It seems that little has changed in the treatment of spinal cord injuries over the last decade. Hope of one day regaining the use of paralyzed limbs rests on the future development of medical technology break-throughs, but where are they?
First, let’s understand that a spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when the pathway between the brain and limbs and muscles is interrupted. Without the ability to transmit signals, messages to the legs fall silent, and muscles wait idly for instructions that never arrive.
Renowned SCI research centers, Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center and Denver Colorado’s Craig Hospital have been experimenting with a revolutionary approach to treating SCI. Calling it “locomotor training,” injured parts of the body are retrained using electrodes, delivering muscle stimulation while the patient is rigged inside a high-tech exoskeleton that helps structure the patient’s movement.
The thought that a human can walk without the input from the brain seems like science fiction. After all, the brain sends signals through spinal cord, so if the damaged spinal cord cannot relay the signals to the limbs, how can walking occur? In 1911, scientist Graham-Brown theorized that the mammalian spinal cord was capable of generating rhythmic motor patterns independently of the brains input. More recent work done in 2008 by Sten Grillner discovered what he called central pattern generators or (CPGs). CPGs are in essence imbedded circuits in the spine that, when triggered, are able to generate walking patterns without input from the brain. (1) This work has become the foundation behind locomotive training. However, triggering the responses and getting legs to move is just one piece of the puzzle. Walking involves numerous sensory inputs and responses that the uninjured blissfully take for granted. Researchers and practitioners are undaunted by the complexity and challenges.
“There’s new knowledge that can attack the results of paralysis and is also leading us down the path of ultimately reaching that cure,” said Susan Harkema, a Ph.D. researcher at University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center in an interview with the Denver Post last month. The aim of Harkema and other’s using locomotor training is not to provide a cure for SCI but to restore movement in patients who would otherwise remain paralyzed.(1) Denver Colorado, SCI survivor, James Nall’s treatment with locomotor therapy, is being chronicled by the Denver Post. Their series, titled “Stepping Toward Hope” follows Nall through the arduous effort to retrain his body to operate without the typical signals from the brain.(2)
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, is working with Craig Hospital in Denver and others to advance the work and science of locomotor training. According to Craig Hospital Research Director, Susan Howley, the results so far represent a “potentially phenomenal breakthrough.” Howley, like many experts researching SCI, tempers her optimism and says, “The field is enormously rich in possibilities, but sometimes it seems every time we have a new nugget of information, it reveals how much we still don’t know.”
The locomotor training work being done might seem like science fiction. But even science fiction may not convey the complexity and intricacy of the spinal cord and it’s role in the task of walking. Regardless of the challenges, more work needs to be done to understand and heal damage to this most central component of our bodies.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online provider of medical supplies and equipment to wheelchair users. Rely on Allegro Medical for catheters, wound care supplies, wheelchair accessories, cushions, backs, tires, ramps and more.
(1) Dietz V, Grillner S, Trepp A, Hubli M, Bolliger M: Changes in spinal reflex and locomotor activity after a complete spinal cord injury: a common mechanism? Brain 2009, 132(8):2196-2205.
There is no two ways about it – stress is a common part of life. Even the calmest among us experiences overwhelming stress at some point or another. Although it may not be pleasant, feeling stressed lets us know when we need to take a step back and relax a little bit. A little bit of stress is normal, but too much can have serious physical and mental ramifications. Studies have proven that stress can actually manifest itself physically, leading to serious diseases and other complications.1
There is no doubt that stress takes its toll on the lives of people from all walks of life. Not only does stress cause diseases and mental issues,2 but it can also worsen preexisting conditions. Many people overlook just how important it is to just take some time to relax when necessary. Simple daily activities like reading a book, taking a walk, or just doing anything that makes you happy, are not just pleasurable; they are necessary for your health!
For concentrated stress relief and relaxation, many people use products that have been created specifically for that purpose. Sometimes it just is not practical to go for a jog or get a massage. A simple product like a stress ball can actually have very real health benefits. On those tough days at the office, you may be surprised how just sitting back and taking out your aggression squeezing a ball can help to alleviate the pressure in the mind.
One common cause of stress that is often overlooked is a poor night’s sleep. In order to function at maximum capacity, it is essential that you are getting the right amount of sleep.3 Tossing and turning all night will make it much more difficult to have a stress-free day. There is nothing worse than having an important task to do, but not being able to focus because you are tired. Using sleep aids may be helpful in some situations. Also using a pillow that has proper neck support can be quite effective as well.4
Sometimes, the best way to unwind is with a nice massage. Massage therapy has been proven to have many health benefits, for the body and the mind. Of course, it may not always be practical to go see a massage therapist during the day, which is why many people use chairs with built in massagers, foot massagers, or even simple hand-held devices that can be used to administer a quick self-massage.
The bottom line is that you deserve to enjoy a life with as little stress as possible. Everyone is different and what works for one, may not be ideal for another. It is up to you to find what helps you to reduce stress, and then make that a part of your daily routine.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home medical supplies and equipment. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of medical inventory management and other health supplies.
Incontinence is a common problem that affects people of all age groups and genders. It occurs more frequently in women, but there are certainly men that experience this issue as well. It is estimated that 75% of people with incontinence are female. Of course, men and women respond to urinary incontinence differently. Knowing how to reduce the frequency of urinary incontinence is an important step for anyone, male or female.
For men, urinary incontinence is often caused by an enlarged prostate or prostate surgery. An enlarged prostate can block the urethra, which can lead to overflow incontinence.1 However, that is definitely not the only cause of urinary incontinence. There are plenty of other sources, including obesity, physical trauma, Parkinson’s disease, and many more. Determining the cause of the urinary incontinence is an important step for finding a solution.
Although men and women share many of the same triggers for urinary incontinence, the difference in anatomy can certainly play a role as well. For example, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are common causes of urinary incontinence.2 Some women are able to successfully eliminate incontinence by employing kegel exercises and bladder retraining techniques. Sticking to a rigid urination cycle can be helpful as well. Going to the bathroom at the same times every day helps to train the bladder to hold in urine if necessary.3
Although it is not always possible to stop incontinence entirely, there are lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce it. Often some basic diet changes and increased exercise will do wonders. Drinking plenty of water is an important step as well. Although it may seem counter-productive, staying hydrated will keep the bladder healthier.4
Managing incontinence is a multifaceted process that may require some specially designed products. Of course, nobody wants to have an embarrassing accident, especially in a public place. That is why people who are experiencing incontinence will usually wear some sort of protective layer so that accidents will be discreet and easy to clean. Disposable undergarments are available for men and women. These will help to absorb the urine, protect the clothing, and keep the wearer’s dignity intact.
Of course urinary incontinence is not ideal, but it is important to remember that many people, men and women of all ages from all walks of life, experience incontinence every day. Although it may be difficult or frustrating at times, there are ways to keep it discreet and sanitary. With the right incontinence products, a person can usually live a normal life.
A sharps container is filled with used medical needles and any other sharp medical instruments such as IV catheters and surgical blades. This industry changing device was developed in 1979 by a UK company named Frontier Plastic Ltd. There was a need for a safe way to dispose of clinical sharps and thus, the first sharps container was marketed in 1980. Everyone is at risk without the proper disposal of sharps items including janitors, caregivers, children, and even pets. Used needles are dangerous because they can injure people, spread germs, and spread deadly diseases.
There are many general safety rules that everyone needs to abide by. You should never throw loose or used needles into the garbage, never flush used needles down the toilet, and never put needles in recycling containers. You should always use a specific container designed for the disposal of sharps and dispose of it properly.
Since they were first created, these containers have evolved into a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors that all cater to your specific needs. Sharps containers are typically seen in medical centers in the United States as a red container with a biohazard symbol in the front in various sizes. Red has been the standardized color for United States while the color yellow is the common color in other countries. Our brands such as Invacare, Sharpsafety, Kendall, BD Becton, Medline, and Sharps Compliance all provide the different colors and sizes.
The last important fact about sharps is the physical disposal of the container. There are many approved facilities in your community that are permitted to accept and dispose of sharp containers properly. Some of these approved facilities are drop off collection sites, “special waste” pickup services, syringe exchange program, and “household hazardous waste” centers.
However, a new and convenient way to rid of your sharps is the sharps disposal by mail systems. The approved containers are compliant with federal, state, and municipal regulations. They come with everything you need to ship the container back to an approved location. They eliminate the need of unnecessary pickups by special services. There are no contracts and it is convenient to dispose when you are ready. This brings ease to ones who are unable to leave the house or only dispose of a few containers per year.
According to SFGate.com, StemCells Inc. received approval to start experimenting with stem cells on people with spinal cord injuries.
The goal of the research is not for the people to suddenly be cured, but to achieve any improvement in daily living activities. Feeling in certain parts of the body or having the urge to go to the bathroom would be big wins for a person with a spinal cord injury.
Just as Christopher Reeves did before his death, many people with spinal cord injuries have been calling for more research on the treatment of spinal cord injury by stem cells. It has been a very slow process, and one that the FDA had previously slowed.
Geron tried a similar trial in 2010 but stopped the trial to focus on cancer research. There were no serious side effects but also no improvements in the patient’s neurological condition.  It has been announced that BioTime bought the stem cell work from Geron and would begin the trials again, but has not started yet.
Perhaps if these two companies can show progress on a cure for spinal cord injury more time and money will be spent towards the field.
Allegro Medical has served those with spinal cord injuries for more than 10 years. Rely on AllegroMedical.com for a wide variety of home health and wellness products.
Underpads are a fantastic way to manage incontinence problems. Underpads are great to absorb leakages, reduce odors, prevent physical problems, and maintain dryness. Choosing the best underpad for yourself or a loved one among all the available options can be overwhelming, but having the proper knowledge will help you determine the right product. There are a variety of factors to consider before making your purchase: location, size, absorbency, and general use.
Underpads come in a variety of sizes to match the location where it will be placed such as the bed, chair, couch, or even car seat. The pad will need cover the surface area of the object along with the person who will be using it. If the user is tall or heavy, you will need a larger underpad than for a smaller user. For example, the sizes of Becks underpads range from 24” x 36” to 36” x 52” to match your perfect need. One very popular choice is our Invacare Reusable Chair Pads which is perfect for protecting your wheelchair seat.
In addition to the option of size, you can choose reusable or disposable underpads. Many people often find if they have an urge incontinence problem, also known as an overactive bladder, they are able to save lots of money with reusable pads. The reusable pads, made up of cotton and polyester, tend to consistently absorb large amounts of liquid after routine wash cycles. These reusable underpads have a vinyl backing which makes them waterproof. Unlike reusable pads, disposable pads are convenient for placing in temporary places or if you are constantly changing locations and need to dispose of them afterwards. People suffering from temporary incontinence also find disposable pads work well because they lose control suddenly, but control returns just as quickly.
When choosing your pad you will also need to consider absorbency. If there is a large liquid amount, you will need a high soaker underpad. Tena underpads are composed of 100% virgin fluff pulp which provides a great level of absorption and retention. Manufacturers offer various levels of absorbency by changing the amount of paper fluff or absorbent polymer to absorb the liquid. There are many different underpad brands including Tranquility, Becks, Attends, Tena, Sofnit, Reliamed, Wings, Prevail, Staydry, and more to meet your needs.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your incontinence and other health supplies.
Adult briefs and protective underwear are used by many of the 25 million Americans suffering from incontinence.1 Our landfills receive 18 billion disposable diapers every year of which disposable diapers account for 1.5% of total municipal solid waste generation in landfills. 1,2 According to the U.S. National Park Service; Mote Marine Lab, Sarasota, FL it takes 450 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.3 Reducing the use of disposable incontinence undergarments is one step in waste prevention that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Excessive greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere upset the natural atmospheric balance resulting in climate change.4
How does using reusable incontinence underwear help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
Reducing the consumption of disposable diapers means fewer diapers are manufactured.5
Waste management includes the use of incinerators in the combustion of waste items such as adult diapers.4
Methane emissions from landfills occur when materials decompose.4
Keeping trees in the forest instead of wood pulp for absorbent diaper cores allows for them to filter carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 1,4
Wearever Incontinence briefs for men and incontinence panties for women offer individuals suffering from bladder control an Eco-Friendly, stylish, affordable alternative to the industry standard adult diapers and incontinence pads.
Variety of styles that look and feel like real underwear without the noise of adult diapers
Unique-Dri™ highly absorbent sewn in pad for all-day comfort
No pad changes keep you living an active lifestyle
Washable up to 250 times, projected annual savings up to $473
Agion™ antimicrobial fibers help combat odor-causing bacteria
Wearever Lovely Lace Trim Incontinence Panties are an attractive affordable alternative to disposable incontinence products. These lace panties are designed for light to moderate incontinence. A super absorbent Unique-Dri™ pad is sewn into the underwear eliminating the need to purchase a disposable pad or insert. Specially designed antimicrobial fibers fight bacteria causing odor keeping you feeling fresh all day.
Wearever Incontinence Boxer Briefs for men are more comfortable and discreet than adult diapers. You can feel the difference. These boxer briefs are made of a soft cotton/poly jersey Agion™ fabric with a sewn-in super absorbent pad for light to moderate incontinence. Convenient fly-front jockey style just like traditional men’s briefs.
Incontinence is not a disease. Don’t just live with your incontinence, consult your physician if you are experiencing bladder control problems. Your physician will evaluate your condition, suggest medical interventions and make recommendations for managing the symptoms. If your physician recommends incontinence products to help manage your symptoms there are many options to meet your needs. Sine 1997 AllegroMedical.com has been providing incontinence supplies and home health and wellness products to consumers and caregivers.
Over 18 million people in the US have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Affecting over 6% of Americans, diabetes is one of the most prevalent medical conditions the US. Many people don’t even realize that they have diabetes. The initial symptoms are fairly mild, so roughly 30% of the people with diabetes are not even aware of it.(1)
With so many unaware that they have diabetes, what are the early warning signs? Frequent urination, dizziness or fatigue may be early signs of diabetes. Anyone with these symptoms may want see a doctor for additional testing. The sooner that diabetes is diagnosed, the better the outcome, treatment, and management of the condition. If you are fortunate to have caught diabetes early, you can make some lifestyle changes that can help to treat it. Although there is no cure, diabetes can be managed effectively.
One of the best things that you can do to prevent Type 2 diabetes is to start exercising on a regular basis. Exercise will build and strengthen muscles, including the heart.(2) It will lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune and respiratory systems, it will ease stress and fatigue, and will just make you feel much better in general. Remember that the mind and the body are directly connected, so taking care of both is essential. Exercise will also help people with diabetes to improve the way that their body uses blood glucose and insulin.
A poor diet can often contribute to the root cause of diabetes. Reducing the amount of junk food that you eat and making sure to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats on a regular basis will help greatly. Staying hydrated is another essential step that is overlooked far too often. You may also want to consider taking various vitamins and supplements.(3) Before going on a supplement regimen, make sure that you speak to your doctor so that you can be sure that it will be beneficial.
It is important that people with diabetes are vigilant with their dental care procedures. The high levels of sugar in the mouth can make people with diabetes much more susceptible to periodontal disease, as well as other oral issues.(4) Regular brushing and flossing is crucial, as is bi-yearly visits to the dentist for checkups and maintenance. Diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness, so be sure to visit an ophthalmologist at least once a year.(5)
Like many medical conditions, stress may make it worse.(6) Reducing stress will go a long way in helping you to cope mentally and physically. Take time out of your day to just relax or do an activity that you enjoy. Massage therapy is one great way to reduce stress, while also helping to improve overall health.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your diabetic supplies and other health needs.
Diabetes is a common medical condition that affects millions of people of all ages, all over the world. Many of the people who have diabetes are not even aware of their condition. Most people discover it when they go to their healthcare provider for a different reason. There is no cure for diabetes as of yet, but ways exist to manage it.
When it comes to maintaining a healthy body, it is essential that you develop good nutrition habits. Eating healthy food, taking vitamins, or doing exercise is not going to be helpful if you only do it once in a while. Instead, you should develop long-term habits. Making healthy lifestyle choices a regular part of your routine is the best way to make sure that your body is operating at its fullest potential.
Keeping your body healthy and your immune system strong is the simplest and most obvious way to ward off diseases like diabetes, but there are more specific steps that can be taken as well. Reducing the amount of sugar that you eat and drink is the best way to reduce the chances of getting diabetes. If you drink soda on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to reduce the amount you drink, saving it for a special treat.
Staying hydrated is a part of living a healthy lifestyle that is often overlooked. Drinking plenty of water every day is crucial for many reasons, and maintaining proper hydration will help to fend off diabetes by flushing toxins out of your body, keeping your digestive system working properly, and will help everything to run smoother in general (1). Next time you are thinking of having a can of soda, reach for a water bottle instead!
Your eating and drinking habits are going to play a pivotal role in determining whether you will get diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you will still have time to change your habits and prevent type 2 diabetes. However, not everyone is fortunate to be able to be diagnosed in time. Now is the time to start basing your diet around vegetables, fruits, and low-fat meats. An occasional treat is fine, but avoiding junk food whenever possible will go a long way in determining your health.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you will need to manage your expenses on supplies to monitor and test your blood sugar. Finding a reliable source of quality supplies at affordable prices will be important. For over 15 years, Allegro Medical is committed to providing every customer with the opportunity to buy quality diabetic supplies at reasonable rates. Rely on AllegroMedical.com for your diabetic and other home health and wellness supplies.
As the fitness industry continues to grow it is becoming ever more important to take care of your body with proper recovery. Not only sleep and nutrition is necessary but giving the appropriate attention to your muscles they deserve. There are a lot of products out there that are inexpensive and will give your muscles the benefit of deep tissue work. This process is called SMR or Self-Myofacial Release.
Foam rollers are perfect for “rolling out” your muscles includes the quads, hamstrings, triceps, and calves. These help your muscles by returning them and your soft tissue to their native form. Further, by regaining the normal state, range of motion is improved as well as overall performance.1 For best results it is recommended to use a high density foam roller like the Cando®.
General guidelines for using these rollers are2:
1) Make sure to hold each position for 1-2 minutes.
2) If pain is present go ahead an rest on the painful area for 30-45 seconds.
This stimulates tendons to reduce muscle tension
3) If you continue to roll over the pain it could increase tightness
Below are suggested exercises 2:
IT Band: While on your side, raise yourself up as if in a side plank. Place the roller under the bottom leg, bend the top leg and bring it in front for support. Be sure the head is neutral- ears aligned with your shoulders. Begin rolling just below the hips and down the lateral thigh.
Hamstring: Place the roller under the hamstrings. You can cross your legs to increase leverage and roll from the knee towards to back hip. Keep your quads tight.
Quadriceps: Position yourself stomach down and roller under the quads. While maintaining proper control of your core, roll from the pelvic bone to the knee.
Another great tool is a lacrosse ball to really work the knots. What sets a ball apart from the roller is the ability to work lower back muscles like the Serratus and upper back like the Trapezius. Allegro
Medical carries the FitBALL Spiky Balls designed with sensory points to help encourage stimulation.
It should be noted that when doing SMR it will be painful especially if you had an intense workout. However, the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.