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6 Ideas for a Kids’ First Aid Holiday Gift Basket

It always easier to shop for the kids on your holiday gift list than it is to shop for their parents. How ‘bout something for everyone? Put together a kids’ first aid gift basket. Sure, the newby parents on your gift list have baby aspirin, hydrogen peroxide and tweezers, but these 6 unique, fun kid-centric items give a first-aid kit or medicine cabinet a little pizazz.

1. Retro Ice packs

Fun medical gifts for kidsSkip the frozen peas and the plastic Ziploc bag full of ice. Instead, get a couple of these straight-out-of-a-fifties-slapstick-sitcom retro ice packs. Include this in your gift basket, and the kids will have a little more fun despite a bruised knee or bumped head.

2. Patterned Bandages

Patterned Band Aids for ChristmasFrom princesses and pirates to bacon and eggs, bandages come in every zany color and pattern you can imagine. Pick up four or five inexpensive boxes of various designs to encourage happy healing.

3. Electronic Thermometer

Ear Thermometer for ChristmasTry this ear thermometer (shown on the left) for quick doctor-office-like temperature checks on the little ones. If you’d prefer the classic oral temp-taking, get one of these fun and cartoonish animal shaped thermometers. Be sure to include a gift receipt so mom or dad can return or exchange this item if it’s not quite perfect for their kids.

4. Child I.D. & Records Kit

Children Identification kit

This inexpensive record and ID kit for kids (shown above) keeps all necessary emergency information in one central location. For babysitters or emergency medical professionals, access to this information could prove to be life-saving.

5. Red Wash Cloths

Red Wash Cloths for kids

Show off your child-rearing skills (even if you’re just faking it) and give the gift of these blood-disguising red washcloths. Using these to clean up a scraped elbow or sliced finger will keep kids from the trauma of seeing their own spilt blood. Trust me.

6. First-Aid Book

First Aid book for ChristmasWhen it comes to caring for kids, you can never have TOO much information. Finish your gift basket with one of these simple-to-use First Aid books: First Aid for Babies and Children from DK Publishing; Baby & Child Emergency First Aid: Simple Step-By-Step Instructions for the Most Common Childhood Emergencies by Mitchell J. Einzing; or First Aid for Families from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

There is no better way to show your friends and family that you love them then to show that you love their kids just as much. Happy holidays!

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5 Essential Pieces of Outdoor Running Gear

Runners often relegate themselves to the treadmill for the winter months. As long as you are well prepared, there is no reason you can’t enjoy outdoor jogs all season long. Here are four essential pieces of outdoor exercise attire to keep you warm and comfortable during your winter workouts.

winter jogging gear

1. Hat

Mom always told us that we lose most of our body heat through our head. The truth is, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But, that doesn’t mean you should head out into the cold bare-headed! A simple wool or fleece hat that covers your ears (you don’t want your ears to fall off, do you VanGogh?) should do the trick. You can easily take it off and tuck it in your pants if you get overheated.

2. Neck Coverage

The point here is two fold: obviously, to keep your neck warm, but also to have something you can pull up over your mouth to warm the air you’re breathing in. A scarf or bandana can definitely do the trick. But, crafty runners know that a neck gaiter (like a tube top for your neck) is warmer and will stay in place better.

3. Upper Body Layers

Your torso is a tricky li’l devil to keep warm and dry. Sweat plus wind equates to swimming in Lake Michigan in January–no fun. The key is layers.

Layer A – Closest to your body should be a wicking layer that wicks the sweat away from your skin. This layer should NEVER be cotton, because once you get wet, you will stay wet. Instead, you’ll want to wrap yourself in the first of many space age fabrics with hard-to-spell names.
Suggested fabrics: DryFit, Thinsulate, Thermax, CoolMax and polypropolene.

Layer B – For the bitter cold (generally below 10 degrees fahrenheit) include a middle insulating layer. Again, this layer needs to continue wicking away sweat but also allow for a perfect balance of heat-trapping and vapor-releasing–keeping you warm but not overheated.
Suggested fabrics: Akwatek, Dryline, Polartec, polyester fleece, Microfleece, Thermafleece and Thermax.

Layer C – This is your anti-element layer. The fabric should be waterproof and windproof, but still allow moisture to escape. Learn from Mr. Rogers, and consider an outer layer with a zipper so you can zip and unzip as your body temperature changes.
Suggested fabrics: ClimaFit, Gore-Tex, Microsuplex, nylon, Supplex, and Windstopper.

4. Gloves

When you exercise, your body, like a vampire on a diet, prioritizes its use of blood. Instead of an even distribution, blood flow is redirected to essential areas like your core and active muscles. Your hands will get cold quicker than you’d ever think, even in mild weather. Try and find gloves that wick away moisture, and on ridiculously cold days, wear mittens so your digits can help keep each other warm.

5. Lower Body Layers

Since your legs are doing most of the work when running, it doesn’t take much to keep them warm. Usually, a pair of tights or running pants will keep you comfortable on your winter run. Pants made from synthetic materials such as Thermion, Thinsulate, Thermax, Coolmax or polypropolene are perfect. You may want to consider a second wind-proof layer, like track pants, on particularly frigid days.

Even if you are properly dressed, getting through that first mile can be tough. Try warming up inside with jumping jacks, jumping rope or running in place. Even better, find a running partner to help motivate you on those extra chilly days. Stay fit and stay warm this winter.

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10 Easy ways to drop the weight from Thanksgiving Dinner

The Thanksgiving table is a place for family, friends…and calories. These ten tips will help you drop the turkey weight as the holidays roll on.

Stay Hydrated to drop weight

1. Drink water.

People often mistake thirst for hunger. Next time your stomach’s growling, grab a big glass of water first. Not only is water great for you, drinking also helps you feel full. Sipping on some water (or even unsweetened iced tea) just before you eat and throughout the meal keeps your need to feed under control.

2. Splurge! (Once in awhile).

Three meals a day for seven days means there are 21 meals in a week. If you allow yourself to eat whatever you want for even 2 of those, you won’t set yourself back. And you’ll feel less deprived.

Lose Weight Easily

3. Spice it up.

Replace that mayo for spicy salsa and get the kick without the calories. From sandwiches and salad dressings to grilled chicken or fish, this easy substitution is a great way to thin out your meal.

4. Take it home.

The holidays often call for celebratory dinners out. At restaurants, before you even dig in, reduce the temptation to clean your plate by setting aside one-third of your meal. Ask your server to pack it up, and you can take it home for lunch the next day. Try this at home too and you can save yourself 500 calories a day, that’s a pound a week!

5. Lay off the booze.Avoid Alcohol

Eggnog, Brandy Alexanders and Mudslides may seem like harmless holiday libations while in actuality it’s the equivalent of drinking a rich dessert. Remember that all alcoholic drinks are a source of calories. A 12-ounce beer has 150 calories; a 3.5-ounce glass of wine, 85. A margarita packs a bigger caloric punch. The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with water.

6. Stay away from sodas.

Soft drinks are a major source of empty calories. Americans drink twice as much soda as milk and nearly six times more soda than fruit juice. If you are craving something sweet, you’re better off enjoying a small piece of dark chocolate than a can of cola. Solids satiate better than liquids. However, if you’re truly thirsty, reach for water or unsweetened iced tea instead of soda.

Enjoy your meal without rushing7. Don’t just eat — dine.

Eating on the run, at your desk, in your car or in front of the tube invites mindless munching. Instead, set the table every time you eat. Sit down and enjoy every last bite of your meal. Savor snacks too. Sitting down with a few potato chips on your best china helps assure that you don’t finish the whole bag.

8. Find a friend.

Whenever possible, don’t eat alone. Dining with loved ones slows down the pace of the meal and quite honestly, keeps you a little self-conscious.

9. Make smart substitutions.Healthy Alternatives

Look for nutritious low-calorie alternatives to sugary, high-fat treats. Try frozen grapes instead of candy. Use air-popped popcorn instead of oil-popped. Two egg whites instead of one whole egg, brown rice instead of white, frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. A few swaps a day can save a whole lot of calories.

10. Have a “party plan.”

When attending one of your countless holiday parties, offer to bring a plate. Not only will you be a courteous and gracious guest, but arriving armed with fresh veggies, fruit or any other low-calorie snack ensures that you’ll have something to snack on without feeling guilty.

When it comes to shedding the extra pounds, a few adjustments here and there can make a world of difference. But, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Happy Turkey Day!

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3 Common causes of Back Pain

Your back is a remarkable and complex puzzle made up of 26 vertebrae and over 30 muscles, plus ligaments, joints and discs. With so many structures susceptible to stress and injury, it is no wonder that 80% of adults experience symptoms of back pain in their lifetime. Here are three common causes of back pain:Lower Back Pain

1. Strains and Sprains

Strains and sprains are the most common causes of back pain. A muscular strain (or tear) typically happens when doing something stupid like trying to lift something too heavy or pretending you can keep up with your 16-year-old nephew on the basketball court. While it may seem like the injury was a one-time incident with a specific cause, chances are it was a long time coming—over time our muscles tighten up due to a variety of factors including overuse and bad posture. Like a slingshot stretched and tightened, it’s only a matter of time before it snaps! So, when you complain that a nasty sneeze sent your back into spasms, it was actually months and months of gradually building tension. High-intensity sporting activities like gymnastics, football and racquetball have high incidences of muscular strains due to the repetitive bending and twisting motions. But even less strenuous activities like gardening and other lawn work can lead to muscular strains. A lumbar sprain (with similar causes and symptoms to a muscle strain) occurs when the ligaments, the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together, are torn from their attachments.

2. Disc Damage

A ruptured intervertebral disc, also called a herniated disc, is another one of the most common causes of back pain. Herniated discs result in back pain by compressing the spinal nerves where they exit the spinal column. They are often the result of repetitive vibratory motion—think truck drivers, machine users or that guy in your office who uses is annoying chair massager all day long. Herniated discs can also happen due to a sudden heavy load on the back (usually improper lifting). A herniated disc results in a radicular type of back pain in which pain is felt at the site of injury and along the course of the affected nerve. Discogenic back pain is a similar disc pain but without a herniated disc. Discogenic pain is typically not the result of an injury, but rather the slow physical and chemical degeneration of spinal discs.

3. Disease

Arthritis typically affects the hands and fingers, but it can also attack the back. The tiny joints in your spine are just as susceptible as the tiny joints in your digits. Scoliosis refers to the curvature of the spine, but usually isn’t a problem until later in life when it can cause severe back pain. Lastly, tumors on the spine can put tremendous pressure on the nerves, again, causing severe back pain.

Three ways to prevent back injury:

Lift Right.

Healthy Lifting TipsHealthy Lifting TechniquesHealthy Lifting for the Back


While there are plenty of able young people available for hire, once in awhile you’ll probably have to lift something heavy. Do it right, and avoid injury.

Lose Weight

Lose Weight to save your backPack on the pounds and your back will only suffer. Besides, maintaining a proper body weight is a good idea for plenty of reasons. Exercise. Eat right. Live well.


Keep Proper Posture

Whether you’re in a chair, on your feet or in your bed, maintaining proper posture helps prevent back problems. Use a cushion behind your back if a chair isn’t ergonomically correct, and replace that old mattress for a good night’s sleep.Good Posture goes a long way




Back pain doesn’t have to be chronic. Keep your back a friend not a foe.

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Alcohol and its Detrimental Effect’s to Men’s Health

Whenever there are special occasions, whether it’s a promotion or an opening of a new business, there’s always alcohol. People like to celebrate events with champagne, beer and other fancy beverages that contain alcohol. But, like they always say, drink in moderation and drink responsibly. Excessive alcohol consumption has a number of detrimental effects, some of which are permanent.

Alcohol and Its Effects

There are so few men in today’s world who do not drink alcohol. Most men do. Some are social drinkers who only drink when there is an occasion or when they are with friends who also drink. Some drink to de-stress, while others drink to get rid of their depression. There are others, however, who drink because they are already addicted to alcohol. Although a glass of red wine every other night is good for the health, drinking a lot each day and night has several negative effects not just to health, but also to emotional and mental well-being.

1. Psychological and Mental Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol has an effect on the brain’s functions. It affects memory, specifically retrospective memory. Aside from retrospective, two other types of memories are everyday memory and prospective memory. Everyday memory refers to recollecting day-to-day responsibilities or activities, while prospective memory refers to recalling future activities, like when to send a card to someone or when a meeting is supposed to take place. As for retrospective memory, this refers to the memories that allow a person to understand and remember previously learned things. Although alcohol use has some slight effect on both prospective and everyday memories, it is retrospective memory that’s severely affected by excessive alcohol use.

In addition to detrimental effects on memory, alcohol use also causes depression. This is because alcohol affects certain substances in the brain, which then makes a drinker susceptible to developing depression. In addition, a regular drinker will find it harder to deal with his alcohol addiction, and this causes family arguments or fights between partners. All of the fighting and the arguments make a drunk’s life more depressing and miserable.

2. Physical and Health Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol consumption does have some serious unfavourable effects to health. It causes high blood pressure, heart attacks, stomach ulcers, and strokes, among others. Those who have a few drinks in one sitting can easily increase their blood pressure, but only temporarily. However, it’s another story for binge drinkers. Those who often binge can permanently increase their blood pressure, which then causes many other life-threatening health problems. Alcohol drinkers could suffer from either obesity or weight loss too. So, either people become overweight or underweight. It is also common for drinkers to develop stomach ulcer, also known as peptic ulcer. This is dangerous because severe ulcers lead to internal bleeding, which can then cause death. Alcohol abuse is also known to cause damage to the nerves.

Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of road accidents. Accidents on the road could become pretty serious, and drunk drivers are often not the only victims in such events. There are innocent bystanders, pets or animals, other drivers, and children. Drunk drivers and their victims can suffer serious physical injuries, like puncture or open wounds, fractures, spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries. Such injuries could cause permanent conditions or deformities, including amputations or loss of limb, paralysis, or even death.


Claire Shaun is a freelance writer. She blogs for Musca Law, which specializes in DUI crimes. In case you or a loved one becomes involved in an alcohol-related car accident, knowledgeable Musca attorneys would be able to help you out.

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Mental Detox Tips

Are you feeling a little BLAH? Do you feel rundown, tired and lethargic? Summer is over, and fall has arrived. Which for some people means a little rest and relaxation is in order. If you overindulged this summer, with food and social time you may be feeling extra run down. The human body, has the ability to detox, but when we are tired and stressed out, it cannot function as optimally as possible.

Taking time out each day to pause can help you feel more aligned with yourself and feel healthier. Meditation is a good way to rebalance yourself. It serves as a form of mental detoxification.

If you are looking for a way to feel better, you can try meditate. Sit for 5-10 minutes a day in silence.

Here are the top benifits of meditation:

Improves Confidence

Meditation, whether you do it for 5 minutes or for hours, can help improve your connection with yourself. When we meditate we have an opportunity to quit the mind and the mental chatter. In the quietness we can listen to our inner voice and ourselves. This in turn can help improve our confidence.

Improves Circulation

When we sit in a moment of silence we can improve our internal bodily functions. Your circulation in general can improve if you meditate regularly.

Improves Balance

When we meditate daily we can find a sense of peace and serenity. It can actually help you connect to your breath and breathe deeper. You can feel your lungs expanding and it will help you improve your balance. You will have more mental clarity, and balance.

Improves Health

People, who meditate often, in general have a better outlook on life. They see things clearly and don’t tend to stress out about the small stuff. Most often they look at the bright side of life and understand that everything happens for a reason. If you want more balance, clarity and focus consider quieting the mind and meditating.

Mediation has been known to increase health by conditioning the mind to think more positively. When you practice meditation often you are more equipped to handle life’s difficulties. Visualization is a form of mediation that many health professionals use to help patients during health procedures. Dentists often ask patient to visualize a procedure going well, if the patient has dental anxiety for example. There are many documented cases where visualization, a popular form of meditation has helped people reach their goals. 

Shannon Kaiser writes about wellness for the health community of Portland. For more health advice visit TenderCare Dental, a Dentist in Hillsboro.


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4 Fitness Secrets to help you stay young

We all want to prolong our youth as much as possible. Humans have been seeking the fountain of youth for centuries, but just how can we do it? Is the elusive fountain of youth based on DNA, is it found in what we eat, the chemicals we are exposed to, or does it come from relationships and exercise?

Researchers have known for decades that one of the most effective ways of staving off the aging process is exercise. It keeps the body’s weight in check, improves the health of the heart and blood vessels, and reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, and stroke. It also enhances mental health and produces chemicals in the body that help us to feel good and relax. The more we relax and sleep, the better we handle stress and the slower we age. Living an active life has no drawbacks and more benefits than almost any other lifestyle factor.

All of us recognize that being active is good for us, but how do we go about shifting our lifestyles from sedentary to active? What types of exercise are the best to delay the aging process? What are the secrets to exercise that keep us young?

Find a fun activity

First, we should incorporate forms of exercise that we find enjoyable. The benefits of this are numerous. The more we enjoy an exercise regimen, the more likely we are to stick with it. Also, it improves our mental health, decreases our blood pressure, and improves our attitudes. All of these things are proven to slow the aging process.

Make workouts social

Second, we should combine exercise and socializing. Exercising with friends or loved ones serves two purposes. First, it gets our blood flowing and our muscles moving and second, it gives us the opportunity to relieve stress through posiitive social interactions. According to research, the more positive human interaction we have each day, the healthier we tend to be and the longer we typically live.

Vary your routine

Third, vary your exercise regimen. Mixing in cardio activities with weightlifting, sports, and yoga is proven to be beneficial than committing to one form of exercise alone. You are less bored and your body enjoys the benefits of all types of activities.

Rest and relax

Fourth, don’t forget to relax and rest. Our bodies need time to recover. The more time you give yourself to relax, the quicker your body will recover and the more you can exercise. Start slow and gradually build up. If not, you are likely to injure yourself and will be forced to start all over again.

This post was written by, the online leader in compression garments.

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Are certain foods causing headaches?

Have a headache? Look at what you’ve eaten today. There are many foods or dietary habits that can trigger headaches or migraines. Fasting, dehydration, and skipping meals can all cause headaches as well as…cheese? More than a quarter of migraine sufferers have specific triggers, including food. Some foods that you eat everyday could directly be contributing to your discomfort.

Tyramine is a substance found predominantly in aged cheese and other foods that experience a breakdown of proteins as they age. Blue cheeses, cheddar, feta, mozzarella, parmesan, and swiss are just a few of the reported cheeses that are high in tyramine. Red wine, alcoholic beverages, and some processed meats also contain the unpleasant substance.

Headaches related to alcohol come from more places than just over imbibing. When you drink, blood flow increases to your brain. This dilation from sudden blood flow can trigger headaches as well as migraines. Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are notorious beverages for causing headaches.

There are multiple food additives (and preservatives) that are headache culprits as well. Nitrites and certain food colorings are included.  These substances dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow that may cause headaches which are usually felt on both sides of the head. MSG, which is commonly found in soy sauce and Asian cuisine, can cause headaches within an hour after ingestion and is not relieved until the MSG is flushed out of ones’ system.

Cold substances are also big headache contributors. Also known as ‘brain freeze’ these headaches peak 25-60 seconds after ingesting the cold food or beverage and usually doesn’t last longer than five minutes. For those prone to migraines, these simple headaches can lead into a full on attack. 90% of those that suffer from migraines are cautious when eating cold foods and beverages.

Not only can eating certain foods trigger headaches, skipping meals entirely can do so as well. If your body’s regular stability is affected by not eating at a certain time every day headaches can ensue. To prevent this, always have some sort of quick, healthy snack on hand to make sure you are never without nourishment.

By identifying your trigger foods by setting aside a time to eat the suspected food and waiting to see if a headache does occur, you can eliminate them from you diet and find alternative choices that will ensure that you live a healthy and headache free lifestyle.

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Milk: To Drink or Not to Drink

When you were growing up, you were most likely told by your mother to “Finish your milk” because it would make you strong and keep you healthy. However, with today’s advanced nutritional scientific research, it has been found that what milk really does for your body is quite different than what was originally thought.

Cows’ milk does contain high levels of calcium, around 300 mg per cup, yet we barely absorb this calcium (especially if it is pasteurized). In fact, cows’ milk actually increases calcium loss in our bones! How can this happen? Well milk, like all animal protein, acidifies the body’s pH which jump starts the body into correcting this imbalance. Calcium happens to be the best neutralizer of acid, and the bulk of it is stored in our bones. So when the acidifying effects of milk enter the body, the calcium already in our bones leaves to neutralize it, and it all leaves the body via urine. This results in a calcium deficit for the body.

Humans are the only mammalian species on the planet that continues to drink milk, another species milk for that matter, after being weaned. Cows’ milk contains about three times the protein as mothers’ milk. This is because when a cow is born it weighs about 100 pounds and gains about eight times that weight by the time it is weaned, a baby, on the other hand, is born at an average of seven pounds and gains two to three times that weight by the end of weaning.

It has been found that countries with increased milk consumption have higher rates of osteoporosis than those with lesser consumption. There is little to no correlation between bone health and amount of calcium consumed. When the body detects the acidity of milk in the body, it sacrifices its own strength to protect the liver and other purifying parts of the body by releasing calcium from the bones thus depleting the body’s natural calcium storage.

Milk today is different than what it was in the early 20th century. Pasteurization is now commonplace in the milk industry and heightens its acidifying effects. Cows are given antibiotics and the hormone rBGH to increase milk production, which is not natural in any sense. rBGH increases insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink milk treated with it, heightened levels of IGF-1 have been linked to several cancers as well.

Never picking up milk again? Don’t worry! There are many delicious substitutes for that taste very similar but lack the detrimental effects. Almond milk and rice milk are two delicious alternatives that also come in a variety of flavors, both sweetened and unsweetened. Organic soy milk is also a good alternative, but make sure it has not been genetically modified. These options can also be substituted for milk in most recipes!

So think about cutting milk out of your diet. Is the potential risk of its damaging effects worth the sip? Just remember to take care of your bones, and your bones will take care of you.

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Dangers of Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga focuses on a more physical aspect of a workout than traditional hatha yoga does. With hatha yoga, the poses are focused on calmness and relaxing, meditative effects. Bikram is not the same as hatha, and its intense, sweaty 90 minute sessions are definitely not for everyone.

The most dangerous aspect of bikram is the heat in which the workout is done it. A typical routine involves a room at 105 degrees with humidity levels hovering around 50%. This is a sticky and sweaty situation to say the least. The workout involves 26 different poses that are done in sequence two times. If someone who is not already in top physical condition attempts bikram, heatstroke, dizziness, nausea, dehydration, and cramping are just a few of the dangers that could potentially lead to worse conditions or even death. Fainting is fairly common in these sessions when one becomes extremely dehydrated and this poses the danger of getting hurt as well.

The heat is meant to promote more flexibility and the capacity to hold poses for longer periods of time. However, the intense heat also holds the threat that one could over stretch to far, damaging ligaments or tendons without even knowing the harm is occurring. Some criticize bikram for its potentially detrimental effects because traditional yoga is so focused on mental stabilizing and spiritual connection which is hard to find when you are stretching your body to its full extent for 90 minutes in a blazing hot room. Not much of a relaxing scenario.

If being thrown into a sweltering room and contorting your body into numerous poses consecutively for 90 minutes is appealing to you, then bikram is your way to go. However, for those of us who enjoy yoga to be more of a relaxing and stabilizing experience that leaves one refreshed and ready to go about your day, I think we’ll pass.

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About Us

Advanced Physical Medicine is a multi-disciplinary wellness clinic that offers pain management and rehabilitation to patients in Chicagoland and beyond. When it comes to healthcare, APM utilizes a variety of different specialists including medical doctors, podiatrists, physical therapists, chiropractors and neurosurgeons to make joint decisions regarding the best treatment for you. Each treatment plan is tailored specifically according to your needs. You see, at APM, we treat you as a person, and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today and experience the difference with APM. We look forward to talking to you.