Ice vs. Heat: Which Is Better for Pain?

This article was originally published on Sharecare.

Jonathon Faber, DO, is a sports medicine specialist with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Livonia, Michigan,

Whether chronic or acute, aches, pains and injuries can put a damper on everyday activities. Along with rest and elevation, we’ve been told that heat and ice can speed recovery, but which is best for your particular ailment? Jonathon Faber, DO, a sports medicine specialist with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Livonia, Michigan, explains when you should apply ice or administer heat, and when it’s time to see your doctor.

When to opt for ice
Acute pain is sudden, brought on by a specific incident. Broken bones, sprains, strains, burns, cuts and surgery can all cause acute discomfort. As soon as the cause of pain is remedied, the uncomfortable sensation should subside. But what to do in the meantime?

As a general rule, acute injuries should be treated with an icepack or a bag of your favorite frozen veggies. “Typically, when you have an acute injury, like an ankle sprain, it’s very appropriate to apply ice for the first 48 to 72 hours,” recommends Faber.

When used promptly, ice helps reduce swelling. Swelling is caused by the rush of fluid and white blood cells to an injury, which works to promote healing and help prevent you from using the affected area. “[However,] a lot of times, swelling can be excessive enough, especially in places like the ankle and knee, that it prevents further healing,” says Faber. So, reducing swelling quickly can help speed recovery.

For some injuries, ice isn’t enough. Rest, compression and elevation are also necessary. “The acronym RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation,” says Faber. “These methods reduce swelling and inflammation at the site of an injury.”

When to reach for heat
Not all types of discomfort should be treated with an ice pack. Chronic or long-lasting pain, which can persist for more than 12 weeks, is often better soothed with a heating pad. This type of discomfort may be caused by an injury or illness like arthritis or fibromyalgia, but in some cases, has no known cause. Frequently, the goal in treating chronic pain is minimizing discomfort as much as possible, to enhance your quality of life.

Here’s why heat helps: while ice reduces inflammation in areas with a buildup of fluid, heat is better suited for pain not caused by swelling, like arthritic joint pain. “Heat tends to be more appropriate for joint pain in people who suffer from osteoarthritis, because it increases blood flow to affected areas,” says Faber. There are exceptions: some with arthritic joint pain may benefit from applying ice to numb the sensation of pain, as well.

Heat also helps ease discomfort linked to achy joints and stiff muscles. By improving blood flow and circulation, it relieves pain and stiffness caused by conditions like tendinosis, chronic stiffness of tendons attached to the joints.

Sometimes, pain from injuries older than six weeks can also be alleviated with heat. “After a few weeks, icing sprains and strains doesn’t tend to be as beneficial,” says Faber. “At that point, it’s personal preference, and you should do what feels better.”

See your doctor
Some injuries shouldn’t be treated at home. See your doctor if:

  • An injury significantly affects your range of motion, rendering you unable to complete everyday tasks like bathing, cooking or dressing.
  • You injure certain parts of your body. “With any lower extremity injury, the hip, knee or ankle, that leaves you unable to bear weight, you should see your doctor,” says Faber.
  • You have a minor injury, and swelling doesn’t improve after a few days of at-home treatment.

Ignoring an injury or compensating for the pain by putting more pressure on other parts of the body can lead to permanent dysfunction, making treatment difficult. In that case, your injury may be less of a job for heat or ice and more of a job for your healthcare provider.

Looking for a doctor or ready to make a switch?
Visit stjoeshealth.org to find a doctor near you, or call 1-800-231-2211, and we can guide you through the process.

I Found the One!

When it’s the right one — you just know it. We just clicked. I felt so comfortable. It’s like we had known each other for years. I’d been searching for so long. I’ve even written about my struggle to find the one. Truthfully, I had almost given up looking… And then it happened.

I found my new primary care doctor.

It was hard for me as a health reporter to admit I didn’t have a doctor for so long. My last doctor had chosen to go concierge, meaning he was now charging close to $3,000 a year in return for more personalized care. But at this point in life, I’m healthy (knock on wood) and just need a doctor for my yearly physical. But how do you choose the right one? Admittedly, I’m picky.

Dr. Leslie Caren with a pediatric patient and his mother at the new St. Joseph Mercy Waterford Medical Complex. Dr. Caren treats adult and pediatric patients at Waterford Adult and Pediatric Medicine.

And then she just walked in. The moment we started talking I knew. I just knew.

I had gone to see the new St. Joe’s Waterford Medical Complex located at 59 and Pontiac Lake Road. The new medical facility features a lab, imaging services and an Urgent Care (opening July 1, 2019) along with the Waterford Adult and Pediatric Medicine practice. That’s where I met Dr. Leslie Caren, an internal medicine and pediatric specialist. She was so easy to talk to. Her calm demeanor, obvious concern and compassion made her an easy choice. Plus, she’s a St. Joe’s doc which was a high priority for me. She was so approachable and clearly interested in my wellbeing and, lucky for me, she had an appointment available for a physical. I grabbed it and never looked back.

On the day of my appointment, I wasn’t left waiting in a waiting room. She came in and took a thorough and complete history. It’s uncomfortable talking to a stranger about your most personal issues. But in this case, I instantly felt like I was talking to a friend. She just got me. She listened without interrupting and gave me thorough answers to any questions I had. It’s one of the main reasons I wanted a primary care physician — the better a doctor knows you, the more likely you are to get an accurate diagnosis.

But there are three other reasons I really wanted to have a primary care physician (and so should you):

Lila’s Health Report:
In order to stay healthy, you need to stay active and engaged. In addition to exercise, good nutrition and sleep, you also need a good dose of adventure. So each month I’ll share ways to boost the excitement and passion in your life with adventurous ways to create more wellness in your body, mind and your spirit.

A primary care doctor keeps you healthier as you age. Studies show, people who have a good relationship with a doctor don’t just get better care, they’re healthier! It’s like any relationship: The better you communicate and connect, the better the outcome. I have no doubt my new primary care doc will make sure I get all the tests and treatments I need to keep me healthy.

Someone has your back. Gone are any worries of who I would call if suddenly I need a prescription, or a specialist or quick medical advice. We talked so openly about so many topics from weight, to alcohol, to sex, stress and aging. I felt listened to, which is important. And I felt like someone truly had a plan to ensure I stay healthy for as long as possible. My new doctor arranged for all my lab work, followed through on the results and explained any concerns. I have 24-hour access to my health information and any lab results on the St. Joe’s portal. When I sent her an email through the portal, she responded!

Health is a team sport. It’s not just the primary care doctor that impressed me, it’s the whole office. After all, I’ll be dealing with all of them to book appointments, get my labs done or deal with insurance issues. The right primary care doctor needs the right support team.

Looking for a doctor or ready to make a switch?
Visit stjoeshealth.org to find a doctor near you, or call 1-800-231-2211, and we can guide you through the process.

The Infectious Return of Measles – A Previously ‘Eliminated Disease’ in the U.S.

by Anu Malani, MD, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control Services, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Livingston and Chelsea

When I was a third-year medical student, measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000.

There has been a resurgence of measles, and there is significant concern that the disease can become widespread again. As of May 3, 2019, the U.S. has seen 764 cases of measles this year in 23 states, including 43 cases in Michigan. It’s only the beginning of May, and surveillance data shows that cases are well over 50% higher than numbers recorded last year. There will be many more cases of contracted measles in the upcoming months. There are several ongoing outbreaks across the U.S., including Michigan, New York, Washington, New Jersey, and California. The main reasons for the measles reemergence include more international travel – several countries have ongoing measles outbreaks – and low vaccination rates in several communities. Globally, the World Health Organization reports that measles cases in the first quarter of 2019 nearly quadrupled compared with what was reported at this time last year. 

Watch Dr. Malani and St. Joe’s Health Reporter Lila Lazarus discuss the measles outbreak on Facebook Live.

Continue reading “The Infectious Return of Measles – A Previously ‘Eliminated Disease’ in the U.S.”

Trust Your Intuition: Early Signs of Autism

By Dr. Erin Walton-Doyle, an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics physician with St. Joe’s Medical Group and St. Mary Mercy Livonia

Parents often tell me about a feeling or gut instinct they have about their child. Sometimes it’s a sense their child has an ear infection, other times it’s a premonition their child is in danger.

I tell parents to trust that intuition not only when it comes to a common cold but with concerns about developmental delays. Asking questions or sharing a concern about your child’s behavior is important in order to get a diagnosis and start treatment, if necessary, as soon as possible.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with others. More than 200,000 cases of autism are diagnosed in the United States each year. While there is no cure, autism can be treated to help reduce symptoms and provide developmental support. The key is early diagnosis and intervention.

Continue reading “Trust Your Intuition: Early Signs of Autism”

Join us at our 2019 Healthy Kick-Off on May 18

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CANTON – Join us on Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. for our annual Healthy Kick-Off event at St. Joseph Mercy Canton Health Center.

This free, fun-filled afternoon will feature bike helmets and fittings, access to our Health Exploration Station, health screenings, a meet-and-greet with players from AFC Ann Arbor, a rock wall and teddy bear clinic. Enjoy family fun including:
  • Bike Helmets and Fittings – Limited Supply
  • Skin Cancer Screenings
  • Arctic Edge Street Hockey
  • KONA Ice Truck
  • Meet players from AFC Ann Arbor
  • Semi Pro Soccer Team
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Teddy Bear Clinic

Health Exploration Station Celebrates 20 Years! Explore Michigan’s first interactive education center with exhibits to engage all your senses – walk through a giant human body, listen to the rhythm of your own heart beat and test your skills as a surgeon in the brain operating game. A must-see for kids and kids at heart.

We look forward to seeing you there! For more information, visit our website.

What You’re NOT Eating Might Be Hurting You

If you’re like most Americans, you’re not getting enough of one vital nutrient.

by Debbie Koenig

This article was originally published in Sharecare.

What if a single nutrient could:

  • lower your risk of death over time by 15 to 30 percent
  • lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • help you maintain a healthy weight
  • reduce odds of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers

According to a new review, eating enough fiber—the humble roughage that passes through you undigested—may do all that and more.

The research, published in The Lancet, looked at data from 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials with over 4,600 participants. A clear link emerged between how much fiber participants ate and their health. Those who took in between 25 and 29 grams a day showed greater benefits, but it is suggested that even higher intakes of fiber could produce healthier outcomes.

Continue reading “What You’re NOT Eating Might Be Hurting You”

“Music Man” Chaplain Charles Heals Spirits

He who sings, prays twice.” The words of the ancient philosopher St. Augustine come to mind when Chaplain Charles Kibirige’s sings  to patients and visitors at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.

Although music was a constant in his life growing up with his now deceased musician dad Henry Kasule, Chaplain Charles said his love of music flourished while he was in seminary. He attended Katigondo National Seminary and Ggaba National Seminary in Uganda where he completed degrees in philosophy and theology respectively.

Between 2001 and 2013, Chaplain Charles served the community of Ann Arbor as an ordained priest. In 2003 he was hired as one of the Priest Chaplains at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor where served for 10 years and where he also started his career as a health care chaplain. After voluntarily leaving the active ministry, Chaplain Charles accepted his current role of full-time chaplain at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in 2014.

“I never saw myself as an entertainer but rather as someone who wanted to use my gift of music to bring comfort and healing to others,” said Chaplain Charles.  “I’ve always wanted to bring music into my healing ministry. In fact, I have been, for some time now, using music as therapy when working with patients on the Behavioral Health Unit here at SJMO and it has been well received by both the patients and the staff on the unit. However, I knew I needed to extend this further into my ministry on other units.”

Chaplain Charles started to bring his guitar to the 2 p.m. prayer service he holds in the ICU waiting room. Although he doesn’t play every time, he uses it as a way to be present with people as well as to start a deeper conversation on their presenting health issues.

Chaplain Charles recalls one of these conversations with a young mother and her 4-year-old son who were visiting a family member. He played one of the theme songs from Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. The little boy could not help but sing along with excitement. This moment opened the door to a deeper conversation with the boy’s mother and family. He prayed with the family. While walking back to his office, it struck Chaplain Charles deeply about how the Holy Spirit used a simple secular song to draw these people closer to God in a time they most needed it.

Chaplain Kibirige is known as the “music man” to patients.

Another striking example of the power of music happened this past July. A man he had never met before stopped Chaplain Charles during his rounds in the ICU.

“‘Are you Charles the music man,’ he asked me. ‘The nurse told us about you and how you play music for the patients. Would you be able to play a song for my wife?” Chaplain Charles recalled.

The man, Norm Kerr of Roseville, explained that his wife, Dianne, had suffered a stroke while at a family member’s high school graduation party in Waterford and was brought to St. Joe’s Oakland for treatment. Norm said Dianne loved the old country song from Charlie Pride, “There Goes My Everything” and asked Chaplain Charles if he could play it for his wife. Chaplain Charles agreed to look up the song and learn it.

“I went home that weekend, looked the song up, and put a little dose of my own creativity to the arrangement,” he said. “I went back the following Monday and played it for the patient. However, Norm was not present that day but his son made a recording of the presentation on his phone as I sang the song for Dianne. It was a day later that I got a call from Norm letting me know how beautiful it was and how meaningful it was to him and his wife and family.”

Chaplain Charles continued to see the family and play for them occasionally while they were in the hospital. Dianne’s condition improved from being unresponsive on their first encounter, to making nods and other nonverbal communications in the subsequent days and weeks. Eventually, Dianne was discharged and returned home to her family.

“I see in this whole experience, among other things, music’s ability to help inspire hope and healing in patients,”  he said.

Chaplain Charles and his guitar visit the ICU waiting room daily at 2 p.m. He also visits the Behavioral Medicine floor. 

Join St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Nov. 15 for the Great American Smokeout

2017-11-06 14_51_39-sjmhs_smokeout_2017_event_flyer_proof2.pdfANN ARBOR – Join St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Great American Smokeout, and take the pledge to quit tobacco use.

St. Joe’s colleagues, patients and visitors are invited to take a smoke-free pledge or support loved ones taking the pledge by visiting tables at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor’s Main Entrance and Reichert Health Center.

Enter for a chance to win free drawings for holiday turkeys, vegetable trays, Couch to 5K classes and a free pair of shoes!

St. Joe’s Livingston ICR Open House – Nov. 15

SJML_ICR_OpenHouse_Postcard_FRONTLIVINGSTON – Join us in celebrating the opening of our Intensive Cardiac Rehab (ICR) space at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston:

Thursday, November 15, 2018
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
St. Joseph Mercy Livingston
620 Byron Rd • Howell, MI 48843

Enjoy tours, refreshments, cooking demos and giveaways. The event is free but registration is requested: stjoeshealth.org/icropenhouse

6 Ways to Help Prevent Stomach Cancer

by Cheryl Alkon

This article was originally published on Sharecare.

Anthony DeBenedet MDBack in the 1930s, stomach (or gastric) cancer affected more people in the United States than any other type of cancer. Today, stomach cancer is way down the list of the country’s most common cancer diagnoses, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). What’s behind the decline?

Assorted lifestyle changes, says Anthony DeBenedet, MD, a gastroenterologist affiliated with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Currently, there are approximately 26,240 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year in the U.S. and about 10,800 people will die from it. Compared to other cancers, “stomach cancer isn’t common,” says Dr. DeBenedet. Indeed, the ACS reports that the number of people diagnosed with stomach cancer has gone down about 1.5 percent each year in the past decade, which is good news.

Prevention is Key

Patients have the best chance of recovering from stomach cancer when it’s caught early. But according to the National Cancer Institute, the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when it still may be treated but is difficult to cure. That’s why it’s important to know what factors can help reduce the risk of a stomach cancer diagnosis in the first place.

Some factors associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer are outside your control, such as family history and genetics, as well as your ethnicity and sometimes where you live in the world. But there are other lifestyle factors that you can influence that are important to understand. Read on to learn more about what you can do to lower your risk.

Continue reading “6 Ways to Help Prevent Stomach Cancer”