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Dr. Alexander Helps National Ski Instructor after 35 Years of Pain

Larry is a 73 year old national ski instructor who had debilitating pain in his knees for 35 years until he met Dr. Daniel Alexander. He was unable to walk without pain, much less ski, but after Dr. Alexander performed two knee replacement surgeries Larry says: “My peers said that’s the best they’ve ever seen me ski…I ski all day, walk fine. I’ll be here as long as I possibly can ski, which will hopefully be until my 80s.” Watch the video here!

Thank you to Dr. Alexander and all the talented doctors from Rochester Regional Health who continue to improve the lives of those in our community!

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Could new bone-forming growth factor reverse osteoporosis?

Scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, have uncovered a new bone-forming growth factor that may reverse the bone loss associated with osteoporosis. They say that this discovery has implications for regenerative medicine.

[bone fracture of the spine]
Osteolectin has been shown to promote bone growth in postmenopausal mice.

Osteoporosis develops over several years and is a condition that weakens bones. This weakness makes bones more fragile and susceptible to breakages. More than 50 million people in the United States aged 50 and older are affected by osteoporosis or low bone mass.

Treatments for osteoporosis currently involve treating and preventing bone fractures, as well as using medication to strengthen bones. Bisphosphonates are drugs that slow down or prevent bone damage. Estrogen therapy is also used in some groups of people to help maintain bone density.

While the majority of existing treatments for osteoporosis reduce the rate of bone loss, they do not promote new bone growth. There is one agent, called Teriparatide (PTH), that is approved for the formation of new bone. However, the use of PTH is limited to only 2 years due to a risk of developing osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

The researchers at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute (CRI) at UT Southwestern called the newly discovered bone-forming growth factor Osteolectin, or Clec11a, and they published their findings in eLife.

Dr. Sean Morrison – CRI director, Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics, and the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research – led the study.

Particular bone marrow and bone cells have been found to produce Osteolectin. The team at CRI say they are the first to demonstrate that Osteolectin promotes new bone formation from skeletal stem cells in the bone marrow.

Osteolectin significantly increased bone volume, reversed bone loss

Morrison and colleagues discovered that when Osteolectin was deleted in mice, they experienced acceleration in bone loss during adulthood. The mice also exhibited symptoms of osteoporosis, such as diminished bone strength and the delayed healing of fractures.

The researchers aimed to find out whether it was possible for Osteolectin to reverse bone loss after osteoporosis had developed. Morrison and team used two groups of mice that had their ovaries removed to mimic the type of osteoporosis that develops in postmenopausal women. They provided the mice with a daily injection of either PTH or Osteolectin.

When compared with PTH – an agent already proven to promote bone formation – Osteolectin showed similar results. Compared with untreated mice, the bone volume in both PTH-treated and Osteolectin-treated mice had significantly increased.

Both treatments were shown to successfully reverse the bone loss that occurred as a result of ovary removal.

“These results demonstrate the important role Osteolectin plays in new bone formation and maintaining adult bone mass. This study opens up the possibility of using this growth factor to treat diseases like osteoporosis,” says Morrison.

“These early results are encouraging, suggesting Osteolectin might one day be a useful therapeutic option for osteoporosis and in regenerative medicine.”

Dr. Sean Morrison

Morrison is also the principle investigator for the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology. Alongside the Hamon Laboratory scientists, Morrison plans to conduct further experiments to test Osteolectin’s therapeutic potential.

The team’s objective is to identify the receptor for Osteolectin, which they say will help them to understand the signaling mechanism that the growth factor uses to promote the formation of bone.

 

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3 Easy Yoga Moves For The New Year

This year you’re going to manage your back and joint pain in a proactive manner!

How?

Yoga.

Yoga has outlasted Jazzercise, Bowflex, and Tae Bo because it’s actually that good. When B.K.S. Iyengar brought yoga to the States with his book Light on Yoga, his message was clear: yoga was for everyone. That includes people with joint pain, back problems, insomnia, respiratory problems, and more. In fact, here are a few very basic yoga poses you can take into the new year and beyond:

 

Tadasana (or Mountain Pose)

 Image Credit: Amanda Rose Wellness

 

This pose is so straight forward and common you wouldn’t even know you were doing yoga.

Mountain Pose, or Tadasana (ta-da-sah-nah) in sanskrit, is the starting position of all standing yoga poses. A good pose to start your morning, stand with bare feet together. A wall makes an excellent prop, as it will help align the rest of the pose more easily. If a wall is in use, make certain the heels are backed against the wall.

Stretch the arms along the sides of the body, fingers pointed to the floor. Stretch the neck upward, like a string is attached to the top of the head and it’s lifting you up. Using this visual helps keep the neck muscles soft and unengaged.

Keep your head erect and look straight forward, face relaxed. An easy way to tell if the face is relaxed is to scrunch it up tightly and then let it go. Distribute the weight evenly over the feet, turn in the front of the thighs, pull in the lower abdomen and lift the chest. Again, imagine a string is attached to the heart and it’s pulling upwards.

Once Mountain Pose is attained, breath evenly and with awareness. This is a great time to feel the chest expand and even pop some of those vertebrae in the back on a deep inhale. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to a full minute.

The benefits will be obvious: this pose, when given strict attention, helps correct incorrect posture, strengthens the knee joints, reduces sciatic pain, and overall helps lift and tone the pelvis and abdomen.

To get even more out of the pose, on an inhale, you may stretch the arms upwards with fingers pointing towards the sky, palms facing forward. This is Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana (Mountain Pose with Arms Stretched Up).

Another alteration is Tadasana Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Mountain Pose with Fingers Interlocked). From Tadasana, bring the hands together in front of the chest and interlock the fingers, then lift the arms towards the sky, palms facing the sky.

That one was easy and most likely something you’ve already been doing. Let’s do something a little more yogic.

 

Adhomukha Svanasana (or Downward Facing Dog)

 Image Credit: Pinterest

 

This pose rocks. It is such a basic pose, but the benefits are outstanding: it’s a beautiful back stretch, excellent post run stretch, and relieves stiffness all over. As mentioned, it’s a basic pose, but even advanced yogis continue to work and refine Adhomukha Svanasana (ah-doh-moo-kuh ss-va-nah-sah-nah) because it is a pose that can always get better. Let’s break it down.

 

For the beginner, it’s good to start on hands and knees on a yoga mat or harder floor–something that will allow your hands and bare feet to stick to it. Beginning from a table pose with knees directly under the hips and hands directly under the shoulders (it’s OK to look to make certain your stance isn’t too wide, which is very common the first several months of practicing, so best to prevent that), curl the toes under so they have a grip on the floor. Walk the hands out about 4 inches, spread the fingers wide, and on an exhale, push up.

 

Once in the pose, the hands will be pressed firmly into the floor and most likely you will be up on toes and buttocks up in the air. Begin to stretch out the calves by pressing one heel towards the floor, then the other. Be particularly gentle if this is the first stretch of the day, and a little more ambitious if this is the last stretch after a workout or run. The goal is to loosen up the hamstrings and warm them up. This can take a bit of “pedaling,” as it’s called. Once loosened, focus on pushing both heels towards the floor. The natural response will be to lift up on the toes, but then if we just did what felt natural, that wouldn’t be a very good stretch, would it? Remember to breathe.

 

This might be enough for some beginners. If so, skip to the last step. Ultimately, the pose always has the next work-to. With the weight distributed evenly in the hands and the heels pushing towards the ground, the next thing could be to push the chest towards the thighs. This helps loosen the back even more and straightens out the spine. While pushing the chest towards the thighs, this will help move the ears back behind the elbows, which this move also helps straighten and elongate the spine. Also, this will cause the rear to lift, which again will help elongate the spine. Remember to breathe. Once the pose is set, you will resemble a dog in a stretch.

 

Aim to mimic a dog in a stretch. This is an excellent way to remember good posture. For instance, remember to not keep your feet too close together or too far apart; a dog does not have its feet directly together for the stretch, but rather the feet are about hips width apart. This is good for us humans as well. There’s also a beautiful slope to the back which stretches it out. We want that too. The only difference I’ve noticed is while dogs tend to keep their heads up while in this stretch, humans want to keep their heads down with ears behind the elbows. If this is a bit difficult, a yoga block or other support for the head to rest on is a wonderful prop to help prevent headaches.

 

To come out of the pose, simply come back to the knees and bring the hands back under the shoulders, and sit up. And breathe.

Uttansana (or, Intense Forward Stretch)

 Image Credit: Yoga Journal

 

Back to a standing pose, Intense Forward Stretch, or Uttanasana (oo-tan-ah-sah-nah), will do wonders for everyone. The only exception is if you have spinal disk disorders, then stop when prompted, and make certain your spine is concave throughout this pose. Otherwise, this pose is for all practitioners!

 

Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and move into Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana (Mountain Pose with Arms Stretched Up). Take one or two focused breaths here. Feel free to shift the feet to hips width apart, just a couple inches should do it.

 

Exhale and bend forward at the hip with a straight back. Keep the legs stretched and maintain the body weight distributed evenly throughout the feet. Bending at the hips always, work to place the palms of your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. Remember to keep the knees engaged and back straight. If you have a spinal disk disorder, you have done beautifully! Skip to the last step!

 

For everyone else, once the hands have been placed on the ground, the next work-to is move the hands back and place them next to the heels. Exhale and push the torso closer to the thighs until the face rests on the knees. The chin should not touch the chest, that is too much bend on the spine. Hold this pose for 30 seconds while practicing controlled breathing.

 

On an inhale, carefully lift again at the hips and bring yourself up, hands reaching towards the sky, and on an exhale, bring the arms back down.

 

It’s incredible to know this is yoga, right? These poses are excellent for relieving back pain and a myriad of other symptoms. Of course, it’s important to know you’re practicing yoga safely and the way it’s supposed to be performed so as to deliver the best results. Consider signing up for a yoga class at your gym or even dropping into a yoga studio where a professional yoga teacher can make any necessary adjustments for the best results. And of course, as with pursuing any different course of physical activity, particularly when you’ve had bone or joint problems, consult your doctor at the Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center to make certain your yoga practice is working as it should for your overall bone and joint health.

 

 

Resource:s:

B.K.S Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health. DK Publishing. 2014.

“Standing Forward Bend.” Yoga Journal. Date Accessed 29 Dec 2016. http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/standing-forward-bend/

Iyengar, B. K. S. Light on Yoga. London, Unwin, 1982.

 

 

 

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Buying The Right Shoes For Joint Health

Sometimes people like to be thrifty, and who can blame them? It feels good to save money on groceries here, find a really good back to school sale there, however, there is one place where we really don’t want to skimp. A good rule of thumb is: if you have to spend extra money, it should go to anything that comes between you and the ground. This means dropping some decent dough on mattresses, tires, and especially shoes.

When it comes to choosing your next pair of shoes, there are quite a few things to consider.

Think how much of a beating our feet take on a daily basis! In addition to the weight our feet are bearing to begin with, consider the force we put on them whenever we’re walking. An average person takes about 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day, and even a sedentary person can still take about 1,000-3,000 steps per day. All of that pressure created by taking steps bears down on our foot bones, which sends shocks back up our bodies that can be felt in our knees, hips, and back. The best way to prevent this foot, knee, hip and back pain is to spend a little extra money on something good to put between you and the ground. That’s why we stress investing in good shoes.

Each person has a different foot pattern and arch. Some people are flat footed, others have high arches, and some have medium arches. Some people place their weight on one side of the foot or the other, or perhaps they land on the ball of their foot rather than the heel. Maybe they land completely flat! Everyone has their own unique way of walking, and shoe companies are happy to celebrate that difference! That’s why all major sports brands make and carry different types of sport-specific shoes for different types of people.

Understand why you’re buying your shoes. Is this for a specific sport? Do you need casual wear?

The easiest way to find out which shoe is right for you is to visit a specialty shoe store. Shoe stores that deal specifically in athletic shoes are a good start, such as Feet Fleet or a local athletic store (aofas.org). Typically, the staff will be trained to identify different strides, read wear patterns on your current shoes (so bring a well-used pair on your visit), and understand what kind of support you need depending on your step. If you’re looking for a certain sport shoe, then absolutely purchase a shoe that is specifically designed for that sport and stick to it. For example, if you were to tell an employee that you’re experiencing hip pain while running, they would be able to find a few running shoe types for you to test. The shoe will be specifically supported so that when your foot hits the ground, the shoe will better absorb the shock from hitting your hips, relieving that pain. Also, give the employees a chance to measure your foot. While adult feet do tend to stop growing, they do continue to spread. Some people can experience up to a two size increase because of the way their feet have matured!

Again, let a staff member at a shoe store know about any pain you’re experiencing so they can bring you appropriate footwear to adjust for that peculiarity you’re experiencing. Are you purchasing shoes for work or dress? Seek out a specialty shoe store that also trains their staff to identify foot support needs in their customers. They’ll often have quality brands that are specifically manufactured for orthopedic support while also looking stylish. Yes, we can now have both–the future is amazing! Consider these brands when looking for dress and casual shoes:

And there are plenty more once you begin looking!

When purchasing high heels, it’s especially important to buy quality shoes. Because high heels are created the way they are, the stress created between the foot and the leg bones can more readily lead to stress fractures. High heels also lead to higher rates of toenail deformities, sprains and strains, bunions and hammertoes, and causes heel pain in general. Preferably, avoid high heels where possible.

As always, if you’re experiencing pain in the foot, knee, hips, or back, schedule an appointment with the Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center so we can understand what course of action is right for you. Proper foot care is an important step, but it’s always best to check with a doctor before starting out on your own workout regimen or abrupt change in footwear.

References:

“Footwear.” FootcareMD. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/how-to/footwear/Pages/default.aspx

Podiatrist Shoe Recommendations. Suffern Podiatry. https://suffernpodiatry.com/shoe-brand-recomendations/

“10,000 Steps a Day.” The Walking Site. http://www.thewalkingsite.com/10000steps.html

Elliot, Candice. “Quality vs. Cost.” Listen Money Matters. https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/quality-vs-cost/

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Benefits of Calcium Supplements

For decades, we have been bombarded with information that calcium is good for your bones, that we all need milk for its calcium and vitamin D, and once we get older we need to take calcium supplements—eat all the calcium! But why?

All cells in the human body need calcium, not just bones and teeth. A healthy heart, strong muscles, and quick reflexes all require calcium (Martin “Calcium Blood Test”).

As patients become more involved and conscious of their diet and health care, they find themselves asking “Why should I take calcium supplements? Can’t I get enough calcium from a good diet? What do calcium supplements do for me?”

We at the Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Centers are glad patients are asking.

The human body does indeed need calcium. Over 99% of the calcium in our bodies is used to build our bones and teeth. However, the amount of calcium that is in our bodies depends greatly on how much calcium we absorb through our diet (Wardlaw and Hampl 404). How well our body absorbs calcium also depends on the Vitamin D that’s present. This is often why you see milk fortified with Vitamin D—it helps in calcium absorption.

The human body typically absorbs about a quarter of the calcium we ingest. That being said, young people (and particularly women who are pregnant and infants) absorb calcium much more efficiently than older adults, such as those who are in their late sixties and onwards. Postmenopausal women have been reported to have the least calcium absorption (405).

Because the human body tends to decrease its calcium absorption, doctors and dietitians recommend calcium supplements to encourage the appropriate absorption rate. So, for instance, while an average adult (a person over the age of 18) is expected to have a daily value of 1000 mg of calcium in their diet, people over the age of 70 are encouraged to have a daily value of 1200 mg (Brown 476). Hence, calcium supplements really give our bodies an extra opportunity to take in as much calcium as possible. Like with milk, you’ll often find calcium supplements that include Vitamin D as part of their compound makeup to help encourage maximum calcium absorption, which again, is about 25% of what you’re actually ingesting.

Alright, so we need to increase calcium intake in our diets as we age. But, why? Well, that 99% of calcium contributed to your bones and teeth isn’t a permanent thing, but it’s always in motion. That other small percentage of calcium that isn’t in our bones and teeth is being used in our bloodstream. Remember how earlier we said that all cells in the body need calcium? That’s very true, and our body is willing to sacrifice it from our bones so that our heart, muscles, and nerves receive that much needed calcium. Certain cells in our bodies, osteoclasts, exist to break down the calcium in our bones if we aren’t getting enough calcium through our diet (Wardlaw and Hampl 406). Other cells, osteoblasts, then work to rebuild the missing bone. Hence, our bones are constantly breaking down and regenerating, which is why whenever we break bones, we can heal again. However, this only happens if we have sufficient amounts of calcium for our bodies to work with.

So now it all comes together: if a person breaks a bone, a boost in calcium helps slow the eroding actions of the osteoclasts and instead helps the osteoblasts repair the damage, all while the other cells in our body are still getting their required serving of calcium as well. The same goes for older adults: by increasing the amounts of calcium in our diets, such as through supplements, we help the osteoblasts build and keep the osteoclasts from eating away at the calcium deposits in our bones.

Here’s the big question that has to be on everyone’s mind: what about Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis literally translates into “porous bone,” and that pretty much gives an accurate visual. Osteoporosis happens to both men and women, however it’s more prevalent in women due to the fact that men typically have larger bodies and denser bone mass (Brown 497). Since women usually have smaller bodies and lighter bone mass, osteoporosis tends to hit women sooner. Osteoporosis can be delayed by consuming the recommended amount of calcium (1000-1200 mg) during youth as well as leading an active lifestyle. Those osteoblasts mentioned earlier can actually work harder whenever bones experience weight-bearing or resistance exercises. The additional stress and pressure put on bones puts the osteoblasts to work to reinforce bone density, and thereby creating stronger bones that take a longer time to break down when our bodies stop absorbing calcium as efficiently from our diets. Athletes don’t often tend to experience osteoporosis in their old age because of the healthy bone strengthening they did during their prime calcium absorbing days.

If you’re a person between the ages of 18-30, now is the prime time of your life to really work on strengthening your bones and working to prevent brittle bones in your future. If you’re concerned about genetic factors or think you might be at risk for osteoporosis, contact the doctors at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Centers to schedule a consultation about which supplements they recommend and how you can start taking care of your bones now.

Brown, Judith E. Nutrition Through the Life Cycle. 3rd Ed. Thomson Wadsworth, 2008.

Wardlaw, Gordon M. and Jeffrey S. Hampl. Perspectives in Nutrition. 7th Ed. McGraw Hill Higher Education, Boston, 2007.

Martin, Laura J., and David Zieve. “Calcium Blood Test.” MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2016.

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Treatment And Healing of Stress Fractures

Since we specialize in sports medicine at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about stress fractures.

It’s not uncommon to see athletes—be they new to a sport or not—come in with stress fractures. Stress fractures are tiny microfractures in a bone that are created when force is applied to the bone that tendons and muscle can’t cushion or the bone can’t support. While not as severe as a break, stress fractures can be painful and damaging.

There are a few possible explanations for causes of stress fractures:

In a typical workout scenario, an athlete will work up to a new goal over time by extending a training session or workout a few minutes each practice, or by gradually adding in mileage for each new run, so that the body’s muscles can keep up with the new gradual strain. Muscles build and ligaments stretch, both of which support the body’s bones, particularly the weight-bearing bones like the femur, tibia, and foot bones, which are at a higher risk for stress fractures. When an athlete skips the incremental steps to build muscle strength and over-exerts the body, like practicing three hours instead of the usual 30 minutes or running 13 miles after consistently running 3 or 4, the muscles can’t properly support the bones. This can increase the risk of stress fractures.

Sometimes stress fractures happen because of reasons out of a person’s control. For instance, a sports court might have a previously cushioned flooring replaced by a harder material, which can shock a body which had been accustomed to a cushioned floor. While the athlete is physically capable of a high level of impact and activity, the body has been conditioned to the previous set of standards, so placing that extra power and force against more resistance jars the bones, causing the fractures. Another fairly common scenario is a new pair of shoes which might improperly support an athlete’s foot, and the new stress could hurt their feet or legs.

Drastic equipment switches and training environment changes—such as new shoes or a new venue—should be broken in over short amounts of time to allow the body to familiarize itself with the new environment. The body should adjust fairly quickly, but each situation is unique. The bone and joint experts at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center can quickly and professionally advise each person on an appropriate approach to his or her needs for optimal athletic performance.

Stress fractures aren’t only limited to the leg bones or feet: while fractures are often seen in leg bones, especially the tibia, kneecap, or foot bones, it’s not uncommon to see stress fractures in other areas of the body. Sometimes fractures can occur in the spine due to gymnastics, in arms from tennis or baseball, or even the ribs because of boxing or from a car accident. Stress fractures can happen to anyone, and they generally occur at the location of the most strain on your body.

Symptoms of a stress fracture can be tricky to identify right away. Sometimes symptoms won’t be noticeable for a few days or possibly weeks, since there aren’t often visible indicators. Typically, the most obvious indicator is pain that occurs during—and shortly following—a workout. If the fracture is small, or what is called a “low-risk stress fracture,” the pain will go away with some rest until the next workout, when the bone (and therefore the crack) is being stressed again. It’s important to make an appointment with the Finger Lake Bone and Joint Clinic at this time so that an assessment can be performed to determine how severe the fracture is and what treatment plan is necessary. A “high-risk stress fracture” can hurt for extended periods of time, possibly accompanied by swelling, and in some cases bruising. Injuries like this should be seen by a doctor immediately. High-risk stress fractures can lead to more serious medical problems quickly, so time is of the essence.

Both types of stress fractures should be checked out by a doctor, as stress fractures can lead to bigger problems down the road. Stress fractures can also indicate a need to change a routine, diet, or workout regimen. If stress fractures go untreated they can grow into larger and more painful problems, such as bone healing in an incorrect position. Sometimes, if not treated properly, the fractures may never have the chance to heal at all.

In order to determine if a patient has a stress fracture and what kind, the doctors at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center will usually order an MRI to see exactly what damage has been done to the bone, and what kind of treatment plan will best set the patient up for a quick and successful recovery.

Recovery plans will certainly differ depending on the severity of the stress fracture. Some stress fractures can heal with rest or medical footwear, other stress fractures might need screws, and sometimes surgery is needed to graft new bone to help heal the fractured bone.

If you’re experiencing pain, bruising, or swelling that’s difficult to pinpoint in an area that takes an everyday beating, call Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center to make an appointment to get on the road to recovery now!

“Stress Fractures.” OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Oct. 2007. Web. July 2016.

“Stress Fracture.” FootCareMD. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, n.d. Web. July 2016.

“Stress Fractures.” KidsHealth – the Web’s Most Visited Site about Children’s Health. The Nemours Foundation, n.d. Web. July 2016.

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Proper Sleeping Positions for Night Pains

Several of our clients suffer from uncomfortable aches and pains, either long term or short term.

Oftentimes, those pains are never so obvious as at night time, when you’re trying to fall asleep and simply cannot get comfortable.

Note: if you’ve been experiencing back and neck pain for over 4 weeks, it’s recommended you make an appointment with a doctor, as there may be a serious issue at hand. Less than 4 weeks of back pain is typical of small pulls or strains that will normally heal themselves through rest and some assistance, so please continue reading to learn what those aides are.

If you already have one of the back and neck pain experts at the Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center helping you with your persistent back, neck, and shoulder pain, then please keep reading as well.

Here are a few ways our patients can position themselves for a good night sleep regardless of the pain they have:

Neck Pain

Not terribly uncommon, neck pain can be addressed during your regularly or unregularly scheduled sleep in such ways as: Avoid using too high or too stiff a pillow. Harvard Health Publications claims if your pillow is either or both of these things, this can keep neck muscles tensed and flexed during the night, which leads to a morning of stiffness or soreness.

Instead, try a memory foam support pillow. These pillows are typically shaped to form to the contours of your neck and shoulders that will give you individualized support. Memory foam manufacturers also make different styles of pillows that claim to better support back or side sleepers, depending on the sleeper’s preferred position.

For Side Sleepers who experience neck pain, use a pillow that has higher neck support than head support to maintain a level spine (so a pillow made especially with built-in support for side sleepers, or slide a neck roll into the pillowcase of a flatter pillow).

When traveling as a passenger or even while watching TV in a recliner or on the couch, a horseshoe shaped pillow can support your neck while you relax. The cushion will keep your head balanced so in case you doze off your neck muscles won’t strain as your head droops to one side.

However, if you do get a horseshoe pillow, make certain it’s not too cushioned in the back: that could push your head forward and defeat the purpose.

Lower Back Pain

A very common problem, lower back pain can be alleviated by altering your sleeping position:

Back Sleepers: If you naturally sleep on your back and are suffering from lower back pain, take an extra pillow and tuck it under your knees. The lift action to your legs helps maintain the natural curvature to your spine, taking stress away from your lower back.

Side Sleepers: Instead of sleeping board straight, bend your knees up towards your chest a bit and place a pillow between them. Again, this aide helps maintain the natural position of your spine, so your muscles can relax and heal during the night.

Stomach Sleepers: This sleeping position is hard on a back. The Mayo Clinic recommends stomach sleepers to try and change their sleeping position to either back or side, but if that proves difficult, placing a pillow under the pelvis and lower abdomen can help reduce the strain

inflicted on the spine. In addition, a stomach sleeper could also try sleeping without a pillow under the head if they’ve experienced extra strain on their back.

Shoulder Pain

Ah, the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is the most common cause of night pain in the shoulder.

Typically, the rotator tends to wear out and degenerate, and your body is rarely more aware of it than at night. There are a few things you can do to try and alleviate the discomfort:

  • Sleeping in a recliner (don’t forget that horseshoe shaped neck pillow)
  • Switching to a shoulder support pillow
  • Over the counter Anti inflammatory medications or juices such as Tart Cherry Juice
  • Physical therapy
  • Injections

These are some ways you can treat your night time shoulder pain, but depending on the stage of rotator cuff tendonitis, surgery may be your best option. If that is the case, you’ve come to the right place.

If you feel like you need professional advice and a plan of attack for your night time pains, set up an appointment with the bone and joint experts at the Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center.

Together we can help you manage your pain and get back to having a good nights’ sleep.

 

References:

“Say “good Night” to Neck Pain.” Harvard Health. N.p., 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 June 2016.

Luks, Howard J., MD. “Rotator Cuff Tears and Shoulder Pain at Night.” Howard J Luks MD.

N.p., 06 July 2015. Web. 13 June 2016.

“Back Pain.” Slide Show: Sleeping Positions That Reduce Back Pain. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June

2016.

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Am I Doing This Right? Your Guide To An Injury-Free Workout

Did you know that you don’t have to visit a Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center location to enjoy

the services the doctors at FLBJC offer? You can actually get their professional help and advice

right here on the Internet!

 

Many injuries can be prevented through a consistent regimen of working out. Through working

out, your muscles and bones become stronger, which helps prevent slips and pulls when you’re

doing every day activities such as working in the garden or playing sports with friends or your

kids. However, almost as a catch-22, if not performed properly, it’s possible someone could

injure him- or herself while working out. The doctors at FLBJC know this possibility exists, so

we’ve taken the initiative to prevent workout injuries.

 

Fourteen free tutorial videos are collected in one place on the FLBJC website to help

demonstrate to our clients proper methods of injury prevention. From stretching poses to basic

workouts, Finger Lakes Sports Medicine has short, concise videos to show you how to safely

work out your body for optimal functioning health.

 

Stretching:

The Mayo Clinic states that “Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range of

motion in your joints. Better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities or

decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and

enabling your muscles to work most effectively.” However, you want to make certain you’re

not hyperstretching (overstretching) your muscles, which could lead to pulls or tears.

Clark Brown, of Brownstone Physical Therapy, explains the science behind the importance of

stretching and demonstrates a series of helpful stretches in less than 6 minutes in the short

Stretching Module video (11 th video). Other videos have more stretching demos, and for more

stretching help, classes such as yin yoga or a physical training session can help improve

flexibility.

 

Core Strengthening:

We’ve written plenty over the benefits of core strengthening, but how about some actual

tutorials to show how it’s done? In less than a minute and a half, you can have five workouts

that focus directly on proper core care by watching the Core Basics Module (3 rd video).

 

Knee Strength Training:

Most people have knee problems at some point in their life (webmd.com). With that in mind,

the 4 th video on the Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center Injury Prevention webpage is devoted to

the largest joint in your body. The Dynamic Knee Strength video gives you three simple

exercises to focus on your knees and keep them strong.

 

There are several more short injury prevention videos at your finger tips through Finger Lakes

Bone and Joint, so check out the videos ranging from lower and upper extremities strength

training to tennis and lacrosse modules to help strengthen your body and keep it strong for

years to come. If you have any other questions, call the doctors at the Finger Lakes Bone and

Joint Centers to schedule an appointment to find a strength training plan that is right for your

needs.

“Knee Pain Causes, Treatments, Tests, and Home Remedies.” WebMD. WebMD. Web. 08 May

2016.

“Fitness.” Stretching: Focus on Flexibility. Mayo Clinic. Web. 08 May 2016.

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Joint Pain and Sweet Relief: Different Methods for Managing Joint Pain

More than 50 percent of US adults over the age of sixty-five have clinical signs of arthritis (a term that encompasses nearly a hundred different forms of the disease). The number of patients suffering from one form or another is expected to nearly double by the year 2030. It comes as no surprise that many of the patients at Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Centers suffer from degenerative arthritis, often in the form of osteoarthritis, and trust our doctors for care and management.

 

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the protective cartilage between two bones breaks down. When this happens, the two bones rub together which can cause a number of issues including pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis is often found in weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees, ankles, and the spine (Abboud and Abboud).

 

There are several methods that can help manage the disease once an individual is diagnosed. Pain, stiffness, and swelling can be managed with medication and therapy. Other factors, such as maintaining (or reaching) a healthy weight and getting enough exercise, can also help manage osteoarthritis symptoms while improving joint mobility and flexibility. Primarily, the doctors at Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Centers will work individually with patients to create unique care plans that address each person’s particular form of osteoarthritis, which could include, but are not limited, to the following:

 

Common Medication Treatments:

 

  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs): These drugs—available both over the counter and by prescription—reduce swelling caused by inflammation. Arguably they are the most commonly used drugs to treat osteoarthritis symptoms, however they must be used with caution. While they reduce inflammation, NSAIDs do nothing to slow or alter the disease and side effects could include gastrointestinal distress, allergic reactions, and in some prescription drug cases, contribute to possible birth defects.

 

Common Over the Counter NSAIDs: Naproxen (Aleve, Midol), Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and others.

Common Prescription NSAIDs: Meloxicam (Mobic), Oxaprozin (Daypro), Celecoxib (Celebrex), and more.

 

  • Analgesics: Also available by prescription and over the counter, these drugs are typically strict pain killers. Analgesics help manage the pain often experienced by arthritis, but they do nothing to stop or reverse the progression of the disease. While analgesics are often the next most common method of pain management behind NSAIDs, doctors approach them with caution because of the possibility of patient abuse and addiction. For that reason, it’s important to have open communication with your doctor regarding how well these drugs are working for your symptoms.

 

Common Over the Counter Analgesics: Acetaminophen (Tylenol, some Excedrins).

Common Prescription Analgesics: Vicodin, Percocet, and more.

 

  • Corticosteroids: These steroids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce swelling in problem areas. Corticosteroids are synthetic versions of naturally produced human hormones; however, serious side effects could arise that include, but are not limited to: high blood pressure, weight gain, and increased risk of infection. Therefore, it’s important a patient and doctor discuss whether or not this treatment is the right option for his or her particular situation.

 

Common Prescription Corticosteroids: prednisone, methylprednisolone, and prescription strength hydrocortisone

 

  • DMARDs (Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs): Originally only used for the most severe arthritis cases, studies now show that DMARDS can delay the long-term damage caused by degenerative joint disease. While most DMARDS are effective, they also run the risk of some very serious side effects that should be discussed with your doctor.

 

Common Prescription DMARDs: Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, Etanercept (enbrel), and more.

 

There are additional medications for pain management that could be discussed with the doctors at Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center if any of these treatments have not worked out for you in the past.

 

Common injections: corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid.

 

Corticosteroids can be injected into arthritic joints and relieve the pain associated with inflammation within the joint. This can be associated with long term relief but is not right for everyone. As well, Hyaluronic acids (Synvisc or Hyalgan) can be injected. In this procedure, a gel-like fluid is injected into the knee joint and may take 1 -3 injections over several weeks. Both of these procedures have risks and benefits and could be discussed with the Physicians at Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center. In this procedure, a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid is injected into the knee joint.

 

Other methods are available to treat joint pain that could be explored. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are additional therapy plans for those who like to embrace alternative medicine. CAM therapies for arthritis can include Acupuncture/Acupressure, Aromatherapy, Herb application, Homeopathy, Hydrotherapy, Reflexology, Polarity therapy, Reiki and touch therapy. Because alternative medicine therapies are not standardized or regulated, it’s important to be aware of your own diagnosis as well as the reputation, credentials, and certifications of the therapist assisting you. Diligently research all methods you might be considering and discuss these treatments with your assigned physician, fully understanding any possible negative side effects that could occur through your chosen therapy. Also, find out the financial commitment required by an additional therapy, as most CAM therapies are not covered by insurance.

 

For those who cope with the daily effects of degenerative arthritis, the physicians at Finger Lakes Orthopedics can offer the expertise of an individualized treatment plan for you, be it conservative therapies or surgical treatments, or a combination of the two! There’s a treatment plan that is right for you, and we’ll help you find it.

 

 

Abboud J, Abboud S. No More Joint Pain [e-book]. New Haven: Yale University Press; 2008. Available from: eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), Ipswich, MA. Accessed April 4, 2016.

 

“Osteoarthritis Treatment.” Arthritis Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

 

“Spinal Osteoarthritis Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Pain Relief, and More.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2016.

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Managing The 5 Major Causes of Low Back Pain

Whether you sit in an office chair or stand on your feet all day, it’s possible that you’re experiencing some pain in your low back. It’s so uncomfortable that you try stretches, over the counter medication, yoga, and/or chiropractic care. Your pain begins to affect your work and family life to the point where everything you do revolves around avoiding pain.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you’re not alone. Low back pain is a prevalent problem. Over 80 percent of adults—both men and women—experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Depending on the severity of the low back pain, it’s possible that low back pain can reduce an individual’s quality of life (Tavafin and Montazeri). It’s a serious problem with serious origins.

There are a few different types of low back pain:

Acute low back pain is typically short term pain lasting only a few days. It’s usually brought on by activities such as shoveling, cutting firewood, gardening, or lifting. Typically, there’s no cause for alarm; often this pain will heal itself in a short amount of time, so a couple days rest often remedies the situation. Acute low back pain has a good prognosis: the patient recovery rate tends to be around 90% (Carey and Freburger).

When acute low back pain winds up lasting a month or longer, further evaluation is needed. Subacute low back pain lasts between 4 – 12 weeks and Chronic low back pain lasts longer than 12 weeks. Subacute and Chronic low back pain are typically brought on by lifestyle factors that can be prevented with proper care and attention.

So what kind of lifestyle habits are we talking about?

Fitness Level: This is typically the common cause for most cases of low back pain but even people in great shape get low back pain. People often claim that their high activity on the weekends is an attempt make up for an entire week of a sedentary lifestyle, but unfortunately this leads to injuries. It’s the “weekend warriors” who are more likely to suffer low back pain because their bodies are not conditioned to endure an intense session after days of inactivity.

While longer exercises such as hikes, tennis, golf, and other activities are fun, you should try to stay active during the week to build your body’s physical endurance to handle that generated weekend stress. Keep your spinal strength up with a core (abdominal) workout plan and low-impact aerobic exercise (walking the dog, elliptical machine, and/or strength training). Depending on how you plan it, you can incorporate the core workouts into your aerobic exercise (yoga, kayaking, and/or swimming are good examples). For basic strength training and core strengthening exercises, check out our Injury Prevention video tutorials.

Weight Gain: Additional weight puts strain on the spine and can lead to low back pain. A fitness program will help in maintaining not only a steady weight (or weight loss, if necessary), but it will also strengthen those abdominal muscles to counter the strain that extra weight can put on your lower back.

Occupational Risk: There are a lot of possibilities for this one. Some people do jobs that involve heavy lifting, pulling, and pushing which can put strain on the spine. On the opposite end of that spectrum, some people sit in office chairs for multiple hours a day with very little movement. For active occupations, be conscious of safety precautions and equipment to protect yourself and your lower back. For sedentary workers, set a timer to get up and move around. Lunch hour workouts are a popular option for all kinds of occupations. It’s a great idea to stand up and walk around a bit every hour or so to take pressure off your back and help engage other muscle groups. Taking several small breaks throughout the day also helps to improve concentration, as contradictory as that may seem (Korkki).

Age: The factor you cannot change, but you can prepare for. As we age, we tend to lose bone density, our muscles become less elastic, and our muscle tone decreases. By maintaining an ideal fitness level, your abdominal muscles are less likely to lose tone and instead remain engaged and support the spine. Low-impact aerobic activity puts enough stress on your bones to make certain their is constant repairing and rebuilding of skeletal tissue, ensuring your bones stay strong even as you age.

Genetics: Regardless of what we try to do, sometimes low back pain is inherent. Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that can cause the spinal joints to fuse and cause limited mobility. There is usually a genetic component to this condition, so check to see if there is a family history of chronic low back pain.

By being conscious of these factors it’s possible to prevent, and in some cases reverse, subacute or chronic low back pain. Before beginning any change in diet or exercise, check with a doctor to make certain those changes are right for you and the overall health of your body. The expert physicians at Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center can ensure that you’re implementing the right preventative care plan for your low back pain needs.

 

Sources:

National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet”. February 22, 2016. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm>

Sedigheh Sadat Tavafian, and Ali Montazeri. “P-117/1073/quality of Life in Women with Different Intensity of Low Back Pain”. Quality of Life Research 14.9 (2005): 2065–2065. Web.

Timothy S. Carey, and Janet Freburger. “Prudence, Nihilism, and the Treatment of Low-back Pain”. Medical Care 43.5 (2005): 425–427. Web.

Phyllis Korkki. “To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break”. New York Times. June, 16 2012. Web. February 22, 2016.

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Platelet Rich Plasma: Is it Right for You?

Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP is gaining recognition and popularity as an evidence-based application for orthopedics. It may be used for a host of orthopedic diseases and also as a therapy in conjunction with orthopedic surgery or reconstruction procedures.

You may have heard of several celebrity athletes — such as golfer Tiger Woods — utilizing PRP to get back in the game sooner. Pittsburg Steeler, Hines Wards, used PRP treatments to heal a knee injury and play in the 2009 Super Bowl win for the Steelers.

PRP uses your own platelets — which are rich in several growth factors — to promote healing and repair of soft tissue orthopedic injuries and chronic conditions. It’s not just for the elite athlete, anymore. Weekend warriors and regular folks with degenerative arthritis of the knees or back are seeing improvements from this treatment.

This technique is performed by taking a specimen of the patient’s blood and spinning it down to separate the platelets. The specimen is then injected, along with the patient’s plasma I,nto the affected joint, muscle or soft tissue. It has been gaining promise for its orthopedic applications in healing knees, shoulders, back patients and multiple soft tissue injuries.

These treatments have shown promising effects in the treatment of multiple injuries, and are not just reserved for elite athletes but for those suffering with chronic conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, which affects millions of Americans. PRP has other compelling usage for patients who suffer from the following conditions:

  • Spinal fusion surgery to promote healing.
  • Tendon injuries/tendonitis
  • Acute and Chronic soft tissue injuries such as meniscal tears and surgical repairs of the meniscus.
  • Muscle strains
  • Rotator Cuff tears
  • Epicondylitis or the proverbial “tennis elbow.”
  • Achilles Tendon tear and repairs
  • Quicker healing after ACL surgery

Recent research shows that PRP may offer you relief by promoting faster healing of soft tissue injuries.

Prior to this there was not a definitive treatment other than rest and waiting for healing to take place after an injury. With PRP we can now affect the rate of healing!

In fact, research demonstrates that sufferers of chronic knee osteoarthritis, who were not candidates for surgical joint replacement, such as a Total Knee Arthroplasty, showed improvements in pain and functional status in placebo controlled double-blinded studies.

In this type of study, neither the patient nor the physician is aware if they are receiving a placebo or an injection of PRP. The patients were all evaluated on pain scales, and those that received treatment with PRP had a statistically significant improvement in symptoms as compared to their counterparts with knee osteoarthritis in the placebo group

Platelet Rich Plasma may be used as a primary series for the above conditions or an added treatment at the time of surgical repair or surgical reconstruction, such as that of the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and back surgery such as spinal fusion to promote healing.

If you suffer with one of the above treatments ask your orthopedic surgeon for information to see if you may benefit from PRP treatments. A comprehensive evaluation by your Finger Lakes Orthopedics Surgeon will determine if you may benefit from this treatment regimen.

Citations:
1. Moraes VY, Lenza M et al. Platelet-Rich Plasma Applications in Orthopedics. Cochrane Database Systematic Review 2013 Dec;12 CD 10071
2. Hsu WK, Mishra A, Rodeo SR et al. Platelet-Rich Plasma in the orthopedic application: evidence-based recommendations for treatment. Journal American Orthopedic Surgery 2013 Dec; 21 ( 12) 739-748
3. Sandeep Patel MS, Mandeep Dhillon, MS, FAMS, Samar Aggarwal et al. American Journal of Sports Medicine. Feb 2013 Vol 41 (2) 356-364.

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Healthy Living Clinic Featured In Finger Lake Times

By MIKE HIBBARD mhibbard@fltimes.com | Originally Appearing In Finger Lake Times

GENEVA — Genie Wilson admits she lost a little hope after being diagnosed with multiple joint issues and lupus in 2015.

She began visiting the “Healthy Living Clinic” at Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center.

And, as the new year begins, her outlook has changed dramatically.

“This place has been life-changing to me,” Wilson said. “I began to visit a few times a week, and the trainer was so full of information about health and exercise. I began to thrive. It has not only increased the quality of my life, but my strength, flexibility and intellect.”

The clinic is part of Finger Lakes Bone & Joint’s $5 million expansion on Pre-Emption Road, which began in 2014. Of that investment, $800,000 was dedicated for the clinic space and another $50,000 worth of high-end, Life Fitness exercise equipment was installed.

The orthopedic practice also hired a certified personal trainer, Jynell Petrosino of Geneva, to work with patients and make sure they are receiving maximum benefits from workouts and avoiding injury.

The clinic provides dietary consultation as well.

“We care deeply about the patients we serve at the Finger Lakes Bone & Joint Center,” company President Dr. Daniel Alexander said. “It is our goal for the people under our care to live long and healthy lives. We care so much about this that our team built a big fitness center in the office that is free of charge to patients and staff. It won’t cost our patients one penny to exercise, learn how to eat healthy and work out under the supervision of a certified personal trainer.”

The clinic opened in early August. Petrosino said in the four months that have ensued, a number of patients have taken advantage of the clinic as well as others.

There is a $10 monthly fee for non-patients.

“It started out a little slow, but now we have a consistent clientele,” she said. “These are people who want to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.”

The clinic is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, while Finger Lakes Bone & Joint employees can use it during those hours — and before or after work.

Office Supervisor Racheal Elardo lost 30 pounds prior to working out at the clinic and has maintained that weight loss by using the fitness center after work and implementing a clean-eating lifestyle.

“Being able to work out at work has been a great benefit. I’m saving almost $400 a year on a gym membership and saving time while exercising when my shift ends at 5 p.m.,” she said. “A lot of co-workers use the fitness center and certified personal trainer in the morning. I love working out late in the day. It saves me a lot of time being able to stay in shape by working out in the office.”

Chief Operations Officer Sherri White utilizes the clinic on her lunch break with a strong cardio workout. She also follows the clean-living guideline and has lost weight.

“It helps having the fitness center right in the office. I look forward to workouts on my lunch break,” she said. “This is an added bonus of working here. The ‘healthy living program’ has helped a lot of our office staff. I can’t wait to bring patients in and work out alongside the families we care for.”

The clinic also includes a juice bar and locker area with showers. Alexander said like many doctors, he is disturbed by the obesity problem and wants to see his patients live healthier, longer lives, along with controlling health care costs.

“When you do one of these gyms, you never know how it’s going to turn out, but this has far exceeded our expectations. A lot of patients are using it,” he said. “The reason I opened this gym is to provide support for my patients to lose excess weight and possibly avoid needing surgery. We see a lot of heavier people with joint issues, and many times all they really have to do is lose weight.”

In addition to Wilson, several other patients gave the clinic high marks.

“Ever since I started at the Healthy Living Clinic, I have been taking better care of myself,” Deb Bohlayer said. “Jynell has shown me better ways of eating and exercising to get my body back in shape and stay in shape. It has helped me physically and mentally. It is a great program and Jynell is a super coach.”

“The Healthy Living Center at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint has helped me meet my goals of weight loss, muscular development and has contributed to my overall health, both physically and mentally,” Pete Liberatore added. “There is a wide variety of workout equipment available to meet your needs and a personal trainer on site to help ensure a healthy living lifestyle.”

“I’ve been using the clinic for several months after being seen at the Bone & Joint Center,” Doris Henry remarked. “It has been a blessing to me and an encouragement.”

Petrosino said as the new year begins, she will start offering group classes that address specific exercise and healthy living topics. That will include “Cardio 101.”

“I think the word ‘cardio’ scares some people. I want to show them it’s not as bad as they may have heard,” she said. “It’s not about how you look on the outside. It’s as much or more about how you feel on the inside.”

Alexander said one of the reasons he invested in the clinic was because many of patients can’t afford co-pays for physical therapy or gym memberships.

“This is probably the single thing I’m most proud of professionally since I became an orthopedic surgeon,” he said. “My patients have been good to me, so this is a way of giving back to them. I have about a dozen patients who are losing weight and foregoing surgery for now, and that’s a good thing.

“Patients will need fewer trips to the doctor and emergency room when they live cleaner and healthier lifestyles. Cutting back on health care costs is good for all of us, but the main goal here is to improve the lives of the people we care for.”

Click Here To Learn More About the Finger Lakes Healthy Living Clinic

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5 Tips for Happy Knees in 2016

Whether you consider yourself an athlete, have made a resolution to run your first 10 K in 2016 or, just your average “weekend warrior” out to shoot some hoops with friends there are tips to keep your knees healthy for the New Year. Research has shown several invaluable tips that may prevent an injury to the soft tissue structures of the knee, the ligaments such as the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament as well as to the meniscus, the knee’s cartilage.

Chronic knee conditions such as osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis can also benefit from exercises focused on strengthening the Quadriceps muscle group of the thigh. Proper strengthening exercises may stave off a total knee replacement (Total Knee Arthroplasty [TKA]) in “fighting gravity” if you will, by elevating the muscles of the thigh as to decrease the degenerative effects of grinding “bone on bone”.

Ultimately, a severely arthritic knee will require surgical replacement however proper physiotherapy will buy additional time, prior to a joint replacement. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important in reduction of sports injuries and symptoms of degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis of the knees.
If you have had the misfortune of sustaining an injury, you may also benefit from less-invasive therapeutic measures, such as Platelet Rich Plasma injections into the joint once an injury to the meniscus or cartilage has occurred. These injections are rapidly becoming more commonly used in orthopedic applications, as your bodies platelets contain important growth factors which promote healing of the cartilage when injected in the knee as well as other ligaments of the body. (AAOS, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00358 2015 ).

The Academy of Orthopedic Surgery has also recently recommended yoga and other dynamic stretching exercises for improved strength, balance and coordination.
Proper sleep has also been shown to improve response time in a reduction of injury. If surgery is on the menu for 2016, an array of improved prosthetics should provide confidence if you should you become a candidate for a total knee arthroplasty (Sutton, 2013).
Modern technology has ushered in a host of newer technologies, in the way of fixation buttons and grafts should you require an arthroscopic knee ligament or meniscal repair, as well.

Five Tips to have “Happy Knees” in 2016:

Tip #1. Exercise

A basic understanding of physics will allow you to understand better the forces at play that result in an ACL tears and soft tissue injuries of the knee:

Movements during sports which require sudden deceleration, landing, and pivoting maneuvers being common, increase the anterior shear “loading” forces on the ACL. Female athletes are over twice as common to sustain an ACL injury as compared to their male counterparts (Sutton, 2013).

Physics that play a role in ACL injury are “ground reaction forces” or “GRFs” which refer to the pressure that must be absorbed by the body when the front of our foot hits the ground. With normal walking, the GRF’s are equal to our body weight.

When an athlete lands after a jump, the pressure may be between 2-8 times our body-weight placing shearing force on the knee. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons have recommended specific targeted exercises to decrease the chances of injury and completing a proper “warm-up” routine prior to team sports such as soccer or basketball which are quite prone to knee injury.

Exercises which comprise an excellent regimen will target the thighs, hips and core. One should include a combination of sets of squats and dynamic stretching similar such as walking lunges and also Yoga.
For those who suffer with chronic arthritis specific strengthening of the 4 muscles which comprise the Quadriceps Femoris muscle group: the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and vastus lateralis. These exercises can be readily done with static squats and lunges as well as dynamic or walking lunges.

Tip #2. Maintain A Healthy Weight

This is most commonly referred to in terms of our BMI or body mass index.

I know you hear about weight loss all the time, but there is a reason for that. It matters. For each pound of weight that you lose, you unload 4 pounds of force from your knees.

We can calculate our Body Mass Index and find our ideal weight at the link: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm.

A Normal or healthy BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Simply input height and weight in the calculator and will determine your BMI. Obesity is defined a BMI over 30. A diet that is largely comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables with smaller lean proteins, fats and dairy is ideal. It may be worthwhile to consult a nutritionist for a personalized meal plan.

 

Tip #3. Proper Sleep

Ideally individuals require a minimum of 6- 8 hours of quality uninterrupted sleep per night. Lack of sleep not only effects ones level of mental alertness, concentration and mood, but also reaction time, coordination and balance. Secondary benefits are had with an improved immune state and some research even indicates a relationship with sleep deprivation and Alzheimer’s disease (Jeff Illife MD, The Importance of Sleep) WWWTEDMED.com, Sept 2014)

Tip #4. Platelet Rich Plasma Injections

Not something that most of us will use, however this technique involves the use of an individual’s own platelets which usually are thought of for their clotting properties.

These platelets are separated from a patient’s plasma and other cells and injected into the joint as a procedure in itself or at the time of surgery to assist cartilage healing (Kyun, 2015). Several athletes such as Tiger Woods have given their testimonials to the improved rapid healing and return to exercise.

Tip #5. Surgery

Most surgical techniques can be performed through a “keyhole” or arthroscopic technique making them easily performed in outpatient surgery centers and requiring no time in the hospital. For ACL repair, a common injury accounting for 175,000 procedures performed annually there are a host of graft options from donor cadaver graft to native graft options. Total knee replacement options also have expanded of late and choices are largely based on the surgeon’s preference and sophistication with the specific devices.

Ultimately, a proper physical exam, radiographs and often an MRI are required to the definitive source to delineate damage to the knee anatomy and determine treatment options. Orthopedic clinical practice guidelines will determine if non-surgical options are appropriate or if surgery is indicated. The physicians at Finger Lakes Orthopedics in Rochester and the conveniently located satellite locations will share their expertise, outstanding diagnostics and compassionate care to determine the modality most appropriate for you should you experience knee pain the expertise of the physicians of Finger Lakes Orthopedics should aid the athlete in you, whether you are a “soccer mom” or a “weekend warrior” who has sustained an injury.

For those patients who cope with the daily effects of degenerative arthritis, the physicians at Finger Lakes Orthopedics can offer the expertise of an individualized treatment plan for you involving conservative therapies and surgical treatments to bring to optimize functioning and happy knees in 2016!

Citations:

1. Sutton, Karen MD, Bullock JM MD. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture: Differences between males and females. American Journal of Orthopedic Surgery, Jan 2013 Vol 21 (1)

2. Jeff Illife MD. The Importance of Sleep, TEDMED, Life Hacks, series 2 .WWWTEDMED.com, Sept 2014)

3. Kyun Ho Shin,1 Haseok Lee,2 Seonghyun Kang,2 You-Jin Ko,3 Seung-Yup Lee Effect of Leukocyte-Rich and Platelet-Rich Plasma on Healing of a Horizontal Medial Meniscus Tear in a Rabbit Model, Hindawi May 2015 Article ID 17956- 7 pages

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12 Things to Do While Recovering From Surgery

12 Things to Do While Recovering From Surgery

So you’ve been fixed up, stitched up and woken up – surgery is over and the scary part is done with. Unfortunately you are not out of the woods yet, my friend. Taking proper care of yourself post-surgery as you heal is absolutely vital. Hopefully you won’t have to make use of it, but here is a compilation of things to do while you’re on the mend after an operation. With any luck this list of suggestions will help improve you recover physically and mentally on your way back to good health.

 

 

1.  Prevent Infection

Prevent Infection

Following a major surgical procedure, your body will be very susceptible to infection. In fact, the CDC notes that 1 to 3 out of every 100 individuals who have undergone surgery will get an infection. If possible, you should maintain regular bathing habits as one form of preventing infection. Common signs of infection are redness and swelling around the surgical incision, fever and a liquid buildup surrounding the wound. The CDC also warns that patients who smoke are more vulnerable to infection.

 

 

 

 

2.  Care for your Incision the right way

Care for your Incision the right way

Inspecting your incision goes hand-in-hand with preventing infection. The first way to properly inspect your incision is by always washing your hands before touching the incision. If your incision is hard to reach or look at, make use of some mirrors if possible. When examining the incision, make sure that the stitches/staples are still intact. If the incision is pink/red or has wound drainage surrounding it, you might have an infection. That being said…

 

 

 

 

3.  Be familiar with your healing

Be familiar with your healing

Before and after surgery, make sure you consult with your doctor on your projected healing process. While it is important to be observant of your recovery – which this guide is all about – you don’t want to get paranoid and worry that you’re not healing the way you should be. Be informed with where you should be at active-wise and if there will be certain symptoms to look out for. You should be able to recognize what is normal and what might require a trip to the ER.

 

 

 

 

4.  Follow doctor’s orders

Follow doctor’s orders

This one should go without saying, right? However their bedside manner is – good or bad – your doctor is the expert and their word should be believed and respected. After a few days of being bed-ridden you’re going to get a little stir-crazy. Don’t try to push yourself harder than your doctor has suggested; as much as you might like to believe, you are probably not the exception to the rule. And in line with that…

 

 

 

 

5. Pain control

Pain control

After surgery, your doctor will most likely have prescribed you some pain medication. As mentioned above, make sure you heed your doctor’s orders – especially when it comes to prescription medicine. Do not take more than the recommended dose of painkillers or use them more frequently than prescribed. It will take a while before your body breaks down the chemicals and you start to feel the drugs’ effects. An important mnemonic device to remember is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If possible, you should be elevating the area of your body that received surgery to allow proper blood flow as well as applying ice and pressure to reduce swelling.

 

 

 

 

6.  Stay active

Stay Active

This entry is so essential that it should probably be written in bold, highlighted and underlined. Your body is a muscle, and the only way that muscle is going to recover from the trauma of surgery is by exercising it. Follow your doctor’s instructions as to how much activity you can handle, especially in regards to exercise. You don’t want to be lying in bed all day so try to get up at least two to three times per day. Depending on your injuries, never underestimate the power of a brief walk!

 

 

 

 

7.  Therapy

Therapy

There are all sorts of different therapies that you can make use of while you are recovering. If you find yourself getting depressed, a clinical psychiatrist could be very useful to you. As you get stronger you can explore different forms of physical therapy from the traditional to water therapy to massage therapy or acupuncture/acupressure. Consult your doctor to see what kinds of physical therapy you are ready to handle.

 

 

 

 

8.  Eat

Eat

In order to repair the machine that is your body you need to regularly fuel it. Following surgery you may find that you have lost your appetite. Hydrating and keeping your energy up is a must however – and can help you overcome any nausea induced by the anesthesia of surgery. Since you are not going to be as active it is important to eat probiotics for your digestive system and foods high in protein to help maintain your strength. If you are unable to chew or swallow very easily you should eat soft, mushy foods or even baby food.

 

 

 

 

9.  Vitamins

Vitamins

If you haven’t figured it out yet, keeping yourself as healthy as possible is a huge priority when you’re recovering from surgery. In addition to eating healthy foods you can supplement your diet with additional vitamins. Focusing on antioxidants as well as Vitamins A, C, E and Zinc. It never hurts to go outside and get some Vitamin D from the sun either!

 

 

 

 

10.  Positivity

Postive

While you’re on the mend it is very easy to feel down in the dumps. In a lot of cases you are unable to do simple tasks that you may have taken for granted. With all of this in mind it is important to keep a positive attitude. Watch movies or TV shows that make you feel happy – save the sad sack flicks for later! That goes for any form of entertainment really – expose yourself to songs and stories with an uplifting message and battle the blues away.

 

 

 

 

11.  Reduce Stress

Reduce Stress

Listening to music will not only affect your mood but will help loosen any tension you might have. Music helps you relax, lower stress and can help your body produce endorphins. Another aid to reduce stress and improve your mood is being around people; just because you’re “bedridden” doesn’t mean you have to be isolated. Surround yourself with the positive influences in your life – maybe even try to reconnect with old friends or family members you haven’t talked to in a long time.

 

 

 

 

12.  Productivity

Productivity

We’re at the end of the list ladies and gentlemen; if nothing else we hope that you have learned that recovering from surgery will be a process. You’re going to have a lot of time on your hands so why not make the best of a less-than-ideal situation? Pick up a hobby or craft that you can work on while you’re healing. Maybe research some recipes and try your hand at cooking when you’re able to? Who knows, with all of this time in your hand you may just end up writing the next great American novel!

 

 

Further Reading

12 Things to Do While Recovering From Surgery pin
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The Best Natural Supplements for Bone Health

The Best Natural Supplements for Bone Health

In a previous article, we talked about some of the vitamins that are important when it comes to maintaining good bone health. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can get those vital minerals (vita-mins, get it?) using natural supplements.

Why use natural supplements?

Natural supplements are good because it can sometimes be hard to ensure that you are getting everything you need in your diet. Of course, eating a varied, balanced diet is always going to be the best way to get vitamins into your body, but as we just said – that’s not always easy to do.

One of the problems with eating a balanced diet is that it takes a good amount of knowledge to know where everything comes from. You can find plenty of information about what vitamins are in what foods on the internet. That’s where natural supplements come into play. They can help you get all of the good stuff you’d get in a balanced diet, but with all the convenience of a small capsule.

So let’s take a look at some of the supplements out there that can help you with keeping your bones nice and healthy.

Warning: You should always consult with your GP if you have any concerns about taking any of the supplements listed in this article. Some supplements are known to have side effects or contain allergens which can affect different people in different ways. Whilst this is a rare occurrence, it is still recommended to check with a doctor nonetheless.

 

GlucosamineGlucosamine is a substance found in the fluid around our joints. It is a naturally occurring substance and is available from a variety of different sources. It is found in animal bones, bone marrow, shellfish and fungi.

Glucosamine plays a huge part in building cartilage and is most commonly prescribed to people that suffer from arthritis, particularly those who suffer from osteoarthritis. The main problem here is that glucosamine isn’t something naturally produced by the body (or not produced in sufficient quantities). Another problem here is that it is very difficult to get from food sources as it necessary to intake quite high doses in order to see any difference.

Cartilage is the tough connective tissue between bones that acts as a padding or cushion for bones and joints that helps with movement. Lots of people suffer joint pain and swelling when their cartilage is worn and the bones rub together when they move.

Using Glucosamine can help with this joint pain as this helps to lubricate and nourish the cartilage, which doesn’t regenerate very easily once it has been damaged. There is growing evidence to support that using Glucosamine does help maintain the cartilage in joints and thus can help to prevent or delay the onset of arthritis.

The trick with Glucosamine is to take it regularly, for a relatively long period of time. Taking it for around 4 weeks gives the body to absorb the Glucosamine properly so that it can start making a difference.

 

 

Vitamin D3Vitamin D3 is another naturally occurring mineral that is found in the body. It is needed, much in the same way that Calcium is needed to help keep our bones strong – it helps prevent the weakening of the bones.

Aside from the benefits to bones, vitamin D3 also provides a huge range of other benefits such as helping to improve mood, supporting a healthy immune system and helping to relieve chronic aches and pains.

The main thing to note with vitamin D3 is that it should be taken together with Calcium. This is because the two can act together to help improve bone density.

Whilst vitamin D3 is usually naturally absorbed from the sun and from some foods, there are a many instances where it may not be possible to get the full amount necessary on a regular basis. These instances include those who live in areas with very little sun exposure (such as northern parts of the US and Canada), people over the age of 50, people with darker skin tones, those who eat a vegan diet, and children who are only fed breast milk.

In these cases, it is important to supplement with a vitamin D3, usually in the form of a tablet.

 

 

ManganeseManganese is vital for normal development of the bone structure in humans. Low levels of manganese can lead to bone malformation and overall weakness. So it’s important to ensure that you are getting enough Manganese in your diet.

It is generally quite easy to ensure that you get enough Manganese and it is found in whole grains, nuts and seeds. That said, it is estimated that at least 37% of Americans are not getting enough Manganese in their diet and it may be necessary to supplement for this reason.

This is thought to be because the standard American diet relies heavily on refined grains, as opposed to whole grains which provide less than the adequate amount of Manganese for the body.

Considering that Manganese is one of only several trace elements that are essential for bone health, this can obviously cause some serious problems, the biggest of which are Arthritis and Osteoporosis.

It is thought that taking Manganese, along with other important trace elements can help to lessen spinal bone loss in those with Osteoporosis. Click here for more information on the effects and potential benefits of taking Manganese supplements.

 

So as you can see, there are a few important things you can do to help you maintain healthy bone strength. Of course, you should always look to get most of your vitamins from a healthy, balanced diet. However, as you now know, it is sometimes necessary to use natural supplements to help pick up the slack where a healthy balanced diet may not be sufficient.

Just be sure to always read the labelling on supplement bottles, follow the dosage instructions and always consult a GP if you are unsure or would like more advice.

The Best Natural Supplements for Bone Health

 

 

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Dr. Brown on Good Day Rochester

Dr. Brown stopped by Good Day Rochester to discuss what steps parents can take to ensure their kids and teens stay injury free and safe while enjoying sports.

Parents and coaches should encourage early warm-up and cool-down, keeping hydrated, and an open line of communication with athletes.

Dr Brown On Fox Rochester

 

 

Watch the video here
 

 

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Why You Should Be Doing Yoga

Yoga is indisputably the hottest exercise trend in America. It has risen in popularity since a boom in public interest in the 1980s, and today it is practiced by more than 20 million people in this country.

We have mentioned that yoga is an excellent low-impact exercise for older adults because it helps you stay flexible and strengthens your core muscle groups. But yoga is certainly not just for older adults, and it does much more than make you more flexible. Yoga offers some pretty amazing benefits to physical and mental health for people of all ages.

 

1.  It reduces chronic pain.

The physical component of yoga is intended to stretch and strengthen specific muscle groups. Doing yoga has been shown to reduce chronic pain, especially lower back pain. In addition to the benefits gained by stretching and toning your muscles, the meditation component of yoga is effective at reducing our perception of pain. One study found that people who meditated reported a 40% reduction in pain intensity and a 57% reduction in pain unpleasantness. These numbers indicate that meditation may be more effective than morphine at reducing pain.

 

2.  It increases respiratory efficiency and helps with asthma.

Focused breathing is a fundamental part of yoga. Its spiritual purpose is for the cultivation of life force and the attainment of higher awareness, but it also leads to a larger lung capacity and a slower rate of breathing. These effects are beneficial for anyone but especially helpful for those with asthma.

 

3.  It activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

The human autonomic nervous system is divided into two parts. The sympathetic nervous system governs high-stress, “fight or flight” scenarios; the parasympathetic nervous system is referred to as the “rest and digest” system that operates in low-stress situations. When one system is active, the other is dormant. Our bodies are healthiest when there is a regular cycle between the two.
The high-speed and high-stimulation nature of modern life tends to create a bias for activating the sympathetic nervous system, which can leave us feeling stressed and exhausted. Practicing yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system and trains us to use it more frequently, which helps restore the proper balance our bodies need. A more active parasympathetic system means lower blood pressure, better digestion and intestinal mobility, and regular sexual functioning.

parasympathetic nervous

 

4.  It normalizes body weight and helps prevent obesity.

Even though you won’t lose as much weight doing yoga as you will with high-intensity cardio, regular practitioners of yoga lose five pounds on average. But the really impressive thing is that yoga helps prevent fluctuations in your weight by balancing your hormones.

It has been scientifically proven that doing yoga reduces levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is fine in moderate levels, but excessively high levels of cortisol have been shown to elicit “food-seeking behavior” in lab rats. You may have heard this phenomenon referred to as “stress eating.”

When our cortisol levels are lower, we are less prone to overeat, and we feel more sated when we do eat because our bodies are not on the alert. All of this translates to less unintentional weight gain.

 

5.  It improves emotional health and combats depression.

Excessive levels of cortisol are linked not only to overeating, but also to depression, so yoga also lowers the prevalence of depressive states. Additionally, less cortisol and increased parasympathetic nervous system activation reduce stress. People who practice yoga report an improved overall mood and sense of well-being.

 

6.  It improves learning, memory, and cognitive functioning.

Research has shown that yoga has positive effects on cognition that cannot be matched by conventional forms of aerobic exercise. The meditative component is likely to thank for this since its purpose is to calm the mind and ward off distracting thoughts. In one study conducted on college undergraduates, participants who did yoga and meditated were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, and retain that information accurately.
Learning and Memory

 

7.  It promotes self-awareness and empathy.

Spiritually, yoga is all about being aware of ourselves and the present moment. Holding poses, focusing on our breath, and meditation help us quiet our minds so we can reflect on who we are, where we are in our lives, and where we are going. The self-awareness we get from yoga increases feelings of self-actualization, and we may even feel more motivated to pursue our goals.

As well as helping us feel better about ourselves, yoga also makes us feel more connected with other people and increases our empathic responses. It trains us to be less hostile toward ourselves and others.

 

8.  It is possible that it physically changes the brain.

It turns out that yoga affects not only the body, but it may also affect the composition of the brain. A recent study found correlational evidence that practicing yoga may protect against the decline in gray matter volume that happens as people age. MRIs of yoga practitioners revealed they had gray matter volumes comparable to people who were much younger than them, which means they were losing gray matter at a much slower rate than people who did not do yoga.

Most interestingly, the observed protection of gray matter was mostly in the left hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with positive emotions and the parasympathetic nervous system. More gray matter in these parts of the brain means a greater ability to be happy and relaxed. So it’s possible that yoga keeps us happier and more relaxed as we age by affecting the physical properties of our brains.

Most interestingly, the observed protection of gray matter was mostly in the left hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with positive emotions and the parasympathetic nervous system. More gray matter in these parts of the brain means a greater ability to be happy and relaxed. So it’s possible that yoga keeps us happier and more relaxed as we age by affecting the physical properties of our brains.

 

The body of scientific research on the beneficial effects of yoga continues to grow, but even now we have compelling evidence of the good it can do. Whether you are struggling with a physical malady like obesity, high blood pressure, or chronic pain, or you have emotional issues such as depression and chronic stress, yoga can help. Even if you do not have an illness and simply want to be a happier, more fulfilled person with a real sense of purpose, it can also provide your solution.

Each item in this list taken alone is an impressive statement about the power of yoga; together, they paint a clear picture of why you should definitely be doing it.

Why You Should Be Doing Yoga
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Buffalo Bills Training Camp Activity

Fan of the Buffalo Bills? Our very own Dr. Brown will be participating in a sports injury prevention event held at the Buffalo Bills training camp. This is a free community event taking place on August 7th from 9am – 12pm.

It’s a great opportunity to learn more about on and off field injuries and see your favorite NFL team in action. Registration is required and can be completed at http://www.rochesterregionalhealth.org/A-special-Rochester-Regional-Health-Sports-Medicine-event/.

Look forward to seeing you at the event!

Bills Training Camp Activity

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7 Stretches to Keep You Feeling Great

 

Stretching is an excellent way to avoid injury and increase your flexibility. You should always stretch before exercising, but it’s also beneficial even if you aren’t preparing to exert yourself. And it always feels great to loosen up stiff muscles.

We already mentioned stretching in a previous post, but today we will go more in depth on the subject. Your stretching routine should ideally include all of your major muscle groups. We’ve chosen seven stretches you can perform to touch on many of them, from your head to your feet, but the list is by no means exhaustive.

Read on if you’re ready to limber up.

 

1.  Head Tilts and Rotations

This stretch is great for relief from stiff neck muscles. Stand with your back straight or sit upright in a chair, and square your shoulders. Tilt your head sideways toward each shoulder and hold it there for 5-10 seconds. You can hold it with your hand if you like. Next, rotate your head toward each shoulder without moving your back, and hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds. You’ll feel a pull on your neck muscles as they are lengthened. Perform this cycle a total of five times.

 
2.  Behind-the-Back Arm Raise

If you slouch a lot, this stretch is the perfect remedy. While standing or sitting upright, clasp your hands behind your back and then raise your arms as high as you can. You’ll feel the burn in your triceps and the outer edges of your pectoral muscles. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat twice. Bad posture shortens the muscles in your chest, but regularly doing this stretch will help combat the effect.

 
3.  Standing Side Stretch

For an all-body stretch that focuses on your abdominal obliques and your arms, begin by standing straight and with your feet together. Raise your arms above your head and clasp your hands with your forefingers extended. Inhale as you reach upward. Then exhale as you bend at the waist to one side. Take five slow breaths as you hold the stretch, and then return to center. Repeat on the opposite side, and then do the whole routine once more.

 
4.  Seated Back Twist

This is another great full-body stretch, but this one targets your obliques, back muscles, and glutes. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight. Bend your right leg at the knee and step your foot over your left leg, placing your right foot next to your left knee. Place your right hand on the floor with your fingers facing out to support yourself. Bend your left elbow so your hand is pointing up and turn to your right, placing your elbow against the outside of your right knee. Inhale, and then exhale as you twist your torso to the right. Also turn your neck and look over your right shoulder. Hold the position for five slow breaths, then switch sides. After the left side, do each side one more time.

 
5.  Knee-to-Chest Stretch

This stretch will firm your glutes and also help if you have lower back pain. First, lie on your back with your legs straight. Bend one of your legs and bring your knee up to your chest. Use your hands to pull the knee as close to your chest as you can without discomfort. Keep your other leg in a relaxed position, either outstretched or bent and with your foot on the floor, and hold for 30 seconds. Then perform the stretch on your other leg. Repeat once.

 
6.  Wall-Assisted Leg Stretch

Here’s a great stretch for your hamstring, which runs along the back of your upper leg. Lie on your back near a door frame or the outer corner of a wall. Raise your leg and rest your heel against the wall, keeping your knee slightly bent. Then straighten your leg until you feel a pull in your thigh. If you want to maximize the stretch, you can try gradually scooting closer to the wall, but stop if it is painful. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and then switch sides. Do this twice for each leg.

 
7.  Leg Lunges

Last but not least is a stretch for your calves, which are especially important muscles for runners. If you want to support yourself with your hands during this stretch, you can stand at arm’s length from a wall. Place your right foot in front of your left foot and bend your right knee. Lean forward slowly while keeping your left leg straight, your left heel on the floor, and your back straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch legs. Repeat once or twice.

 

This routine should get you feeling nice and supple and ready to face whatever the day presents. However, there’s no need to stop with these seven. Check out the injury prevention page for more stretches and exercises to keep you healthy, accompanied by video guides!

If we’ve left out one of your favorite stretches, leave a comment and tell us about it. And as always, stay tuned to the blog for more helpful information about exercise, nutrition and health.

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20 Healthy Recipes to Try This Summer

 

Summer is already in full swing and people are taking advantage of the warm weather at the beach, the park, street festivals, baseball games and in our own backyards. Just because it’s grilling season doesn’t mean you have to overload on the burgers, brats and beers however. Here’s a collection of recipes for entrees, salads and desserts to try out this summer as healthy alternatives:

 

1.   Vietnamese Chicken, Avocado + Lemongrass Spring Roll Salad with Hoisin Crackers.

This recipe is essentially a spring roll broken down into salad form; meaning no time spent trying to perfect your rolling skills. This is a very DIY recipe that allows you to recreate some Vietnamese flavor in your own kitchen. The homemade hoisin crackers and peanut butter dressing alone should impress your guests (or just yourself!)

Click here for the full recipe

 

2.  Japanese Sunshine Salad with Carrot + Ginger Dressing

A salad consisting of a colorful array of fruits and veggies that make it almost too pretty to eat…almost! The carrot/ginger dressing is just as good as any served at an authentic Japanese restaurant – creamy, sweet and tangy. This recipe is great by itself, but you could serve it alongside any protein – it pairs very well with salmon. You could also throw in some avocado and edamame to add a little more green to the salad.

Click here for the full recipe

 

3.  Tempeh Black Bean Vegan Taco Salad

Tempeh is a tofu alternative that originates in Indonesia. It’s a traditional soy bean product that is high in both protein and fiber. Throw in some black beans, avocado, lettuce, salsa and the rest of your favorite garnishes and you have a vegan spin on you taco favorite. To double down on the vegan experience you can also top your salad with some cashew sour cream. You’re gonna want to plan for some prep time but I assure you, it’s worth the wait!

Click here for the full recipe

 

4.  Honeycrisp Salad With Crispy Sage And Maple Vinaigrette

Full disclosure: this salad may not be a lot to look at, but seeing is not always believing; the taste will have you sold. The blend of honeycrisp apples, feta cheese and maple syrup takes a couple different breakfast favorites and combines them into one delectable starter. To add a little bit more breakfast to the equation you could top with honeycrisp salad with slices of bacon.

Click here for the full recipe

 

5.  Roast Beef & Cheese Cucumber “Sandwiches”

Here’s a quick and easy appetizer to serve your guests that is also healthy and kind of adorable. As far as recipes go I don’t think it gets any simpler than “slice cucumbers, cheese, deli meat and combine.” It’s a mini sandwich without the carbs and you could add some flair to it by sticking it with a toothpick or the ever-inspiring “sword pick.”

Click here for the full recipe

 

6.  Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Garlic

Sometimes it’s reassuring to get exactly what you expect; and this side is just that. After you cook the bacon to your personal bacon standards, all you need to do is roast all of the ingredients together at 375F for 20 minutes. As the old saying goes: “everything’s better with bacon.” Peppering in some grated parmesan cheese gives an extra layer of flavor to this dish.

Click here for the full recipe

 

7.  Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice

This is a classic shrimp fried rice recipe with a touch of “sweet and sour” for another level of flavor. If you want to impress your dinner guests with a little presentation and showiness, then may I present to you a serving dish in the form of a hollowed-out pineapple. While this finishing touch isn’t necessary to make the meal, it looks pretty darn cool, right? This is a great and simple dish that brings the sweet and spicy together for an excellent taste.

Click here for the full recipe

 

8.  Garlic Lemon Chicken Kabobs

Here’s a summer recipe where you can put your grill to good use. This is a super simple meal/side that only requires a few hours for the chicken to marinate and your competence at operating a grill. Lemon juice is a great source of flavor but its zest is what makes the chicken pop. The kabobs are great by themselves but taste even better with some tzatsiki sauce.

Click here for the full recipe

 

9.  Spinach Quesadillas

Growing up a lot of us had a stigma of spinach – maybe based on the canned variety that Popeye ate. Either way, now spinach is an excellent addition to any given recipe. Like the Tempeh Black Bean Vegan Taco Salad, this is another meatless alternative to a classic Mexican meal. What makes this recipe stand out is its ricotta cheese, successfully thickening the quesadilla. Heat the spinach until its wilted to make it extra crispy.

Click here for the full recipe

 

10.  Baked Chickpea Burgers

No grill, no meat, no problem. Baked chickpea burgers are a quick and easy meal to make for family and friends that is actually healthy. This Middle-Eastern-inspired recipe is best accompanied by tzatsiki sauce and tabbouleh. With a variety of great flavors, this meatless meal can be made in less than 30 minutes. Who says fast food can’t be healthy?

Click here for the full recipe
11.  Grilled Mahimahi with Peach and Pink Grapefruit Relish

This is another great summer recipe you can use as an excuse to light up the old grill. The sweet flavor of the mahimahi is enhanced by the tangy and tart relish. To give the dish a little bit of a kick you can add some chopped jalapeno to the relish and some lime juice to the fish while it’s cooking. This dish pairs well with white rice and steamed peas.

Click here for the full recipe
12.  Filet Mignon with Roquefort and Red Leaf

There is a whole bunch of flavors at work in this recipe: garlic, rosemary, honey, shallots, onions, balsamic vinegar; it’s almost too much (but it’s not.) To save yourself some prep time you can dice your potatoes a day before and make the majority of the salad while the potatoes and steaks are cooking. Keep an eye on that grill though; you don’t want the filets to lose their succulent flavor!

Click here for the full recipe
13.  Grilled Salmon with Sherry Vinegar-Honey Glaze and Spicy Tomato Relish

Salmon is a lean source of protein that gives your brain the omega-3 fats that you might be neglecting. Grilling the salmon is the simplest part of this recipe – most of your time spent preparing this meal will be preparing the sweet and spicy relish that accompanies the salmon. In fact you could make the spicy tomato relish a day ahead of time to prepare.

Click here for the full recipe

 

14.  Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

It always makes me feel healthier when the meat that I eat is covered in vegetables. Zucchini, red bell peppers and spinach make for a colorful dish – fun fact: the more variety of color on your plate less you eat! The recipe calls for bulgur wheat, but that can be replaced with cracked wheat or quinoa. Similarly, the ground beef in the recipe can be swapped out for any ground meat, or no meat at all!

Click here for the full recipe

 

15.  Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Stacks

As you know by now, the grill isn’t just for meats; here’s another vegetarian option for your grill. Topping grilled eggplant with fresh mozzarella, tomato and balsamic vinegar makes for an appetizing take on bruschetta without the extra carbs of bread. The eggplant can be prepped and refrigerated a day before so all you have to do is top the slices with the remaining ingredients. If you’ve cooked with pesto then you already know how the sauce makes every dish that much better. Che bella!

Click here for the full recipe
16.  Frozen Chocolate Bananas

Ok, time to throw in a little bit of a cheat: frozen chocolate bananas! This is a fun dessert with lots of room for creativity: sprinkles, nuts…you name it! This is a recipe you can make for your kids or just for yourself – it only takes about an hour to make. It might not be the healthiest thing on the list, but it’s better than ice cream!

Click here for the full recipe
17.  Awesome Healthy Orange Smoothies

Smoothies are a great supplement to your workout that taste great too. They are a great source of vitamin C and fiber and promote general bone strength. With a wide array of smoothie shops across the country, it should come as no surprise that there are a variety of different recipes and formulas. These recipes will give you a brand new spin on the orange smoothie and might inspire a concoction of your own.

Click here for the full recipe

 

18.  Pineapple & pink grapefruit with Mint Sugar

The name says it all for this one – a nice contrast of tart, tangy and sweet. The recipe calls for a full pineapple and grapefruit but you could easily adjust that by picking up cored pineapple or pre-cut pineapple/grapefruit pieces from the store. You could try this basic recipe with all sorts of different fruits to see what your favorite combinations are!

Click here for the full recipe

 

19.  Simple Baked Apples

This is a great option for any time of the day: breakfast, side dish or dessert. With its blend of spices, apples and nuts this recipe is like apple pie with the calories cut in half. To preserve the moisture of this delectable little snack, cover the apples in foil before baking them – you’ll save yourself some time on cleanup too!

Click here for the full recipe
20.  Anabolic Kiwi-Lime Popsicles

Here’s a dessert option that is sweet, refreshing and healthy. Store bough popsicles are all juice concentrate, sugar and high fructose corn syrup – these homemade popsicles are an alternative that your body will thank you for later. This is a great snack that will prep your muscles for a workout or soothe a sore throat.

Click here for the full recipe

 

Summer is already in full swing and people are taking advantage of the warm weather at the beach, the park, street festivals, baseball games and in our own backyards. Just because it’s grilling season doesn’t mean you have to overload on the burgers, brats and beers however. Here’s a collection of recipes for entrees, salads and desserts to try out this summer as healthy alternatives.
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The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Bones

Our first post, we dove into the best foods for maintaining bone and joint health, here on the blog. Today, we’re still focused on the topic of how you can maintain and improve your bone health, but we’ll take a look at the specific vitamins and minerals that are most beneficial. Some of them you might already know about, but a few others might surprise you!

 

Vitamin D

It’s arguable that Vitamin D is the single most important nutrient you can put in your body to ensure healthy bones. This is true for a number of reasons. First, without enough Vitamin D in your system, it might be harder for your body to absorb calcium (arguably the second most important nutrient for bone health — more on that later).

It’s important for growing children to get enough Vitamin D as their bones are developing, and it’s important for adults to get Vitamin D to help maintain that strong bone density. Maintaining healthy bone density becomes more and more important as you age, as your bones might become more prone to breaking.

You can get Vitamin D from three different sources — sunlight, food, and supplements. Because of the risks of skin cancer from too much sun exposure, food and supplements might be the healthiest, easiest way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is often added to foods and drinks like orange juice, soy milk, cereal, and other dairy products. To get naturally available sources of Vitamin D, eat plenty of fatty fish like salmon and tuna.

 

Calcium

Calcium is one of the most important minerals essential for life, yet our bodies cannot produce it. Therefore, we must find calcium through foods and supplements. If we don’t get enough calcium, our bodies take calcium from our bones to make up for the overall loss, which then negatively affects bone density.

In addition to keeping our bones healthy and dense, calcium helps our blood clot, our muscles contract and relax, and our nerves send signals to our brain — pretty important stuff, wouldn’t you say?

The amount of calcium you need per day varies based on your age. Generally speaking, adults 50 years and younger need 1,000 mg daily, while adults 51 years and older need 1,200 mg per day. So, how do you make sure you’re getting all the calcium you need? It’s all in your diet.

Look for low-fat dairy products like skim milk and 0% greek yogurt for a good source of calcium. Leafy green vegetables, like kale and spinach, are also a great way to work calcium into your diet. If you feel like your diet doesn’t allow for enough natural sources of calcium, you can always take a supplement. The recommended amount of daily calcium is the same as Vitamin D — 1,000 mg for adults 50 years and younger, and 1,200 mg for adults 51 years and older.

 

Magnesium

There is a strong relationship between magnesium and bone density. The majority of magnesium in adult’s body is found in the bones, and contributes to the strength and firmness of bones, and the hardness of teeth.

Magnesium is different from Vitamin D and Calcium in that it contributes to many different chemical reactions throughout the body. It is essential and necessary in over 300 enzyme systems within the body, and helps to convert Vitamin D into its active form. Then, Vitamin D can begin to absorb calcium. So as you can see, these three vitamins and minerals (Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium), all work together in chain-link to promote bone health.

Eating foods rich in magnesium is key to your overall bone health. Leafy green vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains are all great sources of this mineral. Similar to calcium, you can find many foods that are fortified with magnesium, like breakfast cereals and mineral waters.

 

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is a lesser known vitamin than any of the others mentioned so far, but it might be just as important in maintaining and improving bone health. While magnesium, calcium, and Vitamin D all work together to regulate bone density, Vitamin K2 plays an essential role in the process as well.

A fat-soluble vitamin, K2 is required to activate osteocalcin, which is an important protein secreted by the body to, simply put, build bones. What’s more, K2 helps remove calcium from places where it shouldn’t be — your arteries, for example. When coupled with other bone-healthy vitamins, minerals, and supplements, K vitamins can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease due to its anti-blood clotting qualities.
Do you take supplements to maintain bone health? Do you eat a diet that promotes healthy bone density? Let us know what you do to actively improve your bone health in the comments!

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7 Great Exercises for Older Adults

It’s no secret that staying active as you age is an important part of improving and maintaining your overall health and wellness. The amount you exercise is directly related to preventing heart disease and other high-risk health issues.

However, finding new and engaging ways to be fit often feels like a constant challenge. To add some variety to your activity regimen, check out these seven great types of exercise for older adults. You’ll quickly see that staying active can be both fun and enjoyable.

 

1.  Swimming

Swimming is a great form of exercise for people of every age due to its great cardiovascular benefits. However, swimming is an activity that older adults can particularly enjoy because of it’s low-impact nature. It’s easy on the joints and will help you build up all three major components of your physical health — flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance.

Additionally, the coordination involved with swimming strokes (freestyle, breaststroke, etc.) has been linked to better balance as you age. This can help prevent falls and improve one’s core strength and sense of stability.

 

2.  Yoga

Actively working to stay flexible as you age is key to your overall health. Yoga helps you improve your flexibility, while also strengthening and lengthening the various muscle groups throughout your entire body.

In addition to the physical benefits of yoga, the mental practice will help keep you sharp. Focusing on the breath and being present in your practice are great skills to develop at any age, but especially in your older years. Trying taking a yoga class at a local studio, or trying out a DVD in the comfort of your own home.

The YouTube video below will guide you through a roughly thirty minute, gentle yoga practice designed for older adults.

 

 

3.  Walking

In addition to flexibility and strength, cardiovascular endurance is another important skill to continue to work on as you age. Walking is a great calorie-burning exercise and helps you maintain mobility.

While walking is, overall, very beneficial to your health, you might try walking on surfaces other than concrete (like sand, grass, or gravel) to help lessen the impact on your joints. Walk on your own, with friends, or keep it lively by joining a walking group. You’ll be so busy chatting, you’ll forget you’re even exercising.

 

4.  Weights

Maintaining bone density and muscle strength becomes harder and harder the older you get. Being consistent about a weight and/or strength-training regimen can help combat this loss and its detriment to your overall health and wellness.

Working in light weights to your everyday activity regimen doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re going for a walk, try carrying light hand weights (2-3 lbs), or using light ankle weights for an extra challenge.

Likewise, if you’re swimming or doing yoga, try getting into the habit of doing some light weight repetitions once you’re done with your cardio session. A few minutes of bicep curls and other familiar repetitions could make a big difference in the long run.

 

5.  Tai Chi

Like yoga, Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise with great health benefits, especially at an older age. Tai Chi is commonly referred to as “meditation in motion”. Because of it’s meditative components, its often said that the mental benefits of the practice are just as beneficial as the physical.

If you’re used to a faster paced form of exercise, Tai Chi might test your patience. This could be a good thing. Although it might not feel like it, the slow movements in Tai Chi will test your balance, flexibility, and strength — the three most important elements of overall physical health.

New to Tai Chi? Great! This article will give you a gentle introduction to the meditative movements of the practice, and will help you get started with your own Tai Chi regimen.

 

6.  Stretching

While exercises like yoga, Tai Chi, and swimming will help improve your flexibility, taking the time to actually stretch is the best way to increase overall flexibility. Maintaining flexibility will help, as you age, with your overall range of motion and mobility in your joints.

There’s a variety of great stretching exercises you can do on your own, with a friend, or even in a class. A few tips in regard to stretching:

  1. Always warm up your muscles before you stretch them. This could mean taking a walk around the block, or simply climbing up and down your flight of stairs at home.
  2. Aim to stretch at least two to three days per week, and hold each stretch you perform for at least 30 seconds.
  3. When deciding which stretches to perform, aim to hit all major muscle groups in the body. The YouTube video below is a great guide to beginning your weekly stretching routine.

 

 

 

7.  Aerobics

Aerobic exercises are another great way to maintain cardiovascular health. Whether you prefer doing simple exercises with a chair or stairs in your home, or attending group fitness classes at your local gym, there’s a fun and safe way for everyone to practice aerobics.

You might be getting enough aerobic activity during your day without even realizing it. Running errands, climbing stairs, and playing with the grandkids are all forms of staying active, that probably don’t feel much like exercise. No matter your preference, aim for at least two to three days of brisk aerobic activity per week. You’ll heart will be healthier and you’ll feel, overall, more energized and alert.

Now that you know all about great new ways to get exercise, why don’t you learn about some new superfoods to boost your health? Check out our post on 5 Foods That Fight Joint Pain to improve your overall diet and fight back against chronic pain and immobility.

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Foods for Joint Pain

5 Foods That Fight Joint Pain

Is chronic joint pain bringing you down? Stiff, aching joints can affect all aspects of your life — from your ability to get around comfortably to your general outlook and mood. While physical therapy and exercise are important factors in optimizing and maintaining your joint health, your diet can have a significant impact, as well.

Shop for these five inflammation-fighting foods next time you’re at the grocery store. Incorporate them into your daily diet to help naturally ease and alleviate joint pain.

 

1.  Ginger

Ginger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding ginger to your meals can act as a natural anti-inflammatory. Ginger helps relieve pain the same way taking an advil or ibuprofen might, only — it’s organic! Slice up some fresh ginger to add to stir fry and pasta dishes, or sprinkle a bit of ground ginger in homemade soups.

An added bonus of this super spice: ginger has long been used to treat nausea and promote healthy digestion. If you’re feeling queasy, try brewing your own ginger tea by pouring boiling water over fresh slices of ginger. Add a spoonful of honey and some fresh lemon for an extra boost.

 

2.  Olive Oil

Olive Oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to its natural anti-inflammatory qualities, olive oil qualifies as a superfood because of its cardiovascular health benefits. When consumed in moderation, the Omega-6 fatty acids found in foods like olive oil can help promote heart health by boosting your blood vessels’ natural antioxidant system.

Because it’s high in calories, use olive oil as a replacement for butter and salad dressing. dressings. For the most nutrient-dense selection, make sure you always choose extra virgin olive oil.
3.  Salmon

Salmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating fish that is low in mercury multiple times per week is a healthy choice for a number of reasons. The naturally occurring oils in fish like salmon contribute to healthy brain and heart function, in addition to their joint health benefits.

It’s the powerful Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon that help improve your blood flow and thus, decrease inflammation. Add salmon to bed of fresh spinach to make a superfood salad, or eat smoked salmon on whole wheat bread for for a quick on-the-go lunch.

 

4.  Broccoli

Broccoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This green vegetable is full of vitamins that help your joints stay mobile and nourished. On top of Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K — broccoli is a great vegetarian source of both calcium and protein.

Also, new research shows that the sulforaphanes released from vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower can help prevent osteoarthritis by blocking molecules that cause inflammation.

Get your weekly dose of broccoli by adding fresh bunches to a green salad, or steaming it as a side at dinner.

 

5. Citrus Fruits

Citrus Fruits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start your day with a dose of citrus and immediately benefit from the rejuvenating effects of Vitamin C. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits full of Vitamin C, are packed with natural inflammatory-fighting antioxidants.

People struggling with osteoarthritis can benefit from Vitamin C due its collagen repairing qualities. Collagen is essential in your body’s natural process of repairing micro-damages to tendons, joints, blood vessels, ligaments, and bones.

While eating these fives foods alone are not enough to entirely alleviate your joint pain, consuming a healthy, balanced diet will bring you closer to optimal health and in general, boost your overall wellness.

Aim to consume a diet full of colorful fruits and veggies, lean dairies and proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, and you’ll be well on your way to feeling and living better.

 

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