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PT News PTandMe

PT News February 2024

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout February 2024. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

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Pelvic Health

1. Pelvic Floor Therapy: Your Key to a Healthy and Empowered Life

Written by Carolina Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine with locations in Columbia, Charleston, Sumter, and Rock Hill, SC

Let’s talk about your pelvic floor muscles. Picture a hammock-like structure at the bottom of your pelvis, supporting your bladder, uterus, and rectum, and helping maintain continence. These muscles are key players in controlling urinary and fecal continence, supporting your pelvic organs, and enhancing intimacy…  Read more

 

neck pain

2. Pinched Nerve in the Neck? Start Treating with 2 Exercises

Written by JACO Rehab an outpatient physical therapy practice with 4 locations on Oahu, HI.

Sometimes neck stiffness, arm weakness, or feelings of pins and needles down your arm can be signs of a “pinched nerve” from the neck. This injury is common but annoying, often irritated by simple day-to-day activities. This can include: Looking over your shoulder while driving, gazing up at the birds in the sky, or sleeping in the “wrong” position…  Read more

 

Dry Needling

3. Discover Smarter Pain Relief with Dry Needling

Written by Wright Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy group with locations throughout the state of Idaho.

Dry needling is an increasingly popular treatment option for individuals dealing with chronic pain, offering a myriad of benefits. Some advantages of incorporating dry needling into your pain management plan includes Pain Relief: Dry needling aids in effectively reducing both localized and referred pain by releasing tight trigger points and muscle bands. Improved Mobility: By targeting specific muscles, dry needling assists in enhancing muscle function and increasing the range of motion, making daily activities smoother and more enjoyable… Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News February 2024 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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Get a Better Night’s Rest in Your Favorite Sleeping Position

How to Get a Better Night's Rest in Your Favorite Sleeping Position

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Healthy Sleeping Tips

Snuggling up for a snooze-fest isn’t just for dreaming about sheep – it’s the best way to help protect your mental health, physical health, and quality of life. For many, getting a good night’s rest doesn’t come by so easily. Tossing and turning throughout the night can lead to exhaustion throughout the day, and the repercussions of poor sleep ripple through every facet of one’s well-being, emphasizing the crucial importance of prioritizing healthy sleep habits.

The National Institutes of Health suggests that school-age children need at least 9 hours of sleep daily, teens need 8-10 hours, and adults need at least 7 hours.

Everyone tends to have their preferred go-to sleep position that always helps them drift into slumber. For some, it’s the classic back position, others find comfort curling up on their side, and some prefer sleeping on their belly.

Sleeping for hours on end in the same position can have its pitfalls if your body is not properly supported. While favorite sleep positions differ, some key principles apply to almost everyone. See which sleeper you tend to be, and think about the tips that apply:

How to Get a Better Nights Rest in Your Favorite Sleeping Position

The Side Sleeper

Put a pillow between your legs to get alignment for your hips to your knees, and make sure the pillow you rest your head on provides alignment with the height of your spine

The Back Sleeper

Make sure the pillow under your head is not too high and provides support for your neck so that your head and your spine are in alignment. If you find that there is pain in your lower back from the curvature of your body, you can put a pillow under your legs to lessen the curvature in your back and relieve stress

The Stomach Sleeper

Not recommended for long periods. This position overextends your neck because it forces you to turn your head to the side while the rest of your body faces the bed. Your arms may also be over-extended if you have them above your head causing stress to your back

Choosing the Right Pillow

While there are many things you can do to try to get a good night’s rest, the solution may be lying right beneath your head. A pillow that adequately supports the head helps maintain proper spinal alignment, and prevents stiffness and soreness in the neck & shoulders, minimizing discomfort. Proper head support can alleviate issues such as snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux by promoting optimal breathing patterns and reducing pressure on the airways.

Here are some factors to consider when you’re out shopping for the perfect pillow:

  • Your ideal pillow should let your head rest so that it’s aligned with your shoulders, hips, and heels, forming a straight line from your head to your body.
  • If your head tilts back (or to one side when side sleeping), your pillow is too thin and might cause stiffness in your shoulders.
  • If your head tilts upward and disrupts the straight line, your pillow is too full or thick. This can reduce the size of your airway causing you to snore.

Take advantage of the return policy on your pillows and try it out for a few days. If you’re uncomfortable, return it and find another. Keep in mind the right pillow for you depends on your sleep position(s). Here are some suggestions to get it right the first time!

  • BACK SLEEPERS: Try thinner pillows or pillows with more volume in the bottom third to cradle your neck.
  • SIDE SLEEPERS: Look for a firmer pillow that fills in the space between your ear and shoulder.
  • STOMACH SLEEPERS: Opt for a very thin pillow to keep your back from arching or even sleep without one.

Experiment with different pillows and sleep positions to find what works best for you. Remember, the key is not only in the position itself but also in maintaining proper alignment and providing support where needed.

If these tips don’t help you get a better night’s rest in your favorite sleeping position, or if you are experiencing pain, physical therapy should be considered as the next solution. Range of motion exercises may be prescribed by a physical therapist if you have a neck ailment that limits mobility to your shoulder(s) or arm(s). A physical therapist can work with you to help perform these exercises and determine the cause of your pain to allow your body to heal day in and out. May your nights be filled with sweet dreams and countless sheep and your days with boundless energy, as you embrace these healthy sleeping tips.

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office ergonomics

The Ergonomic Workstation

The Ergonomically correct workstation; Ergonomic workstation set up

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Having an ergonomic workstation means that your desk and the things on it are arranged in such a way, that they prevent injury and are well within reach and use. An ergonomic workstation also promotes good posture. Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting, or lying down. An ergonomically designed workstation promotes good posture and helps to:

  • Keep bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
  • Help decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decrease the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Counter fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevent strain or overuse problems.
  • Avert backache and muscular pain.

Proper ergonomics plays an instrumental role in how effectively you accomplish work and will help prevent suffering from work-related injuries due to strain and overuse. In the diagram below you will find both sitting and standing workstation recommendations to achieve a proper ergonomic workstation.

seated ergonomic workstation: Ergonomic workstation set up

SITTING: Body position guidelines

  • Lower back supported by a lumbar curve
  • Bottom & Thighs distributed pressure
  • ARMS minimal bend at the wrist
  • The area behind the knee not touching the seat
  • Feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
  • Wrists and hands do not rest on sharp or hard edges
  • The telephone should be used with your head upright (not bent) and your shoulders relaxed (not elevated)

 

Standing Ergonomics: Ergonomic workstation set up

STANDING: Working Guidelines

  • Precision Work – above elbow height
  • Light Work – just below elbow height
  • Heavy Work – 4-6 inches below elbow height

 

Setting Up Your Ergonomic Workstation

Video Provided by North Lake Physical Therapy

Physical and occupational therapists have experience working with patients to improve posture and ergonomics. Some clinics have therapists that go into the workplace and arrange a patient’s workplace, making it ergonomically efficient. For more information or to find a therapist near you

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Heart Disease to Healthy Hearts

Healthy Hearts This February

Heart Disease to Healthy Hearts

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. More than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease compared to those with normal blood pressure.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention, you can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.

To lower your risk you can:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

The American Heart Association also has some great resources on their website including tips to stay active, and how to make every move count!

If you need help finding exercises and activities that fit your lifestyle and abilities talk to your physical therapist. PTs specialize in the science of movement, so who better to ask? If you don’t have a physical therapist make sure you check out our PT finder and get started on your path to a healthy heart this February!

PT News PTandMe

PT News January 2024

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout January 2024. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

physical therapy near me

1. Ankle Injury: Sprain or Fracture

Written by The Jackson Clinics with locations throughout Northern Virginia

Ankles, the unsung heroes of mobility, often bear the brunt of our daily activities. Ankle injuries are common, whether it’s a misstep on uneven ground or a sudden twist. However, distinguishing between a sprain or a fracture is crucial for effective treatment and recovery. Today, we’ll delve into the key differences between ankle sprains and fractures…  Read more

 

Blood Flow Restriction Therapy

2. Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFR): Enhancing Strength, Hypertrophy, and Power

Written by Mishock Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy practice with clinics throughout Montgomery, Berks, and Chester Counties.

In Part I of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR), we reviewed the history of the technique and the evidence of its use during physical therapy and rehabilitation when returning from injury or orthopedic surgery.  Whether an individual is focusing on recovering from an injury or training to enhance sports performance, BFR can optimize strength, endurance, motor control, and power. In this article, I will review the physiological mechanisms behind BFR…  Read more

 

Physical Therapy for a Broken Rib

3. Physical Therapy for a Broken Rib

Written by Integrated Rehabilitation Services an outpatient physical therapy group with locations throughout the state of Connecticut.

Your ribs play a protective role, shielding your lungs and chest cavity from impact. Yet these forces may be sharp enough to break a rib or two, resulting in pain and breathing difficulties. Recovery following a broken rib often involves strengthening the area and addressing breathing concerns. Learn what to expect from physical therapy… Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News January 2024 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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Exercises that help improve posture

Exercises that Help Improve Posture

Exercises that help improve posture

How Do I know I need to Improve My Posture?

Great Question. Here’s a quick test you can do at home. If you have a full-length mirror, stand in front so your full-body profile is visible. If not, ask someone to snap a photo on your phone. Take a look. If you have good posture, you should be able to draw a straight line down from your ears to the floor that intersects your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. If the lines connecting your joints look more like a connect-the-dots, than a straight line, that’s a good indicator that posture is something you should work on.

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Exercises that Help Improve Posture:

Being aware that you need to improve your posture is the first step. We recommend starting with a few general exercises (below). If you don’t see the results you’ve intended or are having trouble sticking with it, the next step would be to ask for help. Physical therapists can provide you with a guided rehabilitation plan to improve posture and reduce long-term symptoms.

3  Exercises Recommended by Physical Therapists, that Improve Posture:

1. Supine Neck Retraction:

Lie on your back with your head on a pillow and your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Bring your chin straight back down, gently pressing the back of your head down on the pillow, lengthening the back of your neck. Hold for a few seconds and then relax. There should be no pain felt while doing this exercise. Repeat several times to strengthen the muscles at the front of your neck.

2. Shoulder Retraction:

You can do this while sitting or standing. You’re going to ease your shoulder blades back, hold, and relax. The goal is to squeeze your shoulder blades together as far back as you comfortably can. Hold this position for a few seconds before releasing. There should be no pain felt while performing this exercise. Repeat several times to strengthen the muscles in your upper back, which can help pull your shoulders back and improve posture.

3. Standing Wall Posture:

While standing, bring your shoulders back against a wall with your hips, with your feet slightly away from the wall. Bring your next up against the wall as well. Gently hold your body in that position, feeling the muscles along your spine, squeezing back in as you maintain an upright posture. Hold for about 30 seconds, let it relax, and do another round. This exercise helps you become more aware of your posture and strengthens the muscles that support your spine.

Special Thanks to Green Oaks Physical Therapy for filming.

Why is Good Posture Important?

Poor posture can significantly affect the body, leading to various health issues and discomfort. When the body is consistently slouching or hunched over, it puts a strain on our muscles and joints. This strain can lead to musculoskeletal imbalances, causing pain and discomfort in the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Over time, poor posture can contribute to chronic conditions like headaches, back pain, and even digestive issues.

Before starting any exercise routine it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider. Some patients will have limitations regarding range of motion, strength, and ability.  If you know you need help, consult a physical therapist or a qualified fitness professional who can assess your posture and create a personalized exercise plan tailored to your needs and goals.

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Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

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Did you know that you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range, by making a few lifestyle changes?

Preventing high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Try practicing these healthy living habits!

Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, providers often calculate your body mass index (BMI). We can review your BMI during your next visit, and If your BMI isn’t where you would like it, we can go over ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity, and if necessary, connect you with a care provider we know and trust.

Be Physically Active

If you need help staying active – let us know. We can work with you to develop an aerobic and strengthening plan that works for you. In the meantime, we have some easy ways to be more active to help you get started. Why are we so adamant about this? Because physical activity can help keep you at a healthy weight AND lower your blood pressure. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week. That’s about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is not only important to your overall health, but it’s a vital part of keeping your heart healthy and for recovery during rehabilitation. Not getting enough sleep regularly is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. If pain is inhibiting your sleep, let us know. We can work with you to identify the best sleeping positions for your injury.

We love working with members of our communities and helping them live full, meaningful lives. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more information about our services, follow up on a plan of care, or stop by to say hello!

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cold weather exercise tips

Cold Weather Exercise Tips: Running Safety

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Cold temperatures and decreasing daylight hours do not mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running through the cold weather can ease the winter doldrums, improve your energy level and help you to be in better shape for the spring/summer. However, it is important to follow our PTandMe cold-weather exercise tips to run safely and comfortably through wintry weather.

  • Pay attention to temperature and wind chill: If the temperature drops below zero F or the wind chill is below -20F, you should hit the treadmill.
  • Protect your hands and feet: It is estimated that as much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet.
  • Dress in layers: It is important to start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat away from your body. stay away from cotton as a base layer as it holds moisture and will keep you wet. If it is really cold out, you will need a middle layer, such as polar fleece for added insulation.
  • Avoid overdressing: You should feel a slight chill off your body the first 5 minutes of winter running; after that, you should warm-up.
  • Protect your head:  Wearing a hat that will help prevent heat loss is very important.
  • Do not stay in wet clothes: If you get wet from rain, snow or even from sweat in chilly temperatures, you are at risk for hypothermia. It is important that you change wet clothing immediately and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible.
  • Stay hydrated: Despite the cool weather, you will still heat up and loos fluids through sweat. The cool air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or sports drinks before, during and after you run.
  • Remember sunscreen: Sunburn is still possible in the winter. It is also important to protect your lips with lip balm.
  • Take it easy when it is frigid: The colder the temperature becomes, the greater your risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easily on very cold days.
  • Run in the wind: If at all possible, head out into the wind, so that on your return run, the wind will be at your back when you are sweaty and could catch a chill.

Looking for help with a nagging injury? Find a physical therapist near you.

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For more cold-weather exercise tips to keep you safe this winter check out the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  Snow Shoveling Safety PTandMe

exercise tips

Exercise Tips to Get You Moving

exercise tips

Becoming physically active requires a conscious effort for most adults. Develop an exercise program to fit your individual goals. Be sure to consider ways to increase your activity levels throughout the day. Every little bit helps! If you find it too challenging to fit 30 minutes of activity into your day, break it up into 10 to 15-minute intervals and accumulate your activity throughout the day.

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Exercise Tips to Activate Your Lifestyle.

Challenge yourself to move more! Find ways to become more active in your daily living. For example, you can:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Take a 10-minute stretch or walk break at work.
  • Turn on the music and vacuum.
  • Wash your own car – and your neighbor’s too.
  • Do strength-training exercises in front of the TV
  • Park in the furthest parking space and walk.

Make Fitness fun!

The secret to a successful fitness program is enjoyment! Choose physical activities that you enjoy doing. This could mean walking, playing tennis, biking or joining a team sport.

  • Consider trying something different, such as yoga, WallPilates or kickboxing.
  • Coach a youth sports team – your rewards will be many.
  • Enter a race – it will motivate you.
  • Plant a garden and share its beauty and bounty.
  • Make Sunday walks or hikes a weekly tradition.
  • Set up a morning walking or biking club; exercise buddies can help you be honest.

Anticipate the unexpected.

Lousy weather, travel (both business and pleasure) and the ups and downs of daily life can play havoc with your best-laid fitness plan. Always have a backup plan. If it is raining have an indoor activity to do, If you are taking a trip, throw in your walking shoes or a jump rope and fit in exercise when you can.

In addition to being stronger and more fit, aerobic exercise has so many health benefits. If you need help getting started or need some motivation to contact your physical therapist. They can work with you to create an exercise plan that works for you and your ability levels. You are never too old to be more active!

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reducing holiday stress

Jingled Nerves, Jingled Nerves, Jingled All The Way: Reducing Holiday Stress

reducing holiday stress

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with to-do lists. This year find ways to enjoy yourself and get rid of the stress that’s keeping you up at night with our quick tips! Reducing holiday stress is the key to enjoying the holidays – so what are you waiting for? We have some great ideas!

Plan Ahead and Prioritize
Sit down with your family and come up with a list of ideas on how you would like to spend the holidays. Decide which ideas would be the most stressful in terms of cost, time, and energy and cross them off your list.

Choose the things that you enjoy and can accomplish realistically. Prioritize the events that matter most to you and your family, and set a budget.

Clarify Your Values
Reflect on the way you spend the holidays. What is most important to you—spending more money on your loved ones or spending more time with them? Do you believe the idea that “love-equals-money”? Are you driven by perfectionism and competitive gift? Do you take the time to experience joy and the true meaning of the season? What other ways could you show your love? Do you enjoy shopping or is it a hassle each year? Is gift giving really meaningful or do you end up with lots of clutter and gifts that you do not really need? What, if anything, would you like to change about how you celebrate the holidays? Answering these and other questions can help to clarify your values for the holiday season, and result in a much more relaxed and meaningful time.

Simplify
Here are some tips to simplify your holiday challenges:
• If you dislike traffic jams, crowded shopping malls and parking lots, and waiting in long lines, try shopping online.
• Plan to finish all of your gift shopping well in advance of the holidays.
• Wrap your presents early.
• Cut back on your baking. Do not bake 10 different types of cookies. Make your goodies ahead of time and freeze them so you will have less to do during busy times. If you are looking for dessert variety, try organizing a cookie exchange with your family and friends.
• Take care of several errands in one trip, rather than making multiple trips.
• Consider drawing names rather than exchanging gifts with all your family members and friends.
• Limit the number of social events you host or attend.
• Delegate tasks to family members. Do not feel that you must be responsible for everything.

Take Care of Your Health
You will be at your best and more resistant to stress and possible infection if you take good care of your health. Here are some suggestions:
• Get plenty of sleep each night (at least 8 hours).
• Exercise regularly.
• Eat a well-balanced diet. It is okay to have some goodies at a party, but a few extra calories here and there can add up to holiday weight gain—slowing you down.
• Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol depresses the nervous system and can cause fatigue and sleep disturbances.
• Take time to unwind. Take a hot bath or find a quiet place to enjoy some time alone each day. Even a few minutes can make a difference.
• Stick to your healthy routine as much as possible.

time Xmas

Don’t Forget the Joy
Try to celebrate the holidays in new and creative ways. Remember that you are not a “human doing” but a human being! Enjoy the uniqueness of each special person in your life and enjoy the time you can spend just being together. Seek out the simple joys of the holiday season with your friends and family. Taking a walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations, singing carols, playing games, or just talking are easy and healthy ways to positively experience the holidays.

Adjust Your Expectations
We get a lot of messages about how things should be at the holidays. We have been programmed to believe that the holidays are a time of great joy, love, and togetherness. The truth is that many people may be having a hard time during the holidays, whether they are grieving the loss of a loved one, having financial problems, or experiencing difficulty with their family relationships. Sadness is common during this time of year, which is often referred to as “holiday blues.”

One way to reduce stress and the “holiday blues” is to keep your expectations realistic. Things will likely not be perfect, no matter how hard you try. There may be disappointments, arguments, and frustrations, in addition to excitement and joy. Try to go with the flow, allowing for inevitable delays and setbacks. Do not have the expectation of perfection from yourself, as well as from others around you.

If you are grieving a loss or feeling sad and lonely, accept these feelings. Do not feel guilty about your sadness or try to force yourself to be happy just because it is the holiday season. If this is a difficult time for you, adopt a nurturing attitude toward yourself. Do not be afraid to seek support from family, friends, or a counselor. If the holidays are a lonely time for you, find ways to increase your social support or consider volunteering your services to those in need. Helping others in need is a wonderful way to celebrate the message of the holiday season, as well as an excellent way to help you feel better.

by Amy Scholten, MPH

RESOURCES:
The American Institute of Stress
http://www.stress.org/

American Psychological Association
http://www.psych.org/

How to Live with Anxiety
https://www.buzzrx.com/blog/how-to-live-with-anxiety 

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada
http://www.anxietycanada.ca/

Canadian Mental Health Association
http://www.cmha.ca/bins/index.asp

REFERENCES:
North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension website. Available at: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/. Accessed December 3, 2002.

Sleep, sleepiness, and alcohol use. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Available at: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-2/101-109.htm.

University of Maryland website. Available at: http://www.umm.edu. Accessed December 3, 2002.

Weil Cornell psychiatrist offers advice for reducing holiday stress. Cornell University website. Available at: http://www.med.cornell.edu/. Accessed June 10, 2007

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