Spine & Rehab Specialists - April 2022

Take a look at our April newsletter!

APRIL 2022

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

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


Imagine that you walk into our clinic with an ache in your shoulder. Is it arthritis? Impingement syndrome? A sprain? A torn rotator cuff? You’re desperate to know so you can drink your coffee and drive your car in peace again. In the past, our PTs would have used PT special testing to figure out the problem and make an accurate diagnosis, or we might have referred you back to your doctor for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) if things looked bad. But today, we don’t have to rely on those methods! We have two amazing high-tech tools we can use to figure out what’s going on in just a few minutes: Our musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSK-US) and electromyography/nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCS) machines. Before I get into the details of how those technologies work, though, I should probably let you know who I am. My name is Anthony Durant, and I’ve been a PT at Spine & Rehab Specialists since 2016. If you’re a patient of ours you’ll probably remember me as the guy in the clinic who was always moving. On top of using MSK- US, EMG/NCS, and other tools to accurately diagnose patients as part of our PT special testing, I’m also the clinic manager at our location on Physician’s Drive. I have a wonderful wife named Paulina and a sweet baby girl, Camila, who is almost 2 years old. They keep me just as busy at home as I am in the clinic. Now, let’s get back to your hypothetical shoulder problem. The first thing you would do is chat with your PT about your pain and symptoms. That might be enough for them to guess what’s going on. If they deem it necessary, they could call me over to use the MSK-US and EMG/NCS machines to find out more. I’d use the MSK-US unit first. It’s pretty comparable to the abdominal scans used on pregnant women, except that we can apply that ultrasound technology to any part of your body to see what’s going on under the skin! If your shoulder was the problem, I’d use the machine to look at the ligaments and muscular structures there.

It’s amazing how much a small computer can tell you without the hassle and expense of an MRI. Another perk of the MSK-US unit is that it’s dynamic. With an MRI, you have to hold still, but with the MSK-US I’d actually ask you to move your shoulder so that I could see how the joint, muscles, and ligaments moved. That’s key to figuring out what is causing your pain. The ultrasound is an efficient, versatile, and quick way to see the structure of your shoulder. It basically shows me a picture of what’s happening under your skin. To figure out how well your nerves are functioning and how the muscle is working, I’d use the EMG/NCS machine. The NCS part of the tool focuses on the nerves, and the EMG part involves probing the muscle with a tiny needle. It hurts a little bit, but all of my patients have told me running both tests is well worth it to figure out whether they have a problem with the functionality of their muscles and nerves and get the most accurate care plan possible. After collecting this data, we would come up with a prognosis for you. Depending on what part of your shoulder was injured at the nerve level, we could either refer you back to your doctor for treatment or treat you in the clinic and save you money on surgery. The MSK-US and EMG/NCS units help us with this with incredible accuracy. It’s amazing to me that we have these cutting-edge technologies right here in El Paso. I still have a lot to learn about them, but the rigorous and challenging process of certification is worth it because it brings so much relief to

our patients. Knowing that I can use my hands, exercises, and this technology to change someone's life is humbling. I hope that next time you’re injured, you’ll give me a chance to use these skills and help you heal!

–Anthony Durant

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When you’re in pain, daily activities like walking to the mailbox or reaching for a plate from the cupboard can exacerbate inflamed joints and weak muscles. However, just simply being a human can intensify this pain, too. The reason is in your brain. For years, researchers have connected our mental well-being with our physical health. Study after study shows that those who suffer from mental illnesses also have intense bouts of pain. Physical therapy is a powerful treatment method designed to use your body’s strength and movement to stimulate physical healing. But to holistically recover from an injury or pain, you may have to also address your mental health. This spring, as April showers loom, consider a centuries-old practice that has shown time and time again to improve mental wellness. All it requires is a little dirt, patience, and the great outdoors. What is horticulture therapy? As the American Horticultural Therapy Association explains, horticulture therapy can improve cognitive and memory abilities, balance, language skills, and endurance, among

other benefits. It’s the practice of gardening to stimulate mindfulness. Dating back to

ancient Mesopotamia, the Persians were known for creating beautiful, calming gardens for this very purpose, and the first documented use of gardening for medical reasons is from the 1800s. Since then, connecting humans to plants is now a common treatment in many countries. What do I have to do? To effectively engage in horticulture therapy, you have to engage with nature. Plant a small garden in your yard and tend to it each day or week. Join a community garden, plant an indoor herb garden, or pluck weeds from your yard. If you’re not much of a gardener, try visiting local botanical gardens or hike a local trail and identify plant life each week. Or, ask your local nursery for suggestions about plants that are easy to care for. The goal is to physically and mentally connect with nature, which bonds you to a simpler form of life.

To learn more about horticulture therapy, connect with a local psychiatrist or counselor.

Everyone knows lasers can be awesome weapons in sci-fi, but not all lasers are deadly. In fact, they can help accelerate your healing process! But how? Let’s walk through laser therapy together — a highly safe, trusted treatment within physical therapy. The Science of Light It sounds like the murmur of a mad scientist to say that light energy from a laser can reduce your muscle’s pain and inflammation, accelerate healing in damaged tissues, relax your Heal Faster and Eliminate Pain With Lasers It’s Not Science Fiction — It’s Here

muscles, and even possibly stimulate nerve regeneration. However, science (or, in other words, decades of research) suggests that these effects actually occur. To put it simply, when a laser reaches a certain wavelength — specifically, within the infrared spectrum, which is greater than the red end of the visible light spectrum, but less than that of conventional microwaves — it can penetrate our skin, not unlike X-rays. With enough power, that wavelength can reach considerable depth for muscle therapy purposes. Lasers are excellent for physical therapy because they stimulate the building blocks of collagen, which is crucial for healing damaged tissues. Lasers can also decrease nerve sensitivity by decreasing bradykinin, a peptide that promotes inflammation. This is through normalizing ion channels, which act as cellular gatekeepers, and releasing endorphins,

the body’s natural pain reliever. Lasers can even have a pain-blocking effect on certain nerves in your body. Class 3 and 4 Lasers You’ll see two classes of lasers in physical therapy: Class 3 and 4. The main difference isn’t the wavelength, but the power used. This has a lot to do with the depth to which the laser needs to penetrate.

Class 3 operates at less than 500 milliwatts (mW) and is sometimes

referred to as a “cold laser” or LLLT for low-level laser therapy. These lasers don’t generate a lot of heat. Class 4 lasers operate at greater than 500 mW and do create a warming sensation on the skin, but they aren’t dangerous or harmful. The best laser is the one optimized to treat your particular injury or pain. Call your physical therapist with any questions — even just 1–2 treatments can make a significant difference.

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Protein Doesn’t Equal Bulk! ENHANCE LIFELONG WORKOUT GOALS AND FIGHT AGING High-protein diets and protein powders are a bodybuilder favorite — which is probably why everyone thinks eating extra protein will make them bulky. But that’s not true! Here are four reasons why everyone agrees that protein is crucial to any healthy routine.

No. 1: Protein reduces your appetite and hunger levels.

growth, but it can also help maintain your muscle mass while you are losing weight or even aging. Who knew protein could be a part of your beauty regimen? No. 3: Protein boosts metabolism. Your body uses calories to digest and utilize nutrients in food, and it’s a lot easier for your body to process protein compared to other nutrients. That’s why high protein intake has been shown to significantly “boost” people’s metabolisms and increase the number of calories they burn. No. 4: Women need protein most, especially as they get older. As women age, protein becomes important to balance hormones as well

as keep weight off. This could be due to the abundant amino acids found in protein and how important they are to hormone production. In a 2015 study, hormone experts found that a diet of 20–30 grams of protein per meal can lead to significant anabolic and metabolic benefits for adults. The best way to consume protein is through high-protein meals. Don’t rely solely on protein powders, which often lack the additional nutrients, both macro and micro, that benefit a high-protein diet. Thankfully, there are many options for having this type of diet, even if you’re vegan. We hope this information will help you stay healthy for many decades to come!

While fats, carbs, and protein will affect your body in different ways, studies show that protein is the most filling. You won’t reach for midnight snacks as often, if at all. Not only does it help you feel fuller for longer periods, but it also accomplishes this with less food. In one study, increasing protein intake from 15%–30% of calories helped overweight women eat around 441 fewer calories every day without intentionally restricting their diet. No. 2: Protein increases muscle mass — and maintains it. Protein is in every cell in our bodies. For your muscles, protein not only helps promote muscle strengthening and



Inspired by LiveEatLearn.com


• 6 large eggs • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

• 1 tsp lemon juice • Optional: Hot sauce, to taste • Optional: Paprika and chives, chopped, for garnish


1. In a large pot, add eggs and cover with water. Put on high heat, and then boil eggs for 10 minutes. 2. Once boiled, peel eggs by gently tapping and removing the shell. (Adding the eggs to an ice bath after boiling can make this task easier.) 3. Cut eggs lengthwise and place yolks into a medium mixing bowl. Set egg white halves open side up on a plate. 4. In a bowl, combine yolks, yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, and hot sauce (if desired) until smooth. 5. Transfer the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Garnish with paprika and chives if desired.

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

1. Anthony Gets Under Your Skin 2. Your Garden Can Help You Heal! How Lasers Eliminate Your Pain 3. Why Protein Will Fight Aging — And More Healthier, Lighter Deviled Eggs 4. The Truth About ‘Exergaming’ INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Experts Love Fitness Video Games — You Might, Too ‘EXERGAMING’ CAN MAKE REAL EXERCISE FUN

To make your fitness goals more fun, you might consider implementing fitness video games, such as Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch, into your routine. But do they actually work at keeping you in shape, or are they a gimmick? Which is better? A treadmill or an active video game? Recently, researchers from Brazil and the UK put together a randomized trial comparing the physiological effects of jogging on a treadmill compared to playing a few rounds on an active video game. All participants had Type 1 diabetes, and exercise is crucial to managing the condition. What went into this study? All participants, no matter their activity, were tested for heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption efficiency, and endothelial function (a marker for blood fluidity). Health readings were collected

on three occasions, including immediately after the activity, 30 minutes after, and 24 hours after. The study went on for three weeks, with two workouts per week. The results? The health readings were not only very similar, but also the blood glucose levels among participants declined to safe levels after both activities — with the added bonus that individuals who played active video games enjoyed the exercise a lot more.

“Exergaming” is all about putting yourself in a workout you enjoy most, especially for those with diabetes, says

Dr. Jorge Brito-Gomes, a researcher at the Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco, Brazil. He told Eat This, Not That: "Gamifying exercise not only takes your mind off the exertion, but working toward rewards in the game or even competing against friends helps motivate you to keep coming back to do more." Looking for an active video game to try? Check out Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch or Just Dance 2021 for all gaming consoles, or if you have a virtual reality headset, try Beat Saber, which starts out at low intensity as a rhythm game but can quickly turn into a mid- to high-intensity experience with increased difficulty!

Are games a replacement for gym exercise?

Not necessarily — it depends on your workout intensity and fitness goals. If you tend to go for mid- to high-intensity workouts, you need to find an active video game that allows you to achieve that level. When it comes to exercise, the human body doesn’t discriminate. Carrying heavy groceries burns calories just like weights do at the gym!

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