724-779-1300

How to Make a Homemade Reusable Ice Pack

When you have an acute injury or are recovering from surgery, it is often recommended that you apply ice to help control swelling, inflammation and pain to the affected area.  Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation can all help control what occurs at the injured site.  The body’s first response is to send a lot of blood and fluid to the injured area to clean it up and prepare the tissue for healing.  It is normal to feel pain and stiffness in the acute phase of healing.  Using an ice pack helps by causing vasoconstriction or a closing down of blood vessels to limit the amount of swelling that tends to limit motion at the injured site.  Application of cold will also reduce pain.  Some people try to use ice in a bag but ice cubes eventually melt and if you place just water in a bag in the freezer, you will end up with just a chunk of ice that is not able to contour around a body part easily.  When using ice, always have a towel or pillowcase between your skin and the cold pack.  Cold treatment is usually used for 10-15 minutes at time. Here is a recipe for how to make a reusable homemade ice pack that will chill up more like an ice/slushy bag that will contour around your sore body part and can be placed back into your freezer to “reslush” up again for the next use! Put ½ bottle of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol in a medium sized Ziploc baggie and add water until the bag is about 2/3 full.  Seal the baggie, removing...

Exercise in Disguise

Do you exercise? When most individuals in the United States think of exercise, they think structured exercise perhaps of a gym environment with machines or a structured class of aerobics or Zumba or yoga. The fitness industry can offer a variety of ways to put in some body work. Exercise is important to keeping our heart and cardiovascular system healthy, keeping us strong by building muscle and helping us have energy for our daily lives. We in the US tend to live sedentary yet stressful lives. Sitting is now the new smoking. Most people complain that they do not have the time or money for structured exercise. This blog is to encourage the people who do not have the time or money to dedicate to structured fitness. There are many things you can still squeeze in, disguise into your daily life that can fit some fitness into your daily life. First of all, you have to embrace the value of some type of physical activity as a way to get more fitness into your life. Commit to just adding more standing and more movement to things you have to do every day. If you have a desk job, see if you can get an adjustable standing desk which would allow you to stand for part of the day as you work on the computer or complete tasks. If that is not possible, bring a new photo or memento to work to put on your desk. Every time you notice your new piece of desk décor, let it remind you to do a few backward shoulder rolls or shoulder blade...

ErgoMOMics Part 1

ErgoMOMics: Part 1 This blog is being dedicated to all the busy moms out there trying to work, run a household, raise children and take care of themselves. Moms put themselves last so they are often experiencing physical issues that they have no time to address.  The idea of “just put yourself first” or “carve out some time for yourself” makes sense literally but in real life, it rarely happens for most moms.  There is a field of study called Ergonomics where scientists study work tasks and how the body can do these tasks most efficiently without body harm and offers suggestions on how to modify a work location such as an office desk, assembly line or a lift/carry job. Moms have multiple job descriptions: household management: cleaning, budgeting, shopping including loading/unloading groceries, laundry, cooking, and dressing/bathing children.  They are transporters to sports practice and dance classes.  Most moms feel like the ringmaster of a three ring circus.  Mom’s job never stops and it is as busy as it will get when you have infant/small children at home or in grade school. So, here is part one of a series of suggestions to help you as you handle your own personal three ring circus.  These are a few suggestions to help you avoid the physical wear and tear of motherhood:   Laundry: Carry balanced loads. Consider using smaller baskets versus one big one that can become too heavy.  If you are a side hip carrier of baskets, alternate sides so that your body does not get molded into carrying repetitive loads just on one side.  Slide the basket down the...

Avoiding Forward Head Posture

  Avoiding Forward Head Posture: Tips to make easy adjustments in your daily life:    Your spine is designed to support you and help you carry yourself. It is mechanically designed with unique curvatures and interconnections to give you freedom of movement as well as support so that you can complete tasks.  Muscles attaching to the front and back of your spine also work most effectively to produce healthy motion when your spine is in good postural alignment.           Modern life can be both sedentary and stressful. Many persons face long commutes sitting in cars or airplanes.  Students spend long hours at desks and hunched over tablets and phones.  Work follows us home where we often are on computers and various devices all of which place us in poor postural positions.  Our spines were not designed for the amount of time that we position ourselves throughout our modern lifestyles.  Modern conveniences are creating detrimental postural configurations which definitely contribute to the development of neck/back pain, headaches and shoulder impingement syndromes.  Forward head posture can definitely be avoided once you know what to do.                 When the spine is held in good alignment, the forces through the spine are minimal. However, these forces change when a more forward head position is assumed. Mechanically, these increases in force will, over time, result in the wear and tear of the small joints of the neck and the intervertebral discs which cushion the spine.  It also creates changes in the length and flexibility of the muscles that control posture, neck movement. and...

Avoiding Tech Overload that can cause Tech-induced Injuries

Just as the words Facebook, Twitter, Xbox, cell phone, tablet, laptop and Snapchat have made their way into our everyday life and vocabulary, new medical conditions are surfacing due to how we are physically interfacing with all the great new technologies available to us. TEXT NECK For example, could you be using your cell phone, laptop, electronic book or other digital device in a way that may cause the condition known as “Text Neck”? Your head weighs an average of 10 to 12 pounds and places this weight onto your spine. However, if you bend your neck forward and look down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. Take a look at how a normal 10-12 pound load on the neck changes with the angle at which you are holding your head on your neck: 15 degree bend: 27 pounds 30 degree bend: 40 pounds 45 degree bend: 49 pounds 60 degree bend: 60 pounds That amounts to a great deal of unnecessary wear and tear on the joints of the neck! Think about how often you are looking at a device in this way. If you have high school or college age students, the amount of time they do this may exceed many of us. When tissues of the spine are placed in these positions of stress repeatedly and for prolonged periods of time day in and day out, it can lead to tissue inflammation, muscle strain, pinched nerves, herniated discs, and headaches. Medical experts are growing increasingly concerned with the amount of people and particularly young people who require spine care. To avoid this poor...

Unexpected Sources of Pain

Here are some strange but true sources of pain that may not be obvious. If you are suffering from discomfort but just cannot seem to pinpoint what is causing it, consider some of these potential culprits. Our choice of wardrobe: Paying attention to what we choose to wear can have an influence on how we feel. Let’s think about shoes first. Most women can attest to the fact that high heels are known to be uncomfortable but flip-flops/sandals can be problematic too. This type of footwear offers no arch support and can lead to conditions like plantar fasciitis, ankle and knee pain. Save this type of footwear for the beach or in limited time frames. It really is best to have some arch support for everyday use. Watch that wallet-where you keep it that is. Most men like to keep their wallet in one of their back pants pockets. This location however can contribute to back or leg pain. From a seated position, the wallet placement can place unnecessary pressure on the sciatic nerve which can lead to sciatica. The easiest solution is to remove the wallet while driving – especially long distances- or when taking a seat. Tight fitting pants or belts, wearing a phone in a front hip pocket or taking a long bike trip while bent over the handle bars for a long period of time can cause pain in the front and side of the upper thigh. This can sometimes be mistaken for a back nerve root problem but it is actually a sensory nerve impingement syndrome. Monitor anything that may be constricting where your...