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The aftermath of a strenuous workout can be pretty tough. Whether you’re pushing yourself a bit harder than usual or trying to tone up a new part of your body, you’re likely to feel the effects of working out either during the act or a couple of days afterwards. From trouble walking up the stairs to feeling an achy sensation when you raise your arms to reach for the cereal in the morning, muscle soreness can affect anyone, irrespective of their level of fitness. However, significant muscle soreness after a workout is more likely to affect you if you’re trying out a new workout, putting more strain on a particular muscle than usual, or if you’re working out for a long period of time.
Ever heard of the expression ‘no pain, no gain?’ Many people accept this as a harsh reality when it comes to regular exercise – but what if we told you that it didn’t have to be true? There are many ways you can alleviate the pain and discomfort of intense workouts, so there’s no need to let sore muscles put you off reaching your fitness goals, or living comfortably. Join us as we identify the main types of muscular pain that can occur during and after exercise, before we address 5 effective ways to deal with pain and speed up your recovery process.
What causes muscle pain?
Excluding pre-existing injuries, If you’re experiencing pain or soreness after or during a workout, there are two main types of muscle pain you may be suffering from; acute muscle soreness (AMS), or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Acute muscle soreness – AMS is muscle pain that is felt during, or immediately after, vigorous exercise. This pain can occur around as soon as a minute after the physical activity takes place, and it can persist for anywhere between a couple of minutes to 24 hours after the exercise took place. AMS takes place for a number of different reasons, but the main factor is the triggering of the body’s inflammatory response
When muscle strain occurs it wears down the muscle’s functional unit called the sarcomere, and the degradation of this unit is what causes inflammation. This inflammation then triggers pain receptors, and the stimulation of the pain receptors is what results in an almost instant sore sensation being felt in the overly strained muscles. Therefore, when you’re feeling acute soreness during a workout, it’s basically your body’s natural way of telling you to take it easy.
Delayed onset muscle soreness – DOMS typically occurs a day or two after a hard-hitting workout. It’s an extremely common condition and it’s probably the most widely recognised type of exercise-induced muscular pain. It’s more likely to take effect if you exercise harder than usual or if you’re training a new part of the body, and it can last for around 3-5 days.
DOMS occurs because excessive muscle strain can result in microscopic tears to the muscles fibres, and this causes damage to the muscle as well as its surrounding connective tissues. This subsequently triggers the body’s natural inflammatory response, which leads to liquids and electrolytes to flow towards the damaged muscle to start the process of healing. The pain and soreness then emerge when your body starts to naturally repair the muscle damage.
Both of these types of pain can vary dramatically in severity and length, depending on someone’s pain tolerance, workout regime and physique. However, you don’t have to put up with this suffering, so here’s how you can tackle the pain to enhance your level of comfort while staying ahead of your fitness game.
1 – Apply ice
Since both acute muscle soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness result as a consequence of some type of inflammation, lowering the body’s natural inflammatory response is the key way to decrease levels of pain. Applying ice to the injured area can be incredibly effective at this because it reduces the amount of blood flow to an injury site, which also reduces levels of inflammation, tissue damage, and swelling.
Since the fluid flowing to the site of the tissue damage is majoritively what causes the pain in the first place, limiting this fluid accumulation is a very effective way at soothing current pain while preventing future soreness from occurring. This technique is particularly effective if the area in pain is particularly swollen, red, and inflamed, and it’s best to apply the ice within 48 hours of the onset of the injury.
There are lots of different ways to manage your pain by applying ice, but the most common is through the use of an ice pack or a cold compact, by making your own by putting ice in a thin cloth, by taking an ice bath (if you’re brave!), or by trying out a cryotherapy treatment. It is, however, important to not apply bare ice directly onto the skin as this may risk the onset of localised frostbite.
2 – Use painkillers
Albeit not a very creative pain-relieving strategy, painkillers are still the go-to for many sportsmen and women who experience recurring muscular pain and soreness. It’s a fast and typically reliable way to relieve moderate muscular pain and it’s easy to take medication whether you’re on site or on-the-go. Common painkillers are also very easily available over the counter in most pharmacies.
It’s important to keep an eye out for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as they offer a more efficient way to help you ease your discomfort. However, if you rely on these types of medication to relieve types of pain in the long term, they may interfere with your body’s natural ability to heal itself, making exercise-related injuries take even longer to recover from in the future.
Also, if you slip into the habit of routinely using these types of painkillers, your tolerance to them will be weakened. They also have been known to elicit side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, a weakened immune system, and, after excessive use, even damage to the liver.
3 – Try using CBD
Only recently making a splash in the sports scene, CBD has quickly risen throughout the ranks to become a highly validated way to prevent muscle soreness and facilitate muscle healing. Existing as somewhat of a mysterious herbal outsider, CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is an extract of the hemp plant that features an array of therapeutic and healing properties – while containing no psychoactive properties.
One chief way that taking CBD oil for pain is particularly effective is due to its ability to relax muscle tissue. Since muscle tension surrounding the injury can make the pain much worse, relaxing the muscles that encompass the area of tension is an effective way to alleviate the pain that is being felt.
Cannabidoil’s anti-inflammatory properties are another important factor behind the compound’s success. In the same way that ice is so effective at reducing pain, CBDs ability to reduce most of the unnecessary inflammation around the site of damage means that swelling around the injury can be prevented and the pain can be soothed. But as the necessary amount of inflammation is still able to occur, the pain is still able to be relieved without compromising on the muscles recovery time.
There are lots of different ways to sample the benefits of this herbal extract, and there are many different places you can buy CBD oil out there today. One of the most efficient and effective ways to relieve muscular pain specifically, however, is by applying CBD oil directly onto the area or soreness or absorbing the substance through a transdermal patch.
4 – Get a massage
Another way to reduce muscle soreness by lowering your body’s inflammatory response is to massage the area that has been affected. Massages have been proven to reduce inflammation by limiting the production of compounds called cytokines, as they have been understood to play an important role in the inflammatory process.
As well as reducing muscle pain, massages have also been found to increase the rate of muscle repair, thus speeding up the process of recovery. It does so because massages stimulate parts of cells called mitochondria, which are microscopic powerhouses that convert glucose into energy that fuels cell function and mending. This speeds up the recovery of muscle cells to help you get back up and running in less time.
It’s recommended that if areas of your body are in pain, you should seek help from a sports masseuse of a soft tissue specialist. This is because if someone without professional knowledge tries to address the problem they may risk making the injury worse.
5 – Rest your body
Last but definitely not least. Sometimes after the wear and tear of a vigorous workout, the fatigue and soreness your body is experiencing are really just trying to tell you something – take a break. Resting your body helps to restore energy levels and build stamina, so you don’t experience a burn out between workouts.
If you keep on exercising when your muscles are experiencing pain or soreness, you delay their processes of recovery because you’re not giving your body enough time to fix itself and increase its strength. Just listening to your body’s natural way of telling you to take a break can be the difference between a healthy body and repetitive muscular strain. So next time you’re experiencing bouts of soreness, sit the next exercise out and let your body work its magic.
When your low back hurts, the last thing you want to do is get up and exercise. Fortunately, there are exercises that will bring relief to low back pain and help you get moving again. To find continued relief, it is important to do exercises that stretch, strengthen, and stabilize the back. These exercises can be done without any equipment, so you can do them at home.
Hamstring Stabilizing Stretch
Studies show that some people experience low back pain when their hamstrings are tight. So, beginning your exercise routine with a basic hamstring stretch can bring immediate relief to the back. This is also a good exercise to do at the end of your daily routine. This exercise also helps to stabilize the pelvis, and takes care of signs you have a misaligned spine.
Do this exercise while lying on your back, and add a subtle upward arch to your low back – as if someone put their arm under your low back. Keep the back of your head, back, rear end, and both legs firmly on the ground. Extend your legs side by side.
Begin by lifting the right leg to the sky and wrapping both hands around the back of your thigh. Keep the lifted legs straight. If this is uncomfortable, you can bend the left knee and put the left foot on the floor. With the hands interlaced around the back of your thigh, begin to press the leg into your hands and your hands into your leg.
Your right leg shouldn’t move much, and should stay upright with the heel reaching toward the sky. If you feel like you can straighten the left leg, press as much of it into the floor as possible. Hold for a few breaths with the muscles working. Then, release the right leg and slowly lower it to the ground. Notice if it is slightly longer than the left leg. Then, repeat on the other side.
For this exercise, you begin on your hands and knees. To stretch and strengthen the back, extend the left leg behind you. Keep it level with your spine; do not lift it higher than your back. Keep the lifted leg straight. Then, reach your right arm in front of you, no higher than your back. Look down at the floor to align the spine. Point your toes toward the floor and lengthen as much as possible through the leg and arm. Hold for a few breaths, then switch sides.
You can do this exercise slowly, holding the posture. Or, you can lift and lower, moving with your inhales and exhales. Repeat a few times on each side.
This is another stretch that can strengthen and stabilize the low back. For this exercise, start laying on your back. Bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the side of your body and adjust your feet so your fingertips barely graze your heels. Feet and knees should be hips distance apart. Lift your hips off of the ground, and create a straight line from your head to your knees, keeping your head on the floor looking directly to the sky. Hold for a few breaths. Release. Repeat a few times.
These exercises bring relief from sitting in “comfy” chairs. Begin by standing about 10 inches away from a wall, with your back facing it. Lean into the wall so your spine and back of your head rest against it. Bend your knees until they are as close to 90 degrees as you can stand. Engage your ab muscles and hold for a few breaths. Slide back up. Repeat, increasing the length of time you sit as your back and abs get stronger.
These classic exercises can be modified in a variety of ways, so you should be able to do them and avoid back pain. A plank is the “up” position of a push up. Your hands should be under your shoulders, or if you prefer to do them on your forearms, be sure your elbows are under your shoulders, not splayed out to the sides.
If your low back hurts, drop your knees until you have built more core strength. Be sure that your rear end is not sagging low or lifting high. The key to this exercise is to be in a straight line, from head to heel – thus the name “plank.” Many people like to use a timer, beginning at one minute or 30 seconds, and increasing 10 seconds each day.
About Dr. Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using services designed to help give long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe, Organic Facts, and Thrive Global. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.
Today, meditation is a popular activity during the day of many people around the globe. This technique is aimed to enhance attention and awareness while achieving a clear and calm emotional state. Even though it appears to be a passive practice, it is a tool for training your mind to remain focused and, eventually, reach enlightenment. The key, for reaching the insights that meditation allows, is to calm the mind and relax the body. Many, particularly beginners, encounter difficulties to totally focus inward during meditative sessions. This is why combining the use of CBD oil with your chosen zen technique can lead to greater results. Let’s draw attention to how CBD effects can be useful for people that practise meditation.
What Is CBD & CBD Benefits
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the compounds obtained from cannabis plants, especially hemp and marijuana. It does not have to be confused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive ingredient present in cannabis. In fact, CBD does not make you high and is completely safe and legal. It carries various healing properties that may help to cope with physical and mental ailments, including physical aches, stress and anxiety.
There are many benefits of using CBD oil during meditation and yoga practices as well as CBD in general. Some studies suggested that the use of CBD can enhance the complex endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for maintaining the body balance as well as controlling functions such as, mood, concentration, sleep, pain, and body temperature. By interacting with ECS, cannabidiol can promote homeostasis and ensure all body’s processes are in balance. This results in reduced anxiety, stress, and pain, improved mood, energy, and concentration, and even better quality sleep.
It appears clear that meditation and CBD oil work in similar ways. It seems, indeed, natural steps to combine them together and boost your meditation achievements on the next level. The most beneficial uses of CBD products in yoga and meditation is to aid in focus and relaxation, but can also be used to relieve pain if this is the intention of your practice.
There is a varied range of CBD products available on the market from which you can choose. From tincture and capsules, to CBD vape cartridge, tea and even various edibles – they will satisfy every taste and necessity. For optimising their benefits during a meditation session, you should take them enough time before starting meditating. In this way, you will allow the body to completely absorb the compound. Since different types of CBD oil have distinct times of action, make sure to read the specification of the products carefully to avoid poor and delusional performances.
However, don’t be sceptical if you cannot experience significant improvements right from the start. Like any sportive activity, meditation is a process that requires some time and effort before fully enjoying its results. A workout of the mind that can be enhanced with the use of CBD oils too. What are you waiting for? Say goodbye to stress and anxiety, a new inner you is about to shine!
Millions of men and women around the world begin showing signs of hair loss in middle age. By the time many of them reach their late 50s and early 60s, they are showing signs of baldness. Some are completely bald. So what can be done? New research indicates that a simple procedure to stimulate stem cells in hair follicles could be the solution.
For more than four decades, science has been looking for solutions to male pattern baldness and alopecia. Over the years, we have witnessed the development of treatments like hair replacement surgery and pharmaceutical products. And even though current treatments do work for some people, they do not work for everyone. Stem cell therapy may change that.
Stem Cells and Lactate
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) surmised that stem cell metabolism within hair follicles generally diminishes with age. They also considered whether stimulating stem cells to encourage them to produce more lactate would have any effect on hair growth. They set up experiments in laboratory mice to test their theory. It turns out the tests were successful.
By “genetically diminishing the entry of pyruvate into the mitochondria” of the affected cells, researchers were able to encourage those cells to increase lactate production. The increased lactate then went on to stimulate the stem cells to do what they normally do, thus causing more hair to grow more quickly.
Co-author William Lowery commented after the study that previous to the UCLA research, science had very little knowledge of the effect that increased or decreased lactate levels have on hair growth. He remarked that their research now opens the door to creating drugs that could be applied to the skin to create the same effect.
PRP Therapy for Baldness
While the UCLA researchers continue looking for pharmaceutical applications of their research, there are doctors across the country already using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to do essentially the same thing. PRP contains a number of growth factors that stimulate hair follicles to regrow hair by supplying them with the necessary nutrients and increased blood supply required.
Although it is not clear whether PRP injections increase lactate production or not, science does know that PRP signals the body to concentrate stem cells in a given site where they can then go to work to grow new tissue. Perhaps PRP injections stimulate stem cells in the same way lactate does. At any rate, PRP therapy has been an effective solution for many patients who have undergone the procedure.
Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), a Utah company that trains doctors in using PRP and stem cell therapies, says there are two ways to utilize PRP for hair growth. The first is to use single injections of PRP material directly into the scalp at targeted sites. The other is a process that uses a multiple needle device known as a dermaroller to apply PRP material across a larger area of the scalp.
For the record, all the PRP material used to treat male pattern baldness and alopecia is taken directly from the patient being treated. It is extracted through simple blood draw, followed by the blood being processed in a specialized centrifuge. The resulting material is then applied to the treatment site by a trained physician.
An End to Baldness
Between PRP injections and stimulating lactate production, it looks like science is making a lot of progress in combating male pattern baldness and alopecia. Could we be moving toward that day when baldness is eliminated? We will have to wait and see, but things look encouraging.
It is not just pro-athletes who sustain sports injuries. Amateur athletes and weekend warriors alike can pull muscles, strain tendons and ligaments, and so on. The good news is that there are a range of noninvasive options for treating these injuries. Unless an injury is considered major, treatments are fairly easy and normally lead to a full and complete recovery.
Experts say that the key to maximizing noninvasive treatment options is twofold. First, evaluation and treatment should be sought right away. The sooner treatment begins, the more effective it will be. The second key is consistency to treatment recommendations. Patients should follow instructions to the letter. They should continue treatments until complete.
With all of that said, a list of common noninvasive treatment options for sports injuries is found below. You may have access to all or some of them in your local area.
1. Low Impact Exercise
Sports medicine doctors are very receptive to the idea of prescribing low impact exercise to help recover from minor injuries. Low impact exercises are strictly defined as exercises that limit the impact on the body, particularly the joints. Brisk walking would be considered low impact as compared to jogging or running.
Low impact exercise helps by simultaneously helping the body to repair itself and limiting further injury caused by impact. The exercise itself stimulates the body to self-repair in the same way strenuous bodybuilding does.
2. Pool Exercises
Encouraging patients to take advantage of pool exercises has become very popular among sports medicine doctors in recent years. The natural resistance of a swimming pool allows patients to exercise the affected limbs or joints in a way that offers benefits similar to low impact exercise. The water provides resistance while at the same time limiting additional injury through the principle of buoyancy. Patients can get a lot of work done in the water in a relatively short amount of time.
3. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy has long been a tool of sports medicine. It is a tool that utilizes specific exercises and movements targeting the injured area to restore function, promote healing, and reduce pain. In some cases, physical therapy is utilized alongside one or more additional treatments.
4. PRP Therapy
Although platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has not been around as long as the other three noninvasive options listed here, it is gaining traction among sports medicine physicians. PRP therapy utilizes blood platelets and their accompanying growth factors to promote self-healing of muscle tissue, ligaments, and tendons.
PRP therapy cannot truly be called noninvasive because there are needles involved. A doctor begins the PRP treatment by conducting a standard blood draw. That blood is then processed in a centrifuge to concentrate platelets and the resulting material is injected into the site of the injury. The procedure is minimally invasive at the very least.
According to Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), a Utah company that trains doctors who want to start offering PRP therapy, pro and amateur athletes alike are looking at PRP therapy more often these days. For some, it is a great option. For others, it is not. But even among those who choose not to undergo PRP therapy, there are other noninvasive treatments to look at.
Patients Have Options
The four treatment options described here make up only a portion of treatments sports medicine doctors have to work with. The point here is that there are noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures available to treat sports injuries. Athletes do not necessarily have to go under the knife, even when you are talking about something as serious as a ligament tear.
Two stem cell clinics, one in California and the other in Florida, were on the receiving end of action taken by the FDA this past summer. In addressing the action, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb promised further action against clinics offering experimental stem cell treatments that go above and beyond the “same basic function” standard the FDA has already set for such procedures. Now the question is this: is the FDA warning a precursor to more stem cell regulation?
Attorney and research professional Dr. A. Rahman Ford, a proponent of personal stem cell therapies, wrote an excellent piece for the Pain News Network published shortly after the FDA action and Gottlieb’s remarks. In it, he offered hope for the future of stem cell therapies based on some of the things Gottlieb said. But Dr. Ford was also admittedly circumspect.
Ford recognizes that the FDA has a long and checkered history of implementing regulations that place unnecessary burdens on doctors, researchers, and companies that create new and innovative treatments. He worries, based on that history, that the FDA is getting ready to begin flexing its muscle to curtail the growth of regenerative medicine – and stem cell therapy, in particular. Ford and others believe this would be a terrible mistake.
The Good News
The good news we can glean from Gottlieb’s remarks did not escape Dr. Ford. For example, Ford mentioned Gottlieb’s acknowledgment that stem cells offer “significant promise for transformative and potentially curative treatments” for certain chronic conditions, including chronic pain. The fact that the government officially recognizes such promise gives stem cell proponents hope that the FDA might encourage regenerative medicine therapies rather than trying to restrict them.
Second, Gottlieb acknowledged the current environment of legal uncertainty surrounding practitioners who offer unproven and potentially risky treatments for things like cancer and macular degeneration. Ford agrees with the concept that some regulation may be necessary to rein in that small percentage of doctors who practice medicine unscrupulously.
Finally, Ford was heartened by Gottlieb’s acknowledgment of the existing distinction between medical products and the principle of the ‘practice of medicine’. Even though that distinction can be blurred from time to time, it still exists.
Under current FDA standards, autologous stem cell therapies (those therapies that use material donated by the patient being treated) fall under the general practice of medicine because nothing foreign is being introduced to the patient during treatment. The patient’s own cells are harvested, processed, and returned through an injection at the treatment site. To reclassify autologous stem cells as medical products would open the door to significant and restrictive FDA control.
Let’s Hope for the Best
Ford is correct in his assessment that the FDA’s history is not one that instills a lot of confidence in doctors and researchers. Therefore, proponents of stem cell therapy and other regenerative medicine procedures can only continue what they are doing and hope for the best.
In the meantime, we all sincerely hope that clinics that would otherwise follow in the footsteps of the California and Florida clinics targeted by the FDA change their ways. Hopefully they will make the decision to stop putting the entire field of regenerative medicine at risk simply for their own gain. We shall see.
The sedentary lifestyle is damaging your health. Sitting for six hours a day or more a say has been linked with type 2 diabetes, lung and colon cancer, heart disease, obesity and more.
Moreover, the World Health Organisation reports obesity has tripled since 1975 and work-related stress is a global pandemic. Unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to a rise in chronic illnesses and early deaths.
One of the problems of staying fit and healthy is motivation. The real truth of the matter is humans are not very good at keeping commitments – especially to ourselves.
In recent years, health-related apps have emerged in an effort to use technology for good. Fitness apps are the nudge we need to stay focused and motivated.
Below are five of our favorite apps that help us stay committed to the cause.
The Nike+ Running app is the ultimate in goal-setting technology and helps you to incentivise your fitness program. Psychologically, we respond better to target-setting because goals restructure brain function to help keep you focused and emotionally invested.
The more data an app gives you about your performance, the more motivated you are to achieve your personal goals and gradually raise the bar. Marked improvements give your motivation and your morale an extra boost.
Sweatcoin Walking App
Walking is known to have numerous health benefits. Researchers have even found walking is a healthier way of exercising than running because it is a more efficient form of movement and does not put as much pressure on the heart.
Although many of us walk every day, we’re not walking enough to improve health and fitness. Sweatcoin was established to fine-tune the way we approach a healthy lifestyle by creating an app that enables you to convert your steps into digital tokens.
For every 1000 steps, the app awards you 1 SWC – a digital token similar to Bitcoin. The company has partnered with over 300 vendors that offer discounts on their products which you can pay in SWC. The more you walk, the more you save.
If you don’t know which fitness program suits you yet, download the Fit-Bit coach and trial a range of options without having to pay monthly subscriptions at various gyms, clubs and studios.
Fitbit Coach promotes customised training programs that inspire people to lead a healthy lifestyle. The programs are lead by enthusiastic instructors and enables you to switch trainers simply by updating your settings.
Workouts are also tailored to your fitness level, ability and preference. If you want to lose weight, hit the cardio programs in “Get Moving” and “Get Lean”. Alternatively “Get Strong” builds up muscle tone and Daily Dose keeps you motivated and committed to hitting your targets every day.
We often give ourselves excuses not to workout. A common theme is not having enough time. To be fair, a lack of time is a problem in today’s non-stop society.
The Sworkit app aims to motivate people to exercise at home – which is ambitious considering the home is the least effective motivator for keeping up fitness routines.
Still, every little helps, so if you genuinely are pressed for time, Sworkit is a good option for you to reach your fitness goals faster.
Inspired by movies and video games, the Zombies, Run! app brings some light-hearted fun into your workout routine. You start out by walking or jogging but have to speed up every time you are being chased by zombies.
The premise of the app casts you as the hero in your own zombie movie. To survive you have to achieve the fitness goals for each mission. And with over 20k challenges to achieve in 23 missions, there is plenty of motivation to improve your health and fitness.
Travel jobs are not just for doctors, nurses, and therapists. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also in high demand for either temporary or permanent travel jobs. The demand is so high that the nurse practitioner willing to travel usually finds him or herself in a very strong position, financially and professionally.
As a travel nurse practitioner yourself, you know there are some inherent challenges to this kind of work that permanent placement nurse practitioners do not have to deal with. But if you have the right qualities and characteristics, you’ll do fine as a traveler. Below are the three most important qualities travel nurse practitioners can possess, at least in our opinion.
1. Clear Vision
There is always some amount of negotiating that goes with being a travel nurse practitioner. Whether a professional takes travel work temporarily or exclusively, negotiations with staffing agencies and hiring facilities is part of the temporary work environment. Therefore, nurse practitioners with a clear vision seem to do better.
By ‘vision’ we mean knowing what you want out of a given position as well as what you don’t want and what you can live with. You may have one or two non-negotiable things you absolutely will not do without. There may be others you would prefer in a contract but which are not deal breakers. The point is this: having a clear vision about what you do and do not want to puts you in a stronger position when it comes time to negotiate. There is less worry and trepidation when vision is clear.
2. The Ability to Research
One of the most critical character traits of successful travel nurse practitioner is the capacity to do sound research. The nurse practitioner who knows how to research can learn a lot of important things that will be helpful during contract negotiations. For example, what is the going rate for similar positions in the next destination you are planning to travel to?
Research covers everything from salary to the number of open positions locally to the reputation of any facility the nurse practitioner is considering working for. Knowing what you are getting into before you start the negotiation process not only places you in a stronger position but it also gives you the opportunity to back out should your research indicate the job in question is not a good fit.
3. Plenty of Patience
Lastly, every nurse practitioner needs to have plenty of patience on many levels. For example, there are periods when there are just no attractive jobs available. The nurse practitioner must simply pick something to pay the bills until new opportunities arise. The best kinds of jobs will eventually come up.
Nurse practitioners also need to be patient during the negotiation process. It is easy to get anxious and uptight to the point where you’re not willing to stretch out negotiations beyond an initial sitting. That may be okay for a new nurse practitioner just getting started as staffing agencies and facilities expect timid negotiations from new nurse practitioners, but it will not do for the veteran. Once word of a timid veteran gets out, negotiators will employ strategies to get that nurse practitioner to take the first offer regardless of how good or bad it is.
To be successful, the nurse practitioner must be very good at what he or she does in the exam room. But possessing at least a modicum of skill in the business aspect of medicine is helpful to you. The nurse practitioner with clear vision, the ability to research, and the patience to take each contract as it comes is a nurse practitioner who will be just fine.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) fortunate enough to live in states that now recognize a broader scope of practice for NPs benefit through having so many more career paths to choose from. They are not confined to only the old traditional nurse practitioners jobs assisting doctors in their private practices or working at hospitals. They can now open practices or choose to go to work for neighborhood clinics, pharmacy-based clinics, and so on.
The NP wishing to open an independent practice potentially has the most freedom of all. What is really exciting about this opportunity is that more advanced practice nurses are choosing private practice at the same time family doctors and GPs are leaving it behind in favor of hospitalist work or joining hospital-based physician groups. That essentially means the NP is becoming the small, independent family medicine caregiver to an entirely new generation.
Establishing a private practice as an NP is essentially starting one’s own business. Therefore, the business side of medicine cannot be ignored by the NP. There are numerous things the medical professional has to think about before opening a private NP practice. Here are three of them:
Potential Areas of Specialty
Nurse practitioners can choose specific specialties just like doctors. The most common choice in the emerging field of private practice NPs is primary care for patients of all ages. Primary care is in high demand in an era of specialties that are taking doctors away from independent practice.
Some NPs may prefer to focus more on pediatric medicine while others may have a preference for geriatrics. The point is one of deciding on a particular specialty before opening a practice, as the choice of specialty will affect a long list of other factors including office location, fee structures, marketing, etc.
Demand for Specialty
Once the NP has determined his or her preferred specialty, an honest assessment must be done to determine if there is demand for that specialty in the local area. Remember, this is a business. Attempting to open an independent NP practice in a field that is already saturated with the NP’s chosen specialty could make for tough sledding. Alternate choices would include either selecting a new specialty or moving to an area where services are more in demand.
As a general rule, nurse practitioners should not run into supply and demand issues for primary care. There is a shortage of primary care available in just about every community in the country. But with some other specialties, the market can be competitive enough to require some careful thought and planning.
Marketing the New Practice
Getting a new practice off the ground requires at least some marketing. The good news with healthcare is that the need for marketing tends to be limited in terms of both time and scope. Demand is such that once a practice is established with a good reputation, any and all remaining patient slots usually fill up rapidly simply by word of mouth.
Having said that, the new independent NP will need to market at least for a few months, if not longer. Online is a very good way to go using social media, local bulletin boards, and even a practice website. An SEO professional can help the new NP make the most of online marketing efforts across multiple platforms.