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Managing Multiple Sclerosis

February 20, 2015

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that primarily affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Multiple Sclerosis, also known as encephalomyelitis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that a person’s immune system is attacking the nerve cells and causing damage. The main cause however, has not been identified. Genetics, environmental factors and pathogens are all believed to be a factor but, the true cause has yet to be identified. MS causes a host of physical, mental and in some cases, psychiatric problems. A cure for MS hasn’t been found yet, and the only way to treat the disease is to manage the symptoms.
Common Symptoms of MS:
Sleeping disorders: Insomnia, broken sleep and unrestful sleep are common symptoms of MS.
Muscle disorders: Muscle spasms, involuntary reflexes, tingling sensations or numbness are among the symptoms of MS.
Optical problems: Double vision, neuritis, blurry vision and loss of vision are common in those suffering from MS.
Mobility: People suffering from MS sometimes have difficulty walking as well as transfers like moving from chairs or the bed. Balance, movement, low exercise tolerance, fatigue and tremors are common.
Emotional: Multiple Sclerosis can sometimes manifest psychiatric disorders. Clinical depression, anger, anxiety and frustration are common in those affected by MS.
Speech: In some cases, MS can cause speech disorders like trouble pronouncing certain words or syllables, speed of speech and articulation. Slurred speech is also common.
Cognitive: MS can affect memory retention, processing speed, visual and spatial abilities and other functions. Emotional instability can also occur.
Pain: Studies suggest that 63% of people suffering from MS experience pain, ranging from mild and moderate to extremely debilitating. Headaches, pain in the limbs and back pain are common.
Managing MS
Currently, the only way to deal with multiple sclerosis is to manage the symptoms and the effects of the disease. Doctors generally prescribe treatments and medications for the individual problems rather than treating MS as a whole.
There are treatment options for and ways to cope with the different effects. Sleep disorders can be managed by creating a set sleep schedule, tiring oneself or in a worst case scenario, sleep aids are available.
Pain management: Painkillers and light exercises can help manage the pain. Muscle relaxants and pain relief medications also help
Mobility: In case of difficulty moving, mobility aids, physiotherapy and exercise help manage this problem.
Bladder and bowel dysfunction: Bladder and bowel dysfunction can manifest as incontinence, inability to empty the bladder or bowel and sometimes, both at the same time. Catheterization can be used to manage bladder dysfunction. Bowel issues can be managed with training, adequate fluid intake and a high-fibre diet.
Cognitive problems: Cognitive problems can be managed by brain-training exercises, rehabilitation, tools that can help compensate and aerobic exercise to improve function.
There are plenty of symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis and, as mentioned above, each of these symptoms have to be tackled individually. Doctors and medical professionals advise on managing the symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. A healthy lifestyle and diet, and managing the underlying symptoms help treat the disease. The underlying cause can also be managed through the use of anti-inflammatory medication or through Immunomodulatory Therapy (IMT), which can prevent the symptoms from worsening.

CPO provides a wide range of orthoses for Multiple Sclerosis. Visit our website at for more information.

Alternative Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis

February 11, 2015

Studies show that more than half of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients use natural and herbal remedies to manage MS. Alternative therapy includes anything from diet and exercise to various lifestyle changes.
Some of the following include alternative therapies:
• Dietary supplements
• Acupuncture
• Meditation
• Hypnosis
• Massage
• Chiropractic medicine
• Chinese medicine
• Ayurveda
• Magnets therapy
• Pilates
• Yoga
Complementary therapies are alternative therapies used in addition to traditional treatments. For example, you may have weekly massages to complement your drug treatment. Alternative therapy can be useful in many ways. However some treatments might not be effective and very expensive. The ideal way to assess whether the alternative therapy is right for you is to ask certain questions:
• What are the side effects?
• How long will it take to show results?
• How does it work?
• What does it include?
Contact reputed organizations and find out about the therapy. Additionally, it is very vital to mention the therapy to the doctor. Ensure your doctor knows what therapy you are planning to use so he or she can ascertain there are no side effects along with the main treatment. Also, your doctor can help you with information from other patients who would have used the same therapy. Ensure to investigate the therapy thoroughly by talking to others who have used the therapy. Find out from them how they felt using the therapy.

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World Cancer Day

February 4, 2015


Cancer is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, with around 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012.The number of new cancer cases is predicted to rise by about 70% over the next two decades. Among men, the most common cases of cancer diagnosed in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectum, stomach, and liver cancer. Whereas in women the most common cancers diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.

Posted on: Live Healthy, Tags: ,

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

January 28, 2015

standGuillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Symptoms include weakness and tingling.
These symptoms can quickly spread throughout the body. It can also paralyze the whole body. In its most severe form Guillain-Barre syndrome is a medical emergency. Most patients with this condition must be hospitalized to receive treatment.
The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is not known. Usually, it is often preceded by an infectious illness.
There’s no cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome. However, several treatments can manage the symptoms and reduce the intensity of the illness. Most people get better from Guillain-Barre syndrome, though some may feel lingering effects from it, such as weakness, numbness or fatigue.
Symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome may include:
• Prickling sensations in your fingers, toes, ankles or wrists
• Weakness in legs
• Unsteady walking or inability to walk
• Difficulty with eye movements,
• Difficulty speaking, chewing or swallowing
• Difficulty with bladder control or bowel function
• Rapid heart rate
• Low or high blood pressure
• Difficulty breathing
Guillain-Barre syndrome can affect all age groups. But the risks are higher if one is a man or an older adult.
There’s no cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome. But the following are two types of treatments that can help speed recovery and reduce the severity of the illness:
• Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis).
• Immunoglobulin therapy

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Health Benefits of Swimming

January 21, 2015

swimmingSwimming is the perfect exercise. It is easy to pick up and very easy on the joints. Here are reasons why swimming is the ideal workout:
Low impact: Swimming helps you protect the joints from stress and strain. Water aerobics classes are very helpful for this reason.
Improves Endurance: Swimming improves endurance. In a research study of sedentary middle-aged men and women who did swim training for 12 weeks, oxygen consumption increased by 10% and stroke volume improved around 18%.
Tones the muscles: In a research study of men who completed an eight-week swimming program, there was a 23.8% increase in the triceps muscle. Swimming helps in toning the muscles.
Helps in rehabilitation therapy: When athletes are injured, particularly in the lower half, they are recommended to swim to maintain their fitness level. Swimming helps them get fit, and it’s even part of the rehabilitation therapy. This is due to the resistance of the water. It makes the muscles work hard without the strain or impact that is usually experienced with other excercises.
Burns calories: Swimming helps in losing lots of calories. It ranges anywhere from 500-650 per hour depending on the intensity of the swim and how buoyant you are. Research has showed that swimming burns about 89% of the calories burned during running and 97% of the calories burned during cycling for the same time period.

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Plantar Fascitiis

January 14, 2015

Plantar-FasciitisPlantar fasciitis is a painful disorder which affects the heel and the underside of the foot. It is known for scarring, inflammation, or a structural breakdown of the foot’s plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the thick connective tissue which supports the arch on the bottom of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is often caused by overuse injury of the plantar fascia, which increases in exercise, weight or age. Plantar fasciitis pain is felt on the bottom of the heel.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common injury of the plantar fascia and is the most common cause of heel pain. Around 10% of people have plantar fasciitis at some point during their lifetime. It is commonly related with long periods of standing and is much more rampant in individuals with excessive inward rolling of the foot. Among non-athletic populations, plantar fasciitis is related to obesity and lack of exercise.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include:
• Sharp pain
• Numbness
• Tingling
• Swelling
• Radiating pain
Many treatments can be used to treat plantar fasciitis. The following are some of the treatment options:
• Rest
• Heat
• Ice,
• Calf-strengthening exercises
• Techniques to stretch the calf muscles, achilles tendon, and plantar fascia
• Weight reduction for the obese,
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen
• Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
• Corticosteroid injections
• Custom orthotic devices
• Surgery
• Orthopedic shoes

CPO provides orthopedic shoes for plantar fasciitis patients. Visit us at or call us at 888.676.2276 for more information.

Cranial Remolding Helmets

January 7, 2015

helmetsA cranial re-molding orthosis, or helmet, is a protective head covering. It is used to treat plagiocephaly and brachiocephaly, two conditions which concern the flattening of the head. Plagiocephaly is the uneven flattening of one side of the back of the head, combined with an uneven bulging of the forehead on the opposite side of the head. Brachiocephaly is the even flattening of the back of the head. The cranial remolding orthosis or band is utilized to remold the head into a symmetrical shape as the baby grows. It allows the flattened areas of the head to round out and prevents the bulging areas from progressing. The helmet or band does not exert pressure on the head, but guides the growth to specific areas to improve the head shape.
It is very vital to start treatment for these conditions early since the growth of the head slows down after the age of one. It is also important for the baby to be screened for other conditions that may have caused the uneven head growth.
An infant can start wearing a helmet only at 5 months. Infants younger than that do not have the strength needed to control the movements of the head. It is also necessary for the baby to be screened for other conditions that may have caused the uneven head growth.
Regular appointments with the orthotist are important to adjust the fit of the helmet. The adjustments are usually made by removing small amounts of the foam in the helmet that correspond to areas of increased contact on the head. The decision to stop using the helmet is usually made between the parents, physician and orthotist. The infant is weaned out of the helmet in the same way in which the baby started wearing the helmet. The shape of the head does not regress after the helmet use has been discontinued.

Low GI diet for diabetics

December 31, 2014

gi-dietDiabetes can be managed with the right diet and exercise. Foods that help in controlling blood sugar levels are ideal. People with diabetes have to take extra care to make sure that their food is balanced with insulin and oral medications. A low GI diet can be very helpful for diabetics. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods. It is based on the overall effect on blood glucose levels. Slowly absorbed foods have a lower rating, whereas foods that are quickly absorbed have a higher rating. This is important because choosing slowly absorbed carbohydrates, instead of quickly absorbed carbohydrates, can help even out blood sugar levels when you have diabetes. In this system, glucose is used as a standard reference (GI 100) and other foods are measured against this.
In planning for meals with the GI, it usually involves choosing foods that have a low or medium GI. If the food is high in GI, you can also combine it with low GI foods to help balance the meal.
Low GI carbohydrate foods include dried beans and legumes, non-starchy vegetables, some starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, most fruit, and whole grain breads and cereals. Meats and fats don’t have a GI because they do not have carbohydrates.
A recent study showed that HbA1c can be reduced by 0.5 per cent in people with diabetes who adopted a low GI diet. Research has also shown that lower GI diets have been associated with improving the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol and a reducing risk of heart disease.
There are lists of GI values for many different foods. However, these lists can be unreliable. The GI value relates to the food eaten on its own. But in practice we eat foods in combination as meals.
How to lower GI of foods?
• Choose basmati or brown rice.
• Replace potato for sweet potato or boiled new potatoes.
• Choose granary, pumpernickel or rye bread or whole-grain bread instead of white bread
• Opt for oats, porridge, natural muesli or wholegrain breakfast cereals.
• You can also maximize the benefit of GI by eating a low GI option food with each meal or snack.

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How to adjust to a prosthetic

December 18, 2014

Amputation is a triple threat. It involves loss of function, loss of sensation, and loss of body image. The wonder of it is that so many adapt so well, thanks to their resilience and the ingenuity and dedication of those who care for them. It takes a lot of psychological strength to adapt to such conditions. Some might not know how to prepare themselves for a prosthetic.
Those individuals who have had adequate warning and preparation fare better in the immediate postsurgical period, whereas those who do not receive such preparation tend to react negatively or with massive denial.
Before surgery, the surgeon, prosthetist, and the physical therapist should discuss plans and goals with the patient. Also, before surgery, you should discuss what happens after surgery with a peer counselor who has had an amputation. Exercises to increase muscle strength and flexibility are taught by a physical therapist before and after amputation. Some exercises depend on the type of amputation. You need to do exercises to help reduce swelling in the stump and prevent contracture of tissues in the stump, which stiffens tissues, limits the joint’s range of motion, and thus makes using a prosthesis more difficult.
Once the wound has healed, you may be ready for a prosthesis (artificial leg). A prosthesis can help you regain the ability to walk. You’ll start by working with a prosthetist. This is an expert who makes and fits the prosthesis. At first, you’ll be fitted with a preparatory(sometimes called temporary) prosthesis. Later, you’ll get your definitive (sometimes called permanent) prosthesis. In some cases, the preparatory prosthesis will serve as the definitive prosthesis. Your activity level and goals help decide the type of definitive prosthesis that will be best for you.
The preparatory prosthesis is fairly basic in design. It has a socket, which fits around your residual limb. The socket is attached to a pylon (pipe) that supports your limb. Or, the socket may lead to a knee-like joint, if needed. The pylon then extends down to a solid foot piece. The foot piece has a cover that makes it look more like a natural foot.
You may work with both your prosthetist and physical therapist to practice gait training. This means learning to walk with your prosthesis. You’ll likely begin by learning to stand using parallel bars. The bars help you get used to putting weight on your prosthesis. Then you’ll progress to slow walking, using the bars for support. When you’re ready, you’ll practice walking with an aid, such as a walker or cane.
Watch for signs of poor fit. Proper fit of your prosthesis is very necessary for comfort and good function. Contact your prosthetist if you notice:
1. Your prosthesis feels heavy or hard to move. This may mean it is too loose.=
2. Blisters or open sores on your residual limb. The prosthesis may be too loose or too tight in certain places. If this happens, stop wearing the prosthesis until you see the prosthetist. You may also need to see your doctor to treat wounds or skin problems.
3. Your residual limb moves up and down within the socket as you walk (pistoning). Your limb should fit snugly into the socket of the prosthesis. Pistoning means that the prosthesis is too loose.
The socket of your prosthesis may need to be replaced every 2–8 years. And parts of the prosthesis can be changed if they are not meeting your needs. Wear clean prosthetic socks every day to help prevent skin problems. Wash your socks and socket liner (depending on type) as directed by the manufacturer.

How to travel with a prosthetic

December 17, 2014

When your travel destination is somewhere far from your place, you need to know how to travel with your prosthetic device. As an amputee, you should take into account that, unforeseen things can happen to your residual limb or prosthesis, so always be prepared. For instance, a humid climate can lead to increased perspiration; likewise, arid conditions can cause skin to dehydrate and become dry. Even changes to your diet can affect your residual limb. High contents of salt in restaurant food can cause swelling. You may walk more frequently and for longer periods of time than you would in your usual day. So, what should you do to avoid some of these problems? Try keeping an amputee emergency kit handy when you travel and be sure to plan ahead.
Prostheses can wear and break over time, so attention should be paid to each of its components before you head out on a trip. Always check for cracks, tears, or loose parts that can impact the function and listen for abnormal sounds. If you notice any problems, visit your prosthetist to have them remedied before your trip. If your trip is outside of your local area or in a remote location it will be difficult to get help with your prosthesis.
Your Amputee travel kit should be consisting of
1. Antiperspirants
2. Creams and lotions
3. Cleansers
4. Wipes
5. Topical antibiotics
6. Skin dressing
7. Medications
8. Extra stump socks and/or liners
9. Elastic sleeve or auxiliary suspension
10. Small tool kit
These are some suggestions of what to include in your travel kit. You can certainly tailor it to your own personal situation. It is recommended to try to get all of your lotions, ointments, cleaning agents, and tools in travel sizes to lighten your load and so you can have them with you at all times. Armed with these handy travel tips and suggestions, you will be able to go anywhere at anytime!
If you rely on your wheelchair for more than casual use, it should receive a maintenance check. If your chair has a history of maintenance problems, you may want to take some spare parts. In the worst case, you will need expert repair services. You can usually get service at a medical equipment supply store where you are; if not, a bicycle shop may be able to get you rolling again.
In proceeding through security at airports, it is common for security or customs agents to closely inspect your artificial limb. Passengers with prostheses can be screened without removing them. The way screening will be conducted depends on the passenger’s level of ability and whether or not he or she voluntarily chooses to remove his or her prosthetic during screening. The passenger should inform the security officer of the existence of a prosthetic, his or her ability, and of any need for assistance before screening begins.

Posted on: Prosthetics, Tags: ,