Weighing Pain Management Options

Pain Management


Weighing your Pain Management Options

Whether from injury, disease, or medical procedure, everyone has experienced pain to a varying degree. How did you deal with the pain?  Did you see your family doctor and get a prescription?  Did you take an over the counter pain reliever or a medicinal rub?  Did you use a hot pack or an ice pack?  Did you go see a physical therapist or a chiropractor?

Our country is in the middle of an opioid epidemic, and just as medical treatment has evolved, so has our understanding of how pain works. With continual improvements in pain management techniques and technologies, it is important to have an understanding of the different treatment options available when recovering from an injury or surgical procedure.

We hope to provide with you some simple tips on becoming a smart consumer when it comes to pain, along with alternative or complimentary pain management methods to opioid medications. These tips focus on pain management in relation to surgery, but can be applied in other scenarios as well.


An important first step you can take is to educate yourself.  It is recommended that you first find a physician who you feel comfortable talking to, especially if you are considering surgery, so you know what to expect. To educate yourself on pain management, here are some topics to cover with your doctor:

Understanding pain management options

– Before deciding on surgery, consider discussing other alternative methods for treatment (i.e.: injections, therapy, or chiropractic care).

– What are the options for pain control methods that can be used before, during, and after an operation?

-If you are prescribed a prescription pain medication ask your doctor or surgeon for an over the counter alternative if your pain isn’t severe enough to warrant use of the prescription pain medicine.

-If you are anxious about an upcoming procedure, or have been anxious post procedure before, consider talking to your doctor about options to help your anxiety.  Anxiety can make you tense which can lead to an increase in pain.    

– Get a second or third opinion if you aren’t happy or comfortable with the plan your doctor is suggesting. 

These are just some tips to consider when looking into pain management options. As always, it is best to speak with a health professional to determine your next course of action.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of our pain blog and find out what distraction and relaxation techniques you can use to help manage your pain.

This article was written by Heather Mack, PT, DTP, PCS, Clinical Manager at The Atrium. If you have any questions related to this article or would like to learn about the therapy and wellness programs offered at the Atrium, please call 814-535-5347 extension 4421.


Healthy Eating – Wellness Wednesday Recap


Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging 

Today marked our second Wellness Wednesday at The Atrium, focused on Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging. Eating well leads to a healthier lifestyle and comes with a number of benefits including: ensuring nutrient intake, weight loss or weight maintenance, decrease in the risk of developing chronic diseases, and meeting individual calorie needs to maintain energy levels.

On-site Wellness Coordinator and Physical Therapist Heather Mack provided some simple tips to make healthy eating easier, which can be found in our resource section below.

For many consumers, one quick takeaway to consider is making gradual changes in your diet such as incorporating more water and vegetables, while decreasing sugar and sodium intake. As always, before making major changes to your diet, it is best to consult with your physician or a nutritionist who can help assess your specific nutritional needs.

We hope you can join us on April 25th for our next Wellness Wednesday session; stay tuned for our upcoming focus topic!



Healthy Eating Tips
61 Names for Sugar
WebMD Portion-Size Guide 


March Wellness Wednesday


Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month?

This month’s Wellness Wednesday at The Atrium will focus on “Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging”. Our On-site Wellness Coordinator and Physical Therapist, Heather Mack, will provide some Healthy Eating tips to help us all be healthy as we age.

In addition, you will also have the opportunity to receive a free blood pressure screening. 

This event is free and open to the community. Refreshments will be served. 

The Atrium is conveniently located in Johnstown on 216 Main Street. We hope to see you there!

The Atrium, Johnstown, Wellness Wednesday




Wellness Wednesday Resources


Wellness Wednesday at The Atrium 

This week marked The Atrium’s first Wellness Wednesday. This free event is open for all to attend, and includes a blood pressure screening along with a mini-health and wellness exercise session.

This week’s wellness topic was on “Methods to Stay Strong and Steady All Year Long”. Heather Mack, Clinical Manager at The Atrium, covered topics such as burning calories with everyday activities and demonstrated some simple chair exercises that can be done at home. Below are links to some helpful resources from this month’s Wellness Wednesday

Our next Wellness Wednesday is scheduled for March 28th at 10 a.m. and will have a special focus on nutrition. We hope to see you there!


– Burning Calories 

– Exercises you can do in your chair


Assessing your Risk, Next Steps


Balance Series Part 2: Assessing your Risk, Next Steps

Part one of our balance series provided some simple reminders and tips to keep in mind when travelling on potentially dangerous surfaces in winter conditions. This week we are looking into addressing your risk of falling and some basic ways to decrease this risk overall. This can involve working with a physical therapist and by ‘balance proofing’ your home.


Assessing your Risk

If you find yourself worrying about potentially falling, it is important to assess your current health standing and address the reasons you think you may be at risk. Consulting a skilled therapist is essential for an accurate balance assessment, as there are many tests that can be performed to pin point what balance deficits you may have.

Factors that may affect your balance are numerous and can include:

-Hearing- whether it’s a hard of hearing issue, or an inner ear issue, both can be factors in your balance

-Vision- poor or decreased vision can contribute to falls

-Nervous system- our sensation in our feet/legs is important because if you can’t feel what you are walking on, your muscles are not getting good input from their environment which can decrease stability.

One quick and easy assessment you can take is to determine whether you consistently find yourself ‘furniture walking’. As the name implies, this means you are continually relying on surrounding furniture or other structures to help keep you steady in walking. If this is the case, it may be time to consider using a walking device. To determine an appropriate course of action for your next steps, it is helpful to consult with a professional.


Steps to Improve 

Wellness at The Atrium Senior Living Community, Johnstown

Strength and balance exercise-

-When it comes to muscles, the phrase “if you don’t use it you lose it” holds some truth- loss of muscle due to inactivity is referred to as atrophy. To prevent this atrophy, you can keep your muscles active with some resistance and strength exercises. Even if you are not a member of a gym, you can start with some simple exercises right at home. Quick exercises at home are a fun way to get your whole family active with you as well. We would be happy to work with you at The Atrium to help teach you some exercises you can practice at your convenience.


Balance proof your home-

In addition to working on a specialized balance program with a professional, you can take some simple steps around your home to make life easier so you can alleviate some of the worry associated with falling. An easy starting point is begin reorganizing. By removing clutter and rearranging, you can give yourself more open space to maneuver throughout your home. This is especially helpful if you are using  a device to assist you in walking. Additionally, make sure you keep items you use often on lower shelves; when you have to reach for items, consider using a reaching device rather than climbing on step stools and bending. An extra step in balance proofing your home can involve remodeling areas such as your bathroom. This could involve insuring you have easy access to your shower and utilizing grab bars, tub benches, raised toilet seats, or other utilities.


This article is provided by Heather Mack, PT, DTP, PCS, Clinical Manager at The Atrium. If you have any questions related to this article or would like to learn about the therapy and wellness programs offered at the Atrium, please call 814-535-5347 extension 4421.