Tuesday, May 25, 2010

10 Tips to Avoiding Back Pain

We all experience some sort of back pain at one point in our lives; in fact, about 30 million Americans suffer from back pain regularly! For many, these pains are indicative of larger health problems – from sciatica to multiple sclerosis. Fortunately, for most of us a few healthy tips and tricks can keep our backs healthy and back pain at bay for a long time.

  1. Improve your posture – Your Mother was right when she said “sit up straight!” Hunching over causes undue stress on your back and neck which leads to back pain and headaches.

  2. Exercise – Cardio and strength training keeps your back strong and the muscles that support it limber. When the supporting muscle groups are healthy and in shape, that leads to less strain and pressure on your vertebrae and fewer backaches. Many people are unaware of how important the abdominal and lateral muscles (core muscles) are in keeping your back healthy – if some muscles groups are weak, your back will have to do the work of several body parts. This double duty can cause damage over the long term.

  3. Fix your chair – Lumbar support is especially important for those of you working in office conditions where you remain seated for hours at a time. It is also key to adjust your chair to the right height:

    a.)  Make sure you are eye level with your computer screen, not arching your neck to peer down

    b.)  Your elbows should form a 90 degree angle with your desk

    c.)  Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle from your chair to the floor

    d.)  The chair should not be too high or too low as to be difficult to sit in or get up from

    e.)  Make sure you have lumbar support for the arch of your lower back; selecting a lumbar brace is a good way to guarantee structural support as you are seated

  4. Lifting and Loading – Many people make the mistake of bending from their back/hips while picking up boxes or other items. Be sure to bend your knees when picking things up so your knees bear the weight. This is one of the most common and avoidable injuries to your back! Just remember: Bend at the knees, not at the back!

  5. Sleeping situations – Each of us has different requirements for our bodies. Some people with back problems need very firm mattresses; others need a specific type of pillow for neck support. Be sure to talk to your doctor or a specialist about your particular conditions and pains to find the correct mattress and pillows to give you the support and rest you deserve! Most people benefit from a medium firm mattress that minimizes curvature in the spine.

  6. Check your feet – Flat footedness is a common and often unnoticed cause of back pain, if you are dealing with back pains, problems walking upstairs or knee or leg pains, talk to a doctor about getting fitted for orthotic insoles. Additionally, always wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes as poorly constructed or very high heeled shoes add strain on your back.

  7. Stop smoking – Smoking cigarettes impairs blood flow and blood transports oxygen throughout our bodies. When your blood flow is impaired, oxygen and nutrients cannot reach the spinal tissue it supports.

  8. Relax – Stress tenses muscles in your body and prolonged tension can cause pain. Release muscle tightness and stress by exercising, going on a walk or taking a soothing bath!

  9. Get a massage – Different massages exist to focus on different issues, but they will all relax and de-stress you as well as loosen key muscles groups that may have been tense or tightened.

  10. Avoid sitting for long hours – Walking and lying horizontally are the activities that put the least amount of pressure on the spring (standing is third and sitting is in fourth, the worst  for spines).

Remember to listen to your body – if you are taking the necessary steps to eliminate back pain and still experiencing discomfort, talk to a doctor or specialist who can better address you condition and identify any health issues that need to be rectified. For some temporary conditions wearing a back brace for a brief period of time can alleviate the pain whereas for longer term issues, like scoliosis, a custom TLSO brace will be necessary.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. For quality back braces, including a wide lumbar and cervical braces, please visit www.mmarmedical.com.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Diabetes Lifestyle: Making the Trip

If you have thoughtfully prepared for your trip or vacation, you have already completed the difficult part of the journey. In addition to careful preparation, however, there are a number of travel tips and strategies that will make your journey a breeze.

If you are traveling by car:

  • Be sure to keep your supplies with you, rather than stowing them in the car trunk as extreme temperatures can damage insulin.

  • Carry snacks in case you cannot find an appropriate restaurant on the road.

If traveling by plane, consider the following:

  • Check in early and be at the gate ahead of time. This will help prevent being bumped from a flight, which can add addition scheduling issues to your daily insulin regimen.

  • Ask for aisle seat if you plan on taking insulin during the flight. This will give you easy access to the restroom.

  • If you are traveling eastward, the days become shorter, so less insulin may be required. Likewise, if heading to the west, the days will be longer and you may need more. It is wise to keep your wrist watch on your home time until you arrive. It may help avoid confusion and keep you on schedule.

  • Since the cabin is pressurized, do NOT inject air into your insulin dose prior to drawing it up into the syringe. The pressure makes it feel as though the plunger is pushing back (this is normal) and if you inject air, it can make it difficult to measure your dose correctly.

  • Stow your diabetes supplies aunder the seat in front of you, rather than the overhead compartment. This will prevent your supply bag being blocked or moved elsewhere on the plane where you cannot quickly locate it.

  • Double check that your meal is indeed the diabetic meal you requested upon booking the flight. Special meal request mix ups happen with high frequency due to last minute seat changes.

  • Since mealtimes may conflict with your normal schedule, you should keep snacks handy (in the same bag stowed at your feet.)

  • If traveling alone, discretely inform the flight attendant that you have diabetes. Explain that you are traveling alone and do not expect issues, but feel it is important to let someone else on the plane know in case of an emergency.

Finally, some general tips to remember:

  • Be sure to get up and move around every two hours. This will improve circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots.

  • Make sure at least one person with you knows that you have diabetes, whether it is a friend, family member, work colleague or travel attendant.

  • People tend to walk a lot more when traveling, so be sure to wear comfortable diabetic shoes at all times.

  • Never walk around barefoot… even in the shower, at the beach or in a pool. Bare feet could easily result in cuts which risk infection.

  • Be vigilant with your diet. It can be difficult, but it is worth the extra effort. Stick to your diet specifications, and seek out meals low in sugar, fat, and cholesterol. Always stay away from street vendors.

  • Check you blood sugar levels frequently. Also, be sure to check upon arrival as jet lag can disorient you and it may be hard to tell if your blood sugar is high or low.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of diabetic shoes and orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. For quality cervical collars, a wide back brace selection and other quality braces, please visit www.mmarmedical.com.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Diabetes Lifestyle: Preparing for Travel & Vacation

Diabetics need to take extra precautions when traveling as changes in activity levels, time zones, and meal times can have a significant impact on blood sugar levels. It is important to plan ahead, ensuring that whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you can focus on what matters, rather than worrying about potential problems. Before you leave on your next trip make sure you are prepared. Preparation is the key to preventing frightening health scares and reducing travel anxieties.

  • Discuss your travel plans with your primary care provider. Have your provider prepare a formal letter explaining that you have diabetes, which can be used in case of emergency.

  • Arrange to have twice as many medical supplies as you anticipate needing, including prescriptions. You never know if your travel will be extended unexpectedly. (Just recently, many people were stuck in Europe for more than a week due to the Icelandic volcano eruption!)

  • We often walk more when traveling, so make sure you have appropriate diabetic shoes and socks. Long car or airplane rides will be made more comfortable with a pair of quality compression stockings.

  • Inform any airlines, cruise ships, tour guides and conference planners that you are diabetic and ensure your meal requirements will be met.

  • Stow medicine and supplies in your carry-on luggage, as checked luggage can be lost and medicines can be damaged by extreme temperatures in the cargo area. Also, keep your prescription on your person throughout your stay.

  • If your travel destination requires certain immunizations, make sure to have these done at least 4 weeks prior to travel and many of these types of shots can have an impact on blood sugar levels.

  • Always wear medical identification that clearly states that you are diabetic.

  • Always carry some sort of sugar in case you suddenly experience hypoglycemia, which is more likely when you experience changes in activity and meal schedule.

  • Have the right documentation on hand, including your doctor’s name and number, as well as addresses and maps to local health care facilities.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of comfort footwear offering a wide selection of shoes for diabetics as well as custom made orthotics. Please visit www.mmarmedical.com for more information.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Helping Your Diabetic Child Transition to College

Heading off to college is a difficult and exciting time for many young adults. The anxieties a young person feels upon leaving the nest are significant… and if your child has diabetes, those anxieties can be especially acute, for both you and your child. For you, it’s letting go of your child’s health and trusting them to manage their blood sugar levels on their own; and for your child, it’s stressful, almost like adding another course to their schedule, as it takes time, preparation and vigilance to manage.

Help prepare your child for the transition to college by outlining the challenges and best practices for managing diabetes on their own. It will be an important step in their adult life, but one you can help them take successfully.

  • Create a consistent blood sugar test schedule. College schedules are notorious unpredictable. Your child may stay up till 3am studying or even hit a last-minute party on a Tuesday. Even if their schedule in unpredictable, their needs aren’t. Make it clear that they should check their blood levels throughout the day (5 times or more depending on their doctor’s recommendations), no matter where they find themselves.

  • Be prepared with the right equipment. The most successful diabetic college students are prepared. That preparation not only provides them with the right tools in a crisis, but it also gives them a sense of security. Your child should always have a test kit, several juices, and an insulin pen on hand. Whether they are between classes, studying in the library or at the biggest party of the year, they should have that stocked bag on hand. There are a number of fashionable purses, messenger bags and backpacks that can make this easier. Include a couple of these on your college shopping list. Likewise, make sure your college student is well-stocked with diabetic shoes and socks so that they don’t have to worry about shopping when they would rather be focusing on school.

  • Keep track of changes. Certain activities like walking to a class and specific foods (what they serve at the cafeteria) may affect blood sugar in a certain way. Your child should keep track of those changes to make sure they are treating themselves accordingly. In some cases it may mean avoiding the sugary stir fry or lowering insulin doses.

  • Keep medications current and schedule doctor visits . Your child will need to visit the doctor regularly. Make sure they know the importance of keeping these appointments and making sure all their prescripts are filled and up-to-date.

  • Prepare them to protect themselves. Your child deserves the same college experience as any other. You and your family should not tolerate any sort of discrimination. Make it clear to your child that if they feel they are being discriminated against, you want to hear about it. They can also call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Diabetes Advocacy for information and legal advise.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a leading diabetic shoes and medical supplier specializing in shoes and socks for diabetics .