September 2015 - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Monthly Archives: September 2015

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How To Make Running Easier

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If you’ve decided to up your healthy exercise by taking up running, you’ve probably noticed one thing: running can be hard! While sometimes you might feel unbreakable, like you can breeze through the longest run of your life, other times it seems impossible to even make it through your normal routine. How can you make running easier, so you don’t have to give up the healthy exercise it provides?  

  • Pay attention to your body. If you’re feeling fatigued or overtaxed, it may be a sign that you need to pull back your training, or change your diet. Try repeating your training routine two days in a row, rather than pushing yourself harder and further. Make sure you’re well-hydrated, and have a healthy, balanced, carb and protein snack 30 to 60 minutes before you run.
  • Don’t think you need to be a superhero. Even the best runners have bad days. It’s ok to slow it down a little bit, and even drop to a walk in the middle of your run. The key is to keep moving, and trust that the next run will be back up to your expectations.
  • Shake up your routine. If you’re running, a change of scenery can be beneficial in boosting your enjoyment. Remember, though, that there are plenty of ways to run without going for a run. If your normal runs are boring you, try soccer, softball, or a game of Frisbee, to get in some running time without just running.
  • Build up your strength. If you feel like your stamina is lacking, try using some strength training to increase your sticking power. Box jumps, squat jumps, lunges, and forearm planks are all examples of exercises you can do a couple of times a week, after your regular run, to make running easier. You can also do your pre-run warmup on a hard surface, to increase your muscle tension and make your legs feel more spring-like.
  • Use music to make it easier. While some purists insist that music detracts from the experience of the run, most people welcome the distraction of a good playlist. Load your playlist with songs that inspire you to get moving and keep going, and the miles will fly by.
  • Fake it ‘til you make it. Your attitude impacts your physical state, so try to think positively about your run. Think of a time when you really did well, instead of thinking about how much you’re not going to enjoy the run. Consider your future self, and how much you’ll be glad that you pushed yourself through the run. Having trouble finding your positive outlook? Find a running buddy, so that you can inspire each other to keep going.

Healthy exercise is a big part of living a balanced life. Whether it’s running, sports, exercise classes, or just taking a daily walk, incorporating healthy exercise into your routine benefits both your body and mind. At our clinic, we are committed to helping our patients find the right life balance, through an integrated approach to wellness. To learn how we can help you, visit our website or call today for a free consultation.

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Knee Surgery Alternatives

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If you’re considering knee surgery or replacement, have you looked into any knee surgery alternatives? While some people may require knee surgery to alleviate pain caused by an injury or arthritis, many are better served by options that are not as intrusive. The truth is, knee replacement surgery is major surgery, and carries with it some serious risks, so it’s best to choose it only as a last resort, when you’ve exhausted all other knee surgery alternatives.  

  • Lifestyle changes can help you avoid knee surgery. Weight loss is one of the best ways to improve knee pain. The good news? Each pound you lose takes four pounds of pressure off your knee, so even a small loss can make a big difference. Exercise can help too; not only does assist in weight loss, but exercise builds muscle to help support your knees.
  • Physical therapy is also among the least invasive knee surgery alternatives. With the help of a physical therapist, you can find an exercise regimen to reduce pain and strengthen your muscles. Physical therapists may recommend ice and/or heat, but they also have access to treatments like electrical nerve stimulation and other therapies that can help increase your cutaneous blood flow.
  • Knee injections come in many forms. 
  • Hyaluronic acid lubricates the knee, acting as a shock absorber to help the cartilage and bone move more smoothly. This type of injection helps improve knee function and relieves pain.
  • Steroid or Cortisone Injections can alleviate pain for several weeks. 
  • PRP injections use the patient’s own platelets to repair the knee. Concentrated platelets have been shown to stimulate growth factors and stem cells, repairing tissue in some cases, but also calming painful symptoms and reducing inflammation.
  • Prolotherapy uses a dextrose solution. Injected into the ligament or tendon, this sugar mixture increases blood flow and delivers nutrients, stimulating knee tissue to repair itself
  • Arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive. Using a camera called an arthoscope, your surgeon can view and operate on the inside of your knee through a series of small incisions. This is a much less invasive procedure than traditional surgery, and you can typically go home the same day. Unfortunately, recent research also indicates that it may not be very effective.

At our clinic, we offer a variety of knee surgery alternatives, and our physical medicine experts can help you determine which one is right for you. We are committed to treating our patients as whole people, not just a collection of symptoms, so that we can help each patient along the path to optimal wellness. To learn how we can help you live a healthier life, visit our website or call today for your free consultation.

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Improve Your Joint Health & Your Life

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How’s your joint health? Many of us don’t even think about our joints, unless they begin to trouble us. When a joint or tendon becomes painful, however, it’s hard to think of anything else! How can you improve your joint health & your life? A few simple lifestyle changes can improve not only your joint health, but also your overall health and wellbeing.  

  • Stretch. You don’t have to be proficient at yoga, but it’s a good idea to get a good stretch at least twice a day. Stretching improves your flexibility and reduces inflammation in your muscles and joints.
  • Work your muscles. Strong muscles support your joints, reducing pain and stiffness. Focus on strengthening the core muscles of your chest, back, and abdomen, because these muscles support your frame and help you to balance. Aerobic exercise helps your joints too, because it can reduce joint swelling, as well as helping you to maintain a healthy weight. Fewer pounds amount to less stress on the joints, which means less joint pain.
  • Drink your water. You probably already know that hydration is important to your health and wellbeing, but did you know it’s important to your joints. Adequate water helps keep cartilage soft, and your joints well lubricated, reducing wear and tear.
  • Improve your diet. It’s a proven fact that processed and fatty foods are bad for you. Your joints suffer from the inflammation caused by preservatives, carbohydrates, and fats. Joint friendly foods, like those high in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as raw fruits and vegetables, which help you stay hydrated, can improve joint performance and reduce pain.
  • Stand up straight! Your mom told you, and she was right: good posture is important. When you use good posture, you protect your joints from your neck to your knees, as well as guarding your back muscles. It’s especially important to use good posture when carrying or lifting. If you’re carrying a backpack, use both your shoulders. When you’re lifting, bend your knees instead of your back, in order to utilize your body’s largest muscles correctly.

Improving your joint health is an important step down the path toward living your best life. At our clinic, we help patients care for their joints, along with the rest of their bodies, through a holistic approach to health that treats them like whole people, not a collection of symptoms. To learn more about how we can help you reach your optimal wellness potential, visit our website or call today to schedule your free consultation.

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Back to School Weight Loss Plan

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How does this time of year work for your weight loss goals? For many parents, the end of summer signals the beginning of the heightened stress season, as back to school amps up our commitments, with the holidays nipping at its heels. It’s often hard to stay on track with your fitness and weight-loss goals, when you’re bogged down by school day routines, extracurricular activities, and other time vampires. For others, the summer is the hardest time to maintain a weight loss routine, because the long lazy days have too little structure. No matter what, now is a great time to regroup, rethink your routines, and renew your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  

  • Make breakfast part of your routine. You’ve heard over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while some researchers disagree, there’s evidence to confirm that eating breakfast is a good way to boost weight loss. In addition, children who eat a good breakfast are more alert at school, performing better, with less of a decline in memory and focus than those who skip breakfast. With these facts in mind, you might find that breakfast is a great time to bring your family together for a simple but nutritious meal. It’s important to remember that what you eat for breakfast is what matters most. Opt for a fiber and protein rich breakfast over a cereal or pastry loaded with carbs and sugar.
  • Plan your lunches. It’s easy to focus on family dinners when you’re planning your weekly meals, but it’s a mistake to forget about lunch. If you’re someone who is at home during the day, set yourself up for success by keeping healthy snacks on hand, and making a plan for a light and lean lunch. If you’re stuck in an office all day, consider brown-bagging it to make sure your meal choice stays in line with your weight loss goals. You might even make lunch prep a family bonding moment, preparing sack lunches with your kids the night before.
  • As your schedule becomes more complicated, make sure that exercise is on the calendar. If after school commitments are going to infringe on your exercise time, consider a shift in schedule, perhaps exercising in the morning or on your lunch break. If you’re stuck at soccer practice or a softball game, walk around the track, or back and forth along the edge of the field, rather than sitting passively to watch. The most important thing is to have a plan, and make exercise a regular part of your routine.
  • Make dinner plans, and be sure to include local produce. Planning your dinners ahead of time makes weeknights less stressful, and also helps to ensure that your meals will be healthy and in line with your weight loss goals. You’ll be much less tempted to hit the drive-through if you know exactly what you have planned for your family dinner. While you’re making plans, remember that fall is a great time to pile on the produce! Harvest season means tons of healthy options, full of a wide variety of nutrients.

Sticking to your weight loss plan is just part of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. At our clinic, we believe in working with patients to improve their overall health, through a holistic, natural approach that treats them like whole people and addresses medical concerns by looking at the big picture, not just treating symptoms. To learn how we can help you live your healthiest life, in a state of optimal wellness, visit our website or call for a free consultation today.