Posts Tagged ‘prevention’

What is Better for My Health? Weights or Cardiovascular Exercise?

Cardio vs. WeightsFor the promotion of overall health and reduction of risk around developing diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, the most effective fitness plan incorporates both cardiovascular training and strength training. There are different benefits to the different types of exercise, so it is ideal to plan your weekly workout routine split (2-3 days of each) between strength and cardio training.

Benefits of cardiovascular training

  • Breathing harder and deeper increases amount of oxygen in the blood
  • Heart, lungs, blood vessels work more efficiently with cardio exercises to transport oxygen through the body
  • Burns calories – one hour of running burns approximately 600 calories in a average female and 750 calories in the average male

Benefits of strength training

  • Increase muscle mass – you will be able to do activities longer after building muscle mass
  • Maintain joint flexibility
  • Increase bone density
  • Manage your weight – Note that muscle burns more calories than fat so if you have more muscle your metabolism is likely to be higher and you are likely to be slimmer.

Lack of sufficient exercise contributes to the possibility of developing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer. All forms of exercise can reduce your risk of developing diseases that can be harmful to your overall health.

If you can exercise 5 – 6 days a week for over 30 minutes a day, you are ahead of the game. And if you can’t make 30 minutes a day, start small by taking the stairs at work, doing some calisthenics when you wake up in the morning, or by going for a short bike ride with your children. Work it in when you can – your body and health will thank you for it!

Related Resources:

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Understanding & Preventing Tennis Elbow
Tennis Elbow Isn’t the Only Thing that Causes Tennis Elbow
Understanding IT Band Syndrome
Understanding Runners Knee

About Dr. Mason

Dr. Amadeus MasonDr. Amadeus Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound, orthopedic stem cell therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track & Field, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

Dr. Mason is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the America Road Racing Medical Society, and the USA Track and Field Sports Medicine and Science Committee. He has been invited to be a resident physician at the US Olympic Training Center, a Sports Medicine consultant in his homeland of Jamaica and the Chief Medical Officer at multiple USA Track and Field international competitions. He is an annual speaker at the pre-race expo for PTRR, Publix marathon and Atlanta marathon commenting on a wide variety of topics related to athletics and running injuries.

Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community. He attended Princeton University and was Captain of the track team. His other sports interests include soccer, college basketball and football, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). A Decatur resident, he is married with three children.

About Emory Sports Medicine

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapy and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for athletic injuries in Atlanta, Duluth, Johns Creek and the state of Georgia. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries.

Our sports medicine patients range from professional athletes to those who enjoy active lifestyles and want the best possible outcomes and recovery from sports injuries. Our doctors are the sports medicine team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Tech and provide services for many additional professional, collegiate and recreational teams. Appointments for surgical second opinions or acute sports injuries are available within 48 hours. Call 404-778-7777 today.

Upcoming Doctor Chat: ACL Injuries

ACL Injuries Chat Sign UpDid you know that there are over 150,000 injuries to American athletes each year and female athletes are 2 to 8 times more likely to injure their ACL than their male counterparts?

Surgery is recommended for many ACL (anterior cruiciate ligament) injuries and most athletes are able to get back to their sports within 6 to 12 months. All athletes should know what they can do to prevent ACL injuries or how to take care of an ACL injury if it occurs.  Join Emory Sports Medicine surgeon, Sam Labib on Tuesday, March 26 at 12 noon for an interactive, live, web chat on ACL injuries. Dr. Labib, will be able to answer questions about  the ACL including what the ACL does, how ACL injuries occur, symptoms of an ACL injury, treatment options for ACL injuries, how to get back to your sport after an ACL injury and new research on the horizon.

Kids Who Play Sports are Less Likely to be Overweight as Adults

National Childhood and Obesity month (September) is just a week away. To help start building awareness around an important issue we’ll be sharing resources such as this post, to help keep your kids active and healthy.

What may be the two healthiest things kids can do today to ensure a healthier adulthood? Eat more vegetables and play sports. That’s right. Eating healthier foods, getting active, and maintaining a healthy weight when young can prevent a lifetime of weight-related problems.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, children whose parents are overweight or obese have a greater chance of being overweight or obese themselves. Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to become obese adults – and have overweight kids themselves, continuing the cycle. Right now, more than 30% of kids in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and obesity rates among children are growing.

Youngsters who struggle with their weight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, sleep apnea, and orthopedic problems when they grow up. In fact, many obese children suffer from these diseases before they ever reach adulthood.

If you have kids or work with kids, you can help reverse this trend through education and encouragement. In 2010, recognizing that our country needed to combat the obesity epidemic, First Lady Michelle Obama launched a national initiative called “Let’s Move,” with the goal of raising healthier children. In addition to teaching kids about healthy foods and making healthier choices more readily available, we can encourage them to join a sports team and get outside and play.

Whether it’s a game of catch in the neighborhood, Frisbee in the park, organized sports or bike riding with the family, including exercise in your family routine can make an enduring difference in your child’s health (and your own). They key is making exercise part of our everyday lifestyle. If we can make these differences today, our kids will grow up to be healthier adults.

Do you or your child struggle with being overweight? What changes are you making as a family to get healthier? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

3 Things You Can Do Now to Prevent Future Back Pain

At some point in our lives, most of us struggle with lower back pain. The good news is it’s never too late to make positive changes in your lifestyle. Preventive steps now can help keep your back healthier down the road.These three things may make the difference between future suffering and living pain free:

1. Get active. Staying active may be the single most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy back. When you don’t get enough exercise, the muscle tone in your lower back can weaken, which may cause the pelvis to tilt too far forward, causing back pain. Regular exercise helps prevent back pain by strengthening your back and abdominal muscles. Just 30 minutes a day of a low-impact exercise like swimming, walking, or stationary cycling can increase muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga is also great for stretching and strengthening muscles and improving posture. If you’re already experiencing back pain, you may want to meet with an Emory physiatrist or physical therapist, who can customize an exercise plan for you.

2. Lose weight. If you’re overweight or obese, chances are you already experience back pain. One of the best things you can do now to ease pain and prevent future back pain is to lose weight. Being overweight or obese affects not only the cardiovascular and endocrine systems but the skeletal system. The skeletal system is made to support a healthy weight. Obesity puts an extra strain on all your weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees, but also on the spinal column. The resulting poor posture can cause chronic back pain.

3. Stop smoking. If you’re a smoker, you already know it’s not healthy. But you may not have realized it can contribute to back problems, not just later in life, but now. Many of the chemicals in cigarettes, including nicotine, have been shown to be toxic to spinal disc cells in laboratory experiments. Also, the carbon monoxide in cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Because spinal discs have no capillaries, they rely on osmosis for oxygen delivery. Without oxygen-rich blood, the discs don’t get the nutrients they need, making them brittle and at risk for rupture.

Do you suffer from back pain? If so, what treatments have worked best for you? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Act Now to Prevent Joint Pain Later

Prevent Joint PainAnyone putting their little toe in the waters of middle age has a glimmer of what joint pain feels like. It’s no fun. But there are things you can do to ease joint pain now and prevent future joint pain. Here are some joint-smart steps you can put into action:

Maintain a health weight. Carrying extra weight can cause significant joint pain over time, particularly in weight-bearing areas like the hips, knees, and ankles. Prevent problems now and down the line by maintaining a healthy weight. Talk with your doctor if you need help starting a weight-loss program.

Get regular exercise. Low-impact activities such as walking or hiking, swimming, and stationary cycling are great options for building bone-supporting muscles, keeping weight down, and improving joint mobility. Just 30 minutes a day can have a real impact on your long-term health and comfort. Exercise has been proved to ease arthritis pain, as well.

Keep your skeletal system strong. Help prevent osteoporosis (more common in women) by getting plenty of calcium, which you’ll find in dairy products and leafy green vegetables or in supplement form. Calcium builds bone density and makes bones less susceptible to arthritis. Consider reducing or eliminating caffeine, as it can weaken your bone structure.

Eat more fish. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness in people suffering from arthritis. If you don’t love fish, take fish oil supplements instead.

Get plenty of vitamin C. Vitamin C may help speed the recovery of damaged muscles by repairing tissues, easing joint pain. These 10 fruits and veggies are rich in vitamin C: oranges, guava, red bell peppers, kiwi, grapefruit, vegetable juice cocktail, oranges, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, and cantaloupe.

Wear sensible shoes. OK. We know that one’s no fun. But joint pain is a high price to pay for fashion. Eschew the high heels and look instead for flexible shoes that provide support. You want the shoe to bend with your foot as you walk. These days, there are plenty of good-looking shoes out there that will be kind to your feet and joints.

Already experiencing joint pain? If you put our suggestions to the test and still feel the pain, make an appointment to see us at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

Do you suffer from joint pain? If so, what treatments have worked best for you? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Can Osteoarthritis Be Prevented?

preventing osteoarthritisIf you’re starting to feel the twinges of pain or stiffness in your joints or spine, you may be wondering what’s causing it and whether you can prevent it from getting worse. One common contributor to joint and spine pain is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease that is caused by degeneration of the cartilage, the cushiony substance between the bones, and if severe, it can then affect the bone itself. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the weight-bearing joints (hips, knees, and spine).

The chance of developing arthritis increases with age. Although some people may have it as early as their 20s and 30s, it is more likely to develop osteoarthritis in your 50 and 60s and older. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, so prevention is the key. There are some risk factors that you can’t change, such as your genes (heredity) and your age. The goal is to decrease risk factors that you do have control over to help prevent osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Weight – obesity increases risk of arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Performing repetitive-motion tasks over a long period of time
  • Weaksurrounding muscles

The same factors that will help you prevent osteoarthritis can also help treat the pain and discomfort from osteoarthritis. Extra weight puts a strain on your joints, so try to keep your weight in a healthy range or lose weight if you’re not in that range. If you’re not sure what a healthy range is for you, check with your doctor. Also, keeping your muscles strong can help decrease the weight on your joints. If pain occurs while you’re doing an activity, listen to your body and decrease your intensity. Bear in mind that repetitive activities can cause joint pain and stiffness. Repetitive activities might include working on the computer or repeated bending or lifting. Try to find other ways of performing daily activities and be sure to take frequent breaks.

If you’re experiencing ongoing or increasing pain and stiffness, it may be time to see one of the physicians at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center for further evaluation and treatment.

Emory physiatrists are physicians specially trained in rehabilitation and pain management. Our physiatrists can work with you to develop a plan that includes daily strengthening and stretching exercises to reduce pain and stiffness. Because osteoarthritis can occur in different areas of your body, you want a plan designed to target the affected joint or joints. Your physician may suggest formal therapy or bracing the joint to help ease pain. Finally, your doctor can suggest an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or prescribe medication to help with the pain if needed.

Do you have osteoarthritis? What do you do to ease the pain and stiffness? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Dr. Diana SodiqAbout Diana Sodiq, DO:
Diana Sodiq, DO, is an Assistant Professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Medicine. She is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatry). As an osteopathic physician, Dr. Sodiq is trained in both traditional medicine as well as osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT). She started practicing at Emory in 2010.

Is Your Desk Job Hurting You?

Neck Back Pain Desk Job PostureThese days, more and more jobs are desk jobs, meaning many people spend a minimum of eight hours a day behind their desks and at their computers. I frequently see patients with neck and back pain with no specific injury, but who spend many hours behind a computer. This type of work can have a number of health implications, including muscle and joint pain.

If you’re a desk jockey, one of the easiest things you can do to prevent pain from a poor workstation set-up is to have an ergonomic setup designed just for you. You want your chair and work station to fit you properly. Here are a few tips to help get you started:

  • Be sure your body is properly aligned with your desk and your computer. You should be able to sit straight in front of your computer and not have to turn from side to side to access it.
  • Keep your head, neck, and torso in line, and keep your arms and elbows close to your body but within reaching distance of your keyboard. You shouldn’t have to reach forward to use your keyboard.
  • While typing, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle from your body, and your wrists and hands should be in a straight line, with your wrists in a neutral position, not arched or bent.
  • To prevent back pain, be sure your chair has good back support.
  • When you’re sitting, your thighs should be parallel to the ground or a little higher than your knees, and your feet should touch the ground. You don’t want the end of chair hitting the back of your knees—you want a little gap there.

Neck pain is a common complaint of people who spend a lot of time on the phone. If you find yourself cradling your phone between your shoulder and chin so you can type and talk at the same time, switch to a headset or use a speaker phone.

Don’t forget to get up and move around regularly throughout the day. If you feel pain during your work day, stretching and moving around can help ease that pain, as can a heating pad or ice pack. You may even find some relief by treating yourself to a massage at one of the many Atlanta spas. I always tell each patient to listen to your body. If you are having pain, your body is trying to send you a message. If you are having neck or back pain that isn’t improving after trying the tips above, make an appointment with an Emory Spine physiatrist for further evaluation and treatment.

Do you spend a lot of time behind a desk? What do you do to get moving and ease pain? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

About Diana Sodiq, DO:

Diana Sodiq, DO, is an Assistant Professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Medicine. She is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatry). As an osteopathic physician, Dr. Sodiq is trained in both traditional medicine as well as osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT). She started practicing at Emory in 2010.

Not Just on the Sidelines: Emory Sports Medicine Doctors Work with the Atlanta Falcons On & Off the Field

Dr. Spero Karas Atlanta Falcons Team Doctor

Source: Atlanta Falcons Website

The Atlanta Falcons recently contracted Emory Sports Medicine physicians to help manage the team’s sports medicine needs. I am honored to now serve as the Falcons’ head team physician; my colleague, Dr. Jeff Webb, is the assistant team physician. Now that football season is finally upon us, we’re staying busy!

We’re excited to be bringing expert care to the Falcons in a three-prong approach that includes:

  • Athletic performance improvement – strength training and conditioning, biomechanical corrections, and injury prevention through corrective exercises and through training that improves flexibility, flexibility, posture, gait, and overall core strength and strength and balance.
  • Athletic training – the care and prevention of injuries through treatment, taping and orthotics, bracing, heat, ultrasound, muscle stimulation and similar methods.
  • Sports medicine – surgical and medical care of injuries and illnesses

As head team physician, I direct the sports medicine prong, working closely with Dr. Webb and drawing on all the resources of Emory Sports Medicine and Emory Healthcare so that, whatever the problem, I can rely on the finest specialists in the field. The Falcons play really hard and end up with many interesting injuries and illnesses. It’s my job to make sure that the Falcons are wrapped in a complete blanket of world-class care. Emory Sports Medicine offers comprehensive services and renowned experts who can cater to the needs of each player and his specific injury.

As you can see, our work will extend far beyond the sidelines of the games, but Dr. Webb and I will also be there on the sidelines for every game, assessing injuries, and providing care.

I’m really looking forward to being at the games with the Falcons, though it does require me to separate the football fan in me from the physician, taking a more analytic approach to the game. When the Falcons score a touchdown, I’ll be focused not on the elation of the moment or the guy who brought it into the end zone, but on all eleven guys who just contributed to that score. I’ll make sure they’re properly hydrated and that there are no issues arising from their ongoing injuries. I have to be more aware of the medical situation rather than getting too caught up in the excitement of the game.

I’m very proud to be the Falcons’ head team physician, but ultimately my job is to provide the best, most competent care in order to insure the health and safety of each athlete. I’ll save my own celebrating for later, when the job is done.

See how Dr. Karas and the team at Emory Sports Medicine is working with the Atlanta Falcons in this short video, “Meeting the New Team Physician,” on the Atlanta Falcons website.

About Dr. Spero Karas

Dr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. His specialties include sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, with a subspecialty certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. He currently serves as team physician for the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech Baseball and Lakeside High School, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University, Ogelthorpe University, Perimeter College, Oglethorpe University, Perimeter College, and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.

 

Why Your Rotator Cuff Matters More Than You Think – Part 2: Treatment & Prevention

Rotator Cuff pain

In part one of my rotator cuff blog series, I discussed how the rotator cuff works and what happens when it is injured. The good news is that many rotator cuff injuries can be treated with physical therapy alone, particularly if you seek care at Emory Sports Medicine at the first sign of an injury. So let’s now look at the treatment options available to you if you injure your rotator cuff, and how you can prevent a rotator cuff injury from occurring in the first place.

Rotator Cuff Treatment

Every rotator cuff injury has its own unique cause, its own particular damage, and its own best path to recovery. It’s like detective work, figuring out which rotator cuff muscles and tendons are causing the problem, whether the problem is weakness, stiffness or inappropriate mechanics, and then deciding which treatments will be most effective. At Emory Sports Medicine, we first want to figure out why you’re experiencing rotator cuff pain. Is your problem caused by an underdeveloped muscle or one that has poor flexibility? Are you moving with poor mechanics? Is an anatomical abnormality to blame?

Once we know what’s causing the problem, we create a custom physical therapy program that may include targeted strengthening exercises, stretches, manual therapy and reeducation of the muscle.

For example, if a patient comes to Emory Sports Medicine with a rotator cuff problem but he seems to have good strength in his shoulders, we may stand him in front of a mirror and ask him to raise his arms. Maybe we’ll notice that his whole shoulder is lifting up along with the arm, a “shoulder shrug.” If he’s just lifting his arm to wave at someone, it probably doesn’t matter, but when he applies force in that position – say pitching a baseball – he’s putting a lot of unnecessary strain on his rotator cuff. So we’ll work with him to reeducate his muscles, keeping his shoulders down and engaged correctly when he raises his arm. This approach often fixes bad mechanics and the problem goes away.

Rotator Cuff Injury Prevention

Of course the very best strategy is to prevent a rotator cuff injury from happening in the first place. Major league pitchers make rotator cuff training one of their top priorities in the off-season, not because they want to go around flexing their rotator cuff to impress people, but because they know they’ll have longer, more successful careers if they do. Any qualified coach, athletic trainer, or physical therapist should be able to guide you in developing a rotator cuff training program, and anyone at risk for rotator cuff injuries should strongly consider starting and sticking to such training.

Developing strong and flexible pectorals, deltoids, lats, biceps, triceps and other upper body muscles is all good, but if you want to put all that strength to good use, don’t neglect developing your rotator cuff. It matters more than you think.

Do you have questions or comments about rotator cuff injuries? If so, I welcome you to leave them for me in the comments section below.

Michael Biller is the director of physical therapy for Emory Physical Therapy’s Perimeter and Sugarloaf locations and currently treats patients at the Perimeter location. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with his physical therapy degree in 1992. He is a board certified clinical specialist in orthopedics and is a McKenzie credentialed practitioner. Biller is a guest lecturer on many topics, including the spine and extremities, and serves as a book reviewer for the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. He is also Emory Physical Therapy’s clinical coordinator for student education. He is married to his lovely bride, Rachel, who is also a physical therapist, and has two children. Biller enjoys getting outdoors on the weekends, especially to go mountain biking and hiking.