Youth sports set to begin, but are their bodies?

Southern Oregon is finally starting to see news about prep sports, now that schools have been given the green light, and kids are more than ready to get out there!  Paragon Orthopedic Center would like you to keep in mind that after months of being fairly sedentary, their muscles and joints might not be as ready to go full tilt.  Dr. Rob Bents put together a video to show a training program for reducing ACL injuries, specifically aimed at girls, since they are structurally more prone to them.  All girls should be doing ACL warm-ups before practices and games, but it’s especially important now, as coaches put instant demands on their bodies to compete.  Dr. Bents went through the trouble to make the video because he feels strongly that this program works to keep girls playing and he would rather not see the season cut short over an injury that might have been prevented.  Here is the link for this short video that could save your young athlete a heartbreaking injury:

What Does Herd Immunity Mean?

With the prospects of being immunized for Covid-19 increasing as the doses become more available, the news is reporting how we need higher numbers of vaccinated people to achieve herd immunity.  NPR has a great graphic using fictitious viral scenarios that can be set in motion to help you understand exactly why herd immunity is a very good thing.  (They don’t use Covid-19 specifically because there are too many unknowns, but it is applicable data.)  The bottom line:  the faster we have everyone protected by a vaccine, the better.  Learn the details here:

Are Your Hands Hurting?

With so many people working from home on their computers due to Covid shutdowns, some people are experiencing hand pain after typing more hours than usual.  Have you wondered if you have carpal tunnel syndrome?  Do you know what is done for carpal tunnel syndrome?  Paragon Orthopedic Center has a variety of educational videos on its website and one of them addresses carpal tunnel syndrome.  It goes over typical symptoms, many of the causes, and how it can be treated.  Dr. Rob Bents does this procedure frequently and his patients are amazed at how the procedure leaves them pain-free afterward.  This is a procedure that Dr. Bents can do at the surgery center instead of the hospital, which can save you hundreds of dollars.  We recently covered the advantages of surgery centers, so check out that blog from last week if you missed it.  Here is the link for the carpal tunnel video:

Paragon Press February Newsletter

mRNA and Why You Need To Know What It Is
If you are reading about the Covid-19 vaccines our nation is rolling out, then maybe you saw something about mRNA.  The two vaccines offered throughout the U.S. have been made using mRNA instead of a weakened version of the virus, which is used for annual flu vaccines.  Right away, you can be assured you cannot get Covid-19 from the vaccines, since they do not use the virus itself.  Paragon Orthopedic Center wants to help you understand the mRNA technology because there is a lot of misinformation being spread about these vaccines that is resulting in unnecessary fear.

What is mRNA?
mRNA, or messenger RNA, is part of the DNA in our genes. It provides the genetic code, or the instructions, to outside the nucleus of the cell. It helps the cell carry out its designated function.

How does mRNA work in the Covid-19 vaccine?
The mRNA created by the vaccine makers tells our cells to create a harmless “spike protein.”  That spike protein, which is the same as the spike protein on Covid-19 cells, is recognized in the body as foreign and produces a response to create antibodies for a cellular immune reaction.  This is what would happen if your body was infected with the Covid virus, except with the vaccine, you don’t have all of the flu symptoms.  If your body encounters the same spike protein of Covid-19 after having the vaccine, your body already has produced immunity to it.  Your cells will destroy the virus and you will not have any of the aches, fevers, cough, fatigue, headache, loss of smell, or any other symptoms of this illness.

Can it change my DNA?
No. The mRNA that makes the spike protein never enters the cell’s nucleus, which is where our genetic material (DNA) is.

What is unknown?
Researchers do not know how long immunity lasts, either after having Covid-19 (natural immunity) or having the vaccine.  Researchers are keeping track and watching this closely.  They also don’t know if you can still infect others after having the vaccine.  What does this mean to you after you have the vaccine or a case of Covid?  For now, it means you should still wear your mask and physically distance yourself from others as you did before you were ill or vaccinated.

Do I have options for the vaccine and are there alternatives to the mRNA vaccine?
There are two mRNA vaccines authorized for use in the United States as of today: Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.  Because there are not a lot of these vaccines available, you don’t have a choice between the two right now.  Both have similar efficacy and require two doses, but one you wait 3 weeks between doses and the other you wait 4 weeks.  For an alternative to the mRNA vaccines, there are two hybrid vaccines using adenoviruses to fight the Covid-19 virus instead of mRNA that are still awaiting approval.  They work similarly to the annual flu vaccine, and use a weakened form of a chimpanzee common cold adenovirus.

Can Vitamin D help protect me?
There is some evidence that says Vitamin D might help.  People who take Vitamin D are less likely to develop acute respiratory tract infections, so it might increase your body’s natural defenses.  It also might help prevent an exaggerated inflammatory response, which happens in some Covid-19 cases.  Studies are ongoing.  Our bodies naturally make Vitamin D when exposed to sunshine, and 5 to 10 minutes a day of sun exposure to the arms, legs, or back will provide enough for your body to make the daily Vitamin D you need.  Foods high in Vitamin D are: egg yolks, fatty fish, supplemented foods like milk products and cereals, and cheese.  A supplement that provides up to 1,000-2,000 IU of Vitamin D is likely safe for most adults each day.

What can I do to keep my immune system strong?

  • Drink alcohol only in moderation (no more than one/day for women, no more than two/day for men).
  • Don’t smoke or vape and if you do, quit as soon as possible.
  • Eat a healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Take Vitamin D if you don’t believe you are getting enough from sun exposure or through your diet.
  • Exercise regularly and get some walking in every day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Monitor your stress level and employ techniques that work for you to keep it low.
  • Control your blood pressure if you know yours is high.
  • Make efforts to minimize your exposure to germs using hand sanitizer, hand washing, and keeping your hands away from your face.
  • Get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

The following articles were referenced for this newsletter:

Love Is In The Air…

With love in the minds of many this month, do you love your bones?  Let Paragon Orthopedic Center give you reasons why you should.  It’s a long-term commitment with only a few demands.  The primary reason you should love your bones?  To decrease your risk of osteoporosis.  You might be thinking that your bones are fine without the love, but paying attention to your bone health now can pay off in later years.  Paragon Orthopedics sees people from around the Rogue Valley with back pain, stooped posture,  loss of height, and fractures that could’ve been prevented if the patient only had developed stronger bones.  Sometimes those fractures lead to permanent disability, a poor quality of life, and even death.  Primarily, you should be making sure you get enough bone-building calcium every day, maintain a healthy body weight for your height, get exercise, and stop smoking/drinking excessively.  Need more details?  Check out this article:

Osteoporosis: Love Your Bones and They’ll Love You Back

Avoiding An Injury When It’s Icy

The temperature in Southern Oregon has been dipping down to freezing lately, which in some areas has left icy spots on asphalt and concrete.  Do you know the best ways to walk on ice?  Did you know you should have a plan?  Of course the best plan is not to go out if you don’t have to, but if you do, here are some tips:

  • Wear proper shoes, preferably ones with traction.
  • Be very aware of every step, watching where you place your foot and looking out for black ice.
  • Take small steps or even shuffle as you go.
  • Have in your mind ahead of time how you will fall.  You want to avoid using your hands and risking wrist injuries.  Falling on your elbows is better because the bones in that area are not as fragile.  Wrist injuries are the most common in falls on ice.
  • Bending your knees and falling on your side is optimal.  Tuck your head if you can to avoid a concussion.

All of these might be difficult to do in the moment, which is why you have to think about them BEFORE you fall.  Again, staying inside is your best bet if it’s icy, but if you do fall and need help, call Paragon Orthopedic Center for the best bone care in the Rogue Valley!  (541)472-0603

For more information and a list of the most common injuries from falling on ice, read this article:

Falling on Ice: Orthopaedic Injuries and Prevention

Got Shoulder Pain?

Spring in the Rogue Valley invites us to get outdoors and tackle projects that the winter weather kept us from doing.  We have had some pretty nice days and if you have started in on these projects, maybe you’ve taxed your shoulder and are experiencing pain.  Or maybe you’ve started new exercises that have left your shoulder aching.  Have you wanted answers to your questions but don’t think it’s time for an appointment at Paragon Orthopedics yet?  Did you know Paragon Orthopedics has a web page with many educational articles and videos that go through common shoulder issues?  The videos can be very helpful with their visuals.  Below is a link to that page where you can scan many shoulder problems and maybe find answers to some of your questions.  Scroll down to the “Shoulder” heading.  Always feel free to call our staff at Paragon and talk through your concerns.  We are there to help you with all of your orthopedic needs Southern Oregon!  (541)472-0603

Know CPR: Save A Life In Two Steps

To continue with the heart awareness theme in the month of February, Paragon Orthopedic Center would like to remind you that CPR for the general public has changed to hands-only, or compressions without the mouth-to-mouth breathing.  Our blog discussed matters of the heart on the first of the month, so be sure to check that one out if you missed it.  Here is an article from the American Heart Association that gives more details about CPR.  Learn about two step CPR, how children can do CPR, the gender differences, cardiac arrest VS. heart attack, and how to find a CPR course near you.

Grants Pass Surgery Center Is An Asset To Southern Oregon And You

The newspaper has reported that the local hospitals are full, which has impacted orthopedic surgeries.  If there aren’t any beds, the surgeons cannot do their surgeries because there is nowhere to put the patient when the surgery is done.  While the hospital cancelled surgeries that Dr. Bents and Dr. Van Horne have wanted to do, the Grants Pass Surgery Center has had its doors open and many of the surgeries that would have been cancelled have been successfully done there.  Did you know there are many advantages to having a surgery done at a surgery center and that you have a choice?  Surgery centers can be a cheaper option with less risks.  Here are some of the advantages:

  • Safety:  The CDC states that surgery centers are safer and have less incidences of infections compared to hospitals.
  • Lower cost: Your surgery could be 45-60% less at a surgery center because the smaller scale enables them to keep costs much lower than a large, less efficient hospital.  The staff are still credentialed the same, providing the same care you would get at a hospital, just without all the fees and overhead.
  • Reduced stress: Surgery centers allow you to go home, where you can be more comfortable, versus the unfamiliarity of the hospital and its routines.  The smaller setting also allows for the staff to know you better, providing security and comfort.
  • Convenience and time:  You can usually schedule a surgery at a surgery center sooner than at a hospital.  It has been shown that surgery centers take 26% less time than the same procedure done at a hospital.  These centers are more efficient than a large hospital can be.

Here is a an article that has data for the statistics mentioned and more details about the advantages to surgery centers.  Paragon Orthopedic Center wants you accommodate you.  Ask Dr. Bents or Dr. Van Horne about whether the Grants Pass Surgery Center is an option for you.


February is National Heart Awareness Month and Here Is What You Can Do!

The American Heart Association brings awareness to heart issues every February and Paragon Orthopedic Center would like to increase your awareness of hypertension.  What is that you ask?  It’s the medical term for high blood pressure.  Extra points for you if you knew that!  Did you know hypertension increases the risk for heart attacks and strokes?  And did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in our nation according to the CDC?  Here are some more facts that you might find surprising:

  • You don’t have to be old to have this problem: nearly one in four adults between the ages of 20-44 has high blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure usually does not have symptoms.
  • One in three people don’t know they have hypertension.
  • Women and African Americans are at higher risk for it.
  • You are at higher risk of developing dementia if you have hypertension.

If you would like to read the details about these 5 facts from the CDC, click on the link below.  We hope you’ve joined us in the Wall Street Journal step challenge to get healthier.  It could also help your blood pressure if you join us to get more in shape.  Check our blog from January 21st if you’re interested in joining.  It’s not too late, requires no equipment or money, and takes only minutes.  No excuses Southern Oregon!  Better health equals a better, happier life!