Healing Waters: aquatic exercise

August 11th, 2014

Pool with noodle EDIT long

Healing Waters: Osteoarthritis and Aquatics

Joint pain. Stiffness. Less movement. An estimated 27 million Americans live with osteoarthritis (OA), a painful, degenerative joint disease primarily affecting your cartilage. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, it’s the most common type of arthritis and predominantly occurs in the knees, hips, hands, and spine.

Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over each other and helps absorb the shock of movement. With osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away, allowing bones under the cartilage to rub together, and often making the joint swell.

Many different factors are believed to play a role in whether or not you get osteoarthritis: genetics, age, obesity, injury or overuse.

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, several treatment options are available including exercise, weight control, physical therapy, non-drug pain relief techniques, bracing and medical equipment, prescription medicines, complementary and alternative therapies, and finally surgery.

Exercise is probably the most important thing each of us can do to maintain our health throughout our lifetime. But for people who have this disease, just moving a joint can be painful.

Telling a patient in pain to exercise doesn’t really put a smile on their face. That’s when aquatic therapy can help. Whether a patient requires surgery or not, this exercise can help a patient with limited mobility regain his or her strength without the added stress of weight or gravity. Harnett Health offers both aquatic therapy and aquatic exercise classes at Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn.

For patients who have had surgery or have significant limitations in range of motion, strength, or endurance, aquatic therapy may be an option. With aquatic therapy, a physical therapist works individually with the patient in the pool providing them with one-on-one instruction as part of their physical therapy program.

Aquatic exercise is a class environment without the direct supervision of a physical therapist but led by an aquatic exercise instructor. Bobbie Barbour who has been an aquatic exercise instructor with the hospital since 2005 says, “We have several different exercise routines for people who use this program. We customize the program to each person’s ability and the speed at which they are comfortable doing the routines. If they can only do three leg lifts with correct form, that’s three they didn’t do yesterday.”

Not only are range-of-motion exercises important but equally important is the cardiac workout. “We have a variety of water toys such as noodles, weights, dumbbells, and scoops to get your heart pumping,” says Bobbie. “When someone comes in here with a bad knee, they need to work on those muscles but they need to work on the most important one, too… their heart muscle.”

Aquatic exercise can help a person regain enough strength and mobility to eventually be successful with an exercise program out of the pool. Aquatic exercise classes are not usually covered by insurance, but the prices are very reasonable. A two-day per week program is less than forty dollars a month, and a three-day per week program is under fifty dollars a month. To participate, a physician’s clearance is required.

If you would like more information on Aquatic Exercise or Aquatic Therapy, please call Harnett Health’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Department at 910-892-1000 x4610.

Harnett OB/GYN Receives National Recognition For Patient-Centered Care

January 20th, 2014

Harnett OB/GYN Receives National Recognition For Patient-Centered Care

Harnett County, N.C. (January 17, 2014) – Harnett Health is proud to announce that its obstetrics and gynecology practice, Harnett OB/GYN, has received national recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for being certified in the Physician Practice Connections–Patient-Centered Medical Home program. The practice is recognized at level three of the program, the highest achievable level.

The program uses evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships. The program’s standards emphasize enhanced care through patient-clinician partnership.

Harnett OB/GYN is accepting new patients and is located at 608 Tilghman Drive in Dunn. Patients may also been seen at Lillington Medical Services located at 716 N. 10th Street in Lillington. Call 910-892-4092 for an appointment at either location. Physicians serving patients through the practice include Michael Zich, MD, FACOG and Michelle Langaker, DO, FACOG.

“Our Harnett OB/GYN physicians and staff are thrilled to be certified in the Patient-Centered Medical Home program,” said Harnett Health’s Vice President of Medical Affairs, Wallace Horne, MD, MMM. “The practice is focused on building and strengthening long-term relationships with patients.”

The practice met key program components in the following areas:

  • Written standards for patient access and enhanced communications
  • Appropriate use of charting tools to track patients and organize clinical information
  • Responsive care management techniques with an emphasis on preventive care
  • Adaptation to patient’s cultural and linguistic needs
  • Use of information technology for prescriptions and care management
  • Use of evidenced-based guidelines to treat chronic conditions
  • Systematic tracking of referrals and test results
  • Measurement and reporting of clinical and service performance

 Harnett Health also has four additional primary care practices certified at the highest achievable level (Level 3) in the Physician Practice Connections–Patient-Centered Medical Home program:

  • Angier Medical Services, 185 Rawls Road, Angier, N.C.  27501
  • Lillington Medical Services, 716 N. Tenth St., Lillington, N.C. 27546
  • Premiere Pediatrics, 802 Tilghman Dr., Dunn, N.C.  28335
  • Dunn Medical Services, 803 Tilghman Dr., Dunn, N.C. 28335

“We are very proud that our practices are receiving this national recognition,” continued Dr. Horne. “Our medical staff and office staff work hard each day to provide quality, compassionate care to our patients and look forward to serving you and your family for years to come.”

 The Patient-Centered Medical Home program is a model of healthcare delivery that aims to improve the quality and efficiency of care. It identifies practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their personal physicians. Each patient’s care is tended to by physician-led care teams, who provide for all the patient’s healthcare needs and coordinate treatments across the healthcare system.

 Medical home physicians demonstrate the benchmarks of patient-centered care, including open scheduling, expanded hours and appropriate use of proven health information systems. Evaluations of the program have shown results in improving quality care and lowering costs for the patients by increasing access to more efficient, more coordinated care.


About Harnett Health

Harnett Health is a private, not-for-profit healthcare system based in Dunn, N.C. The system is accredited by The Joint Commission and encompasses a network of facilities throughout Harnett and Johnston counties. It has more than 265 credentialed providers and more than 1,000 employees. The system includes Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn, N.C. with 101 beds and Central Harnett Hospital in Lillington, N.C. with 50 private inpatient rooms. Services offered through Harnett Health include outpatient rehab/wellness centers in Benson, N.C., Dunn, N.C., and Lillington, N.C., and cardiac rehabilitation services, a breast care center, outpatient cardiac testing and a wound care center in Dunn, N.C. The healthcare system has six physician practices: Angier Medical Services, Coats Medical Services, Dunn Medical Services, Lillington Medical Services, Harnett OB/GYN, and Premiere Pediatrics. It also has a Foundation focused on fundraising, providing a personal touch for patients with extraordinary needs, and working to expand access to care for our community. For more information, visit www.harnetthealth.org.


About NCQA
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.

Cervical Cancer: Prevent It by Being Proactive

February 15th, 2013

Michelle Langaker, DO, FACOG (OB/GYN) 

According to the National Institute of Health, cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women worldwide.  It begins when cells on the cervix, which is in the lower part of the uterus, turn into abnormal cells.  In 2012, more than 12,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer.  Of those, approximately 4,200 will die.

The American Cancer Society sites several factors that increase a woman’s risk of cervical cancer.  The most common is the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection. HPV is found in nearly all types of cervical cancers.  Women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer.  They also have increased risk if they have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, since their immune systems are suppressed.  Women with a diet low in fruit and vegetables may be at increased risk for cervical cancer, as well as those who have been using birth control pills for long periods of time.  For reasons not fully understood in the medical community, women who have had multiple full-term pregnancies – more than 3 – are more likely than others of getting cervical cancer, and those with a family history have a higher probability for contracting the disease.

Early cervical cancer generally produces no signs or symptoms; that’s why it’s so important to have an annual Papanicolaou (Pap) test.  Symptoms that can signal the possibility of cervical cancer include pelvic pain or pain during intercourse; vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause; and watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor.

When cervical cancer is detected in its earliest stages, treatment is more likely to be successful.  Cervical cancer tends to occur between the ages of 20 and 50. However, women who have been getting regular tests to screen for cervical cancer before they were 65 rarely get the disease.  I strongly encourage my patients to schedule regular cervical cancer screenings. Most guidelines suggest beginning screening at age 21. During a Pap test, your doctor brushes cells from your cervix and sends the sample to a lab to be examined for abnormalities.  If cancer cells are detected, there are a variety of good treatment options available. I also suggest to patients under the age of 26 to get the HPV vaccine, which protects against two types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

The goal is to give the vaccination prior to the onset of sexual activity; however, it can be given after a person is sexually active as well.  It is important to inform our children that having the vaccine does not mean they should become sexually active and that there are many, many other considerations to be made prior to becoming sexually active.

I want all of my patients to have happy, healthy lives with the joy of seeing grandchildren and great-grandchildren while achieving all their goals.  For your health and to be there for your family, take time out of your hectic schedule to take care of yourself. I encourage all women to get regular Pap tests and exams by healthcare providers, to quit smoking, to exercise regularly, and to eat a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables. You owe it to yourself and to those you love to be proactive and take personal responsibility for your health.