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Just published in The New England Journal of Medicine: A recent article brings up dietary supplement issues you need to be aware of and discusses how dietary supplement side effects could be monitored better. A PDF of the April 3rd article is available free online.

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Filed under: Injury

Meditation can improve pain tolerance

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Tactics, Total Force Fitness
Recent research indicates that meditation may help you deal with pain and related anxiety.

When you’re in pain, any relief is welcome. The good news is that researchers have found pain can be managed and alleviated, to a degree, by employing strategies that have you put your focus elsewhere. Meditation is one such strategy. A recent small study examined the experience of pain from fourteen experienced meditators and fourteen inexperienced participants. It turns out that the old adage is true: Practice makes perfect. The experienced meditators experienced pain to a lesser degree and got used to the pain more quickly. They also registered less anxiety than the unpracticed participants. The message? Practicing meditation regularly may improve how your brain handles pain.

For more information see the write-up on the University of Wisconsin's news page or the research article.

And tune in again later for HPRC’s new section in Total Force Fitness on pain management—coming soon.

Sensors and smartphones may help save lives

HPRC Fitness Arena: Environment, Total Force Fitness
 Early detection of blood loss and other medical conditions can help save lives. New technology combined with smartphones may be the new way medics respond to emergencies on the battlefield.

Developing technology in order to save the lives of those who serve is vitally important. To that end, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) recently received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Army to develop monitoring sensors that will be able to detect blood loss early, which may help save lives on the battlefield. WPI will partner with the University of Massachusetts Medical School to create wireless sensors that can be worn on the body to detect blood loss, body movement, and posture. They will also be working to combine that information with smartphone technology that medics can use as a handheld diagnostic device in rapid-response situations.

TBI Pocket Guide from DCoE

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Tactics, Total Force Fitness
Traumatic brain injury can be a serious invisible injury. The DCoE provides helpful information about symptoms and treatment.

You’ve probably heard of TBI—the acronym for traumatic brain injury. The Defense Centers of Excellence defines a traumatic brain injury as “a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, with 80-90% being mild. The symptoms, treatments, and recovery time are different for mild versus moderate-to-severe TBIs.

Common symptoms associated with TBI are:

Physical: headache, sleep disturbances, dizziness, balance problems, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, ringing in the ears

Cognitive: slowed thinking, poor concentration, memory problems, difficulty finding words

Emotional: anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings

For more information, including strategies and suggestions for rehabilitation, check out DCoE’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Pocket Guide for Warfighters. TBI is a serious physical as well as mental injury, so it is important to consult a health professional before attempting any kind of treatment.

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Save your knees with a few simple tips

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Prevent knee injury with these tips.

Try these tips from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease to prevent knee injury while you exercise:

  • Avoid bending your knees past 90 degree when doing half knee bends or squats.
  • Avoid twisting your knees by keeping your feet as flat as possible during stretching.
  • When jumping, land with your knees bent.

Source: Handout on Health. Sports Injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease.

Exercise smart to prevent injuries

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Some tips to keep you from hurting yourself while exercising

Since injuries can occur in physically active individuals, here are a few tips to help you stay injury free:

  • Warm-up and cool-down after exercise;
  • Use proper form;
  • Spread activity throughout the week, not just the weekend;
  • Wear appropriate safety gear;
  • Increase intensity and time gradually, and
  • Cross train to prevent overuse injuries.

Click here for more information: Handout on Health. Sports Injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease.

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Follow-up article questions the validity of military's blood test screening for concussions/TBI

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Wired Magazine questions the Army's research on concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Doctor Analyzing X-Ray

In the 10/18 In the Crosshairs, we linked to a story on  from CNN.com that reported on military medical researchers that have developed a blood test that can detect if someone has suffered a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury.

In response, Wired.com has an article in their  Danger Room section that calls into question the research that has been done by the Army.

Read the full article here.

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Dealing with repeat injuries

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The August 16 edition of the New York Times has an interesting piece on how athletes try to follow their passion for sport while at the same time coping with the frustration of repeated injuries.

The August 16 edition of the New York Times has an interesting piece on how athletes try to follow their passion for sport while at the same time coping with the frustration of repeated injuries.

Read the article here.

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Patella Bands: Do they help runners?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Patella bands are knee braces often worn by runners in order to alleviate the aches of a knee injury. However, there are underlying issues that remain in determining their effectiveness.

Patella bands are knee braces often worn by runners in order to alleviate the aches of a knee injury. However, do they actually get rid of knee pain? The Wall Street Journal reports that doctors say patella bands can work, but only temporarily. According to the article, their are underlying issues that remain in determining their effectiveness.

Read the article here.

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Warming-up provides much needed benefits

HPRC Fitness Arena:

You may be anxious to get your workout started, but take the time to warm up and you'll avoid injury and perform better. Click here for more information on why you should stretch. To review warm-up and stretching techniques, see Chapters 4 & 7 in the Navy Seal Fitness Guide.

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