On the Clock: Patient Transporter Reggie Thomas

The best part of Reggie Thomas’ work is when she’s around patients.

Thomas is a transporter in the orthopedic unit at Rush, where she has worked since 1985. Her main responsibility is to take patients back and forth between doctors and nurses, testing areas and other parts of the hospital.

“I get a joy when I see them getting ready to leave and they’re actually walking out without crutches or even a walker. I just clap for them and say ‘Oh my God, you guys have graduated!'”

Spine Surgery at Rush ‘the Right Choice For Me’

BrookieSpaBy Brookie Spa

In 2006, I had an injury causing damage to my spine. Since then, I have endured many years of pain, with more than one surgery to attempt to ease my discomfort.

On Dec. 28, 2012, Dr. Kern Singh and his staff operated on my spine. This was my fourth surgery. Not only did I appreciate his minimally invasive procedure, but his staff was awesome. They are very kind, caring and compassionate to their patients. I never felt as if I was a bother to them with my questions or concerns.

From the time I arrived at patient registration, visiting pre-op, participating in the surgery, visiting post-op and staying for two days thereafter, the medical team at Rush University Medical Center — Dr. Singh’s team, the pain management team, OT, PT, and of course the great nursing staff — were top notch. Facility services were awesome as well.

Working in the medical field myself, it was a pleasure to be treated with respect along with each member being very caring and compassionate. Each person went above and beyond to make sure I was well cared for.

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Film Merges Student’s Dancing Talent, Knee Research

Photo courtesy of Lizz Knowlton

By Christopher Knowlton

I am a PhD student in bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I work as a research assistant under Dr. Markus Wimmer in the Tribology Laboratory of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, where I am doing my thesis research on the wear of total knee replacements. Like many graduate students, I have a second job, but I bet your list of best guesses didn’t include professional dancer.

On any given week, I spend around 10 to 20 hours per week in rehearsals and shows for various independent choreographers in Chicago. Until recently, my work as a graduate student and my career as a dancer were largely separate. But on Tuesday, I was named a finalist for the international Dance Your Ph.D. contest on Science magazine’s website.

A little over a year ago, Rachel Thorne Germond of RTG Dance, the first choreographer I worked with in Chicago, posted a link to the contest on Facebook. Not long after, there was an explosion of posts among my dancer friends sharing a TED talk given by John Bohannon & Black Label Movement called Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal. John Bohannon is a correspondent for Science magazine who created the Dance Your Ph.D. contest to encourage scientists to better engage a broad audience with complex ideas. Since I was hearing about this contest from other dancers instead of PhD students, it became obvious that nonscientists really connected to this type of presentation. It was such a great fit for me that I knew I had to participate.

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Derrick Rose’s Road to Recovery

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose chronicles his recovery from a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in this new video. It features scenes from Rush University Medical Center and an appearance by Brian Cole, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush and Chicago Bulls’ team physician.

Surgeon By Day, Artist By Evening

By day, Bernard Bach, MD, serves as director of sports medicine at Rush University Medical Center and Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

In the evening and on weekends, he heads to his workshop in his Chicago-area home or to an Oak Park glassblowing studio to create handmade art, including jellyfish sculptures, Persian wall platters and vases.

“I believe people should do whatever makes them happy,” Bach says. “I love medicine because I interact with people and use my hands to treat them and make a difference in their lives. I love art because I use my hands to create something for my own satisfaction.”

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Ask the Sports Doctor: Running Injury Q&A

Joshua Blomgren, DO, a sports medicine physician with Rush University Medical Center and Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, recently took part in an online chat about treatment and prevention of common running injuries. In case you missed it, here are some highlights from the discussion.

I started running for the Chicago Half Marathon and started to have anterior knee pain and instability. I also started to have lots of grinding in both knees. Will I need time to rest? Would a knee brace help? 

Joshua Blomgren, DO: Anterior knee pain is a common complaint in runners. Very commonly the patellofemoral, or “knee cap” joint, is the culprit. The knee cap glides in a groove in the thigh bone with walking, running and activity. There is a complex interplay of leg alignment and muscular activity that contribute to the activity of the joint. If the joint is slightly out of alignment it can become painful. A lot of runners will experience it as they progress in their training. This is the likely cause, considering the pain and grinding sensation. There are some braces that can help improve the “knee cap” alignment, but most often a physical therapy program to strengthen the quadriceps and gluteus medius muscle can help alleviate your pain and help you to continue your training.

How important is post-run stretching in preventing injury? Any guidance on ideal length of time to spend stretching post-run?

Blomgren: Stretching has been shown in multiple studies to aid in injury prevention. There are two types of stretching — static and dynamic. Static is the more commonly known type as this is the commonly thought of “reach, stretch and hold.” Dynamic stretching is stretching the muscles as you are using them. Dynamic stretching has been shown to be most beneficial as part of the warm-up, and static stretching is done as part of a cool-down. Make sure to focus on the major muscle groups of the legs.

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Running Injuries Rise With Marathon Training Mileage

Join Joshua Blomgren, DO, for tips on running injury prevention and treatment during an online chat from noon to 1 p.m. on July 25. Visit our Rush Facebook page to sign up for a reminder and view the chat.

By Joshua Blomgren, DO

As the temperatures rise in Chicago, I also see a rise in the number of running injuries that present to my office. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon hosts over 40,000 runners, many from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, for the annual event that takes place in October.

Many runners see a large increase in their mileage as they begin to progress in their training programs, and most training plans for an October marathon will have the runners begin to progress to 10 miles and beyond around this time of year. It’s not uncommon for a patient to say things such as, “I did my long run this weekend and …” or “I did 10 miles last weekend, and this is the farthest I have ever run.” Often these long runs are met with aches and pain as the runners push toward their goal of completing 26.2 miles.

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Keys to Recognizing and Treating Concussions

Jeffrey Mjaanes, MD, and other specialists from the Chicago Sports Concussion Clinic will present a free program about concussions on Sept. 29 at Rush.

By Jeffrey Mjaanes, MD

A concussion occurs when there is direct or indirect trauma to the brain that results in a functional, but not structural, injury. Not every bump to the head results in a concussion but when an athlete suffers trauma to the head and then manifests symptoms such as headache, confusion, dizziness, memory loss, mood swings and sleep disturbances, a concussion is likely present.

Concussions are a relatively common injury seen in athletes of all ages involved in contact sports. It is estimated that over 300,000 traumatic brain injuries occur each year. Children and adolescents account for almost half of all brain injuries, take a longer time for their symptoms to clear and are at increased risk of complications from a concussion. The highest risk sport is football, but girls’ soccer has the second-highest incidence, followed by boys’ soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Concussions can also occur in recreational activities such as cycling or skiing.

Most concussions last one to two weeks but often take longer to resolve in children. Athletes younger than 21 years of age are at increased risk for complications from concussion, including second impact syndrome and post-concussive syndrome. Second impact syndrome is when an athlete who is still recovering from a first concussion receives a second blow to the head, resulting in brain swelling and possibly death. Post-concussive syndrome occurs when symptoms of a concussion persist and may last up to nine months or longer, affecting school or job performance, mood and sleep. Continue reading