Preventing Injury While Working Out

young fitness woman runner  running at forest trail

Preventing Injury While Working Out

The old adage, “no pain, no gain” is not always true with exercise. Help prevent an injury or any further damage by paying attention to your body and any pain during an exercise session. The longer you wait, the more chronic it can become and could lead to longer recovery times or even lead to other pains or injuries. Stop what you are doing if you feel the following types of pain during your workout:

  • Sharp pain: sharp or stabbing pain is usually an indication of something not functioning properly in that body system. If the problem persists, check in with your doctor.
  • Pain with swelling: if pain is associated with swelling, it may be an indication of a more serious issue. Inflammation is our body’s way of healing; however, if the swelling doesn’t go away or returns with activity, there is likely continued injury to that tissue or area.
  • Localized pain: for pain that seems to be localized and occurs consistently with a specific exercise, consult your doctor.
  • Pain that gets worse during your workout: stop any exercise when you feel pain gradually getting worse the longer or more intensely you exercise. If you reached a level of pain of 5 on a 10 scale, stop what you’re doing.
  • Painful pops: if you have pain along with a pop noise, it can be an indication of a tear of a ligament or tendon or partial dislocation. Some noises may be normal, however, like clicking or grinding in the shoulders, knees or other joints, as long as they are not accompanied by pain.

If you don’t see an improvement within a week or two, consider making an appointment with your doctor.

Watch a video about how Angela, who is an avid runner, suffered from hip dysplasia. She tried Grand Rounds®, a second opinion service, and as a result started a new course of treatment that has allowed her to live the life she always planned.

Grand Rounds is a service offered with Starmark® self-funded major medical plan designs. By using Grand Rounds services, you can identify or confirm an effective treatment course, which may result in better outcomes and cost savings.

Grand Rounds is not an affiliate of Starmark or Trustmark® Life Insurance Company.

Source: 5 Types of Workout Pains You Should Never Ignore. SELF. March 30, 2016.





October 11, 2016 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

More Ways to Save Money on Healthcare


The healthcare system can be complex, but with a little work, savvy consumers can receive quality care for less. Consumers are now encouraged to approach medical care as they do other purchases – shopping for not only quality, but also price. Doing so could mean the difference between paying $150,000 for a procedure or $30,000 for a procedure.


Despite the complexity, there are things you can do to get better healthcare for less. Here are additional ways to save money on healthcare:


  • Ask a lot of questions. Ask questions such as: “Is this test really necessary?” “Is there a generic version of that medication?” “Are there less expensive alternatives to this treatment?” “How much is this procedure going to cost?” And, finally, ask who is going to be involved in the procedure to make sure they’re in your network.
  • Know what your health insurance policy covers. Look into what your health plan covers before you need to use it. Find out about preapprovals, emergency room visits, copays for doctor visits and coinsurance for procedures.
  • Ask for prices upfront, and ask about discounts for cash payments. This may require calling your doctor or hospital to find out what a procedure or an office visit will cost. Remember, some doctors and facilities will offer a discount if you pay cash.
  • Get copies of all your medical test results and records. Bring these results and records with you to consultations to help cut the number of tests and office visits. Your doctor will also be able to review your test results and can advise you immediately rather than needing to set up another appointment after test results arrive.
  • Negotiate big medical bills. If you go into a hospital or undergo an expensive procedure, get an itemized bill, preferably before you leave the hospital. Once you’ve made sure it’s free of errors, ask the hospital billing department for financial assistance, a discount for paying in cash or a payment plan.


View this previously published article for other ways to save.


Source: Adapted from U.S. News and World Report. 12 Simple Ways to Save Money on Health Care. 1/2015.

September 30, 2016 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

Fall Is a Great Time to Go Green

Depending where you live, fall means changing weather, colder nights and falling leaves. Make your life a little more green and reduce your carbon footprint with these ideas.

  • Clean up the leaves in your yard with a rake versus using a leaf blower to save energy. Consider reusing the leaves as mulch for your plants or compost them to enrich your soil.
  • Turn down the thermostat and keep it at 68 degrees. This temperature allows your heating system to operate the most efficiently and can reduce the amount of energy used to warm your home and your carbon footprint. Resist turning the thermostat up and layer up with a sweater or snuggle up in a blanket.
  • Bring your plants inside if they can’t survive the harsh outdoor weather. As an added bonus, plants can help freshen the air in your home.
  • Plant some bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in October or November, to give the flowers enough time to take root and bloom come springtime.
  • Donate old clothes from the summer season instead of packing them away if there is anything you don’t actually wear. Go through what fall and winter clothes you already have before buying new items.
  • Practice green cleaning with eco-friendly cleaners or by making your own cleaning supplies, using ingredients such as lemons, vinegar and baking soda.

Source: 7 Ways to Go Green this Fall. Oct. 13, 2014.

September 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Go Green with These Back-to-School Tips

School Backpack with school supplies on white background

It’s that time of year again. Keep these go-green, cost-saving tips in mind when planning your back-to-school shopping.

  • Check before you buy. Save money by double checking and using those supplies leftover from last year.
  • Buy recycled items. Notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, binders and even backpacks made from recycled content are available. Also, select paper, paperboard or canvas over plastic products.
  • Waste-free lunches. Invest in  BPA-free reusable lunch kits, containers, bottles, silverware and cloth napkins over single-use or disposable items.
  • Backpacks and totes. Convince your kids that if a backpack is still functional, it’s still usable. Donate any outgrown backpacks and make sure the new one is PVC-free.
  • Try on clothes. Check out the closet for clothes that may still fit before replacing them with new ones. Consignment shops, sales or swaps are great resources for finding used items. Donate those outgrown pieces to a local organization or sell to a consignment shop.

Source: 5 tips to “go green” for “back to school”! 8/2011

August 16, 2016 at 8:17 pm Leave a comment

Heart Attack Prevention Tips

Did you know a heart-healthy lifestyle can be your best defense against heart disease and stroke? Follow these simple steps to reduce some of the modifiable risk factors for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

  • Stop smoking – If you or someone in your household smokes, encourage them to quit.
  • Choose good nutrition – The food (and the amount) you eat can affect other controllable risk factors. Follow a healthy, balanced diet and exercise.
  • High blood cholesterol – Reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and get moving. If diet and exercise aren’t enough, consult your doctor for medication.
  • Lower high blood pressure – Reduce your salt intake, take medications as recommended by your doctor and get moving.
  • Be physically active every day – Start out slow, even 10 minutes at a time may offer some health benefits. Research has shown that three to four 40-minute sessions with moderate-to-high intensity physical activity per week can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and keep your weight at a healthy level.
  • Aim for a healthy weight – Good nutrition, controlling calorie intake and physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good indicator whether your weight is considered healthy.

Need help to quit smoking? Sign up for the CVS Minute Clinic® Start to Stop® smoking cessation program, available to members at no additional cost. For program details and instructions, click here.


Lifestyle Changes for Heart Attack Prevention American Heart Association. 7/2016.

August 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Do You Need a Second Opinion?

Frustrated young man in casual wear holding hand on chin and looking away while standing isolated on white background

Has your healthcare provider suggested surgery or a major medical test? You might want to consider getting a second opinion if you or a covered dependent:

  • Have an unclear diagnosis
  • Are diagnosed with a rare or life-threatening condition
  • Are recommended for a treatment that is risky, controversial or experimental
  • Have a choice of treatments or medical tests that vary widely in cost
  • Are not responding to a treatment as expected

Starmark® self-funded major medical plan designs include Grand Rounds®, a vendor offering medical second opinions to patients from expert physicians specializing in the area of need. The service is available at no cost, without any required travel and is delivered over the phone or online for convenient anywhere, anytime access.

To learn more about Grand Rounds, visit

Grand Rounds is not an affiliate of Starmark® or Trustmark® Life Insurance Company.

Source: The Value of a Second Opinion. URMC 2016.


August 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Practice Mindfulness in as Little as 15 Minutes a Day

Yoga on bed

Many people turn to meditation to help ease stress-related problems, including chronic pain, headaches, anxiety and sleep disorders. Researchers say that meditation works at least in part by lowering your body’s responsiveness to the stress hormone norepinephrine.

Mindfulness is a way of zeroing in on the here and now, and giving your full attention to the task at hand. To practice mindfulness, you don’t need to enroll in a formal program, or even spend a lot of time practicing — 10 to 15 minutes a day will do. But consistency is the key.


 Incorporate mindfulness into your daily life:


  • Relax at the end of your day with a 15-minute guided meditation. Keep guided meditations or podcasts on your phone or tablet for easy access.


  • Start your day practicing yoga or with a basic sun salutation yoga sequence.


  • Take a 10- to 15-minute midday break to check in with your breath. Close your eyes and notice where you store stress in your body. As your breath becomes slower and smoother, imagine sending your breath to that area on your inhalation. Imagine a knot loosening as your exhale. Repeat this cycle with each inhalation and exhalation.


  • Scan your body for tension and stress. Find a comfortable seat or lie down. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Start by focusing our attention on your feet then move up your body to your head. Notice any tension, pain, or stress. Take deep, slow breaths as you focus your awareness on each area of your body. Notice how each section of your body feels as you continue to breathe slowly.


Try a variety of approaches to find what works best for you. Aim to practice at least three or four times a week, if not daily. And stick to it. Don’t give up if you feel it’s not working right away. These techniques are like any other skill or workout — the more you do it, the stronger you will get.


Source: Adapted from Harvard Health

August 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm Leave a comment

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