Tips to Keep Your Joints Healthy & Free from Pain this Winter

Winter months offer tons of leisure activities to enjoy as well as everyday chores such as shoveling. Whether you are preparing for yard work or an afternoon of fun, keep in mind a few helpful tips from the Trinity Health Orthopedics team to help keep your joints healthy and free from pain.

Warm-Up

Excessive bending, lifting, and twisting can strain your back and put you at risk for injuries like muscle strains, joint subluxations, and disc herniations. Remember to:

  • Warm up first,
  • Bend with your knees and hips, not your back.
  • Engage your abs.

Keep Moving or Exercising

Cold weather and less daylight make it tempting to snuggle up on the couch. But it is still important to keep moving your body. One of the biggest risk factors for joint injury is remaining inactive. Appropriate and safe exercise can help keep your muscles strong and your joints healthy. Exercising can even give your immune system a boost.

Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks as Needed

The cold dry air tends to dehydrate our bodies. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Use Caution

Black ice, wet snow, salt and sand can make surfaces more slippery during the fall and winter months. Make sure to use caution when walking around town. Give yourself extra time to get places, avoid the temptation of running or rushing, wear appropriate footwear, and always use handrails when going up or down stairs to help you avoid an accidental trip and fall.

Make Sure you Have the Proper Tools or Equipment for Your Activity

Getting the last of the leaves or preparing to shovel the driveway? Make sure you have the tools or equipment that best fits you. Plastic or metal options and something light weight is a smart choice. Keep in mind ergonomics.

If you do feel you have injured your back or joints and have been dealing with nagging pain, take the next step to enjoy activities with less pain.

Learn More About our Orthopedic Program and Schedule a Consultation Today.

Colleagues Promote Movember, Compete for Best Stache

In honor of Movember, the national movement to recognize and promote men’s health in the month of November, we invited our colleagues to engage in some healthy competition. And boy did it get hairy! Check out all of the submissions and vote for your favorite facial hair here. And remember, men’s health issues are no joke. Please encourage the men in your life to get a primary care physician if they don’t have one and to attend their annual wellness visits.

Jacob (Jhakoby) K. Hecksel
Pharmacy Technician
Trinity Health Grand Rapids

Jordan Ginebaugh
Medical First Responder
Trinity Health Muskegon ProMed

Tim Andrews
ER Lead Tech II 
Chelsea Hospital

Mike Giddings
Lab
Trinity Health Muskegon

Miles Kamaloski
Medical Technologist
Trinity Health Grand Rapids

David Harangozo
Case Manager
Trinity Health Grand Rapids

Dan Stewart
Respiratory Therapy
Trinity Health Muskegon

Lucas Vermaire
Phone Triage RN – Diabetes and Endocrine Center
Trinity Health Medical Group

Rafael Ohli
Nurse
Trinity Health Grand Rapids

Evan Schmidt
Lab Assistant
Trinity Health Muskegon

Pat Milostan
Director of Emergency Department
Trinity Health Livonia 

Dr. Brent Gustafson
Family Medicine Specialist
Trinity Health Grand Rapids

Richard Bame
Lab Tech
Trinity Health Ann Arbor

Jarrett Leunk
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
Anesthesia Services

Pumpkin Pudding

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3.4 ounce packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice mix, plus more for garnish
  • Whipped topping, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix, pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice mix according to package directions. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes to let it thicken.
  2. Spoon mixture into 6 small cups. Refrigerate until well chilled and pudding is set (about 1 hour).
  3. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with more pumpkin pie spice mix.

Recipe & Image Source: Delish.com – Pumpkin Pudding Recipe

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons, olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium jalapenos, seeded and diced (smaller pieces than your onion/pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (use the liquid too!)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Once oil is warmed, add your onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos. Sauté until all vegetables are tender and onions are starting to turn translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the ground turkey and cook until it is browned.
  5. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, spices, and salt and stir.
  6. Add beans and reduce heat to medium low.
  7. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and stir occasionally. If chili becomes too thick, add more water or part of another can of diced tomatoes.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Completes 50th Convergent Procedure to Treat Afib

Pictured above are: Sue Keaton, Julie Opalinski, Jihn Han, MD, Robert Lyons, MD and Angela Marison.

Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor recently completed its 50th Convergent procedure to treat atrial fibrillation (afib). Convergent is a procedure that combines surgery and catheter-based ablation to treat patients with persistent or paroxysmal afib. The procedure, performed by electrophysiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, utilizes radiofrequency to block irregular electrical signals by producing lesions, or scar tissue, on the heart.

Convergence is a relatively new treatment option for afib and performed only in organizations with the most advanced cardiovascular services. The Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor team celebrates this milestone number as the most experienced team in the state of Michigan. The procedure is ideal for patients with persistent or paroxysmal afib who have not had success with other afib treatments. As a collaborative treatment, Convergent provides a minimally-invasive approach without cardiopulmonary bypass. This means a shorter hospital stay, minimal discomfort and faster recovery.

Afib is the most common heart arrhythmia disorder, with 2.3 million people living with Afib in the United States. It is caused by rapid electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart that can disrupt blood flow, causing an irregular rhythm, and can lead to stroke.  

To learn more about Trinity Health’s afib program, click here.

Trinity Health Michigan Promotes Skin Safety Among Concertgoers

It’s been another amazing summer concert season at the historic Pine Knob Music Theatre.  With little more than a month remaining on the summer schedule, it’s important that concertgoers continue to take precautions to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

As the exclusive health care partner of Pine Knob Music Theatre, Trinity Health Michigan wants to help keep you and your loved ones safe.  David McNaughton, MD, a family medicine physician at Trinity Health Primary Care in Clarkston, offers these safety skin tips for those looking to spend extended time out in the sun.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water when you’re out in the sun and heat. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can dehydrate you so stick to water or Gatorade. Even pop or other soft drinks can increase dehydration. Aim to drink 16 ounces of water every 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Prioritize skincare. Use a water-resistant sunscreen that has an SPF 30 or above. Apply to all exposed skin before you go outside. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. Spray on sunscreen is easy to use but creams may last longer.
  • Wear protective clothing. Consider wearing a hat that covers your face and protective clothing for your body, such as long sleeves. This is even more effective than sunscreen.
David McNaughton, MD
  • Avoid overexposure. Limit direct sunlight by seeking shade when possible.
  • Watch out for cloudy skies. Even when it’s cloudy and the weather is hazy, your skin can be exposed to strong UV rays.  UV light can pass through clouds even when visible light doesn’t.

  • When to get help. Seek medical help onsite right away if you experience any heat-related symptoms, such as excessive sweating, facial flushing, muscle cramps or if you are feeling weak, dizzy, or confused.

If you have questions about skin conditions or an area of skin changing in color, size, or shape, reach out to your primary care provider for a skin check.

For more information about Trinity Health Michigan or to find a doctor near you, visit trinityhealthmichigan.org.

It’s Back-to-School Immunization Time

Are your kids up to date on their back-to-school shots?

Trinity Health knows that vaccinations are a big part of your back-to-school preparation. Do you know which shots your child’s school requires?

Check out this handy vaccination checklist for some commonly required shots:

Kindergarten:

  • Polio
  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Flu

Elementary School:

  • Flu

Middle School:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
  • Flu
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Human papillomavirus

High School:

  • Meningococcal disease
  • Flu
  • Serogroup B meningococcal infection

And don’t forget to check if COVID-19 vaccines are required for your child’s school. Don’t wait any longer, schedule your child’s immunization appointment near you.

Ready to find a doctor?

Our high-quality primary care doctors are ready to care for you. Schedule an appointment with one today.

Understanding Arthritis: Q/A with Dr. Bryan Pack

Bryan Pack, MD, is a board-certified Trinity Health IHA Medical Group orthopaedic surgeon performing surgeries at Trinity Health St. Mary Mercy Livonia and Trinity Health Medical Center – Schoolcraft (formerly the Livonia Medical Center). He earned his medical degree at Wayne State University and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency in Grand Rapids before a hip and knee fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He spoke with Friday Musings about arthritis, how it develops and the available treatment options.

Q1: What exactly is arthritis and how does it develop?

Dr. Pack: Arthritis is a degenerative, progressive condition of the joint where the cartilage that coats the end of the bone begins to diminish. The stresses and changing of mechanics can cause inflammation in the joint.

There are several different ways it can develop. The most common way is through wear and tear – otherwise known as osteoarthritis – from daily activities such as walking, or more high-impact activities like running. Body weight, genetics, and even type of occupation can all contribute to this. Less commonly, rheumatoid type processes are where the immune system gets confused and essentially attacks the joints, leading to cartilage.

There is also traumatic arthritis, which is when a person suffers a major injury to the surrounding bone (fracture, severe bruise), ligaments (tear or rupture), or cartilage itself. The blood supply to the bone underneath the cartilage can then be compromised, which can cause the joint to collapse.

Q2: What are some symptoms of arthritis?

Dr. Pack: The most common symptoms are joint stiffness, activity-related pain, swelling and generalized soreness. You may notice an affected joint that is stiffer in the morning and loosens up with activity during the day, but is more painful or swollen at the end of the day. If activities you do on a regular basis start causing more pain in certain joints, you could have some form or arthritis. As it progresses, you will frequently lose range of motion and strength in the joint. In advanced cases, you may even start to see changes in the alignment of the joint.

Q3: What are some treatment options?

Dr. Pack: We initially highlight evidence-based non-operative treatments, which focuses on managing the stress and inflammation of the joint. Activity modification, such as transitioning from higher impact sports to low-impact activities, can make a difference. For instance, if you are an avid runner and feel excessive pain during or after every run, changing up your cardio routine and going for a bike ride instead can improve symptoms. Other activities like yoga or taking a swimming class are also good for arthritic joints. We frequently recommend appropriate physical therapy and dedicated exercises that emphasize strength and flexibility.

Medications like ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain in the joint, as can cortisone and steroid injections. Even acetaminophen can help control pain in some people. If the arthritis and symptoms are severe enough, joint replacement surgery is an excellent and durable option.

Q4: What happens if you leave arthritis untreated?

Dr. Pack: All types of arthritis are progressive. Symptoms and pain can be managed to an extent, but no treatment, short of replacement, can stop it, and it doesn’t go away on its own. Typically, over time, the disease progresses to the point where you won’t be able to do the activities you are used to doing, and your quality of life will continue to diminish. You could also lose your mobility altogether; some people have come into my office in wheelchairs because they couldn’t move, which is frequently avoidable and unfortunately, far more difficult to treat. The earlier you get it checked out, the better.

Q5: What kind of services do you offer your patients?

Dr. Pack: We offer comprehensive musculoskeletal care, all in one building, and mostly on just one floor. We have fellowship-trained surgeons, podiatrists, non-operative orthopaedic sports and rheumatology physicians, as well as physical therapy, all under one roof. Our specialists emphasize shared decision-making, in which we empower our patients to make informed decisions that fit their needs and pathology. If surgery is appropriate, our experts utilize minimally invasive techniques – even for replacement – that offer faster recoveries, proven results and frequently home-same-day surgeries.

Our staff utilize state-of-the-art high-resolution imaging equipment, including digital automated X-rays systems which can reduce both the number of images we have to take and your radiation exposure as well. Since these are located a few steps from the exam and waiting rooms, you don’t have to go anywhere else before your evaluation. And if you need advanced imaging, brand new MRI and CT suites are located right on the first floor, along with a walk-in lab, urgent care, pharmacy, café catered by Schoolcraft College’s culinary program, and a beautiful new surgery center.

To make an appointment with Dr. Pack, call 866-678-4644.

Wish a Mile Cut Short by Tragedy

We are deeply saddened to share that a tragic accident took the lives of two cyclists and seriously injured three others during the Make-A-Wish® Michigan 35th Annual Wish-A-Mile® (WAM) Bicycle Tour. While all of our Team Trinity cyclists are safe, the accident has deeply affected everyone involved in the event.

Trinity Health President & CEO has been journaling throughout the ride and shared a final entry.

July 30

I expected to be sitting down tonight to write about the awesome a day we had on day two of the WAM – about the great weather, about the challenging 112-mile route and about us still needing to raise more funds for our wish kids. I had planned to show photos along the way and celebrate our team and our wish kids with you.

But this day took a very tragic and sad turn right before noon on a country road just north of Ionia when five WAM riders from the same team were hit by a car. Two of the riders were killed and one rider remains in a medically-induced coma and on life support. The other two riders were discharged from the hospital with minor injuries.

In the 35 years that this event has taken place, we have never had anything like this happen. We have had crashes between cyclists or some minor injuries but never anything like this. I was relieved that none of our Team Trinity riders were involved in the accident but my heart aches for the families of the victims.

When this happened, we were all in disbelief and shock. To now learn the driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated makes it even more painful. I have already imagined many what-ifs but it won’t change anything. Some wonderful people, who have hearts of gold and were riding 300 miles to raise money for wish kids, are gone due to a reckless person who made horrible choices today.  

We met with the WAM CEO and staff, spoke with the families and the team captains that have the ear of all the riders. We made a collective decision to cancel the third and last day of WAM (July 31).  This is out of respect for the families. Buses and vans will transport all the riders down to the Eaton Proving Grounds in the morning.  We will do a tribute ride of a couple miles around the Eaton Proving Grounds track, and then we will all leave quietly and avoid any of the celebratory events that mark the end of the WAM. 

This event raised almost $1.8 million through amazing support of friends like you and others who supported our rides. For this, I am so indebted to all of you. And those dollars will so go to wishes waiting right now. I want to thank all of you who supported Team Trinity. It meant the world to us.

God Bless,

Rob

Team Trinity Tackles ‘Hill Day’ in First Leg of Wish-a-Mile

Trinity Health is participating in the 35th annual Wish-a-Mile bicycle tour through Michigan. Our cyclists are pedaling 300 miles from Traverse City to the Eaton proving grounds over three days to support wishes granted to seriously ill children. Team Trinity For Make A Wish Michigan.

Trinity Health Michigan President and CEO Rob Casalou is blogging his experiences on the ride. Read on for the Day 1 entry –

Friday, July 29

Alarm clocks went off early this morning as all of us got ready for what is probably the most challenging of the three days of WAM.   The journey from Traverse City to Ferris State University in Big Rapids winds through many small towns many of us have not heard of before.  And this is our hill day with over 3,300ft of climbing along our 99 mile route today.  Team Trinity, after an early breakfast at the Traverse City East Middle School that served as our starting point, gathered at 6:15am for our traditional team picture.  Then we headed out on the route.

I always tell first time WAM riders not to judge the entire ride by the opening 10 miles of the first day.  It is essentially one long hill and serves to wake up the legs!  Unlike many past WAMS, we had an absolutely perfect weather morning with calm winds, cool temps and that weather continued to be perfect the entire day. That is, until the wind gusts slowed our ride in the afternoon (almost forgot to mention that).

We don’t all ride as a team because our riders have different capabilities and preferences for riding speed (as is the case of many WAM teams). I rode in a group of seven ride around the same speed (well, except me on the hills).  We were blessed that Ashley pulled for much of the day, which means she led our line so that we could draft off each other.  I was very grateful, for sure!

The Make-A-Wish team doesn’t miss a detail and provides us with an incredibly organized and supported ride. Multiple vehicles provide riders with protection and support, and there are numerous break stops along the route for riders to refresh and refuel.  We even had police officers on motorcycles riding with us and helping keeping us safe.  The WAM staff and volunteers are just incredible.  We were all humbled by their dedication.

Our team members finished at various times, from our quick Probility Physical Therapy team making quick work of the route to a few who came in the later afternoon.  The only WAM rule on timing is that we cannot start before 6 a.m. and we cannot end after 6 p.m.   I am happy to report that all Team Trinity riders were in well within the time limit!

After the ride, we headed to our hotels to clean up. We returned to Ferris State where they provided a wonderful dinner for us.  It was quite the combo with pasta for all of us who wanted a carb load for the next day’s ride. There was also a full turkey dinner complete with mashed potatoes and gravy. Of course, most of us tried everything! After dinner, we all headed back to our hotels to get ready for tomorrow and crash as early as possible.  The alarm is set for 4:30 a.m.

Donations continue to come in….thank you to all who have supported.  If you would like to support our team, or a rider on our team, go to wishamile.org and search for Team Trinity or any of us by name.

Thank you all for the support!  Have a great evening,

Rob

Team Trinity – Fundraising For Make A Wish Michigan (donordrive.com)

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