Anti-hibernation: Avoiding Winter Weight Gain

Enrich - Published on December 8, 2017

There’s no denying winter is upon us. Snow scrapers have reclaimed their spot in the backseat and darkness strikes at 5 o’clock. For some folks, winter is a breeze; meanwhile, others question why their belt seems a little tighter without having made any significant changes to their diet and exercise routine. So what causes this sneaky seasonal weight gain and what can we do to fight back?



Food Composition
Ever find yourself craving a fresh, crisp salad during a cold winter day? Probably not. Why? Because the type of food we desire varies seasonally. In warmer months, we crave more carbohydrate-based foods like fruits, veggies, pasta salads and sweet beverages. Once autumn falls upon us, we tend to crave fattier, calorically dense comforts foods like casseroles, specialty coffees, macaroni and cheese, and creamy soups. In restaurants where soup or salad is offered as side options, notice that most people tend to choose salad in the summer and soup in the winter. This overlooked unconscious swap from a light salad to a small yet heavier soup is one example of how those 1-4 pounds might sneak up on us during colder winter months. Our portion sizes may remain the same; however, our caloric intake can be greater due to fat providing more calories than carbohydrates and proteins. Though swapping a salad for a soup may seem minimal, over time these small differences in macronutrient composition can add a notch to the old belt.

Darkness
Some people claim to feel more tired and less motivated during fall and winter. Summer workouts go from being a daily occurrence to an “I’ll go tomorrow.” For those looking for an excuse, you can potentially blame melatonin. When the sun goes down, the body begins to actively produce melatonin, the hormone that causes the body to feel less alert, helping one feel sleepy and fall asleep. This may be one of the reasons some don’t feel motivated to exercise, cook or simply do anything once the sun goes down. 

Holidays
It’s a given that the holiday season is filled with social gatherings, which typically revolve around one thing: food. What most people don’t realize is that it’s not the holidays per se that lead to weight gain… it’s the aftermath. Think about Halloween night, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Though we might consume two handfuls of candy on Halloween night and an extra-large serving of turkey and pie on Thanksgiving Day, consider the days following. One word: LEFTOVERS. And not just a day’s worth of leftovers, but multiple! The point is, a few Christmas cookies isn’t going to make or break the scale, but a few Christmas cookies every day for 7-10 days definitely might make it budge.

To Do List to Fight Winter Weight Gain:

1. Move more, sit less.
Humans are not meant to sit for long periods of time. However, most spend over ten hours per day sitting! Metabolism slows after just 30 minutes of sitting. This said, stand whenever possible: when talking on the phone, waiting for a ride and please, use your legs to personally deliver a message instead of calling, emailing or texting. We are all guilty of texting someone down the hall…

Be active every day, whether that means taking your dog out, practicing yoga, hitting the gym or simply walking during a part of your lunch break. Start with 10-20 minutes a day!



2. Step out when the sun’s out.
Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of serotonin. This hormone is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused, rather than agitated and stressed. This is why you might feel happier and more productive on bright sunny days vs. gloomy rainy days.

3. Get more vitamin D.
During warmer months, most can get their daily dose of vitamin D by spending just 10-15 minutes in the sun. That’s not so realistic during northern winters. Even if it’s sunny, we are so layered up that we aren’t absorbing those rays. Therefore, consider taking a vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplement (2,000 IU/day), consuming 12 ounces of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel per week, and making sure your milk is fortified with vitamin D.



4. Eat home-cooked meals.
Cooking at home leads to an increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in addition to a decreased consumption of carbohydrates, sugar, fat, sodium and total calories. Home-cooked meals also provide more fiber, calcium and iron compared to food purchased or prepared away from home. Plus, you could save thousands of dollars each year by cooking rather than having someone else do it for you.

Utilize slow cookers, rice cookers, instant pots and one-pan meals to save yourself some precious time. Some slow cooker meals take ten minutes or less to prep; everyone has ten minutes!

5. Track your weight.
Catch gains before they happen by tracking your weight or how your clothes fit. Research shows that individuals who weigh themselves on a consistent basis (daily or weekly) can avoid putting on weight and lose weight, too! Though weighing-in cannot be directly linked to weight loss, it appears that frequently “checking in” motivates people to engage in healthier eating and exercise behaviors.

6. Get the ball rolling.
Don’t let winter keep you from reaching your goals. Start by making a list of what you want to accomplish and focus on just one thing at a time. Then, dissect tasks into tiny pieces to make them more achievable. For example, the hardest part about exercising is not the actual workout; it’s initiating the first step. It’s getting off the couch. It’s getting your workout clothes on. It’s driving to the gym. Once you get the ball rolling, it’s all downhill from there! So don’t think about the lengthy process. Just think about the very first thing you need to do, whether it’s putting your socks on or taking out the cutting board.

7. Enjoy yourself.
The holidays can be crazy and stressful. Don’t forget to take time to enjoy it. When you find yourself running around, pause. Breathe. Take a minute to appreciate the festive decorations and Christmas spirit. Also, don’t forget to take a minute for yourself; get your nails done, take a bath or slowly savor your favorite cup of coffee.



When it comes to the abundance of delicious food, find a balance between depriving yourself and overdoing it. Have a Christmas cookie or two and enjoy every bite; just don’t eat the entire batch!

Danielle Rancourt700x700_Rancourt is a performance dietitian with Sports Advantage. She enjoys cooking, baking, working out and spending time outdoors to keep busy.

Altru’s Twelve Days of Health

Enrich - Published on December 4, 2017

“On the first day of Christmas, my doctor sent to me…” In honor of the well-known carol, Twelve Days of Christmas, we here at Altru have created our own rendition of the familiar song: Twelve Days of Health. As the festive tune goes, we too will begin with one item essential to your health.



1 Colonoscopy
 Due to advancements in detection and treatment, colorectal cancer death rate has been dropping for more than 20 years. When detected early, it’s treatable. If you're over 50, give yourself the gift of prevention. Schedule a colonoscopy >>

Men: No More Than 2 Alcoholic Drinks Per Day
Alcohol is often at the scene of holiday parties. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink per day for women and up to two per day for men (under age 65). Learn more from Mayo Clinic >>

3 Weeks to Make or Change a Habit
Did you know it takes three weeks to make or change a habit? Food for thought: If you started your New Year's resolution now, it would feel natural to your daily rhythm by January 1. What's one habit you'd really like to make or change?

4 to 5.6% is the Normal Range for Hemoglobin A1c Levels
For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4 and 5.6 percent. The test provides an average of your blood sugar control over the past two to three months. Someone who's had uncontrolled diabetes for a long time may have an A1c level above 8 percent. Learn why it's important to take care of diabetes >>

5 Workouts Per Week of at Least 30 Minutes
For optimal health, try and get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. This could mean five 30-minute workouts, or whatever fits into your life. For more health benefits, add regular strength training into your routine >>

700x700_5 workouts

6 Ounces of Protein Per Day is the Recommended Amount Per Person
The USDA recommends that all men and women over age 19 should get at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. A few examples of protein-rich picks include: Greek yogurt, eggs, milk, beans, peanut butter, edamame, chicken and fish.

Eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
In the season of endless cookie and lefse platters, be the person who offers to bring a fruit or veggie tray instead. Aim for seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day to give your body the nutrients it needs to stay fit and ward off illness.

8 hours of sleep every night
Sleep is essential to good health, and most adults need between seven and nine hours every night. Small changes, like switching your bedtime routine, can make a big difference. Learn more about healthy sleep >>

700x700_8 hours

9 weeks (on average) to go from couch potato to 5K runner
Dreaming of running a 5K this spring? The average couch to 5K program takes about nine weeks. Start slowly today and build up your endurance over time. Be sure to avoid joint pain with these tips >>

10 thousand steps taken every day helps promote a healthy heart
If you're not already hitting the gym regularly, start small by going for short walks throughout the day. Aim for 10,000 steps per day. Sitting at a desk all day? Every hour, take a quick stroll down the hall for water or a bathroom break.

11 ounces is the average size of human heart
Unlike the Grinch whose heart grew three times its size, healthy hearts grow proportionately with our bodies. The average female heart is about 8-10 ounces, while the male heart is about 10-12. Some conditions, such as high blood pressure, abnormal valves, an old heart attack or diseases affecting the heart muscle itself, can enlarge the heart. Our goal is to help you lead a heart-healthy, enjoyable life >>

12 Days of Health Infographic12 months in a year to practice healthy habits every day
While the 12 days of health comes to a close, we have 12 months every year to put healthy habits into practice. Get tips + insight from local experts at Altru Health System year-round >>

Lateral Epicondylitis – A Common Elbow Condition Caused by More Than Tennis

Enrich - Published on December 4, 2017

While you may not be familiar with the term lateral epicondylitis, you’ve likely heard of “tennis elbow” to describe a painful condition that affects the elbow, wrist, hand and lower arm. Unfortunately, avoiding a tennis match won’t keep you safe from developing this condition. Any activities that repetitively use the wrist extensor muscles may cause you to experience lateral epicondylitis. We sat down with Dr. Jordan McIntyre, chiropractor at Altru, to discuss this condition, its symptoms, causes and treatment options.



Q: What is Lateral Epicondylitis?
It is a painful condition involving the tendons that attach to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. It is classified as an over-use injury that occurs when the attachment sites of the wrist extensors of the tendon become irritated and inflamed.

Q. Why is it commonly known as tennis elbow?
Tennis is a repetitive activity in which the wrist extensor muscles are used over and over. Due to this movement, elbow pain is common, and lateral epicondylitis is often seen in tennis players. This dates back to when British surgeon Henry Morris published an article in The Lancet describing "lawn tennis arm" in 1883. The popular term "tennis elbow" first appeared the same year in a paper by H. P. Major, described as "lawn-tennis elbow." 

Q. Are there any other activities that are known to cause it?
Lateral epicondylitis can be caused by any repetitive activity in which the extensors muscles are being used. Examples include:


  • Hammering

  • Typing

  • Painting

  • Knitting

  • Playing video games

  • And more.


Q. Who is at risk for developing this condition?
Those whose professions or hobbies include repetitive motion with their arm, wrist and hands. We often see it in painters, laborers, office personnel, and, of course, tennis players.



Q. What are some of the symptoms to look out for?
The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of your elbow. This knob is where the injured tendons connect to the bone. The pain may also radiate into the upper or lower arm. Although the damage is in the elbow, you're likely to experience pain when doing things with your hands.

Q. Can you prevent it? If so, how?
Some tips for preventing developing tennis elbow include:

  • When starting a new activity, gradually increase the amount of time that you are doing it.

  • Take frequent breaks.

  • Strengthen your wrist and arm muscles.

  • When pain begins, decrease the amount of activity you are doing with your hands.

  • Self-massage of the wrist and forearm muscles.


Q. Are there at-home treatment options that can be effective?
Yes, strengthening the wrist muscle along with self-massage can be effective, especially when you’re beginning a new activity. Also, using a wrist strap can help to decrease the pressure on the muscle insertion, allowing the injured area to heal.



Q. What are treatment options that are conservative/non-invasive?
We offer various treatment options that aim to decrease muscle tension in the forearm musculature and increase blood flow to the irritated area. These include the Graston® Method, massage and strengthening exercises for our patients. The treatment I most often recommend is dry needling. This treatment helps by releasing the muscles in the forearm to decrease tension on the insertion point, allowing the area to heal without having constant tightness and pulling on the affected area. It also helps to bring in blood and healing cells to the area that is inflamed to allow the body to heal.

Q. If those don’t work, what’s a next step for someone to treat it?
If these treatment options are not effective for the patients’ level of injury, the next step would be a referral to a provider at Altru Advanced Orthopedics. They may recommend cortisone injections or surgery on the area.

If you’re experiencing elbow pain, give our chiropractic team at Altru Advanced Orthopedics a call at 701.732.7620. They can work with you on an individualized treatment plan to help get you back to activity, pain-free.

Do You Know Your Important Health Numbers?

Enrich - Published on December 4, 2017

Numbers tell us a lot. We use clocks to tell time and speedometers to tell us our speed. So, it makes sense that we use numbers to learn more about ourselves.



“Numbers help us estimate a person’s risk for heart attacks and strokes as they get older,” says Chris Henderson, MD, family medicine physician at Altru. “Type 2 diabetes is also becoming more prevalent in our population, so early screening and identifying people at risk can help prevent a very long list of complications, such as heart attacks and strokes, but also eye problems, kidney problems and issues that can lead to losing limbs to infection or blood flow issues.”

While an annual checkup can get you all the numbers you will need, it’s important to have a conversation with your primary care provider about what the values mean for you.

“Together, we can look at your full health picture and determine the best way for you to maintain or improve your health,” Dr. Henderson says.

Know Your Numbers
These key numbers help your provider better understand your health. Here’s what they are, and how they can help your provider treat you:

1. Blood Pressure
Screen for heart disease. A blood pressure cuff reads systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) pressure in your arteries.

What it tells your doctor: Blood pressure tests measure how hard your heart is working. Aim for less than 140/90 mmHg.



2. Blood Sugar
Screen for diabetes with a fasting blood glucose test.

What it tells your doctor: Elevated or high levels of glucose (100–125 or 126 mg/dL or higher) can indicate prediabetes or diabetes.

3. Cholesterol
Screen for potential heart disease with a fasting blood test.

What it tells your doctor: Total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or less is healthy. High blood cholesterol can indicate hardening of the arteries and heart disease risk.

4. Body Mass Index (BMI)
Determine a healthy body weight. Weight and height values are plugged into a formula to yield a two-digit number.

What it tells your doctor: Comparing your result to the BMI chart, your doctor may suggest ways to gain or lose weight. 

These measurements can offer a better understanding, but they are not the end-all be-all of a person’s health. Family medical history and tobacco use are other factors providers consider when determining risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes.



“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of regular exercise, good diet and plenty of sleep—six to eight hours for most adults,” Dr. Henderson says. “Together, we can look at your full health picture and talk through lifestyle changes you can make that can improve your numbers with minimal or no medications needed.”

Keep tabs on your numbers with regular visits to your primary care provider. Don’t have one? Find a provider who’s right for you at altru.org/providers.

Get to Know: Meghan Compton, Altru’s Chief Legal Counsel

Faces of Altru - Published on November 28, 2017

At Altru, Meghan Compton serves as Chief Legal Counsel, overseeing legal affairs, compliance and risk management, leading legislative advocacy efforts and advising the Executive Team and Board of Directors. At home, Meghan is a wife and mom to three superheroes busy boys.

We’re proud to share that Meghan was recently named to Prairie Business Magazine’s prestigious 40 Under 40 list, featuring 40 of the top business professionals under the age of 40 in the northern Plains. We recently sat down with Meghan to better understand what drives her everyday success.



Why did you choose to work in healthcare?
It encompasses innovation, change, challenges, learning and healing, all with the purpose of bettering our lives. Healthcare is an exciting and rewarding industry to be a part of.



What is your educational background and career history?
My first “real” job was in high school as an office assistant for an architectural firm. The firm was on the third floor of a restaurant that had a big brick pizza oven, so I came home smelling like garlic every day. I loved that job.

After graduating high school, I attended college at the University of North Dakota. At the time, aside from a dream of being an artist the rest of my life, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I pulled out the academic catalog and started circling classes that looked interesting. With the exception of all the math classes, every class in the book was circled. At the end of my four years, I had double majored in Philosophy and Communications.

I had a great professor of philosophy in undergrad that helped me develop analytical skills, think critically and prepare me for law school. I went on to Law School at the University of North Dakota and near the end of my third year, I thought I better decide on a job and most of my colleagues were going into private practice… so I thought that was the natural path.

I started my career at a great local firm, but it didn’t take me long to decide private practice wasn’t giving me the energy I needed. It did, however, expose me to medical malpractice and health law. To my surprise, I was fascinated by healthcare and could envision a lifelong profession in this complicated industry. I started thinking about ways to gain experience and had an opportunity to start my healthcare journey at Altru in the Patient Safety Coordinator role. Looking back, it was that job that lit a fire in me and solidified my plan to make a career in healthcare.

What’s the best thing about your job?
There are so many bests, it is hard to choose. If I had to pick just one, it would be the people. We have great people who perform surgery, take great care of our buildings, nurse our patients back to health, make us good food... the list doesn't end. They are all the best.

What has been the best day/moment of your career so far?
Well, that is a tough one, but the first one that comes to mind is November 8, 2017. We announced to our staff and community a New Era! I am so excited for the community, patients and our Altru team to design, deliver and receive care that is truly world-class. You can’t really beat that.

What are your hobbies outside of work? 
My husband and I have three boys who keep us on our toes. In the summer, we spend the majority of weekends at the lake, and in the winter, on the ice rink in our backyard.



Outside of spending time chasing after them, I love to exercise, travel and, when I'm lucky, talk my husband into a remodel project.

What do you feel has had the biggest impact on your career success so far?
Leaders. And not just those that lead "at the top," but those that lead in all kinds of ways, whether it's leading people, processes, passion or change. I never stop learning from all the talented people around me.

How do you measure success?
Honestly, I don't know if I do. A person and organization's job is never complete, so it can't be measured by an end. Instead, I consider our willingness to grow as a way to measure success, being comfortably uncomfortable.

How does working at Altru support your lifestyle?
One of the best parts of this organization is our Altru family. Having a great team gives us the ability to spend time with our families, work from home when we need to, and take vacation when we want to. The key is flexibility!



How has Altru supported you throughout your career growth?
Altru has allowed me to grow, change roles, take risks, lead and even fall down a few times to help me back up. It didn't always come with a title, but whenever there was an opportunity to be a part of the work, I asked for it and my leaders and teammates supported that.

Describe your typical workday.
It's never the same (with the exception of coffee!). But, that is the beauty of the work I do, and in part, what I enjoy most (the variety of work... not the coffee, although I like that a lot too). I spend a large portion of each day with other members of the Exec team, working on strategic initiatives, rounding with my own team and others, and probably most importantly, trying to help leaders lead.

Who is your main mentor in life?
I have too many to choose just one. Growing up, my parents drove me to believe I could do whatever I put my mind to, as long as I was willing to work for it. They did that not only through words, but through their own actions. I want to role model that same parenting with my own children.

If you had an extra hour every day, what would you spend it doing?
I'd spend it outside. Wouldn't matter the season, I'd be active outdoors.

Congratulations, Meghan! We are proud to have you as part of the Altru family. 

Want to Get Active & Be Social? Try Volunteering

Faces of Altru - Published on November 20, 2017

Adele Laudal was looking for new activities after retirement. Friends suggested volunteering, and so she began a weekly volunteer shift in the Altru Alliance Gift Shop. Adele reflects on why she chose to volunteer at Altru, “I wanted to find something different than what I did in my career as a school psychologist. I wanted to give back to the community. It's a lot of fun! I enjoy organizing and helping people find what they need. Often people are going through difficult times, and it's nice to be able to just listen and encourage.”

Adele and Dennis Laudal with fellow Gift Shop volunteer, Dianne Haugen



Gift Shop volunteers greet and assist customers. They run the cash machine, deliver flowers, price and organize merchandise. Many gift shop volunteers, like Adele, note that volunteering provides social activity in their week. They become part of a team with staff and other volunteers. They make a difference brightening the day of patients or visitors who could use a smile.

Adele recounts a time she was volunteering when a patient stopped in the Gift Shop just after hearing some difficult news about her health. As a cancer survivor, Adele was empathetic and able to lend a listening ear. She felt their interaction made a difference for the patient. Gift Shop volunteers frequently report encounters such as these, where volunteering gives opportunity for moments of lending caring support.

Joining the Fun
Adele has volunteered at Altru since 2007. When her husband, Denny, retired from his career as a research engineer, she invited him to start volunteering as well. Denny joined Adele volunteering in the Gift Shop in 2014. Soon after, he picked up a shift as an Ambassador volunteer at Altru Professional Center.

As an Ambassador, Denny greets patients, and assists with wheelchairs and transportation if needed. He helps visitors and patients with wayfinding. Denny notes what he enjoys most about volunteering: “I like the employees I get to work with and consider them to be my friends. I enjoy meeting people. You realize how diverse Grand Forks is when you volunteer as an Ambassador. You meet so many different people. People may not be in the best mood when they aren’t feeling well, but I feel like I have the type of personality to help cheer them up.”

The ambassador role is also ideal for keeping active. Denny had major back surgery in 2016. His provider encouraged him to walk post-surgery, as much as possible. Denny notes, “As an ambassador volunteer, I’m moving all the time. One advantage is that you are always active.”

The Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) reports there are social and health benefits to volunteering. Older volunteers especially see health benefits from volunteering, experiencing lower rates of depression, a greater sense of purpose and increased functional ability. Those that volunteer at least 100 hours per year see the greatest health outcomes. CNCS also reports a relationship between volunteers who offer social support and increased longevity.

The gift shop and ambassador roles are just two ways volunteers make a difference at Altru. Volunteers assist in numerous departments to provide an extra dimension of care for patients and families, and to support employees working to provide world-class care.

Volunteers are currently needed in the following areas: Gift Shop, Ambassadors, Pastoral Services, Blood Bank, Cardiopulmonary Rehab, Special Procedures, Radiology, Recreational Music and Pet Therapy.

The volunteer application process includes an interview, background check, health screening and orientation. Learn more about the ways you can get active and be social through Altru volunteer opportunities. Apply online today! Contact Volunteer Services for more information at 701.780.5125.

Kelly Quigley works with the Volunteer Services team to match volunteers with roles that utilize their interests and skills to serve Altru patients, visitors and departments. In her free time she enjoys listening to music and spending time outdoors with her husband and two daughters.

 

12 Things You May Not Know a Physical Therapist Treats

Enrich - Published on November 16, 2017

For people who have never been treated by a physical therapist, the reason to go may not be completely understood. I am Logan Herman, a physical therapist in Devils Lake, and I was introduced to the benefits of physical therapy in high school after fracturing my pelvis in a dirt bike accident. With the help of physical therapy, I could get back to high school sports and the active lifestyle I enjoy. My dirt bike injury helped me determine my career path in becoming a physical therapist. Here are 12 things I treat through physical therapy:

1. Knee and Hip Replacements – Whether you are scheduled for a replacement or you have just had a surgery, physical therapy can speed up your recovery process. Getting set up with PT prior to your surgery will improve the results of your surgery and help your return to your prior level of function faster. PT is important after surgery for improving your range of motion, building strength, improving walking gait, and getting you back into shape doing the things you love.

2. Ankle and Foot Injuries – The foot itself has 28 bones which creates great complexity due to several joint surfaces, ligaments, and tendons working together to make the foot function as it should. Ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, lateral ligament reconstructions, and turf toe are a few injuries I rehabilitate on a regular basis. If the foot/ankle is not treated properly following injury or surgery a chronic injury can develop that will negatively affect performance and daily living for years down the road.

3. Lumbar Fusions – A growing number of people are undergoing lumbar fusion surgery to solve low back pain. Physical therapy is imperative to get core strength back for resuming prior level of function, whether that includes daily exercise and lifting weights, gardening and yardwork, or daily work tasks in and out of the home.

4. ACL Injuries and Reconstructions – Athletes and the active population are prone to ACL injuries and we are here for you following reconstructive surgery or rehabilitation via a non-surgical route. Physical therapy can help you return to sport condition through training focused on strengthening, jumping, acceleration/deceleration, balance, cutting, etc.

5. Hip Pain – This issue can be present in anyone from young kids all the way up to the elderly. Most hip injuries and pain can be resolved by seeing a physical therapist who will guide you through an appropriate program targeted at improving balance, strength, and stability of the muscles around the hip and core.

6. Shoulder Injury and Repair – Rotator cuff pathology, impingement syndrome, adhesive capsulitis, bursitis, labral tear, biceps pathology, dislocation – these are just a few of the diagnoses that we see on a regular basis. If you find that you have some shoulder discomfort in your daily tasks, during your workouts, performing indoor/outdoor work, or caring for children, for example, let a physical therapist take a look at it. You may be surprised how a few specific exercises or recommendations for changing your mechanics may improve how you feel.

7. Herniated Discs - Disc herniations happen when the body does not transfer force well through the low back due to poor mechanics or improper use of the core muscles. Knowing how to exercise the core, how to lift properly to preserve the discs, and how to decrease chance of re-injury is something all of our patients receive under our care.



8. Neck Pain - Whether it is following an automobile accident or due to work or sleep postures, neck pain and tension headaches can be solved when joint motion is restored, muscle tension is relieved, and inflammation is minimized. Physical therapy often targets your posture and positioning throughout the day to minimize stress on your neck. Also, strengthening of the supportive muscles of the arm, chest, and back can further speed up the healing process.

9. Knee Pain – The knee optimally performs in conditions where the joint above (hip) and the joint below (foot/ankle complex) are in good shape. If either of these supportive joints is weak or unstable, the knee often takes the brunt of the injury which can lead to arthritis, meniscal tears, ligament tears/strains, patellar tendonitis, and patellofemoral syndrome, for example. Physical therapists can help your knee pain by addressing the knee itself, as well as, the joints and their muscular supports above and below.



10. Low Back Pain and Sciatica – Low back pain and associated buttock/leg pain can be caused by many different things; an initial evaluation performed by a physical therapist can help to determine the source of your pain. Manual therapy techniques combined with rehabilitative exercises (postural training, flexibility, and strengthening) and education is the most effective approach for most patients.

11. Vertigo – If you notice a whirling or spinning sensation occurring when you change positions you may be experiencing BPPV, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This is a condition in which your brain receives abnormal balance signals triggered by displaced particles in the inner ear. Physical therapists utilize a series of head movements that shift the particles in the ear canals, therefore discontinuing the abnormal signals being sent to the brain and decreasing your symptoms.

12. Everything else involving muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, exercise, or sports – this may seem like a ridiculous statement, but if the diagnosis involves one of the above listed topics a physical therapist can treat it. There is no diagnosis or body part that physical therapists do not rehabilitate.

If you are questioning whether or not physical therapy could help you, contact an Altru physical therapist at 701.665.5247 or talk with your physician. Altru has physical therapy services conveniently located in the Lake Region Fitness Center and at Altru Clinic in Devils Lake.

Logan Herman, PT, DTP, specializes in physical therapy for orthopedic injuries, sports medicine and geriatrics. Logan is from Munich, North Dakota, and received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

How Camp Good Mourning Helps Children After Loss

It's Altru - Published on November 12, 2017

CGMWhen children lose a loved one, they look for somewhere to turn, someone who will listen and help guide them through the sadness they may be feeling. Altru’s Hospice Camp Good Mourning is that place.

The only grief camp in North Dakota, Camp Good Mourning is a safe and secure environment for children six-18 years of age to explore their thoughts and feelings. The children receive support from fellow campers and volunteers.

Camp Good Mourning is held annually at Park River Bible Camp and allows for an attendance of 50 children and teens. The campers partake in activities including low adventure course, canoeing, wall climbing, recreation time, art and crafts, high ropes and campfires. Added to these activities are small group discussions, where children are encouraged to open up about their loss, how it makes them feel and how to move forward. 

Companion Approach
Camp Good Mourning curriculum is adopted from Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt’s, Companioning the Grieving Child. Dr. Wolfelt states, “As companions, we are not experts who have the answers; we look to the bereaved child to teach us about his or her grief. We do not control his or her journey by creating a treatment plan; we simply show up with curiosity and a willingness to learn and listen.”

Included in Dr. Wolfelt’s curriculum are the Grief Rights of Children. These rights help children dealing with loss state what they are feeling and understand that it is okay to feel the way they feel.



How You Can Help
Camp Good Mourning is funded entirely by donations, fundraisers and a $25 registration fee (waived if it’s a hardship for the family). For more information regarding camp (June 22-24, 2018), how to register a child, or to volunteer, please contact Sue Mairs, camp coordinator, at smairs@altru.org or 701.780.5258.

For more information regarding Altru’s Hospice care volunteer opportunities, call 701.780.1450.

Sue MairsSue Mairs, LSW is Altru’s Hospice Camp Good Mourning Coordinator. CGM has allowed her a unique opportunity to “journey with” our families and especially the children and teens. In her free time she enjoys a multitude of physical activities - yoga, walking/jogging, weight training and kickboxing.

Altru’s New Era | A Bold Investment for Our Region’s Future

It's Altru - Published on November 8, 2017

Do you feel it?

A bold new era in healthcare is on the horizon.



At Altru Health System, we are planning for the future healthcare needs of our entire region.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of Altru Health System, we are proud to announce a bold new era in care for the people of our region that will lead to:


  • An investment of well over $250 million

  • A brand new 21st century hospital

  • Expanded clinic services

  • Extensive deployment of new technology

  • Cutting-edge surgical and emergency services

  • A population approach to healthcare



“The needs of our patients, and our communities, are changing,” shares Dave Molmen, CEO. “As the region’s healthcare provider for 130 years, it is our responsibility to innovate so we can continue to meet those needs for generations to come.”

By combining world-class facilities, technology and a new approach to patient care, we will meet our patients’ changing needs and expectations, and secure our region’s healthcare future for generations to come.

“The structural failure at the clinic in 2016 created an opportunity for Altru to design tomorrow’s healthcare today,” adds Dr. Eric Lunn, President. “It challenged us to understand how care needs to be delivered long into the future and gave us the opportunity to build on the plans we have in place and to do things that were previously unattainable.” 

The design process is well underway. Our goal is to have the new facility open sometime in 2022. Our community-owned health system has provided outstanding healthcare to our region for over 130 years. Today, we are launching the plan for the next 130 years. It is a commitment to our region’s physical and economic health for generations to come. It will position our region as a medical destination, providing an economic boost that attracts new businesses and families looking for a vibrant place to call home. It will also enable us to expand our efforts in population health and engaging with our residents throughout their lives to keep them well.

See also:

Reaping the Rewards of Weight Loss | Lucas’s Altru Moment

Altru Moments - Published on November 2, 2017

In October 2016, Lucas Iverson, information technology supervisor at Altru Health System, stepped on the scale at a regular doctor’s appointment.

“It said 3-0-1,’” he shares. “I got a little upset. I haven’t thought of myself as an ultra-fit or athletic person. I thought I could manage this. I realized all the things I had been trying to do weren’t working.”



After serving in the Navy for six years, Lucas noticed he was eating the same as he did while in service, but without the time spent exercising. He admits, “I was eating whatever I wanted and didn’t understand the consequences that went with doing that.”

About two years ago, at age 35, Lucas started to have elevated blood pressure. “It dawned on me that, ‘hey, maybe I can’t have a pound of bacon in the morning,’” he shares. “It was more than ‘I’d like to get in shape.’”



Taking the Next Step
Lucas talked through next steps with his primary care provider, Dr. Yvonne Gomez, who kindly suggested Altru’s Weight Management Program.

At first, Lucas was skeptical.

“I’m struggling to eat right and exercise, and this would mean paying someone to tell me to eat right and exercise.”

It was the first time Lucas had seen the scale pass 300. He knew this pattern had to stop—now.

Gobble, Gobble (In Moderation)
With some direct-yet-gentle encouragement from Dr. Gomez, Lucas took the next step. A few weeks later, he met with Jennifer Haugen, registered dietitian. Of all days to start, it was the day before Thanksgiving.

“Jenn told me I don’t have to eat three heaping plates,” shares Lucas. “I can still enjoy Thanksgiving, just have a little bit of everything. It was one of the best Thanksgivings.”

With a structured diet and activity plan, weekly classes and weigh-ins, Lucas started to watch the weight melt off, which was motivation itself.

“It has to be a choice; you have to want to do it,” stresses Lucas. “It became easier as time went by. The classes didn’t just tell you what to do to lose weight. They told why it’s needed and how to make it work.”



Support, Unscripted
Lucas found Altru’s Weight Management team of experts to be incredibly supportive throughout the process. “If you have questions, they’ll help you. And, it doesn’t feel like they’re reading a script when they explain things to you. It’s all individualized to meet your needs.”

Lucas continues, “The idea is to drop as much excess weight as possible right away. Then, you transition into regular foods that you buy at the grocery store. Then, you learn how to do it for the rest of your life.”

In Lucas’s opinion, the coaches made all the difference.

“Janet has been helpful from the get-go. Ann Mason definitely was my cheerleader. Jenn has been extremely helpful and energetic. Rachel is inspirational and insistent about me reaching my activity goals. You could just feel that they were genuinely interested in people becoming healthier.”

Down 61 pounds since starting, Lucas is still a part of the program on a limited basis.

 


Family Influence
Lucas and his wife, Joanne, have worked together to keep the enticing foods out of their house.

“While she isn’t in the program, my wife is watching and supporting what I’m doing,” says Lucas. “We’ll have salads a lot more often. We watch how we cook. We’ll add cinnamon to sweet potatoes instead of a dollop of butter. Rather than buying tortilla chips, we’ll bake tortilla shells. It’s easier to make healthy choices together, and it’s those small tweaks that make an amazing difference.”



Rewards Outweigh the Struggle
For anyone considering making a change, Lucas offers this advice: “It doesn’t hurt to ask questions and get more information. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, to start. But once you get going, the rewards become the motivation. You’ll feel better. You’ll have more energy. Getting all the information is the best first step.”

Ready to take that step into your future self? Start by taking this assessment to assess your readiness for change.

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Enrich  |  Altru Moments  |  Faces of Altru  |  It’s Altru  |  Modern Mom