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Physical Therapy for Treating Back Pain

Most doctors who work with patients in treating back pain also actively work with physical therapists. Physical therapists are skilled in helping patients recover from back pain and get back to performing everyday physical activities.

Physical therapists often spend time teaching their patients exercises which help them improve and maintain the health of their spines. There are a variety of popular exercise programs which have been designed to reduce the amount of back pain patients experience.

By using physical therapy, you will learn postures and positions which will help lessen the amount of pain you feel in your back. There is no one approach that will work for everyone. Your physical therapist will design a exercise program which is tailored to your individual needs. There are many different types of exercises available, and you will want to use the exercises which are the most comfortable to you.

Some exercises focus on adding strength to the muscles which assist in arching the spine and back. Patients who have back pain which is a result of ligament tears or other problems with their discs can have the pressure reduced by arching their backs.

Patients may perform other techniques such as lying prone, in which they lay on their stomachs with their arms to their sides for about ten to fifteen minutes. A variation of this technique may be lying prone on pillows in order to support your back. Your physical therapist may also want you to perform press ups, standing extensions, or other techniques.

To perform a standing extension, place your hands on the smaller part of your back while standing. Lean backward and hold this position for twenty seconds before repeating the exercise. To perform a prone press up, you want to lay down on your stomach and place the palms of your hands near your shoulders. Now slowly push your shoulders up, keeping your hips down. Lower yourself down slowly, and repeat.

While physical therapists can teach you a variety of methods to reduce your back pain, it is up to you to apply them. The most important factor in using a physical therapist is making sure you do the exercises they teach you. Consistently sticking to an exercise program in order to improve the health of the spine and back is difficult for many people, but the rewards are worth it. Taking the advice of your physical therapist is critical in you reducing your back pain.

All About Carbohydrates

Normally carbohydrates are found in all foods except meat products. Recently, some diets have recommended stripping out all carbohydrates from what you eat. Many companies have bought into this and among other things, have introduced low-carb breads. Limiting bad carbohydrates such as sugar from your diet is a positive step but going further and refusing to eat fruits and whole grains can potentially deprive you of cancer fighting foods.

Carbohydrates can be broken down into two main categories; simple and complex. Sodas, candy and even fruits contain simple sugars while whole grains, fruits and cereals contain complex carbs. The main difference between the two groups are their chemical structures. Simple sugars are made up of a few sugar molecules while complex carbs are made up of hundreds and even thousands of these molecules put together. In your body, the end product of both is glucose.

Another difference between the two is the time needed to digest. If you consume 100 calories of simple sugars, your body can digest it a lot faster than if you eat the same number of calories that are made of complex carbs. This is because simple sugars are closer to the end product than complex carbs which need more time to digest. Therefore, if you take the meal of simple sugars, you will be hungrier sooner than if you ate the meal made of complex carbs. Making a habit of drinking soda and eating candy can add up to a lot of calories at the end of the day.

Studies have shown that simple sugars contribute to obesity and diabetes, especially in children. It has also been shown that eating the good carbs can shield you from many types of cancers. So next time you pick up the magazine about the newest low carb claim, throw it away and grab an apple.

The Benefits of Massage Therapy

It may only have exploded in recent years but the practice of massage therapy dates back to the time of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. And that is about 4000 years ago. In a clear reference to massaging, Hippocrates wrote in one of his medical notes that physicians must know the practice of ‘rubbing.’

Now, massage therapy cannot just be called as ‘rubbing.’ With most of the young Hollywood getting a massage or two every week, it has become the toast of the social set. Its popularity can be seen with the way a lot of massage therapy clinics have opened shops in the last few years with many more planning to in the next couple of months. Currently there are about 100,000 massage therapists in the country and the numbers are increasing two-fold.

Massage therapy in the scientific terms is the process of putting pressure on muscular structure and soft tissues in the body for relaxation. Pressure in this instance can mean a lot of things, from holding and pressing to kneading and rocking. Massages are primarily done with the hands although some massage therapists also use other parts of their bodies like the forearms, elbows and the feet.

Its popularity is actually not surprising especially with this stressful world. Many people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation and regeneration. And unlike other de-stressors, massage therapy is scientifically based and its advantages are all research proven. Besides its physical benefits, it also known to improve the overall wellbeing of the mind and the spirit.

Below are some of the benefits that massage therapy gives us.

  1. Relaxation

This is the number one reason why people coming back to the clinics. After a week of stress in the office or at home, people especially women, just want to relax. Massages are great for the skin as it stimulates the release of toxins and hormones. In fact, some studies have even shown massages as being able to lower the possibility of wrinkles production.

  1. Relieves pain

Another benefit of massage therapy is the fact that it can loosen those tight muscles especially if you frequently have cramps on your legs. Going to the clinics can also relieve you of your tired and aching muscles. This is especially useful with people who are into sports or those who live the active lifestyle.

  1. Makes you a better athlete

People who are into sports can also benefit much from massage therapy. If you feel that your muscles have become tight and rickety, massages can improve on your flexibility and also increase your range of motion. If you get massages all the time, you will notice that you can now do movements that were painful to do before. Massages also improve the body’s resistance. It lowers the blood pressure, heart rate and even helps in recoveries from injuries and sprains. It also strengthens the immune system.

  1. Improve mental faculties

Massages are also great ways to improve your mental performance. It can actually reduce mental stress, allowing you to work better and think clearer. It is also known to relieve headaches. Massage therapy also allows you to concentrate better on the task at hand. After a massage, you will basically have a clean slate in your mind that is equivalent to the restful therapy that sleep gives.

Gym Exercises and Shoulder Pain

It’s funny how you don’t notice a certain part of your body until it starts giving you problems. Imagine this, you use your arms every day and connected to your arm is your shoulder which mostly moves with your arm.

Now all of a sudden somewhere along the line you hurt your shoulder. You’re not exactly sure when or why, but something is different. A nagging pain is nibbling on your nerves and you can barely pick up your fork to take a bite of your supper.

Sounds familiar?

We only notice that we can’t be without the functionality of a certain part of our body as soon as that part of our body starts acting up.

When it comes to the subject of shoulder problems, many a person will tell you about the pain and suffering that their shoulder problem caused them. According to research it seems that shoulder problems are common in the general population, with up to 47% of adults complaining about their shoulder/s.

Before going for surgery, many will go to physical therapists to help them sort out the problem. Effective methods used to help alleviate shoulder pain include anti-inflammatory medications or pain medications, cortisone injections are also popular and of course physical therapy.

One of the very popular treatments for shoulder pain is therapeutic exercise. In contrast to this, shoulder pain can actually be caused when hurting oneself while doing gym exercises.

A relatively normal activity for many people, which in actual fact has the ability to be responsible for your shoulder problems or aggravate an already existing shoulder problem.

Thus, certain exercises are beneficial to the shoulder, but there are others which may place the shoulder at risk for injuries and pain.

Following are four gym exercises that you should watch out for- they might just be the cause for your shoulder problems:

  1. Bench press: There may be an association between bench press and arthritis of the shoulder due to the fact that the shoulder is loaded with compression. The shoulder is strictly speaking a hanging joint.  Such heavy loading may cause early wear of the cartilage.
  2. Acromio-clavicular (AC) joint: AC joint (the joint between the collar bone and the shoulder bone on top of the shoulder) is also referred to as weight lifters shoulder. Lifting heavy weights may lead to wear of this joint but the incident is so low that one probably should not be too concerned about this.
  3. Overhead exercises like military press: Military press loads the rotator cuff in a disadvantageous position and can lead to rotator cuff injuries. There are other exercises with equal benefits and less risk e.g. lateral raises, horizontal row, etc.
  4. Contagious exercises: One of the top exercises is seated rowing. When the weight is pulled back it also squeezes the shoulder blades together – this does not only exercise the rotator cuff muscles but also the stabilizers of the shoulder blades.

As mentioned above, contrasting to these four exercises, there are therapeutic exercises that will help treat your shoulder problems. Therapeutic exercises usually consist out of motion, strengthening and conditioning exercises.

Isn’t it ironic how the same thing, exercise, can either heal or harm you? So next time you go to the gym, be sure to watch out for potentially dangerous exercises.

A Very Effective Way of Avoiding and Relieving Neck Pain

Are you one of the millions Americans who suffer from neck pain? If not, it’s very probable that you know someone who does. Indeed, neck pain is a very widespread problem because the head and neck area is very susceptible to several stresses. Besides, neck pain can be produced by muscle strains, osteoarthritis, herniated intervertebral discs. In fact, something as trivial as a bad position can produce an unhealthy alignment of the neck and spine; consequently, neck pain will take place. Thus, what measures can you take to avoid or relieve neck pain?

One of the most common causes of neck pain is a bad posture while sleeping. Well, most people have incorrect posture habits not only when they sleep but also during the day without noticing. Even when you perform a task that you may judge harmless (like reading in bed without a posture pillow) can eventually produce to neck pain or even more serious issues.

A basic suggestion is to avoid sitting in the same position for a prolonged periods of time. Unfortunately, most of us have to because of myriad reasons. We have to not curve or bend the neck forward during long periods, as the neck and back should have enough support to achieve a better posture.

As you can see, the sleep positions you take while you rest in the night are more important than you believe because they are the most frequent cause of neck troubles. Why this happens? Because most of us use regular pillows, which make you sleep with your neck at a too high or too low angle and does not maintain your spine straight; consequently, it cause neck pain, back pain, discomfort and exhaustion. This drooping sleep surface typically provokes an unhealthy spine alignment, thus the muscles of the back will attempt to balance by tensing up trying to restore a more natural posture of the spine. However, this muscle tension produces the morning stress and the neck and the back pains.

Therefore, the best way to avoid and relieve neck pain is to maintain a correct posture. That is reason why a prescribed pillow is so beneficial, because this neck pillow easily adjusts to the form of your neck and brings you correct spine alignment. Typically, these pillow are made with memory foam technology, which effectively redistributes the weight of your head, neck and body, encouraging better circulation and eliminating neck and spinal pressure.

Besides, it is not a problem if you prefer side sleeping or back sleeping because these memory foam pillows let you sleep comfortably in any position you may sleep and help you wake up energized the next morning.

An orthopedic neck support pillow is necessary to have a relaxing night’s sleep without neck pain and other problems. With its hypoallergenic urethane memory foam that provides full support to the neck and head’s contours, these pillows bring the most restorative sleeping experience alleviating strain on the neck and back.

Program Your Weight Loss in as Easy as a Week

The idea of the program is to be able for you to develop a consistent approach to weight loss as well as a healthy endurance when exercising.  The program’s objective is to get rid of the excesses in your body, the excess fat.  Not the healthy and lean muscle tissues and body fluids.

The program first requires your focus and dedication, so therefore you need to be prepared in both mind and – of course – body.  It is highly advised that you first visit your doctor for a check-up before embarking on any weight loss program.

It is important that when starting on any weight loss program, one should be positive enough to work for the results.  Some people get impatient easily but long term effects are assured as long as one sticks to the weight loss plan at hand.

Stretch, stretch and stretch some more.  Before actually doing those exercises and working out those muscles, a little stretching is needed in order to avoid any injury or soreness in your body.

It is also not advisable for anyone to try too hard.  Everything should be done in moderation.  Find the level of exercise and training that suits you.  It should be enough for you to be comfortable in but not too convenient that it will not be much of a challenge.

The first week

The first day of the program involves a long and steady walk in a little over twenty minutes.  After the walk, follow it up with a good stretch.  This takes so little of your time for the first day.  In less than an hour you have taken that first step to a weight loss program that could work to your advantage.

By the second day, it is good to focus on an upper body workout.  This maintains your strength to be able to go through the whole program for the week.  On the third day, a brisk walk or jog for ten minutes is in order.  For beginners, a lower body workout should be done in the evening.

In the fourth day, a good rest is in order, as well as a good stretch.  This lag time should be used wisely though to sort out any negatives in your mindset.  The fifth day starts with a good ten-minute walk.  Exercise the lower body in four sessions of workouts, follow this up with another ten-minute walk, and another four sessions of lower body workout.

The sixth day should be spent on a low impact exercise such as swimming.  To avoid boredom, do not be afraid to try something new.  The last day of the week is a time to solicit the support of the people you care about.  Spend time with them or get them to be with you in your long walk.  Again, follow up your walk with a light upper body workout.

This is just the beginning though.  If by this first week you are able to stick to the program, you have a great chance to further boost your weight loss and stay with the plan until you achieve your desired result.  Try as much as possible to be unlike the people who give up easily just because they could not see the result they want at the time they want – like this moment, today, now!   Patience is a virtue.  The same way it took your body time to gain all that weight, think about it as the time your body will have to exert just to get rid of it.

 

Some Double Tips for Headache Relief

A headache, when it strikes, is not very pleasant to contend with. It may strike you on a daily basis when you get up or it might be sudden and/or severe. For example, imagine a situation where you have taken your kid outside with plans of a full-fledged picnic just for the two of you. The plan, along with the overjoyed child, may be spoilt because your headache strikes just as you are ready to leave.

There can be innumerable such situations in which headache can disrupt your daily life. The best solution in this condition would be to avoid it in the first place. It can be done by following a few simple steps:

Maintaining a headache diary:

Maintain a headache diary and see what triggers your headache. In some people, noise might be the causative factor while in others it may be an excess of caffeine. So observe what triggers your headache and then avoid that.

Avoiding tobacco or any kind of smoke:

Avoid tobacco or anything to do with it. Smoking is not only injurious to health but it may trigger very bad headaches in those susceptible to smoke.

Taking proper meals:

Have your proper meals at regular intervals of time. Do not skip meals.

Sleeping right:

Go to bed at a proper time each night and try to secure at least eight hours of sleep. However, don’t overdo it as oversleeping is also bad. It is sometimes oversleeping, which may lead to a headache.

Avoiding the sun:

Too much of sun can also give you a headache. So try to avoid going out under a very harsh sun.

Keeping hydrated at all times:

Keep yourself hydrated at all times by having plenty of water and fluids, especially when you are under the sun. Dehydration can also lead to a very bad headache.

Taking alcohol in moderation:

Alcohol causes headaches in several people. So, try to avoid alcohol in the first place.

Avoiding too tight hairstyles:

Women, beware!! Do not wear your hair too tightly in ponytails as that may lead to a tension-type headache.

Keeping your feet warm:

Keep your feet warm, especially during the winters. You can do this by keeping your feet covered. There is no harm in even wearing your socks to bed.

Applying hot and cold packs:

You can use heat and cold to your advantage. With some people, it is the application of a cold pack which gives them relief whereas with others, hot showers and massages. See what works for you and use it.

Letting in enough natural air:

The excess of artificial lighting can trigger a headache in susceptible individuals. See if you are letting in enough natural air and sunshine. Do not subject yourself to stuffy atmospheres and conditions.

Going for regular checkups:

Be under the regular supervision of a doctor and avoid taking medicines on your own. A regular checkup will help you identify a problem at its onset and you could then arrest it effectively.

Leading a healthy lifestyle:

Try to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Avoiding Stress:

Although stress is a part and parcel of every day modern living, do try to minimize it.

These steps would help you arrest your headaches even before they begin. So follow these steps and take good care of yourself.

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.

 

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