Thursday, December 21, 2017

Compression Therapy 101

Compression therapy is a preferred medical treatment for individuals suffering from a number of different ailments, including venous leg ulcers. A venous leg ulcer is a condition that can develop as a result of chronic venous insufficiency. Venous disease is fairly common, with some research suggesting that as many as 50 percent of the adult population will be affected by venous insufficiency during their lifetime.

Other conditions for which compression therapy is commonly prescribed by doctors include phlebitis and thrombosis, sclerotherapy (and other types of treatment for varicose veins), and a variety of conditions associated with chronic venous disease, such as varicose veins, leg ulcers, edema and heavy legs. Compression therapy may also be used to alleviate problems associated with pregnancy, during long-distance travel and for athletes undergoing injury rehabilitation or desiring effective injury prevention.

What Is Compression Therapy?


Compression therapy is the application of pressure on the body's limbs – usually the legs but sometimes the arms – through the use of special socks, stockings or sleeves. This compression apparel is designed to support the veins in your arms or legs and to improve blood circulation. It's usually worn during the day and then removed at night. The compression prevents the blood in veins from pooling in the extremities, helping to improve circulation and decreasing the tendency for the limbs to swell.

With compression stockings, graduated compression is applied to the leg with the greatest pressure occurring at the ankles and then gradually decreasing as the hosiery extends up the leg. This compression acts to provide support to the legs and veins, helping to control both swelling and discomfort. The gradually decreasing pressure provided by the garment works along with the calf muscles, which also assist in the improvement of blood circulation in the legs.

Venous Insufficiency 


Chronic venous insufficiency, also known as CVI, which can lead to the development of venous leg ulcers, occurs when the walls of the veins in the legs or the valves within those veins are not working properly and are ineffective at allowing blood to return from the legs back to the heart. This condition causes blood to pool within the leg veins, which can trigger swelling and discomfort and lead to more serious problems. The first treatment prescribed for this condition is the use of compression stockings as a means for improving blood flow in the leg veins.

There are a few expected results of the utilization of compression stockings:

Increased venous blood flow
Reduced venous blood pressure
Reduced reflux (backward flow) in veins
Reduced pathologically elevated venous blood pressure
The use of compression therapy is also meant to reduce edema and inflammation, sustain recuperative processes and improve the movement of joints and tendons.

Compression Therapy Effectiveness


Compression therapy has been well studied and proven effective in the healing of wounds. It has also been shown to improve the quality of life in patients. Not only have symptoms such as pain, swelling and skin discoloration shown improvement through the use of compression, but there is also documented evidence as to its efficacy in the increase of activity levels, decrease in depression and improvement of sleep.

In addition to wound healing and treatment for those suffering CVI, compression therapy may also be the treatment of choice for those with leg injuries or those who are recuperating from leg surgeries, those with excessive weight gain or obesity, individuals experiencing prolonged periods of non-movement, or those with venous blood clots.

Expected results of compression therapy are only achievable, however, when the garments are put on and worn as directed. Medical compression socks will only work when worn, and non-compliance with the doctor's directions is the main reason for their failure. Elderly, obese or other patients experiencing difficulty in putting on their compression stockings may require the assistance of a helper for proper donning.

Compression Levels


Compression stockings and sleeves are graded according to the amount of pressure they exert. It's important that a patient using this therapy is properly diagnosed by a qualified clinician and prescribed a garment appropriate to their particular situation. Pressure designations are expressed in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), similar to the scale used in a blood pressure reading. There are four generally accepted pressure designations used in compression therapy:

  • Mild - less than 20-mmHg
  • Moderate – 20-40-mmHg
  • Strong – 40-60-mmHg
  • Very Strong - more than 60-mmHg 

Strong compression is commonly prescribed for leg ulcers. Those suffering from severe arterial disease are not candidates for any level of compression therapy.

Sports Applications


Both athletic performance and tissue rehabilitation may be enhanced by the use of compression garments as a result of improved blood flow and muscular, tendon and joint support. Maximizing athletic performance and reducing recovery time are just two benefits of utilizing sports compression garments.

If you’re considering investing in your own compression garments, you can check out our wide range of options here!



Friday, December 1, 2017

How To Avoid a Back Injury

Back injuries are common in virtually every occupation and every walk of life. From students to nurses, construction workers to lawyers, body builders to computer programmers, high school kids to the elderly, back injury doesn’t discriminate, and its effects can be debilitating. Even a somewhat minor back injury can take you out of work, out of your exercise routine or make it extremely difficult to sleep at night. MMAR Medical provides numerous back braces and support in the event of an accident. But what proactive steps can you take to prevent yourself from ever having to suffer through a back injury ordeal? Read on for our back injury prevention strategies to keep your spine healthy and your life on track.

1. Work that core…

Core muscles are crucial to providing support for the lower back and avoiding injury. Try adding a few core exercises to your daily routine. Planks are a great option as they work your abdominals and your obliques, giving you solid support on the front and sides of your body. To do a plank correctly, place your palms or forearms on the ground at shoulder-width distance. Keep your shoulders above your wrists and step back to bring your body into a straight line, from the tip of your head all the way to your heels. Hold for 60 seconds. Never let your hips collapse out of the straight line. This will only strain your lower back and open you up to injury. When you’re done, bring your knees to the ground carefully.


2. …And that heart, too.

Low-impact aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the spine, which promotes healing and hydration to all of your vertebrae. Briskly walking your dog, light jogging, using an elliptical, riding a bike or swimming all count as low impact aerobic exercise. Doing any of these activities 3-4 times per week will benefit and protect your spine as well as your overall health. 

3. Stand up straight.


Bad posture can have lots of negative effects on your body. In the short term, poor posture causes pain and discomfort from unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae. In the long term, sustained use of poor posture can cause muscle and tissue damage. Practicing good posture while walking and sitting up straight at your desk can help prevent these injuries – and it also works your core. To find your natural posture, stand with your back up against a wall and your heels about 2-4 inches away from the wall. Notice how your body creates a straight line, from the crown of your head down through your pelvis. To maintain this stance without a wall, focus on keeping your abdominals pulled in and your shoulders relaxed back. It might feel strange at first, but with practice, good posture will become second nature in no time. 

4. Stretch your hamstrings.

A little known cause of back pain, especially in the lower back, is extremely tight hamstrings. If you’re experiencing back pain and can’t remember the last time you stretched, try some gentle hamstring stretches, like reaching for your toes or propping your leg up on a chair. If you already have a diagnosed back injury, use special caution here – not all stretches are good for all back conditions. Always check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting a new regimen. 

5. Drive carefully.

Unfortunately, a very common cause of back injury is automobile accidents. Driving carefully is smart, courteous and can help you avoid months of pain and discomfort from a back injury. Make sure to always leave yourself enough travel time to avoid reckless driving, and if you’re guilty of serious road rage, try listening to some soothing music while you’re on the road. You’ll save your back and reduce overall stress!

6. Lift with your legs.

Heavy lifting is a classic cause of back injury. But when you’re moving, you’ve got not-so-small children or your job requires it (looking at you, maintenance and construction workers), lifting heavy items is unavoidable. If you’re caught in one of these situations, squat down, grab the item, engage your core, and stand up. By concentrating the pressure in your legs and not your lower back (“lifting with your legs”), you’ll avoid back injury, and carve out some killer buns & thighs too. 

Back injury isn’t completely unavoidable. But following these tips and doing these lower back exercises will help you take preventative action by keeping your back strong and healthy. For more information on back pain, back injuries, back care and answers to questions like “How do I shower with a back brace?” take a look at the back injury page of our website.

We hope you never endure a back injury; but if you do, MMAR Medical is here to help you along the road to recovery.