Like many of you, our earliest memories of St. Patrick’s Day are from elementary school. We hunted for four-leaf clovers in the grass during recess, pinched each other for not wearing green and enjoyed a variety of “green food” (thanks to the miracle of food coloring). Yet, none of this had anything to do with the man behind this spring holiday. In fact, many of us still have no idea who St. Patrick was, except that his holiday leads to big sales and large displays of corned beef at the grocery store.
The Story of St. Patrick
At 16, Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland as a slave. He remained there for six years before he heard a voice say, “Behold, thy ship is ready.” He found that ship 200 miles away and fled Ireland, thinking he’d never return.
Like his father, Patrick got involved in his church, ultimately ordained as a priest. In 432 A.D., at the age of 48, Patrick responded to a vision, which led him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Though no outside religion had penetrated Ireland for a thousand years, Patrick experienced incredible success through unconventional methods. Reports vary, but it seems Patrick planted several hundred churches and baptized thousands, possibly tens of thousands. His influence continued after his death, with the end of the slave trade and a decrease in violent crimes.
To this day, Patrick is credited as evangelizing Ireland and according to Cahill, saving Western civilization.
What St. Patrick's Day means for us TODAY
In a world where we tend to demonize those who disagree with us and struggle to connect with those who live and believe differently, we find several attitudes in Patrick that can guide our lives in public and private as followers of Jesus: Love God and love your enemies.
In his autobiography, Confessio, Patrick described how his faith grew during captivity as a young adult. “More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day and in the night nearly as often.” This wasn’t simply a private love for God; it produced a public love for his enemies. Patrick came to love his captors, to identify with them and to hope for their reconciliation to God.
Patrick embodied Jesus’ command in Matthew 5 to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” While it’s easy to gravitate to our tribes online and shout down those who disagree with us, Patrick shows us the impact we can make when we love those who are against us.
However you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, may we remember the example that St. Patrick set before us...love never fails.
Smith Clinic Patients and Guests,
In the wake of recent developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we feel it is our responsibility not only to keep you healthy, but to also keep you informed. We are actively monitoring updates and advice regarding the Coronavirus through local, state and federal health officials and will keep you informed of any changes or additional information that might impact our community.
Please be assured that our staff is taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of illness in our facility. We have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols and increased the frequency in which we disinfect high-use surfaces such as door knobs, bathrooms and fitness equipment. In an effort to best protect our patients, guests and staff, we encourage you to take the following measures while in our facility:
The Smith Clinic maintains our commitment to keeping a safe and clean environment, and we greatly appreciate your help in ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our patients, fitness members, guests and staff. If you have any questions or we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you for doing your part to keep yourself and others healthy.
The Smith Clinic Staff
Beyond minor abrasions, blisters, and cramps, the most common sports injuries are due to overuse. For example, tennis players who repeatedly stress their forearm muscles may develop tennis elbow, runners whose shoes aren’t supportive enough may be plagued by shin splints or runner’s knee, and baseball players who don’t work to strengthen their shoulder in the off-season may find themselves with a shoulder impingement. Running—since it involves every muscle from the foot to the neck, putting particular strain on the legs—leads to the most injuries, and running is an essential element of many active sports. But everyone from amateur practitioners to pro athletes are plagued by these seven most common sports injuries. Knowing how to prevent and treat these injuries can keep their occurrence rare and minor.
1: Pulled muscle
The most common sports injury is pulled muscles. Muscles get “pulled” when a sudden, severe force stretches the fibers beyond their capacity. If only some fibers tear, then it’s a pulled muscle; if all of them tear, then it’s a full-blown muscle tear. Hamstring pulls are particularly common among runners, and most everyone has experienced a pulled calf muscle. Stretching before and after exercise helps prevent muscle pulls, but even so they may pull from overuse, fatigue, weakness, lack of flexibility, or a sudden fall. Treat a pulled muscle with ice and rest until the pain and swelling subside. An anti-inflammatory pain reliever may also help. The muscle fibers must be gradually re-lengthened with gentle stretching as soon as it’s tolerable, so the fibers don’t heal in a shortened state. If repeated pulls occur around one area, work to strengthen the immediate and surrounding muscles.
2: Runner’s knee
Knee injuries account for more than half of sports injuries. Many of the kneecap’s aches and pains are grouped into a catch-all bucket of “runner’s knee,” which of course affects more than just runners. Runner’s knee is a misalignment of the kneecap; as the knee flexes or straightens out, it pulls off to the side and rubs the side of the groove, wearing our the cartilage and sometimes causing fluid to build up and swell the knee. You can prevent runner’s knee by wearing properly supportive footwear and strengthening the quadriceps muscle, both of which help align the kneecap in the center of its groove. Treat runner’s knee by stretching and massaging the quadriceps, which stretches the muscle fibers and alleviates the contraction that’s pulling the kneecaps up.
3: Shoulder impingement
A very delicate part of the body, the shoulder is involved in about 20% of sports injuries. The shoulder bones are held together by a group of muscles called the rotator cuff muscles, and they are responsible for the shoulder’s fine movements. If the shoulder joint is continually stressed—as in sports that involve throwing or hitting a ball (baseball, tennis, golf, volleyball, etc.) as well as weight training and swimming—then the rotator cuff muscles stretch out, which allows the head of the joint to become loose within the shoulder socket. When the arm is raised it can catch the tendon of the short head of the biceps between the ball and the socket, impinging the shoulder and inflaming the tendons. Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles is the best way to keep the joint in the socket and avoid this injury. If you impinge a shoulder, the RICE method may be used, but if the pain persists then physical therapy may be necessary.
4: Shin splints
Affecting athletes who run a lot, shin splints are pains in the muscles near the shin bones. The muscle responsible for raising the arch of the foot attaches to the shin bone on the inside of the leg, and repeated stress can cause the arch to pull some of its muscle fibers loose from the shin bone, causing minor internal bleeding and pain. They occur when running or jumping on a hard surface, especially for people who aren’t used to exercising or who increase the intensity of their workout too fast, or simply from overuse or unsupportive shoes. To prevent shin splints, increase arch support to avoid excessive pronation and pull on the tendon. It can also help to vary the surface you’re working on, for example, switching from asphalt to grass to soften the impact. Treatment consists of ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medication.
5: Tennis elbow
Elbow injuries account for 7% of all sports injuries. Tennis elbow affects the muscles of the forearm and the tendon the connects the muscles to the elbow bones—in other words, the muscles that bend the wrist backward and cause the wrist to turn the palm face up. When overused—as in sports like tennis and golf—these muscles become inflamed. It’s called tennis elbow because the backhand tennis stroke is a common culprit in this injury. Golfers experience pain in the non-dominant arm, as the forearm pulls the club through the swing. The best prevention is to re-situate the body positioning to take stress off the elbow. Forearm-strengthening exercises may also help, such as squeezing a soft rubber ball.
6: Ankle sprain
Ankle sprains are common among athletes who jump, run, and turn quickly, including soccer, hockey, basketball, and volleyball players. The quick movements lead to a twisted ankle (stretched ligaments) or sprained ankle (partial or full tear), often when the foot rolls to the outside instead of landing squarely on the sole. The ankle may swell up and turn black and blue; if it can still bear some weight, it’s probably not broken, but an x-ray can rule out a hair-line fracture. The best treatment is RICE, which limits internal bleeding and reduces the swelling. Prevent ankle sprains by—you guessed it—strengthening the muscles, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, all of which promote stability. A lace-up or compression ankle brace can also help, especially with weak ankles.
7: Achilles tendinitis
The largest tendon in the body, the Achilles connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is responsible for lifting the heel off the ground. This tendon may suffer tendinitis and become inflamed when overused, especially in sports that involve frequent running or jumping, such as basketball, lacrosse, skiing, and volleyball. Excessive pronation of the ankle and food can cause the Achilles to tear—which announces itself with a pain like a gunshot. Treatment of a minor Achilles tendinitis involves RICE, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medication, but tears may require surgery. Prevention includes strengthening the muscles, particularly the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.
If you or a loved one experience any sports-related injury, trust The Smith Clinic to get you back on your feet. Call us today to schedule a consultation and get on the road to recovery!
Note: “RICE” is a common treatment for many minor injuries. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
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!