Summer Exercising Tips to Promote Orthopedic Health

Regular exercise is the key to orthopedic health, as strong muscles ensure strong bones.  Exercise not only has physical benefits but also has emotional and social benefits. A number of activities including running, swimming, golfing, tennis, weight lifting, hiking, and even walking can be safely pursued to enhance your orthopedic health. What if you want to embark on a regular fitness plan or have a medical diagnosis that may affect your ability to exercise regularly? It is always a good idea to see your physician for a check-up if you have any injuries or a chronic or unstable health condition, such as heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, a joint or bone disease (e.g., osteoporosis), or a neurological illness (e.g., stroke). This is especially true if you haven’t been active recently. It is imperative that you resist the urge to go full steam ahead into vigorous workouts, as this is a surefire way to overexert yourself and wind up with injuries. As the overall goal is to remain healthy and free of injuries, the following list discusses summer exercising tips to safely promote orthopedic health.

Maintain your equipment and dress appropriately

You don’t have to purchase expensive workout gear, but you should choose the appropriate clothing and athletic shoes for the activities you’ve chosen. You should wear light-colored and comfortable clothing that are loose-fitting and allow for free movement. Lightweight, breathable materials made of cotton or moisture-wicking materials are the best when exercising in hot weather. You should replace your athletic shoes as their cushioning wears out, every 6 months or possibly sooner if doing high-impact exercise such as running. It may be necessary to invest in protective equipment, such as a helmet or reflective clothing, and don’t forget to maintain your equipment and check it regularly for your comfort and safety.

Be aware of the weather

Warm summer weather is conducive to outdoor exercise for the promotion of orthopedic health, but exercising in the heat requires extra precautions. In general, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are at their most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Vigorous exercise between these hours can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. It makes sense to take advantage of the cooler early morning or evening hours when the sun is less intense or exercise at an air-conditioned facility.

If you’re exercising outside, wear a hat and sunglasses as well as sunscreen to protect your face and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. It is recommended that sunscreen be applied 30 minutes prior to going outdoors and reapplied every 2 hours for prolonged exercise.

Always warm up and cool down

You should always have a warm-up routine of 5 to 10 minutes to prepare for exercise, even before stretching. A warm-up period gets your blood flowing, increases your heart rate, and loosens structures such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints, all of which help your body adjust to the demands you will be placing on it during exercise. Likewise, every workout session should end with a cool-down period. Some exercise experts insist it be twice as long as the warm-up period. You should decrease your pace and movement until you eventually cease to exercise. This allows both your heart rate and breathing to normalize as well as the cessation of sweating.

Don’t forget to stretch

A stretching routine before you move onto your actual workout will help increase your flexibility and maximize the benefits of your fitness routine as well as orthopedic health. The best time is after a warm-up period, as you can injure yourself by stretching cold muscles. The stretches should be slow, deliberate, and controlled, holding each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds (no more than 30 seconds) before a slow release. It should be noted that you should never stretch to the point of pain or bounce during a stretch. Just as you require a cool-down period after exercise, the performance of slow stretches is required after or during your cool down.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout, which should prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. You could lose as much as 1 ½ liters of fluid for every hour of exercise. A general rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces of water 15 to 30 minutes before commencing exercise and another 16 ounces after your cool-down period. A quick sip of water every 20 minutes or so during exercise will also help you stay hydrated. For most people, simply drinking plenty of water is sufficient, but rigorous exercise for prolonged periods may require sports drinks that replenish both fluids and essential electrolytes.

Be aware of your body and listen to what it is saying

You should pay attention for signs and symptoms of exhaustion or dehydration, which may include dizziness, nausea, confusion, or irritability. Avoid vigorous exercise when you’re ill or are extremely tired. If you stop exercising for a while, resume your workouts at a lower level initially. For example, if you’re doing strength training, lift lighter weights or do fewer repetitions. By all means, stop or shorten your exercise session if you feel you cannot finish or if something doesn’t feel right.

It’s not unusual for your muscles to feel sore for 12 to 24 hours after a satisfactory workout, which gradually resolves. On the other hand, if pain occurs during your workout session or immediately afterward, you should consult your physician. The same holds true for muscle soreness persisting for more than 1 to 2 weeks. Not listening to your body is the quickest way to not only disrupt your orthopedic health but also your overall health.

Add variety for balanced fitness

Unless you have been exercising avidly, you should plan on starting slowly and boosting your level of exercise gradually. Try your best to develop a balanced fitness routine incorporating strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility. This not only provides a total body workout but also reduces the chances of boredom with your exercise routine. Remember, your body will adapt if you do only one type of exercise, which decreases the overall benefit of that particular exercise as well as your orthopedic health. Experimenting with a variety of sports and/or exercises also reduces the risk of overtraining and your chances of injury. For example, mix weight lifting with wind sprints or pickup basketball and yoga or Pilates. According to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, each week you should aim for a total of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise at  moderate intensity or 75 minutes at high intensity, plus a minimum of two strength training sessions.

Pay attention to your form

It is imperative that you get the technique right from the beginning, ensuring the correct use of your muscles. For strength training, proper form is crucial and not heeding this warning may result in muscle overuse and other types of injuries. You should progress through the full range of motion with each repetition or set and breathe with regularity to maintain the blood supply to the brain and prevent spikes in your blood pressure. It’s a good idea to use lighter weights when learning a particular exercise and never rush to complete a repetition or set or struggle lifting heavier amounts of weight. It may be worth the investment to consult a personal trainer as you embark on your personal fitness journey.

Don’t forget to rest

You should rest at least 1 day between strength training sessions to allow for muscle recovery and optimal orthopedic health. Remember, fatigue and/or pain are excellent reasons to refrain from exercising. If you are experiencing pain, do not resume your fitness regimen until the pain has subsided.

Be safe and aware of your surroundings

Many individuals take to the outdoors for summer exercise, whether it be hiking, walking, running, or biking. You should keep your wits about you if exercising in secluded areas and/or at night. Ask a friend to accompany you or take your dog and frequent well-lit areas. In addition, wear bright or light-reflective clothing so drivers can see you, especially at night.

Your orthopedic health and fitness level is dependent on you getting regular exercise. The above tips can help you approach a fitness plan sensibly to enhance your well-being without pain or injury. Remember, it’s imperative that you exercise wisely and progressively increase the length and intensity of your exercise sessions, which should go a long way at keeping you engaged, challenged, and safe.

Celebrity Cases of Facial Paralysis

Facial paralysis is a far more common disorder than people think. It can affect anyone, including Hollywood celebrities. Most recently, facial paralysis has affected the actress Angelina Jolie. She joins a slew of famous celebrities who have been diagnosed with the disease.

What is Facial Paralysis?

Facial paralysis refers to not being able to voluntarily move some or all of the muscles of the face, which is typically the result of some type of damage to the facial nerve (also referred to as cranial nerve [CN] VII). These muscles are responsible for vital functions such as chewing, speaking, closing the eyes, and expressing moods and emotions. As a result, facial paralysis has the potential to be a devastating condition. Most commonly the paralysis occurs on one side of the face (unilateral); less commonly the paralysis occurs on both sides of the face (bilateral). Facial paralysis can occur suddenly and many people awake with it. It can also have an insidious, gradual onset. The length of symptoms depends on the cause and can be short (weeks) to an extended period of time (months to years).

What Celebrities Have Experienced Facial Paralysis?

Celebrities that have been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, the most common form of facial paralysis, include:

Angelina Jolie

The actress was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy in 2016 and opened up about her battle with facial paralysis. She has since fully recovered with the help of acupuncture. Jolie has made headlines in the past for decision to undergo a double mastectomy with breast reconstruction as well as removal of her ovaries after testing positive for the breast cancer gene.

George Clooney

The actor was stricken with the disease as a 14-year-old. He joked that beginning your freshman year of high school was “a bad time for having half your face paralyzed.” He recovered after 9 months.

Pierce Brosnan

The former James Bond hero had the disease in the 1980s, which affected the right side of his face. He was treated with prednisone, a steroid, and recovered after several weeks. As he was filming during that time, he had his film shot from the left side to cloak the disease.

Sylvester Stallone

The, actor famous for his roles as “Rocky Balboa” and “John Rambo”, was actually born with facial paralysis resulting from birth complications. The residual effects of Bell’s palsy are responsible for his crooked smile and slurred speech pattern.

Katie Holmes

The former Mrs. Tom Cruise and actress from Dawson’s Creek was also a victim of facial paralysis. It is thought the residual effects of Bell’s palsy are responsible for her classic facial smirk.

Signs and Symptoms of Facial Paralysis

Most of the signs and symptoms of facial paralysis are readily apparent. Signs and symptoms of facial paralysis may include:

  • Facial/mouth drooping, most commonly one-sided and on the affected side
  • Inability to voluntarily raise the eyebrow on the affected side
  • Inability to blink or close an eyelid, which increases the chances of the cornea drying out
  • Reduced tear production
  • Loss of ability to raise, lower, or pucker the lips on the affected side, leading to inability to smile or frown, drooling, dribbling when drinking, and slurred speech
  • Decreased sense of taste, especially in the front area of the tongue

Causes of Facial Paralysis

Facial paralysis is typically caused by damage or swelling of the facial nerve, which controls the movement of the facial muscles, or damage to the part of the brain responsible for sending messages to the facial muscles. Common causes of facial paralysis include:

  • Infection or inflammation of the facial nerve, including Bell’s palsy, Ramsay Hunt syndrome, Lyme disease, and meningitis
  • Trauma, including basal skull fractures and facial injuries
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Tumors of the head, neck, and brain
  • Stroke
  • Birth trauma as a result of forceps delivery
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and sarcoidosis

Diagnosing the Cause of Facial Paralysis

In addition to a physical examination, physicians may schedule electromyography (EMG) to investigate the strength of the facial muscles and nerves responsible for their control. Imaging studies such as X-ray, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to diagnose etiologies, such as strokes, infections, or tumors of the head, neck, and brain. Additionally, blood tests may give insight into infectious causes such as Lyme disease, chickenpox, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and influenza (the flu).

Treatment of Facial Paralysis

Treatment of facial paralysis is dependent upon a number of factors, including the age of the patient, etiology of the paralysis, severity of paralysis, and duration of paralysis. For example, Bell’s palsy, the most common cause of facial paralysis, is often treated with steroids (prednisone or prednisolone) and antivirals (valcyclovir). Additionally, most individuals achieve full recovery from Bell’s palsy within 6 months.

One of the significant dangers of facial paralysis is eye damage as a result of the altered blinking response. Blinking keeps the cornea moist and prevents particles from entering the eye that may cause damage. Without the normal blink response, individuals affected by facial paralysis are encouraged to frequently use artificial tears to decrease the odds of eye damage. Cosmetic surgery is sometimes needed to place small weights in the upper eyelids to help them close properly. Additional cosmetic procedures that may be helpful for individuals with facial paralysis, especially those with an altered blinking response, include brow lifts and injections of hyaluronic gel (Juvéderm®, Restylane®).

Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox®) are becoming commonplace in the treatment of facial paralysis. Everyone is familiar with the use of Botox in anti-aging programs, but it is also helpful in individuals with facial paralysis experiencing involuntary spasms of facial muscles. Botox works by paralyzing muscles, thereby, improving the facial asymmetry caused by facial drooping.

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to recover from facial paralysis. In these individuals, surgery becomes a necessity and the following procedures may have to be performed:

  • Direct nerve reattachment
  • Selective neurolysis
  • Nerve grafts with or without muscle flaps
  • Temporalis tendon transfer
  • Trigeminal-facial nerve transfer
  • Static slings

The above surgical techniques are often combined with facial muscle retraining and physical therapy to optimize patient outcomes.

Thankfully, La Peer employs one of the top facial paralysis surgeons in the country, Dr. Babak Azizzadeh. Dr. Azizzadeh has helped many patients recover from facial paralysis disorders, and has also been featured on such outlets as the New York Times and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Learn more about Dr. Azizzadeh and his practice.

Recover Fast After Surgery at an Outpatient Center [Infographic]

Outpatient surgery is a top choice for patients nationwide. Since outpatient surgery is performed at a surgeon’s office instead of a traditional hospital, it enables a patient to return home the same day a procedure is performed.

Recover Fast After Surgery at an Outpatient Center

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Outpatient Surgery Benefits

Outpatient surgery offers many benefits, such as:

  •         Low Costs: Outpatient surgery often is less expensive than surgery performed at a hospital.
  •         At-Home Recovery: Outpatient surgery allows patients to avoid an extended hospital stay. A patient may be more comfortable when recovering in their home.
  •         Convenient Scheduling: A patient can schedule an outpatient surgery at his or her convenience.
  •         Reduced Stress: For many patients, outpatient surgery is less stressful than inpatient surgery.

Choose La Peer Health Systems for Outpatient Surgery

There are many reasons to choose La Peer Health Systems for outpatient surgery. These include:

  •         Personalized Treatment: We deliver personalized care in a safe, controlled environment.
  •         Multiple Specialties: We provide medical and surgical care across 12 specialties.
  •         Expert Surgeons: We have more than 40 surgeons on staff.
  •         Concierge, Knowledgeable Nurses: 98 percent of patients described our nurses as friendly, knowledgeable and professional.
  •         Minimal Surgery Time: Due to our surgeons working with the same nurses and assistants every day.
  •         Private Recovery Room: Following surgery, we offer each patient a private recovery room.
  •         Flexible Billing: We accept many types of insurance and offer cash discounts for patients without insurance.
  •         Short Wait Times: We only perform outpatient surgery. This allows us to provide you with short wait times to perform your surgery.
  •         Proven Results: 98 percent of patients said they are likely to recommend La Peer to friends.

To schedule a consultation with La Peer, please contact us today at 855.360.9119.