Thursday, March 30, 2017

Cold Therapy Systems

Pain management comes in many forms, but probably the most common technique used to deal with injuries and pain is cold therapy. Cold therapy or cryotherapy is used to treat acute injuries to your musculoskeletal system. Anyone who has experienced a sprained ankle or wrist has heard the phrase “put some ice on it.” Applying cold or ice therapy to an acute injury can help shorten recovery time and potentially minimize pain. The hard part can be applying ice or cold therapy in an efficient manner to the area that needs it and cold therapy systems can be the answer. View the below video as an overview as to how cold therapy systems work:

Benefits of Cold Therapy

Icing an injured area can involve ice packs or even just a Ziploc bag filled with ice. While these can deliver cold therapy, they often aren’t the most efficient ways to deliver cold therapy to our injured areas. So how does cold therapy actually work? By applying ice to your skin, blood vessels are narrowed (this is called vasoconstriction) and can reduce your metabolic rate, inflammation, circulation, and muscle spasms. This narrowing of the blood vessels causes a reduction in blood flow to the affected area, therefore reducing swelling. Obviously, the effectiveness of any therapy program is contingent upon patient adherence, so make sure you follow your doctor or therapist’s instructions carefully.
Polar Active Ice Cold Therapy System with 9 Quart CoolerPolar Active Cold Therapy System with 15 Quart Cooler

Polar Active Cold Therapy System with 15 Quart Cooler

Okay, understanding how cold and ice can benefit us in our quest for healing is one thing, but how does this ice cold therapy system benefit you? The Polar Active Ice Cold Therapy System is specifically designed to be used in a postsurgical environment. It benefits the user by circulating ice cold water through a hose to a bladder specifically designed for the area in which you need relief. Patients should be aware that water circulating is cold enough to freeze skin, so caution should be taken and all directions should be followed. The universal rectangular or U-shaped bladder can be secured to any injured area in a variety of manners, which makes it perfect for large areas such as the back, hips, or any contoured area like shoulders or knees.There are bladders designed as a knee compression wrap (KAW), lumbar/hip compression wrap (LAW), or shoulder compression wrap (SAW). Also available are bladders custom-designed for your foot and ankle area to make it easy to use them for any kind of ankle or foot injury. You should always be sure to use the proper bladder for youinjury so that your therapy session is optimized. Each therapy session starts with water and ice being added to the “cooler” part of the system. It’s from this reservoir of cold ice/water that the magic happens. Once you connect whatever body part bladder you require to the hose connected to the cooler, a pump will circulate cold water through the connecting hose to the area covered by the bladder.One tip: use larger chunks of ice since they will melt slower and your therapy can last longer. Depending on your therapy needs, the Polar Active Ice Cold Therapy System is available in a 9 quart and a 15 quart version. To add convenience to this therapy system, a rechargeable lithium ion battery is available so your therapy can go with you. You should work with your doctor to see which side system or bladder would be perfect for your therapy needs.
Knee Compression Wrap for Ice Therapy Polar Ice Therapy Lumbar Compression wrapFoot Bladder

Knee Compression Wrap       Lumbar Compression Wrap         Foot Bladder

It’s a proven fact that ice/cold therapy aids in the healing process. While patient adherence to any therapy program is paramount, using the most efficient manner to deliver cold therapy can go a long way to expedite recovery. By using a cold therapy system, you can effectively deliver cold therapy precisely where you need it and can get you back to your normal active life!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

TENS Units

By: Kevin Cleary

Just about everyone has experienced pain in their everyday life. There are numerous ways to alleviate discomfort associated with pain. Through the use of NSAIDs or heat and ice packs, many of our aches and pains can be solved. One unique way of dealing with pain is through the use of a TENS unit. By using electrical impulses to affected areas, we can seek pain relief in a non-medicinal manner. These units are simple to use and battery-operated Please view the TENS overview video below.

What Is TENS Therapy?

Pain is our body’s way of saying that something is wrong. Pain receptors in our body sends a signal to the brain letting it know that some stimuli are causing us discomfort. Many times we can alleviate this discomfort by the use of a TENS unit. TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and is a therapy technique that uses electrical impulses to minimize or even eliminate pain. BioMedical Life Systems offers two great versions that are easy to use.
BioMedical EMS 2000 Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulator

BioMedical Biostim M7 Flip Top Digital Tens Unit
Treatment of chronic (long-term) pain can benefit from a BioMedical TENS unit by confusing our pain receptors through the use of electrical impulses. This low current voltage that is sent from the TENS unit to electrodes placed around the area in pain can relieve pain by stimulating nerves and blocking other pain signals. Another theory into the effectiveness of TENS therapy states that by stimulating the nerves in the body it helps the body produce endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller.

Using Your TENS Unit

The first step in using a BioMed TENS unit at home is to make sure your doctor or physical therapist gives you a thorough training and how the unit operates. Also, these units should only be used for the symptoms your doctor has ordered it for. Keep in mind you are introducing electrical current to your skin!! You can use a TENS therapy unit for pain in your back, shoulder, or just about anywhere your doctor prescribes, however there are some guidelines that must be followed. points out some do’s and don’ts for TENS therapy and they include:
  • Do not drive while using a TENS unit   
  • Do not place electrodes on broken/irritated skin
  • Do not use a TENS unit with heating pads or cold packs
  • Call your doctor or physical therapist if a rash develops under the electrodes and persists for more than six hours
  • Don’t use a TENS unit while sleeping
TENS Electrode Placement Guide
Your doctor may also advise against using TENS therapy if you are early in your pregnancy or if you use a pacemaker. Remember, safety first!! When starting a therapy session, you should always slowly turn up the intensity when using any TENS device and be prepared for at least 30 minutes of therapy time. The placement of the electrodes
is dependent on where your pain is. To target specific parts of the body, BioMed offers conductive garments with their BioKnit line   (such as socks, sleeves, and fullback vests) to simplify the TENS therapy process. These can target specific parts of the body that require pain relief without the need of placing electrodes in targeted areas  on the patient or
Garments such as gloves or sleeves are interwoven with silver thread throughout to provide even stimulation throughout the affected area. Patients who have sensitive skin that can be irritated by traditional electrodes can greatly benefit from using this type of therapy aid. Effective, more comfortable, and easy to use…who could ask for more?
The effectiveness of TENS therapy can be enhanced by the use of a thin layer of
gel to help the signals from the unit to effectively combat your pain. Once your therapy is over you can clean your skin and wipe the electrodes with soap and water to remove any gel. These electrode pads do need to be replaced after approximately 5-6 uses in order for them to operate in an optimum manner and BioMedical offers both disposable and multiple use electrodes. These electrodes are available in square, rectangular, and oval options. At the left is a chart that shows some potential electrode placements for a variety of ailments. Your TENS therapy can be tailor-made to your specific need.

Pain relief comes in many forms and the use of a BioMedical TENS unit is another tool at your disposal to combat chronic pain or recover from an injury. Your occupational/physical therapist can quickly train you in the proper use of these units at home and allow you to improve your quality of life.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pleurx Drainage Kit

By: Kevin Cleary

Healing at home in the comfort of your own surroundings and on your timeframe can be important to any patient. Being able to drain your recurrent pleural effusions or malignant ascites in your house can help you avoid trips to the hospital or doctor’s office. Any drainage requires appropriate equipment and sterile technique to minimize infection. Using the right system can make it simple for patients and caregivers alike. The Denver Pleurx drainage kit makes this procedure simple and easy for home use.
What Are Pleural Effusions?

When excess fluid builds up around the lungs this is called a pleural effusion. Pleura are a thin membrane that covers your lungs as well as the inside of your chest cavity and the effusion is when liquid accumulates between these two layers. In normal conditions there is only a small amount of fluid that allows the lungs to move during normal breathing.
An image to describe Pleural effusion

Causes of this type of fluid buildup can range from leakage from other organs to cancer to infections such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. Sometimes you may not experience any symptoms if the effusion is small, but if they get larger you may feel chest pains (especially during inhalation) or shortness of breath. When fluid gets into the peritoneal cavity, this is known as an ascites. As points out, when this is caused by cancer it is called a malignant ascites. Liver or kidney disease can also be a cause as well as blood clots and heart disease.

How Does It Work?
              Understanding the anatomy of how something works can be important in making sure you are using it properly. The Denver Pleurx drainage kit is specifically designed to make home drainage easy. Included in your drainage kit is a folded blue package that contains the sterile items you will need to train your fluid in a sanitary manner. Included is a pair of sterile gloves, gauze, and alcohol wipes. Since these items are sterile, you should take care not to touch them unnecessarily. Also included is an emergency clamp that should only be used to close the catheter if it has been cut or damaged. This system includes an indwelling catheter which drains fluid quickly into a vacuum bottle so it can be placed just about anywhere for convenience. The drainage line uses a safety valve that is opened on the access tip and once the clamp is released, fluid is withdrawn from the pleural cavity into the bottle. This draining is typically requires 3-5 minutes to achieve. Your doctor will determine whether or not you should do this draining every one or two days. During your drainage program, fluid that is drained from your pleural cavity may diminish or stop altogether. If this happens you should gently squeeze the catheter and drainage line. If this does not begin any drainage you can try switching to another bottle. If this second bottle does not achieve drainage, contact your doctor since this may be an indication that the catheter possibly can be withdrawn. Care should be taken to keep the catheter area clean since an infected catheter can produce symptoms such as pain, redness, swelling, fever or warmth to touch, or even fluid from around the catheter site. If your catheter should pull out the area should be covered immediately with sterile gauze and medical attention should be sought immediately.
Pleurx Drainage Kit
Denver Pleurx Darinage Kit
Being able to handle any of your medical needs at home is always more comforting and convenient no matter what the treatment. You can avoid multiple trips to the doctor or hospital by using the Denver Pleurxdrainage kit in the comfort of your own home. Your doctor or nurse can easily train you in how to use the device at home and be able to identify any negative side effects that may develop during drainage therapy.