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Health Q&A

Posted November 07, 2012 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Q: How can senior citizens start a safe exercise program?

A: Essential to staying healthy, fit and slowing the effects of aging is exercise.  Many seniors find themselves wanting to exercise more often but are worried that their bodies just won’t be able to take the exertion.

While your body is definitely not the same as it was when you were 20, research has shown that a regular exercise program is extremely beneficial. Studies conducted have concluded that the physical decline we normally associate with aging may not have to do with aging at all, but a lack of physical activity as people get older.

But it’s not too late. You should always talk with your physician first before starting an exercise program to optimize your results and reduce the risk of injury. Here are some tips for starting your exercise program.
• Know your limits.
• Strength training — free weights and resistance bands.
• Cardio exercise — brisk walk, jog, or bike riding.
• Utilize personal trainers through your local gym.
Developing a safe exercise program brings you closer to a healthier and active lifestyle.

Information provided by Kris Baker, Norwalk Nursing and Rehab, 921 Sunset Drive, Norwalk, 515-981-0604.
 
 

Q: How can my family stay healthy during holiday travel?

A: If your holiday travel plans involve a boarding pass or ticket, they’ll also probably involve other peoples’ germs. Keep yourself and your family safe and healthy with these travel tips for the holiday season.
• Keep your hands out of and away from your mouth. This seems basic but think about the number of times you chew on a fingernail, lean on your hand or get your fingers near your mouth; it adds up.
• Wash and sanitize. Anti-bacterial sanitizer is good in a pinch, but no substitute for actual soap and water. When you get a chance, wash your hands while traveling.
• Be wary of common areas. Handrails, hard plastic airport seats, overhead compartments — if a lot of people touch them, they could still be carrying germs.
• Drink water. Being well hydrated helps keep your body healthy and may help fend off illness.
• Take your vitamins. Zinc and vitamin C can really help boost your immune system. You can also snack on antioxidant rich foods like apples and raisins while in transit.
• Pack tissues. When someone next to you sneezes, you may feel funny about covering your nose/mouth, but it is not a bad idea. And if you have to sneeze, you need to be sure to use a tissue yourself.

From the physicians and staff at Norwalk Family Physicians, have a safe and healthy holiday season.

Information from blisstree.com/tips for healthy holiday travel, provided by Ronda Montgomery, Norwalk Family Physicians, 801 Colonial Circle, 285-3200.
 
 

Q: What are some tips for successful contact lens wear?

A: Here is some practical advice that we share with patients:
1. Always wash your hands with cream free soap before handling the lenses.
2. Clean and disinfect your lenses with an approved multipurpose solution. Never use homemade saline or tap water.
3. Change your contact lens case every six months and completely submerge the lenses in the case with multipurpose solution. Never reuse solution.
4. Do not share your lenses with others.
5. Do not put contacts in your mouth or moisten them with saliva.
6. Follow the wearing and replacement schedule your doctor recommended.
7. Remove contacts before swimming or entering a hot tub.

As you can see, using common sense can help avoid complications. Contact lenses are medical devices and should be treated accordingly. Regular checkups are important to monitor the fit and vision with the lenses and to assess the health of eyes.

Information provided by Dr. Michael O’Meara, Optometric Associates, 1228 Sunset Drive, Suite A, Norwalk, 515-981-0224
 
 

Q: My dentist recommended sealants for my child’s teeth. What does that involve?

A: Sealants are a liquid coating a dentist applies to protect the pits and fissures of teeth. Back teeth, in particular, have pits and fissures because those teeth are designed for crushing and chewing food. The uneven terrain of those teeth is particularly vulnerable to the development of cavities. The good news, though, is that if cavities have not developed by the time a person is in his or her early 20s , it is not likely they will. So it’s for the younger person that sealants can be useful.

The procedure if perfectly painless — no needs and no drilling. The dentist will surround the tooth he or she is working on with cotton balls and dry the tooth. The dentist will then apply a dilute acid liquid or gel that is used to etch slightly into the enamel. Over the etched area the dentist will apply a liquid plastic that will seep into the etched surface, attach to the enamel and harden. Some sealants harden by themselves in less than a minute. Others harden after being exposed to ultra-violet light for a few seconds. The resulting seal prevents bacteria from getting into the protected pit or fissure. Talk with your dentist about whether you or your children might be candidates for sealants.

Information provided by Norwalk Family Dentistry, 1101 Chatham Ave.,     256-9000.
 
 

Q: Can a person who had back or neck surgery see a chiropractor?

A: Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that up to half of those who had back surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too-common occurrence is known as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.”

Chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. There are several forms of gentle spinal corrections that can be given to correct the misaligned vertebra and restore body balance depending on the surgery that was performed and the condition the spine is in.

Chiropractic is among the safest of the healing arts. As proof, one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other health professionals. Chiropractors’ malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors, especially orthopedic surgeons.

Information provided by Norwalk Chiropractic, 1228 Sunset, Suite B, 981-9208, www.norwalk-chiropractic.com.
 
 

Q: What else can I do for my headache?

A: The International Headache Society has identified 14 different types and sub-classifications of headaches. The most common types of headaches are migraine, cluster, tension and cervicogenic. It is estimated that 47 percent of the global population suffers from a headache, and 15 to 20 percent of those headaches are cervicogenic in nature*.

Cervicogenic headaches are caused by dysfunction of bony and soft tissue structures of the cervical spine, such as the upper cervical facet joints, upper cervical disc segments, muscles and ligaments. Physical therapy has proven effective in treating patients who suffer from cervicogenic headaches, so it is necessary to have general knowledge of different types of headaches in order to determine if the patient is appropriate for physical therapy.

A comprehensive physical therapy evaluation is performed to determine the specific symptom-generating structure. Treatment may consist of specific manual therapy techniques, neuro re-education, cervical stabilization exercises, and cervical proprioception, as well as other postural training. Success of physical therapy treatment for cervicogenic headaches depends on the thorough physical therapy exam and the successful execution of the patient-specific comprehensive treatment plan.

If you have a headache that won’t go away, contact Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers in Norwalk, 515-953-1310, to schedule a complimentary evaluation and determine if physical therapy can help you.

*Page, P. Cervicogenic headaches: an evidence led approach to clinical management. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. Sept 2011. 6 (3): 254-66.

Information provided by Gayle Traver, LPN, BS, Norwalk Physical Therapy, 800 Colonial Circle, Suite 100, Norwalk, 515-953-1310.





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