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How Do You Feel in Your Skin?

An advanced procedure can change your life.

Preparing for vacations, barbeques, family get-togethers and days at the beach are not always easy for people struggling with body issues. Many people deal with stubborn belly fat, the dreaded bra bulge, extra pounds on their thighs or bat arms, issues that can make them less likely to step out with confidence.

Veronica (alias) lost seven and a half inches using the nonsurgical LipoLaser treatment at Body by Design Laser Spa in Cape Coral, directed by Dr. Larry Johnson.

“I’m so happy with my results, and I recommend the LipoLaser to everyone who is overweight or has body issues.” – Veronica

Veronica* struggled with her weight and body image for years. She willingly admits that she dislikes dieting and exercising and finds it challenging to follow restrictive plans. As a result, though, Veronica grew increasingly unhappy with certain areas of her body.

“In particular, I didn’t like the bulge on my inner thighs and the fat around my belly, especially the fat around my C-section scar,” she relates.

Veronica explained these issues to her chiropractor, Larry D. Johnson, DC, of Body by Design Laser Spa in Cape Coral. In addition to his practice of chiropractic care, Dr. Johnson provides treatment for weight loss and spot fat reduction using the nonsurgical LipoLaser.

“It’s extremely difficult for women who’ve had C-sections to lose weight and tighten that area because the muscles have been completely severed there,” notes Dr. Johnson. “It takes specific exercises to get those muscle fibers to grow back together. This is why many women have a pot belly appearance.”

Membrane Melt

Unlike traditional liposuction, which is an aggressive surgical procedure that can be costly, requires lots of downtime (usually about six months) to recover and leaves the patient with pockets of sagging skin, the LipoLaser procedure is 100 percent noninvasive.

“A central component of the advanced, nonsurgical LipoLaser is the leading-edge diode laser,” explains Dr. Johnson. “It’s well documented that diode lasers can penetrate and absorb fat by creating a thermal process that melts fat cell membranes.”

The LipoLaser initiates a process called lipolysis, which uses heat from the lasers to penetrate the fat cells and cause them to break down and release their contents, which include water, glycerol and fatty acids. From there, the body naturally processes these materials as waste. The fat cells shrink as a result of releasing their contents.

“Not only does this process result in drastic fat reduction,” reports Dr. Johnson, “but the skin also becomes firmer due to an increase of collagen production. Collagen is one of the primary building blocks of skin.”

Utmost Trust

After just a few weeks of LipoLaser sessions, Veronica saw amazing results. She says the treatment changed her life. She lost seven and a half inches and approximately two percent of her body fat.Veronica (alias) lost seven and a half inches using the nonsurgical LipoLaser treatment at Body by Design Laser Spa in Cape Coral, directed by Dr. Larry Johnson.

“Dieting and exercise might have never produced that type of an outcome,” says Dr. Johnson. “And even if they did, it would definitely have taken longer than the six weeks of LipoLaser treatment.”

“I’m so happy with my results, and I recommend the LipoLaser to everyone who is overweight or has body issues,” enthuses Veronica. “I fit so much better in my clothes now, and I feel more confident. I have the utmost trust in
Dr. Johnson’s expertise.”

*Patient’s name withheld at their request.

Nonsurgical Vaginal Rejuvenation

An exciting new treatment for vaginal rejuvenation promises to restore what aging and loss of collagen in vaginal tissue can take away. It also helps women experiencing vaginal laxity after childbirth or from the natural aging process.Dr. Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, is now offering treatment with ThermiVa® for vaginal rejuvenation at Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness.

ThermiVa® procedures revitalize vulvovaginal tissue through the application of gentle radiofrequency energy. Treatments performed in the doctor’s office are painless, with no downtime. They can help resolve the aging process of menopause, including the vaginal dryness and thinning of vaginal walls that can make sexual intimacy less enjoyable or even painful.

Hormonal imbalance can cause pelvic floor weakness leading to prolapse or the gradual descent of the urinary bladder, rectum and small intestine from their normal positions before menopause.

Two of the most severe complications of prolapse include urinary incontinence when coughing or sneezing as well as fecal incontinence.

“ThermiVa works by restoring collagen in the vagina, along with restoring tightness, moisture and support,” states Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, at the Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness. “It can relieve the symptoms that can occur from hormonal imbalance.”

“I’m thrilled to offer women this procedure,” she continues.

Improving Tone and Laxity

Many women may know to expect hot flashes and night sweats during menopause and perimenopause. They may not, however, be aware of how hormonal changes will affect the health of their vagina.

A decline in estrogen contributes to vaginal walls becoming thinner and producing less moisture.  The vaginal canal can also become shorter and less flexible. Results include vaginal dryness that not only makes sexual intimacy uncomfortable but also raises the risk of frequent yeast infections and urinary tract infections that may become recurrent.

Dr. DeMarta is a board-certified colorectal surgeon who also specializes in integrative and anti-aging and aesthetic medicine. The goal of her holistic approach is to help patients achieve optimal wellness and feel their best. She founded the Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness to offer a comprehensive approach through medical, surgical and aesthetic services that promote health rejuvenation.

To help restore colorectal function, the ThermiVa device gives individuals an additional option for successful treatment of fecal leakage or unsightly perianal hemorrhoid skin tags.

“Fecal incontinence can be treated through dietary modification and physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor. However, some women need more than that. Previously, the options were pretty invasive,” notes Dr. DeMarta. “The exciting part about the ThermiVa is that it is much gentler and noninvasive.”

The ThermiVa procedure takes approximately 30 minutes, and feels like a warm massage. A treatment is recommended once a month for three consecutive months.

“No anesthesia is needed,” says Dr. DeMarta. “Patients come in, have the procedure and go home. Due to the non-existence of leakage, a pad is not needed, and normal activities can resume immediately.”

Treatments work on both the internal and external regions of the female pelvic floor. Stimulation occurs through radiofrequency and heat generation to restore collagen in the affected tissues. The formation of collagen helps improve laxity of the vagina and surrounding tissues to the pre-menopausal state.

“Most importantly, ThermiVa treatments improve a woman and her partner’s interest and sexual response that may have diminished through vaginal changes,” notes Dr. DeMarta.

“The ThermiVa is a superior addition to help women and their partners achieve and accomplish enjoyable intercourse,” she adds. “I’m excited to have this option for my patients. It not only results in enjoyable intercourse for couples, but also solves concerns such as laxity, prolapse, leakage, UTIs vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, lack of sexual desire and orgasmic dysfunction.”

Avoid Back Surgery!

Denise Moxon, 65, is a retired registered nurse who stays fit by engaging in a variety of activities that include the challenging horse-riding discipline called dressage, yoga and weight training.

Denise Moxon treated for herniated discs with nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy at St. Augustine Spine Center.

Denise Moxon

Looking after her barn and horses requires physically demanding chores, but that never fazed her. That is until the day her back went out when she was shoveling dirt.

The intense pain started in her lower back and radiated into her right thigh. At first, Denise thought rest would make it go away, so she stopped exercising and riding her horses.

When the pain remained, Denise looked for remedies with two priorities in mind: She wanted to avoid surgery and narcotic pain medications. Over four months, she tried physical therapy, massage, steroid injections and acupuncture.

“I did all of these things just trying to get out of pain and thinking time would take care of it,” she recalls. “But it kept getting worse and worse until I couldn’t even walk my dog for a short distance. Physical therapy did not help, and massage did not help. The acupuncture alleviated the pain, but it wasn’t a cure. I’d be pain free, but then I’d need acupuncture again.

“By the sixth month, I couldn’t tolerate it any longer. I was beginning to believe that surgery was the only thing that could help me.”

Denise consulted a neurosurgeon, who ordered an MRI. The imaging study revealed two herniated discs in her lower spine. She agreed with her physician they needed surgical repair.

Due to the busy surgeon’s schedule, the operation couldn’t be performed for three months. Denise was resolved to suffering until then.

Shortly after scheduling the surgery, however, she learned about Tyler Albrecht, DC, at St. Augustine Spine Center. She was intrigued by a therapy that Dr. Albrecht uses to treat herniated and bulging discs called nonsurgical spinal decompression.

Wanting to learn more, Denise made an appointment to consult with Dr. Albrecht.

Healing Herniated Discs

“When Denise came to us, she was in really bad shape,” states Dr. Albrecht. “She could only walk or stand two minutes before the pain would become severe. She couldn’t do any bending or lifting, and the pain was interrupting her sleep.”

Denise’s herniated discs were causing spinal stenosis, a condition that causes narrowing of the space for the spinal cord. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves, causing pain.

Through his examination of Denise, Dr. Albrecht determined she was a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression. The therapy works to restore herniated or bulging discs to a healthier state, thus relieving the pain.

“What I’ve found is that spinal decompression is usually the best treatment for a herniated disc because it helps to reverse the pressure on the disc and allows the disc to heal rather than just trying to cover up the pain with injections or medication,” notes Dr. Albrecht.

Denise Moxon treated for herniated discs with nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy at St. Augustine Spine Center.

Denise is getting back in the saddle now that her back pain is gone.

“Our decompression table does this by gently pulling the two vertebrae on either side of the affected disc, producing a vacuum effect. This allows bulging material and nutrients to be drawn back into the disc over time, allowing it to heal naturally. Advanced technology and computerized load sensors combine to create a gentle, pain-free treatment that avoids the muscle guarding reflex that is commonly triggered with rudimentary traction devices.”

Denise liked how Dr. Albrecht explained the process clearly and comprehensively.

“Dr. Albrecht is very articulate and knowledgeable,’’ she describes. “He’s informative and factual. The result was that I could make the decision on my own about whether to pursue treatment. He didn’t try to make the decision for me, which I appreciate in a doctor.”

Denise began a seven-week treatment regimen with three sessions of spinal decompression each week. In addition, she was treated with a combination of other modalities that are part of the disc rehabilitation program at St. Augustine Spine Center. They included manual therapy, chiropractic care, ice, electrical stimulation and laser therapy to help speed the healing process.

A Full Recovery

The therapy sessions were pleasant experiences, Denise relates.

Denise Moxon treated for herniated discs with nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy at St. Augustine Spine Center.

Denise is getting back in the saddle now that her back pain is gone

“The atmosphere in Dr. Albrecht’s office is lovely and peaceful,” she says. “And the decompression treatments were very comfortable and easy to do. They’re pain free. You can watch videos while you’re lying on the decompression table, which I did a lot, and it’s restful.”

Halfway through her treatment program, Denise discovered how much spinal decompression was helping. She went to a boat show with her husband and was stunned to realize that walking didn’t hurt anymore.

“We were walking around and after about forty-five minutes, I stopped and said, Art, I have no pain,” remembers Denise. “Before, I would go places, even though it hurt to walk, because I’m an active person. I would walk, hurt, sit; walk, hurt, sit.

“At the boat show, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been walking for forty-five minutes and hadn’t needed to sit down because I wasn’t hurting.”

Before her first visit with Dr. Albrecht, Denise says her average pain level was six on a scale of one to ten. By the end of treatment, she says, it had dropped to zero.

Dr. Albrecht uses another feedback measure, the Low Back Pain and Disability Index, to gauge results. The questionnaire focuses on how much back pain interferes with daily activities.

“When we started out, Denise was at sixty-six percent on how much the pain was disabling her,” states Dr. Albrecht. “When we finished, she was down to zero percent – she experienced a full recovery.”

“It was a long road because I tried so many things. I’m really pleased with my treatment by Dr. Albrecht. It’s pretty impressive.” -Denise

Denise is slowly working her way back into horse-riding shape. And before she resumes yoga and weight training, she is following a regimen of stretching and strengthening her core.

“I’m not trotting or cantering on my horse at this time, but slowly we’ll get there,” she says. “I was in pretty darn good shape for my age before that [injury] occurred, and I’m going to make sure I am again before I resume all my activities.”

Once she felt certain that spinal decompression had given her long-lasting relief, Denise canceled her surgery date. Ultimately, she succeeded in finding a treatment that took away her severe back pain without surgery or drugs.

“It was a long road because I tried so many things,” she relates. “I’m really pleased with my treatment by Dr. Albrecht. It’s pretty impressive.”

A Message About Men’s Health

June 3rd, 2018

This blog may be about men’s health, but women need to read it, too. Women have to encourage the men in their lives to pay more attention to their health. June is Men’s Health Month, and it’s the perfect time to review a few of the biggest health issues men face.Message About Men’s Health

Since forever, women have lived longer than men. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that on average, women today live more than five years longer than men, and that gap is getting wider. Men have higher rates of death in most of the top ten causes of death. They also tend to have higher rates of complications from many disorders.

According to a report from the World Health Organization, men have higher death and complication rates for conditions like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Yet, many of the risk factors for those diseases that have increased in the past few years aren’t male-specific and are preventable. These include increases in smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyles and obesity.

According to WHO, there’re other factors that can contribute to a poorer life expectancy for men. For instance, men generally have greater exposure to occupational hazards such as physical or chemical hazards. They tend to engage more often in behaviors involving risk-taking, they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick, and when they do, they’re less likely to fully report their symptoms.

A board member of the Men’s Health Network notes that certain conditions common in men, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, have no detectable symptoms. Many cancers also have few detectable symptoms in their early, most treatable, stages, so health care monitoring is crucial.

That’s where women can come in. We can help our men be aware of screenings, adopt healthy eating habits and promote exercise by setting an example and doing it with them. We can also encourage them to see the doctor when they complain of not feeling well or show signs of illness. They’re protecting the family by staying healthy.

So, what are the big health issues facing men? I read a couple of articles that listed the Top 10 or Top 5 Men’s Health Issues, but I’m going to condense the list to three big ones. You can read more at these three sites:

Still high on the list is cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association tells us that one in three men have some form of cardiovascular disease. It’s the leading cause of death for men in the US, responsible for one of every four male deaths. Another condition that’s common in men and can contribute to cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure, which slowly damages the heart and blood vessels over time. These disorders can be controlled if detected early.

Here’s one you might not have thought of but is a growing problem. It’s skin cancer. Men 50 and older are at high risk for developing skin cancer, more than twice as likely as women. The reason is because men have generally had more sun exposure and tend to have fewer visits to the doctor for skin checks. More men than women die of melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer. Regular skin checks can catch skin cancer in its early stages.

Diabetes is a problem in itself, and it can result in a whole bunch of other problems. It can lead to erectile dysfunction and lower testosterone levels. Low testosterone also decreases a man’s muscle mass and energy level. Low blood glucose can cause depression and anxiety, as well as damage to the nerves and kidneys and lead to heart disease, liver disease, stroke and vision issues. Routine blood work can monitor blood glucose levels and detect pre-diabetes.

Men face many more health issues that affect them not just physically, but mentally as well. This month, encourage the men in your life to take advantage of screenings, get regular physicals, lead a healthy lifestyle and see the doctor when necessary. Help them take control of their health and live longer.

Skip the Surgery

Nonsurgical therapy relieves back pain using vacuum effect.

Still a snowbird at 84, Jean Potter lives in Bradenton from October to June, then returns to her native Oceanport, New Jersey to spend the summer months on the Jersey Shore. Nothing holds her back, but a nagging problem with her knees recently turned into a battle with her back that stopped her cold.

Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt of Back Pain Institute of West Florida in Bradenton and Sarasota treated Jean Potter for low back pain with VAX-D® therapy.

“For many patients with painful back conditions such as Jean’s, I recommend VAX-D therapy,” acknowledges
Dr. Aderholdt.

“I had bad knees and was favoring one side when I walked,” Jean describes. “I had lubricant injections in my knees, which worked well. The only thing was, as soon as I started walking correctly again, I began to experience a great deal of pain in my back.

“My doctor determined that I had probably started walking to one side because I had deteriorating discs in my spine and that now that I was walking normally again, the discs were hitting each other.

“Deteriorating discs are something that can happen with pressure and over time, the doctor told me. By walking to one side the way I was, I was actually taking some of the pressure off those discs, which alleviated me of any potential pain.”

Now that Jean was walking straighter, there was nothing easing the pressure of the damaged discs rubbing against one another. This situation also irritated the spinal nerves in the area. These conditions led to not only intense pain but disability.

“The pain was excruciating and was there night and day, and it kept me from doing just about everything, because anything I did caused severe pain,” relates Jean. “On a scale of one to ten, my pain level was consistently at a nine.

“The pain affected my life a lot. I like to golf but with my back the way it was, I couldn’t play. I’d been doing yoga with people in our community, but I had to give that up as well. My partner and I stopped going to social events because I just wasn’t up for it. I felt terrible.”

Jean continued suffering with the pain, but above all else, she wanted to avoid surgery. Then she heard about a unique, nonsurgical treatment offered by Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt at Back Pain Institute of West Florida. The treatment is VAX-D® therapy, and Jean was intrigued by what she heard. She called and made an appointment.

“For many patients with painful back conditions such as Jean’s, I recommend VAX-D therapy,” acknowledges Dr. Aderholdt, who is one of the few doctors in the country who offers this patented, FDA-approved medical decompression technique for alleviating the pressure on the discs of the spine.

“When Dr. Aderholdt was talking to me and my partner, my partner said, He knows what he’s talking about,” remembers Jean. “Then Dr. Aderholdt looked at me and said, I can help you. That’s when I decided to get the treatment.”

Different and Better

While VAX-D is a medical decompression technique, Dr. Aderholdt stresses it is not a traction device. It works differently and achieves significantly better results.

“Chiropractic adjustments alone can actually relieve the pain for many patients,” he observes. “For select people with sciatica or herniated, bulging or degenerated discs, however, VAX-D treatment has proven extremely effective.”

During treatment, the patient relaxes on a comfortable, computer-controlled table, secured with a pelvic belt or patented cervical collar, depending on the area to be treated. Carefully specified tension and pressure changes guide the use of VAX-D, allowing the therapist to focus decompression at the exact level of spinal dysfunction.Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt of Back Pain Institute of West Florida in Bradenton and Sarasota treated Jean Potter for low back pain with VAX-D® therapy.

Because it’s computerized, the VAX-D system enables the table to make subtle but targeted movements, which create a powerful vacuum within the disc space. This vacuum gently draws the disc back to its proper orientation, which pulls nutrient-rich spinal fluid into the disc and stimulates repair cells that effectively mend the disc.

“Nothing else can create such a powerful vacuum,” explains Dr. Aderholdt. “That is what makes VAX-D such a valuable tool for pain relief. There are imitators, but the vacuum effect is the most powerful one known. It doesn’t allow the muscles to contract like other machines might. In fact, VAX-D is the only nonsurgical treatment that has been clinically proven to reduce disc pressure to negative levels.”

“The treatment itself is interesting,” states Jean. “You get on the table, and it stretches you out. Fifteen times it pulls you up, then down. I think I grew a little. The treatment doesn’t hurt, but I felt it. Then they put me on a warm hydrotherapy treatment for fifteen minutes to relax me, and that was marvelous.”

Over the years, VAX-D treatment has developed a long track record of many satisfied patients, asserts Dr. Aderholdt. Long-term studies have shown that VAX-D is effective in more than 88 percent of patients who go through the treatment.

“I consider VAX-D one of the most effective nonsurgical medical treatments for low back pain and sciatica today,” he adds. “This revolutionary technology is one more tool I can offer my patients as we work toward relieving pain and maintaining the health of the lumbar and cervical spine.”

From Nine to Zero

Jean reports that she started to feel better after about eight VAX-D treatments. She was amazed by the decreases in her pain level, which before therapy was consistently hovering near the top of the scale.

Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt of Back Pain Institute of West Florida in Bradenton and Sarasota treated Jean Potter for low back pain with VAX-D® therapy.

Jean is on course for a return to the links.

“As I was doing the treatments, my pain level went down to a six, then a five,” she notes. “When it got down to a two, I thought, This is really working. Eventually, the pain was gone. My pain level now is zero.”

Even though Jean’s pain has been relieved, Dr. Aderholdt is returning her to activity slowly. Jean and her partner have gone to several social events, which they hadn’t been doing because of Jean’s back condition. However, she’s still restricted from other, more physical activities.

“Dr. Aderholdt says my spine is still not totally stable, but it’s almost there,” reports Jean. “I’m not playing golf yet, and I’m waiting for the day I can. But golfing can be bad for your back, so it’ll probably be the last thing I go back to doing.

“I haven’t tried yoga yet, either. Dr. Aderholdt wants me to wait and just do the exercises he gave me for now. I’m going to stick with what he suggests because the treatment he recommended worked for me, and I trust him.”

Jean trusts the staff at Back Pain Institute of West Florida as well. She finds them friendly and accommodating. She says they’re willing to do anything to make her visits to the institute pleasant and comfortable.

“The staff is great,” she confirms. “They always do everything for me with no problem, and they’re very nice about it. I’ve recommended Dr. Aderholdt and Back Pain Institute of West Florida many times. They’re very, very good.

“As for me, I just know I didn’t want surgery. I didn’t want to go through that at eighty-four. Then I found Dr. Aderholdt and his VAX-D treatment, and it worked. I have no pain. What more do you want?”

Dynamic Duo

Class IV deep tissue laser and HIVAMAT 200 deep oscillation therapy relieve lower back and leg pain.

For the better part of the three years he spent serving in the US Army, Robert Phelan was stationed at Arlington National Cemetery. While there, he was regularly assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Robert Phelan and Joseph Parsolano received relief for lower back and leg pain from deep tissue laser therapy and electronic massage therapy at Regional Rehab.

The treatments have Robert playing golf again.

Serving as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns is one of the military’s highest honors. It is also one of the most specific, each walk across the front of the tomb requiring precisely 21 steps to signify a 21-gun salute.

Now 81, Robert could not have made that brief walk a few months ago. Simple wear and tear had left him with so much hip and back pain that he could not walk across the room without the aid of a walker. Sometimes, he even needed a wheelchair.

“I used to be very active,” explains Robert, who spent most of his working years as a student aid at the University of Pennsylvania and St. John’s University. “Even after I stopped working for the schools, I still played a lot of golf and was active in real estate.”

Robert’s hip and back pain brought an end to his active lifestyle a few years ago. When the problem persisted, Robert sought help from the Veterans Administration, which eventually referred him to Regional Rehab in Spring Hill.

That’s where he met Charles Donley, PT, who soon discovered Robert was suffering from severe intervertebral disc disorders and multi-degenerative changes in the lumbar spine. Charles then recommended treating Robert with a combination of deep tissue laser therapy and electrical stimulation.

Two for One

“We are the only clinic in the country using two specific devices at once to decrease inflammation, promote healing and decrease pain,” Charles explains. “It’s a very unique approach.”

The first of the two devices is the Class IV deep tissue laser. It uses wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal cells by causing the release of nitric oxide, which Charles says acts like a “snowplow on a winter’s street.”

“The nitric oxide that is bound up inside the swollen cell is now loose on the streets, and what the laser does is clear the pathways to allow the waste to be removed from that cell and for nutrients and water to come in,” Charles explains.

The second device is the HIVAMAT® 200, providing deep oscillation therapy. It creates gentle impulses that relax muscles and penetrates all tissue layers to remove from the cells all the inflammatory byproducts that cause pain but are not part of the cell’s natural makeup.

Each laser treatment takes about ten minutes, while each HIVAMAT 200 treatment takes about 20 minutes. With stretching and exercise, each therapy session generally lasts about 60 minutes, and Charles usually recommends two to three sessions per week.

Most patients begin to notice improvement within four to six sessions, Charles informs, and that was the case with Robert, who says he graduated to a cane from a walker after just three sessions and got rid of the cane shortly after that.

“I only use the cane now if I’m going to do a lot of walking, and that’s just for security purposes,” Robert reports. “I’m even thinking about pulling out my old seven-iron, going out to a driving range and getting my golf swing back in the groove.”

Treated Like Family

Much like Robert, Joseph Parsolano, 73, is getting back in the groove, too. Thanks to the care he received at Regional Rehab, he is once again working in his flower garden and building street rods out of old cars such as the 1967 AMC Ambassador he recently found.

Robert Phelan and Joseph Parsolano received relief for lower back and leg pain from deep tissue laser therapy and electronic massage therapy at Regional Rehab.

Joseph feels strong enough to climb back under the hood of his classic car.

Joseph wasn’t involved in either of those activities nine months ago. He wasn’t accompanying his girlfriend on trips to the grocery store the way he had in the past either, all because of the severe pain he was experiencing in his left hip and back.

The pain was a slow-developing byproduct of an accident Joseph was involved in at the age of 34, when he fell off a ladder and dropped three stories into a deep well while working as a commercial painter.

The fall ended Joseph’s commercial painting career and led to ten surgeries to repair his left knee. The surgeries changed the way Joseph walked and, over time, those changes led to the pain he began to experience in his leg and back.

“At first, it was just in the morning after I would get up that I had the pain,” Joseph recalls. “Then, after a while, it would go away, so I really didn’t pay any attention to it. Then all of a sudden, it started coming on more and more.

“It got to a point where I was having trouble getting up out of a chair, and I couldn’t sit for very long. I couldn’t stand for long either. I couldn’t even walk to the mailbox. My girlfriend finally said to me, You can’t stay like this.”

Joseph’s previous experience with therapy at a different clinic did not clear up the issue. Neither did the medication he was prescribed to mask the pain. It wasn’t until after his primary care physician recommended he visit Regional Rehab that Joseph began to get some relief.

“The first thing they noticed was that I wasn’t picking up my leg properly when I walked, so they had me fitted for a brace that lifted my leg for me,” Joseph remembers. “That was a big help. But I still had the pain. That’s when they started using the laser on me.”

Charles treated Joseph with the same dual approach he used on Robert, combining the laser therapy with the HIVAMAT 200 treatments. At Regional Rehab, Charles never stops at simply treating a patient’s symptoms.

“Our goal, as these men would tell you, is to develop not just a patient, but a family member for life,” Charles explains. “That really is our philosophy, and the first step in that process is to listen to them.

“For doctors, sometimes they’re seeing so many people that they’re not always able to really spend as much time with them as they would like to or be able to listen to their whole story. But we’re going to see somebody for ten or twelve visits, so we get the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship.

“With Joseph, here was a gentleman who could not get any sleep because of his pain. He was saying, ‘If I could just get one day of relief, it would be great’. He went from being in pain and barely walking to having erect posture and a big grin on his face.”

That grin, Joseph confirms, appeared on the day he had his first laser treatment. A skeptic of the process before he arrived at Regional Rehab, he walked out of the facility that first day feeling like a new man.

“I felt a let up in the pain right away and then after the third or fourth visit, oh my God, I had no more pain,” Joseph reveals. “I just got better and better with each appointment, which I really could not believe.

“When I first went in there, I didn’t think anybody could do anything to help me. But they did everything they said they would. They could not have handled me any better. Right now, I feel like I could climb a mountain.”

Robert says he would climb a mountain, if necessary, to get to Regional Rehab.

“I just can’t recommend them highly enough,” he raves. “They were tremendous, the whole staff. They don’t just treat the ailment; they treat the whole patient. Charles and everyone are so caring about their patients. It’s just a fabulous place.”

“Brain Attack” Can Strike Anyone, Anytime

May 31st, 2018

Strokes don’t just happen to the elderly. They can disable or kill men and women of working age, too. That fact is just one of the awareness-raising messages the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is spreading during May, which is American Stroke Month.

A stroke or “brain attack” happens when blood flow to part of the brain is cut off. As a result, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die, which threatens the abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as muscle control, speech or memory.

Someone who suffers a minor stroke may have only temporary challenges, such as slurred speech or weakness of an arm or leg. But more serious strokes may lead to permanent paralysis or inability to speak. More than two-thirds of stroke survivors are left with some form of disability.

The faster a stroke victim receives treatment, the better the chances for survival and recovery. For each minute a stroke goes untreated and blood flow to the brain is blocked, the patient loses about 1.9 million neurons, which are nerve cells that transmit information throughout the body.

Be alert for these common symptoms of a stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately if they occur. Also, note the time the first symptom appears, because that can affect treatment decisions.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, an arm or a leg, especially on one side of the body;
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding what’s going on or being said;
  • Sudden difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes;
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination;
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

There are two types of “brain attacks” classified as strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a brain aneurysm bursts or a weakened blood vessel leaks. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks a vessel carrying blood to the brain.

A transient ischemic attack, commonly known as a TIA, can mimic stroke-like symptoms and lasts less than 24 hours. A TIA occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time. While they generally don’t cause permanent brain damage, TIAs are a serious warning sign of a future stoke and shouldn’t be ignored.

Some risk factors for strokes can’t be controlled, including age, gender or family history. But people can minimize other things that make them more susceptible, such as high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, smoking, drug and/or alcohol abuse, poor diet and lack of physical activity.

The bottom line: Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

Here, courtesy of the National Stroke Association and the American Heart Association, are other stroke facts by the numbers:

  • A stroke happens every 40 seconds.
  • Nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke every year.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.
  • Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in women and the fourth leading cause of death of men in this country. Some 185,000 people die from a stroke each year.

Women have higher risk of fatal strokes

May 29th, 2018

Some 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year, and more women die as a result, according to the American Heart Association, which has deemed May as American Stroke Month.

Women share many of the same risk factors as men, such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, depression and emotional stress. But for women, hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth also can influence how likely they are to suffer a stroke.

For instance, stroke risk increases during a normal pregnancy because of natural changes in the body such as increased blood pressure and stress on the heart. And women who have preeclampsia, or high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy, double their risk of a stroke later in life.

Women who have more than one miscarriage may be at greater risk for blood clots, which in turn increases their stroke risk.

Taking birth control pills, meanwhile, may double the risk of stroke, especially for women with high blood pressure.

Many women undergo hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats and pain during sex. Once thought to lower stroke risk, hormone replacement therapy actually slightly increases it.

Irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, quadruples stroke risk and is more common in women than men after age 75.

Strokes also are considerably more common in women who suffer from migraines with aura (flashing or shimmering lights, zigzagging lines or stars) and who also smoke.

Autoimmune diseases such as diabetes or lupus can increase the risk of stroke, too.

Because women generally live longer, a stroke is more apt to negatively impact their lives. They also are more likely to be living alone when they suffer a stroke and to end up in a long-term health care facility, and they have a more difficult recovery, according to the National Stroke Association.

Some stroke symptoms are unique to women, including hiccups, seizures, sudden behavioral change and hallucinations. Those might not be recognized as signs of a stroke, however, which could delay treatment and magnify the damage caused. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is diagnosed within three hours after the first symptoms appear.

While strokes typically affect women in their later years, doctors now are focusing on helping women reduce their risk earlier in life. That means more screening for high blood pressure – which is more common in women than in men – along with other health challenges.

Eating right and exercising can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve overall health for anyone. A healthy diet includes vegetables (dark green, red and orange), legumes (beans and peas), fruits (especially whole fruits), grains (at least half of them whole grains), fat-free or low-fat dairy, oils and proteins (seafood, lean meats and poultry, nuts, seeds and soy products). Limiting saturated and trans fats, added sugars and sodium also is part of eating healthier.

As for physical activity, a recent study shows that people can reduce their stroke risk if they exercise five or more times per week.


Suffering from shin splints?

May 7th, 2018

It’s not just fitness fanatics adamant about getting in their daily jog who are in danger of developing shin splints. Anyone who has flat feet, poorly fitting shoes or weak ankles, hips or core muscles are susceptible to shin splints as well.Stock photo from

Referred to by some doctors as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints usually develop as a result of continuous force being applied to the shin bone (tibia) and the connective tissue that attaches the shin bone to the muscles around it.

That continuous force can lead to a swelling of the muscles around the tibia. When those muscles are swollen, more pressure is applied to the tibia and the result can be a variety of symptoms, most of which are more annoying than anything else.

For example, someone suffering from shin splints may feel nothing more than a dull ache in their shins or a swelling in the lower leg. Others, however, may experience sharp, jabbing pains in and around their shin during exercise or numbness in their feet.

In more severe cases, the shin of someone suffering from shin splints may feel hot or painful to the touch, the lower part of their legs may feel weak, or they may experience prolonged bone or muscle pain in the lower leg and calf.

In those more severe cases, some of which are the cause of small cracks or fractures in the bone, it may be best to consult a doctor. In most cases, however, shin splints can usually be treated by adhering to some common treatment methods.

The most effective treatment method is rest – and lots of it. Depending on the cause of your shin splints, the time needed to recover properly can be anywhere from three to six months. In less severe cases, however, a few weeks of rest may do the trick.

That may seem like a lot, particularly for a workout warrior type who is accustomed to hitting the gym three or more times a week or running every day, but there are other activities that can be done to maintain good fitness while shin splints are healing.

Riding a bike, swimming or using an elliptical machine provides many of the same cardiovascular benefits that running does, and none of those activities put the same degree of stress on the legs that running does.

In addition to rest, icing the area of the leg that is painful or uncomfortable for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a day until the pain is gone helps to reduce the bothersome effects of shins splints, too.

As is the case with a lot of aches and pains, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin if your doctor allows it will further advance the healing process as well.

With extensive use of all the above, though, some side effects such as bleeding and ulcers can develop. Always be sure to follow label directions specifically when using those over-the-counter aids and if possible consult your doctor before taking them.

Finally, for those whose shin splints are more a result of physical issues such as flat feet or poor-fitting footwear, the use of orthotic shoe inserts or a better fitting pair of shoes can make all the difference in the world.

You’ll know your shin splints are gone when you resume whatever constitutes normal activity and you can apply pressure to the area that used to hurt without feeling pain or run and jump without feeling any pain in or around the shins.

Prior to that, though, strengthening your core muscles and the area around your hips and increasing your intake of foods such as milk and yogurt that are high in calcium and Vitamin D can help prevent shin splints from coming back.

Remember, it’s not just weekend warriors and fitness fanatics who get shin splints. Anyone can get them. The good news is that no one has to suffer from them for very long.

Perfecting First Impressions

Procedure refreshes droopy, tired eyes.

A native of the East Coast of Florida, Mary* and her family moved to the Tampa Bay area about four years ago. A stay-at-home mom, Mary handles the massive job of rearing her three daughters and managing the household, and when there’s time, she and her husband enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking and hiking.Stock photo from
With her busy schedule, Mary had every reason to look exhausted, but her perpetually tired look had little to do with her many activities. Mary had an issue with her eyelids that interfered with her appearance.
“I’ve always had very heavy eyelids, like an awning over my eyes,” she describes. “Heavy eyelids run in my family. My grandmother’s were so heavy, they rested on her eyelashes.”
Mary didn’t care for the way her eyes looked, and the impression they made didn’t represent her emotions accurately. It was discouraging when people misinterpreted her expression, especially her children.
“My kids would say, Mom, are you mad? What’s the matter? You look angry. Are you upset about something?” she shares. “I wasn’t. I just had that look on my face all the time, especially when I was tired from running around.”
The extra weight on her eyelids had been a problem for many years, and years ago, she considered taking some steps to treat it. However, she wasn’t thrilled with the options she was given.
“My best friend’s mother had surgery done on her eyelids probably twenty years ago, and she had nothing but great things to say about it,” Mary recounts. “That was actually the first time I talked to someone about having something done. It was scary, though, because the first physician I spoke to wanted to do a ton of things that I didn’t think were really necessary. I just wanted the heaviness and the tiredness off my eyelids.

“I’m very happy with my eyes. My kids don’t ask me if I’m angry when I walk in the room, and it doesn’t feel like I have a sandbag on my forehead.” – Mary

“I wasn’t happy with the way the first doctor I saw wanted to proceed, so I put it off. Then I went to another doctor, and she said the same thing. She wanted to do a whole bunch of things. I didn’t like that either.”
Facing a host of procedures or nothing at all, Mary chose to do nothing. After she and her family moved to Tampa, she visited an ophthalmologist who offered her another option. The eye specialist recommended Mary see William P. Mack, MD, at the Mack Center in South Tampa.
“I went to an eye doctor, and she said, You’ve got to go to an oculoplastic surgeon. They really know what they’re doing,” states Mary. “I asked if she recommended anyone in the area, and she recommended Dr. Mack. I did some research online, and all arrows pointed to Dr. Mack, so I made an appointment for a consultation.”

Cosmetic Option

When she arrived at the Mack Center and met Dr. Mack, Mary was very impressed. She immediately came to understand why he was so highly recommended. Dr. Mack, who solves problems related to the eyelids every day, understood Mary’s condition well. Even better, he offered her the option she was seeking.
“Dr. Mack was very knowledgeable, personable and easy to talk to,” says Mary. “He didn’t want to add a bunch of other procedures like the other two doctors I had consulted. I was really happy about his approach. I just wanted to address the issue of my heavy eyes.”
Dr. Mack is an oculoplastic surgeon who has been fellowship trained by the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

Stock photo from

Blepharoplasty is a safe, effective option that helps patients with
drooping eyelids improve
their appearance.

“Oculoplastics is a specialized branch of plastic surgery that focuses around the eyes and face,” notes Dr. Mack. “My extensive training in eye and plastic surgery allows me to offer the optimal surgical options to achieve my patients’ aesthetic goals.”
“When eye contact is made, we immediately begin forming our first impressions,” observes Dr. Mack. “Judging someone to be tired, sad, angry or pleasant is largely based on the appearance of the area around the eyes. Eyes that are healthy and bright tell a different story than eyes that are puffy or drooping.
“People who have sagging eyelids, like Mary, often look like they’re frustrated or upset, though they might feel happy and content. As a result, first impressions of those people can often be skewed.”
Fortunately, the procedure called blepharoplasty, commonly known as eyelid surgery, is a safe, effective and cosmetically appealing option for patients with drooping eyelids to improve their appearance. Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves removing excess eyelid tissue. It can be done on both the upper and the lower eyelids and can have a dramatic impact on the appearance of the eyes and face.
“Blepharoplasty of the upper eyelid is a very satisfying procedure,” informs Dr. Mack. “It is performed in the Mack Center or a local surgical center. We give our patients medication to help them relax; we remove the excess tissue along the course of the upper lid and then stitch the incision closed.”
For some people, puffiness and loose skin can form under the eyes with age. Many factors – including sun damage and heredity – often accelerate these changes. Younger people may also have bulging lower eyelids due to congenital excess fatty tissue. Fortunately, there is help for those who would like a fresher, more youthful appearance: lower blepharoplasty.

True Reflections

Dr. Mack performed upper and lower blepharoplasty on Mary’s eyes, and she was very pleased with the procedures as well as the recovery following surgery. Mary is happy with how quickly her eyes healed.
“I didn’t have any pain,” Mary reports. “There was some swelling, but every day was a little bit better. Now, I can’t believe my before and after pictures. It is a huge difference, and it has only been three months.”
Mary is thrilled with her great results and with how she looks and feels. Her eyes better reflect her true emotions now.
“I’m very happy with my eyes,” she offers. “My kids don’t ask me if I’m angry when I walk in the room, and it doesn’t feel like I have a sandbag on my forehead.”
Mary is grateful to Dr. Mack and the staff in his office. While she had her procedure done at the surgery center, her follow-up appointments at the Mack Center always made her smile. Everyone went out of his or her way to make Mary’s experience as comfortable as possible, and she’s always willing to share her experience with others.
“I have recommended Dr. Mack already,” she comments. “My mom’s even thinking of flying down here so she can consult with him.”
After experiencing the procedure and seeing and feeling the results, Mary is delighted. There’s only one thing she would change: “I feel like I put it off too long, but I’m glad I finally did it. It was because I was directed to Dr. Mack. He is very professional and talented.”

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