CornerStone PT & Wellness Center - February 2020

FEBRUARY 2020

CORNERSTONE Monthly

77 Brant Avenue, Suite 101, Clark, NJ 07066 • CornerstonePTNJ.com • 732.499.4540

Cornerstone PT Patients

BREAKING THE CYCLE

VIP Referral Patient of the Month!

WHEN PAIN BECOMES GROUNDHOG DAY

LARRY SCLAFANI

I think it’s impossible to see Groundhog Day on the calendar and not immediately think of the Bill Murray movie of the same name. I haven’t seen the 1993 rom- com in years, but it’s just one of those films where the plot sticks with you. In a way, I think it’s a concept many of the people who come into our clinic can identify with. Even without seeing the movie, most folks know the central hook of “Groundhog Day.” Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again in and endless loop. It’s an out-there premise, but at the same time, it’s surprisingly relatable — especially when you’re in pain. Time and time again, I hear from new patients who feel like they’ve been trapped in the same daily cycle of pain and immobility. The reason for this is all thanks to one common myth. “Time heals all wounds,” is a nice but misleading sentiment, especially where chronic pain is concerned. While this saying may be true for paper cuts and broken hearts, many wounds and conditions require you to take action if you want to heal them properly. Sadly, I see many patients who’ve made the mistake of sitting on their injuries for far too long. Just the other day, I had a new patient come in frustrated over an ankle injury that just wasn’t going away. Initially, they’d gone to the doctor and got some medicine that simply wasn’t working for them — but after that treatment didn’t work out, they waited a full two months before coming into our clinic. That sort of thing kills me. There is no need to live in pain for that long without doing anything about it.

Those who have been waiting for time to heal them can often grow impatient when starting therapy, and I completely understand. For them, it feels like another day in pain and another treatment that simply isn’t making a difference. What I try to remind people in situations like this is that while they may have been hurting for a while, they’re just starting their recovery journey with us. It’s going to take a combination of time and effort to ease the pain and break the cycle. I’m going to test my memory of “Groundhog Day” one last time. In the end, Murray manages to break the loop, but it’s only after having worked on himself. With the help of Andie MacDowell, he takes the time and spends the energy to correct what’s wrong with him, and only then can he move forward. While Murray’s troubles were based on healing himself morally, the same lesson can be applied to healing physically. Now, physical therapy isn’t magic, and it’s not going to miraculously heal you overnight. It’s a process — one that can mean sticking to a routine that may feel at first like it’s own endless loop. But again and again, I’ve seen those who stick with their stretches and exercises beat out their pain and move forward with their lives. Being a part of that recovery is an experience I don’t mind reliving.

The best compliment we can receive is to have one of our patients refer a friend or family member to our practice. If you refer someone and we are able to take them as a patient, both you and the person who was referred will be entered to Win a $25 gift card! It’s just our way of saying

Thank You!

–David DeLaFuente

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Can You Feel the Love? The Secret to Living a Longer, Healthier Life

“My experience has been great. Everyone was very accommodating. I was having pain up and down my arm and now I feel zero pain.” –Danielle P.

The human brain is an incredibly powerful organ. It solves complex problems, recalls forgotten memories, and triggers a dizzying array of emotions. But its most incredible power is the effect it can have on the rest of the body. When it comes to love, well, our brains certainly love it, and our bodies reflect that. LESS STRESS Human beings thrive on a sense of connection and belonging, and studies have shown that love actually has positive effects on a person’s physical health as well as mental. The security and commitment felt in a loving relationship are shown to reduce stress by stunting the production of cortisol, the body’s stress-inducing hormone. Less stress means lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and a lower risk of stroke, especially in men. HEALTHIER IMMUNE SYSTEMS Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that calm, happy people can fight common colds and the flu more easily than those who are anxious or depressed. The physical benefits of love even go as far as healing wounds quicker. Small injuries inflicted on a wide test group at Ohio State University Medical Center healed nearly twice as fast on people who experienced consistent warmth and care than those who experienced hostility. In fact, the latter group needed almost a full additional day to achieve the same amount of healing as the first group. LONGER, HAPPIER LIVES Being surrounded by love may even save your life. A statistic from the National Health Interview Survey states that single people face a 58% higher risk of mortality. Further bolstering that claim is the Harvard Health Blog, which claims happily married participants experience better health as they age when compared to peers in unhappy partnerships. In fact, the blog asserts, “People in stressful, unhappy marriages may be worse off than a single person who is surrounded by supportive and caring friends, family, and loved ones.” So, it seems the results are in: Loving someone is a healthy lifestyle choice. Even having a strong network of friends and family boosts your odds of living a long life by 50%. So, get out there and make the healthy choice for yourself and those around you by leading a life full of love.

“I had a great experience at Cornerstone Physical Therapy. I came in with a broken foot and a weak ankle. I learned a lot about my foot and how to strengthen my muscles. Everyone here was really helpful.”

–Lauren G.

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TREATING A PAIN IN THE NECK It’s no accident that we refer to exceptionally aggravating events in our life as a “real pain in the neck.” That’s because neck pain is both extremely common and incredibly debilitating. If you suffer from even a mild version of this condition, you know how much it can eat away at your everyday life. But just like changing a tire or beating the lines at the airport, you can address a literal pain in the neck in many ways. KNOW THE CAUSES

Many factors can lead to a sore neck, a great deal of them commonplace. For example, strain from staring down at your phone screen for extended periods of time can leave you with lasting pain. Even gritting your teeth because of stress can be a trigger, causing tension in your neck muscles. Other causes can take a long time to develop, such as osteoarthritis deteriorating the cartilage between your vertebrae. On the other hand, very immediate incidents, such as being involved in a car accident, can lead to sudden, severe neck pain. HELP YOURSELF For mild neck pain, home remedies can do wonders. Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin can help make going about your day-to-day activities more bearable, and regular application of heat (such as warm showers) can loosen and relieve the joints in your neck. Sleeping with a small pillow under your neck for added support can also give you the rest you need to recover. But if the pain is too severe, lasts for several days, or seems to be radiating out to other areas of your body, it’s time to seek more extensive care.

GET THE PROFESSIONALS INVOLVED Severe or chronic neck pain may be linked to serious medical conditions, especially in the wake of a car accident. For this reason, it’s best to seek help from your physician, who can offer you a range of treatment options. Physical therapy may be one of these options, though it’s important to note you can visit a PT clinic for your neck pain even without a referral from your doctor. Physical therapy techniques like massage and manual manipulation can be effective

forms of treatment that don’t rely on surgery or powerful painkillers.

DATE TRUFFLES

Valentine’s Day is all about love … and chocolate. Enjoy these chocolate peanut butter date truffles with your date this Valentine’s Day.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb medjool dates, pitted (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

• • •

1/2 tsp sea salt

Warm water

1/4 cup peanut butter

DIRECTIONS

1. Using a food processor, blend dates and sea salt until dough can be formed into a ball. Slowly add enough warm water to mixture to thicken dough. 2. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Freeze for 20–30 minutes. 3. In microwave, warm 1/4 cup peanut butter for 30 seconds, then drizzle peanut butter on top of balls. Freeze balls for another 20 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, in microwave, warm chocolate with coconut oil until melted. Stir well. 5. Coat balls in chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 6. Top with additional salt and freeze for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

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INSIDE This Issue

1

When Pain Becomes Groundhog Day

2

Testimonials

The Effects of Love on Your Physical Health

3

Treating a Pain in the Neck

Date Truffles

4

Your Epic Adventure Awaits

Create Your Own Odyssey

MYTHICAL ADVENTURES AWAIT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

One of the oldest stories in Western literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus’ travels were fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places he visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travelers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own. SICILY, ITALY One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world-class golf courses, and delicious food. GOZO, MALTA While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso.

Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern-day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ggantija temples, which are older than the Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures. ITHACA, GREECE If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca!

With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey — minus the mythical monsters, of course.

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