Don’t lose out on therapy because of tough financial times!

What can you do if you have pain but you are afraid of generating a big medical bill?


Look for free services offered in the community.  SLIERS has free screenings available. Although this is not a substitute for seeing your doctor if you have a serious condition, it may be just what you need to learn a few tips or exercises to alleviate your pain. 


Look for low cost exercise classes.  Sometimes just getting moving helps your body to get stronger and more flexible and can help reduce pain and stiffness.


Look for free seminars. For example, support groups or web sites that are specific to your diagnosis or problem.  Chatting with others who have your same condition can help you to learn practical tips that work for them. 


Look for prevention programs.  These usually take the form of education or instruction in exercises.  For example, SLIERS has a Skiing Injury Prevention course with lectures by physicians and exercise programs crafted by physical therapists that was free and presented to the community in early Fall.


If you need to see a therapist here are a few tips that can make your experience short and sweet.


Be prepared for your first visit.  Fill out paperwork in advance if possible.  You will have more time to think about the questions and you can look up things like medications, surgeries giving the therapist a good knowledge base to start from.


Choose the direction of your treatment.  Make sure you identify your main issues and emphasize your goals.  Don’t waste time on what is not important to you.    


Let the therapist know what your preferences are.  The final outcome of treatment should include an exercise program.  Make sure it fits your lifestyle.   Do you belong to a gym? Do you want exercises that you can do at home?  If something has worked well for you in the past, tell your therapist so time is not spent on treatments that may not be as helpful. 


Make sure your schedule reflects your treatment needs.  If you can do exercises at home, do them there.  Use treatment time for advancing exercises, treatment components you can’t do on your own or learning self management techniques that help you achieve your goals.


Take an active roll and let your therapist know in advance of your desire to get the most out of your treatment in the least number of visits.


Susan Gordon

SLIERS, Downtown



Stay Strong and Get Moving- Multiple Sclerosis Exercise Class

Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, but it is especially important if you are living with multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis affects approximately 400,000 people in the United States, and attacks the nerves in the brain and/or spinal cord.  Although symptoms vary widely they can include:


·        Muscle stiffness

·        Fatigue

·        Difficulty Walking  

·        Impaired balance and coordination

·        Dizziness

·        Visual deficits

·        Memory and cognition deficits


Daily exercise is one of the most important things that you can to do to help counteract the effects of multiple sclerosis.  Studies show that various kinds of physical activity can help people with MS maintain their mobility longer, improve balance, strength and flexibility which are key to maintaining endurance and helping prevent muscle loss. Research has shown individuals participating in a MS exercise class show significant improvement in overall fatigue as well as improved strength and mobility.


The focus of “Stay Strong and Get Moving” exercise class is to improve mobility and strength in individuals with multiple sclerosis.  When you have been diagnosed with MS, it is very important to keep active in order to maintain optimal function.   This exercise class will help you:

·        Improve Strength and flexibility

·        Improve energy level

·        Decrease stiffness

·        Improve balance and walking

·        Bring together members of the community for discussion, fun activities, and education


“Stay Strong and Get Moving” exercise class meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 12pm at 3875 E. Overland Rd, Meridian.  Please call 489-5060 for further information or if you are interested in attending this exercise class. Try your first class free of charge.  Cost is $25 per month.


I. Skin Care – Avoid trauma/injury and reduce infection risk

  1. Keep extremity clean and dry.
  2. Apply moisturizer daily to prevent chapping/chaffing of skin.
  3. Attention to nail care; do not cut cuticles.
  4. Protect exposed skin with sunscreen and insect repellent.
  5. Use care with razors to avoid nicks and skin irritation.
  6. If possible, avoid punctures such as injections and blood draws.
  7. Wear gloves while doing activities that may cause skin injury (i.e., gardening, working with tools, using chemicals such as detergent).
  8. If scratches/punctures to skin occur, wash with soap and water, apply antibiotics, and observe for signs of infection (i.e. redness).
  9. If a rash, itching, redness, pain, increased skin temperature, fever or flu-like symptoms occur, contact your physician immediately.

II. Activity / Lifestyle

  1. Gradually build up the duration and intensity of any activity or exercise avoiding soreness.
  2. Take frequent rest periods during activity to allow for limb recovery.
  3. Monitor the extremity during and after activity for any change in size, shape, tissue, texture, soreness, heaviness or firmness.
  4. Maintain optimal weight.

III. Avoid limb constriction

  1. If possible, avoid having blood pressure taken on the at risk arm.
  2. Wear loose fitting jewelry and clothing.

IV. Compression Garments

  1. Should be well-fitting.
  2. Consider supporting the at risk limb with a compression garment for strenuous activity (i.e. weight lifting, prolonged standing, running).
  3. Consider wearing a well-fitting compression garment for air travel.

V. Extremes of Temperature

  1. Avoid exposure to extreme cold, which can be associated with rebound swelling, or chapping of skin.
  2. Avoid prolonged (> 15 minutes) exposure to heat, particularly hot tubs and saunas.
  3. Avoid immersing limb in water temperatures above 102° F.

VI. Additional practices specific to lower extremity lymphedema

  1. Avoid prolonged standing or sitting.
  2. When possible, avoid crossing legs.
  3. Wear proper, well-fitting footwear.


Sonja M. Maul PT, CLT-LANA

National Board Certified Lymphedema Therapist

St. Luke’s*Idaho Elks Rehabilitation Services (SLIERS)

Boise Idaho