Summit Physical Therapy - September/October 2023

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When I arrived in the U.S. in February 1987, my New Zealand passport had a rather plain, slightly unofficial-looking cardboard “note” that, if I recall correctly, had been stapled to a page. On this note was written “H-1B visa” and the name of my new employer, Detroit Receiving Hospital. I wonder what would have happened if my passport — with this precious, seemingly forgettable card — had been stolen. Could I not get back into the country if this were not present? The H-1B visa, which allows foreigners to work in the U.S., obtain a Social Security number, and travel, was my official document until I got married at the end of 1989. We had planned a trip around the world, which I’ve talked about in previous newsletters. Subsequently, I had to apply for and pay for new green cards every 10 years. By the way, green cards are not green — at least, mine wasn’t; it was white. Eventually, and at the gentle persuasion of my wife, I began to think about becoming a citizen. I had gradually become frustrated with not being able to vote (despite voting by proxy by telling my American friends who I would vote for if I were a citizen!), but mainly, it was to explore a much easier pathway for my wife to receive Social Security benefits if I were to die. So, I began the process in 2011 after 24 years in the country. To become a citizen, I studied questions on U.S. geography, history, and government. I turned this into a test for my sons, who were teenagers at the time, but I made it much more difficult for them. For instance, one question asked to name three Native American tribes, then gave a list of some 20 or more. I had my sons name at least 18 of them, which was so much more to my satisfaction. Then, I was given an appointment date for my citizenship interview at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office (though it used to be known as the United Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS) in northwest Portland. HOW I WENT FROM A CARDBOARD VISA TO A US PASSPORT My Journey to Officially Become an American Citizen

I recall the USCIS interviewer had a photo of me when I entered the country in 1987, mullet haircut and all. We laughed, and she began asking me about the Christchurch earthquake that had occurred that year. Apparently, she had friends from there. I talked about soil liquefaction, aftershocks, and the energy waves that created high lateral movement forces during the earthquake. We talked earnestly for a while, then she sheepishly said, “Well, I need to give you your English exam now!” We laughed, and she handed me a sheet of paper with the words “George Washington was the first president” and asked me to read it. The written portion of the test was to write similar sentences to the reading part. Well, I guess I passed the test because a few weeks later, I was at the USCIS office again, being sworn in as a new U.S. citizen! I immediately applied for a U.S. passport, which arrived several weeks later. I’ll be making use of this passport soon, as I’m traveling to New Zealand to visit my 91-year-old father and hopefully spend a couple of days skiing. My nephew will join me as we go down to Queenstown, which I haven’t been to in 40 years. I certainly can’t wait to be back in New Zealand and, of course, share my journey with you!

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THE BEST SLEEPING POSITION For Preventing Neck and Back Pain

Have you ever awoken from a night’s sleep, ready to take on the day, but instead of feeling rested, you notice your neck or back is killing you? Then, for the next few days, you try to avoid turning your head or bending over, resulting in funny stares from coworkers or strangers. While this happens to everyone now and again, it’s not normal and should be a cause for concern if it occurs often. More likely than not, how you sleep is the culprit. Most of us sleep in whatever position feels most comfortable when we lie down, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best position for our bodies. So, if you frequently start your morning with neck or back pain, here are the sleeping positions you should avoid and the position most likely to provide much-needed relief. Sleeping Positions That Cause Neck or Back Pain No. 1: Sleeping on Your Stomach By sleeping on your stomach, you extend and compress your spine abnormally, leading

This causes the muscles and tendons that connect to your top side (the side of your body pointing toward the ceiling) to become shortened. Meanwhile, the connections to the side of your body against the bed become lengthened. This can leave you feeling imbalanced and tight, especially near the anterior or oblique muscles on the side of your stomach. How to Sleep to Prevent Neck and Back Pain If you want to avoid waking up with neck or back pain, the best way to sleep is on your back. By sleeping flat on your back, you promote the natural curve of your spine and avoid putting excess pressure on your organs. Sleeping on your back also allows the muscles and tendons on each side of your spine to balance appropriately without one side becoming longer or shorter than the other due to compression. Tips for Changing Your Sleep Position If you’ve slept on your stomach or side for many years, it may be difficult to adjust to back sleeping, even though it’s the healthier option. Fortunately, you can easily retrain your body using pillows. When you’re ready to try back sleeping, grab four pillows before you crawl into bed and place them in these four positions.

to pain and tightness in your lower back. If you can picture it, sleeping on your stomach forces your spine into a “U” shape, with your lower back (where your spine attaches to your pelvis) at the bottom of the “U.” When you hold this position for hours while asleep, the muscles at the junction of the “U” become incredibly tight, irritating the nerves in that area. On top of that, sleeping on your stomach also puts significant pressure on the abdomen and internal organs.

• Pillow 1: Under your knees.

• Pillow 2: Beneath your lower back.

• Pillow 3: On your left side, against your hips and stomach.

• Pillow 4: On your right side, against your hips and stomach.

These cushions should help make back sleeping more comfortable and prevent you from rolling into your previously preferred position while you sleep. If you have trouble dozing off, try different pillow sizes and densities until you find the best fit. After sleeping this way for a while, back sleeping will become a habit!

No. 2: Sleeping on Your Side When you sleep on your side, you still force your spine into that same “U” shape, but instead of the lower part of your back being at the bottom of the “U,” the middle of your back sags toward the floor.


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Do you want to eat healthier, but vegetables just aren’t your thing? What about pasta? Does that sound more like your style? If so, healthy eating just got a little easier — and more fun. Yes, we said fun! Philips has created an artisan pasta maker that lets you make pasta from any liquid. While there are many videos

online of people adding strawberry milk or root beer to their pasta makers, this product actually offers a really easy way for people to incorporate full servings of veggies into their lives without having to suffer through a plate full of steamed broccoli or spinach. All you need to do is add flour and slowly pour your chosen liquid into the top of the machine, and voilà ! The pasta squeezes out the front into your preferred form, ready to boil and enjoy! The recommended daily amount of vegetables for Americans is approximately 2 1/2 cups a day, which can seem like a lot if you’re trying to force them down. Of course, eating whole veggies with every meal is always best, but if you or your child is a picky eater, pasta isn’t a bad way to get that minimum amount in. But how do you turn a vegetable into a pasta? You blend it! Simply add your desired amount of veggies to a blender with

enough water to make it easy to pour into the machine, and you’re done!

So, if you decide to go the pasta route, here are a few vegetables we recommend blending up:

• Spinach • Tomatoes • Kale • Avocados

• Beets • Peas

• Zucchini • Carrots

If you want to mix it up, you can always blend multiple vegetables together!

Also, you don’t need the pasta maker to make your vegetable pasta dreams a reality — you can use this same method to make it by hand, too! But, if you’re interested in the pasta-maker route, you can find it online by looking up “Philips Artisan Pasta & Noodle Maker.”



TOMATO SALAD Inspired by



• 1/2 cup walnuts • 2 lbs ripe heirloom tomatoes • Kosher salt, to taste • Black pepper, to taste • 1/4 cup smoked blue cheese, thinly sliced • 1 tbsp fresh dill • Chopped fresh Italian parsley, to taste • 3 tbsp olive oil • 2 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar • 1 garlic clove, finely minced

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. On a baking sheet, toast the walnuts in the oven for 12–14 minutes. 2. Wash and slice the tomatoes. Place slices on a platter, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 3. Scatter toasted walnuts and blue cheese on top, followed by dill and preferred amount of parsley. 4. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, wine or vinegar, and garlic to make the dressing. 5. Spoon dressing evenly over salad and serve.

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6464 SW Borland Rd., Ste. B5 Tualatin, OR 97062

1. From a Not-So-Green Card to a US Passport! 2. Stop Waking Up in Pain: The Right Way to Sleep 3. Pasta Maker Turns Vegetables Into Nutritious, Delicious Pasta Walnut and Blue Cheese Tomato Salad 4. Can’t Fall Asleep? Try This Brain Tapping Technique INSIDE THIS ISSUE


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14.5% of Americans have trouble falling asleep every night — that’s more than 48 million people! If you’re part of this sleepless group, we’re pretty sure counting sheep isn’t cutting it. That’s why we’re sharing a sleep strategy that works naturally with your brain and can help you to fall asleep in less time than it would take to eat a bowl of cereal.

The strategy is called “brain tapping,” and it involves using your hands to create “repeated rhythmic patterns,” which our brains naturally love .

thighs lightly using your hands with palms facing down four times, with about one second between each tap and alternating between each hand. You don’t have to hit your legs hard, just loud enough to hear the sound. Do this for 30 seconds. Then, after following the four-tap rhythm for 30 seconds, you’ll slow the taps even further to just two taps with about two seconds between each tap. Do this for about a minute or a minute and a half. Finally, you will slow the tapping to almost three seconds between each tap. You’ll do this for about four minutes, and during this phase, you also close your eyes and take slow deep breaths. After those final four minutes, you’ll be surprised how tired you feel and how quickly you can fall asleep. Sweet dreams!

The auditory rhythm will trigger the brain to “switch over” to the

parasympathetic nervous system. If this sounds familiar, you’ve likely heard of it before. Evolutionarily, our bodies have two states: fight or flight and rest and digest. The sympathetic nervous system controls our body during a fight or flight situation, and the parasympathetic nervous system controls rest and digestion. So, to fall asleep more quickly, we want to “trick” our bodies into activating our parasympathetic nervous system, or the rest and digest state.

So, how do you do it?

To start the brain-tapping process, sit on your bed or a chair. Then, tap your


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