Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top Yoga Moves for Joint Pain

The yoga craze doesn’t seem to be losing steam because of its vast and long-term health effects: among other benefits, it creates lean muscle mass, facilitates healthy digestion and helps with balance and flexibility. According to a 20-year-long study performed by the Duke University Medical Center, practicing yoga can improve joint pain for persons suffering from osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you suffer from the most common joint disorder, osteoarthritis, then yoga can alleviate the pain and stiffness in your joints. For people with muscle and joint tenderness as a result of fibromyalgia, or even people with the constant pressure around their forearm to their palm from carpal tunnel syndrome and want to avoid carpal tunnel braces, try out this quick yoga guide for joint problems.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

  • Child’s pose is a basic relaxation pose that works well during a yoga practice if you start feeling tired, dizzy or need a break.

  • How to: Get down on the ground with your hands, knees and shins on the floor. Slowly glide your buttocks back to your heels as you sit gently onto your heels. You may feel an easy stretch in your knees and quadriceps. Stretch your head toward the ground, aiming to connect your forehead to the ground. Your arms may naturally lay backwards alongside your legs or you may outstretch them forward past your head. Hold this pose for a few seconds.

  • Joint friendly: Use a rolled-up blanket or a yoga block under your buttocks, so it separates your tailbone and your legs.

Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)

  • Crocodile pose is another relaxation pose geared to trigger rest in your body after rigorous activity.

  • How to: Lie stomach and face down on the floor with your hands rested at your sides. Stretch your legs and feet toward the back of the room as you cross your right arm to your left shoulder and your left arm to your left shoulder. Align your elbows into a stacked triangle position and rest your forehead in the triangle as you breath.

  • Joint friendly: Turn your feet out at right angles to your legs and concentrate on breathing. This pose helps release vulnerable and tense tendencies in the joints.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

  • Triangle Pose is performed on both sides of the body and has many variations to work multiple parts of your body.

  • How to: Stand with your feet about a leg’s length apart and your legs with a slight ben. Turn your right foot to the right 90 degrees and slightly angle your left foot to the right about 45 degrees. Lift your arms and spread them out parallel to the floor while standing stretching your upper body straight to the ceiling. With your palms facing down, extend sideways to the right as far as you can. Then, drop your right arm toward your shin (or a yoga block place inside your right ankle). Extend your left arm vertically while your back gently twists. Be careful not to hyperextend your legs or over twist in this pose. Hold for 5 breaths and return to the starting position. Alternate sides.

  • Joint Friendly: Make sure you don’t lock your knees and overextend the straight legs.

Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

  • Tree pose is a variation of the basic standing mountain pose and focuses on balance and alignment of the lower body while toning lower extremity muscle. It is performed on both sides of the body.

  • How to: Begin in mountain pose (standing with your feet together and your hands relaxed at your sides). Shift weight to your left leg as you bring your bent right knee to your inner left thigh. Your right toes should aim toward the floor with your right knee pointed to the right, opening up your hips. Extend your hands, in prayer position, up toward the sky. Hold for 20 seconds. Work to holding for 60 seconds. Alternate sides.

  • Joint Friendly: Keep your left foot, hips and head aligned vertically and avoid twisting your body. Keep your left knee facing forward, without twisting.

Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)

  • Head-to-Knee pose helps stretch and strengthen the hamstrings while loosening up your hips, legs, knees and back.

  • How to: Sit on the floor with your upper half upright and your legs spread out comfortably wide and straight. Place the bottom of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Slightly bend your left knee and realign your torso so that you are square. Bend forward over your extended left leg and relax your head onto the extended leg. Breath for as long is comfortable in this position and then switch sides.

  • Joint friendly: Place a towel below your buttocks to help with tight hips. You can also use a towel to lasso around your extended foot if you cannot reach your foot comfortably when beginning.

Yoga is praised worldwide for its health and healing benefits and is practiced by more than 15.8 million Americans alone. It is often used as a non-aggressive way to exercise and strengthen muscles for those suffering injuries or joint pain; however, take caution to ensure you listen to your body’s strain and warning signs and do not push into a pose too far. Pay special attention if you use carpal tunnel braces or other support braces before beginning an exercise program. Beyond beginning to incorporate yoga postures into your joint strengthening program, hot and cold therapy is recommended as a complement for minor discomfort.

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

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of medical products including a wide selection of medical grade braces and cold therapy products. To find a quality medical knee braces and supports, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

15 Most Common Football Injuries

Between youth football, high school football, college football, and professional football, millions of Americans take the field every year to sport their teams’ colors. Football is America’s game, but is also a physically demanding, high-impact, collision sport that can take a toll on the body. No matter what level you’re playing at, it’s important to make sure you take care of your body and address any injuries that arise as soon as they happen to prevent problems later on in life.

Here’s a list of the top 15 most common sports injuries in football:


1. Broken Bone

Any bone can be broken when playing football- from small bones like fingers and toes to large bones like legs and even spines. Broken bones should be splinted immediately by a trainer if possible and x-rays should be done to determine the location and type of break so that they can be properly set.


2. Pinched Brachial Plexus

Commonly referred to as a "Stinger" or "Burner." A stinger is an incredibly painful nerve injury that results when the nerves in the neck are stretched, causing nerves in the shoulder to pinch or bruise. The result is a sharp pain (like that of an electric shock or lightning strike) and arm numbness and weakness. Effects are usually temporary and subside quickly. If effects linger consult a doctor.

3. Concussion

Concussions are graded 1-3 based on severity and can vary greatly in terms of recovery time. If a player is suspected to have a concussion they need to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately. Certain tests may be run to determine if a player has a concussion and a doctor may order that a player wait days, weeks, or even months before returning to the field.


4. Shoulder Dislocation

An upward and backward wrenching of the shoulder can cause a shoulder dislocation. Once a shoulder is dislocated from the socket it should be popped back in right away to avoid unnecessary pain and additional injury to the area. Depending on the situation x-rays may be needed to determine if any damage has been done to the area.

5. AC Separation

Commonly referred to as a "Separated Shoulder". Many people believe a dislocated shoulder and separated shoulder are the same thing, but they are actually different injuries. A separated shoulder is often the result of a fall, and involves a tear of the ligaments between the clavicle (collar bone) and acromion bone (the highest point of the shoulder blade). The result is that the clavicle will actually stick up. Depending on the severity of the injury cold packs and a shoulder immobilization brace may lessen the pain and allow the shoulder to heal. In other cases surgery may be needed.

6. Back Sprain

Back sprains can come in all shapes and sizes but with ice and the right lumbar back brace back sprains can usually be corrected. It’s always a good idea though to consult a physician, sports therapist, or chiropractor to make sure that they injury isn’t severe, requiring more extensive treatment.

7. Herniated Disc

Commonly referred to as a "Slipped Disc" or "Ruptured Disc." Small spongy discs cushion the vertebrate in your back and act as shock absorbers while you engage in activities like running and tackling. When a disc is overly strained it can bulge or rupture, causing the disc to become herniated. To avoid serious back injuries later in life it’s important to consult a doctor to determine the best course of action.


8. Quadriceps Contusion

Contusions to quadriceps can result from impact to the front of the thigh from something like a helmet. Compression and ice are important in the recovery process with quadriceps contusions, and often early motion can also aid in preventing stiffness from developing.

9. Hamstring Sprain

Commonly referred to as a "Hamstring Pull". Hamstring pulls are actually a tear in the hamstring muscle fibers and can result from sudden acceleration or a blow to the body. Hamstring pulls can vary greatly in severity but often plague sufferers with repeat problems throughout an athletic career. Ice, compression therapy and rest are important to properly heal a hamstring pull.

10. Iliac Crest Contusion

Commonly referred to as a "Hip Pointer." An iliac crest contusion is a bruise or a fracture to the iliac crest region of the hip that is treated with ice and padding.

11. Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are the most common sport injury and result when damage is done to the soft tissue and ligaments surrounding the ankle because of excessive twisting. The "RICE" method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) are used to reduce swelling after an ankle sprain. Ankle braces and wraps can help speed up recovery as well.

12. Syndesmotic Sprain

Commonly referred to as a "High Ankle Sprain." A high ankle sprain is caused when the leg and foot twist outward and can be much more serious than a regular ankle sprain. In addition to using rest, ice, compression, and elevation to treat a high ankle sprain, a hinged ankle brace or cast may be necessary in more severe cases.

13. Turf Toe

Turf toe is an injury to the base of the big toe from running or jumping on hard surfaces. This makes basketball players and football players on artificial turf more likely to sustain this kind of injury.

14. ACL/MCL/PCL Tear

ACL, MCL and PCL injuries most frequently result when landing from a jump or changing directions suddenly. When the ACL, MCL or PCL tears often a “pop” will be heard and the knee will give out. These type of injuries are incredibly painful and require highly specialized hinged knee braces, extensive physical therapy, and surgery to recover. Amongst athletes these are some of the most feared injuries due to the long recovery times associated with them.

15. Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is two pieces of cartilage that cushion and support the knee joint. Meniscus tears often accompany ACL and MCL injuries and are very easy to reinjure if not given the proper time to heal fully. Ice, compression, elevation, and physical therapy are essential in healing properly after a meniscus tear. Surgery may even be required depending on the individual circumstance.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of medical products including a wide selection of medical grade braces and cold therapy products. To find a quality medical knee braces and supports, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exercise Guide to Strengthening your Back

Around 80 percent of Americans will incur some back injury in their lifetime; however, there are many simple exercises you can do to strengthen your back and improve muscle flexibility, thus making injury less likely. Additionally, these back strengthening exercises help improve posture and reduce your chance of ever needing back braces for spinal support.

To start, it is important to recognize a few tactics regarding back health: keep stomach muscles strong, maintain a lean body mass, increase your upper extremities flexibility and, of course, take care when completing strenuous back motions or lifting heavy weight. In addition to these back health fundamentals, the following are a few activities designed to keep you strong while fighting off a need for back braces in the future:

  • Pelvic Extension: Lie on a flat surface with your back to the ground. Bend your knees and place your feet about hip-width apart. Use your back, stomach and buttocks to raise your hips so that they are off the ground and create a straight line from your knees to your shoulder. Hold this position for a few seconds. Build up to 12-15 repetitions.

  • Plank: Lie on a flat surface face-down with your palms flat on the floor. Bend your arms at your elbows and bend your toes to use for support as you raise your body to plank position. Keep your back straight and pull your stomach in as you lift off the ground using your flat forearms and toes. You want to ensure your pelvis is pulled up and your abdomen is tight to prevent sagging toward the ground or your buttocks from sticking too high. You want to have a straight line from your back to your ankles. Hold for a few seconds to 30 seconds, depending on your ability. Build up to 20 seconds. Repeat for 3 -5 reps. The plank is an extremely versatile and all-encompassing exercise because it works so many muscles at the same time.

  • Butt lifter: Get on all fours – your hands flat and shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Pull your stomach and pelvis in and keep this tight throughout the exercise. Without altering your straight back and tight abdomen, bring your right bended knee in to your chest and then extend it out straight so it is parallel with the floor. Repeat 5 – 15 times. Switch legs. Please Note: you can do a variation of this exercise by lifting your bent leg to the left and right sides.

  • Lifting lunge: Stand up straight and pull in your abs gently. Place your hands on your hip and step forward with your right leg. Sink down as you plant your right leg firmly and flatly on the ground, ensuring that your knee does not extend out further than your ankle. Your right knee should be at a 90-degree ankle when you are sunken down in the exercise. Immediately push back up, using your abdominal muscles to help pull your leg off the ground. When you have pushed off the ground and are back to a normal standing position, immediately use your abdominals to bring the knee toward your chest. Hug it and place it back on the ground. Switch legs and repeat. Build up to repetitions of 10 – 12.

  • Steamroller: Stand upright and contract your abs slightly so that there is no arch or sag in your back. Put both palms of your hands to the back of your head (almost as if you were lying down in bed) and lace your fingers together. Keeping your hands laced together, use your abs to raise your right knee to try and meet your left elbow while still standing completely upright. Switch and repeat. Work to getting your knees higher and closer to your elbows. Once you have mastered the exercise, you can do sets of 30 – 50 very quickly. Work to sets of 30 – 50 per side. The steamroller is geared primarily toward strengthening the abdomen and range of motion in the hips.

Practice these exercises at home and with caution even if you are not currently suffering from back pain. Strengthening your back muscles, abdominals and flexibility will help keep you out of spine and torso back braces. If you have experienced a significant injury or are currently using a spinal or back brace, consult your physician before performing any exercise program.

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 one of North America's premiere medical orthopedic brace distributors, carrying a large selection of carpal tunnel braces and complimentary rehabilitative cold therapy units. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR also carries a back brace and unloader knee brace selection.