Monday, November 23, 2009

Recommended Uses for Cervical Collars

A cervical collar or neck brace is an important orthopedic device that has several possible uses for spinal health. The following list is intended to serve as a quick reference point for appropriate usage of cervical collars, but it is critical to consult with your physician when determining whether a cervical collar will be beneficial for your specific condition.

  • Traumatic neck or head injuries including fracture and dislocation. A cervical collar can be administered by medical professionals after a serious neck injury in order to stabilize the cervical area of an injured person’s spinal cord and skull. In this instance, the brace reduces the likelihood of spinal damage and subsequent paralysis or even death. The collar stabilizes the top seven vertebrae (C1 through C7) until a medical diagnosis can ascertain whether or not a risk is present.

  • Recovery. A cervical collar can also be used during recovery from a traumatic neck or head injury or after a spinal surgery. The patient may be advised to wear the device until they are fully healed.

  • Whiplash and therapeutic usage. Cervical collarsare sometimes used to treat chronic medical conditions related to the neck and spine area, including realigning the spinal cord and treating whiplash and sprains. Whiplash is the result of injury to the soft tissues found around the cervical spine and is typically caused by hyperextension or sudden rotation. Whiplash is most commonly treated with a soft cervical collar, though current research shows that recovery time is accelerated when treatment also includes physical therapy and exercise.

  • Cervical radiculopathy. Disk herniation, tumors, and certain traumas can lead to nerve root damage causing cervical radiculopathy. In the past this condition was often corrected with surgery, but recent studies have shown that it can be successfully treated with a combination of cold therapy, rest, exercise and the use of a hard cervical collar. Again, this is something to be addressed by a physician, specifically one that specializes in spines.

  • Neck pain. Neck pain is a highly enigmatic condition because of the complexity of the nervous system. It is difficult to always identify root causes and is thus complicated to treat. While the use of cervical collars is not routinely used for pain management, they are occasionally used under the supervision of a physician.

Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a leading diabetic shoes and supplies supplier, including socks for diabetics and orthotic insoles.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease and degenerative arthritis, is the most common form of arthritis. It involves the breakdown of cartilage in the joints and is primarily found in older adults. Symptoms include aching, soreness, pain, bony enlargements in the center of a joint, and joint swelling. Osteoarthritis is most commonly experienced in weight bearing joints such as the knees and hips. It is typically the result of aging, but can be intensified by other factors such as heredity, injury, obesity, joint overuse, and stress. While there is no cure for Osteoarthritis, there are helpful treatments that and lessen the pain, increase mobility, and enhance the individual’s quality of life. The type of treatment an Osteoarthritis patient receives will vary depending on a myriad of factors. If you suspect you are experiencing Osteoarthritis, it is critical that you discuss your symptoms and treatment options with your personal physician to ensure you are getting the right treatment for your particular needs.

Most common treatments include:

  • Physical therapy and exercise. A licensed physical therapist can advise you on specific muscle strengthening exercises that will help support ligaments and tendons and help alleviate pain.

  • Supportive devices. Supportive devices increase mobility, prevent falls, and are great for pain relief. A hinged knee brace, can be used to stabilize ligaments and tendons which will significantly decrease pain, while devices like crutches or canes can lessen the direct stress on joints. When selecting a device, make sure it is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to adjust for a precise fit.

  • Medication (oral or injected). Your doctor may prescribe you pain-relieving and/or anti-inflammatory medications which can help with Osteoarthritis management.

  • Weight Control. Keeping your weight in a healthy range will reduce the stress on your joints.

  • Hot or cold therapy. Hot or cold compresses can be administered to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Removal of fluid. If excess fluid surrounds the joints, your physician may choose to drain that fluid manually in order to alleviate pressure on the joint.

  • Alternative treatments. Some medical research concludes that glucosamine and chondrotin can rebuild cartilage, especially in the knee. There are also other (currently unproven) supplements that are also associated with Osteoarthritis treatment. Likewise, some people swear that acupuncture and bio-electric therapy alleviates pain, though there have not yet been any conclusive studies to support these claims.

  • Surgery. If less invasive treatments prove ineffective, your doctor may recommend corrective surgery.

  • Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a leading diabetic shoe supplier. They also offer socks for diabetics as well as a full line of orthotic insoles.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Choosing the Best Diabetic Shoe

Diabetics often suffer foot-related ailments which can detract from their quality of life and lead to serious medical complications. It is strongly recommended that diabetics wear shoes specifically designed for their needs in order to avoid potential problems such as infection and even, in extreme cases, amputation. Specially designed diabetic shoes will decrease the likelihood of blisters and ulcers which can escalate into dangerous infections. Here are a few recommendations for selecting the diabetic shoe that’s right for you.

Step 1: Visit a podiatrist. All feet are unique. A qualified podiatrist can identify any foot irregularities that require special attention. They will be able to advise you on what type of shoe you require. Medicare will cover one pair of diabetic shoes and 3 sets orthotic inserts each calendar year. Talk with your doctor about the next steps for covering those costs.

Step 2: Look for comfort and support. Once you understand your particular needs, you can start shopping. The shoe you select should have the following features:

  • Extra depth. Diabetic footwear should be deeper than standard shoes so that you can include custom insoles. Orthotic insoles are an integral part of diabetic foot care and, as mentioned earlier, are also covered by Medicare.

  • Good ventilation. A proper diabetic shoe must be breathable. Moist heat is a breeding ground for bacteria and should be avoided at all costs.

  • Seamless, lightweight construction. A heavy shoe with protruding seams can lead to irritation.

  • Arch support. Shoes for diabetics must have proper arch support. This aids in weight distribution and alleviates pressure point pain.

  • Room for your toes. Most diabetic shoes are available in different widths to accommodate all types of feet. The width of the shoe should fit the ball of your foot comfortably, while the shoe’s toe box should be high and durable to minimize stubbing.

  • A perfect-fitting heel. The heel should be snug, not tight, to avoid excessive rubbing.

  • Thick sole. Make sure your shoe has a thick sole to act as a shock absorber.

  • Style. Just because you are diabetic, doesn’t mean you have to wear ugly shoes. Diabetic shoes are available in a wide variety of styles including sandals, loafers, casual dress, slippers, Mary Janes, walking, and running shoes. Choose a shoe that fits your style and personality.

Step 3: Get the right accessories. Be sure to stock up on seamless socks for diabetics and at least three sets of custom orthotic insoles. These critical accessories take your comfort to the highest level.

Step 4: Now get moving. Exercise is especially important to diabetics. Now that you have the right shoes, don’t be afraid to use them.

Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a leading diabetic shoe supplier specializing in diabetic footwear including shoes and socks for diabetics as well as a full line of orthotic insoles.