Friday, 17 November 2017 05:44

You Are What You Eat! [Guest Blog]

Jennrich Heidi dir resized 600Heidi Jennrich, APNP
Fort HealthCare

Eating healthy is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and is something that should be taught to children at a young age. The following are some general guidelines for helping your child eat healthy. It is important to discuss your child’s diet with your child’s health care provider before making any dietary changes or placing your child on a diet.

  • Eat three meals a day, with healthy snacks.
  • Increase fiber in the diet and decrease the use of salt.
  • Drink water. Try to avoid drinks and juices that are high in sugar.
  • Children under the age of 2 need fats in their diet to help with the growth of their nervous system. Do not place these children on a low fat diet without talking with your child’s health care provider.
  • Eat balanced meals.
  • When cooking for your child, try to bake or broil instead of frying.
  • Decrease your child’s sugar intake.
  • Eat fruit or vegetables for a snack.
  • Decrease the use of butter and heavy gravies.
  • Eat more lean chicken, fish, and beans for protein

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Making healthy food choices

MyPlate.gov
The Choose My Plate icon is a guideline to help you and your child eat a healthy diet. My Plate can help you and your child eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat.

The USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have prepared the plate to guide parents in selecting foods for children age 2 and older.

The My Plate icon is divided into five food group categories, emphasizing the nutritional intake of the following:

  • Grains. Foods that are made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain are grain products. Examples include whole wheat, brown rice, and oatmeal.
  • Vegetables. Vary your vegetables. Choose a variety of colorful vegetables, including dark green, red, and orange vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), and starchy vegetables.
  • Fruits. Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut up, or pureed.
  • Dairy. Milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Focus on fat-free or low-fat products, as well as those that are high in calcium.
  • Protein. Go lean on protein. Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry. Vary your protein routine—choose more fish, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans.

Oils are not a food group, yet some, such as nut oils, contain essential nutrients and can be included in the diet. Animal fats are solid fats and should be avoided.

Exercise and everyday physical activity should also be included with a healthy dietary plan. For more information, visit FortHealthCare.com/HealthyKids.

Thank you to Fort HealthCare and Heidi Jennrich, APNP for the guest post.

pain guide

Did you know that eating certain foods increases the inflammatory markers in our bodies, while eating others can decrease signs of inflammation? People with acute and chronic pain often have a high amount of inflammation in their joints, muscles and blood. Changing your eating habits can decrease inflammation in your body, increase your energy, help you maintain a healthy weight and allow you to feel better both physically and emotionally.

There are three important dietary improvements you can make today that can help you reduce pain.

Limit Sugar

Sugar, AKA corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, maltose and sucrose. You know that you can find sugar in cookies and brownies, but did you also know that sugar is hiding in many foods that are advertised as “healthy”? These include granola bars, instant oatmeal, juices, crackers, prepackaged meals and more. Think like a detective, and be sure to carefully read foods labels on everything you eat, paying close attention to grams of sugar.

Limit Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates include “white” foods, like: white pasta, white breads, white crackers and anything made with white flour. Why should you limit these foods? Simple carbs quickly break down into forms of sugar, which we know to be inflammatory and related with weight gain, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Studies have shown that eating a diet lower in carbs and higher in healthy fats and proteins also reduces inflammation in the body.

Limit Food Additives

Try to limit food additives in your meals, particularly MSG and artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These additives are found in several “low fat” and “diet” products, as well as prepackaged foods and processed meats.

What Should You Eat More?

You might be worried that abiding by the above recommendations that you will be limiting your foods choice but that isn’t true! Foods shown to be especially anti-inflammatory and good in all sorts of other ways include: berries, cherries, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, olives and olive oil, fish (especially salmon, halibut, sardines, tuna, trout, whitefish, cod and oysters), avocados, green tea and nuts including walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.

Another Tip: Try seasoning your foods with seasonings that have anti-inflammatory benefits such as with ginger, cinnamon, basil, cloves, mint, turmeric, thyme and chili pepper. Moderation is key in life, but being informed and making changes to help manage your life and your pain is important. What changes can you make today? Do you have pain fighting foods or recipes you might suggest to our readers?

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Friday, 17 November 2017 04:43

Superfoods for a Fiercer You

When searching for pain relief, look no further than your own backyard – or your local farmer’s market. These four foods fresh from the garden – or pot – pack super pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory power.

Mint

Infusing mint into your tea or ice water can refresh and rejuvenate – and relieve your headaches and general aches and pains. Gardening expert Melinda Myers suggests growing this vigorous perennial herb in a container so it won’t overtake your other plants. It’s also easy to grow indoors near a sunny window.

Hot Peppers

Capsaicin, the spicy element in chili, jalapeno, habanero and cayenne peppers, is a great pain-fighting tool and is often used in topical creams to help treat backaches, arthritis and muscle pain. “Plant hot peppers after the soil and air warm, usually around Memorial Day,” advises Myers. They will be ready to harvest in late July and early August. Try drying some to enjoy year round.

Cherries

Muscle pain and inflammation beware! Cherries contain a heavy punch of antioxidants, and can block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes in much the same way as aspirin and other NSAIDs. Although it takes several years for cherry plants to start producing fruit, according to Myers, sour cherries grow well in Wisconsin. Just make sure to cover the plants with netting so the birds don’t eat your harvest.

Ginger

Ginger can help reduce inflammation and combat migraines, muscle pain, arthritis and post workout (or post-gardening) soreness – all on top of its nausea-fighting power. Although it’s a tropical plant, says Myers, “enthusiastic gardeners have had success rooting the rhizomes (the part you eat) and starting new plants.” Try growing it indoors like a houseplant in winter and then move it outdoors for the summer.

Learn More

For more tips, including pain-fighting recipe ideas, download your free Gardening Toolkit at www.apmhealth.com/Melinda.

Weed Out The Pain Toolkit Download

The cherry is one of Advanced Pain Management's favorite 'Foods that Fight Pain.' We want to provide you with as many tools as possible to help you reduce your pain and regain your quanilty of life, which is why we are pleased to share lifestyle and healthy eating tips with you!

Every little bit of lifestyle modification can help with pain. Take a look at our Cherry Facts below and learn how adding some cherries to your daily diet can help you!

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Interesting Cherry Facts:

  • The average cherry tree grows 7000 cherries per year.
  • It takes 100 cherries to make one cherry pie.
  • 75% of US cherries come from Michigan.
  • Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves.
  • Russians enjoy cherry preserves in their tea.
  • Germans distill cherries into their brandy.
  • Americans love cherry pie!

Why is the Cherry is a food that fights pain?

  • The compounds in cherries that give them a bright red color is called anthocyanins, which pack a heavy punch of antioxidants. Anthocyanins block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes in the same way that aspirin and other NSAIDS do.
  • A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition confirms that cherry consumption can help healthy adults reduce inflammation.
  • 8oz. of tart cherry every morning and every evening for 2 weeks can help reduce insomnia.
  • Research has shown that adding Montmorency tart cherries to you diet can help reduce age-related bone loss.
  • Tart cherries can help athletes reduce muscle damage to recover faster from tough workouts.

How can you enjoy the benefits of cherries, all year long?

  • Can cherries in jams, jellies or preserves.
  • Dry cherries for an easy, healthy on-the-go snack.
  • Wash, dry and freeze cherries to add to pies, smoothies or muffins.

Sources: Kelley DS et al.(2013) Sweet bing cherries lower circulating concentrations of markers for chronic inflammatory diseases in healthy humans. Journal of Nutrition. March; 143(3):340-4. Wilfred R. Pigeon, Michelle Carr, Colin Gorman, Michael L. Perlis. Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia. J Med Food. 2010 June; 13(3): 579–583. Chongwatpol P, Rendina E, Graef JL, Clarke SL, Lucas EA, Smith BJ. The efficacy of tart cherry supplementation in the prevention of age-related bone loss in C57BL6 mice. Experimental Biology 2013. Boston, MA. April 23, 2013. Bowtell JL, Sumners DP, Dyer A, Fox P, Mileva KN. Montmorency cherry juice reduces muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Aug;43(8):1544-51.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 07:40

18 Simple, Healthy Habits To Reduce Back Pain

Are your bad habits the cause of your back pain and neck pain? Oftentimes, reducing back pain and neck pain can be as simple as making a few changes to how you sit, stand and sleep. For instance, maintaining a good posture can help stop back pain by keeping your natural spinal curves in their normal position, taking painful pressure off your spine. Consider implementing these simple solutions to help manage chronic pain and get you back to enjoying work and life.

Back Pain and Sleep

There's no doubt that a good night's sleep is important. But back pain and sleep don't often go well together. While a restful 6- to 9-hour sleep can help your body and muscles recover, upper and lower back pain makes it harder to sleep, reducing your body’s ability to heal. Here are some easy solutions to help you sleep better with back pain. 

  1. Avoid sleeping on your stomach to help reduce back pain. 
  2. The best sleeping position for back pain is on your side. Keep your body straight and resist the urge to curl up into a ball. This position keeps the spine in alignment from the neck down, reducing the chance of pain. 
  3. Lessen the risk of back pain insomnia while sleeping on your side by putting a pillow between your knees, keeping your body in alignment. Pillows can help back sleepers reduce pain, as well. Simply place one or more under your knees to help prevent lower back pain caused by your spine arching too much. 
  4. In addition to altering your sleep position, back pain can be reduced with the help of a firm mattress and a supportive pillow.

Avoid Back Pain While Sitting

Back pain during long periods of sitting is a common phenomenon. Sitting actually puts more stress on your spine than walking or standing. But, thankfully, there are some easy fixes for back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain that occur while sitting.

  1. Poor sitting posture is to blame for a lot of upper back pain and lower back pain while sitting, as well as neck pain and shoulder pain. Good posture means less pain. To reduce pain when sitting, sit up straight, with your ears, shoulders and hips in line. Place both feet flat on the ground, with thighs parallel to the floor.
  2. Avoid back pain while sitting by sitting on your "sitting bones," not your tailbone. This might mean you have to add a blanket or cushion underneath you to ensure your knees aren't higher than your hips.
  3. To maintain proper sitting posture, buy a good chair with a firm, flat seat and plenty of lower back support. A chair with good lumbar support can help you avoid a sore back. If your chair doesn't have lumbar support, avoid back pain by putting a small pillow or rolled up towel between your lower back and the chair. 

Stand Without Back Pain

Do you experience back pain from standing too long? Many people do. Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to help deal with it. 

  1. If you are standing for long periods, be sure to give your back a break. You can manage your back pain at home by bending forward and to the sides to a comfortable stretching position.
  2. Don't forget that supportive shoes reduce the risk of back pain and knee pain
  3. Proper posture can also help limit back pain while standing. Keep your ears, shoulders and hips aligned to help prevent pain. Also try to pull in your stomach and chin, while tilting your pelvis forward.
  4. Change your position often to lessen back pain and knee pain while at work or during long periods of standing in line. If possible, use a stool or block to rest one foot on.
  5. A back brace can help you maintain proper posture, providing back and abdominal support. It provides support for prolonged periods of standing or walking.

Reduce Back Pain When Walking

If you're wondering how to walk with back pain, consider these simple tips.

Walking can be a great form of excercise, but it may be difficult to figure out how to walk with back pain. These tips can help you get started.

  1. Like in every other area, posture matters. You can exercise with back pain by holding your head high, tucking in your chin and pointing your toes straight ahead. 
  2. Comfortable shoes are a must. Pick ones with an arch support to help reduce back soreness and leg soreness the next day. 
  3. To avoid back pain after your workout, stretch when you return home. And don't forget to hydrate. Water can even help keep your spine healthy, since it's an important component of spinal discs. 

Drive Comfortably Without Pain

Driving to work and on errands can be a pain - literally. Back pain while driving can make routine trips unbearable. Consider these tricks to lessen driving back pain.

  1. To reduce back pain while driving, apply the advice for sitting without back pain: Keep your back upright, sit on your "sitting bones" and make sure your knees aren't higher than your hips.
  2. Keep your shoulders back and put both hands on the wheel to reduce the chances of back pain and arm pain.
  3. If you need help to keep your back straight or your arms straight, consider a brack brace or a wrist brace. They reduce pain by providing support and limiting movement, which can be especialy helpful for herniated discschronic lumbar instability, degenerative disc disease, post-operative rehabilitation or severe sprains or strains.

Do you have any other additions to our list? Let us know in the comments!

If you have additional questions about your back pain, consider the benefits of seeing a pain management physician. Click the link below to download our free comprehensive Back Pain Guide, with expert information, facts and advice to help you relieve your back pain. 

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Thursday, 16 November 2017 10:00

Low Impact Walking for Pain Relief

There is nothing quite like a walk on a crisp autumn day; watching the leaves fall from the trees and hearing the crunch of leaves beneath your shoes. But there is more to a good autumn walk than seeing the beautiful changing scenery. Did you know that walking is considered exercise and when completed regularly, walking can provide lasting health benefits? It’s true. The pain experts at Advanced Pain Managements have five more reasons why you should consider starting a walking exercise program.

  • Walking is cheap –No need for expensive gym memberships or countless DVD workout programs. If you decide to start a walking exercise program, all you need is a good pair of shoes! Walking can be done anywhere- outside, inside or even at the mall. If you walk outside, the fresh air and vitamin D can also help you relax and help improve your mood.
  • Pain and injury prevention – You might think getting more active can lead to more injuries, but it is just the opposite! Being active helps strengthen your muscles, bones and joints and can help you reduce pain. Walking for exercise has a minimal risk to degenerative joints, like knees, hips and the lumbar spine. This means that your body can still get a good workout without doing damage to joints. In addition, being active can help improve muscle flexibility and reduce those minor aches and pains. Walking also puts less stress on your spine than sitting.
  • Walking does a body good – Walking regularly as exercise has been medically shown to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.
  • Improved sleep – Being active during the day can help your body become more restful at night. After a good workout, your body needs time to rest and recover which can often mean a better night’s sleep. Zzzz…
  • Kick-start a healthy lifestyle – Often, the first step to a healthy lifestyle is getting out and getting active! Walking regularly will help build your appetite, so fill up on healthy vegetables, protein and fruit and start a new healthy lifestyle.

Do you have any other walkign benefits to share? Let us know in the comments below.

As the accessibility and convenience of going mobile has risen over the years, so has the toll it’s taken on our neck and back health. More than 2 trillion texts are sent in the U.S. annually and the average mobile phone user looks at his or her phone as many as 150 times per day. Pair these statistics with other technology use including desktop and laptop computers, tablets and more – and you’ve got a dangerous mix which causes a large amount of stress on the cartilage and tissue in the neck and upper spine. The risks of technology-causing iPain are real and preventable. Learn more about how you can prevent pain and treat areas of the body most affected with our iPain infographic. 

iPain Help Guide

Download your free opioids and pain in-depth guide

Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:44

How Does Back Pain Affect Sleep?

If you suffer from acute or chronic pain, especially back pain, the thought of a good night’s rest may be only a dream. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 6 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day. Oftentimes, individuals who suffer from pain associated from back conditions experience additional issues with insomnia and sleeping disorders. According to the National Sleep Foundation, pain and sleep problems are significant. In the adult population, about 15% of those surveyed reported experiencing chronic pain. In older adults, the number increases to over 50%. Among those with pain, 2/3 reported poor or disrupted sleep.

Sleep is one of the most critical ways that we renew our mental and physical energy on a daily basis. While there are many conditions and environmental factors that cause sleep problems, disturbances in sleep can intensify many conditions – including back pain. If you suffer from chronic pain or acute back pain and it is effecting the quality of your sleep, it is essential that you incorporate effective strategies and a treatment plan that will aid sleep deprivation from interfering with work, driving and social activities. 

Pain and Sleep Facts:

  • Each year, at least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.
  • 2/3 of chronic pain sufferers have sleep problems.
    • Sleep deprivation accounts for an estimated $16 billion in medical costs each year, while the indirect costs due to lost productivity and other factors are much greater.
    • Sleep complaints and related daytime symptoms occur in 54–70% of adult rheumatoid arthritis patients.
    • One study estimated that the prevalence of sleep disturbance among people with low-back pain is 58.7%.
  • 75% of patients with fibromyalgia complain of sleep disturbances.

Causes Of Sleep Problems When You Are In Pain

If you live with pain, you know that sometimes your only relief is when you are asleep. However, some people’s pain prevents them from finding a way to become comfortable – oftentimes leading to the development of sleep problems. These problems not only result in overtiredness, but may cause pain to worsen. Here are a few conditions that may trigger a sleep problem to develop:

  • Anxiety and depression can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Consequent sleep loss can lead to increased pain. Anxiety and depression may also increase a person’s sensitivity to pain.
  • Some breathing related sleep disorders are associated with obesity – and obesity is also linked with back pain. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea interfere with normal sleep patterns, leading to insufficient sleep and poor sleep quality.
  • Limb movement disorders, such as restless legs syndrome, might further disrupt the normal sleep pattern.
  • Fibromyalgia can cause pain throughout the body. It is also linked with fatigue, anxiety and sleep problems.
  • Many prescription medications can impair the quality of your sleep. For instance, medications for conditions such as high blood pressure, epilepsy and ADHD may also cause sleep problems.

If you'd like more information on sleep and pain, take a look at the best sleep positions for back and neck pain.

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Thursday, 16 November 2017 09:08

5 Ways Sleep Position Can Reduce Aches and Pain

Whether you suffer from back pain, leg pain, joint pain or chronic pain, sleep position can have profound affect on both worsening and alleviating medical conditions. Have you ever stopped to think about how you sleep at night? A good night’s sleep allows your body to repair and rejuvenate as it prepares for another day. If you are waking up tired or with aches and back pain, consider consulting your pain specialist to discuss sleep position and how to alter it to effectively get much-needed zzz’s.

Advanced Pain Management’s Dr. Kim Litwack answers 5 important questions related to modifying sleep position to reduce and prevent pain.

 

Q: What should I consider if I sleep on my back?


A: If you choose to sleep on your back, your lower back can arch too much and increase pressure on your spine. To combat this, bend your knees slightly upwards. Try using a few pillows underneath your knees to help maintain this position throughout the night. 

Q: Should I consider sleeping on my side?
A: This is usually the most desired sleeping position because it keeps the spine in the best alignment. Try not to curl up in a ball, however; the spine should stay in a neutral spine alignment from the neck all the way down.

Q: Why is it important to have a pillow between your knees?
A: A pillow between the knees in a side-sleeping position helps keep the spine and pelvis in the best alignment and can also be more comfortable for the knees.

Q: Which sleep position is best for shoulder pain?
A: If it is difficult for someone to lie directly on their shoulder, they can try rotating their shoulder slightly forward or backward. I would also suggest using extra pillows for support to help maintain a comfortable position throughout the night. 

Q: Which sleep position is best for neck pain?
A: For neck pain, it is helpful to use a small rolled up hand towel right under the neck for added support. The towel can be placed inside the pillowcase to help it stay in place.

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Thursday, 16 November 2017 09:01

What is Anxiety?

The Medical Dictionary defines anxiety as “a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind, usually over an impending or anticipated ill.” This definition would suggest that anxiety seems to be a normal part of being human. All of us have worried about things like our finances, our health, or the well-being of those closest to us. Anxiety is even a healthy emotion, because it motivates us to plan for our future and, take care of ourselves. For example, without some anxiety, we might not pay our bills on time, watch what we eat or install smoke detectors.

So how can anxiety be a problem? There is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy anxiety. In general, anxiety can be unhealthy when it comes from irrational worries or fears about events that are unlikely to occur. For example, those who suffer from an anxiety condition called panic disorder may believe a sudden change in their heart rate is a sign they are about to have a heart attack. Individuals who have a generalized anxiety disorder might worry about not being able to pay their bills even though they have plenty of savings and have no debt. Anxiety is also unhealthy when it leads an individual to avoid activities, places, or people unnecessarily. Among those with chronic pain, for example, anxiety about causing injury or harm to the body is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of patients getting more physical activity.  Finally, anxiety that seems to increase your pain consistently, causes you to lose sleep, or causes you other physical symptoms; it is likely you are dealing with anxiety of the unhealthy kind.

So what do I do about anxiety? Although there are various types of anxiety problems, treatments for each type share some common elements. Simply put, treatments involve making changes in three areas: changes in physical experiences, changes in behavior and changes in thoughts. Making changes in physical experience might include learning how to relax and learning how to tell the difference between tense and relaxed muscles. Changes in behavior could include challenging oneself to confront those things that are typically avoided: e.g. increasing physical activity despite fears that to do so would cause damage to the body. Finally, making changes in thought involves looking at the ways in which we think of events. By keeping a record of thoughts that occur along with anxiety, for example, one can detect ways in we might exaggerate potential dangers.  

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