May 2013 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Taking Care Of Your Back

Your back enables you to do many of the activities and motions that you need to do to function daily. It is very important that you take certain precautions and steps to ensure that your back remains healthy and strong. But, the good thing is that it's relatively easy to properly care for your back. If you have suffered any injuries to your back, then it's even more important to take steps to bring your back "back" to it's optimal functional state.

Routine Back Care
While regular visits to your chiropractor might not be practically or financially feasible, there are many things that you can incorporate into your daily routine that will help you take care of your back.

Yes, your mother was right...again. Sitting up straight and maintaining good posture while standing are two effective and inexpensive ways to strengthen and protect your back. The elongation of the spine helps you to maintain your balance, when you slouch then other muscles have to help which can cause back pain, headaches and more. So, while you're sitting at your desk at work, sit straight up with your chest pushed upward to help you maintain proper seated posture. While standing, make sure your feet are planted flat on the ground and lift your shoulders and straighten your spine.

Don't Light Up
Most people know that smoking causes problems, but many don't know that lighting up that cigarette is bad for your back as well. Because smoking depletes the oxygen in your blood, it deprives your muscles, and spine. A lack of oxygen can cause back and spine issues later on.

Sleep well & Don't Stress Out
Sleep rejuvenates your mind and spirit, but it also does wonders for your back. But, the way you sleep can cause you back problems if you're not careful. Having the right mattress and head and neck support while sleeping can prevent back pain in the morning. Beds that are too soft cause your spine to curve awkwardly in sleep, putting pressure on the discs and spinal cord and bunching up a flat pillow can strain your neck. Make sure you have a relatively firm mattress and make sure that your pillow supports your head in alignment with your neck during sleep. Stress also plays a detrimental role in the health of your back. Stress causes consistent contraction of muscles around your back and neck that can lead to back pain. Getting enough sleep, exercise and managing job, family and other stressors can do wonders for your back.

If You've Suffered a Back Injury
If you have undergone a back injury or trauma to your back, it is important to seek professional care. Stop normal physical activity, avoid lifting and apply hot or cold packs to the area as need be. Make sure that you continue to follow up with your health care provider so that a back injury doesn't progress into something more serious.

Other Factors That Affect Your Back
Your weight and diet can also affect your back. It is important to maintain a healthy weight so that your back doesn't have to work double time. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough exercise will help you to keep your back strong.


Nisha has been writing about injury advice for the last few years now. She enjoys reading health and news articles from and other similar resources.


Ingrown Nails Can be a Serious Condition-Even for Major League Baseball Players

Washington Nationals player, Bryce Harper, missed playing time last week due to an ingrown toenail.  He even made headlines when he posted a picture of his toe and the removed toenail on Twitter.  Many people may think that it is odd that he would be sidelined for such a condition.  Many might view ingrown nails as a minor problem.  However, an ingrown toenail can cause significant pain, and if it progresses on to an infection, serious problems can occur.

Ingrown nails can be caused by a variety of things:  genetics, trauma or injury, shoe gear, and the person's foot structure or the way they walk.  Ingrown toenails in athletes are common from bumping the toe with kicking, running, sliding, or when another player or object lands on the toe (example, jumping).

If the ingrown portion of nail cuts into the skin next to it, this often leads to infection.   An infected, ingrown toenail will be red, hot, swollen, and often have pus or drainage.  Additionally, there is typically significant pain.

As with the case of Bryce Harper, a physician must anesthetize the toe and remove the ingrown portion of nail.  This allows the cut in the skin and related infection to clear up and heal.  Oral or topical antibiotics, soaking, bandaging, and over the counter pain relievers are also used with the procedure to heal the toe.  The best way to speed up healing after the procedure is to rest, elevate, and wear shoes that do not rub on the area.

If you have this condition, please call Advanced Physical Medicine to get an appointment with Dr. Bender.  Dr. Bender finished her surgical residency training in 2001, and she has been practicing and teaching podiatric students and residents since then.  She has offices in Oak Park (708-763-0580) and Chicago/63rd St. (773-776-3166).


3 Healthy Picnic Recipes for Memorial Day

Memorial Day has long been the unofficial beginning of summer. The first warm 3-day weekend of the year. The first day you can break out those white shoes. And, like so many other American holidays, Memorial Day means food, and lots of it. Here are three healthy, and delicious alternatives to your old picnic standbys

Healthy memorial day recipesCourse 1: Farro and Spring Vegetable Salad with Feta

This is a killer seasonal salad. Take advantage of the bounties of spring and even include the Italian superfood farro.


For the parsley-mint dressing:

  • 2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, cored and very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 bunch baby carrots peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 bunch asparagus, very thinly sliced on the bias into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 to 3 oz. tender pea tendrils
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups farro
  • 2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 cup English peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup diced Meyer lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, cut on the bias into 1/4-inch strips
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 oz. French feta cheese, crumbled

To make the dressing, in a blender, combine the parsley leaves (leave the stems behind), mint, garlic, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and half of the olive oil. Start the blender on low, then rapidly increase the speed to high while slowly adding the remaining olive oil. Adjust consistency by adding olive oil. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

To make the salad, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and thyme, stirring often, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the dry farro and cook, stirring, until the grains are lightly toasted and coated with the oil, about 2 minutes. Add 10 cups water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the farro is tender and just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Drain the farro and transfer to a baking sheet. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, have ready a bowl of ice water. Bring a saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the English peas and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to the ice water, then drain and dry on paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the farro, mint, diced lemon, sugar snap peas and English peas and toss with 1/2 cup of the parsley-mint dressing. In a separate large bowl, combine the fennel, carrots, pea tendrils and asparagus and toss with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the farro onto a large platter. Arrange the fennel mixture on top and sprinkle with the cheese. Serves 6 to 8.

Healthy Memorial Day BurgersCourse 2: Fresh Salmon Burgers

Fire up the grill, but skip the fatty beef patties. Try these lean, omega-3-rich fresh salmon burgers. They’re quick and easy!


  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill or thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour Cream

First, soak bread in milk until soft, about three minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop salmon, and place in a food processor. Pulse several times until roughly chopped. Add bread and milk, salt, 2 tablespoons of thyme, Dijon mustard and black pepper. Pulse several times until well blended.

Form salmon mixture into 4 to 6 patties, and place on a lightly oiled plate. Grill burgers over medium-hot coals (or on a grill pan over medium-high heat) 3 to 5 minutes or until done. Serve on a bun with sour cream and a light sprinkle of fresh dill.

Healthy Memorial Day DessertsCourse 3: Peach Angel Dessert

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert. Try this lighter fruit-centric gem at your Memorial Day gathering.


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup peach, apricot or orange gelatin powder
  • 1 loaf-shaped angel food cake (10-1/2 ounces)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed
  • 3 cups sliced peeled fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced peaches, thawed

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in water and corn syrup until smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Cool to room temperature, stirring several times.

Cut angel food cake into nine slices. Line an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish with the slices; set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually beat in milk. Set aside 1/3 cup of the whipped topping for garnish. Fold remaining whipped topping into cream cheese mixture; spread over cake. Top with peaches. Pour gelatin mixture over peaches.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cut into squares. Top each piece with about 1 teaspoon of reserved whipped topping. Serves 15.

Share these goodies with your friends and family this Memorial Day. Not only will you have something uniquely delicious, your potluck creations will be uniquely healthy.

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