The Interconnectivity of Your Mind and Body

Your mind and body go hand-in-hand. Your physical health has an impact on your mental health, and vice versa. People with mental health problems, such as depression, can have worse physical health and a worse perception of their own health versus someone without mental health problems. We want to help you to break that cycle, or if possible, prevent it from beginning.  Even if you don’t currently suffer from a mental illness, these tips can help you stay on top of your mental health while maintaining physical health!

 

Tip #1:

Exercise causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body and diminish the perception of pain. They also help with an increase of self-confidence. Some great forms of moderate exercise are biking, gardening, dancing, swimming, and yoga. Even a quick walk or jog around the neighborhood will help!

Tip #2:

Improve your odds for a better sleep. One way to do this is to turn off all electronics an hour before you go to sleep. Feel free to read or do any other relaxing activity in your time before bed, as long as it doesn’t involve blue light, which electronics emit and confuse your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up! It can also be helpful to avoid doing work or anything stressful in bed, so that your bed is only associated with relaxation.

Tip #3:

Improving your diet can help your mental health tremendously. It will also fuel you properly for exercise and sleep. When in doubt, eat foods with antioxidants such as broccoli, spinach, and carrots for Beta-carotene, and blueberries, kiwi, and oranges for vitamin C. Increasing protein can also help with alertness – eat turkey, fish, and nuts. For specialized diet advice, see our Think Dietician Michelle Ring. She’s accepting new patients!

 

These tips may seem simple, but fueling your body with sleep and good food, and then getting in a daily exercise can greatly improve your mental state.

Still not convinced? Did you know your heart has up to 40,000 neurons located around the right ventricle? These neurons decide how you feel, too, and they send signals to your brain. So, your heart has a brain of its own! Our physical and mental states are so connected that it can be difficult to perceive your own health, which is why we recommend regular checkups with your primary care doctor. You can also schedule an appointment at your convenience with one of our mental health professionals.


 

Foot Health

Your feet are what support you in everything you do – running, playing sports, standing on the job, simply walking from one place to the next – and they need a little support from you, too. There are some easy things you can do to make sure your feet are in the best shape possible, and to avoid foot pain. We want you to stay on your feet! Here’s how:

Tip #1:

Make sure your running shoes and everyday shoes are breathable and have good arch support. Every foot is different, and you might need a certain fit to be completely comfortable. Don’t rest until the shoe fits – your feet will thank you!

Tip #2:

Try not to walk around community spaces barefoot, and don’t be afraid to show your feet a bit of extra love in the shower by cleaning them thoroughly. Infections such as athletes foot are easily avoided with breathable socks and shoes, and some extra washing and drying after a workout.

Tip #3:

If you have diabetes, you are more prone to sores and other uncomfortable foot problems. To avoid this, we recommend regular checkups. Medicare pays for two diabetic foot exams a year by a Podiatrist. We have two of the best podiatrists in Omaha on our team who do thorough exams that involve vascular and neurological testing. They are accepting new patients now! In the meantime, give your feet the occasional break and prop them up on a pillow for maximum blood flow and comfort.

Tip #4:

If you do experience foot pain or problems, be sure to see your doctor to identify the problem and avoid its progression. Your doctor may recommend inserts or insoles for your shoes, depending on the problem. We provide same-day access to your Primary Physician, so you won’t miss a beat!

 

As summer draws to an end, don’t forget to give your feet a little extra loving. Keeping your feet clean and healthy will help you to do the things you love, which is what we want, because Life is for Living.

 

Bonus Tip: For those smelly shoes, this one is more about keeping your nose happy! If you’ve got a pair of shoes that are stinking up a room, put them in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer for the night.

 

Meet our Podiatrists: Brad Copple, DPM and Reanen Michael, DPM


 

Eye Health

This month, we’re focusing on eye health, because we want you to be able to see all the best parts of life clearly. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect your eyes and keep them healthy.

  1. Find a pair of sunglasses you like, and make sure they have UVA and UVB protection. This way, you can enjoy your pool days and time outside this summer without worrying about your eyes!
  2. An easy tip for keeping your eyes healthy is to wash your hands! You may touch your eyes more than you realize, and making sure your hands are clean is a simple way to avoid spreading germs and slowing down your week with something like pink eye. By the way, if something like that comes up, our thinkquick urgent care is open to all!
  3. Keep your prescription up to date. You may not even notice that your prescription is changing, which is why it’s important to have regular checkups with your optometrist. Wearing the wrong prescription can put strain on your eyes, give you headaches and prevent you from seeing clearly. Both of our Think optometrists will be happy to see you at a convenient time.
  4. Avoid too much screen time. Computers and phones give off “blue light,” which can be harmful to your eyes over time. There are easy steps you can take to minimize the effect of blue light on your eyes:
    1. Lower the brightness on your phone and computer screen. Deploy the “night mode” on your smartphone that eliminates blue light.
    2. If you’re using a computer at work all day, take a break from looking at the screen every 20 minutes or so to give your eyes a rest.
    3. If your eyes begin to feel irritated, try some lubricating eye drops, and blink a few extra times.
  5. Of course, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which has positive impact on your eye health, too. Smoking can lead to the deterioration of the blood vessels in the eye, which can cause greater problems like macular degeneration. Taking care of your body will help your eyes stay healthier longer.

July is a great time of the year, as the weather gets hot, picnics and water sports abound, and family vacations are in the works. See it all and enjoy the time with your friends and family. These eye tips can help you do just that!

If you are concerned about your eye health, or are due for a checkup, our Think optometrists Stephen Gradowski and Tim Meyer are accepting new patients! Give them a call today.


 

Life is for Living

So you’re living with a chronic condition. No matter what, there’s a bright side and we’re here to help you see it. As our patient, we can help make every day from here on out the fullest it can be. We know you’re a whole person with dreams and needs and that your Life is for Living. Here’s how.

1. Take control

Living with a chronic condition is no joke. But you can stay on top of your health now so that you can continue to do the things you love – even if your condition is along for the ride.

At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we like to see you when you’re well and work to keep you that way – not when it’s too late and you’re sick and suffering with expensive hospital and ER bills. That means seeing you often, too. That helps you stay on top of the symptoms of your condition.

When you take control, your health improves and stays that way. In fact, in Nebraska, Think Whole Person Healthcare’s patients stay the healthiest.

2. Care Coordination

It’s not all on you to take control of your health; we’re here to empower you and help you. This is because we truly see you as a whole person. You’ve got things to do and people to see – and no one can do this entirely on their own!

Instead of running around from doctor to doctor to specialist to the pharmacy, we’ve got everything you need in one place. Our one-stop-shop makes it that much easier for you to manage everything.

Not only are most of your care providers in one building, you’ve got an entire team – with a primary doctor, nurses, a clinical pharmacist and your care coordinator – people who really know you and are there for you, helping manage your health.

Your care coordinator is a very special part of your team. Your care coordinator is dedicated to providing you with a service that constantly monitors your health, organizes and plans your healthcare program, arranges your health services to keep you healthy, reduces preventable complications and keeps you out of the hospital. They work closely with your doctor and their team to give you personalized, high quality care. Learn more

3. Access to a doctor when you need it

At Think, we understand that if something feels “off,” there’s nothing worse than having to wait a week or more to get in to see your doctor. It’s bad for you emotionally and mentally, and could lead to physical complications. We see you the same day you need to be seen. That’s all part of our dedication to keeping you healthy – it just makes sense. Because why wait until it’s too late?

•••

We will help you experience that when you manage your health, you can really take control of your life. We meet you where you are and help you get where you need to go so you can have the highest quality of life. And who knows, you might have more control over your health and life than you ever did! So, you have to live with a chronic condition, but with us you can do more and get more out of life – because Life is for LIVING!

P.S. How can we help YOU live YOUR life to the fullest? What is it you love to do? Complete a bucket list and keep it as a reminder for yourself, then complete this short form to get more information about Think Whole Person Healthcare.

 


 

Forget Waiting. Access Care on YOUR Time.

Think about it – why are you only able to see your doctor when it’s convenient for them? Shouldn’t you be able to see your doctor when it’s convenient for you? The answer is yes.

At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we know how important it is to see your doctor exactly when you need to – that’s why we guarantee same-day access to someone on your care team. Plus, Think’s same-day test results make it possible for doctors to diagnose and prescribe medications during your appointment. You can pick up your medications on the way out at our on-site pharmacy. It’s that easy – schedule an appointment, see your doctor and get any necessary prescriptions – all in one visit that day.

 

What if my primary care doctor isn’t available?

No problem! All our doctors and clinical teams use the same electronic health record – so if your primary care doctor is unavailable for whatever reason, another recommended provider on your team will happily see you with full access to your records. It’s seamless. After your appointment, they’ll ensure your primary care doctor receives all the details of the visit.

 

What if I’m new to Think Whole Person Healthcare?

As a new patient we can get you in to see a doctor on the same day you apply. Our staff will match you with a primary care doctor that best fits you. All you need to do is call our dedicated New Patient Line at (402) 506-9049, and a member of our scheduling team will ensure you see someone that day. If you are calling outside of normal business hours, an appointment will be scheduled the following day. If it’s a time-sensitive issue, you can visit thinkquick, our walk-in urgent care clinic, on Level 2. See opening hours below.

 

What About Weekends?

thinkquick is open seven days a week, from 7am to 8pm Monday thru Friday, and 9am to 5pm on weekends. Current and new patients are all welcome here. If you’re an existing patient, the providers at thinkquick will have full access to all your medical records, making sure you receive the best care possible.

(thinkquick is not an Emergency RoomIf you have severe or life-threatening conditions, call 911 or go to an emergency room.)

 

To take advantage of same-day access at Think Whole Person Healthcare, become a new patient today. Call our new patient line, available 24/7, at (402) 506-9049, or fill out a new patient form online.


 

Osteoporosis Awareness

Written by Heather Hansman, Think Physical Therapy Assistant

Avoid fractured health with Whole Person Health at Think Whole Person Healthcare.

What is it?

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density. Osteoporosis’s direct meaning is “porous bone,” because the bones become more porous with this condition. Our bones are living tissues that constantly “remodel,” meaning some bone cells dissolve and are replaced by new bone cells. When bone cells dissolve significantly more than they rebuild, that could be the beginning of osteoporosis.

What happens when bodies develop osteoporosis?

When you live with osteoporosis, your chances of fractures are increased because your bones become weaker. Chances of experiencing osteoporosis increase with age. Also with age, muscles tend to weaken if you’re not active. Weak muscles and lack of balance can cause fractures too, because falls are more likely to occur.

Some symptoms of osteoporosis include aching bones, especially vertebra, and shrinking of bones – like height loss.

Do not worry – there’s no reason to be scared. In fact, being scared of living life could just make things worse!
** There are ways you can help yourself avoid falls and fractures. Just keep reading!   

 

Here’s how to prevent bone density loss:

Exercise! The benefits are three-fold:

  1. Exercise creates muscle and burns fat, which lessens the strain on your bones. This helps your bones have less weight to bear. More muscle helps support those bones.
  2. In the case that you start to feel yourself falling, the strong muscles you maintained through exercise can help you catch your fall.
  3. Exercise builds – and helps maintain – bone strength and density.

** Some think that a good way to avoid falls and fractures is to limit movement. They’ve got the wrong idea! Not living life, but rather living in fear with a sedentary lifestyle, equals less confidence, strength and sturdiness – and makes people more prone to the things they’re trying to avoid. Move, move, move – but with help from the right people.

Speaking of which, I teach Think’s Fall Prevention Class. This could be a great option for you – or a loved one who lives with osteoporosis. The Fall Prevention Class is a small community of adults who come together to have fun while strengthening their bodies to increase their balance. The group is so welcoming, too!

Participants of Think’s Fall Prevention Class are excited about the confidence they build from attending class with peers and exercising with instruction from me. One participant, Jan Turcotte, told me – “I’m not afraid to go out and do things now because I feel more sturdy.” I love it!

Learn more about what class participants have to say.

 

Nutrition

Another great way to prevent and treat osteoporosis is with the correct nutrition. Bones need nutrients to be healthy – but you already knew that! You need calcium and vitamin D to absorb calcium. You also need a healthy balance of protein, fruits, veggies, vitamins and minerals.

Think Whole Person Healthcare has an in-house Registered Dietitian – Michelle Ring, RD, LMNT, CDE. She will work with you to develop a nutrition plan based on the types of foods you already like to eat and that takes into account your lifestyle. How nice is it to have all your resources in one very cool building?

 

Other treatments

Oral medications are another common treatment for those living with osteoporosis. Some use hormone treatments, bisphosphonates – or both. There are also injectable medication options since bisphosphonates tend to upset the stomach. The role of these medications is to slow the process of bone cell breakdown.

If you live with osteoporosis you should consult with your primary doctor about which medication treatment will work best for you. At Think Whole Person Healthcare, every patient’s care team includes a primary doctor, nurses and a clinical pharmacists. Together, they help you manage your Whole Health – keeping your healthcare plan coordinated versus “fractured.”

 

Life Is For Living! Make sure you live it to the fullest by maintaining your health. Think Whole Person Healthcare is here to help!

  • Call us at (402) 506-9050 to learn more about the Fall Prevention Class.
  • Contact Michelle Ring, our registered Dietitian, at (402) 506-9380.
  • Not yet a Think Whole Person Healthcare patient, and want to learn more? Fill out a short form and we’ll contact you with more information.

 

Top 10 Benefits of Water

 

Written by: Michelle Cooper Day, Women’s Pelvic Health Physical Therapist

– and the down side for many women…

We all know about the benefits of water:

  1. Regular bowel movements – helps with digestion and keeps our bowels moving
  2. Healthy skin – moisturizes skin from within, decreases wrinkles
  3. Flushes out toxins – urination and sweating after drinking water rids our body of waste preventing kidney stones and UTI’s
  4. Immune system booster – keeps our eyes and mouth moist to repel infection
  5. Headache prevention – dehydration is the leading cause of headaches
  6. Increases our energy – keeping the brain hydrated helps us to think, focus, and concentrate
  7. Zero calories – adding some cucumber or a few berries gives water a natural flavor
  8. Joint lubricant – keeps our joints moving smoothly and muscles fluid
  9. Mood booster – water is required for the brain and body to produce the right neurotransmitters to prevent depression and insomnia
  10. Keeps us cool – water is required so we can sweat to cool our body on those hot summer days

How much water should you drink is a common question? Estimated amount for women is eight 8 ounce glasses per day with a gradual increase to that amount if you have been drinking less. A half ounce per pound of body weight is the recommended amount with more on hot days or if you are working out and sweating. Your urine should be slightly clear yellow in color and not dark.

Unfortunately, many women do not drink enough water because they report it increases their urinary incontinence episodes especially when exercising. If pelvic floor muscles are not functioning as they should, urine can leak from the bladder despite our best efforts. Kegels are often recommended to help the muscles strengthen but Kegels aren’t for everyone (see previous article) and many women do not know if they are actually doing a Kegel correctly.

Michelle Cooper Day, MPT, is a specially trained physical therapist that treats women’s pelvic floor muscles.  She can determine if these muscles are flexible, coordinated and strong and help you with a plan to improve your bladder control so you can drink the necessary water to keep you healthy. These visits are covered by insurance under physical therapy including Medicare.

Recipe: Cucumber, Mint, Cranberry Spa Water

  1. Fill a pitcher with water.
  2. Add slices of cucumber, washed mint leaves crushed, and fresh cranberries. You can substitute blueberries, strawberries, pineapple slices. I tend to avoid lemon and citrus fruits because it can irritate the bladder.
  3. Refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy the fresh flavor!
  5. Store in the refrigerator.

 

Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms, causes and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease – just in case.

 

It’s not as rare as you may think

According to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Parkinson’s Disease is the second-most diagnosed brain disease after Alzheimer’s with 60,000 diagnoses a year. It’s most commonly diagnosed in those 60+ years of age.

 

Why does this happen?

Parkinson’s Disease is a movement disorder caused by failure or death of dopamine-making brain cells. Dopamine coordinates movement, motivation and good feelings. There’s no one thing scientists can pinpoint as the cause of the disease; the current understanding is that it’s caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors – like genetic mutations and exposure to toxins – herbicides and pesticides.

Scientists have begun turning their attention to Lewy bodies, too. Lewy bodies are made of a protein called alpha-synuclein. These abnormal protein clumps can’t be broken down, and they appear to develop within the brain cells of those with Parkinson’s Disease. Lewy bodies block neurotransmitter release – molecules being delivered between neurons. This includes the neurotransmitter dopamine and is likely the reason why, as mentioned above, dopamine creation and transmission fails for those living with Parkinson’s Disease. There will likely be more research and findings on Lewy bodies in coming years.

 

What does it mean for those living with it?

Parkinson’s Disease is a unique experience to all who live with it. The array of Parkinson’s symptoms manifest in different combinations per individual. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Resting tremor
  • Stiffness
  • Slowness of movement (bradykinesia)
  • Walking imbalance
  • Difficulty smelling
  • Cramped handwriting (micrographia)
  • Problems with sleep
  • Cognitive changes
  • Depression

 

Parkinson’s Disease can be a devastating diagnosis. It could mean the end of a career for a marathon runner, an artist’s creativity to never be actualized again due to shaking hands, many ends to a person’s everyday life and ensuing depression due to these symptoms and the lack of dopamine. The point is, it could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

 

What can we do about it?

There is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, and there’s no way to stop its progression. Current medications and treatments can ease symptoms. Treatment plans are individual to the patient since Parkinson’s Disease is a unique experience to those living with it. It usually takes coordination among several healthcare providers, and a combination of treatments.

Treatments can include surgery, as in deep brain stimulation to reduce symptoms, physical therapy and general exercise, and medications that supplement or make up for the lack of dopamine in the brain.

Lifestyle changes are also recommended: changing eating habits to include more wholesome, nutritious choices, exercising – swimming, walking and yoga – and maintaining relationships versus closing yourself off to the world.

 

How Think’s Care Coordination can help

Think Whole Person Healthcare’s services can play a huge supporting role to those living with any chronic condition – including Parkinson’s. Since your primary doctor is the best first point of contact when you’re experiencing any odd symptoms, it’s most often primary doctors who diagnose Parkinson’s Disease. From there, they’ll likely recommend going to see a movement disorder specialist, neurologist and/or speech language pathologist depending on the patient’s symptoms and the doctor’s knowledge of who their patient is.

This is where Think Whole Person Healthcare can help. Since Parkinson’s Disease symptoms are vast and unique, there will be a lot of people suggesting treatments, medications, etc. Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Care Coordinators know their patients’ care plans and manage it with specialists so the primary doctor can better treat patients and communicate with all involved in the care plan.

Think Whole Person Healthcare has its own specialists in-house that help, too. Our nine physical therapists specialize in different areas of care – like spinal problems, gait, balance, chronic pain, and more, and some even have a background in psychology, which offers a more balanced, whole-person treatment. Our physical therapists offer a free Balance Assessment, where they test to see if individuals qualify for our Fall Prevention Class; staying active, strong and balanced while living with Parkinson’s, especially if experiencing imbalance, is extremely beneficial and preventative.

Other in-house specialists include massage therapy, mental health, podiatrists and more who can play a huge role, too, also depending on the symptoms.

Raising awareness is key to raising funds and research efforts to find cures for those living with Parkinson’s Disease, experiencing a wide assortment of symptoms that are life-changing. There’s no better time than now to start spreading the word and helping your fellow earth-dwellers living with the disease. Sharing this article with your friends is a great place to start.


 

Stress Awareness Month

Written by Meghan Herek, Think Mental Health Therapist

Stress Awareness Month is a helpful tool for us to bring attention to the stress people may live with year-round, and helps remind us of tools we can use to better manage stress. This Stress Awareness Month, we’re focusing on the benefits of talk therapy.

 

Who is talk therapy “for”?

Talk therapy is for everyone. There are many assumptions about who talk therapy is for, and it is for everyone. Many of us struggle with stress, anger, and in some cases, anxiety and depression. No life is void of triggers. Talk therapy teaches you techniques you can use to manage the things – internal and external – that ignite your stressors. Plus, you absolutely deserve to have someone who is there for only you. So, yes – talk therapy is for everyone!

 

Why use talk therapy?

If you never talk about your issues, you won’t gain another perspective, create more understanding about the whys and whats of your triggers, nor will you learn tools to overcome them. Closing your thoughts and emotions may even cause you to see the world in a more negative way. Your mind and body are strongly connected. Have you ever noticed your muscles tighten when you’re worried about something, or get a headache? Your mind controls everything. It’s important to keep your mind healthy, and you can with the help of talk therapy.

 

How often should you go to talk therapy?

Even one to two appointments a month can do wonders for your mental state. You can use real, stressful situations to practice the tools we talk about in our sessions. During our sessions, we discuss those situations, what you did, your successes, and areas to improve. It’s so healthy for your mind to talk about what’s going on inside it! Mind your mental health and come see me. Because Life is for Living!


 

The Best Diabetes Lifestyle Management – The Team Approach

Diabetes is a complex chronic disease that you care for every day. Managing diabetes includes exercise, healthy eating, taking prescribed medications and monitoring blood sugars. At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we know this isn’t always easy. The Think Healthcare Team is available to you when you need more information or help in any area of your diabetes management. You are living with diabetes every day; here’s how the Think Healthcare Team can help when you need it.

 

Nutrition

Think’s resident Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator is Michelle Ring. Her role is to learn your habits and the foods you like, then to guide you on a healthier path keeping your lifestyle, tastes and your diabetes in mind. She also knows that social situations, like going to a dinner party or out to eat, can be intimidating to navigate. Her plans provide suggestions and tools that will help you sail into that situation with confidence.

 

Behavioral Health

Sometimes with chronic conditions, you can feel isolated – when you can’t eat what everyone else is, when you have to leave the room to prick your finger, constantly having to regulate your blood sugar levels. You can feel like no one understands you or knows what you’re going through. Our on-site mental health therapists Barbara Clinkenbeard, Meghan Herek and Sarah Wilch and psychiatrist Rodney Nitcher can help you gain confidence, acceptance – anything you need to feel more like you.

You will also find support in Think’s Diabetes Type 1 and Diabetes Type 2 Support Groups: monthly gatherings where others living with diabetes, along with other healthcare providers, come together as a community to support, teach and learn from one another. Check the Think Event Calendar to find the next meetings.

 

Podiatry

Brad Copple and Reanen Michael are trained to treat feet and problems of the lower legs. Diabetes makes you prone to poor blood flow and nerve damage in the lower legs. You may get infections more often. Sores, even small ones, can quickly turn into serious problems. Any foot sore or callus needs to checked by your primary care doctor or a podiatrist. Do not try to fix these yourself, because you could cause an infection. Be sure to inspect your feet daily for signs of trouble.

 

Dentistry

Diabetes puts those living with it at a greater risk for gum disease. The excess blood sugar in your mouth makes it a good home for bacteria, which can lead to infection if you don’t see your dentist regularly. Think’s dentist Christine Keith emphasizes prevention and wants to see her patients every six months for a checkup and a cleaning. If you’re a Think patient, Christine will already know you have diabetes with her access to your records, and make sure to bring it up during your checkup so you can communicate about your whole health, too.

 

Physical Therapy

Exercise can help lower blood sugar, help your body use insulin better and help control your weight – something you need when you’re living with diabetes type 1 or type 2. Think physical therapists are the best people to help you and your doctor plan your fitness program, since they are trained in the scientific basis of exercise.

 

Care Coordination

In addition to diabetes specialists, behavioral health specialists, diabetes focus groups, etc., Think also houses clinical pharmacists, nurses, and your primary care doctor.

Your Think primary care doctor and their team of nurses get to know you as a person– not a condition. When you’re a patient of Michelle, our Diabetes Educator, and our behavioral health team, your doctor has easy access to those specialists and your records. Having this comprehensive look at you – the person – helps your doctor know how to help you manage your health. Your doctor can then speak to your Think clinical pharmacist about the best treatments and medications for you.

Even more, you may qualify for our Care Coordination program, in which a nurse helps you plan, implement and monitor your healthcare.

 

Our goal is to give you control and ownership over your chronic condition and your health. If Think’s Team Approach can help you live fully with diabetes, fill out this short form to get more information. Life is for Living.


 

Feeling SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is depression that affects many people in the dark, cold months. It seems this Nebraska winter has been especially brutal, which doesn’t particularity help. When the blossoms of Spring come about, your mood may become lighter and happier – just like the trees and grass, newly healthy and green!

 

Why does SAD happen?

Scientists don’t exactly know the causes of SAD, but one thought is that the lack of sunlight during fall and winter months causes your brain to make less serotonin, which helps makes you feel happy. This fluctuation of your normal serotonin level can make you sad, sluggish, moody and irritable.

Lack of sunlight also causes an increase of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. This increase may cause you to feel consistently sleepy, versus just at night, and possibly unmotivated and agitated.

 

What can you do about SAD?

There are several things you can do to help yourself, like exercising, taking antidepressants or trying a SAD lamp to replicate the sun’s light. Your best option, though, is to speak with your Primary Care Provider to come up with a plan to combat SAD that’s personalized to your specific needs and symptoms.

 


 

Am I A Caregiver?

Written by Jenn Black, Care Coordination Manager, Think Whole Person Healthcare

 

What is considered “caregiving”?

There are many kinds of caregivers. Physicians, nurses and care coordinators are all caregivers. There is a special kind of caregiver, too. Some caregivers care for their loved ones, and are typically children and spouses. If that’s you, you’ll want to keep reading.

 

At what point does a caregiver become a caregiver?

It’s a complicated thing to define. As your loved one ages, they have a harder time getting to the store or running an errand, and might reach out to you for help. Or, your loved one might have a chronic condition, and that typically means they’ll need help managing their healthcare.

As your loved one continues to age, your responsibilities likely increase. Somewhere along the line, you’ll likely become a caregiver.

 

How do caregivers support their loved ones while also maintaining boundaries?

Being a caregiver is a complicated role to fill. Often, you have your own responsibilities and even families to care for. You want to be there for everyone, but you don’t want to burn yourself out.

First, it is important to educate yourself on your loved one’s condition. This will help you be there for them, because you’ll know what they need. More importantly, however, you’ll learn if something they need is something you can’t do on your own (for example, lifting someone to help them use the restroom). Knowing your boundaries and asking for help will help eliminate stress when certain tasks become daunting.

It’s important that you respect the emotions of your loved one, but it’s just as important to recognize and verbalize your own emotions – and to expect understanding and compassion. Please don’t pretend that you can do everything and be everything for everyone! It’s not personal, just impossible!!

 

Where should caregivers go for help?

Think has an excellent Care Coordination program that eliminates most of your work coordinating, managing medications, and the back-and-forth with multiple doctors. It’s actually quite incredible. When you sign up for the program, you’re paired with a personal pharmacist, care coordinator, and if you’re not yet a patient at Think, your best-fitting physician and their nursing staff. These roles create a team who monitor, communicate, and plan around your loved one’s healthcare. Can you imagine that without Think, you’d be doing all that by yourself? It’s a great solution to manage your loved one’s health, and YOUR sanity. Think About It…and if you decide it could be the right fit for you and your family, then fill out this form to get more information and to get started.

There are other great resources available for caregivers. Family Caregiver Alliance, for example, has a wealth of knowledge that will answer your preliminary questions.


 

February: The Month of Love and National Heart Month

What’s the link between love and the heart?

 

Should I follow my heart, or follow my mind?

This question we often hear insinuates that both our heart and mind, well, have minds of their own. Is this true? If not, then why do we feel emotion in our chest and not our mind? Is the chest-ache or tightening when we feel pain or the pitter patter when we feel love a combination of both our mind and heart?

To answer these questions, let’s take a step – or a thousand – back. Let’s get ancient.

In the ancient Egyptian culture, the heart was thought to be the center of thoughts and emotions. That actually makes sense, since the heart is at the center of our bodies and it’s where we “experience” emotion. Ancient cultures established the connection between love and the heart.

Because of the profound affect love and other joy-filled emotions have on our heart, it, over time, became the physical symbol of love. The symbol for the heart (❤) is thought to be first used in the Middle Ages, during the mid-13thcentury, in a painting in the Roman de la poire manuscript.

Metaphors and poetry attributing states of being to the heart also emerged during the Middle Ages. Phrases like “broken hearted,” “I love you with all my heart,” “I know it by heart,” etc., originated and became popularized.

 

Why do we feel emotions in our chest… “heart”?

So, the original theories of how the body worked became the reason why the heart is associated with love and other emotions. But, is there truth behind this symbolism and poetry associated with the heart?

The heart is made of muscles, nerves and chemical receptors which allow it to respond to signals from your brain based on your environment. You may feel your chest tighten or “pitter patter” beats.

But, the heart has a mind of its own – literally. Your heart has up to 40,000 neurons located around the right ventricle. These neurons decide how you feel, too, and they send signals to your brain.

In short, the heart and the brain are linked in an interdependent relationship. They are each somewhat autonomous; they make their own rules.

With that, we wish you a Happy National Heart Month! The question remains: Will you listen to your mind or your heart? Hard to know – they both have MINDS of their own and BEAT to their own drums!


 

The Importance of Primary Care

Visiting Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) First and Often

To understand what primary care is, we need talk terminology first. There are three types of Primary Care Physicians (PCP); two of them apply to you, but we’ll go through all three for fun.

  • Pediatrician – Cares for children.
  • Internal Medicine – Cares for adults.
  • Family Practitioner – Cares for both.

Think has internists and family physicians. Each Primary Care Physician has an entire team of nurses and pharmacists helping you manage your whole health. Are you smarter than you were 5-7 seconds ago? Maybe yes, maybe no. Keep reading, and you’ll surely be smarter about your healthcare than you were before.

 

Let’s say you notice a sharp pain in your back, or that chronic pain in your foot is acting up again. Your Primary Care Physician is your first point of contact on your road to wellness.

“Why?”

Well, there are actually tons of reasons why you need to go to your PCP first and often.

Here are two important reasons you should use your PCP to manage your whole health:

1. Going to your PCP before a specialist increases communication and collaboration.

It’s obvious that communication is essential to maintain your whole health. You wouldn’t want to go to a cardiologist first, who has no comprehensive, centralized documentation of your health history and medications. What if you can’t remember your mediation list and they prescribe you conflicting medications?

Think of your Primary Care Physician the guardian of your healthcare plan. At Think, they, along with the rest of your care management team, have access to your Electronic Health Record (EHR), accessible to all who treat you within the walls of Think.

With the touch of a button, your PCP can see all your medical history, medications, notes, and more. Plus, they can consult with their pharmacist (yes, there is one Clinical Pharmacist assigned to each Think PCP!). All of this makes it way more likely your healthcare decisions are informed and effective – and that you’re getting the absolute best, most affordable medication combinations possible, vs. starting the process with a specialist.

Your PCP is specialized and highly trained in adult healthcare, and they can do many of the exams that a specialist can.

If, in the case your PCP thinks you need a specialist during your visit, they’ll recommend the best one for you based on their knowledge of who you are. What’s great about this process is that know your PCP is aware and communicating with your specialist. Learn more about Think Specialists.

✅ Yes: Going to your PCP before a specialist increases communication and collaboration.

 

2. Your life is for living – so protect your health with regular visits to your PCP.

Life is meant to be spent at your sister’s birthday party, splurging on that watch you really wanted, reading a great book in your favorite chair in your living room, and going out to dinner with your friends.

We like to see you when you’re well – and keep you that way! When you visit your PCP regularly, the chances of you maintaining the lifestyle you want increase significantly.

Sure, visiting your PCP regularly may be more money now. It’s proven that regular, preventative check-ups with your PCP equate to significantly less spent in the future and less suffering during your life.

Because of the overseer role your PCP and their team play in your whole health, regular visits to your PCP vs. sporadic visits to specialists prevents miscommunications in medication and treatments that lead to those expensive treatments and ER visits down the road.

❗▶ Fact: One of the top reasons for hospitalization is medication error. Check out Think Pharmacy’s 5-step, ThinkSync Medication Plan.

✅ Did we make our point? We think so: Your life is for living – so protect your health with regular visits to your PCP.

 

These two reasons to let your PCP manage your whole health are all the more important when you have more than one chronic condition, which many Think patients do.

Care management of chronic conditions is something we specialize in. At Think, we’ve got nurses, called Care Coordinators, who create, communicate and help execute your personalized care plan – along with a team that includes your Primary Care Physician, their nurses and pharmacist.

To sum it up, avoiding medical error and being the healthiest you can be are both reasons why you should see your Primary Care Physician first and often.

 

If you feel like you’re for sure smarter at this point, consider becoming a patient at Think!


 

National Dental Hygiene Month

Tips from Think’s Dental Team

A healthy, beautiful smile is what we all crave. Did you know it affects your body’s overall health, too?

Taking care of your teeth is a preventative form of self-care that avoids infections and the buildup of plaque. Good oral health and general health operate in tandem – and the health of your mouth relays your body’s overall health. Treat your gums and teeth to great nutrients and regular check-ups, and your body will benefit, too.

Here are the ways to help you achieve this goal:

 

  • Eat a balanced diet.
    • A balanced diet is nutrient-rich: veggies, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, and whole grain.
    • Great nutrients for healthy gums and teeth are found in:
      • Dairy, salmon and other fish, almonds, soy and tofu, and dark veggies (calcium);
      • Eggs, fish, dairy, nuts and beans (phosphorus);
      • And citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach (vitamin C).
      • Drink plenty of water, too!

 

  • Brush 2x a day, and use a fluoridated mouthwash and floss daily.
    • Brush two times a day for two minutes each time. Replace your brush every three months, too. Remember these two tips, and brush in small circles – it’s less about the brush, rather the quality in which YOU brush.
    • If you find flossing difficult, try water flossers, which flush water between your teeth, or interdental bushes – brushes with thin bristles that can get those hard-to-reach places. Plus, interdental brushes are great for those who have problems with mobility.
    • You can find brushes, toothpaste, fluoridated mouthwash and floss at the ThinkShop!

 

  • The American Dental Association recommends regular dental visits at intervals determined by your dentist to maintain optimal oral health. Regular dental visits help to protect your oral health and general well-being. Here’s was to expect:
    • X-rays to diagnose decay or gum disease
    • Periodontal screening
    • Oral cancer screening
    • Dental cleaning
    • Assess your need for fluoride
    • Demonstrate proper cleaning techniques for your teeth

 

  • Think Dental cares about you and your oral health! Healthy mouth, healthy body!

 

How to Put Your Best Foot Forward for Marathons

 

Brad Copple, DPM
Podiatrist
Think Whole Person Healthcare

 

 

At Omaha’s 43rd Marathon, Sunday, September 16, runners will participate at many different levels, anywhere from a mile to a marathon. There is a distance for everyone.

With any long-term run, make sure you have the right shoes. Keep your feet healthy and happy by running in proper footwear.

A shoe that is too tight, too loose or is uncomfortable in any way can bring on problems for your feet. A too short shoe can lead to black toenails. A shoe that is too loose does not hold the foot firmly and can allow for friction that can cause blisters and other painful foot ailments.

Caution: Break in those new shoes before the run.

Selecting the right pair of socks is equally essential to choosing the right shoe.

Socks that are made of cotton reduce sweating. Socks that breathe can reduce heat and keep your foot from sweating excessively. The key is to find a sock that is right for you. Remember to keep your feet clean and dry.

Now, the personal stuff…

Remember to keep your toenails trimmed properly. Don’t do it the day of the run. The buffer of time from trim to run assures that if you make a mistake while trimming, time will allow the sore or tender area to heal. If there is pain or soreness, don’t run.

After trimming moisturizing is a must.

Keep the skin on your feet as soft as possible. The skin on our feet is often thick and dry. Avoid heel fissures and dry, cracked skin that bleeds by adopting a daily moisturizing regimen. There are numerous creams, balms and anti-chaffing products on the market that will help you keep your feet moisturized while reducing the amount of friction you might experience while running.

Before any race, STRETCH!

Most runners employ a stretching program as part of their training routine, but for those who do not train on a regular basis, stretching should not be overlooked. Stretching before and after a run can minimize aches and pains. And where most runners focus on stretching their hamstrings, quads and calves, don’t forget the importance of basic foot stretches.

Here are three foot stretches you can do:

  1. Step Stretch
    Place your toes on a step with your heels off the edge. Slowly lower your heels down and hold for ten to fifteen seconds. Raise your heels to the starting position. Repeat this exercise five to ten times. Depending on what is most comfortable, stretch both feet or just one foot at a time.
  2. Toe Stretch
    Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor. Spread your toes apart. Hold the toes apart for five-seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise up to ten times.
  3. Foot Roll
    Find a golf ball, baseball or tennis ball and place it under your foot. Roll the ball back and forth from your toes to your heels. Repeat a few times with each foot.

The last thing to mention is that feet tend to overheat and swell after a long run. One way to reduce inflammation is to immerse your feet in a tub filled with ice water for about fifteen minutes (unless you have vascular issues) after the run. You can also, lie down and elevate your legs and apply an ice bag or cold compress to them. A bag of frozen vegetables is a convenient substitute for a cold compress. It’s also a good idea to massage your feet after a race and that tennis ball can do the trick.

For more information on foot health, contact Brad Copple, DPM at team.clinicians@thinkhealthcare.org.


 

What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Kegels Aren’t for Everyone

Women typically don’t think about the importance of our pelvic floor muscles until something goes wrong. If you’re leaking urine with running, jumping, coughing, sneezing (stress incontinence), can’t quite make it to the bathroom in time (urge incontinence), going more than 5-8 times per day, waking up more than once every night (urinary frequency), or if you have pain with intercourse, you should seek help from a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles attached to the pelvis, hips, and sacrum that support the abdominal contents and reacts to changes in pressure created by the diaphragm above. This group of muscles supports the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, and rectum. The pelvic floor is responsible for our bladder and bowel function plus sexual function. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy is research proven as a first-line of defense against Incontinence and Pelvic Pain prior to medication and/or surgery. Schedule an appointment now (402) 506-9050.

Kegels are commonly recommended when a woman reports urinary or bowel incontinence – it’s not a normal part of aging! However, not all women should do Kegels because it may cause more harm than good. And if you are performing Kegels – how do you know if you are doing them properly?

A specially trained Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist can assess your pelvic floor using internal and external techniques to evaluate the function of your pelvic floor muscles. It’s important to assess the surrounding structures of the pelvic floor such as the connective tissue, sacroiliac joint, pubic symphysis, low back, and hips. It is necessary to assess your ability to contract AND relax the pelvic floor muscles. Assessing your patterns of active pelvic floor recruitment of your core and breathing plus function with tasks such as lifting, running, and transfers is crucial.

If the muscles are determined to be tight, you might be experiencing:

  • Urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, stopping and starting of the urine stream, painful urination, or incomplete emptying
  • Constipation, straining, pain with bowel movements
  • Unexplained pain in your low back, pelvic region, hips, genital area, or rectum
  • Pain during or after intercourse

If the muscles of the pelvic floor are weak, you might be experiencing:

  • Vaginal or rectal heaviness or pressure – prolapse
  • Urinary incontinence with cough, sneeze, run, jump or position changes

A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist will determine the status of your pelvic floor muscles and treat any tight muscles until they reach their normal flexibility. Then the strength and coordination will be addressed (which might include a form of Kegels) and monitored to make sure the exercises are being performed correctly.

Our pelvic floor is an area that tends to hold our emotions. Addressing depression, anxiety, and stress plus realizing the importance of our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs is essential. A mental health care provider can assist in this area, if needed, combined with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy resulting in a faster and more effective recovery.

See our specially trained Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, Michelle Cooper Day, MPT, BScEd and find out if you should be doing Kegels and make sure you’re doing them correctly! Schedule an appointment (402) 506-9050


 

Women’s Pelvic Health

Are you a woman who?:

  • Leaks urine when you exercise, cough, sneeze, or laugh?
  • Doesn’t quite make it to the toilet before leaking urine?
  • Is running to the restroom frequently to prevent urinary leakage or you just feel like you have to “go” often?
  • Wakes during the night more than once to urinate?
  • Wears protective pads for urine leakage?
  • Suffers from constipation?
  • Has pain with intercourse?
  • Is having issues recovering from childbirth?
  • Is experiencing pelvic pain?

Just because these are common issues doesn’t mean they are “normal”. There is no need to suffer with pain or spend countless dollars on protective pads. These issues do not just “go away” on their own and can worsen if not treated.
There is something you can do about it!

Women’s Pelvic Health Physical Therapy is a specialized area of rehabilitation focused on the assessment and treatment of women’s pelvic health concerns. Meet Michelle Cooper Day, MPT and start living your life again!

What Michelle’s patients are saying –

“Why didn’t I find out about this sooner?”

“I did not know this type of treatment even existed or could be so helpful.”

“I learned so much about what I can do to help myself with Michelle’s guidance.”

“I never knew the pelvic floor muscles were so important and needed proper care and attention!”

Speak to your doctor, specialist, or physical therapist to find out more. Call 402-506-9050 to schedule an appointment with Michelle Cooper Day, today!


 

10 Reasons to see a Podiatrist

  1. You have diabetes
  2. You’re starting to run/workout regularly
  3. You feel joint pain in your feet and/or ankles
  4. Heel pain is limiting your activities
  5. You have stubborn ingrown toenails
  6. You suspect a sprain, strain, or broken bone
  7. You need foot surgery
  8. You have a bothersome corn or callus
  9. You have a painful bunion
  10. You think you have athlete’s foot – and it isn’t going away

Meet our Podiatrists: Brad Copple, DPM and Reanen Michael, DPM

Call now for an appointment: (402) 506-9127