Health and Fitness

Exercise to Decrease Pain

Gone are the days when doctors tell you to go to bed and rest if you are in pain. Exercise has long been known to improve strength and mobility. It is now apparent that it decreases pain in many different ways.

Sciatica, or lumbar radicular pain is caused by nerve impingement. Exercise may have profound benefits on this type of pain by improving nerve gliding, stabilizing the spine and decreasing inflammation.

Diffuse pain and stiffness caused by a condition known as fibromyalgia may respond in a profound way to consistent exercise and reconditioning. Not only does it decrease overall pain, raise pain tolerance and decrease pain perception, it improves our ability to work and play and have a higher quality of life.

Exercise increases your heart rate and oxygen consumption which increases the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body. This will help flush your system of toxins and inflammation, which may decrease pain and stiffness. Further, moderate exercise can increase your bodies productionof natural antioxidants which will help protect your cells and decrease tissue damage

For joint pain, range of motion and strengthening exercises that help stabilize the joint may take the pressure off painful areas within a joint which results in less pain and wear and tear on the joint.

Exercise can make you feel better in so many different ways and improve multiple aspects of your health. Decreased pain is one of the most profound benefits. Exercise on a regular basis, either sport specific activities or the recommended minimum of 150 minutes per week of a fun aerobic, strengthening and flexibility program.

Most importantly, stay well!

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Health and Fitness

Fresh Air

Last week, I traveled with my three sons, my friend and his son to the boundary waters of northern Minnesota. We completed a 45 mile circular loop, paddling our canoes and portaging our gear over rocks, hills, and streams. We camped at night on primitive, waterfront campsites. It was a physically taxing trip that left me asking at the end of each day, Why do I feel so good?

Fresh air and everything that goes along with it is the number one reason. Being around the most beautiful scenery in the country, and breathing the fresh air allowed our stress to melt away. Moving freely lightened everyone’s mood.

I was awestruck by the beauty of our surroundings and how clean everything was. During the day we could see for miles and identify small details far in the distance. At night, the stars lit up the sky like a planetarium and appeared infinite. We could drink the water from the lake if we wanted to while breathing air that was anywhere from 2 to 5 times cleaner than indoor air.

The fresh air energized me. It made me more alert and aware and able to concentrate during the day and sleep better at night.

The memories I made with my sons are priceless. Everything was magnified by the beauty and freshness of our surroundings. The food even tasted better!

Get outside and breathe it in!

Stay well.

Health and Fitness

Public Health

With the COVID-19 epidemic, and the daily updates from Governor Dewine and Dr. Amy Acton from the health department, we have become very familiar with public health.

Public health professionals are working to help thousands of people at a time. As Dr. Acton unfortunately realized, this involves making some unpopular decisions. She and Governor Dewine however, are to be applauded for dampening the the COVID-19 incidence curve and saving thousands of lives here in Ohio.

The public health profession can further have a great impact by addressing health population inequalities. The poor and minority populations that have been disproportionately effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes clear the never ending role of public health to address the health of all populations of our society in a fair and equitable way.

COVID-19 has represented a new public health threat. Public health professionals receive new information constantly. They use it from an epidemiologic standpoint to direct societal health decisions that can save countless lives. Hopefully,we will look back at this time next year when things have returned to a semblance of normalcy, and be grateful for the knowledge that was learned and the lives that were saved.

Health and Fitness

Telemedicine and the Physical Exam

Earlier this week, I read a troubling article by a physician suggesting that the physical examination may be archaic. He implied that with the use of modern technology, including blood tests and radiology, a thorough physical examination may be outdated

Telemedicine has been around since the 1980s. With the presence of the COVID-19 virus, increased usage of telehealth has become a necessity. A new survey from Gallup found the number of patients reporting “virtual“ medical visits more than doubled, from 12% to 27% from late March to mid May.

It is easy to see why both patients and physicians like telemedicine. Telehealth visits can be be dine from the comfort of your home. For the physician, this means that they can see many more patients in the same amount of time. For the patients, they have the convenience of not having to leave their home to have a medical visit.

Telehealth can be a valuable resource in rare and unique situations. Let’s hope, however, that it does not become the norm and the art of a thorough physical examination is lost.

Physical examination involves palpating different parts of the patient’s body. When performed by a skilled examiner, this provides a great deal of diagnostic and treatment information. Pathology such as abdominal aneurysms or central nervous pathologies causing spasticity, just to name a few, are readily apparent in the hands of a skilled examiner. Substituting the physical examination exclusively with multiple radiographic and laboratory examinations would be both dangerous and expensive.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Coping During the COVID -19 Pandemic

Mental health awareness month, recognized last month, fell at an opportune time this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to social isolation, grief and many stressors that may negatively impact your mental health.

Many people feel isolated and disconnected from family and friends. This has been felt acutely in hospitals and nursing homes.

Others have been faced with significant financial hardships due to loss of employment or significant under-employment.

This pandemic has resulted in a very real increase in depression and anxiety across all of society.

Care for your mental health just like you care for your heart health or your musculoskeletal health. Don’t neglect it. Do what works best for you. Eat a healthy diet and try to avoid excess alcohol. This means less than two drinks on average per day for men and less than one drink per day on average for women. Also make sure you get enough sleep. For most adults this means 7 to 9 hours per night.

Keep exercising and keep that heart pumping. Try to get outside part of every day in the sunshine as well. Don’t forget your quiet time and use prayer and meditation.

Most importantly, keep talking. In order to communicate, we have had to become creative during social isolation. Many people have found that the video conferencing has brought family members together in unique and special ways that they’ve never been before. If you’re ever feeling down, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Stay well!