Spine & Rehab Specialists - July 2021

JULY 2021

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

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


In November 2019, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic, Anthony and I were in New York City to take the first step in a multiyear journey. Our goal was to upgrade the Spine & Rehab Specialists clinics with brand-new diagnostics tools that would make identifying and treating patient problems easier. I had my eye on offering two things in particular: musculoskeletal ultrasound and electromyogram and nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCS). Adding a service to the clinic takes years of work and training, and since you and my team deserve the best, we went to New York to get it. Thankfully, we got home to El Paso before COVID-19 hit New York. Now, a year and a half later, both of the diagnostics tools we crossed the country to bring you are available in our clinics! The terms “musculoskeletal ultrasound” and “EMG/NCS” probably sound like PT mumbo-jumbo, but they’re less complicated and more amazing than they seem. What is musculoskeletal ultrasound? If you’ve ever seen a doctor do an abdominal ultrasound on a pregnant woman to examine the baby, then you have a pretty good idea of what this diagnostic tool looks like and how it’s used. The big difference is that instead of looking at the abdomen, my team uses the machine to examine joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. The ultrasound gives us a clear view of what’s going on inside your body without the expense, hassle, and limitations you have to deal with while getting an MRI. Now that we offer this

service, you can have your injury examined affordably in the comfort of the clinic instead of paying thousands of dollars to be forced to stay still in a claustrophobic tube! Even better, we can pinpoint your problem more specifically since you’ll be able to move your joints during the examination. A shoulder impingement, for example, is difficult to see in an MRI because it’s only clear when the patient is moving. This solves that problem and ensures you get the correct diagnosis and treatment the first time. What are electromyogram and nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCS)? EMG/NCS has the same benefits as musculoskeletal ultrasound but is a totally different method. Instead of looking at joints and ligaments, it looks specifically at your nerves to see if they’re functioning normally. (Think of your nerves like an electrical cord with copper wire inside and a protective plastic coating outside. The copper wire is the axon, and the coating is the myelin sheath. Both of these things are important, and each one can have its own issues. That’s what we test for!) To use EMG/NCS, we stick small electrodes onto the muscles we’re testing (for NCS) or insert a small needle (for EMG). Then, we send an electrical impulse to stimulate the nerve. We look at the strength of the signal, its speed, and whether there’s an issue with the axon, myelin sheath, or both. This helps us figure out exactly what is causing your pain and how to treat it. It’s really important to get this right because the more accurate your diagnosis is, the more effectively and quickly we can help you heal. Both of these tools take years of training to master, and I’m proud that Spine & Rehab Specialists can offer them. We’re still working on our full certifications, but our partnership with Hands-On Diagnostics (HODS) allows us to use cutting-edge tools to help you and complete our training at the same time. If you’ve been struggling with a mysterious ache or pain (or think you were misdiagnosed in the past), our musculoskeletal ultrasound and EMG/NCS services could make a huge difference in your life. To find out more about how we can help you, give our clinic a call today. –Harry Koster

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When thinking about extreme and deadly weather, most people conjure up images of massive tornadoes in the Midwest or hurricanes and flooding in the Southeast. But you might be surprised to learn that the deadliest extreme weather event is excessive heat. In fact, according to a study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat causes more deaths each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined . Since 2020 was the second warmest year on record and all the other years in the top 10 have occurred since 2005, it’s time to wise up about heat-related illnesses. Heat-Related Illnesses and Risk Factors According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat-related illnesses are caused by “exposure to extreme heat where the body becomes unable to properly cool, resulting in a rapid rise in body temperature.” There are several kinds of heat-related illnesses. The least severe are heat rashes, sunburn, and heat cramps, and the most serious are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. While anyone can experience these illnesses if they overexert themselves in hot weather, some groups are more at risk than others, including: • Children under the age of 4 and adults over the age of 65 • People with preexisting medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease

• People who are overweight • People taking certain kinds of medication • Individuals who are intoxicated or drink excessively

Symptoms to Watch Out For Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke have many of the same symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, and passing out. But other symptoms help differentiate the two. Heat stroke victims will have hot, red skin that may be dry or damp, and they’ll likely have a fast, strong pulse. By contrast, victims of heat exhaustion will have cold, pale, and clammy skin and a fast but weak pulse. Heat stroke is a medical emergency requiring professional medical attention immediately. You should also seek medical help for anyone exhibiting the above symptoms who is also throwing up or whose symptoms are getting worse or last longer than one hour. For a complete list of symptoms and treatment for all heat-related illnesses, visit CDC.gov/ disasters/extremeheat/warning.html . Stay cool this summer and prevent heat-related illnesses by seeking shade or staying indoors on hot days, avoiding exerting yourself in the heat, and drinking plenty of water!


3 CELEBRITY CHEFS PROVE IT’S POSSIBLE AND DELICIOUS America is the land of the free and home of one of the world’s highest per capita meat-consuming cultures. While veganism and plant-based diets seem to be trending among celebrities from Beyonce to Bill Clinton, most Americans are not ready to relinquish their burgers and bacon entirely. A recent Gallup poll found that the percentage of Americans who identify as vegetarian or vegan has barely shifted in the last 20 years, holding steady at 5% and 3%, respectively. But two trends are starting to converge, making flexitarian diets — ones with plant-based and meatless meals — more appealing: The concern over high carbon emissions tied to meat production and the increased availability of plant-based meatless but meat-like options. Add that to the evidence of the negative health effects of consuming too much red meat, and shifting to a flexitarian diet starts to make a lot of sense. Who better to lead this shift in American eating habits than well-known chefs? These three celebrity chefs are proving that eating less meat doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor. Gordon Ramsay Ramsay has made jabs at the animal rights organization PETA and other characteristically brash comments against

vegetarianism in the past, but after judging on Vegan Celebrity MasterChef in 2018, Ramsay says he lost weight by eating five small flexitarian meals a day. He’s also started experimenting with plant-centric dishes like beet wellington, subbing the earthy root vegetable for traditional red meat. Jamie Oliver It’ll come as less of a surprise that Oliver has gone flexitarian and started incorporating more meatless meals into his diet. Oliver’s 2010 show “Food Revolution” took a peek behind American school lunches and sought to bring healthier fare to kids around the country. Oliver has since released a meat-free cookbook and says eating less meat has improved his sleep and is better for the planet. Martha Stewart Known for her cooking as well as her crafting, Stewart has been championing plant-based meals since 2013 when her vegetarian cookbook “Meatless” was published. Last year, she joined forces with the innovative plant-based meat substitute company Beyond Meat to help launch their new breakfast sausage line.

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When it comes to snackability, it’s hard to beat popcorn. It’s easy to make, has a satisfying crunch, and allows for endless seasoning options. That’s what makes it the most popular snack food by volume. In the U.S., Americans consume a whopping 1.2 billion pounds of popcorn each year. But did you know that there are three whole- grain cousins to the kernel that are equally delicious when popped?

lack of familiarity or their long cook times. However, since popping them takes less than 10 minutes, it’s a great entry point to varying your whole-grain diet! The Benefits Whole grains are great sources of fiber and protein, and these three powerhouse grains really deliver. Fiber has been shown to help lower cholesterol, move waste through the digestive tract, and decrease the risk of forming blood clots that can lead to heart attack or strokes. Harvard School of Public Health also notes that whole grains can help stabilize blood sugar levels and may even protect against some cancers. That’s because they contain phytochemicals and essential minerals like magnesium, selenium, and copper. The Technique Are you ready to get popping? Cook’s Illustrated magazine suggests this simple technique for grains: In a medium saucepan, add 1 quart of boiling water to 1/2 cup of wheat berries, kamut, or spelt and simmer for 15 minutes; drain well and let dry for 15 minutes on paper towels. Heat 1 tsp of neutral, high-heat oil (vegetable or coconut oil works well) in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the 1/2 cup of grains and cook while stirring constantly about 6–8 minutes. The grains will pop and “jump” in the skillet, turn a deep golden brown, and smell delicious. When that happens and the popping slows or stops, you’ll know they’re done. Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool before snacking. Eating a diet rich in whole grains can support you on your journey to having better health. And popped kamut, spelt, and wheat berries prove that journey can also be delicious!

The Grains While most whole grains

can be popped on the stove like popcorn, larger grains like wheat berries, spelt, and kamut are the ones that really

shine with a satisfying popcorn-like crunch and a delicious nutty flavor. Whole grains come with tons of health benefits, and there are many options to try, from well-known brown rice to the more obscure amaranth. But many people skip these grains because of a



Inspired by JoCooks.com


• 4 cups of fresh corn, cut from 5 cobs • 1 tbsp olive oil • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped • 1/2 red onion, diced • 6 green onions, chopped • 1 jalapeno, diced • 1/2 avocado, cubed • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

• 1/2 tsp ground cumin • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika • Salt and pepper, to taste

• 2 tbsp sour cream • 2 tbsp mayonnaise

• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped • 1/2 cup cotija or feta cheese, crumbled


1. In a cast-iron skillet over medium- high heat, add oil and corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3–5 minutes or until corn starts to char. 2. Add the corn to a large bowl and let cool for 5 minutes, then add

the remaining ingredients and stir together until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning. 3. The salad pairs well with grilled entrees and can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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


Arms: Pushdowns Land lovers do pushups and water lovers do pushdowns. The principle behind both exercises is the same, but doing it in the water means less strain on your muscles. To perform the pushdown, stand in waist-deep water and hold your kickboard in front of you with your elbows bent and your hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your core muscles engaged as you push the board down into the water until your elbows are straight. Slowly bring the board back to the starting position. Do 2–3 cycles of 10 reps each. Legs: Flutter Kicks This exercise is great to do in the lap lane at the pool and is probably one you’ve seen before. Grip the top of the board (the round end) with both hands and extend your arms in front of you with the board on the surface of the water. Lift your hips so your body is horizontal and be sure to slide your shoulders down and engage your core as you start performing small kicks with your legs. Engage your thighs to power the kick and keep your knees slightly bent while your ankles remain relaxed. Abs and Hip Flexors: L Sit In shallow water that still allows you to float, lean your chest and outstretched arms over your kickboard. Keep your back straight and your legs at a 90-degree angle to create the L-shape this exercise is named after. Engaging your core muscles and keeping your back long, move your legs in tandem up toward the kickboard, then return slowly to the starting position. Do 2–3 sets of 10 reps.


If the heat of the summer is zapping your energy and motivation to exercise, it’s probably time to head to the pool to cool down and get moving without breaking a sweat. While swimming laps is a great low-impact exercise, there are many other ways to work out in the water. And there’s one humble, versatile, and widely available piece of equipment that can provide a full-body water workout: a foam kickboard. That’s right, those colorful kickboards you often see lined up poolside are perfect for elevating your aquatic workout. High-quality kickboards are made from foam that is both long-lasting and hygienic, but if you’re taking extra safety precautions and don’t want to use shared boards, they are also inexpensive to buy.

Here are three exercises to get you started!

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