Friday, November 16, 2018

Tips To Improve Overall Posture

Posture - a word that is all too familiar but yet not practiced enough. You’ve heard all about the importance of posture since you were little. Your mom constantly told you to sit up straight or not to slouch because you’d get “hunchback.” While plenty of us have heard of posture, most of us don’t understand the importance of posture and the benefits good posture can have on your body both physically and mentally. It’s easy to let yourself slouch throughout the day, but every so often, something in your body alerts you to sit up straight, put your shoulders back and pop your chest out. That’s your body’s natural way of telling you that your posture needs some work. By implementing a few tips and tricks throughout your day, you can start to improve your posture.

1. Use a Standing Office Desk

The human body isn’t designed for sustained periods of sitting. If you’re someone who works 9 to 5 at a desk, look into health-conscious options like a standing desk. Sitting at a chair all day will slow down your body’s metabolism. Standing allows your body to remain active as opposed to sedentary. Standing reduces your chances of developing health ailments such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Standing office desks allow the body to stretch and stand tall to burn more calories during the workday and to let blood circulate more efficiently, which increases productivity and improves your overall energy and posture.

2. Exercise

Not everyone has the time to exercise, but even just 30 to 45 minutes a few times each week can drastically improve your health. Exercise increases your metabolism and encourages the body to naturally burn fat. Exercise can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Most people who take an interest in exercise eat better and make more health-conscious choices, like consistently making time to exercise four or five times a week. Adding exercise to your day can strengthen core and back muscles, reduce tension and relieve stress, all of which can help you stand tall more naturally throughout the day. If you already feel the downside of sitting at a desk all day, exercise can perk you right up!

3. Stretch

If you can’t find the time to exercise, stretch. Stretch in the morning and stretch at your desk in the middle of the day and before you go to bed. It’s not as time-consuming as it sounds, and more often than not, you’re already stretching if you’re idle at a desk all day and slouched over. Stretching allows you to focus on your breathing and to listen to your body about what areas are causing you discomfort or pain. Stretching can release tension caused by tight muscles and help you stay balanced.

The best thing you can do when you tense up while sitting down is sit up straight. Take a deep breath in. Drop your shoulders. Stick your chest out. Rotate your neck and roll your shoulders. Tighten your core and breathe out. When you’re at home, lay on your back and try to lay flat on the floor without letting your lower back arch off the floor. If your arch is off the ground, your posture needs work. Stick one hand behind your back and practice laying flat enough to “crush” your hand. This will help realign your lower back, strengthen your core and reduce tension and pain in your back. Stretching will do you good and help you improve both your posture and your overall mood.

4. Limit Phone Time

Spending large amounts of time on the phone can cause your neck to get out of whack with your back if you’re constantly leaning toward one side to hold the phone. Staring down at your phone as you scroll through social media apps also causes your posture to be thrown off. Make a conscious effort to sit tall and keep your ears in line with your shoulders to straighten out your neck. You’ll feel the benefits of your posture improving if you practice this throughout the day.

5. Take Breaks

Don’t allow yourself to sit for long periods of time. Take 10 to 15 minutes to stand up and walk away from your desk. Let your legs stretch out and and get your blood circulating. Sitting for long periods of time can throw off posture, decrease blood flow, weaken abdominal muscles, weaken bones and actually decrease life expectancy. If you’re in an office building with multiple levels, walk up and down a few flights of stairs to wake up your body and improve your posture.

6. Walk Evenly on Your Feet

You might read this and think to yourself, ‘I already do.’ But do you really? When you walk, you should be evenly distributing your weight between your feet. Foot posture is equally as important as back posture. Your feet take you everywhere. Flat feet can cause the ankle and knees to roll inward, and this will affect hip joint movement, which affects pelvic bone posture and ultimately affects your lower back posture. It’s all connected. Bad lower back posture causes you to slouch, throwing off your whole structural balance. Foot posture helps improve back posture and makes exercise easier. Foot posture can be improved by wearing shoes with proper insole support and practicing standing tall and straight with both knees facing forward.


Your body's structural balance and alignment are important. Good posture reduces back pain, reduces headaches, increases lung capacity, decreases muscle fatigue and aches, improves circulation and digestion, improves core strength, and reduces the risks of arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Not only does good posture have physical effects, but it can also improve mental health as it offers increased energy levels and self-confidence emanated by standing up straight and walking tall.

The benefits of good posture will do your body and mind wonders. Self-care certainly includes improving your posture. Poor posture can impact the body significantly and cause you daily discomfort and pain. Making a more conscious effort to implement little exercises and practices in your workday can have long-term benefits to your overall health - so go ahead, stand up a little straighter now!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Choosing Between A Walker & A Rollator

If you have a loved one who needs help with walking, a physician, physical therapist or caregiver may suggest a walker or rollator. So what's the difference between these two options? And which one is right for your loved one?

Let's explore various types of walkers and rollators and check out the specifics of each that will help make choosing between them an easy decision.

Walkers and Rollators

It's estimated that over 6.8 million people in the United States use assistive devices for mobility and over 6.1 million seniors use walkers, canes or crutches. Walkers and rollators are commonly used by:

  • Those with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • People going through rehabilitative services after a fall, accident or stroke
  • Seniors with gait problems or who are recovering from strokes
  • People in need of diabetic care and who may have diabetic neuropathy

When Walkers Are Required

A walker is a metal or aluminum frame with wide feet that can offer balance when walking. Walkers are used by people going through rehabilitative services or recovery services after a fall or to help with stabilizing gait.

Walkers can offer different options, such as one with no wheels on it or with two front wheels to help move the walker forward. Having two wheels ensures the person doesn't have to lift the walker with each step.

When Rollators Are Required

Rollators are similar to walkers, but there are a few key differences. They may have four wheels on the base. They may offer an optional seat for the person to sit down. Other features may include a basket under the seat or attached to the front frame to help with carrying things. Rollators may feature a brake to stop the rollator from moving forward. Brakes can be helpful if the rollator starts moving too fast. Features can vary, depending on the surface the rollator is moving across.

Walkers are able to collapse for travel or storage, while rollators cannot collapse but may fit into most vans, ambulances or SUVs. So which one is best?

Finding the Best Walkers and Rollators

Some people use walkers for general recreation. Walkers can provide stability for going to and from appointments and for daily living activities. Our top picks are:

Drive Medical Universal Deluxe Folding Walker
    • Features two buttons for easy folding
    • Includes two front 5-inch wheels
    • Height can be adjusted from 28” to 38”
    • Cost: $40.00

For seniors who need to take breaks in between walking and for those who may suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, using a rollator with a seat will probably be best. Possible options might include:

  • This type of rollator includes four wheels measuring 6 inches in height.
  • The caster wheels have loop locks.
  • The rollator uses hand brakes.
  • It comes with a seamless padded seat with a zippered pouch underneath.
  • Cost: $85.00
  • With this rollator version, the two front wheels are 10 inches tall and the two rear wheels are 8 inches tall. 
  • The frame folds side-to-side for easy transport or storage.
  • This rollator has brakes with hidden brake cables inside the frame tubing.
  • Cost: $200.00
Walker wheels typically have a standard 5-inch height that easily rolls across hardwood, concrete and marble flooring as well as roads. Walkers may be difficult to maneuver in grass or on the sand. Hence, rollators can offer more stability over uneven surfaces like breaks in concrete or cracks in the sidewalk.

Conclusion

There are different types of walkers and rollators that can help your loved one be mobile. Talk to his or her health care provider for the best options. Also be sure to let your relative test out different walkers and rollators. Try a variety of surfaces to ensure he or she is comfortable with the walker or rollator. The more the person is out and about walking, the more he or she will gain increased confidence over time. Reach out to us here at MMAR Medical with any questions!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

All You Need To Know About Electrotherapy

If you have chronic pain or muscle pain and have searched just about every remedy, you may have come across electrotherapy. While it sounds like it may involve innovative technology, electrotherapy is an old remedy that’s become a newly accepted practice.

Electrotherapy treatment can be highly effective and can even be tried at home - but be sure you’re informed before you give it a try. There are four questions you should ask yourself when considering a new treatment.

1. First off, what is electrotherapy?

Also called electromagnetic therapy, electrotherapy is a process in which small doses of electric current are delivered to problem areas of the body to stimulate nerves and muscles. It is mainly used to alleviate pain, drive the regeneration of tissue and strengthen damaged or weak muscles. It can also be used to improve circulation and stimulate bone growth. The process aims to improve your body’s basic physical functions.

There are several types of electrotherapy, but the two most popular are TENS and EMS. The most commonly used form is TENS, which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Transcutaneous means the treatment is only skin-deep.

First, small square-shaped adhesive pads called electrodes, which are attached to an electrical current device, are placed on the problem area. Consumer-friendly TENS therapy units often eliminate the wiring and combine the electrodes with the electric current machine into a single device that can be worn. It includes a handheld controller that you can use to control the dosage of the electrical current. The discreet garment design allows you to use the device at home, at work or wherever you’d like.

The second most commonly used form of electrotherapy is EMS – electrical muscle stimulation. EMS also sends small electrical currents to problem areas, but it aims to cause muscle contraction instead of nerve stimulation. In short, TENS stimulates the nerves while EMS stimulates the muscles.

EMS imitates the signal that the brain sends to muscles, causing them to move. This can increase circulation, relax muscle spasms, reduce inflammation, ease tension and strengthen muscles. Like TENS, EMS can also be used to provide pain relief, but it does a little more for your muscles.

2. Is electrotherapy safe?

Absolutely. However, like any remedy, it is possible to overuse this procedure. If overused, your body may grow so accustomed to nerve and muscle stimulation that it becomes dependent on it. However, when electrotherapy is used correctly, it can propel the rehabilitation process. Because electrotherapy does not travel deeper than 2 inches of muscle, it is very safe to use. However, you may not want to use electrotherapy if you:

  • Are in the early stages of pregnancy
  • Experience numbness in the problem area
  • Have lymphedema

You may want to exercise caution and consult with your doctor if you have:

  • A pacemaker
  • Suffered from a stroke
  • Undiagnosed pain
  • A cardiac condition
  • Experienced cancer
  • Have epilepsy

You should consult your doctor before trying electrotherapy if you are unsure. Otherwise, feel free to use electrotherapy to treat chronic pain conditions or muscle pain.

3. What can I use electrotherapy for?

Electrotherapy addresses medical conditions that involve chronic and nerve pain. You can use electrotherapy to improve a wide variety of conditions. TENS electrotherapy can be used to improve:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic back pain
  • Postoperative pain

EMS electrotherapy can be used to improve:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Stiff joints
  • Muscle injury
  • Weak muscles
  • Labor pain

These are just some of the conditions that electrotherapy can alleviate. If you would like to know if TENS or EMS electromagnetic therapy can relieve pain associated with another type of chronic pain or muscle pain, consult with your doctor or physical therapist to see if this may be an option for you.

4. How effective is electrotherapy?

While evidence on electrotherapy is inconclusive, keep in mind that electrotherapy is not meant to replace other medical treatment; it should be used in tandem with your existing treatment. The evidence is inconclusive so far – electrotherapy works for some people and not for others. But it doesn’t have a negative or regressive impact if it doesn’t turn out to be the best solution for you – so why not give it a shot?

If you decide that you want to try electrotherapy, you can purchase your own electrotherapy equipment to use at home. However, it is recommended that you test electrotherapy in a medical facility first. Once you’ve tried it out, feel free to use the electrotherapy equipment available here at MMAR Medical at home at your convenience. Our products are meant to be accessible not just to medical facilities but also to consumers, which is why we offer high-quality medical equipment at an affordable price. Reach out to us with any questions you may have. And feel free to leave a comment about your own experiences below!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Why You May Need a Wrist or Hand Brace

We use our hands and wrists countless times a day. Practically everything we do involves these important appendages - and we don’t usually give it much thought. That is, until we start to feel discomfort or even pain. Then, we suddenly realize how critical our hands and wrists are and the issues that arise when we’re not able to use them as usual.

If you experience wrist or hand pain or you are at risk for it, you may want to consider investing in a brace to support your daily activities (and to prevent any pain from getting worse). The following are common activities that often lead to wrist or hand problems:

Computer Work


It’s no secret: Typing on a keyboard all day isn’t great for our wrists or hands… or our bodies in general, for that matter. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common effect of this repeated motion, but there are other conditions it can lead to as well, such as Repetitive Strain Injury. In today’s world, a growing number of us are plopped in front of a screen all day. Even while away from our desks, the increasing use of mobile devices also harms our joints as we try to carry on with the day’s activities and juggle our phones, sending that quick text or scrolling through our feeds.

Gaming


Similar to the repetitive motion of typing at a computer, video gamers are also prime candidates for hand and wrist ailments. While gaming may be your means to unwind, your hands are working hard to get you to the next level - and you may be paying a high cost for it.

Athletic Activities


While many sports don’t require the use of hands or wrists, there are also many that do - and repeated exposure to that same movement can lead to serious issues. For instance, swinging a tennis racket or a golf club (a full game of golf has upwards of 80 swings - if you’re lucky - plus, all your practice shots). You’ve probably heard of the condition “tennis elbow,” but that constant swinging motion can lead to problems for hands and wrists, too. Even the downward dogs and planks of yoga can strain the wrists.

Craftsmanship


In what seems like a backlash to society’s increasing screen time, there is a rising popularity in creating things by hand. Whether it’s baking a loaf of bread or building a piece of furniture, the desire to create something physical is rising - and is a welcome respite from hours by the computer. But if your craft involves repeated motions with your hands and wrists (and is something you partake in frequently) you could be at risk for developing hand or wrist problems, too.

What To Do


Now that you know what to look out for, you’re probably wondering what can be done to alleviate the risks of hand or wrist injury - or the symptoms if you’ve already got issues. You’ll want to take frequent breaks from whatever activity puts you at risk. If you work poised by a computer, stand up every 25 minutes and do a few wrist rolls. If you spend hours gaming each evening, walk around the room between levels and wiggle your fingers.

If you are already experiencing symptoms - or perhaps have been injured previously - a wrist or hand brace is probably a worthwhile investment. You’ll want to select one that applies gentle compression without preventing movement. There are a number of high-quality options out there, such as MMAR Medical’s selection here, whether you’re looking for the best wrist support for general use or something more specific. Do you have hand or wrist problems? If you like, feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments below so we can learn from each other.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a medical condition that affects millions of people in the United States. This common condition is characterized by swelling in the extremities - such as the arms and legs - due to a buildup of lymph fluid. This buildup means the lymphatic system is not performing the way that it should be. This can get dangerous because the lymphatic system is responsible for ridding the body of toxins as well as transporting the lymph fluid that carries disease-fighting white blood cells throughout the body.

Whether you are suffering from lymphedema or simply want to learn more, here are some things you need to know to help understand and treat this condition.

What Causes Lymphedema?

While there are many things that can cause lymphedema, the most common is cancer treatment that requires removing the lymph nodes. Without lymph nodes to properly drain lymph fluids, the fatty tissues under the skin become more susceptible to fluid buildup. However, any damage or blockage in the lymph system will increase the risk of getting lymphedema.

Other common causes:
  • Hereditary absence of lymph nodes or vessels
  • Cancer treatment or radiation therapy that scars tissue
  • Other infections

Lymphedema Treatments

Although there is no complete cure, there are various ways that you can prevent and treat the symptoms of lymphedema. Since lymphedema is caused by the restricted flow of the lymph fluid, treatments include exercises and compression tactics that will help regulate better flow and reduce swelling.

Compression for Lymphedema

Depending on where the lymphedema is located, compression garments are a great way to regulate the flow of the lymph fluid. For mild lymphedema and early stages, compression sleeves are usually recommended for beginning treatments.

Not only can compression sleeves be worn anywhere, but they’re also engineered to direct the fluid to its natural flow. Because these sleeves are made with a gradient pressure technique (more pressure on one side and slowly lessening pressure toward the other), it forces the flow of the fluid in a certain direction.

Types of compression garments:

Since lymphedema is usually concentrated in specific parts of the body, compression sleeves are great for daily treatment because they are able to target that specific area. However, it’s important to verify with your doctor the type, size and pressure of the compression garment you want to try. Depending on your specific condition, doctors often recommend getting both a daytime and a nighttime garment for varying pressures.

Exercises for Lymphedema

Not only is exercise important for overall daily health, but it’s also helpful to do certain exercises to better regulate the flow of lymph fluid. Doing daily exercises encourages constant movement, deep breathing and weight loss, which will get the lymph fluids moving. Although it is best to work with a physical therapist to cater the exercises to your specific condition, the most helpful types of exercises are those that involve the following:

  • Stretching and increasing flexibility
  • Cardio or any aerobic exercises (require heavy breathing)
  • Improving muscle strength (weight & strength training)

Massages for Lympedema

In addition to exercise, massage can be a great way to target specific swelling points. However, it’s important that you ask your healthcare provider what the proper technique for your condition may be. Massage can help encourage the direction of flow as well as loosen any blockage.

Whether lymphedema directly affects you or not, familiarizing yourself with the effects of the condition is always a good thing to do. Have any exercises that have worked wonders for you? Share your experiences below!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Six Best Exercises for Foot Drop


Foot drop is a condition that is caused by one of several different disorders. People who suffer from this condition have gait abnormalities because the forefront of their foot drops while they are walking. The condition may be temporary or permanent. Whether it affects one or both of your feet, drop foot often causes the front part of the foot to drag when walking. Treatment for foot drop varies depending on the cause of the condition. In addition to available medical treatments, there are several foot drop exercises that can help to strengthen the affected foot.

Treatment for foot drop

To diagnose the condition that is causing the foot drop, doctors may use diagnostic imaging tests. After a proper diagnosis and prescribed course of treatment, the following steps may be recommended:

  • A splint or brace to help give a more normal gait
  • Ankle-foot orthosis
  • Surgery on the peroneal nerve
  • Vitamin B6 therapy or nerve medications
  • Physical therapy

It’s important to openly communicate with your doctor about the course of treatment that may be best for you, and be certain to follow all of the recommendations that you are given.

Exercises for foot drop

Before starting exercises for foot drop, be sure to obtain permission from your doctor. These exercises will help to strengthen the foot muscles that are involved in lifting the front portion of the foot.

1. Cycling

The movements that your foot makes when riding a bicycle involve the muscles used to lift the front part of your foot. There are various options to strengthen these muscles:

  • lie on your back and make cycling movements in the air, 
  • ride a stationary bike or 
  • ride a real bicycle. 

All of these exercises can help to strengthen the muscles that control basic functions of the foot’s movement.

2. Calf Raises

This exercise helps to strengthen both the muscles in the feet as well as the calf muscles. To perform this exercise, stand up straight on a flat, supportive surface. Raise your body up on your toes and lower it back down again. Repeat this exercise for one set of 20 calf raises to start; then build up to completing two sets.

3. Foot Stretches

Foot stretches help to strengthen the muscles that surround the front of your foot. To do this exercise, sit on the floor or on a yoga mat with your leg stretched out in front of you. With a long towel, loop it around your affected foot and pull the top part toward you while keeping your leg straight. Hold for five seconds and then relax your foot. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

4. Toe Flexes

To perform toe flexes, sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight out in front of you. Place your hands on the floor on either side to provide you with some support, and raise one leg. While your foot is slightly off the ground, bend it towards your body. Hold this position for five seconds before relaxing. Repeat this exercise 10 times per leg.

5. Toe Curls

Sit in a chair that has arms on it and brace yourself by holding onto the arms. With your knees straight, raise your legs straight out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor. Point your toes toward your body and hold the position for five seconds. Repeat the toe curls 10 times per set, completing two sets of the exercise.

6. Toe Grabs

Place a small ball or towel in front of your chair, and sit in the chair. While you are seated, take your barefoot and try to grab the ball or towel with your toes. Try to lift the object as high as your knees if you are able to do so. Do two sets of 10 repetitions each of this exercise.


Foot drop can be caused by a number of different conditions and may affect your ability to walk properly. If you think you might have foot drop, make an appointment to see your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment. Ask your doctor if it is okay for you to perform these simple exercises at home. If you are given permission by your doctor, these exercises will help to strengthen your muscles so you might be able to walk more normally.

Do you have foot drop? Are there any foot drop treatment exercises that have helped you? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Choosing the Right Insole for Your Foot

Foot pain can be caused by a wide range of issues, from running a marathon to playing a squash tournament to traversing through your garden. Regardless of the source of the problem, it is always debilitating to some degree; most of us rely pretty heavily on our feet to get us around. The good news is that the majority of foot problems can be treated – and sometimes, it’s as simple as getting insoles for our shoes. In this post, we’ll cover different types of insoles and what you should consider for each one.

Orthotic Arch Support Insoles

Orthotic insoles offer the highest level of support and are designed with a rigid or semi-rigid support plate. Whether you’re looking for prefab or custom-made orthotics, this type of insole focuses on supporting the foot’s arch and heel, providing a natural form for whatever activities your day may bring. While orthotic insoles usually take some time to break in, the benefit will certainly outweigh any initial discomfort. These insoles help eliminate strain on the plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the forefoot. If you have arch pain or plantar fasciitis, an orthotic arch support is worth a shot. This insole is also ideal for anyone suffering from over-pronation or supination.

If you’ve never had an orthotic insole before, starting with the semi-rigid option is recommended as the rigid support is almost completely stiff. Either way, you can break in your insole by wearing it for a couple of hours every day for the first week, and slowly increasing the duration from there. If you still experience discomfort after several weeks, you might want to consider another insole.

Cushioned Arch Support

If you’re looking for a softer insole option, cushioned arch supports may be what you need. Unlike the rigid support offered by orthotic arch supports, cushioned insoles are entirely padded to provide your foot with lots of cushioning. Foot fatigue is the most common ailment that this padded support can relieve. Shin splints are another common injury that cushioned supports can alleviate. These insoles are also perfect for anyone on their feet all day, whether or not they have foot problems.

Flat Cushions

When you buy a new pair of kicks, there’s usually a thin sock liner along the inside of the shoe. This insole doesn’t actually provide any support but just offers a lining for your footwear. Replacement insoles are available in whatever material suits your preference – but you won’t necessarily be doing your foot any good with this option.

Examine Your Feet

As you assess what type of insole you need, keep in mind the shape of your foot – is it narrow, wide, long, short? Sizing usually follows your shoe size, but each insole will have its own variations, so be sure to read through the product description – and reviews when possible – to be sure you’re getting the right fit.

Also consider the arch of your foot. Do you have high arches, neutral arches or flat feet? Wearing an insole that’s not designed for your type of arch will likely be painful, so be sure you’re looking at the right one. If you don’t know what kind of arches you have, try looking at your wet footprint. If you don’t see a trace of the arch in the print, you probably have high arches; alternatively, if you see nearly the entire outline of your foot, it’s likely that you have flat feet. Getting the low or high arch support you need can make all the difference.

Get back to the mobile activities you love in no time with a supportive insole. And even if you haven’t reached the point of immobility, if you’re experiencing any type of foot pain, an insole may be a simple solution before it gets worse. Do you already use an insole? What are your tips for insole shopping? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Strategies for Combatting Stress

When was the last time you did nothing? Literally, you weren’t doing anything at all. In today’s fast-paced society, idleness seems to be a thing of the past, like CDs and The Brady Bunch. Instead, we’re constantly rushing between appointments we’ve got booked on our calendars and soaking up information on our handheld screens in the “off” moments. Being busy has become almost an indicator of success – the busier, the better.

That busy-ness offers plenty of opportunities. But it also comes with stress. In 2015, 24 percent of American adults reported experiencing extreme stress, a 6 percent increase compared to the previous year. Similar stress statistics follow suit: They’re on an upward trend. While we may not be able to stop the trajectory of our fast-paced society, we can control how we react to it. And there are a number of techniques we can use to help relieve the stress we feel. Read on for a few of the top ones!

Move Your Body

One way to reduce stress is by exercising. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers (also known as endorphins). Exercise also helps reduce fatigue and improve alertness, concentration and overall cognitive function, which can do wonders when stress has depleted your energy. Whether your preferred means of physical activity is walking, surfing or yoga, your body will benefit from it, and so will your mind.

Make Time for Relaxing

It seems so simple, but many of us don’t set aside the time we need to actually relax. Find an activity that helps you relax, such as meditation, knitting or listening to music, and schedule regular times for it. Making these activities a part of your routine will decrease the chances of you forgetting about them. Just like you wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment, hold yourself to the times you plan to unwind. 

Prioritize (and Say “No”)

Decide what you need to accomplish in your day and what can wait. Then, give yourself permission to hold off on the things that can wait. Yes, that person might not get a response to their email until tomorrow. And that load of laundry won’t get washed just yet. But you’ll get around to them in good time. And your mind will be more relaxed for it.

And while we’re on the topic of prioritizing, know when to say “no” when you feel overloaded. It can be difficult, but those two small letters can do so much for you, both body and mind. Saying yes to everything usually means you’re spreading yourself thin – and that’s not going to be good for anyone.

Connect

Connect with people you enjoy spending time with. Whether it’s a short walk with a neighbor at the end of the day or a 15-minute phone call with a friend far away, connecting with people in your life will help alleviate stress. These people are a support network you can turn to in times of difficulty, perhaps to vent or maybe to bring over some food when the going gets tough.

Don’t Procrastinate 

Procrastinating means you’re in a constant scramble. By putting things off, you’re keeping them in the back of your mind with the knowledge that they need to get done at one point or another. By the time you get around to doing the task, it’s usually not half as bad as the anticipation that’s been building from all that procrastination. Organize your tasks with realistic deadlines and maintain focus when working toward those deadlines. This will prevent things from building up and reduce your overall stress levels.

Stress can be all-encompassing – when we let it. By constantly working to reduce stress, we bring ourselves closer to happier, more fulfilling lives without getting hung up on the small stuff. Feel free to share your own stress management techniques in the comments below!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Runners of All Levels

In many ways, running is a perfect sport: You don’t need a team or any equipment, or even a field. You get time to think or zone out. Just grab your running shoes and head out, however fast or far your feet may take you. As simple as it sounds, there are some definite running don’ts in terms of how to keep your body healthy and in good condition. Whether you’re new to the sport or have been running for years, you want to be sure you avoid these common running mistakes.

Skipping the Warm-Up


However ready your body may feel for that run, not warming up can do some serious damage. Most of us are sedentary for a large portion of the day, so getting our bodies moving should be gradual. Even if you’re on the move throughout the day, take a few minutes to start your workout with a light jog to loosen up your muscles.

Making Your Easy Days Hard


If you’re at the point in your running routine that you plan out your runs by intensity, be sure to include easy days – and follow through on them. Your body needs lighter workouts to recover and restore itself between the tougher ones, so giving every run your all isn’t doing you any favors. On that note, taking rest days is also important. Sometimes it’s okay to just chill on the sofa.

Tensing Up Your Arms


Your arms aren’t involved in running, right? So why are we even mentioning them? Your whole body works together with each step you take, and your arms help in the process. You want to keep your arms light while allowing them to swing naturally as you stride. The momentum of each swing can help propel your body forward – especially up those hills.

Wearing Old Shoes


One of the most common causes of injury is wearing the wrong pair of shoes. Perhaps your shoes pinch your right big toe just a bit. Or you want to bring to life that old pair from five years ago. Resist the urge. The lifetime of a shoe is anywhere from 300 to 500 miles, depending on the surface you run on and how much material your shoe has to support your foot. Running on dirt roads or trails means your shoes will last for longer than pounding on asphalt with each step. Regardless of where you run, you’ll want to keep track of roughly how far you’ve run – and invest in a new pair of quality running shoes regularly for running injury prevention.

Pushing Through an Injury


At some point in your running career – even if you get new shoes regularly – it’s likely you’ll be faced with an injury. Whether it’s a sore hip or shin splints, your body is trying to tell you something, so be sure to listen. Don’t push through the pain; instead, take the time your body needs to heal. This may require you to completely stop running for a while. This can be difficult, but pushing through may cause further damage and put you on the sidelines indefinitely.

While avoiding these running mistakes will make your jogs more enjoyable, you’re still bound to face some hiccups along the way. Be patient with yourself, and don’t forget to breathe! We’d love to hear your running tips in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ice Wraps – When Should I Use Them and Why?

Ice wraps come in many shapes and sizes for all different kinds of pain, injuries and ailments. These ice compression and support devices use portable plastic sacs filled with cooling gels, water or other liquid that slows down blood circulation and, in turn, alleviates pain and swelling. You’ll frequently find athletes using ice wraps, as they are best for minor injuries – think strains and sprains, bruises and bumps, pulled muscles and pulled ligaments. They’re also commonly used in overuse injuries, like patellar tendonitis, which is commonly found in avid runners.

As a safe and localized alternative to painkiller drugs, ice wrap packs are a very popular recovery method for a variety of injuries and circumstances. If you think an ice wrap might be right for you, read on while we dissect the different kinds of ice wraps and how they can help you live a pain-free life.

General Pain Relief 

Day-to-day activity – whether it’s especially athletic or not – puts strain on our bodies. Sometimes, even just working a job where you’re on your feet can cause some pretty serious musculoskeletal pain. Ice wraps are excellent solutions for minor muscle and bone injuries. If foot pain is resonating with you, consider our Icy Feet™ Orthotic cold packs. These soft ice packs provide sturdy arch support for your feet, making them perfect to put on at the end of a long day.

Athletic Injury 

Ever heard of the RICE method? RICE is a process commonly referred to by doctors and nurses as the best way to treat muscle injuries, including all athletic and overuse injuries. RICE is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Doctors say that these four steps can heal most minor muscle injuries in a short period of time. With an ice wrap, the second and third steps – ice and compression – are taken care of in one easy application.

Knee injuries are increasingly common among athletes, especially in high-intensity, high-impact sports. If patellar tendonitis (an extremely common injury that involves inflammation of the knee’s primary tendon) is the problem, try this DonJoy Dura*Kold™ Consumer Wrap. The small band will deliver the right amount of pressure to your patellar tendon, while the specially made ice packs provide two hours of cold therapy.

If an injury is minor enough, or if your injury is on the mend, a good ice pack could be the difference between sitting on the sidelines and getting back in the game. When you feel like you might be ready to get back in the game but still want some extra TLC for a knee injury, consider this high-tech Corflex Cryo Pneumatic Knee Splint. The anatomical wrap is ideal for athletic activity, while the detachable pump allows you to choose the level of compression at any given time. However, be sure to consult your doctor before reworking a healing injury. He or she will be able to give you the best opinion as to whether or not you’re ready to get back to activity.

Post-Surgery 

Sometimes, an injury is severe enough that it requires surgery. When this happens, the road to complete recovery is a long one, but an excellent ice pack can make all the difference. For surgery recovery, make sure to choose an ice wrap that is powerful enough to cool through surgical dressings. An effective ice wrap can help decrease pain, edema and secondary hypoxic tissue injury from your surgery.

DonJoy makes excellent post-surgery ice wraps with its Dura*Soft™ wrap line. This DonJoy Dura*Soft™ Shoulder Wrap has removable cooling packing that can be changed out without removing the wrap, providing long-term cold therapy and making your life much easier.

Reducing pain and getting back to your normal routine could be as simple as purchasing the right ice wrap for your needs. Ask your doctor how an ice wrap can help you. It might just change your life!