Spine & Rehab Specialists - June 2021

JUNE 2021

6358 EDGEMERE BLVD. EL PASO, TEXAS 79925 915-562-8525

11855 PHYSICIANS DR. EL PASO, TEXAS 79936 915-855-6466


Every Father’s Day, I feel particularly proud to be my father’s son. Technically, my dad is a knight in Holland, appointed to the Order of the Netherlands Lion. He earned the honor by doing years of volunteer work in our community. The day he and my mom were knighted was a special one for my family. But as great as the honor of knighthood is, it’s my father’s dedication to sports, his community, and his family that I cherish most. My dad is 93 years old and has done a lot with those decades. He served in the Dutch military as a sports instructor, helping the other recruits with their physical fitness. Then, after the military, my dad coached a game called “korfball” and helped run our local gymnastics club (this was in part for my brother’s benefit, as he was a talented gymnast). At one point, my dad was even named Sportsperson of the Year! His dedication inspired my love of fitness and the body, and he also showed me with his example how important it is to give back. He sang in the church choir, coordinated bike races, and even volunteered at a nursing home into his early 90s. By the time

he retired from that, he was older than most of the residents! Here in El Paso, I’ve volunteered for the UTEP football team for 15 years now, and I credit that to my dad. My father is an excellent role model for me, and thanks to him, I appreciate what an outsized role a dad can play in his children’s life. It has been a privilege to see several young men in our clinic grow into that role over the years. Three in particular come to mind: J.T., the recently-retired manager of our clinic on Physicians Drive; Anthony, who stepped up to take his place; and Joey, the manager of our Edgemere clinic.


doing what’s best for his family, like a father should. Joey and Anthony are both new dads who have stepped up admirably to the task of fatherhood. Joey’s son, Aiden, is almost 2, and Bonnie and I love hearing stories about him. Like J.T., Joey has been with our team since PT school, and it has been a pleasure to watch him grow as a person, get married, and raise Aiden. It’s a similar story with Anthony. He kept in touch with us throughout his education, and we hired him right out of PT school. He has been with our team for five years now, and we held our breath right along with him and his wife as they welcomed their daughter, Camilla, in the middle of the pandemic last year. I’m glad I can help live out my father’s legacy by giving ambitious, impressive dads like J.T., Joey, and Anthony a place to work while they grow their careers and families. This month, I’d like to give all three of them a Father’s Day shoutout! I’ll give my dad a call and see how he’s doing over in Holland. I’m lucky to have him in my life, even from thousands of miles away. –Harry Koster


J.T., Joey, and Anthony are all incredible dads who tirelessly put their kids first. In fact, J.T. recently retired from physical therapy in order to spend more time with his three children, who are all under the age of 8. It was hard to see him go. He spent 19 excellent years with our company. Bonnie and I got to see his journey through PT school, watch him get married, and meet each of his kids when they came along. As tough as it was to say goodbye, we’re grateful for the time we had with J.T. and know he’s


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Alzheimer's disease is an ailment that continues to baffle us, even as we learn more about it than ever before. Doctors and scientists have made huge strides in understanding and fighting Alzheimer’s, especially in the past three decades. But for everything learned, more questions must be asked. Sometimes, things just work, and we aren’t sure why. For a long time, exercise and physical therapy were part of that. PT had a role in slowing Alzheimer’s, but doctors didn’t fully understand what that was. Today, we have a much clearer picture, and that provides hope for future understanding. There are two things at the root of PT’s connection to good Alzheimer’s treatment. The first is very basic: Alzheimer’s responds to physical activity. Just as certain mental exercises can help stave off or slow down the advent of the disease, physical activity has been shown in studies published by Harvard and in trade journals to have a positive effect on some Alzheimer’s outcomes. Obviously, it isn’t a frontline treatment, but staying active helps your brain continue to “work out” the parts that are connected to movement and body functions, which are negatively impacted by the mid and late stages of the disease.

we expect PT to progress and then slow down, even cease after a while. That’s because the injury has healed. But with Alzheimer’s, the goal of PT is to keep mobility high for as long as possible . It’s not a winning battle, but the longer we can stay active and mobile, the better our quality of life will be. Once the illness progresses to the mobility and physical function regions of the brain, physical therapy becomes all the more important. Because many late-stage Alzheimer’s patients can expect to be bedridden, increasing mobility as much as possible for as long as possible can help mitigate risks such as bed sores and other secondary ailments. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine, therapy and activity can decrease the disease progressing through the physical activity centers of the brain by as much as 50%. There’s no denying that Alzheimer’s is a frightening condition, and watching loved ones go through it is hard. But we aren’t powerless in this situation. We need to put together a treatment plan, and a holistic plan will include physical activity, and later physical therapy, to mitigate those aspects of the disease. It may not be a cure, but it is a smart and effective treatment based on hard science. Right now, that has to be enough.

To that end, physical therapy itself has a big part to play. The key goal is to retain mobility. If a patient has a broken leg,

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KALE, SEAWEED, AND OTHER NOT-SO-NEW SUPERFOODS There’s nothing so trendy as a new superfood or diet, and the “in vogue” ones change constantly. Older readers may remember the Atkins diets and other fads of the early 2000s, but younger ones may not even remember a time before the paleo diet was a thing — and it’s already almost a thing of the past. Many things we associate with these trends, though, are anything but new. We see this most clearly with the grains we turn to in the name of health. Westerners generally wouldn’t be familiar with quinoa, amaranth, teff, or kamut if it weren’t for their presence in the hippest healthy-eating Instagram feeds. Many of these foods

hail from Africa or the Far East, so it’s understandable we don’t know them all — but there’s nothing really new about them. People in the Americas and the Old World have eaten quinoa for 3,000–5,000 years. Teff, which is technically a grass seed, was one of the first domesticated plants, emerging thousands of years ago in what is now Ethiopia. Alternate sources of protein and fiber show a similar trend. Seaweed — the perennial favorite of Twitter dieters everywhere — has been consumed in China, Korea, and Japan since before recorded history. If you know anything about recorded history in those regions, then you know that’s a long time! And kale, whose reputation precedes itself, has been cultivated since at least 2,000 B.C. in Greece, Asia Minor, and other parts of the Mediterranean. So, the next time you dig into your favorite health food, take a moment to Google what you are eating. You might be part of a long line of human beings who have turned to that food for sustenance over the millennia!

GRILLED CHICKEN SHAWARMA Inspired by FeastingAtHome.com



• 2 tbsp ground cumin • 2 tbsp ground coriander • 2 tsp kosher salt • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper • 2 tsp turmeric • 1 tsp ground ginger

• 1 tsp ground black pepper • 2 tsp allspice • 8 garlic cloves, minced • 6 tbsp olive oil • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs


1. To create marinade, whisk all spices with the garlic and olive oil in a medium bowl. 2. Add chicken to the bowl, coat well with marinade, cover, and let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes — or up to 48 hours. Strain off excess marinade before cooking.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill thighs for 10–12 minutes on each side, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 F. 4. Serve with rice, vegetables, or pita bread with tzatziki.

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915-562-8525 | www.SpineRehab.net 6358 Edgemere Blvd. El Paso, Texas 79925





‘TOO OLD’ FOR MARTIAL ARTS? TELL IT TO MR. MIYAGI — and also beat down bad guy John Kreese in the process, despite Kreese being a much younger man. Mr. Miyagi is based on a “stock” character, or archetype, from traditional Asian martial arts culture. But there’s a grain of truth to it, whether you’re looking at real-life martial artists (Henry Plée comes to mind, who practiced well into his 80s) or fighting school founders in medieval Japan — who often viewed karate as integral to their understanding of Zen and other spiritual matters, and thus essential as they got older. Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” carries on the tradition, showing us a much-older LaRusso who takes on the Miyagi role, opposite his longtime “frenemy” Johnny Lawrence. LaRusso and Lawrence have both returned to karate in middle age, and even Kreese reappears, now in his 70s and as formidable as ever. Is that realistic? You bet! According to one study, the average karate practitioner is 55 years old, and the average martial artist is 46. Many in both groups report regular sparring and contact practice. If you’re a martial artist, you may have to make some adjustments as you get older, but you’ll never have to give up your discipline entirely. And if you’re new to the world of martial arts, it’s never too late to start — as long as you find the right teacher and school!

Martial arts get added to the list of activities we can’t do as we age, right? Unless you’re doing tai chi or aikido, most people think there’s no place in contact sports for aging folks.

Except, as it turns out, there is.

From hip shows like “Cobra Kai” (and its basis, “The Karate Kid”) to centuries of tradition, older people and martial arts actually mix quite well — and they can be a great throughline for an active life. Martial arts took off in the United States back in the 1980s with the “Karate Kid” franchise, which continues today. The original movies showed us Pat Morita, an Okinawan expatriate and karate master who trains Ralph Macchio’s character, Daniel LaRusso. Morita’s Mr. Miyagi is no spring chicken, but he’s able to take LaRusso to new levels of karate expertise

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