Exercise: A tool to manage Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Thank you to Hailey Jungerman, CSU Student and Covell Care intern for her guest blog post!

Exercise can be a great way to manage symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease that can cause impairments in mental and physical functioning, and ultimately daily activities of life. There are many symptoms such as decreased flexibility and mobility, cognitive impairment, muscular spasticity, and depressive mood. Exercise can help in improving some of these, while managing most others. Though it is not a cure, exercise is a great way to improve quality of life by helping to manage the symptoms. In a meta-analysis of studies, it found improvements in cardio and muscular fitness through exercising. There was also indications of balance and walking improvements as well as consistent reductions in fatigue and depressive symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis patients {1}. Another study found that there could be enhancements in muscle strength, flexibility, stability, fatigue, quality of life and respiratory function {2}.

Multiple Sclerosis can lead many to being physically inactive which itself poses a threat of more complications, such as osteoporosis. In order to help manage symptoms and prevent other complications it is important to develop a personalized exercise plan. Beginning or continuing exercise with Multiple Sclerosis requires a medical clearance by a physician and the exercise program should be supervised. This is important as to not worsen any symptoms, and just for safety in general. The program should be focused on chief concerns of the patient and be closely monitored to ensure it is working.

Great news is that Covell Care offers physical therapy, group fitness classes and personal training that can assist in providing information and exercise programs personalized to you. If you are interested in pursuing these options, contact Covell Care at (970) 204-4331.

Works Cited:

{2} Halabchi, Farzin, et al. “Exercise Prescription for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis; Potential Benefits and Practical Recommendations.” BMC Neurology, vol. 17, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1186/s12883-017-0960-9.

{1} Motl, Robert W, et al. “Exercise in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.” The Lancet Neurology, vol. 16, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 848–856., doi:10.1016/s1474-4422(17)30281-8.


Opioid Crisis in Older Adults

Thank you to JaNae Gregg, UNC student and volunteer for her guest blog post!

Chronic pain is an awful burden that many people of a variety of ages have to suffer from. Unfortunately, the most common treatment for chronic pain is delivered in the form of an addictive substance, such as an opioid.  It has become more apparent that there is an opioid crisis happening in the United States; everyday more than 115 people die from an opioid overdose.

Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids end up misusing them, often times leading to an overdose. In some cases, patients who are being prescribed opioids don’t often know that mixing their medications can lead to overdose or that not following the prescribed instructions can lead to an overdose. The questions now are, how do help fix this crisis? And
what are other alternatives to treating chronic pain without the use of opioids?

Good Day Pharmacy has recognized the opioid crisis and is beginning to take major leaps into helping their patients become aware.  The pharmacy has begun training with their team members to start the “opioid management discussion.” A part of this discussion has to do with the use of Naloxone (don’t worry, I didn’t know what this was either).  Naloxone is a new medication designed to help reverse an overdose from occurring. The Good Day Pharmacy team is spreading the word about this incredible new medication and teaching their patients how to use it. Naloxone can be given in three different types of ways. The three ways include: pre-packaged nasal spray, auto injectable (pre-filled auto injection), and injectable (professional training required).  This new medication will help stop an overdose if it begins to occur, but that doesn’t mean that preventing overdoses from occurring shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

Prescription pain medication is heavy duty and not something to be taken lightly or without knowledge. It is always important to look into all options for chronic pain management before landing on opioids.  To help bring an end to the opioid crisis and dependency on pain medication I have provided a list of options for chronic pain management. This could be for anyone who would like to stop using opioids and try something different or for anyone who is just now seeking help for their chronic pain.  Of course these treatments may not work for everyone, but it is important to keep an open mind when seeking pain management.

  • Alternative treatments for chronic pain include:
  • Acupuncture
  • Marijuana
  • Exercise
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Supplements and vitamins
  • Therapy
  • Stress-reduction techniques (yoga, relaxation therapy, hypnosis, massage, biofeedback)

Sources:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/opioid-overdose-reversal-naloxone-narcan-evzio
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/alternative-treatments#2

Staying Health at Work

Thank you to JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado student and Covell Care volunteer for this guest blog!

Staying healthy at work goes beyond hand washing and spraying lysol. Staying healthy at work requires a healthy mind and body. To achieve this it is important to watch what you put into your body and how you treat it throughout the work day. Research has actually identified 9 simple ways people can stay healthy in the work environment.

These 9 simple ways to stay healthy at work include:

  • Eat sensibly:While at work, it’s easy to resort to food that is quick, but is often unhealthy. Eating junk food or fast food can make people feel sluggish. Feeling sluggish can lead to feeling tired and often times contributing to illness. Eating healthy foods and having a filling breakfast can help prevent feeling sluggish and help the body stay healthy.
  • Drink plenty of water: Water. The main contributor to staying healthy. It is always important to drink between 6 to 8 glasses of water, especially at work. While busy working it is easy to forget drink enough water, but drinking water not only helps a person stay hydrated, which helps prevents ill effects, but it also prevents drowsiness.  
  • Restrict your caffeine intake: I know it can seem almost impossible to not pound the caffeine at work some days, but caffeine dehydrates people, which often times can contribute to feeling sluggish. Instead of drinking caffeine throughout the day try just having one cup of a caffeinated beverage (preferably coffee) in the morning.
  • Maintain good posture: Most work environments require sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen. This daily task can really take a toll on our backs and necks, especially if we don’t pay close attention to our posture. To help maintain good posture, practice desk exercises and stretches frequently.
  • Take frequent breaks: Not taking breaks at work can leave a person feeling mentally lethargic, which in the long run will reduce productivity and not save time. It can also reduce a person’s creativity. An actual break at work consists of taking a few minutes and getting away from the work environment. Take a few minutes away from your desk or take a short walk, this will get blood and oxygen flowing and help increase energy and make your brain feel recharged.  
  • Keeping a tidy workstation: Avoid having clutter at your workstation and also keep sanitizing wipes or an antibacterial spray to wipe down any surface at the beginning and end of everyday. This will help kill any viruses that may be spread by touching any surfaces that could have germs on them.
  • Practice good hygiene: Hand washing is always important, but isn’t easy to continuously do while at the office. Keeping hand sanitizer at your desk can help kill some of the germs you may come in contact with.  
  • Avoid contact with sick employees: As much as we wish that sick employees would stay home that does not always happen. Try your best to avoid any contact with an employee who is showing symptoms of illness. If you do come contact always try wash your hands right away or use hand sanitizer.
  • Learn to manage stress: Managing stress can be a difficult task, but stress can lead to exhaustion which can lower your bodies immune system. To help avoid or manage stress do activities which are enjoyable and always take time for yourself.

Exercise & Parkinson’s Disease

Thank you to Galen Friesen, Colorado State University Student and Covell Care intern for providing this guest blog post!

Parkinson’s disease has been shown to affect a wide range of aspects of life. Although commonly associated with loss of physical functioning, PD also effects cognitive functioning, sleep quality, mood, and anxiety and fatigue levels. Of the non-motor symptoms, cognitive impairments are the most prevalent, with 83% of patients developing dementia after 20 years [1]. Non-motor symptoms can greatly affect overall quality of life, but are difficult to treat in patients with PD as antidepressant medication can worsen motor symptoms in some instances [2]. Exercise has been shown to aid non motor symptoms by improving cognitive functioning in individuals diagnosed with PD.

Exercise is well-known to improve agility, power, and mobility. This fact still holds true for those affected by Parkinson’s Disease. Exercise has been shown to slow the loss of coordination, posture, and balance associated with PD. Along with this, exercise also helps to protect the brain and nerves- acute exercise causes the release of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein that stimulates growth of nerves and works to maintain existing neuronal pathways [3].

According to the Parkinson’s Outcome Project, individuals who start exercising early at a minimum of 2.5 hours per week experienced a slower decline in quality of life than those who started later. Biking, non-contact boxing, Tai Chi, yoga, and weight training are all acceptable and beneficial modalities of exercise for individuals with PD.

Talking to your primary healthcare provider or physical therapist is a great way to take first steps towards adopting a new exercise routine. There are also many new boxing and dance classes being specifically created for individuals with PD, Contact the Parkinson’s Foundation’s toll-free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or helpline@parkinson.org to find one near you. Or contact Covell Care & Rehabilitation at (970) 204-4331 to find out how to get an exercise program going.

[1]The Effects of Exercise on Balance in Persons with… : Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/jnpt/Fulltext/2009/03000/The_Effects_of_Exercise_on_Balance_in_Persons_with.3.aspx
[2]Cruise, K. E., Bucks, R. S., Loftus, A. M., Newton, R. U., Pegoraro, R., & Thomas, M. G. (2010, December 03). Exercise and Parkinson’s: Benefits for cognition and quality of life. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0404.2010.01338.x

[3] Tajiri, Yasuhara, Shingo, Kondo, Yuan, Kadota, . . . Date. (2010). Exercise exerts neuroprotective effects on Parkinson’s disease model of rats. Brain Research., 1310, 200-207. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19900418
[4]Exercise. (2018, June 14). Retrieved from https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Treatment/Exercise

Dementia Awareness

Blog provided by JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado Student and Covell Care Intern.

In America, one in ten people over the age of sixty five has Alzheimer’s dementia.  Two thirds of these people are women. In 2000, 4 million people in America were diagnosed with dementia.  By 2012, nearly 4.5 million people were diagnosed with this disease. With a rapid increase of people diagnosed with dementia it is important to notice the early signs and receive treatment.

Early signs of dementia include: Increased confusion, memory problems, reduced concentration, personality or behavior changes, apathy, and loss of ability to do everyday tasks. These symptoms can come on suddenly or gradually. Unfortunately, these signs can often be mistaken or overlooked. If you or someone you know is showing any of these signs it is important to seek a doctor and get a medical diagnoses.

If you are caring for a patient of dementia it is important to keep a positive mindset, remember body language and attitude communicate your feelings more than words do! Dementia can be tough for both the patient and the caregiver, so it is important to be clear when relying messages to the patient and to also ask clear and answerable questions.  Conducting activities are easier when performed in steps, this helps instruct the patient with dementia and to avoid frustration for the caregiver.

This being said, frustrations will still occur.  When the going gets tough for the dementia
patient try changing the subject or even the environment.  It is important to remember to connect with the person on a feelings level. This means when making suggestions state what feeling you are sensing from them.  This could be done by saying, “I know you are feeling sad today, maybe a walk would make you feel better?” Doing this will help make a connection and improve communication.  Being diagnosed or having someone you care for be diagnosed with dementia is not easy, catching warning signs early could help with treatment and the caregiving process.