1. 7 Healthy Holiday Tips

    With Thanksgiving a week away and Christmas and New Year’s a month or so away, the holidays have officially arrived. Along with the holidays comes parties, pot-lucks, cold-weather colds, busy shopping malls, and traveling. With all of the commotion of the season and plates of cookies, it can be hard to stay healthy and motivated to make time to exercise and eat right. That’s why Rawlins County Health Center wants to get in ahead of time with some friendly tips on how to stay healthy the next two months.

    Our medical center provides cardiac health services, diabetic services, laboratory services, and more. As much as we love treating our patients, we want to keep as many people as healthy as possible during the holidays. So as you’re hopping from family party to office party, keep these tips in mind.

    Get in Some Exercise

    This is no doubt one of the busiest times of the year, making it hard to fit in the recommended 30 mins of exercise a day. But if you want to avoid the holiday-15, make it point to at least do something every day that involves movement. Take the stairs at work, go for a walk during lunch, take your dog for a walk after work, do jumping-jacks before you get in the shower in the morning — every little bit of exercise can make a big difference at the end of the day.

    Keep Eating Your Veggie

    When traveling for the holidays or going to parties, healthy fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by. If you know that you’re going to a party that night, eat a satisfying salad for lunch. Toss in some tuna or chicken with avocado, peppers, broccoli, and something sweet like raisins or dried cranberries. For a filling side, grab a handful of almonds. If you’re looking for healthy snacks, try a bag of baby carrots and some hummus. Getting in at least some veggies throughout the day will give your body essential nutrients.

    Medical Center AtwoodSleep

    It’s easy to think that you can lose a few hours a night or two during the week because of an event, but this will quickly catch up with you. Too little sleep will eventually start affecting your immune system. With a weak immune system, when you are exposed to a virus, it will be harder for your body to fight it off.

    Watch For Germs

    This is especially important if you are traveling or spending time at other people’s homes. Watch out for door handles, faucets, and watch who you’re shaking hands with. If you happen to catch a cold, be sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently, and don’t feel guilty about having to stay home from an event. Staying home is better than infecting 10 other people.

    Eat Before You Go

    If you know you’re heading out to a party that will have a table full of fatty and sugary foods, try to get in a healthy meal before you leave. You can still have a little snack or dessert at the party, but you won’t feel like you have to fill up your plate with unhealthy treats.

    Medical Center AtwoodWatch What You Drink

    If you’re trying to watch your calories this season, keep an eye on what you’re drinking. Many alcoholic drinks are full of calories and then all of a sudden you’re well over your daily calorie budget. Beer, wine, and hard ciders are alcoholic drinks with the highest calories. Liquor like rum and gin are good options when mixed with tonic water or club soda.

    Take a Multivitamin

    If you truly are on the go and can’t manage to get in some vegetables, at least take a daily multivitamin. It’s a quick and easy way to give your body some nutrients to keep you out of the doctor’s office. Look for one with vitamin C, D, magnesium, zinc, and B-12. But keep in mind, a multivitamin shouldn’t be used as a substitute for healthy living.

    The doctors and staff at Rawlins County Health Center want you to enjoy your holidays! But we also hope that we don’t see you at our medical center — no offense. If you are feeling ill or need urgent care, please visit us in Atwood on Grant Street. We take pride in giving our patients the best care year round.

    Schedule an Appointment Today

  2. Nutrition Tips For Diabetics

    When diagnosed with diabetes, it can be a life-altering change. One of the biggest changes may be to your diet and how you think about food. However, with a proper plan and diet, and by eating healthily, you can begin to control symptoms and start to get your life back. At Rawlins County Health Center, our staff wants to ensure that you live your healthiest life.

    The purpose of creating a nutrition plan to manage your diabetes is to help control your sugar intake. This will also help you manage your weight and other factors, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Without the proper diet, there could be complications from the rise in blood glucose, including nerve, kidney, and heart damage. In order to prevent these from occurring, a healthy diet is a primary defense.

    Medical Center AtwoodHealthy Foods For People With Diabetes

    Healthy Carbohydrates

    When you consume simple carbohydrates and starches, these break down into blood glucose. Avoid processed bread and instead focus on eating fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, and low-fat dairy products.

    Foods High in Fiber

    A benefit of fiber-rich foods is that they control how your body digests and slows the absorption of sugar. Include foods with insoluble like beans, whole wheat flour, broccoli, pears, chickpeas, and many other fruits and vegetables.

    Heart Healthy Foods

    Certain fish will help lower blood fats, known as triglycerides. Look for fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, cod, tuna, and halibut. Other heart-healthy foods include spinach, oatmeal, berries, nuts, tomatoes, and dark chocolate.

    Healthy Fats

    You want to include the healthy fats, or monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These include foods like avocados, almonds, pecans, olives, and olive oil. However, be mindful of how much you consume of these foods, as they are often high in calories.

    Medical Center AtwoodTips For Eating Nutritiously

    • Eat More Vegetables: When putting meals together, fill your place with appropriate amounts of certain foods. Fill one half of the plate with vegetables, such as spinach or broccoli. One-quarter of the plate should be filled with a low-fat protein like fish or pork. Finish the plate off with a whole grain.
    • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates have one of the biggest effects on blood glucose, so be sure to eat carbs at the same time each day, especially if you are taking medication or insulin.
    • Exchange List Method: One method for finding healthy foods to eat is the exchange list. These lists include foods within certain categories, such as protein. The foods within the same category have similar effects on your blood glucose, so you can choose one food from each category.
    • Glycemic Index: When choosing healthy foods to eat, some diabetics use this method to help. Essentially, this method lets you choose foods based on how they affect glucose levels. Talk with your doctor at Rawlins County Health Center to learn more about this strategy.

    We understand that living with and managing diabetes can be frustrating and overwhelming, but we also know the importance of having a healthy diet and lifestyle. It may be a slow start to find a routine that works for you, but with the right help and guidance from the staff at our medical center, you will begin to feel healthy and positive.

    Learn more about the diabetes treatment at our medical center and schedule an appointment today.

  3. Best Ways to Protect Your Heart

    Your heart starts beating at around three to four weeks in the womb and keeps you moving throughout your life, when all goes well. And for many of us, we only get one heart, making it crucial to protect it. With so many heart-related diseases (coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, etc), and health issues that can harm the heart (blood pressure, high cholesterol), we need to do everything we can in order to keep our hearts healthy and pumping strong. So, what are the best ways to protect your heart?

    The doctors, nurses, and assistants at Rawlins County Health Center are passionate about educating each of the patients that visit our medical center in Atwood. Whatever health concern or emergency you’re having, you can count on our staff to provide you with a caring experience.

    How to Protect Your Heart

    Medical Center AtwoodStay Active

    For many people, getting and staying active comes down to not having the energy and lacking the motivation to start. These are big hurdles that will take a lot of mental strength to cross, but when the end goal is to improve the strength of your heart and your overall health, crossing the hurdles is a must. The key is to start out small — take the stairs at work, go on a short walk, swim a couple laps at a pool, or even doing some jumping jacks in your living room in the morning is enough to get your heart pumping. Over time, you can slowly build up the intensity of the activities.

    Getting in two and a half hours each week of moderate activity will help lower your blood pressure, keep your weight in control, and can lower your LDL cholesterol. You’ll also benefit by a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, reduced depression, and improved sleep. So however hard you struggle getting started, keep your focus on feeling and living better!

    Control Cholesterol by Eating Right

    The important thing about cholesterol is to keep a balance between the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL). To keep the bad cholesterol down, keep an eye on the amount of red meats you’re eating, choose low-fat dairy, and try to limit trans fats, such as margarine, doughnuts, sweets with cream or frosting, and fried foods. The good cholesterol (foods such as salmon, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, and beans) works to clean your arteries of the bad cholesterol. If you’re not sure what your cholesterol level is, schedule an appointment at our medical center for a quick test.

    Medical Center AtwoodManage Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, often doesn’t have any symptoms, and can be a serious problem for your heart. This is because there is a large amount of stress being put on your arteries, which is caused by various factors, including being overweight, too much salt in your diet, smoking, or stress. Manage your blood pressure by eating a balanced diet with minimal salt and alcohol, and start exercising regularly.

    Keep a Healthy Weight

    Weight management is a significant part of protecting your heart. Those who are overweight have a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot to get results. Losing just 3 to 5 percent of your body weight can help your heart.

    Getting and staying healthy is a journey, but one that ends with a healthier, stronger heart! The doctors at our medical center strongly believe that every ounce of effort is worth it. If you’re in need of medical attention or advice, visit Rawlins County Health Center today. Our medical center is located at the east corner of Atwood Lake off of Grant Street.

  4. Rawlins County Dental Clinic and Rawlins County Health Center receive Kansas Community-Based Primary Care Clinic Program

    Rawlins County Dental Clinic and Rawlins County Health Center have both been awarded a matching grant of $50,000 from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. This grant assists clinics with operating costs throughout the year. While Rawlins County Dental Clinic has received this award in years past, this is the first year that Rawlins County Health Center has applied and received the award.

     

    Per the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website, the Kansas Legislature appropriates state general funds to assist in the development and operation of clinics that focus on improving access to quality health care with an emphasis on community-based services and reducing health disparities for underserved populations. Grant funds are intended to make primary medical and dental care and preventive health care services accessible and affordable to underserved Kansas residents. The Community-Based Primary Care Clinic Program began in State Fiscal Year 1992 with 9 grantees receiving a total of $1,000,000 and has grown to now include 40 grantees receiving over $7,000,000.

     

    “Thank you, KDHE for believing in the future of our clinic and entrusting us to be good stewards of these funds! A huge thank you to our staff, who without your hard work and dedication none of this would be possible!” stated Deb Pochop, CEO Rawlins County Dental Clinic.

     

    “We are thrilled to join the Rawlins County Dental Clinic as recipients of this grant and are grateful for the financial support from KDHE. Thank you to all who were a part in making this grant a reality.” Sharon Cox, CEO Rawlins County Health Center

  5. Myofascial Release Therapy to Treat Trigger Points

    If you experience pain throughout your body that seems to stem from one area, you may be experiencing what are known as trigger points. A trigger point is a specific area within your myofascial tissue, often located in the back or the neck, that causes pain or discomfort which carries to different areas of your body. Since trigger points can cause chronic pain, it is important that they are treated through the use of myofascial release therapy. With manual massage techniques from trained physical therapists, myofascial release therapy can be very effective in treating tight spots, knots, or soreness throughout long bands of muscle tissue.

    Our goal at Rawlins County Health Center is to educate patients so that they may live a happier and healthier life. If you feel that you could benefit from myofascial release therapy, learn more by reading our article below. We’ll outline what myofascial pain is caused by, how myofascial release therapy works, and the easy techniques you can do at home to aid in myofascial release.

    How it Works

    Due to stress, injury, or overuse, muscles can begin to tighten and shorten, causing individuals a great deal of pain, discomfort, and loss of flexibility. According to the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists, “patients evaluated in one pain management center were found to have a myofascial component to their pain in 95% of cases.” Knowing this information, you can begin to see how common trigger point pain can be for individuals. Many people who experience myofascial and trigger point pain aren’t even aware that their muscle fibers are permanently contracted, which leads to muscle tension and tightness. The purpose of myofascial release therapy is to effectively return permanently contracted muscles to their relaxed state.   

    Self Myofascial Release at Home

    If you are unable to schedule a session with a massage therapist or physical therapist, myofascial release can be achieved at home with a little effort. To easily treat trigger points in the comfort of your own home, simply purchase a tennis ball or foam roller. Foam rollers are common tools that are used to break up tight muscle tissue, and can be found online or at major retail stores. After you’ve purchased your trigger point tool of choice, begin by laying on your back and placing your tennis ball or foam roller underneath you. Start by using your foam roller or tennis ball to slowly roll around sore spots on your back until you find a trigger point. You’ll know you’ve found a trigger point when rolling over an incredibly sore spot that causes pain and discomfort.

    If you are using a tennis ball to massage a trigger point, let the tennis ball rest on the trigger point until it begins to relax and give way to the tennis ball. After your trigger point has relaxed and loosened, begin using your body’s weight to leverage the tennis ball deeper into your muscle tissue. This will ensure that you are reaching the main source of your trigger point, and will help eliminate the root cause of pain altogether. Alternatively, if you’re using a foam roller, use your body’s weight to move the foam roller up and down your back. After you’ve found the sorest area affecting you most, begin slowly rolling up and down the muscle tissue. Although you may not be massaging the trigger point directly, you can effectively help the trigger point release by massaging the long muscle fibers which connect to your trigger point. This will cause your trigger point to relax, allowing myofascial release to occur naturally.

    With enough practice, you will begin to find your trigger points quickly and easily. Myofascial release therapy can alleviate most of the pain an individual is experiencing, improving their quality of life and muscular mobility. If you are a resident in Atwood or its surrounding areas and want to learn more about myofascial release therapy, get in touch with our friendly staff at Rawlins County Health Center! Our physical therapists are experienced in myofascial release therapy, and work with patients to ensure that they leave our facility with an increased range of motion while decreasing their overall level of pain. Contact Rawlins County Health Center to schedule your appointment today!

  6. Four Easy Stretches to Increase Your Range of Motion

    The importance of stretching to maintain flexibility and overall health is often understated. While many individuals attribute muscle soreness or tightness to old age or pre-existing injuries, the truth is, muscle tightness can easily be avoided with a few simple stretches during your morning routine. Not only will daily stretching aid in injury prevention, it will also help you increase your range of motion and overall level of flexibility.

    At Rawlins County Health Center, we’re dedicated to helping residents in Atwood, Kansas and the surrounding areas maintain an optimal level of health and wellness. Throughout this article, we’ll talk about four easy stretches you can implement into your morning routine to increase your range of motion and improve your quality of life. Through consistent stretching, you’ll begin to notice a decrease in injuries while introducing a sense of calm and wellbeing into your life.  

    Neck Stretch

    Do you experience general tightness or soreness throughout your neck upon waking? Does your job require you to look at a screen for an extended period of time? If so, an easy neck stretch can help loosen tight muscles that cause discomfort to your neck. While sitting in a comfortable position, gently bring your left ear to your left shoulder and hold the stretch for 20 seconds. This will effectively provide a deep stretch to the right side of your neck. Alternatively, to stretch the left side of your neck, bring your right ear to your right shoulder and hold for 20 seconds. While holding this stretch, you may feel your neck begin to loosen up. If possible, gently work the stretch deeper as your muscles loosen, but be mindful not to extend your stretch too far. While a deep stretch may feel very relaxing, it is important not to stretch past your body’s level of flexibility as injury may occur.

    Lying Spinal Twist

    If you sit for long periods of time, or wake up from an uncomfortable night of sleep with radiating back pain, the lying spinal twist will help relieve muscle tension and soreness felt throughout your back. The lying spinal twist is an easy, yet effective, stretch that requires little effort and provides excellent relief. While lying on your back on the ground, gently lift your right leg towards the ceiling and begin to let it fall slowly over your left side. While your right leg hangs over the left side of your body, slowly turn your head towards the right side. This will maximize the benefits of the lying spinal twist by deepening the stretch felt throughout the back while fully rotating and stretching your spine. Continue to slowly deepen the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds while your back muscles continue loosening. Slowly bring your right leg back towards the ceiling and then gently place it back on the ground. Repeat the same stretch with your left leg while turning your head towards your left side. The lying spinal twist will help stretch your lower back muscles while relieving sciatic pain caused by excessive sitting.

    Standing Forward Bend

    If you are susceptible to leg or back pain from extended periods of sitting, you could benefit from an easy standing forward bend. The standing forward bend is a simple stretch designed to increase your overall level of flexibility while deeply stretching your hamstrings and calves. Begin by standing with your feet at hip width and then slowly begin bending at the waist towards your toes. Let your upper body continue to hang while deepening your stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Be mindful to exhale while moving into your stretch, as this will make it easier to deepen your stretch naturally, reducing your risk of injury. After holding the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, begin slowly returning to a standing position so as not to cause a rush of lightheadedness from standing up too quickly. Repeat the standing forward bend for up to five repetitions while relaxing in between each stretch.

    Lying Chin Tuck

    If you suffer from forward head posture, you probably experience many aches and pains around your suboccipital muscles. Fortunately, by doing lying chin tucks daily, you can improve the strength of your neck while increasing your overall range of motion. Lying chin tucks help strengthen your front neck muscles, known as neck flexors, while also stretching your suboccipital muscles. To perform a lying chin tuck, begin by lying on the ground or in bed and gently lift your head while tucking your chin towards your chest. Hold this stretch for two to three seconds, then gently bring your head back to its resting position. If you aren’t used to this particular stretch, you may notice your neck begin to tremble. This is completely normal, and is due to your neck flexors not being used often enough. In simpler terms, a neck tremble simply indicates that you’re neck flexors are turning back on. Repeat the lying chin tuck for up to 10 repetitions, and then rest. With consistent stretching, lying chin tucks will help increase neck strength while improving your neck’s range of motion.

    Are you located in Atwood, Kansas or its surrounding areas and are in need of quality care? Visit our friendly staff at Rawlins County Health Center! We provide a wide variety of services to our patients such as physical therapy, emergency care at our 24-hour emergency room, and so much more. To learn more about our full list of services we provide, contact Rawlins County Health Center today!

  7. The Many Benefits of Massage Therapy

    Tension, stress, and chronic pain are all unavoidable aspects of life. While pain may come and go, the underlying effects that pain creates can branch out into different aspects of your day-to-day activities, decreasing your overall quality of life. However, through the use of massage therapy, patients can find pain relief and a release of stress to improve their well being. Many studies continue to confirm the effectiveness of massage therapy and the lasting benefits it provides patients.

    According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, countless studies have been conducted which have shown positive results in reducing stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and depression through the use of massage therapy. While many individuals can benefit greatly from massage therapy, there are various massage therapy techniques which are applied on a patient-specific basis. In this article, we’ll outline just a few of the effective massage techniques that can aid in the breakdown of injured muscle tissue while reducing the amount of soreness and tension felt throughout the body. If you feel that massage therapy is right for you, contact Rawlins County Health Center to get in touch with our staff of highly qualified physical therapists.

    Swedish Massage

    If you frequently suffer from joint pain and general tightness,a Swedish Massage could significantly reduce your level of pain and inflammation. Swedish massage has been shown to increase blood circulation and flexibility while reducing stress and muscle tension. A recent study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the David Geffen School of Medicine showed just how effective Swedish Massage can be in helping treat inflammation. According to the study, “participants who received Swedish massage had a significant decrease in the hormone arginine-vasopressin (which plays a role in regulating blood pressure and water retention) compared with those who were treated with light touch.” For this reason, Swedish massage is an excellent choice for patients seeking to reduce tissue inflammation or muscle soreness.

    Deep Tissue Massage

    Do you experience an incredible level of muscle tightness that refuses to relax or loosen? If so, deep tissue massage could be the perfect massage therapy technique for you. A masseuse utilizing the deep tissue massage technique leverages their weight to press deeply into the affected muscle areas, breaking up the tightest muscles or knots you may be experiencing. Since your muscles are composed of several layers that need to be broken up one layer at a time, there will be several stages during your massage where you will experience an increase in massage pressure. As your muscle tissue breaks down, your masseuse will continue to work deeper into the areas that are affecting you most, so that the source of your pain is effectively located and eliminated. Patients should consider deep tissue massage as an effective complementary treatment if they experience severe muscular tightness that affects how they conduct their daily activities.

    Trigger Point Massage

    Myofascial pain can be incredibly uncomfortable, causing soreness to radiate throughout your body, which often makes locating your source of pain complicated. Myofascial trigger points react intensely to pressure, and require slow therapeutic massage to release muscle tension. A simple method of at-home trigger point massage therapy involves your body weight and a tennis ball. To easily find a trigger point, begin by laying on the ground and placing the tennis ball underneath your back. Start by slowly using your body weight to roll the tennis ball around sore or tender areas of your back. Once you’ve located one of your body’s trigger points, keep the tennis ball resting directly underneath the affected area. After some time, you will feel your trigger point begin to relax and give way to the tennis ball. At this point, you can use your own body weight to increase the amount of pressure applied to your trigger point which will help reach the deepest areas of pain.

    Are you a current resident in Atwood, Kansas or its surrounding areas and are looking for an experienced staff of care providers? Visit Rawlins County Health Center’s state-of-the-art facility! We offer an extensive lineup of services to our patients like cardiac wellness programs, physical therapy sessions, wound care, and much more. To learn more about all that Rawlins County Health Center has to offer its patients, contact us today!

  8. RCHC’s Kyle Herspring, PA-C Signs New 3-Year Contract

    Rawlins Logo

    RAWLINS COUNTY HEALTH CENTER, KYLE HERSPRING, PA-C SIGNS NEW 3-YEAR CONTRACT

    Kyle and SharonATWOOD, KANSAS (August 24) –Rawlins County Health Center in Atwood, Kansas, has signed a new three-year contract with Kyle Herspring, Certified Physician Assistant.

    Kyle joined the Rawlins County Health Center staff in November 2013. Kyle was instrumental in getting the Wound Care Program started, and has been working with implementation of electronic medical records in the hospital and clinic. Kyle also works in close collaboration with the Specialty Clinic physicians. 

    “We are excited that Kyle has signed for three more years with RCHC!” said Sharon K. Cox, CEO. “Both Kyle and RCHC have a shared passion and commitment to providing the highest quality of care and delivering optimal health value to those we serve. This enables us to continue our legacy of healthcare and sustains our services for the future.”

    Kyle was also instrumental in starting the Wichita State Clinical Program, which helped bring Allie Keller, PA-C to Rawlins County Health Center. Allie will begin her practice in September/October 2016.

    “It’s been a privilege to serve RCHC and the surrounding communities,” Herspring said. “My family and I are extremely blessed here and look forward to keeping Atwood our home.”

    If you would like to schedule an appointment with Kyle, call the Rawlins Clinic 785-626-3241.

    Rawlins County Health Center, a critical access hospital, has served Rawlins County since 1950.

    About Rawlins County Health Center

    The role and Mission of Rawlins County Health Center is to improve the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities it serves. Located in Atwood, Kansas, this 24-bed critical access hospital services the community through cardiac rehabilitation, diabetic services, laboratory, outpatient surgery, physical therapy, wound care, x-ray, stress testing, MRI, bone density, mammography, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and CAT scan. Its specialty clinics include cardiology, general surgery, orthopedics and mental health services. Rawlins County Health Center is committed to setting the standard for patient-centered quality healthcare. For more information, please visit www.rchc.us/.

    Contact: Suzanna Dozbaba | Marketing Manager | 785-626-3211 ext. 220 (desk) | 785-626-2228 (cell) | sdozbaba@rchc.us