Home » Archive by category "Uncategorized" (Page 2)

Stop chronic pain with dry needling

Stop chronic pain with dry needling

Dry needling? What is that?

Being stuck with needles sounds painful.

But, many people don’t feel the needle at all. For certain conditions, a trained physical therapist or pain management specialist can use dry needling to relieve myofascial or migraine pain in just a few treatments.

During this safe and minimally invasive procedure, specialists insert a filament-thin needle into muscles and connective tissues to reach trigger points deep beneath the surface of the skin.

Trigger point dry needling is an effective treatment to combat musculoskeletal pain and restore range-of-motion. Science suggests the process releases chemicals known as inflammatory mediators, which unlock pain and allow muscles to move freely.

Most patients don’t even feel the needle as it moves toward the targeted muscle. Some people report a cramping sensation when the needle reaches and releases the trigger point causing pain in a muscle or joint. After treatment, there may be muscle tenderness along with increased muscle movement.

Based on condition, severity and duration of pain, this type of instrument-assisted manual therapy may be an effective solution for people six years old and older who experience pain caused by an acute injury or a chronic condition. Dry needling can:

  • Increase mobility
  • Increase blood flow to muscles and connecting tissues
  • Relax muscles
  • Decrease muscles tightness
  • Decrease inflammation in surround tissues

Dry needling can be an effective treatment to minimize pain and maximize movement without medication or side effects.

While the needles used during the procedure may resemble those used for acupuncture, dry needling is different in purpose and method. Dry needling stimulates the muscle to restore normal tissue function when used as part of a complete physical-therapy-wellness plan.

Find a physical therapist with Affinity Health Systems or Ministry Health Care




Advance directives: who will speak for you?

Advance directives: who will speak for you?

Imagine waking up from an accident and finding yourself completely paralyzed, unable to breathe without the help of a ventilator.

Imagine your family’s anguish when your routine surgery goes awry and they must make a life or death decision for you.

Even though these scenarios seem extreme, they happen every day in hospitals in our communities.

What if it happened to you?

Who will speak for you? Will they know what to say? Will your family make an emotional recovery from the decision or will it leave a permanent divide?

Advance medical directives make sure medical clinicians administer care according to your preferences without putting additional stresses on your family. Your advance directives can speak for you when you are unable to use your voice for ultimate and end-of-life care. With advance directives, you provide instruction for the use of:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restore or restart heart rhythms
  • Ventilators to take mechanical breaths for your body
  • Artificial feeding tubes and intravenous hydration to provide nutrients
  • End-of-life comfort care to relieve pain, suffering or discomfort in a hospice or palliative care situation

Your advance directives may include several documents. At a minimum, you should complete:

  • A Living Will stating your preferences and conditions for the treatment you receive if you are unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself
  • Instructions for organ and tissue donation, dialysis and blood transfusions

Your advanced directives may include also include a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order. DNR orders MUST be considered carefully.

“A DNR order prevents doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) from restarting or restoring your heart rhythm in the event your heart stops or you have a heart attack,” said Janet Jacoby a Chaplain with Ministry Medical Group. “It’s important to keep in mind that some people who have experienced a heart attack have gone on to live full and productive lives for decades after the event. Others have not been as fortunate. Placement of a DNR order is an intensely personal choice based on your health challenges, your current condition and your family. It requires careful consideration.”

The implementation of advance directives help healthcare professionals comply with your wishes and helps your family feel at ease when you can no longer speak for yourself. No matter how old you are, emergencies can happen. If you do not have advance directives in place, your care will be directed by the doctors and the hospital.

For more information on advance healthcare planning visit http://ministryhealth.org/MinistryHealth/AdvanceCar11.nws

Author: Janet Jacoby, Chaplain

Janet is a Chaplain at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point.

Benefits of garlic

Benefits of garlic

You can ward off vampires with it; and probably keep your significant other at bay as well if you eat enough of it. We’re talking about garlic of course. That aromatic little clove which is closely related to onions, shallots, leeks and chives.
Garlic is native to Asia although it is used in various cuisines including Mediterranean, Latin American and more. China and India are the biggest producers of garlic. The majority of the garlic grown in the United States is centered in Gilroy, California, the ‘garlic capital of the world’. Garlic is also used for medicinal purposes, as an antiseptic in many cultures.

Some research suggests that garlic may help in lowering total cholesterol if taken consistently for many months and other literature hints at an association between garlic consumption and a reduction in stomach cancer. More research is needed to study the effects of garlic on health.

The clove is the most commonly used part of the plant. These fleshy cloves can be found stuck together with other cloves forming a bulb. Garlic can be eaten raw, or cooked (roasted, sautéed, etc.). They have a strong spicy flavor that mellows as it is cooked. The clove is not the only part that is edible, however. Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the plant. They are long and resemble the green leaves of a green onion. They taste just like garlic and be used in similar fashion. Green garlic refers to the immature plant and can be pulled before the plant has an opportunity to fully develop into a bulb with sections of cloves. Much like green onion (scallion) has a smaller onion bulb; green garlic is smaller and has a milder taste. It can be used in stir fries, soups, salads, etc.

Garlic cloves can be used in many dishes and as a seasoning in dressings, salads, in breads, etc. It can be used to make garlic infuse oils (carefully as garlic can spoil and result in bacterial growth) and more. If you have ever heard of aioli, it is a mixture of garlic, egg yolks and olive oil to produce a creamier oil spread.

While many Americans may use garlic powder, it has a different taste than garlic. 1/8 of a teaspoon of garlic powder is said to equal one clove of garlic, the usual way recipes list amounts for garlic to be used.

If you want to use garlic in your cooking, buy it fresh. Do not be tempted to buy the jars of minced garlic. While convenient you will be losing out on the wonderful flavor and aroma fresh garlic imparts.

Enjoy some garlic in your next meal.

Author: Julia Salamon

Julia is a nutrition education and corporate dietitian with Affinity Health System.

Have you heard? Hearing aids can make life better.

Have you heard? Hearing aids can make life better.

You haven’t been able to hear well for quite a while. You have been frustrated because you see people’s mouths moving, but you don’t understand what they are saying. You find yourself straining to hear and, more importantly understand, especially if there is other noise in the room.

Your family has told you to check your hearing in many little ways, such as: “Can you turn the TV down?”… “Does it have to be that loud?”… “It’s always so loud in here.”

Looking back, you may have needed to do something about your hearing for about seven years. That’s the average time that takes for someone who experiences hearing loss to seek help. Seven years is a lot of life to miss.

Don’t wait another minute. Ministry Medical Group Audiology and Affinity Medical Group Audiology can customize treatments and hearing aid fittings to your individual needs. Our audiologists have a close working relationship with our primary care clinicians, pediatricians, neurologists and ENT doctors, which allow us to offer patients thorough, uninterrupted care.

Hearing aids aren’t what they used to be. Today’s technology has made hearing aids smaller, versatile and wireless to work with your iPhone and iPad. The stereo-sound quality and clarity help you hear in the midst of background noise, and eliminate buzzing and whistling from conventional hearing aids.

There are several models that link to your iPhone so that you can hear conversations, enjoy FaceTime, YouTube, Pandora and Podcasts while hearing every word.

Don’t let hearing loss shut you out from family, friends and the things you love. Visit Ministry Health Care or Affinity Health System to learn more.

Author: Patti Todd, Doctor of Audiology (AuD)

Dr. Todd is an Audiologist with Ministry Medical Group in Stevens Point

Are you a secret allergy sufferer?

Are you a secret allergy sufferer?

Springtime is long-awaited and beautiful, but not always for those who suffer from allergies. Grasses, weeds and trees can mean sneezing, a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.

According to pollen.com, Wisconsin is home to more than 130 varieties of trees, weeds and grasses that produce pollen. Nearly 35 percent of those varieties will cause moderate to severe allergic reactions between now and winter.

As plants begin to pollinate, one in five people will experience the uncomfortable symptoms of spring allergies.

Allergy sufferers have highly sensitized immune systems that work overtime. When pollen enters the body, their immune systems release histamines to fight the intruders. These overactive hormones are responsible for the irritating symptoms of allergy.

“You can develop seasonal allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies at any point during your life,” says Dr. Todd Meyer, otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat) with Affinity Medical Group in Appleton. “As a matter of fact, you may have suffered allergies for years, mistaking them for that miserable spring cold you get every year that seems to last until summer.”

So, how can you tell the difference between and allergy and a cold? A quick look at the similarities and differences may help you decide.

  • Do you have a runny nose? Are you congested or sneezing? These are the most common and irritating symptoms of allergies, but these also are symptoms of a cold.
  • What color is your nasal discharge? Yellow, green or thick nasal discharge is a sign of infection. A clear runny nose is a symptom of allergy, unless you have a secondary sinus infection.
  • Do you have a cough or sore throat? If so, that signals a cold. However, if you have post-nasal drip an allergy may cause these same symptoms.
  • Do your eyes burn or feel itchy?  This classic allergy response is caused by histamines.
  • How long has your condition lasted? Colds usually last between three and 14 days. If your “cold” lasts for weeks or started when the trees started to bud, your body may be overreacting to an allergic trigger rather than fending off a cold virus.
  • Do you have a fever and chills? If so, you’re probably suffering from a cold or the flu rather than an allergy.
  • Are you experiencing muscle aches? If so, a virus is often the culprit.
  • Do you find yourself practicing the allergic salute? People who suffer from chronic allergies habitually wipe their itchy noses upward with their palms or the backs of their hands. The frequency of the nasal swipe often causes a crease in the bridge of the nose.

If your symptoms are pointing to an allergy, you should make an appointment with an allergy specialist prior to taking any medication. If your allergy symptoms are contributing to an asthmatic condition, taking an over-the-counter allergy medication could cause a severe reaction.

Minimize your exposure to allergens.

If you suspect you suffer from seasonal allergies, here are eight ways you can minimize your exposure air-borne allergens.

  1. Close your doors and windows to keep pollen outside your home.
  2. Take off your shoes when you enter the house to keep pollen in one location. Vacuum this area often.
  3. Don’t hang your clothes outside. If you miss the smell of fresh air and sunshine on your clothes and towels, buy fresh-scented dryer sheets.
  4. Stay inside during the morning hours when most plants release pollen.
  5. Check out the daily pollen counts in your area. Many television stations or online sites can provide this information.
  6. Take a shower in the evening to remove the pollen that may have collected in your hair during the day. This will prevent you from sleeping on a pillow full of pollen.
  7. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Glasses can minimize the amount of pollen that comes in direct contact with your eyes.
  8. Make an appointment with an allergist. The best way to minimize your exposure to allergy toxins is to know which trees and plants cause your allergic response. An allergist will work with you to determine the cause of your allergies.

In many cases, people have been able to minimize allergy symptoms through allergen immunotherapy.

Author: Dr. Todd Meyer, otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat) with Affinity Medical Group Clinic in Appleton

Don’t wait until your symptoms are bad. Find an ear/nose/throat specialist near you.

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.