Monday, January 16, 2012

Tips to Prevent Back Pain

60 to 90% of all U.S. Citizens will experience at least one back injury in their lives and 10% will see their back condition become chronic. Even slight back pain may interfere with daily activities such as turning, walking, fishing, golfing and playing with children and grandchildren. If your back pain is severe it can greatly reduce your quality of life, even hindering your ability to perform simple tasks such as getting dressed in the morning.

Check out these helpful tips to prevent back pain and injury.

1. Exercise your abdominal and back muscles
Strengthening your abdominal and back muscles will help prevent injuries. Your core muscles provide support to your back, so the stronger the muscles are, the better the support. Crunches, sit ups and light weight training will all help your strengthen your abdominal and back muscles.

2. Stretch, especially before and after working out or playing sports
Stretch as soon as you wake up in the morning to warm and limber your back. Stretching gets your back ready for the day ahead and helps prevent injuries. Stretching before and after you work out, lift heavy objects or play sports is also imperative to preventing back pain.

3. Use your knees to lift heavy objects
Always lift from your knees. Using your knees to lift heavy objects will greatly reduce the chance of injury. Also remember to keep your abdominal muscles flexed, your back straight and the object close to your body.

4. Wear a back brace while lifting heavy objects or engaging in physical activity
A quality lumbar back brace will provide compression and support for your lower back as you lift. The added support minimizes the chance of injury so you can confidently lift heavy objects without the fear of harm. Wearing a lumbar brace during physical activity is also a wise idea, especially if you have injured your back in the past. A slim belt, such as the Ossur Universal Lumbar Belt, easily fits under your workout clothes, so you can get the protection you need without the bulge of a bulky brace.

5. Practice proper posture
Proper posture is imperative. Whether you are sitting, standing, walking or running, make sure you maintain proper posture because your back has a much easier time carrying your weight when it is straight. The less strain on your back- the lower the chance of injury and pain.

6. Wear shoes that provide support
If you live an active lifestyle, it is necessary to wear proper footwear that provides support. Having the right shoes on can make a big difference when it comes to preventing back pain and injury. Invest in a pair of comfort shoes and avoid wearing high heels or flimsy sandals whenever possible.

7. Maintain a healthy weight and eat power foods
Maintaining a healthy weight will keep your body in balance. You also need to make sure you eat nutritional foods, if you are tired and fatigued from lack of nutrition you are much more likely to pull a muscle. Experts agree that eating power foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole gains and protein will improve the way your body functions. Eating small meals throughout the day is also recommended because it keeps your body energized and prevents fatigue related injury.

9. Protect your back in bed
Invest in a high quality mattress that is right for you and accommodates your sleep patterns. A bed that does not offer proper support can cause you to wake up with back stiffness and pain. How you sleep also effects your back. To protect your back, sleep on your back or side with your spine aligned straight.

10. Adjust the seat in your car frequently
Road trips can cause back pain, but the probability of pain can be reduced if you make frequent adjustments in your seat’s position. Making slight but frequent adjustments in your seat’s position is necessary because locking your spine in one position for the length of the ride can cause problems. Your back likes movement so slight shifts keep it happy and healthy.

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 systems. To find a quality medical knee braces and supports, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Knee Strengthening Tips to Avoid ACL Tears

One of the most common, and certainly debilitating, sports injuries is an ACL tear. In a previous post on ACL surgery and rehabilitation, we talked about what happens after tearing this important ligament, but what about before the tear happens? When attempting to avoid a knee injury, incorporate three types of exercises: flexibility exercises, strengthening exercises and cardio exercises. We’ve compiled a list of important tips and exercises to help you strengthen your knees against ACL tears.

  • Tip #1: Stretch and warm up: No matter the intensity level of the exercise, begin every physical activity with a brief and gentle warm up. Jog in place, do a few jumping jacks and get the blood flowing to your muscles. Having warm muscles can help reduce injuries and keep you out of an ACL brace.

  • Tip #2: Exercise regularly. Many knee injuries occur the first time getting back into the sport and exerting oneself too hard. Certainly not all injuries occur from a lack of pre-sport conditioning, but in many cases, you can prevent knee injuries by consistently practicing the sport. Note: remember to utilize your medical knee braces when exercising if you’re prone to knee problems or have previously suffered a knee injury.

  • Tip #3: Listen to your body. Pain is your body’s way of speaking to you and warning you. Get to know your body’s warning signs and the difference bet. We like the New York Times’ article, “That Little Voice Inside Your Twinge” which discusses the differences between pain and discomfort.

  • Tip #4: Begin a plyometric exercise program. Plyometric training is used to develop faster reacting muscles while strengthening tissues which can help improve performance and helps prevent injuries. The basics of any plyometric program are a series of exercises, or drills, which involve heavy muscle loading and muscle contractions like hops or jumps.

  • Tip #5: Ball squat. Place a fairly large ball between your knees and squeeze to hold it in place. Lower into a wall squat position with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Do 3 – 5 sets of 10 -20 ball squats to strengthen your knees.

  • Tip #6: Flamingo (single leg) dip. Stand between two chairs for balance. Lift one leg, keeping it either straightened or loosely bent while the other is firmly on the ground. Slowly lower down to a 90 degree angle, keeping your hands on each chair for balance. Slowly use your leg muscles to push back up to standing and switch legs.

  • Tip #7: Step Ups. Channel your inner Richard Simmons and get out at least a 6 inch high step or stepping stool. Start by stepping onto the step with your left foot. Place it solidly on the step and place the majority of your weight on that side. Next, raise your right foot off the ground and bring it to the step, without placing it fully on the step – almost like a tap to the step. Then, lower your right foot back to the ground (without having placed it on the step) and then your left foot. Switch sides.

  • Tip #8: Big Tire Jumps. Imagine there is a large truck tire on the ground that you have to jump over. Stand on your right leg and hop high and wide “over” the tire, landing on your left leg. Pause and hold your right leg in the air as you balance on your left leg. Then push off your left leg back “over” the tire to the right and land on your right leg. Repeat 15 times.

  • While keeping yourself out of an ACL brace isn’t always avoidable, there are certain measures you can take to best prevent a knee injury. Remember to include flexibility exercises, strengthening exercises and cardio exercises, especially a plyometric program, to best condition your body and combat ACL tears.

    Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or be taken as medical advice. For more information related to your unique situation, please speak with your personal physician.

    About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is North America's premiere medical orthopedic brace distributor, carrying a comprehensive selection of medical grade knee braces and complimentary rehabilitative cold therapy units.