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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, April 24, 2017

Yoga Moves to Combat Back Pain

More than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-64 years experience frequent back pain, with the most common type being lower back pain (American Academy of Pain Medicine). The vast majority of sufferers are on a constant quest for some sort of pain relief – whether it be medication, physical therapy, frequent massages, or even surgery. 

At Texas Orthopedics, we believe that stretching and proper exercise can go a long way in alleviating back pain. It is often one of the first forms of treatment we recommend to our patients. Regular movement keeps the back muscles and spine limber and flexible and less susceptible to aching and tightness.

Yoga is an easy and effective way to get some healing stretches in throughout the day. Here are some simple moves to try that are easily done while seated in a chair—they can be performed as comfortably at your office as they can right at home:

1. Backbend arch

While sitting at the chair’s edge, place hands directly behind you and prop yourself up on fingertips. Raise your chest and arch your back to form a seated backbend position. Hold the pose for eight to ten seconds, then release and repeat.

2. Cat/Cow pose       

Sit at the edge of chair with feet positioned flat on the floor. Place hands on your knees and take in a deep breath while lifting chest upwards and straightening spine. As you exhale, curl your belly inward and drop head towards your sternum (breastbone). Repeat up to ten times in a row.

3. Lower-back circles

Place feet hip-width apart and rest your hands on knees. Circle hips and torso clockwise with movement coming from the base of the spine. Perform eight to ten rotations, then reverse the circling motion in the other direction. Alternate for two to three minutes.

If your back pain is still persistent even with regular stretching and exercise, contact us to schedule an appointment.

(Courtesy of

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An Hour of Running Adds Hours to Your Life

7:1. That’s the ratio of the number of hours added to your life expectancy for every one hour spent running. So, says a new study from data collected at The Cooper Institute (Dallas, TX) that evaluated the effects of exercise on longevity.
The new research, just published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, set out to determine which type of exercise, if any, prolonged life spans. Running was the proven victor, hands-down.
The data analyzed included several years’ worth of standard medical and fitness tests completed at the Institute of people who exercised regularly and ran at least two hours per week.  Here’s what they found:
  • Runners tended to live about three additional years, compared with non-runners, even if they ran slowly or sporadically drank, smoked, and were overweight.
  • As little as five minutes of running per day, no matter how fast or far, was associated with a longer life span.
  • Furthermore, one hour of continuous running was shown to extend life expectancy by seven hours.
While other forms of exercise such as walking and cycling were also proven to be beneficial, hour for hour, running added more time to people’s lives than it consumed.
According to the study, the positive effects of running that likely contribute to a longer life span are its ability to decrease high blood pressure and body fat, as well as the aerobic properties benefiting the heart.
In addition, runners tend to lead an overall healthy lifestyle that includes smart dietary choices and often many other physical activities in their daily routine besides just running.
Though regular running is a great option for good health, it’s not without its downside. Running injuries are common if you don’t take care of your body and allow ample time to rest and recover between your more demanding stretches. If you experience any sudden or frequent pain in your ankles, feet, legs or hips, as a result of running, contact us for an appointment. 
(Adapted from The New York Times)
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Don't Forget to Take Your Vitamin D

There’s a reason we prescribe Vitamin D for those suffering from osteoporosis…it helps your body better absorb the calcium needed for strong bones, which can be fragile and weakened from the condition. Osteoporosis often contributes to debilitating fractures and painful breaks.
Yet a scant few are following their doctor’s orders when it comes to Vitamin D follow-up treatment after a hip fracture.
 A recent study from Canada examined patients who suffered from osteoporosis-related hip fractures, and found that a mere 45 percent of them were consistently taking their Vitamin D as recommended. Researchers interviewed 573 hip-fracture patients and tracked their Vitamin D supplement use two years after injury, and barely half admitted to taking them regularly, with 19 percent not taking them at all.
Inconsistent use of the supplement, and Vitamin D deficiency, can lead to repeat fractures where the original did not heal properly as well as newly damaged bones. Other common osteoporosis-related fractures occur in the spine, wrist, arm, ankle, or leg.
It is estimated that 44 million people in the U.S. suffer from osteoporosis, and another 10 million are at risk for developing the disease (International Osteoporosis Foundation).
At Texas Orthopedics, we support the guidelines from the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board  which recommends 600 International Units (IUs) of Vitamin D daily for adults, and 800 IUs for those ages 71 and older.
If you have certain risk factors for osteoporosis, including a family history of the condition, please contact us for a screening. We can develop a successful treatment plan for you that includes healthy diet and exercise, along with a combination of calcium and Vitamin D supplements, and physical therapy and prescription medication as necessary.
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Preventing Baseball Injuries

The first pitches have been thrown out, strikes have been called, and just like that—it’s baseball season. If you have a kiddo playing Little League, or one who is on the high school team this spring, now is a great time for a quick refresher on common baseball injuries and how to prevent them.
The most frequent injuries we see in our offices are overuse injuries affecting the shoulder and elbow. Throwing the ball too fast, too hard, and too often can irritate and injure the muscles and tendons surrounding these joints, as well as the bones themselves.

Other baseball injuries in Austin that we may treat include sprains and strains, or broken bones and fractures.

To make sure your child gets the most out of their season, follow these simple tips to avoid injury:
  • Warm up before each practice and game with stretches, running, and easy, slow throwing.
  • Rotate playing at other positions besides just pitcher.
  • If pitching, stick to Little League Baseball’s pitch count guidelines established to minimize fatigue and overuse in a child’s pitching arm.
  • Stop pitching, or swinging the bat, if complaining of shoulder or elbow pain.  
  • Don't pitch on consecutive days.
  • Prohibit playing baseball, or any one sport, year-round.
If your child is suffering from pain experienced on the ball field, contact us for an appointment.

Typically rest, heat/ice therapy, and over-the-counter pain medication are sufficient, but sometimes more serious treatment is necessary.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Running After Hip Surgery

Can you really run after you’ve undergone hip surgery? New research says yes…and in less than a year!
When you have bone spurs on your hips, regular running can be a painful activity. But if you love to run, you likely don’t want to just give it up.
Bone spurs occur on the hip joints when extra growth along the bones causes an irregular shape and leads to pain as they rub together during movement.
Treatment can range from time off the track, or treadmill, to physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. For others, arthroscopic surgery is a great choice.
The new study published in a recent issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine claimed that 96 percent of patients who were frequent runners were able to successfully return to the sport within nine months following the procedure.
Details of the 51-patient study include:
  • Forty-nine patients (or 96 percent) returned to running at an average of 9 months following arthroscopic surgery.
  • Activity scores on all other tests evaluating physical abilities, besides running, were favorable and had improved significantly after surgery.
  • Females, interestingly, showed greater progress than males.
In addition, the pain experienced when running was reported to decrease after the surgery.

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally-invasive procedure involving a small camera inserted at the hip joint so your physician can repair the bones.

To find out if arthroscopic surgery in Austin is a good fit for you, please contact us for an appointment.

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Dr. Bergin on Osteoporosis Misconceptions

If you think you get enough Vitamin D from diet alone to fend off osteoporosis, think again. Dr. Barbara Bergin explains how you’d have to eat roughly a wheelbarrow full of kale, yogurt, and sardines each day for it to sufficiently add up.  She tackles these common misconceptions about the condition in her recent blog for 1010 Park Place. You can read the blog in its entirety right here:

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Good to Go After Shoulder Replacement

There's good news out now for those undergoing shoulder replacement surgery who fear they'll never return to the sports they love.

New research published in a recent issue of the World Journal of Orthopaedics found that 96.4% of recreational athletes (ages 55 and younger) were able to return to at least one sport within seven months following shoulder replacement surgery who fear they'll never return to the sports they love.

New research published in a recent issue of the World Journal of Orthopaedics found that 96.4% of recreational athletes (ages 55 and younger) were able to return to at least one sport within seven months following shoulder replacement surgery, or arthroplasty.

Shoulder replacement is needed when the ball and joint socket are worn down due to repetitive motions of playing the same sport over and over, or wear and tear caused by a condition such as osteoarthritis.

The damaged joint is removed and replaced by prosthetic parts, mainly a metal ball attached to a plastic socket.

The average age of patients participating in the study was 48 years old, with 80% of them needing surgery due to the effects of osteoarthritis.

The sports participants were most eager to return to following their joint replacement were golf, tennis, swimming, basketball, flag football, and fitness/exercise.

Before jumping back into your favorite activity, experts say you need proper rehabilitation and therapy, plus a doctors' approval.

All results from the study indicate that shoulder replacement surgery is a very good option for those wanting to continue an active life in sports, especially those younger than 55.

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that approximately 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement each year.

If you would like to discuss shoulder, or other joint replacement surgery, with one of our specialists, please contact us.

(Courtesy of the AAOS American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)

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Dr. Mukai Named Co-Editor of Professional Publication

Congratulations are in order for Texas Orthopedics' Dr. Ai Mukai who was named a co-editor of the physiatrist newsletter for the AAPM&R, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The newsletter is published and distributed to the professional organization's membership nationwide ten times each year.

She will be introduced to the membership with the April issue, and will begin serving as co-editor in May.

Dr. Mukai is one of our specialists in the non-surgical evaluation and management of neck and back pain, pinched nerves, and other pains associated with orthopedic conditions.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Mukai on her new editorial endeavor!

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