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Closeup of running shoes on an African American female's feet outside on a walking trail.

Realistic Tips for Starting an Exercise Regimen

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You probably don’t need experts like those at the Mayo Clinic, the CDC, or even Time magazine to tell you the many benefits of regular exercise:

  • Helps maintain a healthy body weight
  • Strengthens muscles and bones
  • Staves off some chronic diseases
  • Elevates mood and helps reduce stress
  • Can even be fun and serve as a way to connect with others

Likely, you can rattle some of them off in your sleep. But getting started with an exercise program — regardless of your age or fitness level — can feel like an uphill climb (literally). Long-term exercise regimens take time, determination, and discipline to establish.

At LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, we aren’t simply your healthcare providers. We are community neighbors who understand these challenges, and we want to help you get started.

Know Your Starting Point

Talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program to identify any potential hazards or concerns, such as instability or dizziness, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle weakness, or other conditions that may determine what exercise is best (or potentially injurious) for you. Your health provider can also be a great resource for information or support. 

Experts at the Mayo Clinic also recommend assessing your general fitness level beforehand. Record things such as how long it takes for you to walk a mile, pulse rate before and immediately after walking that mile, and how far you can stretch forward while seated with your legs in front of you. Tracking these early may help you see progress as you go!

Choose Something You Like

If you don’t have fun doing something, very likely you’ll face challenges keeping it up. Fortunately, with exercise, there are many options. “Start with one you’re initially drawn to,” suggest Alexa Tucker and Christa Sgobba, C.P.T. in Self magazine, “whether it’s barre, boxing, Pilates, dance cardio, yoga, a strength class . . . keep trying new ones from there until you find what you enjoy.”

Ask friends and family members for recommendations, or follow a few of your favorite celebrities to learn what they’ve been successful doing. The more you’re willing to experiment, the more likely you’ll hit on something that gets you bouncing around in more than one way.

Focus on Small Achievements, and Then Build

Not even the most advanced athlete or fitness influencer began exercising at their current level of performance. In order to prevent burnout, injury, or being disheartened by not reaching unattainable goals, start small.

Current recommendations for most adults are to exercise moderately for 150 minutes per week. (That’s five 30-minute sessions weekly.) You can also break exercise into 10– or 15–minute intervals, if that helps build movement into your schedule (and your current endurance level). Finding a way to make exercise a regular habit that becomes more automatic than anguish is most important at the early stages.

Ideally, you’ll build up to doing something physically stimulating every day, but each step that moves you further from couch potato status is to be celebrated.

Practice Grace

“People who have greater levels of self-compassion tend to be more motivated, less lazy, and more successful over time,” writes Susan David — psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, cofounder and codirector of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology.

Beginning anything new is challenging, so focus on what you are doing, instead of what you aren’t. Record your progress and celebrate those victories. Keeping up a positive attitude about your achievements will be good for your mind — and your body!

Learn More About LifeBrite

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities, visit our website or call 229-723-4241.

Trophy in background with LifeBrite Stokes logo with Pam Tilman in the foreground.

LifeBrite Stokes Named “Member of the Quarter” by King Chamber of Commerce; Hospital Administrator Pam Tillman Honored as Healthcare Hero by the North Carolina Healthcare Association

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LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes was recently named a “Member of the Quarter” by King Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, our very own Pam Tillman was recognized as a “Healthcare Hero” by the North Carolina Healthcare Association. We are very proud of our team for serving the local community through such an important time and in such an impactful way. Now more than ever, we are grateful for the dedicated healthcare professionals on our team who serve the people of Stokes County.

            Our administration worked diligently with the County Health Department, the CDC, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and a broad range of additional organizations to help other healthcare and nursing facilities stay up to date regarding COVID-19 procedures and guidelines. At LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, our goal is to provide quality healthcare in the safest environment possible.

            A driving force behind the success of these efforts is Stokes’ administrator, Pam Tillman, who was also recently awarded Employee of the Year. “She has ensured our team has exactly what is needed at all times, especially assuring we have Personal Protective Equipment,” says Tillman’s staff. Tillman has also led the charge on our hospital’s vaccination efforts, vaccinating 6,000 members of our small community. As a Registered Nurse, her efforts to make our hospital run smoothly in the midst of the pandemic have even included working shifts when staff is unavailable. We’re grateful to have her, and the honor of Healthcare Hero is well deserved!

            LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes continues to provide the key healthcare services needed in our community and is still offering vaccinations to those who need them. To register for your vaccination, call our staff at (336) 593-2831 and schedule an appointment.

Learn more about Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher. LifeBrite Hospital Group operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories.

Young lady suffering from allergies at home on the couch.

Allergies or COVID? Our Experts Break Down the Difference

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After a long winter of pandemic isolating and extreme weather in some states, the arrival of spring’s warmer temperatures and longer hours of daylight make it easier and more pleasant to spend time outside.

So how do you know if your new congestion, sneezes, cough, or fatigue are simply signs of seasonal allergies, or symptoms of COVID?

Key Symptoms: Commonalities and Differences

The CDC has provided many reliable references throughout the pandemic, including this September 2020 infographic pointing out the overlap in symptoms between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies which include:

  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

The Mayo Clinic’s March 2021 post concurred, and both sources agree the following symptoms are far more common with COVID-19, and not with allergies:

  • Fever and chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When trying to determine whether you’re experiencing allergies or COVID, you may need to look no further than your eyes. Both the CDC and The Mayo Clinic indicate that itchy nose, eyes, mouth, and inner ear are associated with seasonal allergies, but not with COVID-19. The American Academy of Ophthalmology agrees:
“Coronavirus symptoms generally do not cause those uncomfortable itchy, watery eyes.”

Timing Your Testing

At LifeBrite Stokes, we care about your entire well-being. If you’re experiencing any extreme symptoms, such as significant difficulty breathing or serious chest pains, do not hesitate to call 911.

Your healthcare provider will also want to address any persistent symptoms that match those of COVID-19, so call them for a consultation as quickly as possible. If you take a test independently, let them know as well, so that they can be aware of and monitor your results.

If you learn you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, testing within 5-7 days of that exposure is also recommended, regardless of your symptoms.

Staying Protected

There are several things you can continue to do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 (as well as flu, the common cold, and other viruses). Though they may be familiar, the CDC still recommended these actions as recently as March 2021: 

Believe it or not, the face mask that protects you from COVID-19 may very well reduce your allergy symptoms, as well. A November 2020 study published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and covered in depth by VeryWell Health determined that for some people, wearing a face mask reduces symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or seasonal allergies. 

Remember to wash your mask regularly, especially if you have allergies, as small pollen particles may still cling to it.

We at LifeBrite Stokes are your community health partner in all seasons and through all symptoms. To learn more about our services and facilities, please visit the LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes website. You can also learn more about Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher. LifeBrite Hospital Group operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories.

Physician holding model of kidneys

3 Lifestyle Tips to Improve Kidney Health

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Your kidneys are wellness powerhouses that work day and night to keep your body healthy.

Constantly filtering and cleansing your blood, your kidneys eliminate waste and excess fluid from your body in the form of urine. While the process sounds simple, it actually involves many intricate steps.

Kidneys regulate salt, potassium, and acid in your body. They also produce hormones which influence how other systems in your body work. For example, kidneys release hormones that control blood pressure and red blood cell production.

Well-functioning kidneys keep your whole body healthier. Unfortunately, these amazing organs are also prone to diseases, which are often caused by other health issues. Diabetes is the number-one cause of chronic kidney disease, though high blood pressure, congenital disorders, and other chronic conditions can also be contributing factors.

In honor of National Kidney Month this March, here are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to promote your kidney health.

1. Control Diabetes

Diabetes damages small blood vessels throughout the body. When this happens, kidneys struggle to filter your blood properly.

Poorly controlled diabetes leads to more blood vessel damage, and more kidney problems. When you manage your diabetes well, you can minimize this damage and preserve the ability of your kidneys to keep you healthy.

If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you can protect your kidney health by controlling your blood sugar levels with daily monitoring and adhering to the diet your doctor recommends.

2. Monitor Blood Pressure

Like diabetes, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels, impeding the kidneys’ ability to filter your blood effectively. This creates a domino effect in which excess fluid builds up in the body, further spiking blood pressure and damaging more blood vessels.

Many practitioners will diagnose patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) if their levels are 130/80 mmHg or higher. If you’re at risk for hypertension or have already been diagnosed, you may be advised to monitor your levels at home. This helps you and your practitioner work together to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.

Lifestyle changes your doctor recommends to control blood pressure may include losing weight or maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) through regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Quitting or avoiding smoking and limiting your alcohol intake are also important ways to maintain your blood pressure.

If you think stress could be contributing to your elevated blood pressure levels, practices such as journaling or meditation may help.

Some people need medications to control their blood pressure. Your doctor can advise you on whether medications are necessary for you.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet

An unhealthy diet is the most significant risk factor for death and disability caused by chronic kidney disease. Certain foods can put added stress on the kidneys, while others can boost their performance.

Many specialists recommend the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet to promote kidney health. This approach lowers the risk of heart disease and is a treatment for both hypertension and kidney disease (though it should not be used for patients on dialysis). It prioritizes nutrient-dense foods, such as fish, poultry, beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, while restricting processed foods due to their high sodium and sugar contents.

The healthcare practitioners at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes are committed to providing comprehensive care to help you manage chronic conditions and lower your risk of kidney disease. To make an appointment with one of our providers, call (336) 593-2831 or learn more about our services online.

Pam Tillman

Employee of the Year: Pam Tillman

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For the past year, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Throughout the pandemic, citizens of Stokes who become infected with the virus have turned to the hospital for treatment or, when necessary, stabilization before transfer to Winston-Salem. The hospital’s staff has also been at the forefront of community education and prevention efforts, all while continuing to offer a full range of emergency, acute, chronic, therapeutic, and preventative care.

LifeBrite’s response to this public health crisis has all been under the leadership of Pam Tillman, administrator of the hospital.

A Team Committed to Protecting the People of Stokes

“I am nothing without the tremendous team here,” says Tillman. “I feel very blessed to have them, and they definitely deserve the credit for the good that’s been done here this year.”

She recalls a meeting she held with her managers, back in March 2020, when she could see that hard times were ahead. She told them, “There’s so much we don’t know, but we’re not going to come through this unscathed.” Tillman knew that COVID would likely impact her team directly and personally, and she gave them an opportunity to resign if the challenge ahead was too much to bear.

None of her managers left. Everyone committed themselves to doing whatever it took to protect the people of Stokes through whatever this public health emergency might bring.

A Calling to Help and to Heal

“If you do what you love,” says Tillman, “it doesn’t feel like work.”

From an early age, Tillman knew she liked to help people. When she was in the 6th grade, her grandfather became very ill, and Tillman helped her family care for him. “He said I would be a good nurse,” she says.

The idea stuck with her, and, after graduating from high school, Tillman went to college for nursing then started her career. More than two decades later, there’s still nothing she enjoys more.

“There’s just something about a patient who you’ve just helped looking you in the eye,” says Tillman, “and knowing you’re getting that sincere ‘thank you’… there’s just nothing else to compare to that.”

While her position today includes leading her staff, coordinating with the Stokes County Health Department, and managing compliance requirements, she still stays directly involved in patient care.

“I can be out in any of the units at any time,” she says, “helping troubleshoot patient care issues in the hospital or the nursing home, jumping in to help an ER patient, or getting an IV stick that nobody else can get started.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with the hospital’s resources stretched to the limit, she has frequently stepped in to cover nursing shifts. She happened to be working a third shift in the ER when the hospital admitted its very first COVID case, and she was the nurse assigned to that patient. “God meant for me to be there that night,” she says, “whether I wanted to be or not.”

It has all made for some very long days, but Tillman and her team are driven by a mission to protect their patients and their community.

The Critical Role of Rural Hospitals

Tillman is passionate about the importance of rural hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes giving ready access to quality care.

“At the rural hospital level, I want to use my whole skillset to make sure the hospital is running as efficiently as it can. And, for each individual patient who’s presented to us for care, I want to make sure we’re doing the best we can by them.”

For the people of Stokes, Winston-Salem is an hour’s drive away. “But for some of our elderly folks who have more medical problems, for them to get into a car and navigate the curvy roads to Winston, then navigate the parking deck and a big hospital… it’s almost overwhelming,” Tillman says. “You find that they choose to not get care rather than to navigate that system. So to be able to drive up to a door, to come in and know the people taking care of them, especially for their basic care, is very important.”

For emergency care, where minutes can mean the difference between life and death, local access to care is essential. And even for patients who end up needing transfer to Winston-Salem, LifeBrite’s ER provides life-saving stabilization prior to transport.

“One of the folks who we vaccinated not long ago said, ‘I just want to thank you all for being here because my wife wouldn’t be here if y’all hadn’t been,’” says Tillman. The man’s wife had had a severe reaction to a bee sting, and LifeBrite’s ER had saved her life.

“Other folks say, ‘You all got us stabilized here. We had to go on to the big hospital, but they said we would probably have died if you hadn’t been here.’”

Stepping Up to Provide Vaccines and Hope

For Tillman, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has made LifeBrite even more crucial to the Stokes community.

Back in the fall of 2020, when officials from the North Carolina state government were planning for the distribution of vaccines, Tillman made sure LifeBrite was first on the list. It began with LifeBrite’s nursing home medical director and pharmacist securing it for the Stokes County Nursing Home. Soon after, the state was asking LifeBrite’s family medicine clinics in Danbury and Pine Hall to serve as vaccine sites for their communities.

Tillman responded by asking if, in addition to the clinics, LifeBrite Community Hospital could become a vaccine site as well.

“Everybody felt like we should,” she says, “so we stepped up for the fight, and it’s about trampled us down, but it really has been fulfilling.”

Across LifeBrite’s facilities in Stokes, several thousand of Stokes’ 47,000 citizens have already been vaccinated, sometimes more than one thousand in a day.

Tragically, as Tillman had predicted, the crisis recently became very personal for her team. One of her staff members lost her husband to COVID-19.

“We wished we could have saved her husband,” says Tillman. “We were dealt a blow by COVID, but it felt good at least to know we were doing something by getting the vaccine into arms.”

The Healing Power of Nature

Tillman hasn’t taken any time off since the pandemic began, though she still escapes to her back yard to garden on the old family farm she and her family still live on.

When the crisis is over, she looks forward to traveling again in her camper to visit National Parks. “We have a beautiful country,” she says.

She also wants to spend more time at the beach. “There’s something special to me about being able to walk on the beach and see the ocean out there,” she says, “and know there’s a whole lot bigger picture than just us.”

For Tillman and her dedicated team, the days are long and hard, but they know it’s all in the service of a bigger picture: their community’s health.


Learn more about LifeBrite Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher. LifeBrite Hospital Group operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about what LifeBrite Hospital Group is doing to make healthcare better, visit our homepage.

Tennis Elbow

Find relief from tennis elbow pain

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Tennis elbow, called lateral epicondylitis in the scientific field, is a painful condition that many assume comes from just playing tennis. However, tennis elbow affects many people and not only those who play tennis. Tennis elbow is an irritation of tendons that are around the bend of the arm. The muscles around the elbow are overused from having to perform the same motion repeatedly and become weak and stressed. These muscles cause ligaments around the elbow to develop small tears.  

Tennis elbow isn’t just from tennis

Tennis elbow can affect those who work in offices due to constant typing. It can also occur in those who make repetitive motions such as those used in painting and plumbing. Tennis elbow can affect those who play tennis and other racket sports such as golf or pickleball, especially if they play these sports with bad or incorrect forms. 

There are several factors that can play a role in developing tennis elbow. Age is one such favor as tennis elbow often occurs in those who are between 30 and 50 years old. Improper form during the repetitive motion and previous injuries are also factors that can cause tennis elbow to develop. 

Relief from tennis elbow through medical intervention

Tennis elbow is a painful condition, and there are multiple options for those who are looking to find tennis elbow treatment and live a life free of elbow pain. There are several medical treatments for tennis elbow. Ultrasonic tenotomy, which is the process of sucking the damaged tendon out, is a medical procedure for those with especially bad cases of tennis elbow. A doctor inserts a needle into the tendon, and then the ultrasound vibrates the tendon, which causes it to be liquified. From there, the ligament can then be removed. 

Relief from tennis elbow through non-medical intervention

There are also non-medical options available for the treatment of tennis elbow. These options are typically done at home, and you can do them without the supervision of a doctor. 

For starters, you should rest your arm. Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive movement, so taking a break from that activity can help. Ice is another great option. Ice not only reduces the pain, but ice also causes blood vessels to constrict, which helps reduce swelling.  You could also take over the counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, to help with pain and swelling.

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes offers relief from tennis elbow through therapy 

The highly trained therapists in the Physical and Occupational Therapy Department at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes work to help reduce pain from tennis elbow. Tennis elbow treatment can vary from person to person depending on the severity of the injury. Our therapists provide education and treatment to provide optimal care to their patients.  

Tennis elbow is a painful condition that can keep you from doing something that you enjoy.  If you would like to try physical therapy for your tennis elbow pain, talk to your doctor today. 

Learn more about LifeBrite Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher. LifeBrite Hospital Group operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about what LifeBrite Hospital Group is doing to make healthcare better, visit our homepage.

 

COVID-19 Preparedness at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes

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COVID-19 Update 3/30/20

Today’s update comes from Dr. Downey with LifeBrite Pediatric Clinic.

Recent information released from the North Carolina Immunization Registry, with backing from the CDC, stressed the importance of newborn and well-child care including vaccination of infants and young children through 24 months of age, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Newborn care and routine childhood vaccinations are considered essential.

LifeBrite Pediatrics is committed to ensuring that these essential well-child visits and immunization appointments are completed in a safe environment for staff, patients, and families. Strategies implemented effective today:

1. Well-child visits will be scheduled during morning hours with sick visits being scheduled during afternoon hours.
2. All appointments will be scheduled so that no time will be spent in the waiting room – patients will go directly to an exam room.
3. Cleaning and sanitization efforts have increased significantly throughout all LifeBrite facilities.

LifeBrite Pediatric Clinic Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 8:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday – 1:00 – 5:00pm
Thursday – Pediatric clinic closed. *Sick visits will be seen at LifeBrite Family Medical of Danbury between 8:00am – 5:00pm

Please call (336) 593-5354 to schedule an appointment or with any specific questions!

Let’s keep our children safe!

COVID-19 UPDATE 3/23/20
Restrictions in place until further notice:

NO visitors are permitted on acute care (hospital) or in the nursing home. We may only allow visitors for compassionate care reasons, such as end of life situations. This will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Anyone with an appointment in any of the family medical clinics, outpatient departments (PT/OT, Radiology, Laboratory, etc.), and the ER are limited to one accompanying support person.

The hospital cafeteria is closed to all outside visitors.

LifeBrite Family Medical of Danbury and Pine Hall as well as LifeBrite Pediatrics are offering a “virtual visit” option to established patients only for follow up visits. You must not be experiencing any new onset symptoms. Please call the clinic directly for scheduling.
LifeBrite Family Medical Danbury: 336-593-8281
LifeBrite Family Medical Pine Hall: 336-427-3076
LifeBrite Pediatrics: 336-593-5354

We appreciate your cooperation with all of the above guidelines. We remain in close contact with the Stokes County Health Department, Stokes County Board of Health, and Stokes County EMS and will continue to implement any guidance from CMS and CDC.
Stay safe and healthy!

COVID-19 3/17/20

We understand that you may be concerned about COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Hospital Administration and the Management Team at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes and Stokes County Nursing Home would like to reassure you that we are actively monitoring the situation very closely. It is our goal to protect the health and safety of our patients and residents, their families, visitors, and staff during this time.

We are in close contact with the Stokes County Health Department as well as Stokes County EMS. As of today, Monday, March 16th, we have implemented the following restrictions following the guidance of the CDC and our federal and state government:

Stokes County Nursing Home – no visitors or volunteers will be permitted. Visitors may be allowed on a case-by-case basis for compassionate care reasons, such as end of life situations.

LifeBrite Community Hospital – visitation is restricted to immediate family only for acute care and swing patients.

Family Medical Clinics (Danbury and Pine Hall)/Pediatric Clinic/ER – only one person may accompany the patient into the clinic or ER for support purposes.

Cafeteria – closed to outside visitors.

These restrictions will remain in place until further notice with any updates posted on our Facebook page as well as on our website at www.lifebritestokes.com.

We strive to keep all of our facilities as clean as possible. During this time, we have increased our cleaning efforts especially with all common areas, doors, handrails, wheelchairs, etc.

Reminders: If you are sick or not feeling well, keep your distance from others! Contact your family doctor if you develop a cough, fever, or sore throat for instructions on obtaining a proper screening. As always, wash your hands and wash your hands often!

If you require additional information regarding COVID-19 we encourage you to visit www.cdc.gov and follow the CDC’s guidance on combating this virus.

arthritis

The Best Exercises for Arthritis Patients | LifeBrite Hospital of Stokes

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Hand and finger exercises to relieve arthritis pain

More than 54 million Americans have arthritis. Arthritis can affect the joints in different areas of the body, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. If you suffer from any of these ailments, you might be excited to learn that exercise for arthritis could help to reduce arthritis pain. 

Relieve arthritis pain with exercise

Yoga, pilates, stretching, swimming, and other low impact workouts are all great exercises for arthritis. Exercise helps to reduce pain and limit stiffness and is especially crucial during an arthritis flare-up. Exercising the joints and increasing the muscle strength around the joints is beneficial to relieve arthritis pain naturally, to gain better mobility in the joints, and to reduce stiffness.

A popular form of exercise for arthritis pain is gardening. While many people might consider gardening a hobby more than a workout, the working of the dirt with hands is an excellent exercise for arthritis and one that sees beautiful results for the laborer. 

The best exercise for arthritis is walking

Walking is a low-impact exercise that can help the overall health and mobility of arthritic joints. Walking on a regular basis can loosen stiff joints, leading to less pain and improving the overall quality of life in patients with arthritis. Patients should set a goal for a minimum of 150 minutes of walking each week. 

Hand exercises for arthritis 

Many people experience arthritis pain in their hands. Specific wrist and finger exercises may be beneficial to help combat the pain and stiffness from hand arthritis. 

Wrist exercises

To exercise your wrists, bend them back and forth a few minutes each day. You can also push against a hard surface, such as a wall, flexing your wrists at the same time.

Finger exercises

Our fingers are especially susceptible to stiffness caused by arthritis, and daily activities that use the fingers can help loosen these joints. Splay your fingers across a table and bend up at the joint that connects the fingers to the hand. Do this on each side three to five times a day. Another excellent finger exercise for arthritis is to make your hands into claws, curling them towards your palm and straightening them back out. Repeat up to three times a day to help keep your fingers from becoming stiff.

Overall hand exercises 

We’ve all heard of using a stress ball as a stress reliever, but did you know that it makes a great full-hand exercise for arthritis pain and stiffness too? Squeeze it in each hand ten times each day.

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes offers therapy to arthritis patients 

LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes offers inpatient and outpatient Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, a beneficial option for those with arthritis. Therapy works to strengthen weakened joints and to reduce pain and inflammation. Our trained therapists work one-on-one to provide treatment and education to our patients, ensuring safety and consistency for optimal care.

The best defense against arthritis pain and stiffness is regular exercise. Find an exercise that you enjoy, such as walking or gardening, and try to spend some time engaging in that activity each day. Or, if you would like to try therapy for arthritis pain-relief, talk to your doctor today. 

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. Learn more about what LifeBrite Laboratories is doing to make healthcare better. 

Woman making a heart with her hands for American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month: have you been screened for heart disease?

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Each January, millions of Americans ring in the New Year with a list of resolutions to focus on for better health. Whether we resolve to get better sleep, exercise more or simply eat better, resolutions have an 80% failure rate.

Although resolutions can be pushed aside, February offers everyone an opportunity to stay engaged in healthy activities. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Since 1964, February has been designated as American Heart Month as a reminder to focus on heart health.

Leading causes of heart disease

The CDC lists high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking as key risk factors for heart disease. The federal agency also lists other contributing factors such as lack of exercise, obesity, and diabetes. In fact, heart disease kills more people with diabetes than any other condition.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests seven ways to stay ahead of heart disease. Life’s Simple 7, as the guidelines are known, lists basics such as exercise, maintaining a proper weight, and a good diet as key components to heart health. The AHA also advises everyone to avoid tobacco use and to learn about high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.

Heart health takes effort but the best way to stay focused on a healthy lifestyle begins with scheduling your regular checkup. Your primary care doctors can screen for early warning signs of disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes symptoms.

Don’t be a statistic. See your doctor, and fulfill your New Year’s resolutions

In the United States, cardiovascular disease kills one person every 37 seconds. A simple health screening can be the critical first step toward a longer, healthier life. 

If you made a resolution to be healthier this year, focusing on heart health and getting a checkup with your physician is a lifestyle change that could keep you from becoming just another statistic.

With six locations in Stokes County, LifeBrite offers healthcare services to meet a variety of needs within our community. LifeBrite currently operates three primary care facilities for family health including family medical clinics in Danbury and Pine Hall and LifeBrite Pediatric Clinic of Danbury.

distressed woman

Make every day a mental health day: LifeBrite CEO stresses the importance of mental health care

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Each year, calendars are filled with awareness campaigns for things like cancer, heart disease, and many other illnesses. Still, for patients struggling with addictions or mental illnesses such as depression, every day is an awareness day.

LifeBrite CEO Christian Fletcher recently commented on the need to treat mental and behavioral health like any other medical issue. In an interview with ThriveGlobal, he noted the stigma associated with mental health treatment in the United States and expressed hope that “the general public will also begin to understand that mental illness is no more a matter of choice than poor vision, Type 1 diabetes, or a broken bone.”

Taking steps forward in recognition of mental and behavioral health needs

In 2008, President Bush signed the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act of 2008, which mandated that insurance companies must treat mental health equally with other illnesses when providing for treatment. While the bill was a significant step forward in recognition of mental and behavioral health needs, access to treatment—especially in rural areas—has often been difficult.

LifeBrite recognizes the need to serve smaller communities and rural areas. It is our main focus as a healthcare provider.

Stokes county was recently listed as a high-risk area for opioid addiction. Of the 412 counties listed as high-risk nationally, 41 were located in North Carolina.

“I think there is a lot more the system and healthcare providers can do to meaningfully address the U.S. opioid epidemic,” said Fletcher in the interview with ThriveGlobal. “More than 16,000 Americans die each year of unintentional opioid overdoses, and with access to genetic testing and precision medicine, providers can now better understand how patients both react to these drugs as well as monitor patient use.”

Precision medicine, like the specialized testing done by LifeBrite Labs, is one way Fletcher sees the company making an impact in opioid treatment. Recognizing biological traits can help doctors prescribe better alternative medications for high-risk patients. Doctors at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes have participated in research panel discussions on the epidemic and continue to promote mental health awareness throughout the year.

Making mental health care more accessible

Depression is another issue at the cross-section of mental health and general health treatment. In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death in college-age adults and one of the leading causes of death in every age demographic. Yet, access to care is still limited due to a lack of professionals in the field. Access to care can be near impossible to find in many rural areas of the country. Unfortunately, suicide rates in rural areas outpace other parts of the country.

Mental health professionals advise people having suicidal thoughts to call for emergency help or go to the closest emergency room where doctors can help locate proper treatment. LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes is a full-service healthcare facility equipped with emergency care services. The hospital is also a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), which works as part of a statewide network allowing the people of Stokes county access to a wide range of specialists.

In March, there are days set aside for alcohol and drug awareness, and May is Mental Health Awareness Month. There are days in September for suicide awareness, but LifeBrite encourages you to make every day a mental health day.


Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early and LifeBrite Laboratories. To learn more about LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, visit our homepage.