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Managing pain and more with dry needling

NORTH CANAAN — As the opioid crisis in America continues, medical practitioners and their patients are seeking alternative ways to relieve pain. 
One that has gained popularity and acceptance is trigger point dry needling. Physical therapist Mike Mangini at Geer Rehabilitation in North Canaan offers dry needling as part of the therapy and rehabilitation packages he offers to patients. He gave a talk explaining some of the basics at Geer on Thursday, Feb. 28.

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Connecticut’s laws for medical marijuana patients

SALISBURY — Mark Braunstein refers to himself as “the poster child for medical marijuana” in Connecticut.
A paraplegic, he suffered a spinal cord injury in 1990, which left him with frequent and painful spasms.
Marijuana, he told an audience at the Scoville Memorial Library on Thursday, March 7, is the only drug that addresses both the spasms and the pain simultaneously.

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’Tis the season for plain toast and tea

Like a bad house guest, the flu season arrived in the Northwest Corner in December and still  has not left. 
I personally feel its presence acutely because I was sick all day Wednesday; but I’m one of the lucky few who is up and out of bed after only one day of misery.

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Managing chronic pain without opioids

SALISBURY — There are better ways to manage pain than the use of opioid drugs.
That was the message from therapists Kaitlyn Duerr and Kim Tormay at Noble Horizons on Saturday morning, Feb. 23.
The two, who work at Noble, covered various strategies in physical and occupational therapy that can help patients manage pain without opioids and their negative side effects.

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Time to return to a healthier sleep cycle

SALISBURY — Sleep is a vital process, said Ed O’Malley to an alert audience at the Scoville Memorial Library on Saturday, Feb. 9.
But healthy sleep requires establishing good sleep hygiene, practices and habits.
O’Malley runs Your Optimal Nature LLC in Great Barrington.
He said sleep is a biological drive, with a clearly defined cycle and process.
Bad habits that interrupt healthy sleep can be changed.

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Warming winter foods and your yin and yang balance

Hang on, we’re about to get a little woo-woo here. This column is about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the idea of eating special seasonal foods to counteract the effects of the weather (in this case: winter weather). 
Last month was the beginning of the Chinese Lunar Year, of course (happy year of the pig!). But I’ve just been thinking generally about the TCM recommendation that, when it’s very cold, you should eat foods that are warming and that heat up your body, especially your kidneys.

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CBD products are winning fans and soothing pain

SALISBURY — The arthritis in Richard Block’s hand is not only painful; it also keeps him from enjoying his favorite musical instrument, the bass guitar. 
“I can’t practice the scales on a guitar” with a stiff forefinger, said the Lime Rock resident, motioning with his arthritic left hand. 

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Walnuts, the anti-Alzheimer’s food

I guess by now we all know that nuts are good for our bodies. Here’s some extra information on the weird and wonderful ways that walnuts are healthy.
Most memorable: An article about walnuts online at www.medicalnewstoday.com (which seems like a mostly legitimate website) claims that men who eat walnuts see a significant  increase in the vitality of their sperm. Anyone interested in starting a family might want to keep that in mind. 

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Christmas fires and steps to take to avoid them

Most people associate the winter holidays with warmth and light; hard-bitten journalists have the same association but, sadly, we see that warmth and light coming (too often) from house fires.
It isn’t just our perception. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website says that the top three days of the year for household fires started by candles are Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day. 

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Cashmere and other luxuries for the holidays

I went online to order some smoked salmon and bagels to ship to my brother in California and discovered that it’s so expensive, I could just as easily ship him some caviar and champagne. 
That led me to thinking about luxurious edible gifts for the holidays and whether there are any health benefits that we could use to justify the purchase and consumption of foods we don’t need.
The short answer is basically no. 

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