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Health Q&A

Posted November 21, 2012 in Advice Column

Q: How can I deal with grief during the holidays?

A: Holidays can be especially difficult times following the death of a loved one. If you have lost a loved one, HCI Hospice Care Services offer some suggestions to help you get through the tough times. Some who are grieving a loss say that the anticipation of the day was much worse than the actual day. We believe it will be easier to cope if you have a plan for what you are going to do that day.

Allow yourself to be human. Do the things that are important to you; let the rest slide. Plan with friends and family for the things you choose to do. Keep some traditions; discard others. If Christmas was always at home, consider going to your relatives this year.

Do your best to not engage in over-cooking, over-cleaning, over-shopping, over-visiting, over-eating, over-drinking, etc.  Tell other people what you want and need for the day. Let others know that you need support, help, time or just quiet on that particular day. Even a few minutes away from guests can allow you time to shed a few tears and collect yourself.

Do something for others. Serve a meal at a homeless shelter, provide for a needy family, volunteer at a hospital or participate in a service club.  Helping others when you hurt can make you and the person you help feel better.

Finally, allow yourself to have some fun and remember that your loved one would want you to enjoy the rest of your life.

Information provided by Terry Terrones, RN, MSN, CHPN, HCI Care Services of South-Central Iowa, 103 East Van Buren St., Centerville, (641) 856-5502,

Q: What are some common causes of neck pain?

A: We see patients with neck pain frequently in our clinic. Of note, we are seeing many more young people with neck pain. As our society continues to emphasize occupations that center around computer technology, we are seeing more postural related neck pain. Our sitting posture can have a very large impact on our neck health.

A forward head posture is a major contribution to many cases of neck pain. I call it a “lazy posture” where the individual sits with his or her head forward with rounded shoulders. This causes postural muscles to work overtime to support the head. Good posture allows neck muscles to work less because the head is balanced on the spine. Good sitting posture is seen when a straight line can be drawn through the ear, shoulder and hip. The spine is most stable in this alignment. Strengthening exercises for the postural muscles and good body mechanics education are very effective in treating neck pain due to poor posture.

Good ergonomic work stations are critical as well. A good supportive chair is a must and appropriate height of computer screen, keyboard and mouse are necessary

There are many other causes of neck pain. These include trauma (whiplash), arthritis and strains. Your physical therapist is the best qualified professional to help you with this common problem.

Information provided by Ray Tresemer, P.T., Tresemer Physical Therapy Inc., 612 E. Franklin St., Centerville, 641-856-2515.

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