Recovery Connection - March 2022

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It may be a little late for New Year’s resolutions, but March does mark the beginning of spring, which is its own sort of new beginning. With that in mind — and the fact that the year has barely begun — I think it’s a great time to talk about what we’d like to accomplish in 2022. Over the last year, we learned that neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the opioid epidemic is going away any time soon. In fact, many would say things have gotten worse, not better. So, where do we go from here? Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution, or we would have employed it by now. We’re not experts on infectious diseases, so we’ll leave that solution up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and

dent in this epidemic? Across the nation, the number is probably in the thousands. There are so many areas of this country where treatment isn’t available. Forget about the appropriate availability of medication or counseling — we’re talking no treatment whatsoever. Housing is a growing and underserved need. With real estate prices going through the roof and rent seemingly increasing by the day, many are searching for an alternative living situation. Mind you, a roof over someone’s head is not enough. People need the appropriate kind of housing, meaning an environment conducive to recovery. Wraparound services, including counseling and health care, would serve so many people well. Yet, many of the sober and recovery houses in our area are resistant to the idea of providing additional services. There are concerns about liability, denial that services are needed, and bewilderment regarding implementing such a plan. Too often, the agencies promoting recovery seem to be reactive in their responses. We have been fortunate to find a couple of diamonds in our area, but frequently, they turn out to be rocks. Education is still also lacking. I’m not talking about schooling — though that’s lacking, too — but rather societal education about recovery. What is recovery? How does it look in practice? And why do we believe it helps the community rather than diminishing it? Too often when scouting new locations, we have to deal with landlords and towns that get scared of a business helping people battle drug use. Often, they turn and run in the opposite direction so quickly that you’d think we’d started screaming and swearing at them. The battle against the stigma of drug addiction is immense, and the only way we will ever be able to alleviate it is by educating the community. People in all of our neighborhoods are struggling with substance use. And as we’ve seen, ignoring the problem does not make it go away. As we look ahead to the rest of the year, there is still much to do. But we at Recovery Connection will continue to work around the clock to help those who need our assistance. We will do it with empathy, respect, and honor, and do unto others as we would like done to us. Happy March!

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MARCH 2022

epidemiologists. But we are experts on substance use, and we do have ideas about how to tackle that problem. It’s not quick or easy, and it will require a multiprong approach. Access to treatment is fundamental. Often, people who want help with their substance use don’t know where to go or lack nearby options. When access is difficult to obtain, the client usually shows up to an appointment or two but drops out of treatment due to the prohibitive stress, strain, and cost.

We don’t want people to resort to their prior use, and it’s often a

preventable result. At Recovery Connection, we have expanded from three offices at the beginning of January 2021 to 15 at the time of writing. We are negotiating two more locations and expect to open at least 10 more offices in total. While those


numbers sound large, it’s just a drop in the bucket. How many more offices would we need to make a

–Michael Brier

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Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. adults have been diagnosed with arthritis — and as the population ages, those numbers are only expected to increase. Arthritis affects the joints, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s well-being, ability to work, and overall quality of life. With cases being so prevalent, it’s wise to know the facts. Who is at risk of arthritis, and what are the treatments? Here’s everything you need to know. Symptoms The symptoms of arthritis will largely depend on the type of arthritis a person has. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Most types cause stiffness or pain in the joints, and it can affect only one joint, some joints but not others, or all joints. Some types of arthritis develop gradually, while others have a sudden onset, and symptoms may be persistent or come and go. If you suspect you have arthritis, you should visit a doctor for a formal diagnosis. Your physician will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and request X-rays or blood tests to confirm your arthritis and the type. That way they can target treatment effectively. Arthritis Is More Prevalent Than You Realize GET THE FACTS

Risk Factors Unfortunately, the causes of many types of arthritis are unknown, but the existing science does have something to say about who is at risk of developing the condition. Some factors you can’t control. For example, two-thirds of people with arthritis are women, and the risk of arthritis rises as you get older. Some people also have inherited genes that increase their disposition toward developing arthritis. Some factors, however, can be mitigated. People who are overweight or smoke are more likely to develop different types of arthritis. Studies have linked joint injury and infection to arthritis, so make sure to seek medical care for any pain or swelling. Further, people who don’t engage in physical activity during leisure time are the most likely to have arthritis, so exercise may help prevent the condition. Treatment There is currently no cure for arthritis, but collaboration with a doctor can help you manage the condition. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, minimize joint damage, and improve overall ability and function. Depending on the arthritis type, treatment can include physical therapy, exercise, medication, or even surgery. A doctor or physical therapist can help you understand how to move safely and recommend healthy exercises for your joints. But the key is to ask for help in the first place. If you suspect you have arthritis, or if your arthritis is currently untreated, you should seek the advice of a medical professional right away. There is hope for managing your condition, reducing your pain, and increasing your quality of life. A qualified doctor or physical therapist can help you improve your daily function and comfort so you can get back to doing the things you love.

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How to Treat Injuries at Home ICE OR HEAT?

Injuries You Should Apply Heat To If you have chronic pain, it’s best to apply heat to that area. This pain can tell you that your body hasn’t fully healed from the injury. You can use heat for muscle pain or soreness, stiff joints, arthritis, and recurring injuries.

Whenever we suffer an injury that doesn't require a doctor visit, we are usually told to do one of two things: ice the area or apply heat to it. Different injuries require different treatments. For example, applying heat to an ankle sprain will not help as much as applying ice. Let’s look at which injuries require heat or ice and how it relieves pain or reduces swelling.

Applying heat allows your blood vessels to expand and help your

Injuries You Should Apply Ice To You want to apply ice to acute or short-term injuries. Acute injuries consist of ankle or knee sprains, muscle or joint sprains, red or swollen body parts, and pain after an exercise. Icing an area will lower the amount of swelling you have and make the healing process quicker. Be sure to limit icing sessions to 20 minutes. Over-icing can irritate your skin or cause tissue damage. If you have an ice pack or frozen packages in your freezer, you can use those to treat the painful areas. If not, you can put ice in

muscles relax. Only use heat in 20-minute increments, and don’t sleep with any heating treatment. This can cause blisters, irritation, and maybe burns. You can use heat for 2–3 days after the injury occurs. Use a heating pad or a hot, wet towel, or take a hot shower or bath to relieve pain.

An easy way to determine if you need to ice or heat an area is this: If it’s swollen, apply ice. If it’s stiff, use heat. But if you’re unsure if you should use ice or heat, or if the pain is still occurring after treatment, contact your PT for assistance. They will provide you with further treatment options to help you with your discomforts.

a bag. Wrap it or any other item you’re using in a paper towel or washcloth before applying it to your skin. You should continue to ice your injury for the next two days.



Inspired by


• 2 lbs ground beef • 2 tbsp chili powder • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning

• 1 tsp ground cumin • 2 16-oz cans diced tomatoes • 2 16-oz cans small red beans • 2 8-oz cans tomato sauce


1. In a deep pot, brown the beef, stirring often. 2. Once beef is cooked, add chili powder, Creole seasoning, and cumin, cooking for 1 minute. 3. Stir in diced tomatoes, beans, and tomato sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. After the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and let chili simmer for 15 minutes. 5. Serve with toppings of choice, like cheese, sour cream, or chives.

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Wait ... You Can’t Wear That! The Do’s and Don’ts of Dressing for PT

A physical therapy appointment isn’t exactly a night at the prom, but the two do have something in common: the moment you find yourself in front of the mirror wondering, “What the heck should I wear?” If you’re nervous ahead of your first physical therapy appointment, let these do’s and don’ts guide your outfit choice. DO wear comfortable, flexible clothes. A pencil skirt may look great in the office, but it’s not the best outfit for physical therapy. You'll need to get physical at your appointment. If you don't have a good range of motion in your outfit — in other words, if you can’t toss a ball or do a lunge — it’s probably not PT-friendly. DON’T wear flip-flops or dress shoes. Closed-toed, high-traction sneakers and socks are better choices. There are

tripping hazards like mats and exercise balls in the clinic, and your PT would hate to see you get hurt when you’re there to get help! DO dress according to your injury. PTs generally ask that you wear a full outfit of loose-fitting clothing for treatment, but you need to pay particular attention to the area of your injury. A tight-fitting sweater will make it hard for your PT to access your rotator cuff, and if you have a knee injury, then tight leggings are a bad choice. Instead, look for pants you can roll up over your knee. DON’T come straight from the gym. Since activewear and close-toed shoes are recommended for PT, you might be tempted to book your appointment right after your gym visit or hospital shift. Don’t do it! Your clothes need to be clean, not sweaty or germ-covered.

DO layer up. Physical therapy often involves heating pads and cold compresses, which can make you sweat or shiver. To keep yourself comfortable, wear layers you can peel off or add on according to your treatment. DON’T lather on lotion. Some PTs recommend against using lotion before your appointment because “it can reduce the traction that the therapist needs for your treatment.” When in doubt, go without.

With these tips in your back pocket, you can start or return to PT with confidence.

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