FORT POLK, La. –
June is Men’s Health Month and the Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital public affairs officer discussed the topic of men’s health with providers and health care professionals at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
1st Lt. Steven Candeto is a physical therapist in the BJACH rehabilitation department. Candeto discusses his personal and professional opinions on the subject and why it’s important to highlight the topic in June and throughout the year.
Question: Sir, why is important to highlight men’s health?
Answer: There is the stereotype that men do not like to seek help for things, particularly their health. While I’m not an expert on this, I do commonly hear men in my office say, “I don’t go to the doctor often” or, “I usually just wait until the pain goes away.”
It is important to discuss men’s health because a lot of problems are treatable. There are plenty of improvements that can be made in a man’s life by simply seeking help when needed.
Question: What are some things you do personally to maintain a healthy life style?
Answer: I personally try to remain consistent with a variety of activities during the week. This includes cardio. I am one of those weird guys that enjoys running, weight lifting, and mobility-focused activities. Recently, I have been focusing on improving my sleeping habits. It has taken me far too long to realize that I perform better during the day when I sleep more.
Question: What advice do you have for other men about the importance of their health?
Answer: Keep moving. Through my studies and work as a physical therapist, it has become very clear that the body is designed to move. There are many structures in your body that rely on movement and activity to function properly. Even when you are hurt, there are plenty of injuries where movement can help with the healing instead of rest, with some exceptions, of course.
Seek help. The body and mind are complex, but there are people who have dedicated their lives to learn how to help you. A single provider may not have all of the answers, but they can help educate you on different aspects of your health. Ultimately, it is up to you to maintain your health, but you do not have to figure it all out by yourself.
Question: What advice would you give to other men about their health that can improve their quality of life?
Answer: Do not underestimate the importance of sleep. As I mentioned earlier, this is a lesson that has taken me far too long to learn. I notice significant improvement in my mental and athletic performance when I prioritize good sleep habits.
Question: As Soldiers, you are expected to maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. What are some unhealthy things you see your fellow soldiers doing that can lead to injury or long term negative health for men?
Answer: I might start a riot with this answer, but high caffeine consumption can lead to short-term and long-term health consequences. It is no secret that energy drinks are more common than water in the Army. High caffeine consumption may provide temporary energy but can cause poor sleep hygiene. Limited or poor sleep can have negative ramifications on your mental and physical health, leading to an increased risk for injury. For many Soldiers, even a small decrease in their caffeine consumption can have significant long-term benefits.
Question: As a physical therapist what are the most common injuries you see and how might they be an indication of unhealthy behaviors?
Answer: I see a lot patients with low back pain. There are a variety of things that can cause back pain, but a common factor is poor core strength. There is a joke in physical therapy that core strengthening is the answer to all back pain. I promise you, it is not the only answer. But poor core strength may be a causative factor. General inactivity can lead to weakness and poor coordination of the deep core muscles and possibly spiral into low back pain. If you don’t use it, you lose it!
Question: What is some advice you have for men to keep themselves healthy and free of injury.
Answer: If you are having musculoskeletal problems, ask to go see a physical therapist! Our skillset is very important in the Soldier population, especially treating acute (recent) injuries. In many cases, the quicker you seek treatment, the better the results.
In short: Keep moving. Injuries happen, but we are here to help. Don’t stop moving!
Editor’s note: This is part four of a five part series that will be posted at https://bayne-jones.tricare.mil and the Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital Facebook page every Wednesday in June for Men’s Health Awareness month.