alternative medicine

A Safer Way to Manage Pain. Explore non-Opioid Alternatives

A Safer Way to Manage Pain.

A Safer Way to Manage Pain.

Before starting with medications for your pain, consider safer non-opioid options to help you move past the pain, and enjoy living pain-free. Over the years there has been an increase in drug addiction and deaths prompted by the abuse of opioids for pain management. The increase in prescribed opioids is not only increasing the risk of addiction, but also depression, fatal overdoses and symptoms of withdrawal. People addicted to prescription opioids are also 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin!

In some cases, prescription medications are an appropriate part of treatment. Alleviating pain with medication in the early stages can reduce inflammation and swelling in order to help you move past the pain and start your rehabilitation, but be reassured that we will not put our patient’s health at risk in order for them to live pain free!

Since 1998, Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation (NMR) has taken a holistic approach to healthcare with our primary focus on physical rehabilitation, clinical nutrition and services to help with stress reduction. These core services address the ‘Triad of Health’ pillars which can most easily be referred to as ‘you are what you EAT, THINK and DO”. By combining these core services at NMR, we can address a myriad of health problems at their source.

Pain relief is clearly important; however the goal at NMR is never merely pain relief. We strive to be very specific in diagnosing the source of the problem, and will manage pain with various focused interventions and therapies without the dependence of narcotics whenever possible. By addressing the causative factors that can be rehabilitated, we have a much greater ability to keep people from ever getting started with opioids for pain management.

For some patients, the therapeutic approaches such as Physical Therapy, Chiropractic and Acupuncture may not be enough, resulting in a very limited ability to rehabilitate to full movement, strength and function, which are the ultimate goals. Here is where minimally invasive medical procedures that are performed in less than a one-hour office visit can be of great value not only for a person’s pain but for their ability to then rehabilitate effectively. The following minimally invasive procedures target the pain producing structures to help you progress with your physical rehabilitation program:

• Epidural steroid injections help relieve a patient’s pain and inflammation, but more importantly it also helps them progress in their rehabilitation program in order to best manage the causative factors of their condition and prevent the pain from returning.
• Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) uses radio waves to decrease pain signals from a specific area of nerve tissues. Once the pain is manageable the patient can begin a rehabilitation program.
• Therapeutic nerve blocks contain local anesthetic to control acute pain.
• Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to stabilize and stop the pain caused from a spinal fracture

After appropriate pain management procedures, our integrated team of health care practitioners including Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists along with Biofeedback, Myofascial and CranioSacral Specialists will create treatment plans that are designed to rehabilitate the area in order to accelerate healing, establish stability and strength, improve mobility, and teach skills needed to prevent the problem along with the pain from returning in the future.

Before you go down the slippery slope of taking opioids, consider how we can help you move past the pain, and enjoy living pain-free, without the dependence of narcotics, by integrating medical and natural approaches all available at Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation (NMR) with locations in Branchburg and opening a new NMR Pain Management location this winter in Somerset.

Dr. Kandra is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Management and is dedicated to the treatment of chronic pain symptoms for patients. He is trained at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, one of the country`s top Pain Management training programs.

Dr. Sferra is board certified in Chiropractic Medicine and Chiropractic Neurology, a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He is the founder and Clinic Director of Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation. Dr. Sferra is the recipient of the “2005 Spirit of Somerset” award for his outstanding contribution to Health and Wellness in the community.
For more information visit www.NMRnj.com, or call 908-252-0242

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine that originated over 5000 years ago and is now being offered as a holistic approach to pain management at Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation!  Acupuncture can provide drug free pain relief for people with chronic pain and suffering by encouraging the body to promote natural healing.  The needling of acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release pain-relieving chemicals (endorphins & serotonin) and hormones in the muscles, spinal cord and brain.  These chemicals are the body’s natural painkillers.  The body produces them to influence its own internal regulating system and healing abilities to fight disease and maintain a healthy physical and emotional state.

Acupuncture is a drug free way for our patients to receive pain management and help them progress along more quickly in their rehabilitation program.  Physical rehabilitation plays a critical part of most patients care at NMR.  Joint, muscle and spinal problems demand stability, strength and conditioning if one is not only to feel better but also to restore function and prevent similar or worse problems in the future.  Incorporating acupuncture into a rehabilitation program can help people with chronic pain or suffering from such things as:

Headaches & Migraines          Trigeminal Neuralgia

Back, Neck & Joint Pain         Menstrual Cramps

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome        Osteoarthritis

Fibromyalgia                           Sciatica

Myofascial Pain                      Tennis Elbow

Acupuncture compliments the services provided at NMR to help patients with their pain management and move them toward not only feeling better, but actually being better and stronger!

Day #100. Weight loss goals met! The first 100 Day: A journey to health & wellness

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Boston Marathon Volunteer recap: Kristen, a Licensed Massage Therapist stretched and massaged runners after they finished the marathon. Sean, a Registered Nurse cared for runners along the course who could not finish the race.

It was our pleasure to lend our skills to the marathon runners and to the city of Boston. We meet some amazing people, heard some incredible stories and witnessed “wicked” strength & fearlessness.

Day #100

The first 100 days: A journey to health and wellness:

We started this project because we wanted to learn how to lose weight and maintain weight loss, long term. For 100 days we shared our measurements and our experiences, good and bad. We also offered helpful tips that we learned along the way. Tips about nutrition, healthy lifestyle habits, exercise, healthy recipes and goal setting.

Why 100 days?

  • 100 days allows enough time to create new habits and new routines. Even when given all the tools to be successful, success does not happen overnight. Nearly every day we learned something new about ourselves (willpower, wants vs. needs, motivation and commitment) or about the science of weight loss/ weight management (muscle, fat, metabolism, nutrition, and aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise).
  • Weight loss plateau is inevitable. 100 days allowed us time to hit a plateau, make necessary changes and continue losing weight.
  • 100 is a nice round number.

What did you eat?

Our nutrition changed throughout the 100 days. The first 7 days is considered a “food detox” made up of mostly vegetables, low glycemic fruits, nuts and protein shakes. The detox “resets” the digestive system by eliminating foods that cause inflammation and reduces unhealthy food cravings. After the detox, we slowly incorporated starchy vegetables and lean animal proteins. Now we follow the 50-25-25 rule. Each main meal is portioned into 50% vegetables, 25% complex starches (example: quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes) and 25% lean animal protein. Snacks include low glycemic fruits, nuts and protein shakes.

Our daily intake of dairy, gluten and sugar is very limited. There are many types of food that claim to be healthy, we have learned that most of those claims are false. We now read nutrition labels and the list of ingredients. We stay away from foods that contain ingredients we cannot pronounce, artificial sweeteners and pre-packaged foods that contain more than 5 ingredients.

One day per week we have a “free” day. We rarely take full advantage of a “free” day because it is hard work to get back on track and we typically feel “hungover” after eating a lot of sugary, salty, and/or fatty foods.

Did you exercise?

Yes we did. Prior to starting this project 90% of our exercise was aerobic exercise, we are runners. We are runners that love to eat. One of our bad eating habits, included “rewarding” ourselves with high calorie/high fat foods after we ran. That was just the start of our bad eating habits.

During this project we learned how the food we eat can cause local and systemic inflammation, inflammation that causes aches and pains throughout the body. We also learned to the value of weight training. Weight training builds muscle that increases basal metabolic rate = increasing the amount of calories burned at rest. Since increasing our anaerobic exercise routine, we have seen many changes in our physique and overall strength.

To be honest, we did not exercise as often as Dr. Sferra suggested (4-5 days per week). We are getting better about making exercise a priority, we now exercise for 1 hour per day at least 3 days per week. We must admit we have better weight loss results and feel better when we exercise 4-5 times per week.

How much weight did you lose?

Weight loss goals met!

Kristen lost 15 lbs. and a total of 10.5 inches.

Sean lost 22 lbs. and a total of 10 inches.

**Kristen’s mom and Sean’s dad are also following Dr. Sferra’s plan. Kristen’s mom has lost 30.8 lbs. (since January) and Sean’s dad has lost 20 lbs. (since February).**

The project is over, now what?

Now we do more of the same. We have new routines that we follow that keep us on track. We will work on our new weight loss and fitness goals. We would like to achieve those goals before we get married in October.

 The first 100 days: A journey to health and wellness project has without a doubt changed our lives. Below are a few things we learned about nutrition, exercise and ourselves:

Note from Sean:

Nutrition – What you DO eat is just as important as what you DON’T eat.

Exercise – I learned the importance of frequent exercise and weight training.

Myself – I don’t need my vices (diet soda, coffee with Splenda, bread with every meal, etc), but I do need nutrient rich foods. I now choose to feed my body, not my cravings.

Note from Kristen:

Nutrition: I have learned to eat to run instead of running to eat.

Exercise: I was surprised to learn that I actually enjoy weight training! I have seen my body transform. I am much stronger than I once thought.

Myself – I still love sweets, that will never go away but I have learned that I have the power to walk away. It also helps to not have junk food in the house.

 If you would like to start your own weight loss journey call 908-252-0242 and mention the First 100 Days Project to receive a FREE consultation that will outline and explain YOUR individual weight management program.

Day #90. Finish Strong. The first 100 days: A journey to health & wellness.

 

 

 

Day #90

 We did not post an update last week because we realized that somewhere along the way we got 1 week ahead of ourselves (human error). Today Monday April 21, 2014  is in fact day #90.

Today we are volunteering our time and skills at the 2014 Boston Marathon. Our assignments will keep us busy until 7:00pm, we will post information about our experience in our day 100 update.

Kristen’s assignment: Licensed Massage Therapy, providing massage services for runners post-race.

Sean’s assignment: Registered Nurse, providing medical services on a course medical bus.

Weight loss/management Progress:

We continue to lose weight and lose inches at a slow and steady pace. At this point in our journey the nutrition portion of this program is a breeze and we are getting better at exercising 4+ times per week. (Check out our picture updates above.)

There were many weeks we didn’t lose weight, but we did lose inches from our chest, waist and hips. Here is some information about muscle vs. fat:

 Muscle vs. Fat

The key here is to understand the difference in muscle and fat. Because a pound is a pound no matter what you are measuring, one pound of fat is equal to one pound of fat. The common saying, “muscle weighs more than fat, ” is wrong. A pound is a pound, no matter what you measure. However, fat and muscle are composed of different substances, look different, have differing effects on the body and take up varying amounts of space in the body. Fat takes up more space in the body and has a lumpy appearance. Muscle, on the other hand, is lean and smooth. For visual purposes, picture a lean steak equal to the size of a regulation sized baseball. Now, picture approximately three times that much jello in a bowl. If these ingredients were placed in your body, would you prefer the lean, compact muscle or the jiggling bowl of jello? A person weighing 150 pounds, with 14% body fat will look much leaner than a person who weighs 120 pounds with 35% body fat.

Losing Inches Instead of Weight

 Now that you understand the different characteristics of fat and muscle, you are probably likely to reconsider your weight loss goals. Losing inches doesn’t seem so shabby when it’s put into perspective. The most common culprit for a loss of inches rather than a loss of pounds is that of muscle development. When fat is burned and muscle is replaced, your body may stay the exact same weight. However, you have replaced lumpy, jiggly and unhealthy amounts of fat with lean, solid muscle. An equal amount of muscle will take up approximately half as much space as the same amount of fat. (Source: http://www.3fatchicks.com/why-you-may-be-losing-inches-but-not-weight/)

For more information about losing inches but not losing weight: http://exercise.about.com/od/weightloss/a/losinginches.htm

 

 The remaining 10 days:

We want to finish strong. We made a commitment to ourselves and this project to give 100% for 100 days.

Because we continue to have weigh loss results, we will follow the weight management plan as planned. Eating our bigger meals at lunch time and eliminating starches from our evening meals has made a big difference in how we feel as well as overcoming the weight loss plateau. We are currently exercising at least 4 times per week, our goal is to exercise 5-6 times per week.   

See you in 10 days!

Day #82. Beyond diet and exercise. The first 100 days: A journey to health and wellness.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #82

Beyond diet and exercise.

We have and continue to learn about nutrition, exercise and ourselves. We are often asked questions about nutrition and exercise. But in reality, the key to being successful is not merely eating healthy food and exercising frequently. If you want to lose weight and develop a healthy lifestyle you must take responsibility for your actions, habits, excuses, routines, and lifestyle choices.

Many people have a defeatist attitude about achieving their weight loss goals and developing a healthy lifestyle. There is a lot of contradictory weight loss information and it seems everybody is an expert, we hear “facts” from our friends, family and coworkers every day. Many of these “experts” want to lose weight and improve their health themselves.

Like Susan Powter says “Stop the madness”. If you would like to begin your journey to health and wellness, start by allowing yourself to begin. If you have a list of reasons why you can’t lose weight, then you have given up before you have even started.

Make a commitment to yourself. The joy of living is a much better motivator than the fear of dying. Losing weight and improving holistic wellness improves quality of life, imagine your life with less pain, less fatigue, less stress related illness.

Accept responsibility. “To be responsible is not to blame ourselves, it’s to empower us. If we’re just victims of our bad genes, bad karma, bad fate, or bad luck, then there’s not much we can do about it other than to suffer our destiny. But to the degree that we realize that we can do something about it, then we’re free to change our fortunes. How much you want to change your diet and lifestyle – if at all – is a very personal decision.” Dean Ornish, MD. (2008) The Spectrum. New York: Ballantine Books. (p.87)

Take a personal inventory. Make a 7 day diet and exercise diary and include ALL of the foods, drinks and exercise that you do each day. Once you gain some awareness, you may begin to understand why you are not losing weight or why you are gaining weight. The 7 day diary will help you identify areas that need improvement.

Quality over quantity. What you include in your diet is as important as what you exclude. Nutrients, nutrients, nutrients. You don’t need food, you need the nutrients in your food. Time is precious, don’t waste your time eating food that does not feed your body.

We love sharing our story and feel fortunate to have this opportunity. We hope that this blog and the conversations that we have with others will encourage people to start their own journey to health and wellness.

Dr. Sferra’s weight management plan is based on the non-disputable principles of fundamental healthy macro-nutrition, dietary glycemic control and metabolic repair. This plan is based on the science of nutrition and exercise, the exact formula to what we should and should not eat, and the type and duration of exercise change with our progress and our goals.

Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation

West End Physical Therapy, 10-12 West End Court, 2nd Floor, Long Branch, NJ 07740 | Phone 732.222.7799

399 Campus Drive, 1st Floor, Somerset, NJ | Phone 908.252.0242| Fax 908.252.0243