Dr. Kim Leis-Keeling

Dr. Amanda Boccio

 

Serving Albany and Guilderland

2021 Western Avenue, Ste 102

Albany, NY 12203

518-869-3415

December 26, 2018
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THE JOY OF PARENTING

BY: Dr. Kim Leis-Keeling

Last December I wrote an article titled The Art of Finding Joy. It seemed to resonate with many of you and in the spirit of the season, I’d like to share one of my greatest joys – The Joy of Parenting. For me, this is the greatest gift I have been given in my life. I know it has not all been easy, actually it is has been the complete opposite. But I have loved every second of being a mom and right now, I am living in the “sweet spot” of parenting. I’ll explain.

All baseball players know about the “sweet spot” of their favorite bat. Without getting too much into the physics of a bat, if you make contact between the ball and the bat at this exact spot, the chances of hitting a homerun are the greatest. This is where I am right now. Trying to hit a “mom” homerun. Can you see me running around the house with my arms up in the air and my kids cheering “YOU’RE THE GREATEST MOM EVER!” The “sweet spot” of parenting starts when your kids reach about age 7… when they look cute with missing teeth. Long gone are the days of diapers, random crying, temper tantrums, car seats and bedtime struggles. No more daily morning fights “Get your shoes on before you miss the bus!”   Life starts to get a little easier and you get a glimpse of parent freedom. Kids are more independent but yet they still want snuggle while watching a movie and will still hold your hand in public.

The “sweet spot” ends around age 11-12 when it is not “cool” to hold hands with their mom anymore. The kids have a stronger sense of their identity and fashion becomes important.  Snuggles become less frequent but you can leave your children home alone. They now start to come to tuck you into bed because you can’t stay awake past 10 P.M. (Guilty!) But this is where the worries transition into the heavy stuff filled with teenage drama. I’m not ready for that…I want to stay in the sweet spot longer.  I’m heading to the end of it with my children…so I’m trying to cherish every second I can.

In early November, I experienced a parenting homerun. It was a Thursday night and we were all home by 4:00. I was actually making a real dinner, not leftovers, not pizza or tacos, but a real meal on a weeknight. My son came home from school and started to play Christmas music. He was raving about how excited he was for the holidays this year. I asked why and he said that he is looking forward to all the traditions that we do throughout the season – not just Christmas morning.  Yes! I have succeeded…he gets it…there is more to Christmas than the presents. He grabbed me from the kitchen and we started dancing to the music. Later, the kids were studying their French together and quizzing each other. It was the perfect evening but felt surreal- like I was watching my life on an old fashion movie reel and I was Carol Brady.

Do you ever wonder if your kids think you are a good parent?  I’ll never forget this time when my son was 4 years old. He was playing at a friend’s house and when he came he home he said “Ben has the best mom ever…she buys him fruit snacks!” Confession: This was during my “only organic” days of being a new mom - no way was I buying that junk for my kids. I’ve caved since then. And thank goodness Santa brings them one box of Fruit Loops every year for Christmas. Nonetheless, this is an ongoing joke between us. Do I rank higher than Ben’s mom yet on the “Best Mom Ever” scale?

I pray that I am a good mom and that I am making an impact on my children which will lead them to make good life choices. My parenting style is based on a strong moral compass, leading by example and having conversations versus barking orders. “Listen children, we are having a snowstorm today. This is going to suck but I need your help shoveling and plowing the driveway. I don’t want to do it either but can you help me so we can come back in and make some hot cocoa?” versus “GET OFF YOUR PHONE AND SHOVEL THE DRIVEWAY!” No one likes to be screamed at and no one wins in a fight. Both sides end up feeling angry. Life always presents hiccups along the way but it can made easier knowing how to react to situations.

I absolutely love being a mom. I know the phases of parenting are forever changing. This has just been my favorite so far…my “sweet spot.” This holiday season, continue to search for the things in your life that bring you joy and fulfill your soul. If you are struggling with your children and parenting here is a good book that may help you navigate the tough spots. It is called Raising Resilient Children by Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein. This has become my reference manual for how to parent the tough stuff. I highly suggest reading Chapter 4 – I’ll give you the cliffhanger last paragraph: “A difficult lesson for many of us is that we have control over only one person: ourselves. We should not attempt to control our children, but through our courage to change our words and actions we can guide and teach them. In doing so, we serve as models of resilience and hope.”

As always, if you have questions or comments about this article, please feel free to contact me at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415. HAVE A BLESSED HOLIDAY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOES PAIN EQUATE TO TISSUE DAMAGE?

Part 2: Pain Explained

By: Dr. Kim Leis-Keeling

Thank you all for reaching out to see if I am still alive after reading my last article.  I know you have been eagerly anticipating part 2 of the story to find out how I faired with my disc herniation. Despite all that drama, by the next day I actually felt much better. I ended up taking a few days off of work to rest and patch myself back together – life doesn’t stop right? I pulled out all the tricks to get back on my feet. After all, I couldn’t have my husband drag me around like a life sized Raggedy Ann doll forever.  My treatment consisted of lumbar decompression, cold laser, ice, acupuncture, massage therapy, taping, McKenzie exercises, core strength exercises and herbs. By the end of the week, I was pain free, but not completely healed. Healing takes time.

So let’s get back to the question of “Does pain equate to tissue damage?” The best explanation of pain that I have read is from a book entitled Explain Pain by Dr. Lorimer Moseley and David Butler. They are neuroscientists from Australia who explain it very well. I’ll share a few points from their book.

Let’s start with acute pain. When we have a new injury, there is a process that happens in the body. It starts with inflammation which triggers a cascade of events. Our nerves carry information from the injury through the spinal cord to the brain. The brain interprets this information and makes decisions about how to respond. Often this triggers our “danger alarm system.” There is a chemical exchange that happens between the neurons (nerve cells) which then sort the information, similar to a post office. If the brain feels the danger is critical, it produces pain. The brain tries to get you out of pain (danger) by limiting movement (or in my case, my entire post office shut down and I passed out).

The inflammation process is the normal way the body begins healing. Most tissues (bone, muscles, skin, etc.) heal within 6-8 weeks. Now, if you break a bone, you may not be in pain the entire 6-8 weeks, but you still have to wear a cast to allow time for the bone to mend. (And just because your acute back pain went away, does not mean that it has healed and you should go spread mulch – note to self). Tendons, ligament and spinal discs are not very vascular so these can take longer to heal. Have you ever heard someone say that it is better to break an ankle then to sprain it?

What happens with chronic pain? When pain becomes ongoing the nervous system becomes more sensitive. The danger messenger neurons and the brain become more excitable and contribute to the problem. The threshold of pain becomes so sensitive that small triggers can cause intense pain. Thoughts and belief all become a part of the contributing triggers and the brain starts to attach a “neurotag” to the thought. Here is what I mean by all that. We have all watched America’s Funniest Home Videos where someone gets hit in the groin with a ball or flying object. The men watching will all moan & groan and bend over in pain. They may actually feel physical pain. But nothing happened to them…how can they experience pain? There is no tissue damage. This is called a “neurotag.” Your brain remembers this injury very clearly and just the thought of a reoccurring injury can recreate pain in your body. This same thing can happen when you have re-injured the same body part over and over again.

So what do you do about this? One of the quotes I tell patients is: “Don’t let your diagnosis define YOU!” Just because you are diagnosed with a disc bulge or herniation doesn’t mean that you have to sit in a rocking chair for the rest of your life. It is estimated that 80% of the adult population have tissue injury to at least one disc. But are they all walking around in pain? Some people don’t ever have pain. You just have to understand the extent of your tissue damage and how to treat or manage it. More importantly understand why you have pain.

As always, if you have questions about this article please feel free to contact me at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415. Follow us on Facebook or visit our website at www.sportsandspinalwellness.com.

 

DOES PAIN EQUATE TO TISSUE DAMAGE?

Part 1: My most humiliating day ever!

By: Dr. Kim Leis-Keeling

How boring would life be if we can’t laugh at ourselves and find the humor amidst the craziness? This is my tale of finding humor in a moment of humiliation. About two months ago, I had an episode of acute lower back pain. I was leaning over to put something in my bag after playing basketball and BOOM – I felt something slip in my back. Since I was familiar with this type of pain from my previous episodes (and we work with patients with this daily), I knew how to manage it: ice, cold laser, tape, modalities, bracing and treatment from my amazing chiropractor, Dr. Amanda Boccio. Over the next 2 weeks, it gradually got better to where the pain was completely gone. I felt amazing. Then I had this great idea to go pull weeds and spread mulch. BAD IDEA!  My ego got the best of me with too much too soon. That night I was changing my clothes and BOOM, it happened again. But this time it was much worse than ever before. I knew immediately that the disc just herniated. I couldn’t stand upright and had radiating pain into my left leg and thigh.

The next day I was already scheduled for my lumbar MRI. (Since I had so many reoccurring episodes, I wanted to see exactly what was going on).  But I couldn’t get out of bed. Every time I tried to move, I would get excruciating pain in my back and down my leg. There was no way I was going to make it through that MRI without the some pain medication. Meanwhile, since any amount of pressure on my spine increased the pain tremendously, I had to have my husband hold tension on my left leg by pulling on it. Here is the scene at my house: I’m screaming in pain, my daughter was sitting next to me, terrified and not knowing what to do, my husband pulling on my leg and getting annoyed with me (this is really going to put a wrench in his day), and my son was in his bedroom cruising Instagram - oblivious to anything going on.  This could have been an episode of a sitcom. We debated about calling an ambulance…but no, I thought I could make it to Urgent Care to get the medication. So my husband bear hugged me and hoisted me out of bed, down the stairs and to the car. 

Now for the crazy part. We made it to the Bone & Joint Center, but I have to keep leaning on a wheelchair to keep pressure off my spine. I got to see the doctor, he wrote the scrip for pain meds and we started to leave. But I couldn’t move! I screamed for my husband to pick me up to get the pressure off my spine. He couldn’t put me down or I’d start screaming again. I began sweating profusely and I could feel myself starting to black out. The last thing I remember was saying “I’m passing out!” (Just a side note, this happens to every time I’m in extreme pain – strange I know. More stories for another day).  When I woke up, I was sitting in the wheelchair. Within seconds I started to feel the awful pain. So I screamed for my husband to pick me up again. I’m confused as to why he put me down in the first place - doesn’t he know by now that the pain is much worse when I’m sitting? Being the super husband he was that day, he picked me back up. This is when I felt that my legs were wet. My initial thought was “how much was I sweating?” Apparently, when I passed out, I had lost bladder control and peed my pants and on my husband. OH! That’s why he put me down - opps! This was a true test to the strength of our marriage! The nurse called the doctor back into the room, I panicked because there is a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome in which you lose bladder and bowel control due to too much spinal cord compression. I asked the doctor if this was happening to me, he said no, because I didn’t lose bowel control…yet. In that second, I could feel that I was going to lose my bowels. I begged my husband to drag me to the bathroom…sparing any pride I had left. I made it to the bathroom…just in time.

By now, the ambulance team was banging on the bathroom door.  Someone handed me a lovely pair of blue paper shorts to change into. They finally got me out of there in style with a personal escort service from the Albany PD, firetrucks and ambulance. I can proudly say that I bet there is a short list of people who actually left the orthopedic center in an ambulance… I should get some sort of “Most Memorable Patient Award” for this! I begged the paramedic to give me something to stop the pain, so he started an IV and suggested Fentanyl. I’d never heard of it but it sounded beautiful, let’s do it! It did nothing. Once in the ER, I was given a cocktail of morphine, hydrocodone, diazepam and steroids. Finally there was some relief.  I managed to make it through my MRI.  I was nervous to see the images and results because I was sure there would be a disc completely blown out. The results came back and showed a small disc herniation at the L3-4 level (the new injury), degeneration at L4-5 (which means it is an old injury) and a tear in the disc at L5-S1. You have to be kidding me…that’s it? All that pain for those results. While I knew that I herniated the L3-4 disc based on my symptoms, I expected it to be much worse.

So what is moral of my humiliating story? PAIN DOES NOT ALWAYS CORRELATE WITH TISSUE DAMAGE! So what happened that caused all that pain and drama? As physicians, we deal with this daily. Some patient’s symptoms do not match what the tests and images show. Some things are difficult to explain because, based on results, there may not be anything abnormal. In next month’s article, I’ll explain more about pain, inflammation and tissue damage. So stay tuned for Part 2. And as an update on my attempt to save face with the orthopedic center, despite my humiliation; I did treat the nurses and staff to a healthy dose of chocolate. The doctor received a bottle of scotch as a token of appreciation for taking care of me. That wasn’t my best first impression but I’m sure they will never forget Dr. Kim Keeling. 

As always, if you have questions about this article please feel free to contact me at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415. Follow us on Facebook or visit our website at www.sportsandspinalwellness.com.

November 19, 2018
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FEEDING THE BODY WITH THE FALL HARVEST

BY: Dr. Kim Leis-Keeling

As much as I’m sad to see summer disappear, I do love the beauty and aroma of fall. One of my favorite indulgence of the season is the fall harvest of fruits and vegetables. My children would disagree since they are forced to spend a day helping me cut corn off 100 ears of sweet corn to freeze and pulling grapes for homemade grape juice. These are very messy productions but the kids always love the yummy tastes of summer during the cold winter months. As you enjoy the flavors of fall, chew on these healthy aspects of your food.

APPLES: Who doesn’t love a fresh apple crisp or apple pie? Apples are full of nutrients including 4 grams of fiber in each, vitamin C and potassium. They contain great antioxidants including quercetin which is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressive effects. They also contain catechins, similar to green tea, which help with brain and muscle function.

GRAPES: One of the key nutrients that make grapes so beneficial is Resveratrol. This is a very powerful antioxidant that is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to slow and prevent the growth of some tumors. Grapes also contain quercetin, fiber and potassium.

PEARS: While containing a fair amount vitamin C, anti-oxidants and flavonoids, pears biggest nutrient punch comes from its fiber content. One pear contains 6 grams of fiber. We should all aim to get 30 grams of fiber each day. Including one pear in your daily nutrition is a great way to reach that goal.

SWEET POTATOES: One cup of sweet potato boasts 3 grams of plant based protein, 4 grams of fiber and 6 times our RDA for beta-carotene (vitamin A), B5 and B6. They are also rich in magnesium, potassium and manganese – which all help keep our bones and heart healthy.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & PUMPKINS: Similar to sweet potatoes, these are rich in fiber and vitamin A. One serving contains half your RDA for vitamin C, it also contains folate, magnesium, manganese and potassium. All these nutrients make a perfect combination to help you lower blood pressure. Enjoy that warm bowl of butternut squash soup and pumpkin pie!

BRUSSEL SPOUTS & CABBAGE: Cabbage has the highest amount of powerful antioxidants found in the cruciferous vegetables. Both are also rich in vitamin K which aids in bone health and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a good source of the B vitamins thiamine, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and folate – all which keep our nerves healthy and help give us energy.

Enjoy the flavors of fall while your body reaps the nutrient benefits. As always, if you have questions about this article please feel free to contact me at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415. Follow us on Facebook or visit our website at www.sportsandspinalwellness.com

 

 

November 19, 2018
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EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENTS

By: Dr. Kim Leis-Keeling

Thank you all for your fun comments about my past two articles about Wisconsin and Fortnite. I enjoyed your feedback and hearing your stories as well. It was refreshing to write about something other than health related topics. But now, it’s time to get back to business and let you know about some new and exciting things going on at our office. We have been gathering your feedback and looking at new ways to accommodate the needs of the community better.

FREE SCOLIOSIS SCREENINGS: Most of our children around the age of 12-13 get checked for scoliosis by the school nurse. If there is cause for concern, they are referred to their pediatrician who may refer them to an orthopedist, who will most likely recommend a “wait and watch” approach. During this time the scoliosis can progress. Stop waiting…DO SOMETHING! Scoliosis causes permanent structural changes to your child’s spine which can last a lifetime and lead to other health issues. From now until the end of September, we are offering FREE SCOLIOSIS SCREENINGS and consultations. We will perform a thorough spinal evaluation and we can discuss treatment options for your child. 

NEW CLASS THIS FALL: “MOVE STONGER” CLASS:  You have been asking for a class like this and I have been listening. Now it is time to put the plan into action. This class is designed for individuals who have graduated from physical therapy but would like continued assistance with gaining spinal strength and movement. Have you ever said “I don’t feel comfortable going to the gym by myself” or “I feel that my personal trainer is having me do exercises that don’t feel safe for my spinal condition?” Then this class is for you.  With my thorough knowledge of all spinal conditions, I have designed a 6-week program to help you MOVE STRONGER SAFELY! This class meets once per week on Thursday mornings from 10:00 -11:00 beginning September 20. Class will be held at the Crossfit Aevitas Yoga Studio, 1 Charles Park Blvd, Guilderland. Cost is $120 for 6 classes. Call our office at 518-869-3415 to register. Full payment required for complete registration.  Class space is limited. If this time is not ideal for you, make a recommendation for another time. If there is enough interest, we will add additional classes.

PERSONAL THERAPY SESSIONS: If you like the idea of moving stronger but would prefer individual sessions – just you and your doctor working together for one hour! Then this option is for you. Call for a “PERSONAL THERAPY CONSULTATION” so we can assess and developed a plan just for you. Sessions will be exercise based with myofascial therapy if indicated. Introductory price is $85 per hour.

DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: We are providing our patients the benefits of home use medical equipment to include: TENS units, cervical and lumbar home traction units and lumbar braces. These devices can provide great pain relief and are used in the comfort of your home. Set up an appointment to discuss which devices could benefit you and to maximize your insurance benefit.

As always, if you have questions about this article please feel free to contact at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415. Follow us on Facebook or visit our website at www.sportsandspinalwellness.com.

 

 

 

 





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Chiropractor - Albany and Guilderland, Sports & Spinal Wellness Center (Spinal Wellness Center), 2021 Western Ave, Albany NY, 12203 518-869-3415