Graston Technique Promotes Faster Soft Tissue Healing

By Margaret van den Bergh, PT

Graston Technique. It’s a strange-sounding name for a new physical therapy method that can help patients heal faster from soft tissue injuries like sprains, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, shin splints, trigger finger, and plantar fasciitis, to name a few.

Backed by over 20 years of research, clinical studies, and successful clinical application. GT therapy is part of the curriculum for 43 advanced degree programs in physical therapy, chiropractics, and athletic training. It is used regularly by over 250 professional and amateur sports teams and by U.S. Olympic training centers. There are over 16,000 certified physical therapists, chiropractors, and athlete trainers worldwide.

Now three Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital’s physical therapy staff members are also certified to offer this treatment: Rebecca Griswold, PTA; Melissa Walker, DPT; and me.


Be a Life Saver!

By Dr. Timothy Shafer, Grace Cottage Family Health

Did you know that you have the potential to save eight lives, by donating your organs after you die? All across the nation, thousands of people are waiting for a heart, lung, liver, pancreas, kidney, or intestines. Others could benefit from a tissue donation. You could make the difference.

It’s understandable that talking about organ donation is difficult. Until the issue touches you directly, affecting you or someone you know, it’s easier to avoid the topic.

Consider, though, that this is one way you can save someone’s life without risk to your own.

Consider also the following illustrative story: A baby boy was born a few years ago. It should have been a happy occasion, but instead, there was much anxiety because the baby had two malfunctioning kidneys. If only one kidney was faulty, he could have survived that way.

It is actually fairly common to live with one kidney. Some people are born this way. Amazingly, others give away one of their kidneys to help someone who needs it. As long as they protect the remaining kidney, they can live normal lives.


Time for a Colon Cancer Screening Test? You Have Options

By Dr. Ewa Arnold, Grace Cottage Family Health

Is it time for your colonoscopy? I bet you’re not looking forward to that! Colon cancer screening tests are highly unpopular, but they are certainly worth the discomfort.

Did you know that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.? The disease affects both men and women, mainly but not exclusively those over age 50. Despite this dire morbidity statistic, it’s important to remember that colon cancer is highly treatable—if discovered early. That’s why it’s so important to have your colon screening tests on schedule.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so this is a good time to revisit the topic.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that, beginning at age 50, adults have regular screenings until at least age 75. Colon cancers generally develop slowly. After age 75, you should discuss the alternatives with your provider.

Despite the notoriously uncomfortable preparation required,


What Do Your Kidneys Do?

By Dr. Maurice Geurts, Grace Cottage Family Health

What is the function of your kidneys, and why do you have two of them? Good questions to ask, especially during March. It’s National Kidney Awareness Month.

First question first: your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist, located just below your rib cage and toward your back, near the spine. They are part of an important blood filtering system that extracts wastes and extra water, sending this out of your body through the bladder.

The kidneys are busy organs. They filter about 150-200 quarts of liquid each day. One or two of these are excreted as urine, and the rest of the liquid returns to the bloodstream.


Take the 2 + 3 Challenge

By Cheryl Shaw, Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital Health Coach

Winter. Fresh fruits and vegetables. When gardens and farmland are buried under snow, it’s easy to think these two don’t go together, but actually, winter offers us a wide array of super healthy, budget-friendly fruits and vegetables to enjoy.

Why is it so important to get plenty of fruits and vegetables year-round? These two categories of foods are powerhouses for the essentials vitamins and minerals that perform hundreds of roles in the body. They are important for growth, healing, repair and maintenance of all of the body’s systems. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can lead to fatigue, illness and disease. Experts suggest we eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day in order to stay healthy.

It’s best to eat the whole plant foods themselves. They provide natural, not synthetic, vitamins and minerals, plus fiber, and disease-preventing phytochemicals not generally available through multi-vitamin pills.


Time is of Essence During a Heart Attack

By Lisa May, RN, Clinical Nurse Educator, Grace Cottage Hospital

What is the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest? One of the biggest differences is time. A person having a heart attack may have time to get help.  

One out of four deaths in the U.S. is caused by heart disease. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The term “heart disease” actually refers to a variety of conditions. The most common one is coronary heart disease, when plaque builds up in the arteries, narrows them, and restricts the flow of blood. A heart attack occurs when an artery becomes blocked, restricting blood flow and oxygen to an area of the heart. Without blood and oxygen, that area of the heart becomes ischemic and dies. 

Time is of the essence during a heart attack, but depending on how severely the blood flow is compromised, the person having a heart attack may have enough time to get help, as long as early warning signs are heeded.


SAD: Don’t Suffer, Get Help

By Benjamin Wright, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Grace Cottage Family Health

Do you have the winter blues? Winters can be long and difficult here in Vermont. The most recent weeks of temperatures well below zero certainly gave our community a spell of hard New England weather. Cold weather and heavy snow falls can limit outdoor activities. With less time spent in outdoor activities, less exercise, long nights and less time in the sun during the winter months, some people experience sad moods.

When the symptoms of the winter blues become severe, they could mean the person is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious medical condition and is best treated by a medical provider. The symptoms of SAD include depressed mood, low energy, too much or too little sleep, change in appetite and weight, diminished interest in things that were once enjoyed, poor concentration and, in some cases, thoughts of suicide.


What Does Your Thyroid Do?

Lucian Devan

By Devan Lucier, Grace Cottage Family Health AGNP

One of the first health promotions for 2018 is National Thyroid Awareness Month. That’s appropriate, considering how vital your thyroid is for all of your body’s functions.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck (just below the Adam’s apple). I have heard this gland compared to a car engine because, just as the engine controls when and how fast the car runs, likewise, the thyroid gland produces hormones that control everything that happens in your body. These hormones determine your adrenaline and dopamine levels, and therefore, your responses to fear, excitement, and pleasure. They also control metabolism–how fast your heart beats, how calories are burned, how your body uses food, and a number of other important actions. If your thyroid is not working right, all kinds of things will go wrong.


Have Fun on the Slopes, Not Accidents

By Dr. Kimona Alin, Medical Director, Grace Cottage Emergency Department

I love skiing. Anyone who knows me, knows that’s true. There’s nothing I like better than putting on my skiis and helmet and heading down the slopes on a beautiful bluebird day.  

You do wear a helmet when you ski or snowboard, don’t you? As much as I love skiing, I also know it can be dangerous. I work in the Emergency Department at Grace Cottage Hospital, so I see what can happen. I’d like to share some information about the most common injuries and some tips for preventing them.

Let’s start with head injuries…


Grace Cottage Provides a Safe Place for Victims of Sexual Assault

by Christine Morris, RN, Pediatric/Adult SANE and Lisa May, RN, Clinical Nurse Educator, Grace Cottage Hospital

Sexual assault has been much in the news lately, and it’s more common than most people realize.
On average, there are over 380,000 victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the U.S. Over 60,000 of these attacks involve children under the age of 12. Also, it’s a common misconception that only women fall victim to sexual assault. According to the Department of Justice, 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male.

These statistics are frightening. Even more concerning is that these numbers only reflect those that have the courage and support to seek help following an attack. Not knowing where to go, plus feelings of fear, guilt and shame, as well as the stigma associated with rape often prevent victims from receiving necessary medical attention and emotional support.

Grace Cottage Hospital has two registered nurses on staff who are specially trained by the Vermont Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program to provide confidential, compassionate care and emotional support for patients during an extremely traumatic, frightening time.