Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reducing Arthritis Pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five adults in the United States report having doctor diagnosed arthritis. If you or someone close to you suffers from arthritis, you understand the way it hinders daily activities and quality of life. According to the Mayo clinic, treatments of arthritis vary, but the overarching goal is to reduce the symptoms to patients.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a result of normal joint activity over time, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. The signs and symptoms vary by patient and by type, but generally all cases involve joint pain. The most common symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased range of motion.

While some uncontrollable factors (age, family history, gender, etc) lead to or worsen arthritis, there are a number of activities you can do on your own that relieve the symptoms that come along with arthritis. For very severe cases of arthritis, you may wish to consider complimenting these daily habits with prescription medication or surgery.

Weight Loss

Excess weight adds a great deal of pressure to your blood flow and joints. This is why individuals that are obese are more likely to suffer from arthritis. By reducing weight, you reduce this stress. Also, with less weight, you will find yourself more mobile and possibly reduce future joint industry.


Exercise is one of the best things you can do to reduce arthritis symptoms. With regular exercise, the muscles around your joints will grow stronger, your bones will stay healthy, and your weight will be under control. You should be careful when deciding exercises though, as they may cause a great deal of pain. You should ask your doctor if you are unsure about certain types of exercises.

Good exercise choices for arthritis sufferers include range of motion, strengthening and aerobic exercises. Water activities, such as swimming and water aerobics, are very helpful because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on the joints that self support demands. Yoga and tai chi can also be very helpful as these stretching-type exercises improve flexibility as well as range of motion.

Heat & Cold

Hot and cold treatments have proven to be very successful for reducing stiffness and managing arthritis pain. Cold therapy, such as cold packs or cold therapy systems can numb the joint pain, particularly helpful during a bad flare-up. Heat therapy relaxes the muscles. You can use dry heat like electric blankets or wet heat like moist heat pads.

Assistive Devices

You may also find assistive devices like canes, walkers, elevated toilet seats and orthopedic braces helpful. These supports make daily activities a little easier on your joints.

Any degree of arthritis can cause pain and discomfort in one’s life. Luckily, there are things you can do to make the everyday tasks a little bit easier.

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 orthopedic braces, a wide bath safety products selection and other quality products, please visit

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Benefits of Moist Heat Therapy for Arthritis and Muscle Soreness

The benefits of heat therapy are undeniable. Heat therapy can relieve stiffness and improve circulation by opening blood vessels- relieving pain from arthritis, tennis elbow, sinus headaches, TMJ, aching feet, shoulder and back pain, and many more conditions!

But how does moist heat compare to dry heat therapy? There are many advantages to using moist heat therapy over traditional dry heat:

  1. Does Not Dry Out Skin

  2. Dry heat therapy tends to dry out skin. Think about what happens to your skin when it gets too hot inside your house- your skin gets dry and can crack if you do not apply moisturizing lotion. The same is true of heat therapy. Applying direct heat to your skin will leave your skin drier over time. Moist heat therapy, on the other hand, leaves your skin warmed without drying it out.

  3. Deeper Muscle Penetration

  4. Because water transfers heat better than air moist heat therapy delivers more heat directly to your skin because it loses less heat in the transfer process. The result of this greater heat transfer efficiency is that more of the heat makes its way deep into muscles, joints, ligaments and soft tissue.

  5. Faster Relief of Pain

  6. Due to the deeper muscle penetration, moist heat therapy relieves pain faster. People who use moist heat therapy report that they start feeling more relaxed faster each time they do the therapy and get better faster overall.

  7. Longer-Term Pain Relief

  8. While people using moist heat therapy tend to report that their pain symptoms are relived faster, they also report that on average the pain relief lasts longer- reducing the need to use heat therapy as often. People with chronic conditions like arthritis who use heat therapy regularly, on average, tend to require moist heat therapy less often than when using dry heat therapy.

Unfortunately, anyone who has ever gone to a chiropractor, masseuse, or sports trainer for a professional moist heat therapy treatment can tell you that the drawback of these treatments is that you have to schedule an appointment ahead of time and then pay costly visit fees. Many in-home moist heat therapy systems have their drawbacks as well. They can be very expensive and time consuming to use (requiring lengthy microwaving or the addition of heated water).

Thermophore moist heat therapy , packs however, do not have any of the drawbacks traditionally associated with in-home moist heat therapy units. Thermophore moist heating pads plug in to a power outlet just like a regular heating pad and have a safety switch that prevents burning if you fall asleep while using them. Also, Thermophore packs do not require that any water be added before or during use- instead, they pull moisture from the surrounding air to utilize for their moist heat therapy. Thermophore also makes their moist heat pads in a variety of sizes and styles to effectively relieve pain from large areas like backs and shoulders to small areas like sinuses and jaws. They even have cuffs for use on elbows, wrists, and ankles! If you are in need of moist heat therapy check out Thermophore automatic moist heat packs today!

Caution: Do not use moist heat therapy if you have an existing skin condition, open wound, bruising, diabetes, or any heart-related disorder!

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 cervical collars, a wide elbow brace selection and other quality braces, please visit

Monday, June 20, 2011

Importance of Low-Impact Workouts

Many people with medical conditions such as joint pain, muscle injury, or chronic diseases find exercising very straining and uncomfortable. It’s important to remember that proper exercise can alleviate many of the problems and pains that come with these medical conditions. While high-impact exercises like running, jumping, or jogging may not be an option, low-impact exercises are a great way to get in shape and stay healthy for people of all ages and medical conditions.

What are Low-Impact Exercises?

Low impact exercises are those exercises that don’t significantly strain the legs, knees, or feet. At least one foot being on the ground at any time is implied with low-impact exercises. While high-Impact exercises increase the heart rate, build endurance, and get blood flowing, it also puts a lot of pressure and stress on the body.

Low-impact exercises are particularly helpful for those that are recovering from an injury, just beginning to workout, suffering from joint pains or chronic diseases, women that are pregnant, or overweight individuals. If you already have a medical issue as mentioned above, high impact exercises may cause injury or negative effects to your body.

Common Low-Impact Exercises

There are a number of low-impact exercises you may find helpful. Some of these workouts include walking, hiking, and step aerobics. Some exercises are no impact like biking, swimming, or rowing. You can do low-impact exercises at home, in the gym, or outdoors. Exercise machines like the elliptical, bike, or Stairmaster can give you a great, low-impact workout and track the work you’ve done as well as your heart rate. If you prefer a class, there are various group or individual classes you can sign up for like step aerobics, that will give you a good workout in an encouraging and instructional environment. Just because exercises are low or no-impact doesn’t mean they won’t get your heart racing and your muscles toned.

Maximizing Low-Impact Exercises

If you are accustomed to doing high-impact exercises, are becoming stronger, or just not getting the results you desire, there are a number of ways to intensify your low-impact workout.

You can always add ankle weights, wrist weights, or a backpack to increase your heart rate. For activities like hiking, biking, or walking, you can try going up-hill or going at a faster speed. You can also trying using parts of the body you are not already using. For example, when walking, swing your arms or hold them over your head.

Preparing for & Ending Your Exercise

It is crucial that you stretch and hydrate prior to low-impact exercising. Just like any other workout, low-impact exercises can result in injury. If you have a focalized medical issue, you should protect this part of your body. For example if you have knee problems, you should wear an orthopedic knee brace when exercising. Or if you are diabetic, it may be useful to get specialized diabetic athletic footwear. If you are not sure your body can handle the exercise, you should consult your doctor beforehand.

Once you complete your exercise, it’s important that you stretch properly again and note any unusual pain you have. It’s normal for your body to be sore the subsequent days of a challenging exercise. You can always use hot and cold therapy such as heating pads when recovering from workout.

Remember, no matter your age of physical condition, it is always important that you keep your body healthy through exercise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Training for a Marathon with Diabetes

Exercise and diabetes should go hand in hand because physical activity can greatly improve blood sugar control. When you increase the level of exercise to 26.2 miles this balance may become more delicate.

Every diabetic is different and what works well for one person may not be the best option for someone else, but one thing is certain, running a marathon with diabetes takes planning. By carefully preparing for your marathon training regime and race you can help eliminate the odds that complications will arise.

The following tips will help you train for and complete a safe first marathon:

1. Define your marathon objective

  • How soon do you want to run a marathon? Ideally you have been running for a year or more before attempting a marathon, but if you give yourself adequate time to train other time frames are possible.
  • Which marathon do you want to run? Consider key factors such as climate, elevation and time of race to make sure you pick the perfect marathon for you.
  • What is your goal time? Most marathon runners don’t try to target any specific finish time for their first marathon. If you do establish a goal time, keep it broad and understand that completing the marathon is a big accomplishment in itself.
  • Percentage walk vs. run? Decide if you want to walk the whole marathon, walk and run the marathon, run the whole marathon or employ a strategy such as taking a one minute walking break at each mile mark.

2. Get everything you need to start properly training

  • Athletic shoes that give you the proper support you need. Purchasing specific diabetic footwear may help alleviate the foot pain and discomfort commonly experienced by those with diabetes. Athletic shoes made for diabetics provide optimal support for the arch, heel and ankle and allow for extra room so that orthotic inserts can be worn in them.
  • Running clothes that are quick drying and chafe free. Look for moisture control fabrics that fit comfortably and can be easily layered if needed.
  • If you have previously injured yourself or are experiencing any pain and soreness, invest in a brace or support to promote healing and provide relief.
  • Watch with a stopwatch function to track your time and training intervals.
  • Water carrier belt to make sure you stay hydrated all race.
  • Fanny pack with insulin, testing meter, test strips, pokers, sugar tablets, snacks and energy gels.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses to protect against the sun.
  • Various energy drinks, bars, and gels to keep energy and blood sugar stable.

3. Consume a proper diet for marathon training and running

  • An hour before you run eat a light meal that is high in carbohydrates with a low glycemic index such as banana or oatmeal.
  • Eat on any runs that last longer than an hour to make sure you consume roughly 100-200 calories an hour.
  • Eat something high in carbohydrates within 15 minutes of finishing your run and within two hours after running eat a meal with 25% protein and 75% carbohydrate.
  • Don’t forget to drink more water than usual!

4. Adjust your insulin regime if needed

  • It depends on each person and what their current insulin regime is, but some adjustment may be needed as you increase mileage. If you currently are on a twice daily 30-70 biphasic insulin mix you will need to change your regime to have the flexibility for different levels of energy expenditure and food intake.
  • Speak to your physician about the correct insulin regime for you and remember to adjust for high energy snacks taken after exercise. A suggested dose of 2 unites of insulin per 15 grams of carbohydrates eaten in a good starting point.
  • Test, test, test. Check your blood sugar level as often as every 20 minutes.

5. Stretch and nurture your body

  • Flexibility is a part of strength so take some time each day to stretch in order to become more flexible and avoid injuries. Make sure to stretch gently and on warmed-up muscles. A great way to stretch and increase flexibility is by enrolling in a yoga class at your local studio.
  • Hot & Cold Therapy is a great way to nurture your body and tend to your sore muscles. Hot and cold therapy systems, active wraps and moist heat pads are all crucial to the healing process post long run and will help treat pain, inflammation and swelling.

Following these tips can help you carefully complete your first marathon. Have fun!

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 for more information.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fighting Spider Veins with Compression Therapy

Vein and circulation problems are a common occurrence for millions of adults around the globe. One major sign of circulation issues appears on the skin as varicose veins, mild versions referred to as spider veins. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, half of the people over 50 are affected by varicose veins.

What are Varicose Veins?

Veins are the blood vessels that carry blood to the heart from the rest of the body for recirculation. Varicose veins are the condition of weakened veins and vein valves.

Certain veins carry blood from the legs to the heart. This blood has to be pumped upward or counter-gravity. Certain conditions such as age, heredity, obesity, pregnancy, over-standing or over-sitting can add pressure and disallow the blood to be pumped upward. To avoid this backward flow, tiny valves in your veins open and aid the upward flow. Generally with age or over-use, the valves in your veins become weak and lose elasticity lessening their functionality. The backward flow matched with weakened valves cause the blood to build up in the vein and make the vein larger. These veins appear blue because they are carrying deoxygenated blood.

Fortunately, varicose veins are generally a purely cosmetic concern. Rarely though, varicose veins come with complications. These veins become elevated or bumpy and may cause aching or throbbing. Varicose veins may form ulcers, generally around the ankles. There is also the risk of blood clots which causes swelling in a condition known as thrombophlebitis. In these rare cases, medical attention should be sought. In most cases though, varicose veins are very moderate. These ‘spider veins’ create an undesirable appearance and can generally lose visibility with self-care treatment.

Self-Care for Varicose Vein Treatment

To combat varicose or spider veins, the Mayo clinic suggests practices that aid the regular flow of blood such as exercising regularly, proper dieting, avoiding overly-tight clothing or shoes, elevating your legs, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing and compression therapy

How does Compression Therapy Help Varicose Veins?

Compression therapy works by applying a healthy level of pressure on your legs to facilitate upward blood flow. Compression stockings gently squeeze legs and push the blood out of the leg and toward the heart. Compression stockings are an affordable and effective alternative to pricey surgeries or medical procedures. Compression stockings come in a variety of lengths, pressure grades and colors. Compression stockings can be worn fairly comfortably depending on the pressure level.

Selecting Compression Therapy Stockings

Low-strength compression stockings can be bought for very mild conditions or to prevent spider veins from forming. For high-strength compression stockings, a medical professional should be consulted for proper sizing and compression strength levels.

Varicose or spider veins are generally nothing to be worried about and shouldn't be embarrassing. With proper care, though, they can be reduced in visibility through basic home practices.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of medical products including a wide selection of compression therapy stockings. To find quality compression stockings please visit MMAR Medical online.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Top Ten Summer Sport Injuries

The warm weather means more time outdoors, playing sports and enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately, it also means more trips to the emergency room. Increased physical activity outdoors inevitably results in more injuries. The following is a list of the ten most injury-prone sports that are associated with the warmer months. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), more than 5.5 million sports-related injuries require medical attention every year, with the bulk of these injuries occurring in the summer. The medical and legal expenses for our "top 10" exceed $84 billion! So this summer, get out there and stay active, but by all means, be careful.

  1. 1. Basketball – 1.6 million injuries

    When American’s are asked to name their favorite sports, basketball is #2, just behind football. And while basketball may be #2 in popularity, it’s #1 when it comes to actual participation. That translates into 1.6 million people seeking medical treatment for basketball related injuries every year. Without a doubt, basketball is the #1 source for sports related injuries in the summertime. These injuries are often tendon related, with the knees being particularly at risk. If you play basketball, be sure to strength train your leg muscles in order to better stabilize your tendons. If you have experienced a knee injury in the past, be sure to wear a supportative knee brace to prevent re-injuring yourself.

  2. 2. Bicycling – 1.4 million injuries

    Basketball may reign supreme when it comes to torn ACLs and sprained ankles, but bicycling also accounts for 1.4 million medically-treated injuries every year. Unfortunately, these injuries are often severe. A shocking number of these injuries are serious head traumas, so always wear a helmet when biking, even if you are just cruising around your neighborhood.

  3. 3. Baseball – Half million injuries

    America's favorite pastime sends a lot of ball-players to the doctor. Baseball injuries are mostly due to overuse, but players also report sprains and tendon issues. The best defense is being hyper-aware of your body. It you notice faint aches in your joints take action right away. Do not wait for the pain to grow into something significant. There are a number of highly effective orthopedic braces that will help minimize cartilage or ligament degradation.

  4. 4. Soccer – Half million injuries

    Soccer is infamous for tendon tears, especially the ACL, so – as with basketball – strength training is critical. Target the muscles specifically around the knee. Leg presses, squats and lunges are particularly effective. Also, be sure to thoroughly stretch out before hitting the pitch. Run a lap around the field at slow to medium pace to warm up the muscles... sprinting and kicking on cold muscles is a surefire way to pull a quad.

  5. 5. Softball – 400,000 injuries

    Like baseball, most softball injuries stem from repetitive movements that result in overuse injuries. Address aches immediately to prevent them from growing into something more significant.

  6. 6. In-line & roller skating – 345,000 injuries

    Skating is a great workout for the summer. It’s fun and the breeze cools you down. It’s also an amazing workout for the entire body... targeting your legs, gluts and arms and requiring balance which also activates the core. Again, it doesn’t take a genius to know that rolling at high speeds can be dangerous. A fall can easily result in a bone fracture or head injury, so always wear a helmet, knee pads and wrist supports whenever you Rollerblade or skate.

  7. 7. Horseback riding – 200,000 injuries

    Horseback riding injuries can be extremely severe, even deadly. Head and spinal injuries are serious risks, so always wear a helmet, even when riding western style.

  8. 8. Volleyball – 187,000 injuries

    Volleyball is responsible for a large number of what medical experts term "movement related injuries". Digging and jumping can lead to scrapes, cuts, bruising and strains. Always wear knee protection and stretch thoroughly before starting a match.

  9. 9. Swimming – 150,000

    Swimming is best known for overuse shoulder injuries, the result of repeating strokes thousands of times. Serious swimmers can start to develop pain in their early 20’s. The best defense is a diversified workout that includes many different types of strokes.

  10. 10. Golf – 130,00 injuries

    Golf injuries include overuse injuries, especially disc-related back pain and arthritis, as well as accidents such as being hit by a ball, club or cart. Obviously, you want to avoid being hit with anything while out on the course, but it is difficult to account for the random acts of other golfers... especially if alcohol is present. You have more control over overuse injuries. If you golf a lot, consider wearing a wrist brace and always use proper form.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. To find a quality hinged knee braces, wrist braces or lumbar braces, please visit MMAR Medical online.