Lehigh County Health & Medicine Spring 2021 - 16

FEATURE

Enhance Your Health Through

Four Pillars of Wellness
BY AYANNA S. KERSEY-MCMULLEN, DO, MSPH

F

or many people, the last year has
presented new challenges for how
we maintain our health and wellness.
One key step in doing so has been
examining what it means to be " well. "

The Western perspective on health and
wellness often tends to compartmentalize it as a
physical state of being, defined by the absence
or presence of disease. However, wellness
is not simply the absence of disease. It also
integrates components of physical, financial,
social, occupational, emotional, intellectual
and spiritual health.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation
(PM&R) is a field of medicine that focuses
primarily on enhancing and restoring function
and quality of life in people who have experienced developmental disability, spinal cord
injury, brain injury, stroke, amputation and
orthopedic/musculoskeletal injury. PM&R
also aligns with other areas of medicine to
provide holistic solutions to chronic diseases
such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, chronic
pain and general deconditioning by addressing
health, wellness and recovery.
These solutions are best achieved by integrating The Four Pillars of Wellness, which include:
Traditional Medicine
PM&R, like other medical specialties, uses
evidence-based approaches for the treatment
16 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | SPRING 2021

of both acute and chronic injury and disease.
Such interventions include:
* Oral and topical medication therapy
for injury, disability and pain
* Osteopathic manipulative treatment for
musculoskeletal pain and headaches
* Injections for the treatment of muscle,
skeletal or nerve problems
* Treatment of adverse outcomes, such as
spasticity or abnormal muscle tone, that
occur as a result of neurologic injury
* Holistic approaches to the prevention of
catastrophic illness, obesity or reducing
the risk of repeat injury are all impactful
ways of serving patient needs and
facilitating healing and wellness.
Psychology and Mental Wellness
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation,
after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
in 2020, 53 percent of U.S. adults reported
greater worry and stress in their lives compared
to 39 percent the previous year. This increase
highlights the importance of addressing issues
of mental health and having access to resources
to do so.
Nutrition
Food is medicine. The majority of chronic
diseases that are leading causes of death and
illness in the United States are directly related
to lifestyle. Nutrition is a key component to
disease reversal and the maintenance of health

and wellness. Observing a diet that leans into
whole foods (minimally processed, fresh and
complex) and plants (fruits and vegetables)
is an important tool for maintaining health
and wellness.
Exercise
Exercise also is medicine. Exercise is not
only important for managing body weight,
but alongside exercise-based therapy, it helps
to protect against chronic disease; improve
mood and cognition; lower blood pressure and
improve cardio vascular health; improve the
quality of sleep; boost sex drive; prevent muscle
loss and function; build bone density; reduce
experiences of pain; reduce the risk for injury;
and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
As we continue to find new and creative ways
to maintain our health and enhance our sense
of wellness, I challenge you to start first with
your perspective. In doing so, you may find
empowerment in identifying new priorities
for your health, exploring new resources for
reaching your goals and making impactful
changes in your life.
Ayanna S. Kersey-McMullen, DO, MSPH, is a physical
medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physician with Good
Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown. A member of
the Good Shepherd Physician Group, Dr. Kersey-McMullen
serves as medical director for stroke rehabilitation, integrative
wellness and wellness in the arts programs.



Lehigh County Health & Medicine Spring 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMFall_Winter20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LehighCountyHealthMedicineSummer2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMWinter2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/Fall2017
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSpring2017
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