Circulation Exercises to Keep you Warm

Exercises to keep you warm through the winter.

Winter is in full swing in The Ozarks! These frigid temperatures may cause significant circulation issues for many individuals. As we age, our body systems have to work increasingly hard to supply our body with all the nutrients and oxygen that it requires to perform the vital functions that we all need.

“Impaired circulation may cause significant issues with elderly individuals when you combine poor circulation with things like heart disease, diabetes or a lack of exercise. With the use of the above exercises you can help give your body the boost it needs to make it through this winter season.”

  • Dr. Brittany Wright, Physical Therapy

Here are three simple circulation exercises that have been shown to increase blood supply to assist with improved day-to-day health.

#1 – Supine Ankle Pumps – Begin lying on your back with your legs straight. Slowly pump your ankles by bending and straightening them. Try to keep the rest your legs relaxed while you move your ankles.

Supine Ankle Pump

# 2 – Supine Quad Set – Begin lying on your back with one knee bent and your other leg straight with your knee resting on a towel roll. Gently squeeze your thigh muscles, pushing the back of your knee down into the towel. Make sure to keep your back flat against the floor during the exercise.

Quad Set

#3 – Supine Glute Set – “Penny Pinchers” – Begin lying on your back with your hands resting comfortably. Tighten your buttock muscles, then release and repeat. Make sure not to arch your low back during the exercise or hold your breath as you tighten your muscles.

Glute Set

The above exercises have been recommended by the OCH physical therapy department as an easy and convenient way for adults to help pump blood through their body. This is not medical advice.


Winter Health and Safety Tips

With the New Year and winter in full swing, now is a great time to remind yourself of how to stay safe and healthy with the cold conditions. OCH provider Angela Standefer, FNP-C offers some tips to make it through the winter:

  • Get IMMUNIZED! Anyone over the age of six months should get vaccinated against influenza. If you have a history of asthma, COPD or smoking it is recommended you also get your pneumonia and Prevnar vaccines. Talk to your doctor about vaccines for you.
  • Dress for the weather. A key to staying healthy this winter is knowing the forecast. Check the weather before getting dressed for the day to ensure you are prepared. Choose warm clothing. If it is wet, it is a good idea to wear a pair of water resistant shoes, hat and gloves, and a coat to avoid frostbite.
  • Don’t FALL victim to icy terrain. Watch your step when walking on wet and icy surfaces. The risk of falls can be greatly reduced by choosing appropriate footwear and using salt (or another kind of ice melting material) on the ground. Choose shoes that have traction so your feet are equipped.
  • Humidity isn’t always a bad thing. While humidity can wreak havoc on your hair, it can also prevent dry skin and nose bleeds. Use a humidifier in your home to avoid dry air. If you do catch the sniffles, humidifiers help your body stay hydrated.
  • Have an emergency kit in your car. Traveling even short distances can be hazardous in winter weather conditions. It is crucial to be prepared in case this happens. This includes:
    • Make sure your cell phone is charged so you can call for help.
    • Have a first aid kit in case you get hurt on ice.
    • Keep a blanket or extra coat in the car to keep yourself and the kids warm. While keeping the car running might sound like a good idea at the time, your battery could be depleted before help can arrive, causing further problems.
    • Munchies may be obvious for a long car trip, but they are also a good idea to keep in your emergency kit.
    • Kitty litter can give your car traction when stuck in ice or snow. Keep a cheap bag in your trunk to help you escape the conditions.
    • Keep an ice scraper in your car so if you get into unexpected bad weather, you can keep your windows clean for safe travel.

Depending on the conditions, it may take a long time for a tow truck to get to you in severe weather. Being prepared will allow you to survive the frigid conditions.

  • Carry a medication list with you. Include what medicines you are currently taking, medical allergies and emergency phone numbers on a small piece of paper in your wallet so it can be easily located. If you suddenly fall ill having this information will be helpful.
    • iPhone Hack: You can add your medical information to your iPhone that can be accessed without unlocking your phone.
      • To set up your Medical ID, open the “Health” app. Along the bottom menu, click Medical ID (far right). In the top right corner, click Edit and enter your health information. You can include Name, DOB, Medical Conditions, Medical Notes, Allergies & Reactions, Medications, Blood Type, Organ Donation status, Weight, and Height. Before hitting save, make sure to allow Emergency Access.
      • Your Medical ID can be viewed when the phone is locked by tapping Emergency, then Medical ID.
    • Wash your hands. Good hand washing is one of the most important things you can do to avoid colds and the flu. Covering your cough can also help from spreading germs to your family and friends.
    • Space heaters are convenient, but dangerous. While having a space heater may seem like a good alternative to cranking up the heat, they can also cause house fires or burns on both children and adults. Follow manufacturers’ directions. The safest options for space heaters have a safety mechanism in place that will turn the heater off if it falls over or gets too hot.
    • Chimney sweeps aren’t just for Mary Poppins. If you have a chimney, have it checked by a professional each year before use to make sure it is clean and safe.
    • Carbon monoxide isn’t just in car exhaust. If your home or apartment is heated with natural gas, make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm to alert you if carbon monoxide levels are dangerously high. If it goes off, leave the home to get fresh air and call 911 from a neighbor’s home.
    • Don’t forget the sunscreen! The cold weather can trick us into thinking we are safe from sunburns. However, snow is a great reflector for the sun and you can still get a nasty sunburn in the winter.

Angela Standefer, FNP-C sees patients for family practice and hepatitis in Springfield in the OCH Medical Offices Clinic and in Bolivar at the OCH Polk County Clinic. She collaborates with Jackie Beene, MD and seeks to bring better health to the community.

Quick Video Recap: What are Health Insurance Marketplace penalties?

In 2014, most Americans will be required to have health insurance. As a part of this mandated process, the Affordable Care Act has created a new type of online resource for purchasing health insurance coverage. This online resource is called the “Health Insurance Marketplace.”

OCH is a Certified Application Counselor site in Springfield, MO and has counselors located throughout Missouri and in Gravette, Ark. As a healthcare facility, we know there are a lot of questions surrounding the insurance changes scheduled for Fall 2013, and we’re here to help!

In order to provide a resource for our patients and the community OCH is answering frequently asked questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace. For additional info visit or email

To start, we’ve created the following video (above) explaining the penalties associated with not signing up for the Marketplace. Stay tuned for additional videos!

Is your health predetermined by your wealth?

Just how big of a role do money, race and opportunity play in our everyday health? More than you think. Read below for a post adapted from the four-hour PBS documentary series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

  • Health is more than health care. Doctors treat us when we’re ill, but what makes us healthy or sick in the first place? Research shows that social conditions – the jobs we do, the money we’re paid, the schools we attend, the neighborhoods we live in – are as important to our health as our genes, our behaviors and even our medical care.
  • Health is tied to the distribution of resources. The single strongest predictor of our health is our position on the class pyramid. Whether measured by income, schooling, or occupation, those at the top have the most power and resources and on average live longer and healthier lives. Those at the bottom are most disempowered and get sicker and die younger. The rest of us fall somewhere in between. On average, people in the middle are almost twice as likely to die an early death compared to those at the top; those on the bottom, four times more likely. Even among people who smoke, poor smokers have a greater risk of dying than rich smokers.
  • Racism imposes an added health burden. Past and present discrimination in housing, jobs and education means that today, people of color are more likely to be lower on the class ladder. But even at the same rung, African-Americans typically have worse health and die sooner than their white counterparts. In many cases, so do other populations of color. Segregation, social exclusion, encounters with prejudice, the degree of hope and optimism people have, differential access and treatment by the health care system – all of these can impact health.
  • The choices we make are shaped by the choices we have. Individual behaviors – smoking, diet, drinking and exercise – matter for health. But making healthy choices ins’t just about self-discipline. Some neighborhoods have easy access to fresh, affordable produce; others have only fast food joins and liquor and convenience stores. Some have nice homes; clean parks; safe places to walk, jog, bike or play; and well-financed schools offering gym, art, music and after-school programs; and some don’t. What government and corporate practices can better ensure healthy spaces and places for everyone?
  • High demand + low control = chronic stress. It’s not CEOs who are dying of heart attacks, it’s their subordinates. People at the top certainly face pressure but they are more likely to have the power and resources to manage those pressures. The lower in the pecking order we are, the greater our exposure to forces that can upset our lives – insecure and low-paying jobs, uncontrolled debt, capricious supervisors, unreliable transportation, poor childcare, no healthcare, noisy and violent living conditions – and the less access we have to the money, power, knowledge and social connections that can help us cope and gain control over those forces.

  • Chronic stress can be toxic. Exposure to fear and uncertainty triggers a stress response. Our bodies go alert: the hear beats faster, blood pressure rises, glucose floods the bloodstream – all so we can hit harder or run faster until the threat passes. But when threats are constant and unrelenting our physiological systems don’t return to normal. Like gunning the engine of a car, this constant state of arousal, even if low-level, wears us down over time, increasing our risk for disease.
  • Inequality – economic and political – is bad for our health. The United States has by far the most inequality in the industrialized world – and the worst health. The top 1% now owns as much wealth as the bottom 90%. Tax breaks for the rich, deregulation, the decline of unions, racism and segregation, outsourcing and globalization, and cuts in social programs destabilize communities and channel wealth and power – and health – to the few at the expense of the many. Economic inequality in the U.S. is now greater than at any time since the 1920s.
  • Social policy is health policy. Average life expectancy in the U.S. improved by 30 years during the 20th century. Researchers attribute much of that increase not to drugs or medical technologies but to social changes – for example, improved wage and work standards, universal schooling, improved sanitation and housing and civil rights laws. Social measures like living wage jobs, paid sick and family leave, guaranteed vacations, universal preschool and access to college, and universal health care can further extend our lives by improving our lives. These are as much health issues as diet, smoking and exercise.
  • Health inequalities are not natural. Health differences that arise from our racial and class inequities result from decisions we as a society have made – and can make differently. Other rich nations already have, in two important ways: they make sure inequality is less (e.g., Sweden’s relative child poverty rate after transfers is 4%, compared to our 22%) and they try to ensure that everyone has access to health promoting resources regardless of their personal wealth (e.g., good schools and health care are available to everyone, not just the affluent). They live healthier, longer lives than we do.
  • We all pay the prices for poor health. It’s not only the poor but also the middle classes whose health is suffering. We already spend $2 trillion a year to patch up our bodies, more than twice per person than the average rich country spends, and our health care system is strained to the breaking point. Yet our live expectancy is 29th in the world, infant mortality 30th, and lost productivity due to illness costs business more than $1 trillion a year. As a society, we face a choice: invest in the conditions that can improve health today, or pay to repair the bodies tomorrow.

Information produced by California Newsreel with Vital Pictures. Presented by the National Minority Consortia. Public Engagement Campaign in Association with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute. (California Newsreel 2008). To learn more about the series, health equity and how you can make a difference, please visit

After the Disaster: How Tornado Victims Cope with Tragedy

As the death toll grows, OCH providers and staff continue to mourn the loss and tragedy that took place less than a week ago in Joplin, Missouri. We are deeply moved by the recent tragedy and remain committed to helping the people of Joplin recover throughout the next weeks, months and years.

Below, OCH psychologist, Dr. William Myers reacts to the recent tornado in Joplin and offers insight into thoughts emotions and behaviors of the current residents. Most importantly, however, Dr. Myers provides suggestions for helping victims heal.

One of the most touching moments of television coverage of the devastating tornado hitting Joplin occurred 10 minutes after the storm cut its deadly path through the city. Veteran Weather Channel Reporter Mike Bettes and his crew set up across the street from the demolished St. John’s Hospital. The camera started to roll as Mike began to describe the horrific scenes in the background of destroyed homes, people wandering around in shock looking for loved ones, and what was a modern hospital minutes before – left in shambles by an F-5 tornado – one of the most powerful forces nature can produce. As the camera panned the scene, Mike stated: “It’s everything, it’s just completely demolished . . . All I can say is that it looks very reminiscent of what we saw last month in . . .” And then there was a period of silence. Mike was so emotional he couldn’t speak. Eventually, after taking a few deep breaths and choking back tears, Mike said: “It’s tough . . . No question about that.” Watching this I couldn’t help but feel compassion and admiration for this man who so honestly expressed the emotions that thousands would experience in the minutes, hours, and days to come.

What emotions do individuals experience from living through such a horrible, terrifying, and devastating experience? Survivors of events of this nature commonly experience a broad array of emotions including disbelief, anger, helplessness, despair and anxiety. For a period of time, many will feel intense fear whenever a thunderstorm looms on the horizon. Other individuals may experience a sense of emotional numbing, or diminished emotional responsiveness to events going on around them. Individuals may also feel a sense of detachment from the environment itself, as the world they have always known is dramatically changed, and familiar landmarks or well-known places no longer exist. Difficulty sleeping, increased irritability, poor concentration and exaggerated startle responses are all hallmarks of living through such a catastrophic event.

It is important to note, the emotions described above are normal reactions to living through a very abnormal situation. For most people, these uncomfortable emotions will dissipate over the weeks to come. During the period following a severe emotional trauma good self-care is one of the most important factors in emotional recovery. Assisting individuals in getting adequate amounts of rest, good nutrition and the provision of resources for basic physical and medical needs are among the most important components facilitating emotional recovery. It is also helpful to positively orient people to progress being made in the disaster recovery process and regaining those factors returning as much normality to life as possible. Perhaps the most essential part of the initial recovery process is reuniting individuals with family members and significant others in a supportive environment, where the process of beginning to share difficult experiences can begin.

When should an individual seek the services of a mental health provider in regard to the painful emotional consequences of such an event? Although there is no clear cut answer to this question, a good rule of thumb is whenever negative emotions cause impairment in an individual’s ability to function – characterized by difficulty interacting with family members, friends, or fulfilling personal responsibilities such as work, or caring for others.

Dr. William Myers specializes in Psychology at Ozarks Community Hospital. He received his training from the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology and is currently a member of the following groups: American Psychologist Association, National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, Division 22 of the American Psychologist Association, Division 40 of the American Psychologist Association, National Academy of Neuropsychology, Springfield Neuroscience Society. To contact Dr. Myers’ office, call (417) 875-4682.

OCH is forming volunteer groups to provide disaster relief after the first responders and those on site now have been exhausted.   OCH plans to schedule several trips to support the community in the coming weeks and months. Visit for more information.

Senate Bill 111: Patients’ Rights to Choose

Missouri citizens, it’s time to act.


It’s time to remind your state Senator that you care about CHOICE. The right to choose your healthcare provider matters.


Ozarks Community Hospital supports Senate Bill 111. The bill, also known as “Any Willing Provider” legislation, will ensure that (as long as a provider will accept the terms of the patient’s insurance) Missourians will have access to the provider of their choice at the same cost and quality of their current in-network physicians.


In other words, if you care about:


  • Staying with YOUR doctor regardless of insurance changes. Doctors who have an established relationship with their patients ultimately know the needs of the patient more than those who don’t.
  • Increased competition that lowers cost. Missouri providers can do the best work for patients if they can make choices on behalf of patients that have nothing to do with the health system needs.
  • And above all… choice. If you believe you should determine which doctor you see, instead of the health system.

Then write a letter to your Senator (or email your Senator through this link: with the following information:


Missourians want more choices in healthcare. I ask that you vote DO PASS on Senate Bill 111, which will allow patients to go to the provider of their choice at the same cost and quality as deserved for each diagnosis. Please consider your constituents rights to quality healthcare, and vote in favor of our best interests.


This post has nothing to do with healthcare reform or Obamacare. By writing this letter, you won’t be forced to change your doctor. This letter is simply your way of telling those who make the decisions in Jefferson City that you want the power of healthcare decisions to remain in the patients’ hands.


If you agree with SB111, you must 

contact your state senator BEFORE:

Friday, April 8, 2011



Citizens of Missouri, help us spread the word. Please send this message to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. We must work quickly to ensure our voices are heard.



Click HERE for a complete list for Senator contact information by county and district, or follow the link above to email your Senator.

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo! How to choose my birth control?

Trying to choose a contraceptive is like staring at a long list of ice cream flavors: twenty-one options and they all sound good! Unfortunately, for most women, the real deal isn’t as easy as choosing between cookie dough and caramel chocolate delight; it’s a bit more daunting.

Providers Beverly Gann, WHNP and Krista Boyd, DO sat down with us to offer their insight on birth control and contraceptive options available for women today. Watch the videos to find out more information, but please note:  OCH providers do not endorse specific brands of birth control.

Beverly Gann, WHNP specializes in women’s health and is certified as a psychiatric and mental health nurse and childbirth educator. She received her training at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and at the St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing. Gann is currently a member of the Association of Nurse Practitioners in the Ozarks. She works in OCH’s Specialty Clinic and can be reached by calling (417) 837-4079.



Dr. Krista Boyd’s is board certified in family practice and works at the OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa, Missouri. She received her training at the Kirskville College of Osteopathic medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. To contact Dr. Boyd, call (417) 725-8250.