Saturday, September 29, 2012

Natural Ways to Treat Leg Pain

To treat leg pain, medical doctors usually prescribe various pain killing drugs. Pain killers usually work within a short amount of time. However, if your body becomes dependent on these drugs, this may have an adverse effect on your vital organs, especially your kidneys and liver. So to prevent this from happening, you may want to opt for natural ways and home remedies to treat the pain. Below you will find some suggestions.

1. Hot compress 
To feel better, you can try applying hot compress on your legs. Doing this will give you a soothing effect. While the most common hot compress technique is to put a hot compress bag on your legs, you can try other procedures such as the following: hot towel, hot brick, or even a hot bottle. Just make sure that the temperature is tolerable enough to prevent scalding and burning.

2. Mind your posture. 
If your job requires you to always stand, you want to make sure that you stand on both legs to distribute your weight evenly on both feet. Don't stand on one foot as this causes you more pain.

3. Never ever cross your legs. 
As previously stated, one of the causes of leg pain is a compressed artery. This compression can be because of several reasons, but one of these reasons is bad circulation or blood flow. So if you have a bad habit of crossing your legs, it's about time that you quit as this will contribute to your pain.

4. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes. 
Women who love wearing heels often suffer from leg pain. Sure, these heels will make you look lovely and sexy, but they can also give you much pain. So as much as possible, wear comfortable shoes or choose a better alternative such as wedges and flats.

5. Get a massage regularly. 
Leg pain can also be caused by aching muscles. So get a massage or a foot rub from time to time. This will relax the muscles and soothe aching and tired feet.

6. Get enough vitamin D. 
If your body does not get enough vitamin D, not only will your legs suffer but also your bones. One of the best natural sources of vitamin D is the morning sun. So as much as you can, go jogging right after the sun shines in the morning to catch some of the sun's healthy rays.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Treatise on Strength: Part 3, Mental Strength

The topic of Mental Strength is a difficult one to express. This topic involves a lot of my own personal philosophy.

Lets start again with our definition:

"Mental Strength: Having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to: generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on a performer; specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, and in control under pressure." (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002, p. 209)."
Deeply entwined with "strength" is:

"Resilience: The physical property of a material that can return to its original shape or position."(1)

Strength is the backbone, when it gets bent out of shape resilience allows the backbone to return to a healthy position.
From my experience mental strength is measured by how well a person deals with a difficult situation. I think most people can agree with this.

Mental strength has two components to it: the physical health of the brain and the strength of the mind.

Brain Health:

Proper nutrition is a requirement for a healthy mind and body. The brain is a very complex and sensitive organ. There are many common nutrient deficiencies that affect the brain, here are a few:

Vitamin B12(3):

Deficiency Effects: Depression and irreversible nerve damage.

Found In: Animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs.

Vitamin D(3):

Deficiency Effects: Insomnia, Nervousness, Mood Disorders.

Found In: Synthesized in the body from sunlight, also found in egg yolks, fatty fish, and butter.

Folic Acid(3):

Deficiency Effects: Paranoia, Hostility, Irritability, Memory Loss.

Found In: green leafy vegetables, brewer's yeast, liver

Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder (ADHD) is linked to excessive carbohydrate intake.(2)

Sleep: Poor sleep is linked to many mental disorders: Schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD; to name a few. The lack of sleep has many of the same effects as aging. This is the single best thing you can do for your body and mind. SLEEP!(4,5,6)

Elements of a Strong Mind:

Challenge: Like with muscles you have to challenge your mind to build both strength and endurance. Any physical challenge is going to have a mental component. You also need to mentally challenge yourself, learning something new or traveling are great ways to create new challenges for the mind.

Try some mind-over-matter exercises. Try and go 24 hours without food. Spend a day, dawn till dusk, in the outdoors with no electronics and no contact with other people. Both of these are great habit breakers.

Goals: Having meaningful goals is like having a finish line. When there is a finish line, there is competition, if only with yourself. Having something to strive for will give you the drive to endure and push yourself. With purpose will come confidence in your actions.

A goal is never absolute. You set one, accomplish it, and create another.

Focus: You must have focus. Focus is hugely lacking in society today. Everyone is always going on about "multitasking", but working with focus, on one thing at a time, will give you a better outcome. It will also train you to maintain focus in everyday life.

One way to develop a strong ability to focus is to start meditating. Not necessarily in the traditional sense of sitting meditation. Create time for silence. This will give you time to work through all the thoughts running through your head and clear your mind.

If you have a challenge to overcome, the right goal and focus will help you get through it.

Visualization: Studies have shown that you can increase strength and muscle mass by visualizing work-outs.

Visualization is the practice of imagining the desired outcome of an event. The mind cannot distinguish between what you do and what you vividly imagine. Imagining yourself dong something creates the same neural response as actually doing it. Thus reinforcing the behavior. This is commonly used by athletes. So imagining solutions or pre-running through upcoming, difficult, situations will reduce the stress involved and create a successful pathway through the mind.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Prevent Heat Injury

As we get well into summer, temperatures rise, the heat index soars and more and more people are prone to heat injuries and exhaustion. There are different types of heat injuries, all of which occur as a result of dehydration which is intensified when people engage in strenuous daytime activities. Dehydration is the major cause of all the different types of heat injuries and this can be prevented by drinking enough fluids to replace those lost as a result of sweating.

Heat injuries range anywhere from mild to severe; here are some common types of injuries resulting from the heat:

Heat cramps: This is a mild heat injury that happens as a result of a lack of fluids and electrolytes during extended periods in heat. These cramps often occur in the arm leg and stomach muscles, and can be treated by stretching, reducing activity and cooling down with fluids and electrolytes.

Heat syncope: This is a moderate heat injury that happens as a result of not replacing lost fluids and electrolytes. Weakness and fainting are symptoms of heat syncope and this condition can be treated by cooling off, removing tight clothing and rehydrating.

Heat exhaustion: This is a moderate heat injury that occurs as a result of loss of body fluids or electrolytes. Symptoms of heat exhaustion as a result of water loss include: exhaustion, headaches and even fainting. Symptoms of heat exhaustion as a result of salt depletion include: dizziness, nausea, vomiting and even severe heat cramps.

This condition can be treated by stopping activity, drinking electrolyte rich fluids, cooling off and removing tight clothing. Medical attention may be necessary if nausea and vomiting occur.

Heat stroke: This is the most severe type of heat injury and requires medical attention. This occurs when the body becomes too hot to cool itself and can result in body temperature rising above 104°F; when the body temperature gets this high, organ system failure can occur. Symptoms include disorientation and nausea, as well as seizures. Heat strokes can also result in loss of consciousness or even a coma.

Here are some tips to help you reduce the risk of heat injury.

· Keep yourself well hydrated with electrolyte rich fluids while engaging in intense outdoor activities.

· Take a few breaks in between prolonged outdoor activities to avoid overexerting yourself. Take time to cool off in a shade and wear light and loose fitting clothes to help your body cool off.

· If it is your first time engaging in a vigorous outdoor activity, take it easy and don't try to do too much at once. Give your body time to get used to the activity as well as the environmental conditions.

· Avoid engaging in intense outdoor activities when temperatures are at their highest; instead, try to schedule these activities earlier or later on in the day.

Most of the time, heat injuries are very preventable. Be mindful of the weather conditions before going out and make sure that you always have enough fluids to keep your body well hydrated.

Kitchi Joyce is the Director of Administrative Services for Southern Orthopaedics Specialists, a full service Atlanta orthopedic practice specializing in orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine. Southern Orthopaedics Specialists has multiple locations around the Atlanta Metro area where doctors, physicians and medical staff help patients live and perform at the peak of their physical ability. Decades of experience, education and research means that all branches ofAtlanta orthopedics are covered, from cartilage restoration to spine care and sports medicine.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Dangers of Stairs

Don't be fooled by their commonplace appearance; stairs are a serious danger that cause over a thousand deaths every year. Obviously, the danger that stairs pose is that of falling. However, the damage can vary widely based on any of a number of factors, from what direction you're heading, to how high up you were at the time of the fall..

Falls are one of the top reasons why people have to go to the hospital, and stairs are the top place where people fall. With a few precautions, though, you can mitigate your chances of falling or sustaining serious injury if you do fall.

Who's Most At Risk?

Unsurprisingly, the people most at risk from a serious fall on the stairs are the elderly and young children. However, secondary groups like pregnant women, the immuno-suppressed, those with poor vision or balance, and hemophiliacs need to take special caution around stairs as well.

Simple Risk Reducing Steps

There are many small risk reducing steps you can take in your own home and sometimes on other stairs that can reduce your risk of a fall. 

Install guard rails - guard rails not only allow for you to have something to catch should you start to fall, but also give you a guide to follow if visibility is low.
Light stairs well - by lighting stairs well, you reduce the likelihood that someone will trip because they could not see properly. Keep nightlights on near steps for nighttime use.
Never keep anything on the stairs - teach children to keep toys off of steps and make sure you don't put any of your own clutter on steps to ensure a clear pathway.
Avoid carrying dangerously large or heavy things up or down stairs if you can. It's too easy to trip, fall, and not be able to recover if you are focusing on an unwieldy box or piece of furniture. If you must carry difficult objects up and down stairs, have a partner help you, even if it seems a little silly.
Stair Construction and Maintenance

Don't assume that stairs are safe just because they are accessible or because you haven't had a fall yet. Before using stairs, check to see if they are worn down or smooth in any way: this can make them slippery and difficult to get sure footing on, and stairs that are slightly worn are less obvious but still just as dangerous as heavily worn stairs. A difference in stair depth requires much more concentration and should not be taken lightly. Do the stairs meet building codes? Building codes are a minimum level of safety standards, so hopefully the stairs you encounter will exceed these codes. Avoid wet or icy stairs if at all possible, and keep a hand on the hand rail if it's not possible to avoid such dangerous stairs all together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Difference Between Chiropractor and Orthopaedic Doctors

An unfortunate accident occurred one day while you were playing contact sports and that left you with a knee injury. You know that you need to consult a medical professional for this injury and you start to evaluate the options available. Should you go to an Orthopaedic doctor or should you go to a Chiropractor? Each has its own advantages. For some cases, chiropractic sports are great to treat certain injuries while some injuries fall outside the jurisdiction of chiropractic and only orthopaedic surgery can treat them.

Who are Chiropractors and how do they treat an injury? First of all, Chiropractors are not medical doctors and they do not prescribe medications. Chiropractors believe in hands on and alternative treatment instead of surgery. They believe that the body is able to heal on its own. For example, if mobility to a certain part of the body is observed, they will manipulate that particular part to regain mobility. A visit to a Chiropractor usually cost a lot lesser than a visit to an Orthopaedic doctor. Some chiropractors even make the first consultation complimentary. Not only that, you are also able to fix an appointment at an earlier date as compared to an appointment with an Orthopaedic doctor. However, multiple visits to Chiropractors are required to be able to see results and in the long term, it may cost more than a visit to the latter.

Orthopaedic doctors on the other hand are medical doctors. They specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of our musculoskeletal system. Many people have the idea that orthopaedic doctors are doctors who will recommend surgery for everything, from a torn meniscus to a dislocated bone. This is not true. Orthopaedic doctors will often only recommend surgery when all other available options are exhausted. If the injury can be treated with physical therapy, they will recommend that unless patients insist on surgery in the first place. Orthopaedic doctors will make use of medical technologies such as X-Rays and MRI scans to tell the patient what exactly is wrong with their body. They are also able to prescribe pain relief medications be it orally or via injections, something that Chiropractors are not able to.

Deciding on a visit either to a Chiropractor or an Orthopaedic doctor is purely the decision of the patient. As a patient, you need to know what type of injury you have suffered and make your decision based on that. Different people prefer different things and be sure to know what results you really want.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blood Donation - Giving the Gift of Life

Donating blood has become a regular routine for me as well as many other people looking to make a difference in other peoples lives. I can remember the first time I donated blood, I'll be honest, I was nervous and wasn't really sure what to expect. After filling out a pretty detailed questionnaire, a technician checked my vitals and took a few drops of blood from my pointer finger to check my iron levels. I watched anxiously as the blood from my finger was dropped into a tube of some sort of liquid. The blood sunk quickly to the bottom of the liquid showing that my iron levels were good enough to donate blood. The reason for the iron test is that a normal blood donor loses between 200-250 milligrams of iron per donation. Iron is a nutrient that is vital in the process of making red blood cells, so needless to say, someone with low iron is not a good candidate to donate blood.

I can remember the first blood drive I participated in. The staff was very friendly and made sure I was comfortable during the process. Once I was hooked up to the bag, I was handed a small ball to squeeze throughout the process to help keep the blood flowing. After about twenty minutes, the technician came over and told me I was finished. I was a bit light headed but still able to stand up and walk to the refreshment area. The refreshments consisted of bottles of water, apple and orange juice, cookies, crackers and a few other tasty items. I sat for a few minutes and had a great conversation with some other donors. It still amazes me that a mere twenty minutes of my time could possibly save the lives of three people in need.

There are four different blood types, A-B-AB and 0 negative, each can be positive or negative. AB is a universal recipient and 0 negative is a universal donor of red blood cells. If you don't know what blood type you are, the blood center will tell you after your first donation. After you donate whole blood, you are not eligible to donate again for at least eight weeks. This is the appropriate time it takes to replace the donated blood. Roughly 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion each year, almost two-thirds of the U.S. population is eligible to donate yet only less than 5 percent of those eligible will actually donate. When I see statistics like this, it makes me wonder why more people don't give blood.

After donating blood for the first time, I decided to donate on a regular basis and have also become active in fundraising efforts to help a very important non-profit organization. If you have never donated blood and would like to save a life or three, contact your local blood bank or stop by a blood drive in your area.

If you are in the Rhode Island area and would like more information or would like to donate blood.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

All About Recreational Therapy And What It Can Do For You

People go through a lot of stress in their daily lives. At times, these stress factors are manageable enough. But there are also occasions when they totally get out of control. They tend to consume us and can even be the cause of major illnesses. A lot of things can cause our stress levels to shoot up. It may be rough situations at home, at work, at school, or even when we travel. Also, there are cases where people suffer debilitating disorders which can give rise to a lot of stress. In addition, you also have those who are being bombarded by mental psychological stress issues.

For those of you who are having really difficult times coping with all the pressure, it's time to look into recreational therapy. What is this all about and what does it do? Recreational therapy is actually a treatment option that uses activities to improve your overall well-being. The activities are designed to improve your physical, mental, and psychological state so you will be able to combat stress. But this is not all. With this kind of therapy, you would also be able to overcome depression and anxiety. Moreover, it is also being used to help people recover from serious illnesses.

There are so many activities involved in this therapy. You can look up recreational therapy sites and other similar online resources to check their programs out. In general, these activities are geared towards helping patients restore motor functions and reasoning skills. Also, they work on building one's confidence to face contingencies. Once you undergo this therapy, you will also see how much your socializing skills will improve. For those with major illnesses, it is a way to facilitate their faster recovery, especially those who cannot perform basic functions. That's why it is highly important to secure the best treatment for such purpose.

Nowadays, there are a lot of sites and online resources that provide for a variety of treatment plans to help people return to their normal lives. But you should not confuse this treatment as to literally getting back the functions you have lost. For example, if you lost a limb or lost your sense of sight, recreational therapy won't get that back for you. However, what it can do is help you cope by maximizing your other functions. Hence, you will not feel useless or get consumed by depression. Try to look into this treatment by looking it up online to learn more about it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How To Party Proof Your Gut For Christmas

With shopping malls and supermarkets gradually bringing in more and more Christmas gifts, decorations and food, Christmas will be here before you know it. Your workplace and friends will be asking you to Christmas parties and gatherings across the upcoming weeks. If you're at University, there's a party every other night. No sooner do you recover from one and you're into another. No wonder your guts are tied up in knots. If you're a bit older and already struggling to manage a home, job, and three children, Christmas can make it a nightmare. The kids are already winding themselves up, your mum and dad have given notice they want to stay again, there's presents to buy, food to prepare and your partner needs more of your time as well. It doesn't stop after you're retired, your children feel it's their duty to visit and you've got to feed them and the grandchildren are so tiring. Christmas! Bah! Humbug! It's bad enough if you're perfectly well, but with IBS, it's just Strictly Come Dancing. You're bowels are doing their own version of the Rumba all the time! So what can you do? How can you party proof your gut and enjoy the festivities?

Well, the answer is to pace yourself. You don't have to stuff yourself silly, and drink yourself paralytic to have a good time. Quite the opposite. You will have a much better time if you keep within your limits. Top tips are:

    Enjoy your food, eat slowly, savour it. Don't eat too much, just have one helping of meat and not too many mince pies and please watch the sprouts. Eat until you are satisfied.

    Enjoy a glass or two of wine, but have plenty of water too. Drink enough, but slowly. Then relax, enjoy the company, stay in control. What you should aim to achieve is that mellow comfortable feeling, rather than reckless.

    Enjoyment is all about regulation. Try to keep to the routine your gut is used to. Try not to eat too late.

    Go to bed at a reasonable time. Try to wind down before you sleep, and don't wear yourself out. Some people may think of you as a party pooper, but that's their problem. The people that really matter will probably know you have a bit of a dodgy gut but will respect you for making the effort and envy you for keeping it together.

You may be the one that's doing most of the work, if so plan ahead, allocate times to get presents, work out what you are going to buy well in advance, organise shopping, prepare as much food as you can beforehand, so that you can relax when your guests come. Then if you know that your mum always winds you up, plan for that too, just think about how you can organise the time so you are both diverted by other activities, involve her, bring out the best in her. She will feel good and you will too. Get your partner, your family involved with the cooking. Switch off the television and talk, play games and basically enjoy each other's company. It's what bonds families together. You may, in some circumstances, not see each

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Treating Addictions With Acupuncture

Addiction has become one of the major problems of society nowadays. Addiction actually takes many forms, from mere addiction to chocolates to substance addiction, and in any way, it can negatively affect the overall health and balance of a person.

Defining Addiction

Addiction usually results from long term and excessive consumption of what the person considers to be pleasurable substances and/or engagement in activities which affect the overall functioning of an individual. According to a medical dictionary, addiction refers to the physiological or psychological dependence on certain practices or substances that has gone beyond one's control. Some people would consider that addiction occurs when the substance or activity controls the person and not the other way around.

Addiction is classified into two types depending on the item which is being addicted to. It can either be substance addition or behavioural addiction. While substance addition refers to addiction towards harmful substances like cocaine, nicotine and alcohol, behavioural addiction meanwhile refers to extreme obsession towards engaging in activities like gambling, internet browsing, exercise to the extreme and sex.

At some point in time, users may not be aware that their behaviours are getting out of control and it already causes problems to other people. Aside from their inability to control their consumption or usage of certain substances, and incapacity to control themselves from engaging in certain activities, addicts have become so highly dependent on these substances to cope with their daily lives. When a person is addicted to a certain substance, they continue using it regardless of its adverse impacts on themselves and others around them.

According to research, frequent use of certain substances or undertaking certain substances provides pleasure to the brain. As time passes by, the user realises that the higher dose he takes, the greater pleasure he derives. Consequently, his tolerance with the substance increases also. According to experts, the higher the tolerance level is, the higher is the risk for addiction. In the long run, the user no longer finds pleasure in taking substances. More often than not, users are taking substances to prevent suffering from its withdrawal symptoms. Intake of substances can help them feel normal.

To treat addiction, the user must first acknowledge that he is actually suffering from addiction. Treatment normally involves joining in self-help groups, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy. Through time, acupuncture has emerged to be one of the most effective complementary treatments for addiction.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Explains Addiction

Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine, whereby the insertion of special needles into the acupuncture points of the body, which lie along the meridians (pathways of energy) is considered to adjust the energy or qi of the body. Stimulating the flow of energy or qi alters many aspects of physical and mental functioning. In fact, it helps in promoting a natural process of detoxifying from substance abuse and addiction.

Those who practice and believe in the system of traditional Chinese medicine have different explanations with regards to the occurrence of addiction. The explanation is solely based on the concept of balancing the yin and the yang. Addicts are said to have yin deficiency. This imbalance of energy results to the feelings desperation and emptiness which drive addicts to use, consume and abuse. However, it only results to yin depletion which leads to further desperation.

Acupuncture Deals With Addiction

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which most often uses acupuncture, as well as specific herbs, is believed to be effective in reducing cravings and in promoting calmness and relaxation. Research shows that acupuncture actually helps in alleviating anxiety as well as in reducing the frequency of occurrence and intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Whether you are addicted to your morning coffee or you cannot control your use of heroine, acupuncture promises effective and natural process of detoxifying your body from substances.

According to research, auricular acupuncture is beneficial in treating various forms of addiction which include alcohol, heroin, morphine, cocaine, crack, methadone, caffeine, coffee, tea and even the use of pain medications such as oxycotin, hydrocodone and vicoden.

The NADA Protocol

According to the NADA Protocol, there are five acupuncture points which can be managed to treat addiction. These are the sympathetic point, kidney point, liver point, lung point and shenmen point.

Stimulating the sympathetic points creates a strong analgesic effect and it helps in restoring the balance of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. Stimulating the shenmen points induces a relaxing and calming effect which helps in alleviating nervousness and anxiety that usually come as withdrawal symptoms.

When the liver point is stimulated, it resolves aggression and anger and repairs the liver from alcohol and drug abuse. Aside from accelerating the process of detoxification, the stimulation of the lung point helps in strengthening the immune system which is important when dealing with the withdrawal symptoms. Lastly, stimulating the kidney point is beneficial in restoring the essence and source of energy which are usually damaged during substance abuse. It also increases the willpower to overcome addiction and resolves fear.

Acupuncture is usually preferred by many in dealing with addiction because it doesn't generally have any side effects. The treatment is normally given until a person becomes clean from their addiction. Once you cease taking substances, you can reduce your acupuncture treatments but experts suggest that you continue taking acupuncture treatments at least once a month to ensure long term recovery. In fact many ex-addicts learn the benefits along the way and enjoy to come for regular treatments, knowing that it helps their feeling of balance and well-being.