Q: What role does posture play in my overall health?
A: When your mom told you to stop slouching, you should have listened. Many people are amazed at the impact posture has on their overall health. Posture is often related to neck pain, headaches, upper and lower back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain and more. With these pains, people have difficulty standing, sitting, walking, lifting, reaching and performing other daily tasks.
When people sit or stand with poor posture, more stress is put on their muscles and joints.
Additionally, they can develop movement patterns throughout their life that lead to muscle imbalances. This makes posture even worse. Over time, muscles, tendons, or joints — when working in a position that is not ideal — begin to break down. At that point, pain begins.
Physical therapists evaluate movement patterns and work with patients to improve the way they move. By improving these movement patterns, stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles, individuals with pain can often return to normal activities and often eliminate pain.
There are some simple exercises that can help improve posture. Pulling your shoulders back by pinching your shoulder blades together is a simple yet effective exercise that everyone should work on frequently through out the day. Standing tall with your shoulders back and your stomach in is easy to do, can limit your risk of some injuries and improve your health. Plus, your mom will be proud.
Q: Why can’t I wait until November to get my flu shot, and why is my pharmacist telling me about other immunizations, too?
A: Some people are concerned that if they get the flu shot now, it will not work when the virus actually starts going around, plus the concern for updating your immunizations is very important as well. So make sure to review your records and contact your pharmacists on recommended updates regarding the following: Pneumococcal, Zostavax, Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis and Hepatitis strands.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that persons get their flu immunization as soon as it becomes available. The reason is that some strains of the influenza can occur as early as October, and it takes several weeks from getting the immunization until the body develops sufficient protection against influenza. The protection against influenza lasts for the whole year. Keep in mind that the vaccine only contains three viruses, those that the CDC believes will be most prevalent during the flu season.
Your pharmacist, as a member of healthcare team, is here to convey current information that helps to maintain your long-term health. This includes current information of recommendations for immunizations to avoid any illness and disease. Several immunizations now are given by the pharmacist because they are only covered under certain types of insurance.
Q: Why do I need dental radiographs or X-rays during dental appointments?
A: Dental x-rays are needed to help the dentist and/or hygienists find certain dental problems or anatomy. The dental hygienists use the radiographs to help with bone loss problems also known as periodontal disease. Hygienists also use the radiographs to see if a patient has sub gingival calculus, (tartar that accumulates below the gum line.)
The dentist uses the x-rays to diagnose the above diseases. Dentists also use radiographs to diagnose cavities that often develop between the teeth. This is one of the most important uses of x-rays because we can’t see between the teeth with the naked eye. X-rays can be used to find hidden dental structures and to help find malignant or benign masses. There are different types of x-rays that the dental professional takes. The bite-wing is one of the most common and this is the x-ray that diagnoses cavities, bone loss and tartar build-up. There is a periapical radiograph that is used to examine the root of the tooth for anomalies or infections. The panoramic film is used to examine the bone of both jaws, developmental progress and most commonly where wisdom teeth are located. So, as you can see dental radiographs are very important to the diagnoses of your overall oral health.
Q: What health preparations should I make for winter?
A: It’s officially fall. People tend to take this time to get ready for the long, cold winter. They tune up their furnaces, snow blowers and cars. But have you remembered to “tune up” the most important things in your life? You and your family need to prepare your health for winter. So what things should you consider before the end of the year?
• Annual health exam. You have three months to get this scheduled. Many insurances pay for one “well exam” and “screening labs.” Your annual exam may be used to provide a baseline of your health or may be documenting changes in your health status.
• Flu vaccine. This vaccine does not protect from the “stomach bug,” but the respiratory flu which is associated with body aches, fever, chills and respiratory problems. Have your family vaccinated soon. Go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ for up-to-date flu information.
• Stock up on health supplies. Have a good thermometer, tissues, pain relievers and other over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. A cold pack and heating pad should also be in your stock. It’s not much fun having to run out to pick up something when you or your child does not feel well.
The common cold still does not have a cure, but having the right things on hand may make it more bearable. Call your healthcare provider when prescription medications may be needed to get well.