Many Austin Preferred patients are struggling with getting back on track with a healthy lifestyle and overall wellness in the aftermath of COVID-19 and working from home. With so many aspects of everyday life suddenly very different, many people have devloped bad habits or reverted to previous unhealthy lifestyle choices. It’s easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed, or not know where to start when there is so much conflicting information available regarding nutrition, diet, and exercise.
We’ve been searching for a safe, easy, and affordable way to support our patients’ journey to wellness, and we’re excited to announce that we now offer a targeted program designed to support energy, metabolism and enhance the body’s natural metabolic detoxification processes. Metagenics’ Clear Change 28 Day Program is an easy-to-follow eating plan with nutritional supplementation to help patients transition away from a diet high in processed foods and feel more energized.
This program is ideal for patients struggling with decreased vitality, eating a diet heavy in processed food or lacking in diversity, or those who have a sedentary and/or high-stress lifestyle. This convenient program consists of:
While the Clear Change program can be beneficial for most people who fit the criteria above, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our holistic medical provider before enrolling. Call (512) 442-2727 or submit your information via the Contact Us page to schedule a free consultation. You can also refer to our Services and Conditions pages for more information on treatment at our integrated medical practice.
Pilates was developed as a method of physical rehabilitation in the early-20th century, and has been used by physical therapists to assist in injury recovery since the 1960s. A pilates reformer is a machine looking similar to a bed frame with strategically designed springs and pulleys. It was created as an innovative and creative tool to optimize muscle function with low-impact resistance exercises.
The principles of pilates-based exercise are commonly incorporated into physical therapy intervention. This is so because breathing techniques and core muscle activation are integral to developing postural support and functional movement. One achieves control of the core by integrating the trunk, pelvis, and shoulder girdle in skillful coordination. With this in consideration, physical therapists have been using evidence-based exercise programs on the reformer to successfully treat many common orthopedic and neurological injuries causing knee, back and shoulder pain, to name a few.
Whether we are treating an ankle sprain, low back pain, or shoulder impingement, it is important to address muscle imbalance that may be contributing to the onset or continuation of an injury. The reformer is ingenious in that it facilitates smooth, continuous movements recruiting multiple muscle groups in many planes of motion. Exercises utilizing the reformer are aimed to enhance strength, stability, and flexibility that are performed with direct supervision from a clinician to modify according to each individual’s capabilities. Many individuals start with pilates basics in their physical therapy appointments and retain the strength and skills they have gained to incorporate into their general fitness, once they are done with their care. Pilates and rehabilitation truly go hand in hand to enhance general wellness and help many people attain their fitness goals with reduced risk of pain and injury.
Incorporating the reformer into physical therapy care plans is yet another tool that allows our providers to truly customize each individual’s treatment. Call (512) 442-2727 with questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also click here to learn more about the physical therapy provided at Austin Preferred.
Austin Preferred Integrative Medicine has partnered with Vital Proteins to bring collagen peptides to our patients. Collagen is a protein made up of different amino acids that helps to give structure to our hair, skin, nails, bones, ligaments, and tendons. As we age, and the more stress we put on our bodies, we begin to break down more collagen than we produce. This can lead to noticeable fragility in the areas mentioned above and increases the likelihood of further issues. Supplementing collagen in our diets can help support healthy joints, muscles, and ligaments, as well as reduce signs of aging skin.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides also include hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, for even more anti-aging and wellness benefits. Because of their wide-ranging potential for wellness improvement, most adults can benefit in one way or another from taking these peptides. The flavorless powder is soluble in both hot or cold liquids, perfect for adding to your morning coffee or breakfast smoothie.
The providers at Austin Preferred take a personalized, holistic approach to each unique patient’s treatment. We are proud to be able to offer a variety of professional-grade supplements in our office to aid in our patients’ wellness journeys. Alongside our renowned physical medicine treatment plans, functional medicine — including supplements — allows us to optimize outcomes and better sustain our patients’ results.
Call (512) 442-2727 for more information or to schedule an appointment with the holistic medical provider at our Westlake clinic. You can also reference our Services and Conditions pages to learn more about treatment at Austin Preferred.
Q: What benefits do collagen supplements provide?
A: Taking collagen supplements has the potential to strengthen or improve joints, muscles, ligaments, and skin.
Q: Do I need a prescription for Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides?
A: While you do not need a prescription to take these peptides, it is always wise to consult a medical provider before beginning a new supplement regimen.
Approximately 20 million people suffer from some form of Diabetic Neuropathy Pain (DNP), while about 3 million new cases are diagnosed each year. Overall, about 60% of people with diabetes live with discomfort related to DNP. Previously, patients suffering from DNP were merely prescribed drugs to help them cope with the pain. The effectiveness of these drugs is underwhelming, with less than half of patients reporting only a 30-40% reduction in pain. Luckily, there is a new option: laser therapy for diabetic neuropathy pain.
High blood sugar can cause diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerves that send signals to and from your hands and feet. In addition to numbness and tingling in the extremities, people with this condition also experience pain ranging from aching to burning. The pain comes and goes for some, but many also suffer chronic pain related to diabetic neuropathy. This discomfort can have a profound impact on everyday life, making even the most routine activities more difficult.
Laser therapy uses light energy to promote healing in the bodily tissues. The light soothes the soft tissues, resulting in reduced pain, inflammation and swelling. There are no uncomfortable sensations during treatment and sessions usually last around 15 minutes per body part. This effective option has up to 90% efficacy for treating musculoskeletal pain and is used to treat numerous conditions in addition to DNP. Furthermore, doctors report better results for reducing DNP with laser therapy, as opposed to prescription drugs alone.
Austin preferred has already treated numerous patients with laser therapy. It serves as an excellent complement to Physical Therapy or Chiropractic treatment plans and is popular as a standalone option as well. Moreover, we offer free consultations for patients who are interested in the healing powers of the laser.
Call (512) 442-2727 with any questions or to set up an appointment at Austin Preferred. You can also visit our Services and Conditions pages for more information on treatment at our South Austin clinic.
Q: Does health insurance cover laser therapy?
A: Health insurance does not cover laser therapy, which we only offer at the self pay rate. However, we do offer free consultations for people who are interested in laser therapy in Austin, TX.
The staff at Austin Preferred Integrative Medicine prides itself on helping hundreds of people each week. Patients come in to the office because of chronic or acute medical complaints and often leave feeling much better. Because of our track record of success and patient satisfaction, Austin Preferred has become a top choice for Physical Therapy, Holistic Medicine and Chiropractic in Austin, Texas. Maintaining this level of service requires a great deal of teamwork. Consequently, we arrange an office outing several times per year for team members to bond away from work.
Given that Austin Preferred is extremely health and wellness oriented, we try to plan our outings accordingly. This one was no different, as the Fluitts generously surprised the staff with a fun evening riding around town with Rocket Electrics.
This past Friday, we first gathered at North Italia in downtown Austin to relax after another busy week. With the collection of personalities we have, there is never any shortage of conversation or laughter at the table. After unwinding with some delicious food and hydrating for our next activity, it was time to hit the trail. We snapped the following photo on the way out:
Next, we meandered a few blocks down the street to Rocket Electrics. Those who are unfamiliar with RE are missing out, as they provide guided tours of the city’s historical sites on motorized bicycles. After getting fitted for our bikes and a quick explanation of the controls, it was time to roll out. But not before we documented our progress with another photo:
Once we navigated our way out of the immediate downtown area, we found ourselves on the trail. Everyone got up to speed more quickly than expected, but the Texas heat was pretty intense. This prompted our guide to make plenty of stops, which we all appreciated. Along the way, we learned a little bit about the Pfluger Pedestrian & Bike Bridge, the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial, the South Congress Bat Bridge and the abundant wildlife in the area.
With another tremendous office outing in the books, the staff came back energized and in good spirits. Thanks for taking the time to learn more about our evening out and stay tuned for more information on Austin Preferred!
Call (512) 442-2727 with questions or to schedule an appointment at Austin Preferred. Moreover, you can visit our Services and Conditions pages for more information on treatment at our South Austin practice.
Herniated discs are among the most common spinal conditions and often require surgery to repair. Or so we thought… Studies reveal that there is an extremely effective non-surgical treatment for herniated discs: Spinal Decompression.
The spinal column is comprised of 33 bones that interlock with each other called vertebrae. These vertebrae are each separated and cushioned by intervertebral discs. These discs consist of fibrous bands which comprise the outside walls, protecting a soft, jelly-like center. These discs can become worn down over time, allowing the fluid from the center to protrude out into surrounding tissues. This condition is commonly known as a Herniated Disc.
Although some herniated discs don’t produce any symptoms, many cause pain and adverse reactions within the body. These effects can produce a constant state of discomfort, making personal and professional life more difficult. Symptoms commonly include:
While herniated discs are quite common, research shows that many more disc issues go undiagnosed. As many as 33% of adults without back pain have a significant disc issue that could be uncovered by an MRI. Moreover, depending on age, people could have a better than 50-50 chance at having a significant disc issue. Although many of these issues don’t produce symptoms at first, they could easily surface in the future without treatment.
Because the nature of the condition is different from person to person, there are multiple treatment options for herniated discs. Pain relief is the first goal of treatment, followed by healing the disc and, finally, building core strength to prevent future injury. The providers at Austin Preferred Integrative Medicine offer each of these techniques as they focus on non-surgical treatment for herniated discs.
While each of these techniques is beneficial, Spinal Decompression is considered the top non-surgical treatment for herniated discs. During Spinal Decompression, the patient lies down on a motorized table, which moves back and forth. This gently movement pulls open the joint space, relieving spinal pressure while providing relaxation. This allows the center of the disc to reabsorb as it heals. Research has shown success rates of up to 93% using decompression, producing good-to-excellent results in most cases. Most health insurance carriers cover decompression, which is also available for $50 at the self pay rate.
Despite its effectiveness, we don’t always recommend decompression for each case. It is for this reason that the providers at Austin Preferred have patients in for a thorough evaluation before mapping out a customized treatment plan. Our staff believes input from the patient is crucial in designing effective, efficient treatment plans. Moreover, we use this feedback to make adjustments based on the patient’s response to treatment. This approach has made Dr. Jeff Fluitt one of the top options for relieving back pain in Austin, Texas.
Call (512) 442-2727 with questions or to schedule an appointment at our office, located in South Austin. You can also visit our Services and Conditions pages for more information on treatment at Austin Preferred.
Due to the active lifestyles of many people in Austin, Texas, injuries are sometimes hard to avoid. Knee injuries for marathon runners, elbow injuries for golfers and herniated discs from heavy lifting are among the most common medical concerns treated at Austin Preferred Integrative Medicine. Even people who don’t live especially active lives still commonly suffer from auto accident injuries, work-related injuries and degenerative conditions.
Regimented Physical Therapy, Chiropractic and Manual Therapy treatments remain the best long-term solutions for issues of this nature. While these approaches produce cumulative results, sometimes an added dimension is necessary to produce short-term pain relief.
Dry Needling is increasing in popularity due to the oftentimes immediate effects it produces. Patients rave about improved range of motion in addition to reduced inflammation, tension and soreness in the soft tissues.
This is a simple yet precise treatment, involving strategic insertion of fine needles into sites of myofascial pain. The needles create an inflammatory reaction within the body that stimulates healing. In the past, our providers have recommended Dry Needling for patients dealing with:
Because Dry Needling stimulates the body’s natural healing response, it is applicable to many other conditions besides those listed above. Like the other modalities mentioned, it doesn’t always produce immediate effects. However, the rate of patient satisfaction associated with Dry Needling is quite high and continues to climb. Over the last 60 days, 100% of patients reported positive outcomes from adding this technique to their plan of care.
Dry Needling is offered by a Physical Therapist and therefore requires a PT referral prior to treatment. For help obtaining a referral or to set up an appointment, call (512) 442-2727. You may also visit our Services and Conditions pages to learn more about treatment at our South Austin office.
Though the human body is a resilient organism, over time, damage from physical stress starts to accumulate. The wear and tear of daily life takes its toll on muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Over time this wear and tear results in small or large tears in the supportive tissue of joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that cause inflammation, pain, and instability. Today we will discuss the benefits of therapy with platelet rich plasma (PRP) for these types of conditions.
These types of injuries, whether they happen over time or suddenly with a misjudged movement or accident, are incredibly common. They happen frequently in active adults who exercise regularly and are otherwise healthy. They happen more frequently with age as joints become more stiff and arthritic. And they occur in people whose muscles and tendons have weakened with inactivity due to various reasons. These types of wear and tear injuries of the musculoskeletal system are known as degenerative changes, because if you live long enough the degeneration of the body results in loss of resiliency.
So, if the problem is degeneration, then the ideal treatment for these conditions would be focused on regeneration. Your body has remarkable regenerative capabilities. After an acute injury or instance of inflammation there are many processes that are triggered to rebuild healthy soft tissue. This all starts with the release of growth factors in response to inflammatory cells that flood the site of the injury. So, in the beginning phase, inflammation is a friend of regeneration and healing. However, after the initial phase of healing drops off, continued inflammation can be harmful by causing prolonged pain and swelling. This is the point when anti-inflammatories such steroids and ibuprofen are used for symptom management rather than healing.
Let’s think about inflammation as a fire alarm and growth factors as fire fighters. Once the fire fighters are tapped out of resources, they go home. After the acute phase of healing if there is still damage and inflammation without regeneration, you just have a raging fire with a blaring alarm and no fire fighters to be seen. Meaning if you have a chronic injury that keeps flaring up due to overuse you can wind up with prolonged inflammation and little to no regeneration. This is where regenerative medicine offers an exciting solution by rejuvenating the body’s own healing response in old injuries.
Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is a regenerative therapy that offers remarkable promise in the recovery of chronic injuries. The therapy involves drawing a small amount of blood and then using a special process to manipulate the plasma in a way that it holds onto a high concentration of platelets. These platelets are valuable since they are rich in your body’s most potent growth factors. When PRP is injected into a chronically injured joint, tendon, or muscle, these growth factors start a highly productive healing phase that results in regeneration and remodeling of healthy new tissue. Since this process is initiated by your body’s own plasma, it is incredibly safe and highly successful. This procedure has been used for soft tissue regeneration for over 20 years now and has been embraced by prominent orthopedists, surgeons, researchers, athletes, and patients alike.
There are almost as many uses of PRP as there are body parts, with new techniques and procedures developed regularly. It was originally developed for tendon injuries and is well established as an effective therapy for all musculoskeletal injuries. Examples of injuries and conditions that respond well to PRP therapy include, but most certainly are not limited, to:
Many people notice immediate improvement after PRP therapy, but some people have a brief period of increased pain for a few days following the procedure. This is because the influx of potent growth factors stimulates inflammation which, as discussed above, is important for calling on the cells needed for healing and rebuilding. Because this inflammation is so important, patients should avoid anti-inflammatories for a few days before and after PRP therapy.
After this brief period, the rebuilding phase commences, and it is highly encouraged for patients to actively strengthen the affected area with therapeutic exercises for the best chances of long-term recovery. Because the burst of growth factors supplied by the PRP injection dissipates after about a week, many people opt for a second injection two weeks following the first with the goal of compounding the regenerative effects.
As you can see, there are many benefits of therapy with platelet rich plasma. Call (512) 442-2727 or submit your information through the blue form to schedule a consultation at our South Austin, Texas location.
For information on the other treatment options available at Austin Preferred, see our Services page.
By: Nicole Griffis, HNP, APRN-BC
Hypothyroidism, or the slowing of function in the thyroid gland, is an extremely common condition across the population. It happens more frequently as people age and is typically seen in women more than men. But many forward thinking medical providers believe it is even more pervasive than we currently believe. Why? Because a sluggish thyroid can be sneaky and conventional lab tests often overlook important indicators of thyroid issues. So it is up to an individual and their thorough practitioner to pinpoint subtle symptoms as well as examine blood work thoroughly. Treatment plans for hypothyroid conditions should always address nutrition and lifestyle in addition to any discussion of thyroid replacement options, if appropriate. A thyroid lab test and exam should be a routine part of an annual physical.
Even with regular screening, a sluggish thyroid is still a sneaky condition. To understand this, it helps to understand the job of this hard-working little gland. The thyroid is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism and use of energy on a cellular level. It is in constant communication with the endocrine (hormone) system. But the thyroid only works properly with direct orders from the brain.
The hypothalamus in the brain sends these orders to the pituitary gland which then sends orders to the thyroid by releasing TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). With this signal, the thyroid releases T4. T4 is an “inactive” thyroid hormone, it circulates in the blood waiting to be used. The body converts T4 to T3 in areas it is needed most to use more energy. T3 is the “active” thyroid hormone that actually gains entrance into cells to aid with energy production. This complex signaling system is amazing and efficient and unfortunately vulnerable to malfunction.
Typically, when a medical provider checks your “thyroid level” they are looking at the TSH level. The lower the TSH, the more active the thyroid is. The higher the TSH, the more sluggish the thyroid is. The latter would be a failure of communication between the pituitary and the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism. There is some debate about the level of TSH that indicates hypothyroidism.
Classically, a TSH of 5 or over indicates hypothyroidism, but many clinicians intervene when a TSH is 3 or over. To truly diagnose a sluggish thyroid, it is important to fill in more of the picture. By measuring free T3 and free T4 levels, it is possible to deduce whether hormonal messaging is breaking down before of after the thyroid in the chain of command. When the thyroid is putting out adequate T4 levels but T3 levels are low, then there is an issue with thyroid conversion. This detail can change what kind of thyroid replacement is ordered.
Stress, lifestyle, and nutrition play major roles in maintaining a healthy thyroid. The body uses essential nutrients such as iodine, zinc, and selenium in the signaling and conversion processes. Chronic stress can drain the body of cortisol, a hormone that is vital for thyroid functioning. Insulin resistance and hypothyroidism are often found together because they create a feedback loop of fatigue, weight gain, and poor health; as seen with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.
There are whole books written on the various ways the thyroid system works to keep body systems functioning at their healthiest levels and the ways people suffer when this system goes awry. (See the end of this article for two of my favorites). It is best to catch these system glitches early so they don’t turn into failures. Many times the problem can be remedied by supplements, alterations in diet, and lifestyle modifications. Beyond that, thyroid replacement may be required.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism are not always obvious. They can appear slowly over a long period of time or just manifest in subtle ways. Some people have opposite symptoms to what is most commonly experienced with hypothyroidism. It is best to just pay a visit to your medical provider if you have any new symptoms you are worried about.
To learn more about thyroid issues and treatments, make an appointment with me today. APIM’s holistic health services are designed to offer thorough testing and treatments using a natural approach that promotes long-term health and well-being. For more in-depth reading on thyroid issues from a functional perspective, I recommend the following books:
For more information on holistic health services at Austin Preferred, or to schedule a consultation with our holistic medical provider Nicole Griffis, please call (512) 442-2727.
Most people are aware that the body needs a diverse set of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Our bodies run via a symphony of chemical processes rapidly occurring every minute to keep everything running smoothly. These constant cellular transactions give us an efficient supply of cellular energy, removal of damaging particles and toxins, regeneration of blood cells and tissue repair, arming of the immune system to ward off disease, and the maintenance of biological cycles that affect sleep & concentration. This simplified list is a small fraction of what various chemical conversions provide the body. Most of these processes require vitamins or minerals in some form. If these nutrients are in small supply, the body makes due at the cost of other “less vital” functions, which can lead to adverse ramifications over time. Vitamin supplements can help make up for deficiencies in these areas.
In an ideal world, we would all receive the vitamins and minerals our bodies need through our diets. Intake of nutrient-dense foods is the best way to supply your body with vitamins and minerals. The importance of a healthy diet with an array whole foods cannot be overstated. Nonetheless, even with a healthy diet, most people could benefit from vitamin supplements.
So much of our food supply is grown in sterile, controlled environments that leach the soil of much needed minerals. Greenhouse produce is often deficient in antioxidants and vitamins compared to their counterparts grown outside in the sun, wind, and weather. Age, stress, alcohol and sugar intake, and exposure to environmental toxins can all decrease absorption of nutrients while at the same time increasing the body’s needs for such nutrients. Several long term studies confirm that most Americans are deficient in at least one basic vitamin and that the Standard American Diet (SAD) is lacking in several vital nutrients.
So chances are, you could benefit from a good multivitamin at the very least. Furthermore, many functional medicine practitioners recommend several additional vitamin supplements. Dr. Mark Hyman has wonderful information about nutrition and supplements on his excellent website. Here is a basic list of supplements I routinely recommend based on the needs of the average American adult:
Before starting any regular regimen of vitamin supplements, it is best to start by seeing a trusted clinician for basic blood work to find out where your specific needs lie. A functional medicine or holistic practitioner, such as myself, can help you compose a personalized supplement plan based on your needs and concerns. You may want to add some herbs such as turmeric for its anti-inflammatory products, cinnamon for to help stabilize blood sugar, or ashwagandha for anxiety. Once you determine what supplements are best for you, the next step is considering which to buy and how to take them.
Because the supplement industry is loosely regulated compared to the pharmaceutical industry, it is important to ensure you are purchasing a quality product that contains what it is claiming to rather than fillers and additives. With herbal products, there is a risk for the presence of heavy metals and toxins that are not routinely tested for with some companies. Therefore, it is good to set high standards when purchasing supplement products.
One good measure of quality is the appearance of “GMP” on the label. This stands for “Good Manufacturing Practices” and should be the minimum standard for the products you choose. Make sure to look at all the ingredients listed; inactive ingredients should be listed as well. There are a number of organizations that test supplement products for purity and quality, look for their stamp of approval on labels or go directly to their websites to access ratings for particular brands and products:
There are quality vitamin products available at health food stores and even drug stores, especially when they contain a commonly manufactured ingredient, like Vitamin C. However, if you are looking for a formulation that combines ingredients (so you can take less pills) and offers better absorption, you may consider ordering from a pharmaceutical grade specialty company such as Metagenics or NeuroBiologix. These are two companies that Austin Preferred works with to offer patients high quality supplements formulated using evidence-based practices to maximize their benefits in the body. Additionally, they are available for purchase through our website.
For some people, taking multiple pills and capsules everyday is a chore, and one they are unlikely to adhere to. Some products come in powders or liquids that can be mixed with juice or added to smoothies which are more appealing options to certain folks. Moreover, there are even some formulations that come in the form of a topical cream. It is important to find a regimen that works for you and that you are likely to continue.
If you wish to start a supplement regimen or just streamline your current one, consider coming in for a visit! I will analyze your blood work and physical symptoms from a holistic perspective. If it is appropriate, we also offer genetic testing that provides more information on how your body processes and uses nutrients. This information can be very useful in creating tailored supplement formulations. Feel free to bring in any products you are already taking so I can check them out.
There a plenty of store bought brands that I trust and can recommend. We can work to create an easy, affordable regimen that gives you energy and offers long-term health benefits. Call (512) 442-2727 to schedule an evaluation at our South Austin practice.