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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dr. Barbara Bergin Featured on

Texas Orthopedics' own Dr. Barbara Bergin was recently featured on She lent her voice to an article about meditation as a way to deal with chronic pain. Meditation is the practice of training the mind to promote relaxation and/or a heightened sense of clarity and focus.

Treatment for severe or chronic pain costs upwards of $600 million a year according to the Institute of Medicine, and overdosing, on pain medications and similar drugs, kills more Americans than car crashes.

With many doctors now trying to steer patients away from narcotic medications due to addiction and potential side effects, meditation and mindfulness have become increasingly popular alternatives for pain management. This is something Dr. Bergin has been prescribing for years.

"I read and article about it in a magazine and realized it was describing what I had already been teaching my patients: that they should focus on situations in which they do not have pain, recognize those situations and try to reproduce those painless episodes. Before reading about mindfulness, I used to tell them to live in the pain-free moment when they identified those moments," said Dr. Bergin.

Mindfulness, and meditation, can empower patients and provide them some control over their pain, rather than solely relying on painkillers.

As Dr. Bergin further explained, they are just one "modality," to help manage pain, but one that is proving more successful every day.

You can view the full article featuring Dr. Bergin right here.

(Courtesy of

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Dr. Savage Shares Cycling Accident Experience with Austin Media

What started out as a routine bike ride last month for Dr. David Savage took a dangerous, unexpected turn when a pick up truck swerved into the bike lane and hit him.

"I heard the impact before I felt it and it was a horrible noise. The bumper of the truck hit the back wheel of my bike first and then it just disintegrated," Dr. Savage shared with Fox 7.

He's got many broken bones to heal, but he's grateful to be alive.

As an avid cyclist, he was doing everything right - riding in the designated bike lane, wearing bright colors and a helmet, and weather conditions were perfect.

But police reports indicate the driver of the truck may have been distracted.

Ironically as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Savage has treated many cyclists for injuries and accidents, but he never though he'd be on the receiving end.

The purpose of him sharing his experience - create awareness around distracted driving and local cyclists.

Dr. Savage also penned an Op Ed that appeared in the Austin American Statesman. You can read it here.

You can watch Dr. Savage's entire Fox 7 interview here.

April also happens to be National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Improving Balance

Maintaining good balance on your own two feet is an important task in everyday life. Poor balance can lead to instability and even a serious fall or injury. Each year more than 700,000 patients are hospitalized due to a fall, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Here are a few simple ways to improve your balance and help prevent a nasty tumble:
  • Tai chi is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts consisting of flowing movements and poses that rapidly build balance and are though to promote longevity.
  • Ballroom dancing, or any organized type of dance, which forces you to hold your head up while your feet are otherwise engaged in dance steps, can lead to better balance and coordination.
  • Yoga, like tai chi, is an ancient practice designed to bring balance to the body and mind. Carefully orchestrated poses that are practiced repeatedly and with varying intensities can greatly enhance the body's equilibrium.
For easy at-home exercises that can also help with balance, try these:
  • Hold yourself against a wall with one arm then raise and bend one of your legs. Press that leg against your other leg, similar to how a stork would stand. Hold this pose for as long as possible, and try letting go of the wall. Then switch legs and repeat.
  • Try the same standing stork pose near a wall, but do it with your eyes closed or standing on a thick pillow for an extra challenge.
  • Stand on one leg while you brush your teeth or perform other chores around the house, such as cooking or washing dishes.
However, if you have ongoing difficulties with balance, check with your physician to rule out any potential medical conditions or unknown injuries.

(Adapted from The New York Times)

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Sleep is Key in College Athletics

Austin is home to a great number of world-class college athletes. They are guided by an even more stellar staff of elite coaches. Their diets are often closely monitored and their training is rigorous. It can be challenging, to say the least, to perform continuously at a high level both athletically and academically. Something usually has to give. And often times it is sleep.

Many college athletes are required to work out or train in the very early hours of the morning or the latest final hours of the day, when their bodies could actually benefit more from sleep than sports practice. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on student athletes and ultimately lead to burnout and exhaustion, and even injury if not careful.

A recent study from the University of Queensland in Australia found that earlier start times for training and practices led to increased fatigue and less productivity throughout the day.

While coaches and students are both often driven to train around the clock, they should be more conscious of the importance of sleep and downtime to allow the body, and mind, ample time to rest and recharge.

Although it can be difficult for a coach to accommodate everyone's class schedule with gym or facility availability when scheduling practices, they should still be aware of the hours and effect that lost sleep can have on an athlete. Alternating practice times as much as possible during the day with off-hours is one good option.

Student-athletes also should take care to prioritize schoolwork and ensure that sleep itself is an important part of their daily routine.

The greatest talent can never fuller emerge in competition if shrouded in fatigue and sluggishness.

And for everyday athletes, the message is the same, be mindful that you are getting enough sleep and rest to help your body recuperate from your regular workouts and exercise routines.

(Adapted from the Huffington Post-Sleep+Wellness)

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Incentives to Exercise

Show me the money! That’s what a new study says may motivate employees to consider exercising more as an incentive from their employer.
Workplace wellness programs have been around for a while now. This new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine states that more than 80% of large employers are currently using some sort of financial incentive to increase the physical activity of their employees. As research continues to prove that healthier, more active people tend to be sharper and more productive.  
The study challenged 281 people to try and reach a 7,000 step-a-day goal over 13 consecutive weeks.  Three separate groups were evaluated with three different financial incentives/models:
  • One group received $1.40 each day that they hit the 7,000-step goal.
  • The second group was entered into a daily lottery, but participants were only eligible to collect their cash reward if they reached 7,000 steps the day before.
  • The third group was given $42 upfront each month, and $1.40 was taken away each day that the goal was not met.
Findings indicate that the possibility of losing the money led people to exercise more than the other incentives--resulting in a 50% increase in the amount of days participants met their physical activity goals.
The study suggests that a financial incentive to an employee exercise program can be very effective, but the way in which it is presented can also influence its success.
It also points out that many employee fitness programs tend to favor people who are already physically fit and likely to participate, but care should be taken to develop different strategies to engage those others who are more sedentary or may have trouble committing to a wellness program due to obesity or other underlying medical conditions.
Employers also should consider offering incentives at various levels tailored to different abilities, so that everyone can feel rewarded in some way. The general goal should be to get people moving, with the message that even small steps in the right direction can have a great and positive impact on your health.
 (Adapted from CNN-Health)
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Preseason (Baseball) Arm Injury Prevention Programs

Spring has sprung, and baseball season is about here. If you have a young slugger playing ball, new research suggests that organized preseason arm injury prevention programs could lead to fewer injuries and decreased loss of playing time.

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) conducted a study on well-monitored preseason training programs for kids. The goal of the study was to determine if repeated arm flexibility and strength conditioning in the off-season could ultimately diminish the risk of injuries during the regular season. The study paid particular attention to pitchers who often suffer the most due to the repetitive nature of throwing the ball.

Specifics include:
  • The study evaluated 143 pitchers with a median age of 15.7 years old.
  • Eighty-eight of the pitchers participated in preseason training, while the rest began training at the start of the season.
  • The prevention program was supervised by an athletic trainer.
  • Resistance training with dumbbell weights and elastic tubing, along with targeted flexibility exercises, were incorporated.
  • The program require a fifteen-minute commitment from pitchers, for four times a week.
Pitchers involved in this preventing program experienced reduced internal rotation (IR) and horizontal adduction (HA) deficits as well as other common overuse injuries affecting the arm, elbow, and shoulder.

Those who had past injuries and completed the preseason training were four times less likely to suffer a new injury that those who did not. The AOSSM hopes that this information will encourage parents, coaches, schools, and other baseball organizations to adopt such programs and help kids avoid injury.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Statesman Cap10K and Race Tips

The 39th Statesman Cap10K is this Sunday, April 10. Whether this is your first race, or fortieth, here are a few friendly reminders for a safe and smooth run.

Check the weather.

While recent mornings have been chilly, the Central Texas sun heats things up pretty quickly. Make sure you know what sort of temps to expect beforehand on race day, and dress accordingly.

Drink early, and drink often.

Drink up several days in advance of the race to hydrate. Alternate between plain water and sports drinks with added electrolytes and avoid alcohol and caffeine which both can be dehydrating.

Dress right.

Wear clothing that's light in color, comfortable, and has vents or mesh. Garments made from wicking fabrics are a good choice. Don't wear any new things, especially socks or shoes not already comfy and broken-in. And don't forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for protection from the bright rays.

Pace yourself.

Start slower than planned or practiced to allow yourself adjustment to the crowds and the course. You can make up the time down the road. Run by your perceived effort rather than mile splits, and keep your energy level in check.

Finally, plan your party.

Ahead of time, decide where to meet your friends and family after you've successfully crossed the finish line. Think about what you'd like to eat for your big meal to refuel after you're done.

And if you are too tired or your legs are too weak to drive home, make sure to ask for a ride or arrange for other transportation.

If you feel severely dehydrated or have suffered an injury during the race, seek medical help right away.

(Adapted from Runner's World)

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Texas Orthopedics Opens Urgent Injury Clinic

Emergency room care can be unpredictable, especially at night, and when you are in need of specialized attention--like for an orthopedic injury. For this reason, Texas Orthopedics is proud to announce the addition of our Urgent Injury Clinic to the family. This is the first urgent care center of its kind, dedicated solely to treating orthopedic injuries, in the Austin-area.

The clinic opens its doors on April 4, and will welcome patients from 5:00 to 8:30p.m., (Monday through Friday), after regular physicians' offices have closed. No appointments are needed.

Dr. Brannon Smoot, president of Texas Orthopedics, says patients can expect shorter wait times as well as lower costs than those typically associated with an emergency room visit.

Texas Orthopedics Urgent Injury Clinic's team of bone, muscle and joint injury specialists are prepared to treat acute conditions, including strains, sprains, dislocations and fractures, sports injuries, and painful or injured joints of the ankle, back, elbow, foot, hand, hip, knee, neck and shoulder. The clinic also conveniently offers onsite-x-ray, MRI, casting and bracing.

Texas Orthopedics Urgent Injury Clinic is located in northwest Austin at 4700 Seton Center Parkway, Suite 200. To learn more, visit

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Digital Fitness Devices Empowering Patients

Digital fitness devices remain very popular, whether checked via an app on your phone or worn on your wrist. At least one in ten Americans use them to track activity levels, dietary intake, sleep patterns, and much more. This constant and immediate snapshot of your personal health is now being touted as an empowering tool for patients about to undergo orthopedic surgery or start rehabilitation following surgery or an injury.
A recent study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggests that these fitness devices can actually improve clinical outcomes for many orthopedic patients. The more patients are involved in their own health and self-care, the easier it is on the physicians and therapists to do their jobs.
This particular study evaluated 28 of the most popular health devices, named by a top consumer tech magazine, with regard to:
  • activity tracking
  • cost
  • interfaces
  • location of devices on the body
The data generated by these fitness devices can be useful in many different aspects of orthopedic care including:
  • In non-surgical patients, tracking behavior, activity levels, and medical use, and altering these as necessary in order to lose weight and/or maintain the best possible muscle and joint functionality.
  • In pre-operative patients, decreasing the risk for post-operative complications by reducing their weight, preventing diabetes through glucose monitoring, and identifying sleep disorders.
  • Also in post-operative patients, rehabilitation progress can be measured by walking distances, stairs climbed, or other targeted activities.
With patient authorization, this useful data also can be shared directly and rapidly with the other physicians and healthcare providers who are treating them.
Discuss the possibility of implementing a fitness tracker with us during your next visit.
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