by David Rothwell, M.D.
On occasion, I am faced with making decisions for my loved ones regarding health matters. Whether it’s a cold and runny nose or a much more serious matter, I am forced into that grey area of being a non-objective physician.
So it has been with 2 of 3 kids and sports-related injuries. Specifically, inflammatory type injuries related to overuse. Kids these days have many options for activities. Any given sport can be played almost year-round. Many kids are specializing with a sport at a much earlier age. That combined with practices, training, league games, and tournaments (sometimes every weekend for months on end) can lead to overuse injuries. Yes, even kids can have overuse injuries.
What are these? Tendonitis (or inflammation of a tendon), pulled muscles, foot problems, knee pain, shoulder injuries (i.e., rotator cuff). These injuries typically MANDATE rest and rest is the number one way to get them to heal.
Other things do help. Physical therapy, NSAIDS (i.e., ibuprofen), stretching, and ice are all often necessary to some degree. But rest is the most important aspect of getting an overuse injury to heal. Without rest the bone, tendon, ligament, and/or muscle will remain inflammed leading to chronic injury (an entire other subject…so let’s avoid if at all possible). And by rest it typically means anywhere from a few days to weeks. If the injury is recurrent it is very likely due to lack of proper rest.
Kids need time to recover, too. Their developing bodies simply aren’t made to withstand months and months of relentless physical activity. And let us not forget…they are kids!
So this summer in the midst of gymnastics competitions, baseball, volleyball camps, basketball tournaments, and anything else your child is into, make sure they get plenty of rest. Allow plenty of time for normal play in between all of the scheduled activities. If pain develops use rest, ice, and NSAIDS to help with healing. If these don’t help, see a physician for an opinion and further investigation. Physical therapy or a specialist referral might be needed. Rarely is surgery needed. What will you hear along with the diagnosis, though? Let him/her rest!
David Rothwell, M.D.
6307 Waterford Blvd, Ste. 127
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
by Deena Bradford, LPN
Q. How Do I Get Started Running?
A. First, you have to get up off the couch! Seriously, you have to get moving. Too many people start a program too fast and their body rebels. Injuries occur this way and people get discouraged. You can’t expect to be as fit as you were in your younger years. Running takes time to break into. Start slow and gradually build up. Your body will thank you.
Before beginning any work-out program, makes sure your physician approves.
Now that you are off the couch, you need comfy, durable shoes and lightweight non-restrictive clothing. I learned the hard way about the shoes. It made a world of difference in my comfort and recovery when I purchased good running shoes.
Set a goal. Are you running to lower your blood pressure? Do you want to run a marathon? Start small and work for that marathon. After volunteering at the first aide tent at the Autism Piece walk/5K I said, “I’m going to run the 5k next year.” That is what I did in May, 2012, plus 4 more including a mud obstacle. I’m a very goal-driven person and that is just what I needed. Maybe your goal is to run a mile, or run to the stop sign at the end of your block. You have to start somewhere. Remember: No matter how small your goal you will still be running laps around the people sitting on their couches!
Most professionals agree that the best way to become a runner is with a run-walk program. There are multiple run-walk programs out there. Pick one that suits your fitness level and your schedule.
Find a work-out partner. If you run outside, bring your phone, stay aware of your surroundings, and tell someone your route. Stay hydrated and know your limits.
Good luck. You can do it.
by Deena Bradford, LPN
Having a healthy snack between meals can actually be beneficial. It helps to maintain your blood sugar levels preventing ravenous hunger that leads to overeating. Sometimes the drive home from work can be absolutely brutal for me! Fighting the urge to go through a drive through or stop at a convenience store for a snack. It helps to plan ahead and have healthy options readily available. Here are some healthy snack options so stock up:
Watch out for the “protein and energy bars”. Especially those found in the convenience stores. Turn them over and look at the labels. It takes an extra few seconds, but it is well worth it. Especially when you fine this “Warning: This product contains sugar alcohols, which may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Excessive consumption may cause laxative effect!” Doesn’t sound too pleasant to me!
The key to snacking is portion control. Grabbing a large handful of almonds, heaping tablespoon of peanut butter and excessive amounts of dressing with your vegetables can be very counterproductive. Snack smart!
Have a health question for me? Email me at dbradford (at) salernohealth (dot) com and I’ll try to answer your question in a future post. It can be anonymous!
Each week we’ll be posting an “Ask the Nurse” post here on the blog and on Facebook, answered by Salerno Health nurse Deena Bradford in Oklahoma City. If you have questions you’d like to ask, message us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/salernohealth) or ask us a question in comments and we’ll add it to our mail bag for a future post.
Q. What can I do to lose weight? Really.
A. The typical answer is “consume fewer calories and exercise.” However, as most of you know, with our hectic schedules that is easier said than done. The good news is there are more ways than ever to keep track of your daily intake and exercise.
In order for us to stay on track, counting calories has to be simple. Smart phones and apps help simplify this process. How detailed do you want to get? Most apps allow you to input starting weight, goal weight, daily calorie goal, and exercise. They include a searchable nutrition database with thousands of foods, including many restaurants.
Entering your food diary has also been made easier by the ability to scan the barcode on the package. Personally, I keep track of my daily percentage of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which is feature on many apps. For those of you who need the encouragement and motivation, virtual badges can be earned, and you can add friends to get advice and tips from people you trust. Many of these apps can also be accessed from your PC, as well. I become bored with apps very easily so I keep two on my phone an switch back and forth to break the monotony.
If you’d like to give it a try, here are a few to try out:
Good luck and keep it up!
Deena Bradford, LPN
by David Rothwell, MD
I don’t have 50 employees so I am ok….right?
If you have less than 50 full time equivalent (FTE) employees, you do not have to provide health insurance to them. Whether you have 2 or 50, you are not mandated. Many small business owners provide health insurance as a benefit for just a few key employees. The remainder are left to get their own. With the Affordable Care Act now coming into play, these employees are now required by law to have qualified health insurance. This means no mini-med plans. No catastrophic only plans. A plan must be qualified and cover basic preventive health needs along with a host of other benefits. In fact, health insurance companies will be unlikely to even put a non-qualified plan on the market. Why would they?
So you’re in the clear…right? In a sense, yes. It’s not your responsibility, after all. There will be that national health insurance exchange. The same market for individual health insurance that is predicted to cost your employees 50-100% more in 2014. Even with some subsidation, these exchange options are going to be very expensive. Too expensive for most.
Solutions? One excellent option is to look at group plans for your employees. Even if you don’t pay for this benefit, this will give them potentially a much more affordable health benefit they otherwise couldn’t afford. In fact, if your company makes on average $50,000 per employee and you have under 25 FTEs, you qualify for significant tax credits. 50% in 2014!
Salerno Health partners with a qualified health insurance plan managed through a broker that compliments our benefits and allows for 30-50% savings over your current plan or quotes for group coverage. How? We take care of the most common health care needs of our members. We allow for insurance to take care of those more expensive, less common health issues that health insurance was intended for all along. Your employees and their families now have an excellent health benefit that meets their needs. For the employer, this option allows for potential money back in your pocket at year end. For small businesses, that is unheard of!
If this interests you, call us today at 405-607-4455 and ask for Mark Maxted. He’ll give you a free quote on providing this option to your employees. Even if they pay for this through you, their employer, they now have a qualified health benefit and no longer have to search on their own for health insurance, which can help with employee retention and job satisfaction, too. It’s a win-win for employer and employee.
David Rothwell, M.D.
6307 Waterford Blvd, Ste. 127
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
by David Rothwell, M.D.
No matter what your position is regarding the outcome of the election, one thing is now a virtual certainty: Obamacare is going to happen! And NOW is the time to act.
With President Obama returning to office for a second term, and with a Democrat-controlled Senate, we will not see any substantial change to the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare). Any change will happen only out of necessity (a portion is determined to be untenable) and will have to be agreed upon by a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House. So what does this mean?
Some key features for employers to immediately consider:
This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg! This law and subsequent “tax” implications now affects EVERYBODY. The state exchanges are mostly nowhere near ready to accept patients. The definition of the federal exchange (where people go when their state doesn’t have an exchange ready) is really a moving target right now. There are many unanswered questions.
So what options exist? Insurance companies are scrambling trying to figure out how to get the cost for health insurance low enough to not force employers to simply pay the “tax” (i.e., fine) for not providing coverage. Right now it’s cheaper just to pay the fine! And send employees to the exchanges where they will be left to fend for themselves.
Enter Direct Medical Care and Salerno Health. By cutting health insurance out of the equation for the most common health care needs patients have, Salerno Health is able to substantially reduce cost to employers in providing health care benefits. Combined with a major medical insurance product that complements our benefits (a.k.a. “wrap around” insurance product) employees will have comprehensive and affordable care that meets Obamacare criteria. And with pricing that negates the need to simply opt out and pay the fine.
Are you ready? Call Salerno Health today.
David Rothwell, M.D., Managing Partner
by Shannon Reed, DO; a member network provider of Salerno Health
How often do you need a pap smear?
Just hearing those two words makes most women cringe, but don’t stop reading because I have good news. They are continually updating the recommendations on how often you need a pap smear, and guess what? You do not need one every year any more!
All of the recent changes can be confusing. In order to feel comfortable with less frequent testing, it helps to understand why the changes developed. Screening is unfortunately not practical for many types of cancers. In order for a screening test to be useful, it needs to be widely available, reasonably priced, and safe for the patient. Also, early detection needs to increase the survival rate more so than waiting to diagnose the disease after symptoms develop.
Pap Smears do just that. Cervical cancer screening has proven to successfully decrease the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer. We now know that persistent cervical infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is necessary for the development of cervical cancer. We also have the technology to screen for the presence of HPV.
Genital HPV is acquired through sexual contact. It is highly prevalent in women under thirty. Approximately 90% of HPV infections are transient, becoming undetectable within one to years. This means that the vast majority of the time a woman’s own immune system will eradicate the virus before it can cause any problems. By adding HPV detection to the pap smear, you are able to separate out the women who are at higher risk for developing cervical cancer, and by knowing that 90% of those women will get better without any medical intervention means less frequent pap smears and fewer unnecessary and more invasive cervical biopsies.
So what are the newest recommendations?
You now have access to affordable health care. You do not need an exam nearly as often. Hopefully, you are running out of excuses . . . call and schedule your well woman exam today!
Visit Salerno Health’s web site to view our services and member providers.