Thursday, July 24, 2014

Diabetics: Eat This Not That

There's no question that diabetes is on the rise in America, but since most of the risk factors are diet related, it's often preventable by simply making prudent diet and lifestyle choices. Even if you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, it's possible, in some cases, to reverse the disease or, at the very least, control it through diet. And, by the way, this doesn't mean depriving yourself totally of foods you love or resigning yourself to a lifetime of nothing but bland and boring "health foods."

A healthy diet designed to prevent or control diabetes is really no different than any other healthy diet. The most significant risk factor for contracting diabetes is being overweight, especially if the weight is being carried around the abdomen as a "spare tire." Several studies have suggested that waist size is a better indicator of potential risk for diabetes than the body mass index.

Eating right is the #1 defense against diabetes. While exercise is important, diet is the most important factor regarding weight loss. It's untrue that you have to cut out every bit of sugar and it's also a myth that a high-protein diet is best since too much protein, especially animal protein, has been shown to promote insulin resistance. You also don't have to cut out all carbohydrates. A healthy diet is a balanced diet consisting of fats, carbs and protein. The secret is to eat the correct types of these foods. Carbohydrates, for instance, should consist of whole grains because they contain essential fiber that slows the digestion of, and therefore the release of carbs (sugars) into the bloodstream, helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on diabetes risk - much more so than proteins or fats. You should limit consumption of refined carbs such as white rice and bread, pasta, snack foods, sodas and candy. Slow-release, high-fiber, complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and help blood sugar levels stay more even and allow the body to produce less insulin. They also make you feel fuller for longer and provide more long-lasting energy.

Here are some suggestions you may want to incorporate into your diet:

  • Instead of white bread, try whole-grain bread such as a whole-wheat
  • Replace white rice with brown or wild rice
  • Eat high-fiber breakfast cereal such as Raisin Bran instead of the high-sugar alternatives
  • Replace instant oatmeal with rolled or steel-cut oats
  • Use whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta
  • Replace cornflakes with bran flakes
  • Opt for green leafy vegetables instead of peas and corn
  • Replace your white potatoes, French fries and mashed spuds with yams (or sweet potatoes), squash or a mash made from cauliflower

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What to Expect After Herniated Disc Surgery

herniated disc surgery
Not much can be more debilitating and painful than a back injury, and you never quite realize just how many muscles from your back are involved in simple movements. When it comes to a herniated disc in your spine, most of the time your best option will be surgery. So you go under the knife and the surgery is a success. Problem solved, right? In many ways, yes, but your body now needs to adjust to having less of that disc between your vertebrae. Let’s talk about what you can expect post-herniated disc surgery and how to best take care of your back in the long run.

Things to Do After Herniated Disc Surgery

Your body won’t magically get back to 100% after surgery. It’ll take time and hard work to guide it along the way and prevent future injuries from occuring. You’ll eventually want to start taking physical therapy to aid in the recovery of your back. This is important for two reasons:
  1. You need to  build strength in all of the muscles that support the spine. These muscles need to be even stronger than they were to shoulder the load of having less cartilage in your back.
  2. Your body needs to repair weak or deadened nerves in that area of your spine. A slipped disc pushes all sorts of delicate nerves out of place, and your body will need time to restore them to their former glory.
So what muscles are important to strengthen? Your physical therapist will know this, but for your own reference, the perispinals, abdominals, obliques, psoas, glutes, and piriformis all play a part in back strength. You’re looking to strengthen your whole core, basically. So how do you achieve strength without stressing your back? Consider the following exercises:
Planks – propping yourself off the ground and bracing yourself on your toes and forearms while keeping your back straight
Bridges – laying on your back with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle and gently lifting your torso off the ground and slowly lowering it back down
Supermans – laying face down on the floor and lifting your arms and legs off the ground, keeping them from touching the floor


Things to Avoid After Herniated Disc Surgery

It’s incredibly easy to damage your body shortly after surgery. The muscles, skin, cartilage and nerves are all in a very delicate state, so it’s good to practice some everyday routines to let your body heal itself.
  • It’s incredibly important to immobilize that part of your back after surgery. You can achieve this through the use of a back brace. These braces aren’t so much used for support as they are to remind you not to move that particular section of your back.
  • Don’t exercise! It may be tempting to whip yourself back into shape, but exercise will put strain on the surgical spot and your back as a whole. 
  • Don't sit in one place for too long. Standing is great for keeping your spine straight. Take walks, work at a standing desk, do whatever is necessary to prevent your spine from compressing.
The road to recovery won’t be the same for every patient. Age and overall athleticism can play a part in your recovery. That being said, it’s not unreasonable to assume that if you’re an older patient with a less active lifestyle, your recovery period will be slower than that of a younger person. Overall, the approach is the same; build your core strength, repair your weakened nerves, immobilize the surgical area, and give it time!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inspiring Jackie Robinson Quotes

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in modern baseball, paving the way for a more ethnically diverse and representative group of players in Major League Baseball. In the face of insurmountable odds and discrimination, Robinson was poised to represent himself in a respectable manner with a winning, competitive spirit. Here at MMAR, we wanted to review some of his famous quotes and imagine how they might’ve inspired athletes who came after him. Enjoy.

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I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.
Starting this article with Tiger Woods might be divisive, and plenty of people have their opinions about the man off the golf course. One thing you can’t deny is Woods’ competitive spirit. After an arthroscopic knee procedure didn’t do the trick two months before the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods fought through intense knee pain to win the tournament in a playoff round against Rocco Mediate that has been heralded as one of the best 1x1 competitions many have seen in recent golf memory. It was Woods’ 14th Major golf championship.

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Above anything else, I hate to lose.
Back in the fall of 2004, the Boston Red Sox were trying to do the impossible: beat the New York Yankees in four straight games after falling behind in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series 0-3. They turned to a determined yet hobbled Curt Schilling to take the mound in Game 6 with a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle. Schilling hated to lose and didn’t want to be the one to end the Red Sox season. The result? Seven innings of pitching brilliance while fighting through pain and soaking his sock in blood. The Red Sox went on to win the ALCS and the World Series.

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There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.
Okay, okay, we’re stretching a bit with this one back before Robinson became a famous athlete, but Olympian Jesse Owens’ performance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics speaks to racial acceptance and freedom across the board. Despite the obviously tense situation in Germany with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in power, Owens became a household name by winning four gold medals. It may have been several years later before the Nazi regime’s control ended, but a simple showing of sport and athletics by Owens spoke volumes for how the rest of the world felt about the unrest going on in Europe.

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
One of the most underrated baseball players in terms of skill and his impact on the world was Roberto Clemente. Widely considered to be the Latin American player that opened the door to Major League Baseball for future Hispanic generations, Clemente saw the importance of using his fame and fortune for good. He regularly involved himself in charity work throughout his native Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, providing children with baseball equipment to encourage the spread and popularity of the game as well as delivering food to needy families. Clemente truly understood the importance of impacting others with his life. MLB recognized it, too, making him the first Latin American inducted into their Hall of Fame and creating an award in his honor given to players that put charity first.

Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing and nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo certainly didn’t want to quit against the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals when his team was losing. After dislocating his elbow in the middle of the game, Rondo got his elbow set, treated as much as it could in the training room, and then  came back out to finish the game playing one-handed. Nobody wants to quit when he or she is losing. Boston would win the game but unfortunately lose the series.

Adversity and challenges in sports are part of what make them more than just games. They become tools for learning, improving, inspiring, and growing as a person. Visit MMAR Medical to see more ways you can improve and grow as an athlete, and sound off in the comments section below to tell us about times you overcame adversity or injury in sports to be a stronger, better person.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Prevent Common Summer Injuries

At MMAR Medical, our goal is helping you stay healthy and happy.   Keep in mind some of the most common summer injuries (below in the infographic) and learn ways to prevent or minimize your risk.  

Have you or your family had an injury this summer? What happened, and what advice do you have to others?