Lower Back Stretches to Reduce Pain

Lower back pain can be a debilitating and painful condition. Believe it or not, staying physically active may be the most effective way to soothe or prevent it. Here are some simple stretches you can do to help ease your pain — and if you need a customized routine and personalized care to increase your mobility and reduce your pain and discomfort, we have 101 tools at our disposal to help. You do not have to accept that living with the pain is your “new normal.”

In some cases, it might be a symptom of an underlying condition, like kidney stones or acute pancreatitis. Other times, it’s simply a side effect of a sedentary lifestyle or repetitive motions.

While stretching isn’t a remedy for all lower back pain, in many instances, it can provide relief. If you’ve been living with some mild discomfort or stiffness, these seven stretches may help reduce the pain and strengthen the muscles in your lower back.

First, a few quick tips

Stretch your lower back with safety and care. Be especially gentle and cautious if you have any type of injury or health concern. It’s best to talk with your doctor first before starting any new types of exercise.

You can do these stretches once or twice a day. But if the pain seems to get worse, or you’re feeling very sore, take a day off from stretching.

As you go through these stretches, take your time and pay close attention to your breathing. Use your breath as a guide to make sure you don’t strain or overdo it. You should be able to breathe comfortably and smoothly throughout each pose or stretch.

1. Child’s Pose

This traditional yoga pose gently stretches your gluteus maximus, thigh muscles, and spinal extensors. It helps relieve pain and tension all along your spine, neck, and shoulders.

Its relaxing effect on your body also helps loosen up tight lower back muscles, promoting flexibility and blood circulation along the spine.

To do Child’s Pose, follow these steps:

  1. With your hands and knees on the ground, sink back through your hips to rest them on your heels.
  2. Hinge at your hips as you fold forward, walking your hands out in front of you.
  3. Rest your belly on your thighs.
  4. Extend your arms in front of or alongside your body with your palms facing up.
  5. Focus on breathing deeply and relaxing any areas of tension or tightness.
  6. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.

You can do this pose several times during your stretching routine. Feel free to do it between each of the other stretches you do.

If you feel like you need some extra support, you can place a rolled-up towel on top of or underneath your thighs.

If it’s more comfortable, widen your knees and rest your forehead on a cushion.

2. Knee-to-chest stretch

This stretch relaxes your hips, thighs, and glutes while promoting overall relaxation.

To do a knee-to-chest stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your left knee bent or extend it straight out along the floor.
  3. Draw your right knee into your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone.
  4. Lengthen your spine all the way down to your tailbone, and avoid lifting your hips.
  5. Breathe deeply, releasing any tension.
  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Repeat with the other leg.

Place a cushion under your head for extra padding. You can also wrap a towel around your leg if it’s hard for your arms to reach.

To deepen the stretch, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head up toward your knee.

3. Piriformis stretch

This stretch works your piriformis muscle, which is found deep in your buttocks. Stretching this muscle may help relieve pain and tightness in your buttocks and lower back.

To do a piriformis stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right ankle at the base of your left thigh.
  3. Then, place your hands behind your left thigh and pull up toward your chest until you feel a stretch.
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Then do the opposite side.

To make the stretch more comfortable, keep your bottom foot planted on the floor. Rest your head on a cushion for support.

4. Seated spinal twist

This classic twist stretches your hips, glutes, and back. It increases mobility in your spine and stretches your abdominals, shoulders, and neck. The pressure of this stretch also stimulates your internal organs.

To do a seated spinal twist, follow these steps:

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front.
  2. Bend your left knee and place your foot to the outside of your right thigh.
  3. Place your right arm on the outside of your left thigh.
  4. Place your left hand behind you for support.
  5. Starting at the base of your spine, twist to the left side.
  6. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

To make this pose more comfortable, keep both legs straight.

For an extra stretch, add in neck rotations during this pose by inhaling to look forward and exhaling to turn your gaze backward. Do 5 to 10 on each side.

5. Pelvic tilt

Pelvic tilts build strength in your abdominal muscles, which helps relieve pain and tightness in your lower back. They also have a beneficial effect on your glutes and hamstrings.

To do a pelvic tilt, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles as you flatten your back against the floor.
  3. Breathe normally, holding this position for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Release and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  5. Do 1 to 3 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions.

6. Cat-Cow

Cat-Cow is a great way to wake up your spine while also stretching your shoulders, neck, and chest.

To do Cat-Cow, follow these steps:

  1. Come onto all fours in a tabletop position (hands and knees on the ground).
  2. Press into your hands and feet as you inhale to look up, allowing your belly to fill with air.
  3. Exhale, tucking your chin into your chest and arching your spine toward the ceiling.
  4. Continue this pattern of movement, moving with each breath.
  5. Do this for 1 to 2 minutes.

If you have wrist concerns, place your hands slightly forward instead of directly under your shoulders. If you have any knee concerns, place a cushion under them for padding and support.

For deeper holds, simply remain in each position for 5 to 20 seconds at a time instead of moving with each breath.

7. Sphinx stretch

The sphinx stretch is a gentle backbend that allows you to be both active and relaxed. This baby backbend stretches and strengthens your spine, buttocks, and chest.

To do the sphinx stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your elbows underneath your shoulders and your hands extended in front, palms facing down.
  2. Set your feet slightly apart. It’s OK for your big toes to touch.
  3. Gently engage your lower back, buttocks, and thighs as you lift your head and chest.
  4. Stay strong in your lower back and abdominals, breathing deeply.
  5. Press your pelvis into the floor.
  6. Gaze straight ahead or gently close your eyes.
  7. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

You use your lower back for a lot of things, from walking and running to simply getting out of bed in the morning. Regular stretching is a great way to create and keep flexibility, relieve tension, and help build strength.

We work hard to get you living at your Peak Potential. Count on our expertise and compassionate work to help you achieve your goals. Book an appointment today at 901.316.5456 or find us on our Facebook page.

Reference: [https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-back-stretches]

Living with Arthritis

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. There are many ways you can ease the pain, and physical therapy is the most effective. Along with our expert care and assistance, you can also improve on some aspects of your daily routine to help you with the pain and discomfort. Learn more below.

In the United States, arthritis affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related diseases. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative disease that wears away the cushioning between the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Another common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints and other parts of the body, causing uncontrolled inflammation.

Arthritis of any type can cause pain and result in lasting damage to the joints. In this article, we outline some of the most effective home remedies for slowing disease progression and treating the symptoms of arthritis.

1. Aquatic exercises

Aquatic exercise can relieve pressure on the joints while providing a workout.

Aquatic exercises can be beneficial for people with arthritis. Water provides resistance, which helps increase exercise intensity.

At the same time, the buoyancy that the water provides helps support body weight, relieving pressure on the joints.

A 2015 scientific review found that older adults with osteoarthritis who participated in an aquatic exercise program experienced the following benefits:

  • reduced body fat
  • improved coordination
  • improved range of motion
  • improved mood and quality of life

The participants also experienced a reduction in arthritis pain, although this was often short-term.

For ongoing pain relief, the researchers support current recommendations to perform 40–60 minutes of aquatic exercise three times a week.

2. Weight loss

According to the Arthritis Foundation, each pound (lb) of body weight equates to 3 lb of added stress on the knees and 6 lb of added pressure on the hip joints.

This increased pressure causes the cartilage between the joints to break down more quickly, worsening osteoarthritis.

Losing weight can ease pressure on the joints, reducing pain and stiffness.

Tap into powerful articles on managing psoriatic arthritis, backed by a community that understands you.

3. Tai chi

Tai chi is a low-impact exercise that incorporates slow and gentle movements to increase flexibility, muscle strength, and balance.

In 2013, researchers conducted a review of seven studies that investigated the effectiveness of tai chi for improving arthritis symptoms.

The authors concluded that a 12-week course of tai chi was beneficial for reducing pain and stiffness and increasing physical function in participants with osteoarthritis.

4. Yoga

Iyengar yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on correct anatomical alignment and uses props to support the body and relieve tension and inflammation.

A 2013 study investigated the effectiveness of a 6-week Iyengar yoga program for young women with RA.

Researchers divided the 26 participants into two groups: 11 participated in two 1.5-hour yoga classes for 6 weeks, while the remaining 15 did not take part in any yoga classes.

In comparison with the control group, the participants who did yoga reported significant improvements in health, mood, quality of life, and the ability to cope with chronic pain.

5. Hot and cold therapy

Heat and cold treatments are two different but effective methods for reducing arthritis pain.

Heat therapy boosts circulation and can soothe stiff joints and aching muscles, while cold therapy restricts blood vessels, which slows circulation, reduces swelling, and numbs pain.

People can try alternating heat and cold, but it is essential to monitor the skin carefully for damage from these treatments and discontinue their use if an injury occurs.

Heat treatments include:

  • starting the day with a warm bath or shower to relieve stiffness
  • applying warm paraffin wax to aching joints
  • placing a heating pad or hot water bottle on aching joints

People should limit cold treatments to 20 minutes at a time. These treatments include:

  • wrapping a bag of ice in a towel and applying it to painful areas
  • submerging the affected joint in ice water
  • using a cold pack

Some of these remedies are available for purchase online, including heating pads, hot water bottles, and cold packs.

6. Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness is a form of meditation. When practicing mindfulness, people try to focus their attention on their feelings and what their body is experiencing in the present moment.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a program that uses mindfulness to help people manage pain and stress, both of which can compromise the immune system.

A 2014 study investigated whether MBSR could reduce disease activity in people with RA by boosting the immune system.

A total of 51 participants took part in the study, 26 of whom completed an 8-week program of MBSR while the remaining 25 received no treatment.

Participants who practiced MBSR showed a reduction in RA symptoms, including pain, early morning stiffness, and the number of tender and swollen joints.

Participants reported these improvements both immediately after MBSR and up to 6 months later.

7. Massage

According to the Arthritis Foundation, regularly massaging the muscles and joints can help soothe pain resulting from arthritis.

Experts believe that massage lowers the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol and the neurotransmitter substance P, which has an association with pain. Massage also helps improve mood by boosting serotonin levels.

A 2013 study investigated the effects of massage on people with RA in their upper limbs.

The researchers divided the participants into two groups. One group received light-pressure massage, and the other received moderate-pressure massage.

A trained therapist gave each of the participants a massage once a week for 4 weeks. The participants also learned how to massage themselves and did this once a day.

After 4 weeks, the participants in the moderate-pressure massage group had less pain, better grip strength, and a greater range of motion in the affected limb than those who received light-pressure massage.

A 2015 study investigating the effects of moderate-pressure massage for knee arthritis reported similar benefits.

In 2020, guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation noted that there was not enough evidence to show that massage can reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. However, massage may have other benefits, such as helping reduce stress.

8. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

TENS is a method of pain relief that uses electrodes in the form of sticky pads that attach to the surface of the skin to deliver small electrical currents to the body.

Current guidelines advise people not to use TENS for osteoarthritis pain, as there is no evidence that it can help.

9. Vitamin D

Vitamin D builds strong bones and helps maintain the function of the immune system.

A 2016 review found that people with RA often have lower vitamin D levels than those without the condition. Those with the lowest levels of vitamin D also tended to experience the highest levels of disease activity.

However, it is still not clear whether taking vitamin D supplements reduces disease activity in people with arthritis.

Current guidelines do not recommend vitamin D supplements as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

People can get vitamin D from sun exposure and certain foods. Vitamin D supplements are also available in stores and online.

10. Omega-3 fatty acids

Nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and play a role in regulating the immune system.

The authors of a recent review concluded that omega-3 fatty acids appear to improve the symptoms of RA, but they noted that further studies are necessary to confirm this.

Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include nuts, seeds, and cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. People can also take omega-3 supplements.

These supplements are available in some health food stores and pharmacies, as well as online.

11. Chondroitin and glucosamine

Some people take chondroitin sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride for osteoarthritis.

However, there is not enough scientific evidence to show that they can benefit people with osteoarthritis, and they may have adverse effects.

For this reason, current guidelines advise people not to use these supplements.

Medical treatment

There are almost 100 different types of arthritis. After making an initial diagnosis of the type of arthritis that a person has, a doctor will explain to them which treatment options are suitable.

Some examples of medications include:

  • analgesics for pain control, such as acetaminophen
  • NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation
  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which slow or stop inflammation but weaken the immune system
  • targeted DMARDs, which target specific inflammatory issues rather than suppressing the entire immune system

When to see a doctor

Without treatment, arthritis can cause permanent damage to the joints or progress more quickly.

People with arthritis should work with a doctor to decide which home remedies may work best with their medical treatment plan.

A person should visit a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms for 3 days or more:

  • pain, swelling, tenderness, or stiffness in one or more joints
  • redness and warmth of the skin surrounding the joint
  • difficulty moving the joint or performing daily activities


Arthritis is a progressive condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joints. Many different medication interventions are available, but using home remedies alongside these may be more effective in relieving pain and increasing mobility.

Common home remedies include massage, specific supplements, heat and cold therapy, and gentle exercises, such as yoga and tai chi.

People should speak with a doctor if they have any concerns about using home remedies for arthritis. It is also vital to ask about any supplements before taking them because they might interact with existing medications.

Our priority is our patients, and we believe that anything is possible when you have your health. Contact Peak Performance Physical Therapy to find out how you can start living a pain-free life with the help of a physical therapist. Call us to learn more at 901.316.5456 or find us on our Facebook page.

Reference: [https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324446?utm_source=ReadNext#vitamin-d]

Need physical therapy? 3 key questions your PT will ask

If you are new to physical therapy, you may not know what distinguishes an excellent clinic from others. There are several factors, but one of the first you can assess and evaluate comes in the questions the physical therapist will ask you. This article gives you an idea of the main questions you should expect: 

Sports injury? Frozen shoulder? Knees not behaving as they once did? Your healthcare team may suggest physical therapy to help treat these issues.

So now you’re heading for physical therapy, ready to do the exercises prescribed to help ease pain and restore function. Be prepared to answer questions, too; your physical therapist will want to know a lot more than just where you have pain. You can expect three main questions.

1. What are your limitations?

To determine a treatment plan, your physical therapist needs to know how pain is limiting your ability to carry out activities. “It’s critical to understand the problem impacting a person’s quality of life, so that everything we do is meaningful to them. They don’t care about their degree of shoulder flexion (range of motion); they care about getting a cereal bowl from the cabinet. We figure out what’s driving the problem so we can help them return to what they want to do,” says David Nolan, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Your answer about limitations will also help guide the initial physical therapy assessment that measures range of motion, muscle strengths and weaknesses, or joint restrictions. “Maybe you say you can’t clean the house because of knee pain. After an evaluation, I may determine that you have pain because of weakness in the gluteal muscles and tightness in the quadriceps or hamstrings, and that informs what we need to do to alleviate pain,” Nolan says.

2. What are your goals?

Tell your physical therapist if you have a goal in mind — like going on a hike with friends, running around a tennis court, or playing outdoors with your kids. “There may be specific things we need to do to reach that goal, so I’ll need to know about it,” Nolan says.

For example, if a knee injury is keeping you from playing tennis, the plan will focus on more than just reducing pain. Yes, you’ll likely strengthen and stretch muscles that support the knee (the quadriceps and hamstrings in the thigh, the gluteal muscles in the buttocks, and the abdominal muscles). You’ll also work on improving balance and agility, so you can navigate the tennis court safely, as well as improve upper body strength and shoulder range of motion, so you can swing a tennis racquet.

3. Are you committed to this plan?

Your ultimate success depends on your willingness to stick to the program during the course of physical therapy (which can last weeks or months) and long afterward. “If you’re only doing the work when you’re in the clinic, then it probably won’t be enough to have a lasting effect,” Nolan notes.

Does that mean you’ll have to continue doing special exercises every day or on most days of the week, for the rest of your life? Probably not. “Once you’ve regained strength and reduced pain, you may not need to do the exercises with the same frequency, but you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes to prevent pain from coming back,” Nolan explains.

If you don’t feel committed to the plan, be up front about it. “Give all the information you can as far as what you can do and what you’re willing to do,” Nolan says. “Let’s share decision-making so I can make the plan as relevant to you as possible and you’ll be more likely to comply with it. That way, you’ll have a better outcome.”

When you come to Peak Potential, we will not only want to get to know as much as we can to offer the best solutions and treatments for you, but we will want to answer all of your questions as well. We genuinely care and want to be there for you. Call us to learn more at 901.316.5456 or find us on our Facebook page.

Reference: [https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/need-physical-therapy-3-key-questions-your-pt-will-ask-202106072470]

Women Are Calling Out ‘Medical Gaslighting’

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Medical professionals have a duty of care to treat every patient and client equally, but it does not always happen. It can be incredibly disheartening to put all of your trust in a doctor, specialist, or medical expert only to be dismissed or misdiagnosed. Instead of getting the necessary treatment, you leave with added psychological distress. Here is an insight into this disturbing occurrence — one which, we are happy to say, will never happen with our team. We live by the “people first” model.

Jenneh Rishe could easily run six miles in under 45 minutes — until suddenly she couldn’t. In the spring of 2019, Mrs. Rishe, now 35, began finding her daily jogs a struggle.

Years earlier, she had been diagnosed with two congenital heart conditions that, she said, doctors told her would not affect her daily functioning. Yet she was getting worse: Intense chest pains woke her up at night, and she started using a wheelchair after passing out too many times.

Mrs. Rishe, who lives in Los Angeles, found a highly recommended cardiologist in the Midwest and flew there to see him. He immediately dismissed her symptoms, she said. “People who have these heart conditions aren’t this sick,” she remembers him saying. He prescribed a new heart medication, told her to exercise and sent her home.

Unsatisfied with her care, Mrs. Rishe saw yet another doctor, who ordered extensive tests that found her arteries were spasming from a lack of oxygen. “I was basically having mini-heart attacks, whenever I was having chest pain,” she said. Two months later, she had open-heart surgery to correct the problem, which she later learned may have saved her life.

“I constantly still think about how any run I went on quite literally could’ve been my last,” Mrs. Rishe said.

Research suggests that diagnostic errors occur in up to one out of every seven encounters between a doctor and patient, and that most of these mistakes are driven by the physician’s lack of knowledge. Women are more likely to be misdiagnosed than men in a variety of situations.

Patients who have felt that their symptoms were inappropriately dismissed as minor or primarily psychological by doctors are using the term “medical gaslighting” to describe their experiences and sharing their stories on sites like Instagram. The term derives from a play called “Gaslight” about a husband’s attempt to drive his wife insane. And many patients, particularly women and people of color, describe the search for accurate diagnosis and treatment as maddening.

“We know that women, and especially women of color, are often diagnosed and treated differently by doctors than men are, even when they have the same health conditions,” said Karen Lutfey Spencer, a researcher who studies medical decision-making at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Studies have shown that compared with men, women face longer waits to be diagnosed with cancer and heart disease, are treated less aggressively for traumatic brain injury, and are less likely to be offered pain medications. People of color often receive poorer quality care, too; and doctors are more likely to describe Black patients as uncooperative or non-compliant, which research suggests can affect treatment quality.

“I recall playing it over and over again in my head trying to figure out what I may have done to cause him to react this way,” said Mrs. Rishe, who is Black, about the Midwest cardiologist. “And, yes, racism crossed my mind.”

Women say doctors frequently blame their health problems on their mental health, weight or a lack of self-care, which can delay effective treatment. For instance, Dr. Spencer’s research suggests that women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with a mental illness when their symptoms are consistent with heart disease.

When Sarah Szczypinski, a journalist in Seattle, began experiencing knee pain and swelling in 2016 after giving birth to her son, she said that one doctor told her she had postpartum depression, while another told her she needed to lose weight and do squats — when in fact she was suffering from hip dysplasia exacerbated by her pregnancy.

She felt as though the doctors were telling her that her excruciating pain “was something that a woman needs to just live through,” she said. The condition had gotten so bad it ultimately required surgery, in 2020, to saw her leg bone in half and realign it with her hip. When she finally got the diagnosis, “I felt vindicated in a lot of ways,” she said. But ultimately, “it took three years to get a diagnosis and another two to heal.”

Some patients are more likely to be ‘gaslit and ignored’

Women may be misdiagnosed more often than men, in part, because scientists know far less about the female body than they do about the male body, even though “there are biological differences that go down to the cellular level,” said Chloe Bird, a senior sociologist at Pardee RAND Graduate School who studies women’s health.

In 1977, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began recommending that scientists exclude women of childbearing years from early clinical drug trials, fearing that if enrolled women became pregnant, the research could potentially harm their fetuses. Researchers were also concerned that hormonal fluctuations could muddle study results.

Today — thanks in large part to a law passed in 1993 that mandated that women and minorities be included in medical research funded by the National Institutes of Health — women are more systematically included in studies, yet there are still huge knowledge gaps.

For instance, women with heart disease often have different symptoms from men with heart disease, yet doctors are much more familiar with the male symptoms, said Dr. Jennifer Mieres, a cardiologist with Northwell Health in New York. When “women show up with symptoms that don’t fit into the algorithm we’re taught in medical school,” she said, they get “gaslit and ignored.”

By the time Michelle Cho, 32, was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease in which the body slowly attacks its own tissues, she had developed kidney failure, a heart murmur and pneumonia — yet the first doctor she went to diagnosed her with allergies, she said, and the second doctor thought she was pregnant.

“I left each time feeling disappointed, sad and uneasy, because I knew they had not solved my problem or helped me in any way, and it had been yet another wasted day,” said Ms. Cho, a New York City-based medical student. “It felt like they were saying, ‘It’s all in my head.’”

When Raimey Gallant, a 42-year-old writer who lives in Winnipeg, began dropping weight, losing her hair and breaking out in a full-body rash in her 20s, she said her male doctor told her she was “young, healthy and just lazy,” when in fact, later that year she was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces too much thyroid hormone.

She also struggled for 20 years with disabling period pain before finally getting diagnosed last year with endometriosis, an inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. “I’ll never get back the pieces of life I’ve lost to medical neglect,” she said.

How doctors and patients can elevate care

It’s hard to know how to begin to address these systemic problems, experts said, but scientists argue that at the very least, there needs to be more research on women’s health conditions.

Doctors should also be given more time with their patients, and see fewer patients overall, Dr. Spencer suggested. Research has shown that when people are juggling many cognitive tasks, they are more likely to make biased decisions. One study found, for instance, that male doctors were less likely to prescribe pain medications to Black patients with lower back pain when the doctors were under stress.

Physicians are often working under difficult conditions that “make it easy to make mistakes and oversights,” Dr. Spencer said. “It’s like a gauntlet of problematic systems and processes that invite bias.” Researchers have also called for more training in medical school about unconscious bias and racism in health care. In 2019, California passed a law requiring hospitals to implement implicit bias programs for all health care providers who provide perinatal care.

Until more changes occur, women and patients of color might want to consider bringing a friend or relative with them to their medical appointments, said Dr. Alyson McGregor, co-founder and director for the Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine division at Brown University. “It really helps if you have an advocate there that can intervene and say things like, ‘She is not normally in this much pain,’” she said.

And “see another doctor if you feel dismissed,” Dr. McGregor said. You might even want to consider seeking out a woman physician or a provider with better cultural competence, who may better “understand your perspective and language.”

Four months after Mrs. Rishe’s surgery, she wrote a letter to the doctor who dismissed her symptoms. “I drafted a whole message about how that interaction left me really upset and that I felt really small,” she said. She is relieved this particular doctor is out of her life, but she worries she might have a similar experience with another physician one day.

“It’s sad,” she said, adding: “We go in on the defense and ready for it to happen, because it’s so common.”

At Peak Potential, our team of expert medical professionals operates from a place of compassion — for everyone. We actively listen to gain a comprehensive understanding of each client’s unique circumstances. Call us, and see what sets our team apart. 901.316.5456 or find us on our Facebook page.

10 Best Apps for Your Overall Health

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It has never been easier to find online tools and resources to assist your health and wellbeing journey. And it has never been so confusing, also! Most of us can get caught up in an endless pattern of searching and researching when we have better things to do. Luckily, the best apps for your overall health have already been vetted and listed here — read on for more information. Of course, if you have questions about your best health plan — we are always here to help.

Maintaining a balanced lifestyle that includes working out, eating fruits and vegetables, and finding time to meditate is harder than it seems. That’s why there are hundreds of apps that claim to make all this easy—and sifting through the load can be overwhelming. To make it easier, first decide what your personal goals are—for instance, are you looking for an app to support your fitness, your mental health, or your eating? Then look through this list.

We’ve sorted the top health apps to find the best options to track your diet, work out, and feel happier overall.

1. MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is one of the best food tracking apps available. The food diary includes an easy-to-use database that offers nutrition information for millions of different foods, including restaurant meals. Users are able to set their personal goals and the app will take that and break down the amount of calories to take in each day and how much water to drink. Whether your aim is to lose weight or gain muscle, MyFitnessPal offers a detailed view of what you’re eating. Not only are you getting a better understanding of the types of foods you’re putting in your body, but there’s a little accountability to keep you committed to your goals. Turn the reminder setting on to get notified throughout the day and ensure you’re tracking your meals. Users can also read the community forum for a little more encouragement.

Available on iOS and Android

2. Headspace

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Health is more than just what you eat or how often you hit the gym. Research shows that meditation may help reduce stress and improve overall happiness, and Headspace gives you a simple and fun way of doing just that. The app allows you to choose mini guided meditation sessions specific to your mood and lifestyle. The library is curated with a wide variety of programs aimed to help you sleep, relieve anxiety, and manage stress. Session lengths can vary, but users can de-stress for even just a few minutes at a time.

Available on iOS and Android

fitplan3. Fitplan

Are you interested in working out with a personal trainer, but not willing to pay the price? Get the experience of having your own coach for a fraction of the cost with Fitplan. The app offers step-by-step video training sessions, ranging from 20 to 90 minutes, from professional trainers and athletes. Users can choose from dozens of programs designed by some of their favorites like A-Rod, Ryan Lochte and Rob Gronkowski. Choose your plan based on goals, like weight loss, or by trainer.

Available on iOS and Android.



4. SleepCycle

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Sleep plays a crucial role in good health throughout life. If you don’t get enough sleep every night, your body will have a hard time healing and repairing heart and blood vessels, balancing your hormones, and maintaining your blood sugar levels (among many other issues). And the best way to get a good night’s rest is to understand the reason you weren’t getting any in the first place. Sleep Cycle tracks your quality of sleep, as well as your sleeping heart rate. Throughout the night, the app monitors your sleep patterns, making note of any disruptions like snoring or sleep talking. But its most unique feature is that it wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase in the morning, making you feel well-rested and ready to tackle the day.

Available here for iOS and Android.


5. Aaptiv

Aaptiv offers 30 new classes each week, and more than 2,500 classes overall. They aim to give users the same experience of a boutique fitness class–from the comforts of your home, outdoors, or at the gym. The app plans your workouts based on your fitness level, workout preferences and the equipment you have access to. Users also have the ability to track their progress by keeping records of workout-related trends. Disciplines include stretching, running, strength training and yoga.

Available on iOS and Android.


6. Charity Miles

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Giving back and feeling like you’re contributing to a larger cause is good for your overall health. Charity Miles helps motivate you to get moving while simultaneously making an impact. The free app allows users to choose a charity to donate to. Using your phone’s GPS, the app tracks your exercise whether you walk, run or bike. For each mile completed, 10 cents will be donated to that charity, making your workout feel twice as effective. (The donated funds come from corporate sponsors.)

Available here on IOS and Android.


7. Fooducate

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Fooducate makes it easy to eat a balanced and healthy diet. As the app’s name suggests, its goal is to teach you about the products you buy at the grocery store. Just scan over 250,000 barcodes to see a personalized nutrition grade, learn about the pros and cons of the product, and choose the healthiest option. The app’s goal is to teach users what food manufacturers don’t always do by analyzing GMOs, additives, food colorings and more. Users can even connect with health professionals and other app users for advice and support.

Available here on iOS and Android.

8. 8Fit

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You don’t need a gym with 8fit, which creates customizable exercise programs and meal plans. This app is for those who want a complete lifestyle change and need some assistance on where to start. The app creates nutritional guidelines to follow and a workout plan with more than 350 exercises with no equipment required. If you don’t want a gym membership or if you’re always on the go, these HIIT workouts will keep you in shape without taking up too much of your time.

Available here on IOS and Android.


9. Happify

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Stress has been linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. Happify builds on a huge body of research about mental health to help users overcome stress and negative thoughts and build better emotional health and resilience. The app includes a variety of science-backed games and activities paired with guided meditation and relaxation audios that aim to give your emotions and mental health a quick boost. Creators say using the app on a daily basis should train you to think more positively.

Download here for free.

10. HealthTap

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Instead of turning to Google when you have a strange ache or pain, pose your question to a database of real doctors using HealthTap. This app enables patients to take action by connecting them with a physician to answer any health-related query. The doctors will give real and actionable advice to help you feel better as soon as possible without necessitating a trip to the doctor’s office. Users are also able to share and read personal stories from others prior to a consultation with a doctor in order to feel more at ease with health conditions and other information.

Download here for free.

There is still something that works better than the latest apps for ensuring your overall health — the dedicated and expert team at Peak Potential. We are here to tailor a blend of physical therapy and wellness strategies specific to your needs. Call us today! 901.316.5456 or find us on our Facebook page.

Reference: [https://www.menshealth.com/health/g22842908/best-health-and-fitness-apps/]