727 Route 481

Monongahela, PA 15063



December 2013

Inside this Issue

Putting God Back Into Christmas - Letter from Dr. Wohar

Suggestions for a Healthier, Happier Christmas

Injury Prevention During the Holidays

- Tips to Avoid Injuries While Shoveling Snow

- Tips to Avoid Pain While Wrapping Presents

Putting God Back Into Christmas

I’m an avid reader.  I usually have no less than 3-5 books started at any given time!  At Christmastime, however, I try to find and pick a book that will help me focus on what the season is all about and make the most of this blessed, joyful time of year.  This year’s pick is Putting God Back in the Holidays by Bill & Penny Thrasher.

Their Christmas reflection centers on Luke 10:38-42.  Jesus pays a visit to 2 sisters, Martha and Mary.  You see the contrast between Martha bustling around attending to hospitalities and Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening.  Martha gets frustrated and tells Jesus to order Mary to get up and help. Gently, Jesus tells Martha that she is overly concerned with getting things done and that Mary is making the wiser choice.

The lesson is clear for us, as well.  Like Martha, we have many legitimate responsibilities getting ready for the holidays.  The trick is finding balance between what needs done and enjoying why we’re doing everything.

So amidst the craziness and rush of these last days, I hope you will give yourself permission to pause frequently and savor the peace, joy and true meaning of Christmas.

Wishing you and your loved ones good health and much happiness during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Merry Christmas!

- Dr. Wohar

5 Suggestions for a Healthier, Happier Christmas

  1. Get adequate rest .  7 or more hours of sleep will help keep your mood and energy up, which will make you more effective during your waking hours.
  2. Take time to eat healthier foods .  It’s natural to reach for quick, convenience foods when rushing around.  But unhealthy food, stress and sleep deprivation weaken your immunity and leave you more vulnerable to getting sick.  Instead, up your intake of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, raw nuts and immunity teas.
  3. Relish the season .  Slow down and enjoy the lights, the music, the joy in giving, and the excitement in children.  The flipside of all the demands is how Christmas can give permission to take time to gather with family and friends and to send Christmas cards with personal messages to those we rarely touch base with during the year!
  4. Keep up with your exercise routine .  You may not have time for longer workouts but most of us can find ½ hour each day by cutting back on TV or computer time.  Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and helps with mood and energy.
  5. Set a goal to watch at least 5 Christmas classics with loved ones before December 25 th .  C’mon, which of us middle-agers or older don’t have fond memories of those Claymation classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer , The Year Without a Santa Claus , The Little Drummer Boy or Santa Claus is Coming to Town ?!  Or cartoon classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas , The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Frosty the Snowman . And movies like A Christmas Carol , Miracle on 34 th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life .  If we wait until December 25 th to start celebrating, we are likely to feel let down.  Give yourself permission to quit running around after 8 or 9pm and spend more time with loved ones throughout the Christmas season.

Injury prevention during the holiday season

Avoid Snow-Shoveling Injuries!

It will soon be that time when we’ll be outside digging out our cars, or clearing the walks and driveways (not to mention the office parking lot!) Snow-shoveling is a common cause of back and shoulder injuries during the winter. And it is always sad to hear reports of heart attacks as well.  Here are a few suggestions to lessen your chance of an injury this winter:

Use a smaller shovel.

It may seem efficient to use a larger one but, it also increases the weight of the snow, and the stress on your back.

If you are tired, take a break.

Pushing already tired muscles may lead to injury.

If you have treated for an injury lately, or if you are not in the best of health, consider hiring a younger person to do the job.

It will be worth it.

Bend your knees while shoveling.

Bending only at the waist increases the strain on your muscles and ligaments and sets you up for an injury.

Switch sides frequently while using a shovel or broom.

This balances the stress between opposing muscle groups and decreases the risk of sprain or strain to one side.

If you do notice any pain while shoveling, stop, rest, and apply ice for 15 minutes every hour over the painful area.

If the area is not feeling better in the next 2-3 days, call for an appointment. Injuries heal faster when treated sooner.

Tips to Stay Out of Pain While Shopping and Wrapping

Putting a little thought into the way you carry packages and wrap can also keep you feeling good for Christmas and help you avoid painful conditions.  Keep these in mind during the next few weeks:

1. Balance your loads.

Try to spread the weight of the bags or packages you are carrying evenly on both arms.  Too much load on one side can strain your shoulder or low back.

2. Take more trips to the car, especially walking around malls.

It may seem inconvenient, but so is a bad injury right before Christmas.  It’s worth the time.

3. Put your foot or knee on the bumper when loading things into the trunk of your car.

Bending at the waist with your arms loaded is a frequent cause of sprains.

4. Wrap presents on a table or counter at a comfortable height

Bend your knees, if possible.  Do not wrap ‘Indian-style’ as this stresses your sacroiliac and hip joints. I see several of you every Christmas for injuries caused by sitting this way while wrapping.

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