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The Strong Link Between Stress and Blood Pressure

As you know, there is a direct connection between stress and blood pressure. A stressful lifestyle is generally accepted to be a major cause of hypertension and a host of other illnesses.

In fact, people are often not very surprised when they learn that someone in a high-profile, high-stress job or business also suffers from high blood pressure. It is practically expected that he or she will have the condition.

Stress-induced hypertension can lead to cardiac problems which may compromise your health for the rest of your life.

Because of the demands of their business, many busy executives don’t eat right or exercise. This results in unhealthy weight gain. When you add excessive levels of job related stress into the mix, you have a perfect recipe for several health problems.

High blood pressure increases the load on vital organs of the body. Organs like the kidneys and the heart may become so overloaded that they no longer function properly.

While they are not definite indicators, some of the symptoms of high blood pressure include feelings of lethargy and low energy, increased frequency of urination, severe headaches, giddiness and nausea.

What can someone in a high-stress occupation do to avoid hypertension? It may not always be possible to avoid stressful situations, but you can take steps to minimize the impact.

Ask yourself, have you created a work environment where you are thought to be indispensable in your job? Do you or others feel that work will never get done without your direct presence and intervention?

That sort of environment can generate plenty of stress and send your blood pressure levels dangerously high.

Acknowledge that no one is indispensable and that life and business will go on without you. In any case, you will serve your work better if you don’t drive stress levels high for yourself or others.

Often, it is a matter of defining your priorities. Give some serious thought to what is important to you. Not what you think others expect of you. If what you have is out of alignment with what you want, start to make changes.

If you think you are overloaded at work, ask that some of your duties be given to others in your office.

Consult your doctor about the ideal weight for you and if necessary, begin a weight reduction program under his supervision.

Find out from your doctor what exercise program will suit you best. Make a commitment to exercise regularly and do it.

If your doctor recommends dietary changes such as limiting salt intake to reduce the risk of hypertension, stick to it.

Many people claim that regular meditation can help lower blood pressure. Even five to ten minutes a day can help.

You need not do any esoteric tricks to get the benefits of meditation. Keep it simple. Sit in a comfortable position, relax your body and mind and quiet your thoughts as much as possible. If you prefer, quietly watch your breath flow in and out, without attempting to control it in any way.

Don’t get worked up about the fact that you can’t relax completely or reach perfect stillness of mind. That’s not required in any case.

A series of small changes will add up to a major difference in your state of health. Do what is necessary to limit both stress and blood pressure to manageable levels.

Knee Arthritis and Nutrition

Arthritis is a general term describing over 100 different conditions that cause pain, stiffness and (often) inflammation in one or more joints. Everyone with arthritis can benefit from eating a healthy well balanced diet.

There is no special diet or ‘miracle food’ that cures arthritis, but some conditions may be helped by avoiding or including certain foods. For example, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis seem to respond to an increased dietary intake of fish oils, while gout benefits from avoidance of alcohol and offal meats.

Always seek the advice of your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet in an attempt to treat arthritis. You may be restricting your food intake unnecessarily, or overdosing on products (such as mineral supplements) that may have no impact on your condition at all.

General dietary recommendations for a person with arthritis include: eat a well-balanced diet, avoid crash dieting or fasting, increase dietary calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, keep your weight within the normal range, by reducing the amount of dietary fats you consume.

Uric acid is a waste product that is normally excreted from the body in urine. Gout is a type of arthritis characterized by the build-up of uric acid in the joints (such as the big toe), which causes inflammation and pain.

Some of the dietary recommendations that may help to ease the symptoms of gout include: restrict or avoid alcohol, restrict or avoid offal meats, such as liver, kidneys and brains, restrict or avoid shellfish and anchovies, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, make sure you don’t overeat on a regular basis, be sure to take your time when eating.

Fish oils that contain omega-3 fatty acids have been found, in various studies, to help reduce the inflammation associated with some sorts of arthritis. These forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, are characterized by inflammation.

The fish oil seems to work by reducing the number of inflammatory ‘messenger’ molecules made by the body’s immune system. There may be additional benefits to eating fish once or twice every week – researchers from around the world have discovered that the regular consumption of fish can reduce the risk of diseases ranging from childhood asthma to prostate cancer.

Being overweight does affect people with arthritis. Joints affected by arthritis are already under strain. If you are overweight or obese, the extra load on your joints may be exacerbating your symptoms, especially if your affected joints include those of the hip, knee or spine. There is also a clear link between being overweight and an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

To lose excess weight, you must be active, but this can be difficult for people with arthritis due to pain or stiffness. See your doctor, dietitian or health professional for information and advice. Weight reduction strategies may include: switch to a diet that is high in nutrition, while low in kilojoules, experiment with different sorts of activities – for example, it may be possible to enjoy swimming or some kinds of low impact exercises, limit your exercise activities to unaffected joints – for example, if your hands are affected, you may be able to comfortably ride on a stationary bicycle.

There is no substantial scientific evidence that would support a person with arthritis avoiding particular foods, unless that person has specifically shown intolerance to them (the exception is gout). However, as research reveals more connections between diet and health, it is possible that stronger connections between particular foods and arthritis may emerge.

With some foods – such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers – there is much anecdotal evidence (stories about individuals), but again there is no strong scientific evidence.

If you think a particular food may aggravate your arthritis, it can be useful to keep a food diary.

After a month, you may have some idea about which food could be provoking symptoms. You could then try eliminating that food from your diet for two weeks to see what happens. Don’t cut out a whole food category, and make sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals that this food provides from other sources. It is important to let your doctor know that you are doing this.

Discover treatment options, read more about arthroscopic knee, severe knee arthritis allergies to pain medication, artificial knee and look at arthroscopic knee surgery pictures.

Why Chiropractic is a Good Idea

You’ve probably heard about chiropractors, chiropractic therapy, or even chiropractic treatment while watching a sports news about your favorite athlete getting therapy because of an injury. It’s not uncommon since chiropractic treatment is commonly associated with sports. If you’re thinking that you don’t need it since you don’t do sports, think again. Chiropractic medicine are not isolated to the sports world; in fact, you might even have an injury that needs chiropractic attention.

Unknown to many, chiropractic practices are based on several key principles. The basic assumptions behind this form of therapy include the belief that the body can heal itself and that the brain controls body functions through the nervous system. The belief that spinal malfunction has direct effect on the nervous system as well as on the body’s general health is also an underlying factor of chiropractic treatment. This is because chiropractic treatments are usually focused on neuromusculoskeletal disorders or NMS. NMS disorders are usually diagnosed at the back muscles and the spinal cord.

A founding principle of chiropractic is adjustment. Adjustment in this case is a distinct type of manipulation of joints by using controlled direction, leverage, force, velocity, and amplitude. Adjustments can be practiced on almost all joints in the body. This can be accompanied by cavitation usually characterized by a popping sound. The goal of adjustments is to affect nerves and nervous system to ease the body in returning to homeostasis by restoring the normal function and condition of the joints. These may sound to technical but chiropractors, chiropractic therapists, and chiropractic practitioners maintain that chiropractic treatment is also an art. Art in chiropractic medicine is viewed as the intuition, expertise, and skill that practitioners employ to accurately diagnose dysfunction and abnormality of the body’s NMS system. Specific tests are administered to the patient to determine the injury, its extent, and the proper treatment or technique that must be used to correct it. Art is also seen in perspective as the finesse of the practitioner in applying techniques. Chiropractors insist that grace and fluidity of movement are necessary so as not to shock the NMS system and aggravate injury.

Though people with some sports injuries are still on top of the list, other injuries or ailments can also be treated by chiropractors, chiropractic, and chiropractic treatment. Reports indicate that there is an increasing number of people availing of chiropractic help to ease headaches, neck pain, arthritis, and other muscular pain. Patients also indicate that they function better and feel energetic after undergoing chiropractic treatment. Also, there is no need to worry as chiropractors have undergone rigorous training and study for as much as 4 to 6 years before they can get certified. As a plus, the practice is also less expensive than NMS surgery that you might need if continue to ignore your NMS problems.

 

7 Diet Secrets of the Stars

Celebrities always look fabulous. Whether appearing in television or films or strutting down the red carpet during movie premiers and awards, they never cease to fascinate us with their larger than life presence. The truth is, it takes a lot of effort to look the way they do, and being the public figures that they are, they cannot afford to slack off when it comes to taking care of their physical appearances. Their livelihood largely depends on how they look. Aside from the clothes, the hair and the makeup, celebrities have to take good care of their bodies.

So it is no surprise that these stars have their own secrets when it comes to staying fit and gorgeous. Their health agenda can range from extreme workouts to well-planned meals. Who doesn’t want to know their secrets in staying absolutely sexy? Here are some of the diet secrets of seven women celebrities.

  1. Jennifer Aniston

The star of the phenomenal television show Friends not only mesmerized audiences with her adorable comic sense and her famous hairstyle, she was also known for having one of the sexiest bodies in Hollywood, as she appeared in countless magazine covers. To stay trim, Jennifer follows the 40:30:30 diet method. The diet consists of:

40% Low glycemic carbohydrates

-Foods such as beans, fruits and vegetables, legumes

30% lean proteins

-Tofu, fish, chicken, turkey, beef and low fat dairy products

30% essential fats

-nuts and seeds, fish and olive oils

It is essential that every meal should contain macronutrients to attain the balance of hormones and maximum weight loss.

  1. Kate Hudson

The gorgeous daughter of actress Goldie Hawn gained 60 pounds during her pregnancy, which she needed to shed quickly before commencing on her next film. From her previous eating plan, she switched to a higher protein diet. She consumed high protein meals in smaller portions, and she combined this diet with an exercise program that includes weight training and cardiovascular workouts. After getting a lot of flak because of her post-pregnancy figure, Kate removed all that baby weight in only four months and has gained abdominal muscles that gained the envy of many in Hollywood.

  1. Oprah Winfrey

As one of the most successful talk-show hosts in the world, there is no question that Oprah needs to maintain her physical appearance for her millions of audiences. Known as one of those celebrities who are constantly battling weight gain, she has recently toned up her figure and has never looked figure in age 50 by combining a regular exercise regime and diet plan. Oprah works out five days a week, spending 30 minutes on the treadmill and doing free weights. Her eating plan consists of legumes, fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables, chicken and dairy products that are low-fat. She limits her consumption of white sugar and flour. Oprah also credits her trim figure to her habit of not eating anything after seven in the evening.

  1. Gwyneth Paltrow

A lot of people may find it hard to believe that the perpetually slim Academy award-winning actress actually needs to diet. Gwyneth actually follows a healthy eating plan that resembles Oprah’s, avoiding sugar and white flour. She usually follows a macrobiotic diet, eating foods like vegetables, brown rice, and lean meat. She also eliminated dairy from her diet, and does yoga every day.

  1. Madonna

The pop star known as the Material Girl has always flaunted a body that is to die for, and has become a true fitness paragon over the years. She keeps herself in tip-top shape by having Ashtanga Yoga, and follows a strict diet that mostly shuns junk foods. She adopted a macrobiotic eating plan that includes organic foods rich in lean protein.

  1. Claudia Schiffer

The bodacious German supermodel eats salad and steamed vegetables for dinner and eats only fruits before the afternoon. While on locations, she prefers to eat black grapes and drinks tomato juice and herbal tea.

  1. Christie Brinkley

Long-time supermodel maintains her all-American good looks by being a vegetarian. She does not keep junk foods of any kind inside her home to make sure that she does not eat them when cravings occur. She snacks on sweet potatoes in place of candy bars, and she adopts a liquid juice diet when she needs to slim down fast.

Celebrities are just like ordinary people. They need to maintain their figures just like anyone else, and there is more pressure on their part since they are constantly in the public eye. Ordinary folks can have celebrity-like bodies, too, and by following these diet and fitness plans, they can also look like red-carpet worthy.

Crash Hits: Common Injuries in a Car Accident

Cars are the most visible signs of modernity in an otherwise ancient world. No urban environment would be complete without these four-wheeled machines. Most people see them as a convenience, enabling them to get from point A to point B without having to endure the crowds the rush hours associated with public transportation. However, as cars become more and more available, roads become more and more congested. As the congestion worsens, it is inevitable that car accidents occur and people get hurt. Statistically speaking, car accidents have been occurring with increased frequency over the past decade. The statistics also show that there are a number of injuries that have become common to most car accidents during that period.

Head and neck injuries are listed as being typical to a car accident. The face, in particular, can suffer laceration and cutting from shattered glass or shrapnel generated by the impact. Dental injuries are also possible, particularly for people in the driver’s seat or were close to the point of impact. Mental health problems and head trauma are also possibilities. Concussions are not uncommon among car accident-related injuries. Some people also tend to experience anxiety for some time after the accident, though this is much rarer than physical injuries. The most common mental health concerns related to a car accident would be helping the victims overcome the stress of being involved in the accident, as well as the chance of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The body, however, is much more likely to bear the brunt of the damage caused by a car accident. Injuries to the abdomen and legs can result in chronic pain for prolonged periods after an accident. In some cases, accident survivors have had to endure lower back pain for years since their bodies never fully recovered from the damage. Knee pain and damage to leg muscles like the quadriceps can also occur for those who are involved in relatively minor accidents or were not at the point of impact. Areas that have been cut or injured during the accident may also develop an infection, depending on how quickly the wound or opening was addressed by medical teams.

Broken bones and torn muscles are common among car accident victims, though the likely areas to be affected vary depending on the specifics of the accident. Simple and compound fractures can both be experienced, typically requiring extensive time to repair and recover. In a number of cases, surgery may be needed to undo some of the damage done. Most often, drivers will experience trauma and damage to the legs and possibly the torso. Some injuries may not be obvious at first and can only be treated after the victim has been given a full examination. Removal of some of the shrapnel from impact may also require surgery if it enters too deeply into the body.

There are some psychological disorders that can come about from being involved in a car accident. The most common to be cited is post-traumatic stress disorder, though it is not the only one. Anxiety is also a possible effect of being in a car accident, though it is not considered to be a common occurrence.

Choosing the Right Knee Brace

Knee braces – also known as knee supports and knee pads – are used primarily as protective gear to address several physical conditions and prevent knee-related problems. These braces are a prominent fixture in sports medicine, particularly with injured athletes. Some sports medicine experts classify knee braces into two simple categories. Functional knee braces are used by patients with an ACL tear, damaged ligaments or other injuries to substitute for the injured body part. Individuals using these braces are able to continue doing some activities without requiring surgery. Although functional braces will never be a perfect or permanent replacement to normal ligaments, they definitely offer adequate protection in low-load situations, giving the knee greater stability compared to having no braces at all.

  1. Consult Your Doctor

One who is considering wearing a functional knee brace should consult with a doctor. The decision to use the brace would depend on the particular ligament injured, the sport the individual plays, rehabilitation work taken, and other factors. An injured athlete must realize that strengthening, physical therapy and rehabilitation are more important than using a knee brace, which may help prevent a re-injury but not hasten or contribute much to the recovery or healing process.

On the other hand, prophylactic knee braces are more of a preventive measure for healthy athletes. However, research has yielded unclear results if such a brace prevents knee injuries. Although some athletes using prophylactic braces have shown lower MCL tears, other factors have also contributed to injury risk reduction. These factors include the kind of sport played and conditioning, position and other player attributes.

Apprehension has also emerged over the possibility that a prophylactic brace may actually be a hindrance to knee movement and even increase the likelihood of injury. Research shows that this is not the case, as long as the knee brace is correctly fitted and firmly in place.

  1. Commercial Knee Braces

The Futuro Knee Support Stabilizing Large is one of several knee braces available in the market. The brace is designed to give athletes or individuals with weakened tendons, muscles or ligaments stable and comfortable support and prevent any re-injury. The Futuro can also be worn the whole day or when the user feels discomfort in doing some activities. The brace also does not hinder movement even as the knee is stabilized.

Magnetic therapy is integrated into Magnetic Wave Knee Support. This brace comes in small/medium and large/extra large sizes and features 12 magnets spread strategically in the neoprene material. The HoMedics knee support also applies heat therapy and cold therapy for aches, sprains and other injuries. The brace also fits the user securely with loop closures and a hook.

The single-size Mueller Sport Care Knee Support Open Patella is used for arthritic knees and minor strains and sprains. The support is made from a soft neoprene blend that enables body heat retention to relieve pain and help maintain knee flexibility. The support is also designed with an open patella, adjustable straps, stretch nylon, and trimmed, smooth edges to ensure a comfortable fit, prevent chafing and easy wear and removal.

  1. Knee Braces with Specific Applications

– Arthritic knee braces are made for individuals with arthritis

– Tese braces are also called unloader braces

– These are designed to eliminate pressure on knee joints

– Post-operative braces are designed to immobilize knee joints after an injury or surgery

– Magnetic knee braces work on the assumption that magnetic fields promote various health benefits

– Elastic braces are the ideal option, as they adjust to the natural contour of the knee and leg

 

Trigger Point Therapy

Does Massage Therapy Help Against Back Pain?

I originally thought that massage therapy would be a gentle, soothing massage that would lessen the ever present tightness in my shoulders and lower back. Boy was I wrong.

I made an appointment at the insistence of my boss because the neck pain I had experienced since adolescence was becoming more intense from the way I sat at my computer.

I was led into a pastel room with soft lighting and asked to strip to my underwear and lay face down on the table. My head went into a donut shaped holder and there was a place to rest my arms. The massage therapist came in and asked me some questions about the location of my pain and then went to work.

It was the most excruciating pain I had ever felt.

Deep tissue massage is used for breaking up the tightness in the muscle tissue and retraining the muscles. Although the first few sessions seemed to hurt more than they helped, I stuck with it, coming three times a week for a month. By the end of the second month I had begun to look forward to each session and noticed that I wasn’t clenching my jaw as much. I also noticed that my lower back didn’t hurt as much at the end of the day.

The therapist had given me several back stretching exercises to do at night and the results were amazing. I now refer all of my friends with muscle pain for massage therapy.

Massage works the soft tissue-muscles, ligaments and tendons-to stimulate circulation and improve muscle tone. It is a system of kneading and pressing on specific muscle bundles just underneath the skin, but a good massage therapist can reach deeper muscles. Massage is and ancient and simple form of therapy.

Another benefit is improved breathing and circulation. Because the lymphatic system runs parallel to the circulatory system, there is improved elimination of waste throughout the body, and in order to experience the full benefits the client is taught how to breathe deeply and slowly. While the few initial visits were quite uncomfortable, the full result was entirely relaxing.

An occasional soft massage is so relaxing that many people fall asleep during the treatment.

However, if you have pain like mine a course of several treatments will result in the full benefit, such as along with increased circulation and improved breathing, a relaxed muscle is a good way to prevent sprains and torn ligaments, especially if you are an athlete. ( I am far from being an athlete, but am just as prone to injury from excess tension and structural weakness.)

For example, when the structure in my lower back is compromised due to inactivity, I am much more likely to strain my back when I lift heavy objects, even though I am aware of how to properly lift a box-with your knees, not with your back- but because my legs and lower back are weak, massage can greatly improve the position of the muscles and makes them more pliable, thus resulting in less chance of sprain or strain.

Massage is also used to relieve fatigue, which can be caused from the muscles in the body being so tight that you use extra energy to function. Because massage relaxes the muscles, the entire body doesn’t have to work so hard and what was once fatigue can now be energy directed elsewhere.

One last note on the benefits of massage-the use of massage oils help lessen the friction of massage on dry skin, and are often used as an aromatherapy along with the massage process. A good, clean essential oil such as rosemary can leave the client feeling relaxed and calm, so don’t hesitate to ask your therapist to use scented oil.

Does Chiropractic Care Really Make Sense?

The Role of Chiropractic in Treatment Beyond the Resolution of Symptoms.

Do you have the same nagging injury that never seems to go away? Are you suffering needlessly with pain? Are you fed up with taking painkillers? Do you want to find out what is causing your pain? If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then chiropractic may be a solution for you.

Typically, the chiropractic patient enters the office with some kind of pain. Back pain, neck pain, hip pain, leg pain, arm pain, shoulder pain, etc. comes in all different shapes and sizes. However, all of these pains share one common thread, they are all symptoms. Symptoms tell you that something in your body has gone wrong. They serve as a warning system to alert you of a deeper problem. Healing occurs regardless of the symptom/s experienced. The quality of healing depends on the effectiveness of locating and addressing the cause.

Many people in today’s society experience pain due to abnormal structure of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The neuromusculoskeletal system comprises the human frame and posture. Abnormal postural structure not only predisposes the human body’s systems to abnormal function, but may ultimately result in an injury or chronic condition.

Altered alignment of the human frame may lead to poor healing and repair of the body tissues. These architectural and pathological changes may occur in muscle, ligament, bone and central/peripheral nervous system. Chiropractic aims at therapeutically restoring these pathological deformations of the neuromusculoskeletal system and spine to allow for optimum function of the human frame and nervous system.

Correct spinal mechanics and the health of the whole neuromusculoskeletal system are interdependent. Therefore, chiropractic treatment focuses on restoring proper spinal mechanics which will, in turn, influence the function of the nervous system.

Chiropractic rehabilitation enhances the healing process and assists the body in its efforts to heal itself by controlling the long-term degenerative changes in the human frame and posture. Care is based upon the human process of healing. The healing process is categorized into fairly distinct progressive stages. Consequently, conservative chiropractic rehabilitative care flows with these stages. It is not the intention of this article to provide an in-depth review of rehabilitative chiropractic care and/or the healing process; rather, the purpose is to highlight some of the pertinent concepts in understanding how one can achieve better health through chiropractic care.

Acute inflammatory stage. This initial stage of response to injury lasts up to 72 hours. The goals of care during this phase of healing are directed at reducing the reactive inflammatory response and eventual removal of debris from the tissues. Clinical management includes the use of chiropractic adjustments, ice, heat, gentle range of motion exercises, and passive stretching.

Repair stage. The repair stage lasts from 72 hr. up to 6 wk. and is characterized by the synthesis and deposition of collagen (scar formation) in an attempt to regenerate damaged tissue. During this stage the body’s main concern is the increase of the quantity of collagen to replaced damaged tissue. However, this new scar formation is not fully oriented in the right direction and is of a mechanically inferior quality. Clinical goals during this phase include freeing early adhesions and maintaining muscular tone and ligamentous integrity.

Remodeling stage. This stage lasts from 3 wk. to 12 months or more (depending on the severity of the injury), during which time the collagen scar is remodeled to increase the function of the new tissue. The rehabilitative goals primarily involve improving the quality, orientation and strength of the collagen. This is accomplished by alignment of global body positions and posture, increasing functional capacity, reducing stress/strain on involved injured structures, and management of disability.

So, when does the healing occur? It starts immediately after the injury and can last for over a year depending on the severity of the injury and the action steps taken to help the body heal efficiently. Addressing an injury as early as possible using chiropractic care can result in the best possible scenario of full recovery. Addressing your chronic injuries now results in the return of a pain free lifestyle, doing all the things you love to do.

The Migraine Headache: Definition, Causes and Cures

More than 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches which can be classified as severe and often disabling headaches. A typical migraine headache will give a warning sign before its onset, such as tingling in your limbs, seeing blind spots or flashing lights. You will know when you are experiencing a migraine headache because they are accompanied by most, if not all of the following symptoms. Severe pain either on one side or both sides of the head, pulsing head pain, worsening head pain with any activity, nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and not being able to function regularly. While seeing flashing lights or blind spots are a common warning sign of a migraine, some sufferers experience these symptoms throughout the entire duration of their headache. This is classified as a classic migraine and, along with the above conditions, the person will also experience weakness and speech problems along with zigzagging lines in their eyes. If a migraine is left untreated, the pain can last from four to 72 hours, which can cause huge disturbances in a person’s normal life.

 

Although doctors are not 100 percent sure what causes migraines to occur, there are something’s that are known to trigger these headaches. These include, fluctuations in hormones; many women claim that their migraines worsen just before a period or during menopause and pregnancy. Certain foods can also trigger migraines, such as alcohol, cheese, chocolate, aspartame and caffeine which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate and most soft drinks. To avoid migraines as best you can, try keeping a diary of the foods you eat and record how they made you feel afterwards. After a couple of weeks doing this you should be able to see what foods that are triggers for you, therefore telling you which foods to avoid. Other triggers can include stress, changes in the environment and certain medications.

To prevent migraines try avoiding trigger foods, as well as exercise regularly, cutting down on estrogen producing drugs if you are a woman, and quitting smoking and drinking alcohol. All of these things can help you avoid migraines.

Coping with Back Pain

The back muscles are attached to the spine. The spine consists of bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are joined together by the facet joints. Softer disks separate the vertebrae. They allow the spine to bend and flex.

They also act as cushion in between the vertebrae and absorb shock and vibration produced by walking and running. Nerves connecting the brain to the body make up the spinal cord. The vertebrae protect the spinal cord.

Nerves branch off from the spinal cord to various organs and muscles including those in the arms and legs. The nerves carry instructions from the brain to the muscles, organs, and limbs. They also carry sensations such as pain from different parts of the body to the brain. The spine is joined to the pelvis, or hip, by the sacroiliac joints.

The disks in the back act as cushions between vertebrae. A disk contains a central area called the “nucleus pulposus,” which means soft center. Disks are usually moist, like a sponge with water in it. As a person gets older, or after a disk gets injured, it starts losing water and becomes stiffer. The disk becomes less useful in cushioning the back. This is known as disk degeneration.

The most common cause of back pain is muscle spasm. An awkward movement of the back can lead to a severe muscle spasm. The muscle spasm causes the back to “lock” and can cause severe pain. A muscle spasm can occur after a simple sneeze or cough. It can also occur after an awkward bending or twisting motion.

A movement as simple as bending to tie a shoe or twisting the back to turn and face in a different direction can cause such a spasm. Muscle spasms can also occur when a heavy object is lifted incorrectly.

Muscle spasms tend to get better over time. Severe cases of muscle spasm can be treated with physical therapy and medication. Long lasting back pain can occur after accidents that have resulted in injury to the disks, the facet joints, or sacroiliac joints of the back.

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems. It affects most people at least once in their lifetime. If not taken seriously, back pain can last for a long period of time, and can become disabling.

The best way to prevent back and leg pain is to regularly exercise the back. Back strengthening and stretching exercises are recommended at least 2 or 3 times a week.

The following are some examples of back exercises: partial sit-up (With bent knee, slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor, and hold for 3 minutes), knee-to-chest raise (lie down; slowly pull knees to chest, relaxing your neck and back, hold for 10 seconds; repeat 10 times), press-up (lie down with hands near shoulders and pelvis on floor; press up painlessly, hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times).

These exercises strengthen the back muscles, which allow them to withstand the rigors of everyday activities. If you have had previous back pain or medical problems, make sure to check with your doctor before starting these exercises.

Back pain will affect most people at one time in their lives. Action can be taken to prevent back pain or postpone the degeneration of the spine and disks. Preventive measures include strengthening of the back and adopting good body techniques.

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