The Best Fitness Exercises for Your Back & Spine

The drive for fitness seems stronger today than ever before. Maybe it has something to do with the new world we live in – with so many jobs becoming increasingly sedentary; we need to get our movement in through other avenues. Some of it most certainly comes from the fact that now more than ever we are cognizant of what low rates of activity and lack of movement can lead to down the line, with rates of heart disease and diabetes being worse than ever before.

Not all exercises are created equal though, and some of the more popular ones may actually be more risky for your back and spine than you may realize. The good news is that there are plenty of exercises that promotes flexibility and stability of your spine. Like an old western, there’s good, there’s bad, and there’s ugly:

  • The Good: These exercises strengthen and promote spinal health and stability, and also can help prevent later injury. Pilates training helps to teach your body how to move and support your spine, not just during training, but during everyday activity. Your body learns to support the loads caused by movement and can reduce lower back pain.
  • Yoga can help to provide core strength and flexibility in your trunk, while balance exercises strengthen body awareness, reducing risk of falls that could lead to back injury. And while you may be tired of hearing about them, planks are popular for a reason – by engaging and strengthening your core and abs, your back will have the support it needs.
  • The Bad: Old-school sit-up have fallen out of favor, while they can strengthen the core, the form can put too much pressure on the neck and upper spine. Done properly, using only your abs and core, they can still be effective. Squats, while great for your legs and lower body, are dangerous if you try to squat too much weight. With perfect form, they are great exercises, so start out light and get your technique right.
  • The Ugly: Unless you have perfect technique every time, heavy overhead lifts are incredibly risky. The moment you arch your lower back, there is heavy compression being placed on the vertebrae, risking vertebrae fractures. One of the most-used machines in the gym may also be one of the worst for your back – according to Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth, the posture used in the incline leg press puts your back in an awkward, flexed position, and of all the leg machines, it has the highest risk for a tear or long-term back injury.

If you choose some of the exercises that may cause damage to your spine and back, it could lead to the need for surgery, which is where we here at Hammill Medical come in. At Hammill, we are a family owned and operated company that specializes in orthopedic implants, spinal implants, and surgical instruments. We don’t just create stock products either – with dedicated prototype manufacturing, in-house design and engineering, and the ability to develop complex, multi-component instruments, we can be the answer for all spinal and orthopedic repair needs.

Contact us today for a quote or more information on our capabilities. If you are interested in keeping up with what we do, and the latest developments at Hammill, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, and make sure to visit our blog often.

A Virtual Tour of Implant Medical Device Manufacturing

Here at Hammill Medical, we are a family-owned-and-operated company that manufactures implants, surgical instruments, and medical devices. However, we do more than just manufacture – we help to develop groundbreaking components with our customers, from the initial design through to affordable, high-quality final production runs.

Distilling information through funnels of writing while searching for the topics you need to learn personally to grow your company physically can be a daunting task. Some products, processes, and capabilities simply need more than that.

As the internet grows and evolves, we’ve found one of the best ways to provide information about our industry and processes is through our company videos. Utilizing tools like YouTube allows us to share our content immediately, and allows our customers to access it whenever and wherever you choose.

Enter our videos. Sure, it’s nice to be able to tell you about what we do, but it’s even better to show you what we do. Today, feel free to take a look inside. Our profile video highlights what we do, our team and process, our practices, FDA approval, and much more. It is a truly comprehensive overview of what we do here at Hammill, highlighting our variety of capabilities that include:

Should you like to discuss a project or other company needs with us at Hammill Medical, please reach out to us through our contact form, and one of our staff will get back to you as quickly as possible. You can also stay up to date with the goings-on at Hammill by connecting with us on LinkedIn, following us on Twitter, or checking out the latest news here on our blog. Our business is always evolving, so keeping up with us will keep you abreast of the latest developments, new products, and much more!

Hammill Medical Offers a Stronger Implant

Medical implants have long been used in the body when joints or other body parts are no longer able to function properly on their own. This can be from damage to the body part from repetitive motion or natural wear and tear throughout the years. Replacement implants can be made from a variety of materials, including plastics, ceramics, or metal alloys. An alloy is a combination of two or more metals. The purpose of combining the metals is that they can be less expensive, and when combined, some metal alloys become much stronger than the individual metals used.

There are different scenarios for when implants should be used, and implants can be temporary or permanent. Permanent implants are generally used in surgeries for the hips or knees when the joints have given out due to age. Prior to using an implant, an orthopedic surgeon will first examine and determine how extensive the damage is and what needs to be replaced. Things such as weight, age, activity level, and overall health will be assessed and will help determine what type of implant to use.

How Implants Work

During the surgery, an implant is often secured to the existing bone by using an acrylic cement. When an implant is needed for a permanent solution, metal alloy implants are typically the best solution. Not only can an alloy last longer, but alloys have a durability that no plastic or ceramic can match.

Traditionally, titanium has been used for making implants and has been for years. The material is lightweight, corrosion resistant, non-toxic, and the human body won’t reject it. These qualities have all made titanium and titanium alloy practical for use in implants. However, there is another, more durable alloy that can be used: cobalt-chrome (CoCr). Cobalt-chrome is a very hard material that is stronger than titanium. The high strength makes it ultra-durable for orthopedic implants in bones and joints, primarily for femoral knee replacements because of the high forces that are put on the knee joint. Due to the strength of CoCr, it can last longer and provide more strength than titanium.

 Cost Effective Implants

Hammill Medical has the ability to design and manufacture any type of orthopedic implant, spinal implant, surgical instrument, or other implantable medical device made out of CoCr or other alloys. We can work with customers from the concept stage through design and manufacturing stage to ensure you get the right product for your needs. Hammill also has the capability to manufacture the highest quality alloy parts and components, at an affordable price for your suitability. With stronger materials and a cost effective approach, Hammill Medical offers the right solutions for any company.

Hammill Medical Meets FDA Registered Requirements

Because we manufacture medical devices and surgical instruments, Hammill works under more stringent rules than other types of manufacturing operations. The quality standards we uphold are designed to ensure proper manufacturing as well as to meet standards designated by industry and federal regulations. The main accreditations for medical device companies are set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the ISO. Meeting the requirements set forth by these organizations shows the company’s commitment to optimal manufacturing processes. The basics of the regulations and standards are as follows:

  • The FDA requires all businesses that produce or distribute medical devices in the U.S. to be registered. This establishment registration is designed to get safe and effective medical devices to market quickly as well as ensuring that current devices remain safe and effective. Devices are subject to such areas as premarket notification and approval, medical device labeling, quality system regulation, and post-market studies and tracking.
  • The leading standards organization ISO develops global guidelines for manufacturers to follow to ensure that quality standards are being met. For medical device manufacturers, ISO 13485 is the highest quality management system standard. Once certified by a third party, a medical device company is proven to consistently meet the requirements for regulatory purposes.

How does Hammill Medical ensure safety within our organization and products?  With safety training, good manufacturing practices, and following the mandates set forth by these organizations! We are registered with the FDA as a contract manufacturer of medical devices and have recently received our recertification registration for ISO 13485 accreditation. These requirements are in place to keep businesses adhering to best practices. Being aware of regulations—and abiding by them—keeps our products, and those using them, safe year round.

For more information on our medical device manufacturing and industry updates follow our accounts on our monthly blog, Twitter and LinkedIn!

Hammill Medical Looks Forward to 2017

Here at Hammill Medical we are anticipating a very busy and exciting 2017. As experts in orthopedic and spinal implants, surgical instruments, and prototype manufacturing and product development, we understand the growing need for medical equipment across the U.S. and worldwide. With the turn of the new year, there is news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will lessen its extreme grip, making it manageable for industry leaders to get approval. This will enable companies to become more innovative in the field.

As technology advances, so do the many components that make up products such as trauma hip systems, surgical instruments, spinal plates, and much more. We understand the growing need for components that work and how these pieces can help to build the perfect solution for many patients. Whether a professional baseball player is looking to get back into the game after an injury or a retired person is looking for a better quality of life, we offer products that truly impact lives. At Hammill Medical, we understand the many facets of these products and how they can be designed for maximum functionality. We offer design technology from customer concept to in-house design and manufacturing engineering.

Our 90,000 sq. ft. facility offers state of the art manufacturing here in the U.S. We are proud to be ISO 13485 certified and are registered with the FDA. With over 100 employees, we are able to bring your new products to market efficiently, all while staying within budget. Our quality control resources mean customers get a quality product each and every time.

All of us at Hammill Medical are looking forward to the new designing and manufacturing advancements in the new year. We are also committed to ensuring the highest level of customer service for all our customers, new and old alike. We are following all the latest trends and advancement and would love to share that information with our customers. To find out more, follow us on our blog, on Twitter, and on LinkedIn. From all of us here at Hammill Medical, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Our End-of-Year Recap: Looking Back on 2016

We can hardly believe it, but it’s almost time to say goodbye to 2016. Throughout the past year, we’ve had the chance to explore rapidly evolving additive manufacturing technology and relay exciting medical industry news in our blog. Before heading home for the holidays, we wanted to take a look back at a few of the year’s biggest accomplishments.

In 2016, our team explored two kinds of implantable technologies: high-tech welding and orthopedic PEEK implants. High-tech welding — a complex structural laser process — is an all-encompassing technology that takes implantable components from assembly to function verification and finally through cleaning and passivation before shipment. By using high-tech welding to melt components into tighter joints, we’ve been able to create safer spinal implants for patients.

PEEK implants are comprised of the organic polymer thermoplastic, polyether ether ketone — a material with mechanical properties similar to human bones. Featuring tiny pits on the surface, these flexible implants improve biocompatibility and encourage new bone cell growth in orthopedic and spinal patients. By incorporating these state-of-the-art technologies into our manufacturing processes, the Hammill team continues to work toward our ultimate goal of restoring patients’ quality of life.

This past year, we also studied how professional sports can affect athletes’ health over time. We analyzed MLB pitchers and catchers frequent elbow and shoulder injuries, specific warm-up routines to reduce injuries in youth FIFA programs, and new NFL helmet rules to minimize head, neck, and spinal injuries. Our team has worked closely with doctors and researchers to study these issues and design customized solutions for professional athletes and everyday patients alike.

Finally, in a push to give back to the industry we love, we proudly celebrated this year’s National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). On this day — and other every day — we aim to revitalize the industry’s outdated reputation by educating the public on cutting-edge technology and exciting career opportunities. The sophisticated medical device laboratory here at Hammill is a perfect example of just how far modern-day manufacturing has come from the dirty shop floors of the past.

We would like to thank all of our customers for helping to make 2016 such an exciting, productive year, and we look forward to kicking off a successful 2017 together. From all of us at Hammill, happy holidays, and have a safe and healthy new year!

The medical world never sleeps! Continue to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates in the company and within our industry!

FIFA 11+ Helps Prevent Soccer Related Injuries

As experts in the medical device manufacturing industry, we like to keep up on trends happening throughout the sports world. We have previously written about injuries that players in the NFL and MLB experience in their careers. In this blog, we will take a look at soccer injuries and the changes that are in place to protect players.

Soccer, as one of the first organized sports that children play, combines running and kicking that are natural playground abilities. These skills translate easily into a team game. Kids as young as four are on teams learning coordination, hone their skills, and utilize teamwork. Soccer is a perfect first sport as, at this level, it is noncontact and serves to introduce children to being active and involved. But, as kids get older the competition and play get tougher and rougher. This is a favorite sport globally and injury risks are a worldwide concern.

In order to reduce soccer related injuries among male and female athletes aged 14 years and older, a warm-up program was developed by an international group of experts. The FIFA 11+ is a program that has been shown to reduce player injury by 30-50% in teams that performed these exercises at least twice a week. Through training and progression, player’s bodies are conditioned and strengthened to be less vulnerable to the most common strains and sprains of the legs and hips.

Head, neck, and face injuries are also a serious concern for soccer players. The risk of concussion and head/neck injuries are a result of contact and collision with other players. Heading the ball is also an issue among very young athletes who suffer harm from improper technique and repetitive actions in training. Because of this, the U.S. Soccer Federation issued new guidelines that bar children under ten from heading the ball during practice or games and limiting heading in players aged 11-13 during practice.

These training and exercise programs are having a positive influence on the sport to reduce injury risk among young players. Even with all of these precautions, there will still be injuries. Hammill Medical is a manufacturer of orthopedic and spinal implants, surgical instruments, and implantable medical devices. We are committed to working with our customers from initial concept, through design and manufacturing to produce the highest quality products at an affordable cost. Contact us today with any further inquiries.

What is National Manufacturing Day?

As the manufacturing sector continues to grow and develop, manufacturers continue to seek ways to further educate the public on the amazing new opportunities that are presenting themselves. A good deal of the American public still has misconceptions about manufacturing, the careers that are available, and the conditions of manufacturing – in fact, studies earlier this year showed that up to 50% up respondents had a view of manufacturing that conflicts with the reality of it. One of the best ways manufacturers have found to help dispel these myths is through the annual National Manufacturing Day celebrations and events.

What is National Manufacturing Day?

National Manufacturing Day is a day that has been selected for companies and community organizations to work together to plan events that are targeted at inspiring a new generation of manufacturers. It is a coordinated effort aimed at addressing misperceptions of manufacturing, through cooperation with schools and manufacturers opening their doors to the public. Manufacturing Day addresses:

  • nmd-logo-oct-2016The shortage of skilled manufacturers
  • The public image of manufacturing overall
  • Concerns and challenges facing individual manufacturing sectors and the industry as a whole
  • Interaction with the local community

Officially occurring on the first Friday of October – this year, on October 7th – the partners behind Manufacturing Day also like to stress that it can really be any day of the year. Developing future talent for the industry and working with the community should be an ongoing concern, and while most events will be on the 7th, many manufacturers and technical schools may hold events in the days surrounding it, if it is better for them and the potential workers they will host.

Hammill’s Involvement

Here at Hammill, we appreciate how Manufacturing Day demonstrates to communities that manufacturing like ours is a great career for the future. As a manufacturer of medical devices, our facility may seem more like a laboratory than the manufacturing of your father’s days. Innovative, clean, technologically advanced – a far cry from dirty, manual, back-breaking work some people envision. Our family-owned-and-operated business, ISO accredited and registered with the FDA, supplies implants and surgical instruments to a number of medical fields.

So if you are interested in a new product, a product we’ve made in the past, or are interested in learning more about apprenticeship and employment at Hammill Medical, contact us today for more information!

Can Baseball Really Take a toll on its Players?

In our March 2016 blog we wrote about the injuries football players endure while playing the game. As we come to the end of baseball season, we’re taking a look at the injuries these players are susceptible to as well. Although baseball isn’t a direct contact sport, daily games that involve throwing, batting and fielding can cause players serious injuries too.

Here’s a fact you might now know: many baseball players spend a considerable amount of time on the disabled list (DL) throughout their careers. The injuries range from minor muscle pulls to more serious orthopedic injuries. The American Journal of Orthopedics published a report, “Injury Trends in Major League Baseball Over 18 Seasons: 1998-2015.” Here we learn that the # 1 cause of placement on the DL was shoulder injuries followed by arm/elbow, and chest, back, and spine.

While most elbow issues are amongst pitchers, catchers are especially susceptible to shoulder injuries in the scenario of throwing to second in a steal situation. Shoulders become at risk of bursitis, rotator cuff tears and inflammation, shoulder instability, and shoulder separation. Since throwing hard is part of the game, all players are vulnerable to shoulder injuries.

Team medical updates: Last year, the Dodgers lost pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu to shoulder labrum surgery and at the beginning of the 2016 season, Mets starting catcher, Travis d’Arnaud, dealt with a strained rotator cuff.

Back and neck injuries are also plaguing the league as players are suffering from spinal stenosis, herniated cervical disks, and stress fractures of the spine.

At Hammill Medical, we have the capabilities to assist athletes. Innovative product lines allow us to provide implant systems that will repair injuries suffered on the diamond. For instance, our shoulder system is manufactured to the tightest tolerances in the industry and is produced with reliable and repetitive quality. We have developed and launched numerous spinal implant systems for major spine companies who trust in our capabilities.

As summer and MLB seasons start to wind down it means the start of the k-12 sports seasons. We are well aware of the injuries kids are susceptible to when playing organized sports. Keep an eye out for our future blog that takes a look at FIFA 11 and preventing soccer injuries.

Implants in PEEK Performance

Orthopedic and spinal technologies are evolving at a rapid pace. Today’s procedures are advancing patient care and improving recovery time substantially. Minimally invasive surgeries, outpatient procedures, and robotics are making joint replacement procedures easier for everyone. The options in implant technology and advances in materials have improved dramatically, and better outcomes are seen by many patients.

PEEK, an organic polymer thermoplastic polyetheretherketone PEEK Image Aug. 2016material, is one of the most successful materials. It is widely used in orthopedic implants. PEEK was originally developed by the U.S. aerospace industry 40 years ago for use in high-load, high-temperature applications. A highly pure grade of PEEK was developed in the late 1990s. This implantable material was embraced by the medical community for use in implantable devices.

The mechanical properties of PEEK are similar to bone, making it the ideal material for orthopedic/spinal implants. It is flexible and biocompatible, allowing the implant to promote bone regeneration by flexing and exercising the surrounding bone. Biocompatibility in load bearing implants is extremely valuable for the long-term success of spinal surgeries. PEEK implants improve biocompatibility with a surface consisting of tiny pits measuring 120 nanometers in diameter. Because these pits encourage new bone cell growth, a strong bond is created between the bone and the implant.

The Industry is currently exploring options of combining PEEK implants with coatings to further improve bone growth. Titanium coatings have shown increased cell adhesion, and research is beginning to see if an aluminum coating could be beneficial. At Hammill, we are well aware of the benefits of implants coated with Titanium. Our capabilities enable us to produce a wide variety of orthopedic PEEK implants that can be coated with titanium. In addition, we manufacture a two-piece insert that has PEEK on one side and titanium on the other. The characteristics of these two materials combine to improve strength and healing; pedicle and spinal screws constructed with titanium offer the strength required in load bearing applications while PEEK brings additional biocompatibility.

The enormous research and development of new implant materials and technologies are driving the market forward. Our goal, as a leading member of the medical device community, is to restore a patient’s quality of life. PEEK, titanium, and other materials that Hammill Medical works with on a daily basis help achieve that goal. It is our expertise in engineering, design, and manufacturing that make us a leader in the implant market. Let us help you bring your orthopedic or spinal implant component to market! Contact us today!