At POA, our entire staff is dedicated to helping our patients and people of all ages in the communities we serve maintain healthy, active lives – and our blog is intended to help us do just that. From sharing timely health information and tips from our team to giving you a glimpse into the impact we are making across the Delmarva Peninsula, we invite you to stay connected.
We can all improve balance thru daily practice – especially if we incorporate yoga, and these three poses, into our fitness routines. Tree pose, warrior pose and standing pose are each extremely effective postures to help you build, improve and maintain your balance. So, take a look and try working these into your weekly routine.
- Start by standing and then shifting your weight onto one leg.
- Position the foot of your non-standing leg on the inner thigh or at calf-level. Be sure to avoid placing it at the joint of the knee.
- Be sure to keep your hips level and your ankle, hip and knee in line with the opposite leg.
- Slowly raise your arms until they are above your head and activate your core.
- Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
- Switch to the other leg and repeat the sequence.
Basic Warrior Pose
- Stand with your arms at your side and feet hip-distance apart.
- Exhaling, take your feet about 3 feet apart.
- With your one foot turned 45 degrees inward, rotate your other foot out 90 degrees, toes pointed to the top of your mat.
- Making sure your pelvis is facing the front of your mat, align your heel in the front and foot in the back, pressing your weight evenly through both feet.
- Exhaling, place your right knee over your right ankle, making sure your shin is perpendicular to the floor.
- You can keep your palms together or put your arms up, reaching and lengthening.
- Reach the crown of your head towards the ceiling and shift your gaze up.
- Pull your shoulders back and away from your ears and push thru the outer edge of the foot that is behind you.
- Breathe while you hold the pose, then releasing, exhale and lower your hands to the mat.
- Switching legs, repeat the sequence.
- Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, ground all the corners of your feet into the floor.
- Bring your navel up and in towards your spine while lengthening your tailbone towards the floor.
- Bring your shoulders down and away from your ears, pulling them back.
- Reach the top of your head towards the ceiling.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.
For more poses, click here to visit Yoga Journal’s pose library
Let’s take a look. Vitamin D, often known as the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in our bone health and is mostly made by our body through its exposure to sunlight. This is somewhat unique because most of our vitamin D consumption comes from the sun, as opposed to the consumption of our other essential daily vitamins, which largely comes from the foods we eat. The truth is, having too much or too little vitamin D in your body can affect the amount of calcium in your bones and may take a toll on your overall bone health over time. For example:
Low levels of vitamin D can lead to decreased bone mass (osteoporosis), which can increase your risk of fractures.
Too much vitamin D can lead to calcium deposits in the kidneys (kidney stones), or calcium build-up in other soft tissues like the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
When you stop to consider that more than 90% of a person’s vitamin D requirement tends to come from casual exposure to sunlight, this can pose some unique challenges for those of us in environments where the winter months bring limited exposure to the sun. With shortened days and colder outdoor weather, we often lack the exposure to ultraviolet light that is needed for enough vitamin D to be made in our body this time of year.
You can get vitamin D naturally from a few foods, including egg yolks or fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel. In the US, some brands of these foods are fortified with vitamin D to help us prevent the risk of vitamin D deficiency in our general population, including milk, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt and margarine.
This winter, increase your vitamin D intake and keep your bones strong by reading nutritional labels and picking out a few products during your regular grocery store visit that are fortified with vitamin D. And of course, it also never hurts to add a little bit more sunlight to your day when you can!
For questions about keeping your bones in good health this winter, and throughout the year, talk to our POA team.
Chronic pain has different definitions, depending on who you ask. Some say it is pain that lasts more than 3 months and some say it’s pain that lasts more than 12 months. A definition that does not put a timeline on chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than the expected healing time. Either way, if you have long-lasting pain, you know that it can be unbearable.
Chronic orthopaedic pain can come from many sources, including tendonitis, arthritis, back pain, neck pain, complex regional pain, osteoporosis and even unknown sources. Whether you know what’s causing your pain or not, it can be extremely frustrating to find relief.
Home treatment for chronic pain can include exercise and getting enough sleep. Therapies like massage and yoga might also decrease chronic pain. Over the counter pain medicines, like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, might also help.
At POA, we often use a combination of treatments for chronic pain, depending on your specific circumstances. Factors we take into account when coming up with the right treatment plan include how long your pain is lasting, how severe your pain is, where your pain is and what is causing your pain.
If you have chronic pain and are having trouble finding relief, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our team. No one should have to live with chronic pain.
Cold weather is here and it’s more important than ever to warm up thoroughly before getting into your workout. When it’s cold outside, your muscles lose heat and contract, which makes everything in your body a lot tighter. Your joints get stiff and tight muscles can lead to decreased mobility. If your muscles aren’t at their maximum mobility, you aren’t using their potential strength and won’t be as ready for action.
In order to make up for these tight muscles and joints, your muscles have to work harder than usual in the cold weather, which can lead to increased soreness and potential injury to the muscle tissue. With limited mobility, your muscles strain and pull under the stress.
Warming your body up prior to your workout will help you:
- Increase your blood circulation
- Loosen up your muscles
- Increase your range of motion
To perform at your highest level and to help prevent injury, we encourage you to amp up your winter warm up. Muscles that have been properly warmed up can carry out exercises in proper form. This leads to better results from your workout and a decreased chance of injury. Warm muscles are more responsive, allowing all parts of your body work as a unified team during your workout.
Make sure you’re doing dynamic stretches and putting in enough time during your warm up. Static stretches aren’t going to help your workout and a recent study even showed that a 5-minute cardio warm up had the same results as no warm up at all. Do a low-intensity, 15-minute warm up for best results. Where warm ups are concerned, long and mellow is better than fast and intense!
While ankle injuries are common in sports, you don’t have to be an athlete to twist your ankle. The most common ankle injury is a sprain, but there are other injuries that can occur as well.
The ankle is where three bones meet: the fibula, tibia and the talus of the foot. The ligaments in the ankle connect the bones to each other and support and stabilize them. The muscles and tendons move the ankle. Take a look below at a few different ways the ankle can be injured.
Ankle sprain – A sprain is damage to the ligaments in the ankle. Oftentimes, sprains occur when the ankle rolls inward, leading to damage in the outer part of the ankle. Ankle sprains are very susceptible to re-injury. Initial treatment of sprains includes rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Most of the time, sprains will resolve in a few days, but severe sprains can last for a few weeks.
Ankle strain – Strains occur in the muscles and tendons of the ankle. They can either be inflamed because of overuse or torn from a trauma. Inflammation of the tendons is called tendinitis. Symptoms of a strain can be similar to that of a sprain, including pain, inflammation and limited ability to move the ankle.
Ankle fracture – An ankle fracture occurs when there is a break in one or more bones. To determine whether a bone has been broken, a doctor may want to take an X-ray. If a stress fracture is suspected, other imaging scans, like an MRI, might be taken. Scans will help the doctor determine if the ankle needs a brace, cast or surgery.
Many people deal with worsening joint pain in cold weather, while what causes this is unclear. Try the following tips to decrease joint pain during the winter months.
- Exercise – Cold weather can make any of us more sedentary, which leads to joint pain. Your joints need lubrication from exercise to prevent pain. Too cold to exercise outside? Come up with an indoor exercise routine. Join a gym, work out at home or exercise in a heated pool!
- Eat healthy – Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K and vitamin C can all decrease inflammation and the joint pain that comes with it. Eating healthy will also help you lose weight, which relieves some of the pressure you put on your joints. Avoid the temptation to turn to “comfort food” in the winter months – your joints will thank you.
- Wear layers – Keep your joints, muscles and ligaments warm by dressing in layers.
- Stretch – To combat joint stiffness, work in a good stretch every day. Try a hot yoga class during the winter to stretch and keep warm.
- Get a massage – Some of your pain might be coming from the muscles around your joints. Treat yourself to a spa day and it just might reduce your pain.
If your joint pain continues, schedule an appointment with POA to find out what’s causing your pain and to discuss the best treatment options for you.
Due to the structure of the hip, pain in this area can have many different causes. The location of the pain may give you some clues as to what is causing the discomfort in the hip. For example, if you’re having pain in the inside of your hip or in the groin area, it’s probably a problem with your hip joint. If you’re having pain in the outside of your hip, upper thigh or in the outer buttock area, it’s probably a problem with the muscles, ligaments or tendons that surround your hip joint. Bursitis, tendonitis, a tear, dislocation, fracture or inguinal hernia are potential sources of pain in the hip area.
Pain can also come from a disease or condition. Arthritis, some types of cancer, osteoporosis and pinched nerves can all lead to hip pain, as well.
Since there are so many potential underlying causes of hip pain, you should get it checked out by a doctor. When you first notice pain in the hip, you can try rest, pain relievers, ice or heat. If you have intense pain, are unable to walk or have signs of infection, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Injuries to the fingertip are really very common and can happen almost anywhere – from using a hammer or saw to pinching your hand in a door or smashing it while moving something heavy. These everyday injuries can result in damage to part of the fingertip, including the bone, nail bed, your skin and soft tissue.
So, why does it hurt so much?
Our fingertips are full of nerves that make them extremely sensitive, which results in the pain you feel when they are injured. Without prompt and proper treatment, a fingertip injury can cause problems with hand function and may result in permanent deformity or disability. To ensure the best outcome, it is important to have a hand specialist examine your finger after an injury.
Remember, if you have injured your fingertip and something just doesn’t feel or look right, call us to make an appointment with our hand specialist, Dr. Kang.