Our Family Practice Physicians provide primary care to all family members regardless of age or gender and serve as the frontline defense in the prevention, assessment and treatment of non-acute illnesses. In essence, they are the “gatekeepers” of your family’s medical history and treatment. While our doctors will sometimes refer their patients to specialists, if necessary, they continue to coordinate treatment in order to ensure that the patient receives a total continuum of care.
A routine physical exam is a key component of maintaining good health. Your doctor will use your preventative health exam to keep you up to date on vaccinations, ensure all your systems are functioning optimally, and catch any health issues as they arise.
You know your pain better than anyone. And as hard as it’s been to handle it, your experience holds the key to making a plan to treat it. Each person and their pain are unique. The best way to manage your case could be very different from what works for someone else. Your treatment will depend upon things such as:
- The cause
- How intense it is
- How long it’s lasted
- What makes it worse or better
Be sure to share that information with any health professional you work with. It will help them find the right solutions for you. It can be a process to find your best plan. You can try a combination of things and then report back to your doctor about how your pain is doing. Together, you can tweak your program based on what’s working and what needs more help.
All Pain Is Not the Same
In order to make your pain management plan, your doctor will first find out whether you have sudden (“acute”) or long-term (“chronic”) pain.
Acute pain starts suddenly and usually feels sharp. Broken bones, burns, or cuts are classic examples. So is pain after giving birth or surgery. Acute pain may be mild and last just a moment. Or it may be severe and last for weeks or months. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than 6 months, and it stops when its underlying cause has been treated or has healed.
If the problem that causes short-term pain isn’t treated, it may lead to long-term, or “chronic” pain.
Chronic pain lasts longer than 6 months, often despite the fact that an injury has healed. It could even last for years. Some examples include:
- Low back pain
- Cancer pain
- Arthritis pain
- Pain caused by nerve damage
It can cause tense muscles, problems with moving, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite. It can also affect your emotions. Some people feel depressed, angry, or anxious about the pain and injury coming back. Chronic pain doesn’t always have an obvious physical cause.
Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They’re normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease. Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. And others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment. Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infections may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization. Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from most infectious diseases.
Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms. General signs and symptoms common to a number of infectious diseases include:
- Muscle aches
Seek medical attention if you:
- Have been bitten by an animal
- Are having trouble breathing
- Have been coughing for more than a week
- Have severe headache with fever
- Experience a rash or swelling
- Have unexplained or prolonged fever
- Have sudden vision problems
Infectious diseases can be caused by:
- Bacteria. These one-cell organisms are responsible for illnesses such as strep throat, urinary tract infections and tuberculosis.
- Viruses. Even smaller than bacteria, viruses cause a multitude of diseases — ranging from the common cold to AIDS.
- Fungi. Many skin diseases, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot, are caused by fungi. Other types of fungi can infect your lungs or nervous system.
- Parasites. Malaria is caused by a tiny parasite that is transmitted by a mosquito bite. Other parasites may be transmitted to humans from animal feces.
An easy way to catch most infectious diseases is by coming in contact with a person or animal who has the infection. Three ways infectious diseases can be spread through direct contact are:
- Person to person. A common way for infectious diseases to spread is through the direct transfer of bacteria, viruses or other germs from one person to another. This can occur when an individual with the bacterium or virus touches, kisses, or coughs or sneezes on someone who isn’t infected.
These germs can also spread through the exchange of body fluids from sexual contact. The person who passes the germ may have no symptoms of the disease, but may simply be a carrier.
- Animal to person. Being bitten or scratched by an infected animal — even a pet — can make you sick and, in extreme circumstances, can be fatal. Handling animal waste can be hazardous, too. For example, you can acquire a toxoplasmosis infection by scooping your cat’s litter box.
- Mother to unborn child. A pregnant woman may pass germs that cause infectious diseases to her unborn baby. Some germs can pass through the placenta. Germs in the vagina can be transmitted to the baby during birth.
Disease-causing organisms also can be passed by indirect contact. Many germs can linger on an inanimate object, such as a tabletop, doorknob or faucet handle.
When you touch a doorknob handled by someone ill with the flu or a cold, for example, you can pick up the germs he or she left behind. If you then touch your eyes, mouth or nose before washing your hands, you may become infected.
Some germs rely on insect carriers — such as mosquitoes, fleas, lice or ticks — to move from host to host. These carriers are known as vectors. Mosquitoes can carry the malaria parasite or West Nile virus, and deer ticks may carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Another way disease-causing germs can infect you is through contaminated food and water. This mechanism of transmission allows germs to be spread to many people through a single source. E. coli, for example, is a bacterium present in or on certain foods — such as undercooked hamburger or unpasteurized fruit juice.
While anyone can catch infectious diseases, you may be more likely to get sick if your immune system isn’t working properly. This may occur if:
- You’re taking steroids or other medications that suppress your immune system, such as anti-rejection drugs for a transplanted organ
- You have HIV or AIDS
- You have certain types of cancer or other disorders that affect your immune system
- In addition, certain other medical conditions may predispose you to infection, including implanted medical devices, malnutrition and extremes of age, among others.
Most infectious diseases have only minor complications. But some infections — such as pneumonia, AIDS and meningitis — can become life-threatening. A few types of infections have been linked to a long-term increased risk of cancer:
- Human papillomavirus is linked to cervical cancer
- Helicobacter pylori is linked to stomach cancer and peptic ulcers
- Hepatitis B and C have been linked to liver cancer
In addition, some infectious diseases may become silent, only to appear again in the future — sometimes even decades later. For example, someone who’s had a chickenpox infection may develop shingles much later in life.
Infectious agents can enter your body through:
- Skin contact or injuries
- Inhalation of airborne germs
- Ingestion of contaminated food or water
- Tick or mosquito bites
- Sexual contact
Follow these tips to decrease your risk of infecting yourself or others:
- Wash your hands. This is especially important before and after preparing food, before eating, and after using the toilet. And try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands, as that’s a common way germs enter the body.
- Get vaccinated. Immunization can drastically reduce your chances of contracting many diseases. Make sure to keep up to date on your recommended vaccinations, as well as your children’s.
- Stay home when ill. Don’t go to work if you are vomiting, have diarrhea or have a fever. Don’t send your child to school if he or she has these signs and symptoms, either.
- Prepare food safely. Keep counters and other kitchen surfaces clean when preparing meals. Cook foods to the proper temperature using a food thermometer to check for doneness. For ground meats, that means at least 160 F (71 C); for poultry, 165 F (74 C); and for most other meat, at least 145 F (63 C).
In addition, promptly refrigerate leftovers — don’t let cooked foods remain at room temperature for extended periods of time.
- Practice safe sex. Always use condoms if you or your partner has a history of sexually transmitted infections or high-risk behavior.
- Don’t share personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb and razor. Avoid sharing drinking glasses or dining utensils.
- Travel wisely. If you’re traveling out of the country, talk to your doctor about any special vaccinations — such as yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis A or B, or typhoid fever — you may need.
Your healthcare provider can discuss a nutrition wellness plan that’s tailored to your body’s unique needs.
Your healthcare provider aims to encourage, support, and nurture your overall health and wellbeing as part of a means to prevent or reduce the impact of disease.
Chronic or acute pain can impact every area of your life. Our team will work with you to sort out the root causes of pain, uncover underlying issues, and work towards pain reduction or relief.
Skin and Soft Tissue Injury
A Soft tissue injury (STI) is the damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the body. Common soft tissue injuries usually occur from a sprain, strain, a one off blow resulting in a contusion or overuse of a particular part of the body. Soft tissue injuries can result in pain, swelling, bruising and loss of function, and often result from injuries sustained during activities such as sports.
A sprain is a type of acute injury which results from the stretching or tearing of a ligament. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the movement on the joint can be compromised since ligaments aid in the stability and support of joints. Sprains are commonly seen in vulnerable areas such as the wrists, knees, and ankles. They can occur from movements such as falling on an outstretched hand, or a twisting of the ankle or foot.
The severity of a sprain can also be classified:
- Grade 1: Only some of the fibers in the ligament are torn, and the injured site is moderately painful and swollen. Function in the joint will be unaffected for the most part.
- Grade 2: Many of the ligament fibers are torn, and pain and swelling is moderate. The functionality of the joint is compromised.
- Grade 3: The soft tissue is completely torn, and functionality and strength on the joint is completely compromised. In most cases, surgery is needed to repair the damage.
A strain is a type of acute injury that occurs to the muscle or tendon. Similar to sprains, it can vary in severity, from a stretching of the muscle or tendon to a complete tear of the tendon from the muscle. Some of the most common places that strains occur are in the foot, back of the leg (hamstring), or back.
A contusion is the discoloration of the skin, which results from underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue being crushed. This can happen in a variety of ways such as a direct blow to the skin, or a fall taken against a hard surface. The discoloration in the skin is present when blood begins to pool around the injury.
Tendinitis is a type of overuse injury to the tendons, which demonstrates signs of inflammation of tendons around a joint. Tendinitis is the most common cause of shoulder pain. Tendinitis occurs when there is repetitive stress on the subacromial bursa, which causes the bones to make contact with the tendons and irritate them.
Commonly Injured Tissues
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (Knee), Medial Collateral Ligament (Knee), Ulnar Collateral
Ligaments (Wrist/Hand), Interspinous Ligaments (Vertebrae)Muscles
- Biceps Brachii (Upper Arm), Rectus Femoris (Thigh), Transverse Abdominus (Abdominals)
Patellar Tendon (Knee), Calacaneal/Achilles Tendon (Foot/Lower Leg), Biceps Tendon (Shoulder/Elbow)
Brachial Plexus (Shoulder), Ulnar Nerve (Elbow/Hand), Peroneal Nerve (Ankle/Foot), Cranial Nerves I-XII(Head)
Femur (Leg), Humerus (Arm), Ribs (Torso), Metatarsals I-VI (Foot), Metacarpals I-VI (Hand)
Menisci (Knee), Intervertebral discs (Spine), Acetabulum (Hip)
R.I.C.E Method: (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
The RICE method is an effective procedure used in the initial treatment of a soft tissue injury.
Rest: It is suggested that you take a break from the activity that caused the injury in order to give the injury time to heal.
Ice: The injury should be iced on and off in 20 minute intervals, avoiding direct contact of the ice with the skin.
Compression: Bandaging the injury will compress it, and prevent any further bleeding or swelling from occurring.
Elevation: Elevating the injury above the heart while resting will aid in the reduction of swelling.
No H.A.R.M Protocol: (Heat, Alcohol, Re-injury, Massage)
This method should be used within the first 48–72 hours after the injury in order to speed up the recovery process.
Heat: Applying heat to the injured area can cause blood flow and swelling to increase.
Alcohol: Alcohol can inhibit your ability to feel if your injury is becoming more aggravated, as well as increase blood flow and swelling.
Re-injury: Avoid any activities that could aggravate the injury and cause further damage.
Massage: Massaging an injured area can promote blood flow and swelling, and ultimately do more damage if done too early.
Source: Wikipedia® website
Our team can support your journey to a healthy body using strategies that are safe, effective, and designed especially for your body’s needs.
Well Child Care
A child’s growth and development proceed at a rapid pace during the early years of life. Regular doctor visits allow you to discuss question, concerns, developmental milestones, and strategies for healthy living.
Our women’s healthcare team focuses on each patient’s overall physical and emotional health. Our doctors diagnose and treat conditions affecting the female reproductive organs, and also support overall health concerns.
While most wounds heal easily, some wounds require ongoing, nuanced care. Our wound care team will guide you through the healing process and craft a wound care protocol specific to your needs.