Spine & Rehab Specialists - September 2022

Take a look at our September newsletter!


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

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


If you're not sure whether cheerleading is really a sport, I recommend watching the TV series “Cheer” on Netflix. After you spend a few hours with the Navarro College competitive cheer squad on their quest to win the national title, I’m sure you’ll have your answer! “Cheer” does a great job of showing how grueling and intense cheerleading practice can be, and how physically demanding the performances are. Cheerleaders need serious strength, power, coordination, balance, and flexibility to pull off their routines. In my mind, whether cheerleading is officially a sport or not, there’s no doubt cheerleaders are incredible athletes who don’t get enough credit. By definition, a sport involves a lot of physical exertion, skill, and competition. That would make the cheerleading you see in “Cheer” a sport! However, the definition has backfired on cheerleaders, too, over the years. Not every cheer team competes; some just perform on the sidelines of sports competitions. In those cases, many people wouldn't classify cheer as a sport. Personally, I consider the cheerleaders I treat at the clinic to be athletes just like football, soccer, basketball, and tennis players. Like those sports, cheerleading comes with a high risk of injury. For example, flyers (the cheerleaders thrown in the air during stunts) can get badly hurt if they don’t land properly. I’ve heard horror stories about flyers smashing into the floor or crushing other team members! Bases (the cheerleaders who lift the flyers) are also at risk of overuse injuries and muscle strains from repeatedly lifting, throwing, and catching the flyers. Even spotters (the cheerleaders who keep everyone else balanced) and get hurt if a flyer lands on them. I’ve been a physical therapist at Spine & Rehab Specialists for two years now, and I’ve treated both bases and flyers. I’ve seen cheerleaders come in with sprains, muscle strains, and stress fractures from repetitive impact activities.

Most of these athletes only find PT when they’re already injured and need help with recovery, but PT can actually help cheerleaders before an injury happens, too. If you have a cheerleader in your family or group of friends, share these three ways PT can help them. 1. Injury Prevention Assessments: Our team offers complimentary 15-minute consultations, and you don’t need a doctor’s referral to schedule one. We can help cheerleaders identify their weak spots, problem areas, and other physical deficits, then start treating them before those turn into injuries. 2. Strength and Balance Training: Cheerleaders need great balance and strong core muscles for running, lifting, and tumbling. PTs like me can prescribe exercises targeted at improving those areas. These will help cheerleaders avoid joint strain and spinal problems. 3. Post-Injury Recovery: A PT can provide post-surgical rehabilitation or help with recovery from a less serious injury like a strain or sprain. We’ll create a sports- specific exercise and movement program tailored to the cheerleader’s needs to help them get back in the game. Cheerleaders are tough, and they tend to continue practicing and competing through their aches and pains. Unfortunately, that can make future injuries much worse!

If you know a cheerleader who is struggling right now (or just wants to boost their performance), please share this newsletter with them or direct them to our website. My coworkers and I will treat them with care, just like we would any other athlete.

–Marlene Gomez

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Many people know you go to a physical therapist if you've sustained an injury, but did you know physical therapy can also treat diabetes? Here’s how PT can make a diabetic patient’s life better, one session at a time. What is diabetes, and how does it develop? When we consume certain foods (candy, fruit, bread), our body will break it down into glucose — an important energy source for living organisms. Diabetes is a condition where your body isn’t producing enough insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. Without insulin, your body can develop high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. That’s why diabetes can have such a dramatic effect on your health — if high blood sugar goes untreated, it can damage your nerves, blood vessels, tissues, and organs. These issues can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and may even lead to eye damage, kidney damage, and non-healing wounds. Many diabetic patients will experience common symptoms such as tingling or numbness in their hands or feet, fatigue, blurry vision, increased hunger, and other side effects. The good news is that these symptoms can be mitigated — and, believe it or not, physical therapy can be a great way of managing these symptoms. Fight Smarter, Not Harder How Physical Therapy Fights Diabetes

You can fight diabetes with fitness. Diabetes can develop at any age. When it does, many physical problems can develop alongside it, including weakness, loss of endurance, obesity, balance problems, and even chronic pain. Not to mention, diabetes typically leads to less physical activity overall — which can cause many other health issues. This may create a bit of a paradox for some diabetic patients. Physical activity and exercise have been proven to be effective ways to lower high blood sugar levels. Yet, by the time a diabetic patient comes to see a physical therapist, the patient may be very limited in the types of movements they can do. Attempting exercise without guidance can cause injury and worsen the patient’s health. Thankfully, physical therapists are movement experts! They can help patients discover new techniques to exercise in safe, enjoyable ways. These, in turn, will help patients take control of their symptoms again. Diabetes rarely affects two people in the same way, and it often requires highly customized treatment plans. However, depending on a patient’s abilities and their likes and dislikes, a physical therapist may recommend exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming, aerobic dance, or even yoga. Attending a yoga class is a great way to get your balance back. It’s not as physically exerting as other forms of exercise, since yoga trains the body over time. It can also provide major mental health benefits. If you suffer from diabetes, know that nobody has to fight it alone. With a physical therapist on your side, you can fight anything, including a disease that can be as exhausting as diabetes. We’ll have your back. Just give our offices a call.

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Is the MIND Diet Right for You?

Thanks to all the medical research on Alzheimer’s and dementia in recent years, we know diet and aging cognitive function are linked. However, all of the information out there might seem overwhelming and even vague. What do we know for sure? What changes in your diet can make the biggest impact on your brain health? According to the National Institute of Aging — which operates under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — experts have suggested the MIND diet is the ideal diet for empowering your brain. Here’s why. Why Diet Affects Dementia Risk It turns out that your brain will experience changes years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. This suggests a possible window of opportunity to delay or even prevent dementia symptoms. Between medications, lifestyle changes, or a combination of these interventions, researchers are looking for many possible ways to do this.

A healthy diet plays an important role in these efforts. For example, it’s possible that certain diets affect biological function, such as oxidative stress and inflammation, which underlie Alzheimer’s. Alternatively, diet can also work more indirectly against Alzheimer’s by affecting other dementia risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Thankfully, you can throw a “single stone” to decrease these risk factors. Research shows a Mediterranean diet is directly linked to a lower risk of dementia and other symptoms of cognitive decline. What’s MIND? The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was designed to lower blood pressure. The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is a variation on that diet. However, whereas the Mediterranean and DASH diets welcome all vegetables and fruits of any kind, MIND focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention.

On a MIND diet, you’ll eat six servings a week of leafy green vegetables, plus at least one serving of any other vegetable a day. Berries, whole grains (three servings a day), fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and olive oil are other important foods for a MIND diet. You’ll also avoid red meat, cheese, sweets, butter/ margarine, and fried or fast foods. Research shows the Mediterranean diet may include nutrients that protect the brain through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We hope you can take advantage of these benefits and try the MIND diet for yourself!

No-Fuss Chicken and Rice Soup Fall is almost here, so it’s time to break out the soup! Your family is sure to love this recipe — it’s a classic.




• 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 onion, chopped • 2 garlic cloves, minced • 3 carrots, sliced • 3 celery ribs, sliced • 2 chicken bouillon cubes • 1/2 tsp dried parsley • 1/4 tsp pepper • 4 cups chicken broth • 4 cups water • 1 1/4 lbs bone-in, skinless chicken thighs • 1 cup uncooked white rice • Salt, to taste

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, then sauté for 1 more minute. 2. Add the bouillon, parsley, pepper, chicken broth, and water. Stir, then add the chicken thighs. 3. Cover and simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes, then add the rice. Stir, cover, and simmer for 15 more minutes. 4. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Shred the meat and add it back to the soup. Discard the bones. 5. Stir, salt, and serve!

Inspired by RecipeTinEats.com

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

1. 3 Ways PT Can Help Cheerleaders 2. Physical Therapy vs. Diabetes 3. What’s the MIND Diet? INSIDE THIS ISSUE

No-Fuss Chicken and Rice Soup

4. Balance Training Key to Quality Movement


Though we may not always think about it, balance is essential to just about everything we do in our daily routines. From simply getting out of bed, leaning over to tie our shoes, or even walking to the mailbox, we need good balance to keep ourselves steady while performing normal tasks. Know why balance is important. Balance is the ability to control your body’s position, whether stationary or moving. It is a key component of fitness that many people neglect while developing their fitness regimen. Balance training is a great way to help your body recognize where it is and control movements in a given space. When the body knows where its limbs are in space — known as proprioception — it is able to produce smooth, controlled movements with fewer risks of injuries.

Reaction time and agility are also improved with balance training. The body learns how to quickly correct itself but not overcompensate and has the ability to quickly change direction effectively and efficiently. Though balance training is important for everyone, it is especially important for those who have problems due to illness, weakness, or dizziness. It allows them to overcome stiffness or unsteadiness and to develop an awareness of body segments and how to align them.

Consider trying the following exercises:

Standing with your weight on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or behind you. Putting one heel right in front of the other foot, as if you were walking a tightrope.

• Standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands. • Walking while alternating knee lifts with each step. • Stretching and gentle movement as part of yoga or tai chi. Balance is essential to living a healthy, functional life. It’s important to incorporate balance

These exercises help with balance.

Balance training involves exercises to strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright and improve stability. These types of exercises can be done as often as you like or even every day.

training into your fitness regimen. That way you can decrease the risk of injuries and help move freely and confidently.

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