make relating to other people and explaining your thoughts and feelings very difficult. These problems can lead to feeling misunderstood and isolated.
  • Many survivors feel self-conscious after their injuries. They may worry about being different or less capable than other people. Self-consciousness can make it harder to spend time with other people or seek out new relationships.
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support

    Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support

    After injury, many survivors worry about what others will think of them and may feel nervous about being around other people. They may be afraid of being hurt or rejected by other people.

  • Many survivors notice they are more irritable after their injuries. When irritated, they may say or do things they regret later on. Some survivors try to stay away from those they care about for fear of behaving poorly. Family and friends may also avoid you if they are worried about what you might say or do.
  • Fatigue and low energy are common problems after brain injury. Survivors may not have the energy to do things they used to enjoy or to spend time with friends and family. Family and friends may also worry about tiring you out when they invite you to do something.
  • Pain and other physical problems often make it harder for survivors to do things they used to enjoy. You may also have trouble leaving the house, traveling, or visiting other people. Injury-related limitations make it harder to nurture and build relationships.
  • Many survivors are not able to drive or work after their injury. Lack of transportation and money may make it hard to visit others or do things you enjoy.
  • People generally make friends through work or being involved in social or recreational activities. After injury, survivors often stop working and may not be involved in sports, church, and other activities. You may lose contact with friends and co-workers because you don’t see them as much.
  • Friends and family may feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say, how to act, or how to help. Discomfort may make it harder for them to relate to you or spend time with you. Help them out by letting them know about your positive and negative feelings and what they can do to help you

In Huntsville, the “All Cracked Up” Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Support group is one way young adults can overcome the isolation of brain and spinal cord injury and start connecting with people who understand.  The group meets on second Saturdays from 11:00 – 1:00 to eat lunch, play games, plan  events and share what’s happening in each others lives.  Shannon shares, “One of the most valuable benefit of the brain and spinal cord injury support group is finding a place where you feel comfortable and can talk with people who “get it,” who truly understand your issues. What surprised me was all of the how helpful it was to share “strategies,” those amazing little tools that help you do things you couldn’t do otherwise.  Many of us struggle with performing simple everyday tasks like getting dressed in the morning and making supper.  Group members share “strategies” for what works for them — and it feels like a light bulb lights up inside your head!”

“All Cracked Up” is open to people ages 17 to 40ish and meets on second Saturdays at Therapy Achievements.  For more information, to get a schedule of meetings, or to get on the mailing list, contact Karen at 256-509-4398 or karen@therapy-a.com.

Flowers at Therapy Achievements

Maryann is the proud new owner of “Lilies”, a floral painting by Cynthia Parson’s. Maryann attends therapy for treatment of lymphedema at Therapy Achievements where some of Cynthia’s work is displayed.   “I’ve been admiring that painting  for quite a while and really enjoyed looking at Cynthia’s work during my therapy sessions.  I finally decided I wanted it and now it’s mine!”

Maryann's Lilies

Maryann’s Lilies

Cynthia has a number of other florals, still lifes and pet portraits on display at Therapy Achievements.  Stop by and take a look.  You might be the next proud owner of a Cynthia Parson’s painting!

Walking with Foot Drop: A New Brace

Check out this new brace for walking with foot drop!  People with foot drop can’t lift the front part of their foot due to  weakness or paralysis of the muscles that pick up the toes.  Lots of people have foot drop and it can happen when foot muscles become weak after stroke, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy or other injuries.  Foot drop can happen to one foot or both feet at the same time and can happen to people at any age.

Walking with foot drop is difficult because when the toes don’t lift, they tend to drag along the ground. This can result in tripping or falling.  To avoid dragging the toes, people with foot drop may lift their knee higher than normal or may may swing their leg in a wide arc.  Or, they may wear a brace to hold the foot in place.  Some people don’t like walking with braces because they can be awkward and uncomfortable.

To help people with foot drop, the Saebo company has come out with a new product to make walking with foot drop easier.  The  SaeboStep consists of a lightweight, uniquely designed foot drop brace that provides convenience and comfort while offering optimum foot clearance and support during walking.

The SaeboStep was designed to replace uncomfortable, stiff, or bulky splints that go inside or outside the shoe. It has a velcro strap and nylon buckle system to easily secure the device to the ankle .  Strong, durable cords slip into eyelet attachments on the shoe to connect the foot to the ankle strap and a revolutionary BOA dial allows individuals to quickly customize the lift angle required for safe foot clearance during walking.

Walking with Foot Drop

Walking with Foot Drop

Want to try it out? Our physical therapists have extensive experience in helping people with foot drop.  They can help you find the right brace to walk more efficiently with less pain.  Give us a call today at 256-509-4398!

Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis:

Amanda Adcock presented “One Treatment Option for Multiple Sclerosis” at the Huntsville Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Group Meeting on 1-17-17.  Here are highlights from her presentation:

Multiple Sclerosis is an Autoimmune Disease:

  • Multiple Sclerosis occurs when your immune cells attack healthy parts of your central nervous system
  • B & T immune cells are thought to
  • Multiple Sclerosis is thought to be triggered by a genetic predisposition AND environmental exposure
  • 50 different genes are associated with Multiple Sclerosis
Michael & Lane

Michael & Lane

If You Have MS, Be your own advocate

  • Is your current treatment for multiple sclerosis working?
  • Partner with your healthcare provider
  • Use diagnostic tests to judge your disease activity
  • Evaluate your personal preferences and goals for treatment
  • Does the schedule and delivery method of your treatment work with your lifestyle?

 

 

Greg & Olivia

Greg & Olivia

Lemtrada:

  • Is used to treat adults with relapsing MS
  • Is for people who have tried two or more MS medications and have not achieved desired results
  • Is thought to recognize and remove certain B & T immune cells thought to cause MS.
  • Is given in 5 consecutive days in an IV infusion. The IV infusion takes about 7 hours.

 

Beth & Norm

Beth & Norm

After treatment:

  • Your body slowly begins to replace the cells that were removed with new cells.
  • You will have a monthly blood draw to monitor your B & T immune cell levels.
  • 12 months after your first treatment, a second dose of IV infusion is given in 3 consecutive days.
  • Most people will not need to take any further treatments. Some people will need to take a third dose.

 

Amy & Tom

Amy & Tom

Results:

  • In a 2 year trial, people taking Lemtrada had 49% fewer relapse than people taking Rebif
  • People taking Lemtrada had 42% less disability progression as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale

A New Year, A New You!

The New Year is a time of reflection. Each January, roughly one in three Americans resolve to better themselves in some way. Will a New Year bring a New You?  See if your New Year’s resolutions make the top 5 list:

Loose Weight & Get Fit

Loose Weight & Get Fit

Lose Weight and Get Fit

Weight loss and getting fit are the most popular resolutions. Healthy weight and regular exercise are associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. To increase your successfulness, set reasonable goals and partner with someone who can help keep you accountable.

 

 

Get Organized

Get Organized

Get Organized

Whether it’s your home, office or closet, being organized helps decrease stress and increase your effectiveness. Look for a local professional organizer on www.findmyorganizer.com to help you get the job done or Google “de-clutter” for hundreds of tips on how to tackle disorder.

 

Spend Less, Save More

Spend Less, Save More

Spend Less, Save More

Work, money and the economy are the biggest cause of Americans’ stress, according to research recently released by the American Psychological Association (APA). Certified financial planners (CFP) can help you get a handle on your finances. Find one on www.fpanet.org.

 

Learn

Learn

Learn Something Exciting

Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep. Life-long learning classes are available at UAH (www.osher.uah.edu), and ASU (www.athens.edu/CLL‎).

 

Help Others

Help Others

Help Others

To better yourself the most, help others. Donate your time, blood, money or items that you no longer use to make a difference for someone in need.

 

Don’t think you can get fit, get organized, learn something exciting or help others because of  injury or illness?  Therapy Achievements can help you re-gain movement, balance, and thinking skills disrupted by brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or other disorders.  We offer physical, occupational and speech therapy to help you identify goals, develop a plan to achieve them and help you to reach your potential.  Let us help you welcome in a New Year with a New You!