Archive for March, 2011

Lower Back Pain and Weight Loss

Notice how the article title isn’t “Lower Back Pain and Dieting”?

There’s a reason for that, and you probably heard it before. While lifestyle changes work, diets don’t. It makes a lot of sense, yet it’s so widely overlooked by people from all walks of life, and that includes back pain sufferers.

There is at least one connection between extra weight and back pain: The spine is designed to sustain a certain amount of weight, when the spine is forced to carry an extra load, most of the added pressure is put on the lower back, which is the area most back pain sufferers complain about. Over one third of all adult Americans are categorized as obese; over 60% of all adult Americans are either overweight or obese. Lack of exercise in combination with a weakened muscular-skeletal system are a sure-fire recipe for back pain. Most people, when facing back pain, reduce their activity levels even more, which in turn results in weight gain, which result, at least partially, in added pressure on the lower back.

So how do most people treat back pain?

  • The most common approach is drugs; analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, are used to treat mild to moderate back pain. Acute back pain is treated with opioids, which are considerably more potent and can only be purchased by prescription.
  • Going back to anti-inflammatory drugs, you might find it interesting that one anti-inflammatory drug that is accessible to anyone is… food! There are food choices out there that are highly anti-inflammatory, and the beauty of that fact is that, provided that the right choices are made, one can cook and eat anti-inflammatory meals that will empower them in the fight against back pain; in addition, inflammation has been linked to other diseases like cancer, arthritis, etc. There are plenty of resources out there that can guide you in the search for anti-inflammatory foods.

Making the right food choices can and will change the way your entire body functions. Choosing your foods right and eating the amount that your body needs to function, are a must, whether you’re suffering from back pain or you are in the best shape of your life. If you search the Internet for “nutrition”, “weight loss”, or any related terms, you’ll find hundreds if not thousands of websites, articles and blogs on the topic. Some of them contradict each other, some claim to be the single best resource, while others are simply informative – those are my favourite.

From my experience, the one resource you need to listen to is your body reacting to whatever you put in it. You’ll notice that you might feel less energetic after eating an entire bowl of pasta, or on the flip side, a balanced grilled chicken breast salad will make you feel nourished, light and energetic. Learn to listen to the signals your body gives you, tune in to the reaction it has to food and adjust your intake so it’ll suit your body’s needs. A few principles I learned to live by have been working for me, so I’ll share them below. They’re simple, yet easy to follow. This is not one of those ” 8 tips to stay in shape” or “5 foods you should avoid if you don’t want to stay obese”, and so forth. They’re just *some* principles that work if you apply them:

Try to incorporate a a balanced percentage of all three food groups in your meals: protein, carbs, and fat. Personally, I go for 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat.
Make sure your protein sources are high quality: white meats, lean beef cuts, skim cheese.
Not all carbs are created equal; stay away from the refined ones like sugar, white bread, white pasta. You know which ones are not good, so it should be easy to avoid them.
Fat needs to be a part of your every meal and it needs to be high quality fat, like olive oil. Nuts are also an excellent source of fat.
Drink your water. Ditch the sodas.
Eat well, but don’t overfill yourself. You want to reach and maintain a healthy weight, so your spine will have to work only as hard as it should, as opposed to being overloaded with extra pounds.

Like I said, there are plenty of articles and resources out there, so feel free to try them out and adapt them to your needs.

The battle against back pain is not an easy one, so it needs to be carried out on all fronts: diet, exercise and a healthy mind. All ┬áthree are interconnected and when you improve them all, there’s no way you can’t win this battle. I can’t stress enough the importance of eating right and exercising. It’s the combination that took me from suffering from back pain at 190-192 pounds and barely active, to 162-165 pounds, active, and most importantly, vibrant and happy. Oh, and back pain-free as well.

Information on Sciatica Treatment

There are many varied and different sciatica treatments out there. However, you first need to be checked out to make sure it is your sciatic nerve that is giving you problems. If you find that this is the problem then you will want to be sure you start off with you sciatica treatment by taking off any pressure where you pain is. If it causes you pain to walk or to stand then you should lie down and see if being in a position that is horizontal helps. Some people recommend resting in bed but others say that too much bed rest can slow down your recovery.

Slow and gentle exercises for stretching can help you with fixing many of the causes of sciatica such as uneven weightlifting, bad posture, and even repeated motions. If you are able to stretch out your back and then hold this for several count you will be able to separate your vertebrae and this will help with the reduction of pressure that is on your sciatic nerve.

  • When looking into sciatica treatment some people choose to use heat lamps or even hot packs for twenty minutes at a time.
  • A warm shower could even be just what you need. This helps with the relaxation of your inflamed nerve.
  • If this does not work for you then you might want to try ice on the area where the pain is to help with the reduction of swelling. If they both work for you then you can even alternate between the tow.

If you have a severe case of sciatica you might find that the sciatica treatment for you is medication. There are many different muscle relaxers and pain kills out there. Some medications you can get over the counter and others would need a prescription. You should under the side effects of these medications as well as the addiction that using for a long period of time can have on you.

There are many different natural sciatica treatment methods that are out there. When you stretch correctly you will find that this can help with alleviating your pain. There are also chiropractors that are out there that can work on your spine to help reduce the pressure that is on your nerve. You should beware of bouncing, jerking, and twisting motions, and also of chiropractors that are no experienced because this could result in damage that could be irreversible.

Pregnancy – Sciatica Treatment

When you find that you are not able to enjoy one of the most important times in your life because you are suffering from sciatica pain what are you supposed to do? When you have sciatica in pregnancy it is many symptoms that you find that you start to have after you have become pregnant and your sciatic nerve starts to get irritated. This nerve actually starts in your lower back and goes through muscles that are in your butt and then go down the back of your thigh and to your feet.

The can get inflamed with there is pressure from a muscles that has become tightened or even if there is a disk that is herniated. There is also a number of underlying conditions that could cause this problem. You will find that the symptoms of sciatica are buring or tingling, numbness, shooting pains, aching, and acute pain.

You will find that many times the location of your baby is going to be near where this nerve is and this can make pressure on your nerve or even on the tissue around this nerve. Therefore it is no surprise that an existing problem with sciatica can be worsened when it comes to pregnancy. Another problem is that there is extra weight as well as a loosening of ligaments and tendons when you are preparing for the birth this can make injuring a disk more likely.

Many will find that with sciatica treatment exercises the pain will actually disappear. You should understand however that the pain could take more than six weeks to subside. While pregnant one will find that manual therapy can help a great deal with relief of the symptoms of sciatica.

Some pregnant women will even find that using a chiropractic sciatica treatment is best for them. This method of therapy needs to be performed by a professional however that knows what they are doing. If you are pregnant and you start to have symptoms of sciatica you should talk to your doctor they will likely tell you that you need to be on best rest for a day or even two days until some of the pain that you are having has started to subside. You should be sure that you work hard to make sure you are practicing proper poster as well as this can help with some of the pain and also help with being able to prevent this from happening again in the future.

How to Get Back Pain Relief at Work

The right office chair is going to help elevate back pain, keep your comfortable, prevent repetitive motion injuries, and allow you to be more productive during working hours. An office chair that is designed for a big and tall person is going to ensure that you get a chair that is made with your body in mind. This is important in providing proper support and keeping your back and spine in alignment.

With so many options for big and tall office chairs you might feel overwhelmed, but shopping online can really help you find the right chair with little effort. It is a good idea to know what all the different parts of an office chair actually do. In this way you will be able to pick out the best chair for your body’s needs.

It is important for big and tall people to have good lumbar support. This means that your lower back should feel snug and comfortable against the backrest. There are some chairs that come with a lumbar adjustment feature. This can be helpful if you are not able to try out the chair in person ahead of time. It is also important that your chair allow for movement. The best office chairs move with you and aren’t locked into one stationary place.

It is important to know your measurements before ordering a chair. Average chairs weren’t built with the big and tall body in mind. It is a good idea to get your measurements to ensure that you get a chair that will fit what your body needs. This means you have to not only take the height of the chair into consideration, but also the width of the seat. There should be room on either side of the seat.

Arm rests are often taken for granted, but they are an important feature for big and tall people. Your arms should be at the same level of your desk or more importantly your keyboard. You should not have to hold your arms up or move them when on your computer. The same is true for a swivel. It might seem like an unnecessary feature, but a swivel will make it easier for you to move around your desk space. This can help to prevent injuries from straining or twisting your body.

A great big and tall office chair is going to be made from a strong and sturdy frame. You want something that will offer more strength than plastic. The best office chairs will be made from a metal frame and offer sturdy protection.

The right office chair is going to help elevate back pain, keep your comfortable, prevent repetitive motion injuries, and allow you to be more productive during working hours. An office chair that is designed for a big and tall person is going to ensure that you get a chair that is made with your body in mind. This is important in providing proper support and keeping your back and spine in alignment.

With so many options for big and tall office chairs you might feel overwhelmed, but shopping online can really help you find the right chair with little effort. It is a good idea to know what all the different parts of an office chair actually do. In this way you will be able to pick out the best chair for your body’s needs.

It is important that a potential big and tall office chair has good lumbar support. This means that your lower back should feel snug and comfortable against the backrest. There are some chairs that come with a lumbar adjustment feature. This can be helpful if you are not able to try out the chair in person ahead of time. It is also important that your chair allow for movement. The best office chairs move with you and aren’t locked into one stationary place.

It is important to know your measurements before ordering a chair. Average chairs weren’t built with the big and tall body in mind. It is a good idea to get your measurements to ensure that you get a chair that will fit what your body needs. This means you have to not only take the height of the chair into consideration, but also the width of the seat. There should be room on either side of the seat.

Arm rests are often taken for granted, but they are an important feature in a big and tall office chair. Your arms should be at the same level of your desk or more importantly your keyboard. You should not have to hold your arms up or move them when on your computer. The same is true for a swivel. It might seem like an unnecessary feature, but a swivel will make it easier for you to move around your desk space. This can help to prevent injuries from straining or twisting your body.

Sciatica Treatment – Remedies That Work

Many people probably have heard of sciatica at some point or anything. This is back pain that can really be hard for a person to deal with. Many also find that it interferes many times with peoples everyday life. Many people who have sciatica find that their number one priority ends up being looking for sciatica treatment that actually works.

Some find that turmeric is a remedy that is effective for those that are suffering from sciatica. You can use it each day with milk and you will find that it will help with getting rid of the horrible pain that you have. If you are looking for a pain reliever that is topical you can also try winter green oil it smells well as well. Some say that mustard oil used with garlic being massaged into the area of pain will help with getting a bit of relief. This is only a few of the many remedies that are natural that you can use for sciatica treatment. You will find that using any off the above will likely help you with getting the pain relief that you have been looking for.

Most people understand that having good health is like having wealth and it should be taken care of properly. If you are looking to live a life that is fulfilling and happy then you need to be able to be in good health and also in shape. If you are looking to treat sciatica effectively you will need to be able to understand sciatica as well as understand what is causing you to have sciatica. You will need to be sure that you don’t just treat the symptoms but better find the root cause to the problem that you are having. Once you know what the problem is you can treat it properly. You might need to go and see a physician to be able to find the real reason behind the pain that you are having.

If you do end up having to see a doctor you should know that you can still use natural remedies. Just because you go to the doctor in search of the reason that you have pain does not mean that you have to take medical intervention methods of treatment. You can tell your doctor that you prefer natural methods of sciatica treatment and that if those do not work then you would be willing to discuss any medical intervention methods that they might have to offer.

Do You Use Your Foam Roller For Warming Up?

Many people these days have seen and even own foam rollers. They typically will tend to use them for very sore or tight muscles. Foam rollers are a form of self myofascial release or massage. The fascia is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscle. Through various sports activities and or injuries it can become tight and form adhesions that prevent fluid muscle contraction and expansion. Along with associated trigger points or tight spots within the muscle, the foam roller can help to relax both of these conditions. In fact, this is what most people use them for. When attempting to relax tight muscles or fascia rolling should be performed in a very slow manner with frequent pauses over extremely tight areas. In addition, stay away from the tendons which attach the muscle belly to a joint or you risk injuring yourself.

What most people do not realize is that the foam roller can be an extremely effective warm up tool. Because the pressure applied from rolling causing compression of the tissues warming them up and helping to relax and loosen tight fibers. In addition, it brings more blood flow to the area which readily prepares the muscle tissue for the contractions it will undergo in its workout.

In order to foam roll properly prior to doing an exercise or for warm-up there are a few key differences from foam rolling to relax tight muscles. First, you want to roll over the muscles rapidly and with more superficial pressure than when trying to release trigger points or tight fascia. For example, to warm up for a run I might roll over my hamstrings up and down, staying away from the tendons and mostly in the belly of the muscle 3-5 times, and then roll my calves, 3-5 times, roll onto my side to do each IT band individual 2-3 times, and then onto the quads 3-5 times again avoiding the tendons at the top and bottom of the quads. Then I will move over to the other IT band and repeat. And then last roll over the gluts. The entire process should take no more than 3-5 minutes.

Another difference, is I am not trying to spend any considerable time on any tight or hot areas. By spending a lot of time foam rolling over a tight area very slowly prior to a workout you run the risk of injuring the tissue. This is because, just like deep tissue massage, as we break up scar tissue we can create a little inflammatory response. Exercising immediately after this may result in further inflammation and injury.

5 Strange and Rare Causes for Back Pain

Muscle imbalances and herniated or bulging discs cause most cases of back pain or Sciatica. But what if you don’t suffer from either of these problems? There are some other unusual causes to back pain. Here I’m going to share 5 less common things that could be causing your back pain.

Shingles – Singles is caused by a virus called Herpes Zoster. This is the same virus that causes chicken pox. Shingles affects the nerves that provide sensation to the skin. After you fight off a case of chicken pox, it is believed that the virus lies dormant in the nerve roots. In most people it never acts up again as Shingles, but in times of extreme stress or in people with a compromised immune system it can present itself.

When Shingles strikes it can cause pain along the nerves, especially the lumbar nerves in your lower back. You will also notice blisters forming in that area as well. Although you cannot spread Shingles to others, you can spread chicken pox to people who have never had chicken pox before or who have not been vaccinated. If you believe you are suffering from Shingles, see your doctor.

Bone or Disc Infection – Bacterial infections of the discs or bones in the spine are extremely rare, but they can happen. It is possible to contract Tuberculosis in the spine, which is called Pott’s disease.

Also, it is possible to get an infection called Brucellosis, which affects the Sacroiliac joints (SI joints) in the pelvis. This is usually contracted from drinking goat milk, however, this is extremely rare.

Generally, bacterial infections of bones or discs is very rare and usually quite serious. They are often treated with an extensive antibiotic regimen.

Pelvic Bleeding – Bleeding in the pelvis is often the result of people who take blood thinning painkillers for extended periods of time. This is another reason not to rely on extended use of painkillers to “treat” your back pain. They may make the pain go away, but they don’t treat the underlying problem and they can be dangerous if taken regularly.

When bleeding happens, Sciatica will usually present itself quickly as the blood pools and puts pressure on the Sciatic nerve.

Paget’s Disease – No one knows with certainty what causes Paget’s disease, but it involves unusual bone growth and variations in bone density. It tends to afflict elderly people more than younger people.

Paget’s disease can usually be diagnosed easily with an X-ray, which will expose the unusual bone growths, however, a biopsy will usually be performed to authenticate the X-ray results.

The only treatment for Paget’s disease is pain medication to help manage pain and other prescriptions to slow the growth of the bones and stunt to progression of the disease.

Aneurysm of the Aorta – Similar to how a bulging disc can cause back pain, an aneurysm of the aorta can cause the walls of the aorta to bulge outward. Many times this will not result any symptoms at all, but if it bulges in a particular direction it can apply pressure to spinal nerves and result in back pain.

Usually this is treated by grafting tissue on the weakened portion of the aorta wall to strengthen the blood vessel.

These 5 unusual causes to back pain are not common. The typical culprits are muscular imbalances and bulging discs in the spine. However, sometimes the common answer doesn’t apply. If you believe you are suffering from any of these problems, contact your medical provider and have them examine you.

The Basics on Drug Testing for Medical Marijuana

The most common method of drug testing in this country for narcotics, marijuana, and illicit substances is a urinalysis. Marijuana has been known to stay in one’s system for days or even weeks in high enough amounts to produce a positive urinalysis. The interesting thing here is that a positive drug test may therefore mean that the person is not under the influence of marijuana currently, and hasn’t been under it for days.

Medical marijuana is legal now in 15 states and commonly being utilized to alleviate problems from debilitating medical conditions such as glaucoma, nausea, vomiting, spasms, and pain. If you are taking or contemplating medical marijuana for use, and are currently employed and potentially subject to drug testing, what are the various methods utilized and what is the scientific basis behind each? This article provides the basics.

Certain states, such as Arizona, have the ability to fire an employee if they test positive for marijuana while on the job and their job performance is being affected. But what methods are actually valid to know if someone is actively using? That would be a blood test, and the explanation is below.

What is being tested with a marijuana drug test? It is not actually THC, also known as tetra-hydro-cannabinol, which is a psychoactive component of marijuana.

What’s being tested for is one of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid metabolites called THC-COOH. This metabolite is produced by the liver, and is indicative of substantial metabolic degradation having already taken place. There is no correlation between a positive test and a current state of marijuana intoxication.

Unfortunately, this means urine tests are incapable of distinguishing between weekend use, regular use, or on-the-job impairment. So if you are on medicinal marijuana, working, and you undergo a urine drug test at work the result may be positive for “marijuana”. However, what’s being tested is the inactive metabolite which is not indicative of current real time use.

Blood testing for marijuana is the most accurate test available, as it measures the actual presence of THC in the bloodstream. It actually detects the current presence of the psychoactive component in the blood. After using medical marijuana, a blood test will register positive for a few hours. In the first 10 minutes of smoking marijuana, THC levels peak sharply and then drop off dramatically over the next few hours.

Blood tests can also detect for the metabolites of THC similar to the urine testing. It can test for two metabolites, one inactive and one active. The inactive metabolite is THC-COOH and is the same as the urine. The active one is called 11-OH-THC and is psychoactive. Blood levels mirror those of THC itself, rising 2-6 hours steadily after use.

Although it has not been definitively shown in studies, people think they can definitively show when a person last used marijuana by evaluating the ratios of these three substances.

Hair testing for marijuana does not measure current use, but that from days, weeks, or months past. Hair strand testing looks a metabolites that have settled in the base of the hair follicle. Shampoos that say they will make for a negative drug test may in fact clean the residue off the hair strands, but eliminating the residue from the hair follicle will be impossible as the metabolites end up in the structure of the hair.

Saliva testing offers the benefit of being less invasive and messy. It is commonly used in regular drug testing to evaluate for narcotics, and in most narcotics the results with laboratory testing are equivalent. But this is not the case with marijuana, and the results have not achieved reliability.

Starting medicinal marijuana may help the debilitating condition dramatically. However, if one is subjected to drug testing it is beneficial to know which test displays active use and which will show inactive metabolites.

Invisible Pain

Always running and playing sports. Jumping on the trampoline for hours. Smiling at each new day. That all changed after the chlorine burn from the water park.

She was burned from head to toe, as red as a lobster and as fragile as a crystal goblet.

The blisters developed, the rashes raged on and the pain never went away. The days go by and the pain is still there. The doctor said nothing is wrong, you must be faking for some kind of secondary gain.

As she lay awake at night in pain and in fear, she cried herself to sleep because nobody will hear her. Her ankle and wrist feel like there is a snake squeezing and burning her inside and the pain will not go away. Back to the doctor where they say all is fine, frustration mounts, doubt in herself sets in and depressed that nobody will hear her, she is in pain. Unrelenting pain.

Any time she simply bumps her foot or hand, it is pure torture. The weeks go by, turning into months, than years going from doctor to doctor to never be heard, she hurts, more than hurt, she is suffering with invisible pain.

A call from the school saying ” My arm is like a balloon and it hurts so much.” Back to the doctor, this time the Emergency Room, where they are convinced it is a blood clot, x-rays first than ultrasound. Normal. How can it be normal when it is blown up and excruciating. The tears mount as everyone just says ice it and rest it.

The ice causes even more pain, which results in throwing the ice pack across the room and the room filling with screams. But nothing is wrong they say. Often times not being able to write and do her school work, often times not being able to walk, but they all say everything is okay.

To not be heard when you are in pain is unacceptable. To not be believed by peers, coaches and all is hurtful, and being dismissed leads to another invisible pain….depression.

Going through the trauma of being burned at a water park, where it is supposed to be a place of laughter, joy, great memories is bad enough, but to have your life change in an instant at such a young age, now in a life full of pain and nobody believes or wants to say because the pain resulted from the chemical burn at a commercial location is scary, inconceivable, and plain wrong.

Nearly 3 years living in chronic pain and not being heard, finally a new doctor listened. A neurologist, he explained it all. She has CRPS, also called RSD. There was a name, this is real, validation has been made. The prognosis is not good for this young girl, but she was heard and she was finally going to have a name to call her invisible pain.

CRPS: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is an uncommon, chronic condition that usually affects your arm or leg. Rarely, complex regional pain syndrome can affect other parts of your body.

Complex regional pain syndrome is marked by intense burning or aching pain. You may also experience swelling, skin discoloration, altered temperature, abnormal sweating and hypersensitivity in the affected area.

The cause of complex regional pain syndrome isn’t clearly understood, though it often follows an illness or injury. Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome is most effective when started early. In such cases, dramatic improvement and even remission are possible. (The Mayo Clinic)

Due to the doctors not listening or wanting to be involved with a possible litigation matter, failed to diagnose properly and put this young girl on some kind of treatment to at least alleviate pain and stop from its progression, this disease has progressed in this beautiful young 12 year old girl. The pain and the swelling and the discolorations have mirrored to the left side and she is nearly all over body pain.

Having put ice on the pain is one of the worst things you can do when you have CRPS. There is little research or education about CRPS. This condition is often diagnosed as a psychological, but CRPS is not psychological, it is real, extremely painful and there is no cure. This is a nerve condition. Caused from an injury, in this case, chemical burn, damaging the nerves, the Sympathetic Nervous System. Although the initial injury is gone, the Sympathetic Nervous System in the brain thinks that you are still in it, therefore, firing more and more pain.

If you or a loved one has invisible pain, please do not accept that it is nothing. Please go to neurologist or pain specialist that can give your pain a name and validate it for you.

Never allow anyone to judge you or get away with thinking you are faking, this is real and you deserve support.

What Is Subluxation And How Do Chiropractors Deal With It?

When a vertebra loses its normal position, motion, or a combination of both in relation to neighboring vertebrae, it is then called vertebral subluxation. Just like a hose with flowing water being stepped on, it puts pressure on delicate nerves where the organ or body part at the other end of the nerve does not receive messages properly. When there is nerve interference, the communication from the brain to the organ is broken down, then there is a malfunction and disease may eventually develop.

Vertebral subluxations have a great number of different causes by which an average individual is exposed to everyday. These causes can be described in terms of physical, chemical, and emotional causes.

Physical causes include acute trauma to the body, repetitive motions affecting the spine, bad postural habits, improper workstation habits and design, and weak or imbalanced spinal musculature. Chemical causes include poor dietary and nutritional practices, drug and alcohol use and abuse, and the ingestion of chemical toxins through eating foods, drinking water, and breathing air. Harmful chemicals reduce the body’s ability to function well as well as the body’s ability to successfully adapt to and endure internal and external stresses, making a person more susceptible to spinal subluxation and its consequences. Emotional causes refer to stress wherein too much stress or inadequate stress management skills can deplete the ability of the body to sustain normal functions.

The nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of the body. When nerve interference becomes obvious, a person may experience pain, soreness, irregularity, weakness, digestive disturbances or other health imbalances. Ignoring these symptoms, or masking them with pills, may not help with the real problem. Chiropractors are remarkably unique in the health care field as they are the only health care professionals trained to detect and treat vertebral subluxation. They have found this condition to responsible for and contribute to a number of spinal and extra-spinal disorders. Through extensive research and study, chiropractors have identified 5 components of vertebral subluxation which are kinesiopathology, myopathology, neuropathology, histopathology, and patophysiology. Collectively, these are known as subluxation complex.

Chiropractors are efficiently trained in a variety of adjustment techniques. Some are done by hand, while some require using specialized tools. Chiropractic adjustments help eliminate the imbalance or disruptions in the body so it can function at its true potential. The goal of chiropractic care is to improve the quality of life and health of patients. With the use of adjustments, chiropractors can help restore the neuromusculoskeletal integrity of the spine to normalize the bodily equilibrium and increase resistance.