Ever wondered if you should ice that sprain or use a heat pack instead? Knowing when to apply heat and ice to injuries can be tricky. Knowing what situations calls for hot, and which calls for cold can be difficult. But what about using both together? Treating pain with hot and cold can be extremely effective for a number of different conditions and injuries, and easily affordable.
Alternating hot and cold therapy is known as contrast therapy and involves alternating applications of heat and ice to relieve the pain associated with injury or overexertion. This simple, affordable, and relatively low-risk treatment can be performed in your own home to provide rapid and natural pain relief for all sorts of aches and pains. In order to understand the benefits of contrast therapy, it’s beneficial to know exactly when and why heat and ice work for pain relief—and when they don’t.
HEAT THERAPY: How it works
Heat therapy works by improving circulation and blood flow to a particular area due to increased temperature. Increasing the temperature of the afflicted area even slightly can soothe discomfort and increase muscle flexibility. It can also relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue.
There are two different types of heat therapy: dry heat and moist heat. Both types of heat therapy should aim for “warm” as the ideal temperature instead of “hot.” There are certain cases where heat therapy should not be used, however. For example, if the area in question is either bruised or swollen (or both), it may be better to use cold therapy. Heat therapy also shouldn’t be applied to an area with an open wound. In addition, people with certain pre-existing conditions should not use heat therapy due to higher risk of burns or complications due to heat application. These conditions include:
COLD THERAPY: How it works
Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, works by reducing blood flow to a particular area, which can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or a tendon. It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain. There are a number of different ways to apply cold therapy to an affected area. Treatment options include:
Which Injuries Does Contrast Therapy Work Best For?
Contrast therapy will relieve pain and swelling associated with a variety of injuries. This versatile treatment can be used for a variety of conditions, including:
Better Together: Alternating Hot and Cold Therapy
Alternating hot and cold therapy offers benefits above and beyond ice or heat alone, although it’s important to avoid this treatment if you have an acute injury or certain medical conditions. For most people, contrast therapy offers an easy and cheap way to lower inflammation, loosen muscles, and enjoy natural pain relief. Perseverance is key to effective contrast therapy. If you’re seeing benefits, keep up the treatments until you are fully healed.
There was a time when we thought “clean eating” meant eating plain steamed veggies and little else. How wrong we were! Just because February is the shortest month of the year, doesn't mean it shouldn't be filled with delicious, seasonal food. Shake off the winter doldrums and make these hearty and healthy recipes for chili, chicken, salads, tacos and more!
Creamy White Chili
This rich and creamy chili comes together in a flash thanks to quick-cooking chicken thighs and canned white beans. Mashing some of the beans acts as a fast thickener when your soups don't have a long time to simmer. Cream cheese adds the final bit of richness and a hint of sweet tang. Click HERE for recipe.
Smoky Steak Fajitas
Fajitas can be a little boring, don't you think? Not when they're topped with this nutritious and savory onion and bell pepper mixture! Click HERE for recipe.
Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Tossing the warm, roasted vegetables with fresh spinach gently wilts and tenderizes the greens. In place of sweet potatoes, try butternut squash, rutabaga, carrots, or parsnips. This heart-healthy salad also pairs well with fish or lean beef. Click HERE for recipe.
Avocado Feta Dip
There is something about the creamy avocado and salty feta that goes downright perfect together. It’s smooth, but has the bite from the cheese. The tomatoes give it just a touch of lovely color, and the entire dip comes together in just five simple ingredients! Click HERE for recipe.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Topped with marinara, sautéed spinach, and crispy panko goat cheese medallions, this is a delicious and easy vegetarian stuffed portobello mushroom recipe that will soon become a favorite! Click HERE for recipe.
We hope these recipes brighten up your winter! If you make one, please don’t forget to take a picture and share it on Facebook page HERE!
February is the month of love, so it is only fitting that it is also American Heart Month. Unfortunately, however, Heart Month doesn't mean all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, heart disease, otherwise known as cardiovascular disease, is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
Cardiovascular disease includes strokes, heart disease and high blood pressure, and studies show that men are twice more likely than women to die from this disease. All hope is not lost, however, as there are preventative measures one can do to help reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. As a matter of fact, it's as simple as: a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
Adopting healthier eating habits is the first step toward a healthier heart. Just a few (of many) ways a healthy diet benefits the heart are:
In addition to a healthy diet, an active lifestyle also plays a vital role in combating heart disease. More specifically, exercise benefits the heart by:
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week (or a combination of the two). People who maintain an active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing heart disease than do sedentary people, while sedentary people have a 35% greater risk of developing high blood pressure that physically active people. In addition, benefits occur even with modest weight loss, suggesting that overweight people who have trouble losing weight can still achieve considerable amounts of heart benefits from exercise.
There are many ways to end the rise of cardiovascular disease, but one of the most beneficial we have yet to mention is physical therapy. Exercise-based rehabilitation (PT) for individuals with heart disease significantly improves outcomes and mortality rates. In fact, patients who performed strengthening and functional tasks three times a week for four weeks following a stroke have shown to make significant improvements in strength, walking speed and endurance.
If you or your loved one has cardiovascular disease, encourage them to make changes today. Start with diet and exercise, then call The Smith Clinic. You owe it to your heart!
1. PHYSICAL THERAPISTS HAVE DOCTORATE DEGREES
Physical therapy is not limited to massage, there is a great deal of evaluation and diagnosing that requires proper education. When physical therapy originally became recognized as a profession, one required a bachelor’s degree to practice. In the 1990s programs transitioned to a Master of Science degree, and now in the 21st century the profession has advanced to the doctoral level. To become a physical therapy assistant, an associate degree is required. A physical therapy assistant helps the physical therapist in the treatment of patients but does not perform evaluation techniques.
2. THERE ARE NUMEROUS TYPES OF PHYSICAL THERAPY
Like any other form of healthcare, there are several specialties that address different types of injuries and focus on specific areas or parts of the body. Some of the areas of specialty in physical therapy The Smith Clinic offers include:
Orthopedic and sports rehab
Cardiovascular and pulmonary
Pre- and post-operative care
For a full list of treatments we offer, visit our "What We Treat" page HERE.
3. PHYSICAL THERAPY IS BOTH REHABILITATIVE AND PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Physical therapy provides treatment to relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function, which includes education of patients in home programs to self-rehabilitate conditions. In addition, The Smith Clinic for Physical Therapy instructs patients in behavioral modification and prevention strategies to avoid recurrence or onset of new conditions.
For more information about physical therapy and all the services our clinic has to offer, visit our Services page HERE or call us at 901.756.1650 to schedule a consultation.
The Smith Clinic had the privilege of hosting a Dry Needing Seminar at the Clinic this past weekend. Dry Needling is a treatment technique used by physical therapists to relieve pain, muscle tension and improve mobility. The Smith Clinic uses this technique to treat a variety of musculoskeletal problems every day.
To learn more about dry needling, visit our website at: www.thesmithclinic.com/dry-needling.html.
Winter is in full swing, which means more people are at an increased risk of getting sick. Colds and the flu aren’t the only health issues seen at this time of year.
Here are tips to avoid common winter health issues:
You can help prevent colds by washing your hands regularly. This destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people, such as light switches and door handles.
Read this guide to how to wash your hands properly.
It's also important to keep the house and any household items such as cups, glasses and towels clean, especially if someone in your house is ill.
Top tip: If you get a cold, use disposable tissues instead of fabric handkerchiefs to avoid constantly reinfecting your own hands.
Read five surprising facts about the common cold.
Sore throats are common in winter and are almost always caused by viral infections. There's some evidence that changes in temperature, such as going from a warm, centrally heated room to the icy outdoors, can also affect the throat.
Top tip: One quick and easy remedy for a sore throat is to gargle with warm salty water. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water. It won't heal the infection, but it has anti-inflammatory properties and can have a soothing effect.
Cold air is a major trigger of asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. People with asthma should be especially careful in winter.
Top tip: Stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out, wear a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth. Be extra vigilant about taking your regular medications, and keep reliever inhalers close by.
Also known as the stomach flu, norovirus is an extremely infectious stomach bug. It can strike all year round, but is more common in winter and in places such as hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and schools.The illness is very unpleasant, but it's usually over within a few days.
Top tip: When people are ill with norovirus, it's important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Young children and the elderly are especially at risk. By drinking oral rehydration fluids (available from pharmacies), you can reduce the risk of dehydration.
Many people with arthriitis say their joints become more painful and stiff in winter, though it's not clear why this is the case. There's no evidence that changes in the weather cause joint damage.
Top tip: Many people get a little depressed during the winter months, and this can make them perceive pain more acutely. Everything feels worse, including medical conditions. Daily exercise can boost a person's mental and physical state. Swimming is ideal as it's easy on the joints.
Most of us recognise that cold sores are a sign that we're run down or under stress. While there's no cure for cold sores, you can reduce the chances of getting one by looking after yourself through winter.
Top tip: Every day, do things that make you feel less stressed, such as having a hot bath, going for a walk in the park, or watching one of your favourite films.
Read about 8 Immediate Stress Busters to help minimize stress.
Heart attacks are more common in winter. This may be because cold weather increases blood pressure and puts more strain on the heart. Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it's cold.
Top tip: Stay warm in your home. Heat the main rooms you use to at least 65F and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed. Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.
Cold Hands and Feet
Raynaud's phenomenon is a common condition that makes your fingers and toes change color and become very painful in cold weather. Fingers can go white, then blue, then red, and throb and tingle. The small blood vessels of the hands and feet go into spasm, temporarily reducing blood flow to your hands and feet. In severe cases, medication can help, but most people manage to live with their symptoms.
Top tip: Don't smoke or drink caffeine (both can worsen symptoms) and always wear warm gloves, socks and shoes when going out in cold weather.
Dry skin is a common condition and is often worse during the winter, when environmental humidity is low. Moisturising is essential during winter. Contrary to popular belief, moisturising lotions and creams aren't absorbed by the skin. Instead, they act as a sealant to stop the skin's natural moisture evaporating away. The best time to apply moisturiser is after a bath or shower while your skin is still moist, and again at bedtime.
Top tip: Have warm, rather than hot, showers. Water that is too hot makes skin feel more dry and itchy.
The flu can be a real danger to those most vulnerable. People aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are particularly at risk.
The best way to prevent getting flu is to have the flu shot. The flu vaccine gives good protection against flu and lasts for one year. If you are over 65 or have a long term health condition, you are also eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which provides protection against pneumonia.
Whichever healthy steps you take this year, remember they're an investment in you and your future. So follow these steps toward better health -- or take your own. Bank a little more sleep this year. Set aside stressful differences. Stock a healthier pantry. It's your body -- and your future!
If you’ve never been through physical therapy, it’s understandable to feel hesitant, nervous, or even a bit scared about what the experience will entail. But rest assured, there is nothing frightening about physical therapy. In fact, it’s something you can look forward to, because it just might be the ticket to getting you back to 100% again.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about physical therapy:
What Should I Wear to Physical Therapy?
The main rule to follow here is to dress comfortably. You will be moving around, so I’d recommend you wear loose-fitting clothing, such as a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, shorts, or a pair of sweatpants. Comfortable footwear, like sneakers, are also a must. If you’re coming right from work and your clothes are constricting, simply pack a bag of comfy exercise clothes and change upon arrival.
Does Physical Therapy Hurt?
While all injuries vary in severity, and pain thresholds are different, physical therapy generally will not hurt. You may feel some discomfort, since the painful area or injury site is the focus of the therapy, but our amazing staff will work closely with you to ensure you’re feeling as little discomfort as possible while still receiving helpful therapy. It’s important to communicate thoroughly with your physical therapist, so he or she is aware of how you’re feeling at all times. The patient-therapist relationship is critical to your healing journey, so don’t hesitate to let your therapist know if you’re uncomfortable.
Do You Accept My Medical Insurance?
The Smith Clinic does accept most medical insurance plans, but you can find out for sure by calling us at (901) 756-1650. Just make sure to have your insurance card handy, and we’ll get started on learning more about your coverages!
How Long Is Each Treatment?
Each treatment session varies in length depending on your injury and what is being treated. In general, however, most sessions last between 30 minutes and one hour. We know you have a busy schedule, so if you need a quick session, just let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs.
Do I Need a Referral?
You do not need referral or prescription from your doctor when going for physical therapy thanks to Direct Access, which allows The Smith Clinic to implement a treatment plan for 30 days in the state of Tennessee. No more prescriptions, referrals, or unnecessary doctor’s appointments standing in the way of you getting physical therapy!
If you need physical therapy, we are here for you! The Smith Clinic will ease your mind and remove any trepidation you might have about PT, and we will work with you closely to ensure you’re getting the most comfortable treatment that puts you on the road to recovery. Give us a call at (901) 756-1650 or fill out a form online to set up your first appointment.
When you think about a debilitating headache, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a migraine headache, right? Migraines are, indeed, a very serious issue, but there is another kind of headache that can be debilitating as well, and it’s called a tension headache.
A tension headache can be caused by several different factors, but most commonly, the cause is not enough sleep, skipping meals, decreased fluid intake, stress, depression, and anxiety. Tension headaches can occur in episodes of a few times a month, or they can be chronic, occurring 15 or more times a month over a three or more month period.
Some other facts about tension headaches:
You have probably taken ibuprofen or acetaminophen in an effort to get pain relief from your tension headaches. But when tension headaches begin to impact your daily routines, it may be time to try something new to rid yourself of the pain. Physical therapy just might be the alternative you need.
During your physical therapy appointments, your physical therapist will:
Call us today at (901) 756-1650 to get started, and we’ll be looking forward to helping you get rid of those tension headaches for good!
We have had another great year at The Smith Clinic! We want to say "Thank you!" to all of our patients, fitness members and their families for allowing us to serve and help heal you in 2019.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year, and if you need us in 2020, please remember you have a choice,..we hope you will allow us to serve you again!
The Smith Clinic had the privilege of celebrating Corey this week, wishing him well as he begins PT school in January. While we are sad to see him go, we are excited for Corey and his family as they embark on a new and exciting journey!
Best Wishes, Corey! We can't wait to see what the future holds for you!