Browsing: Pain Management

Top 3 Natural Solutions for Your Chronic Pain

Are you in pain and nothing seems to help? It is estimated that over 116 million Americans suffer from some type of chronic pain. This adds up to more people suffering from diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Your daily lifestyle should not include constant and annoying pain. Do not let your chronic pain keep you from enjoying your life. You can fight back and attack the pain where it hurts. From back and neck pain, to headaches and joint pain, there are solutions and techniques to address your most common ailments. Try these top three natural solutions that may help you alleviate your pain.

1. Natural Solution for Your Back Pain – Vitamin B12

Back pain is one of the top constant pains that many people face. Vitamin B12 has been known to significantly reduce the level of pain in the back. The B vitamin helps to reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of chronic back pain and discomfort. Vitamin B12 can be taken several ways. If you choose to take it in the pill form, it is recommended that you take it daily at least 1mg a day. It will help to reduce the pain in your back to give you strength in order to participate in other activities. Also, some people choose to absorb the vitamin in an abstract by placing it under their tongue since the pill may be a little hard to swallow.

2. Natural Solution for Your Neck Pain and Headache – Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the ingredient found in different types of hot peppers, such as cayenne peppers that make the peppers spicy hot; thus stimulating the spices. It is available as a dietary supplement and in a topical cream that you can apply to your skin. The topical cream is very easy to manage and can be purchased in several health food stores.

Find the area of ​​pain on your neck and massage the capsaicin cream into the area at least three times a day. You may feel a little warm or stinging sensation at first, but do not be alarmed, the capsaicin is only stimulating the fibers from the nerves and actually soothing them so that the pain will cease. Do not use the cream on areas of broken skin.

Capsaicin is also one of the best solutions for headaches. The capsaicin solution used to relieve headaches comes in a spray form. You will spray a little amount into both nostrils. It will only sting for a second. What the capsaicin is actually doing is stimulating and loosing your constricted sinus cavity which is one of the major causes of headaches.

3. Natural Solutions for Your Joint Pain – Boswellia Abstract and Powdered Ginger

The herbal remedy for your chronic joint pain is boswellia extract. Boswellia is a plant that contains anti-inflammatory properties called boswlicic acids. It has been used in Indian Medicine for centuries. It works on your joints by reducing the amount of cartilage damage and helps to reduce the friction that is causing the joints to rub against each other causing the pain.

The abstract is very simple to use. Simply place the abstract under your tongue every single morning before starting your daily activities. In order to get the best results from this herbal remedy, make sure that the abstract has at least a 40% concentration which is equivalent to 300 mg.

Ginger is also a natural remedy to help alleviate your joint pain. Ginger contains an anti-inflammatory component that can directly relieve chronic pain by reducing inflammation in the joints. You should add about a half teaspoon full to your water daily. If you prefer, you can also add the same amount to a glass of lemonade to mask the full taste of the ginger. Try to take it during the morning as part of your daily routine.

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Fast Earache Remedies for Children

If that is your problem, I will try to help you with this article, I will give you the causes of earache, a list of remedies, and the most important, a how to make an earache remedy at home, so you can do it right now and relive your pain.

What causes an earache?

An earache or pin in the ear is medical referred as “otalgia”.

Pain in the ear can rise from different sources, any infection in the outer ear, or a tumor in the outer ear will cause ear pain, any infection or tumor in the middle ear can cause ear pain.

Another cause of ear pain is reported pain, if you have a bad throat infection it will also cause pain to your ear, so if you have ear pain and throat pain at the same time, the main cause may not be the ear, but rather the throat.

List of Some earache remedies

– Herbal plants
– Sesame oil with garlic
– Licorice with ghee
– Castor plant leaves with sesame oil
– Guggulu herb
– Bishop's weed oil
– Linseed oil and garlic
– Holy basil leaves
– Cotton wool
– Mango fruit leaves
– Radish and mustard oil
– Banana tree bark juice
– Ginger
– Bael root and neem oil
– Mustard oil
– Onion
– Garlic

Here is a list of some of the remedies that can cure earache, as you can see, there are a lot of them, I can not explain how to make them all here, so I will tell you how to prepare one of them.

Onion earache remedy

This may be one of the easiest earache remedy that you can make at home, yet is very effective. It's very good if your kid is crying a lot at this moment, and you need a quick remedy to relieve his pain.

For this remedy you will need:

– Onion (of course)
– Towel
– Microwave

This remedy is good for outer ear infection, is going to help with the swallowing of the infected zone.

What you are going to do is, get the onion, cut it in a half and take the skin off, then you're going to put the half of the onion inside your towel and wrap it up. Now for last, put it into the micro wave for 30 seconds – 1 minute.

When it's done you just have to take it out, and you place the onion to your ear (do not take out the onion from the towel) for about 30 seconds.

That's all you have to do for this onion earache remedy for children, it's very simple as you can see, and all you have to use is things around your house.

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Treating Chronic Heel Pain Without Surgery

Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs are the most common reasons behind heel pain. In treating painful dogs, a combination of processes are involved. Basically, the first step in managing heel pain is by avoiding additional stress on the already painful heel. Certain activities such as running, walking long distances, walking up or down hills, and standing for long periods should be avoided. All of these can put more strain on the feet and heels. Additionally, do not walk barefoot on hard floors.

Anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs are helpful for most patients. However, these are not intended to treat the cause of pain. These drugs are also not recommended for long term use as these can have side effects. Applying ice packs over the painful area for ten minutes three times a day will also help provide temporary relief as this brings down inflammation.

Devices such as orthotics can help reduce tension on the plantar fascia to improve tissue healing. Orhotics will help support the foot arches to decrease foot pain.

While sleeping or resting, the plantar fascia shortens and tightens, which explains the foot pain you feel as you take the first steps in the morning or after rest. Doing regular heel pain exercises will help increase the flexibility of the plantar fascia. Foot stretching exercises Promotes strength and flexibility.

Patients typically respond well to the combination of these therapies. Sometimes, corticosteroid injections are given to help alleviate symptoms. The problem with corticosteroids is that these often require several injections and this may lead to plantar fascia rupture.

If all the above treatments and corticosteroid injections do not relieve heel pain, surgery is often the last option. Plantar fascia surgery is among the most widely used foot pain surgery. This involves cutting the plantar fascia to release it from the heel bone. This is expected to reduce tension in the plantar fascia to relieve symptoms of heel pain.

A treatment for heel pain that does not involve making any cuts in the body is ESWT. This is extracorporeal shockwave therapy which uses powerful but painless energy waves to heal various chronic painful orthopedic conditions including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. It is a quick procedure, easy, and does not carry the risks associated with surgical heel pain treatments. The procedure is finished in less than 30 minutes. The intestinal waves produced in shockwave therapy stimulate the natural healing processes in the body to treat heel pain without surgery .

Family Foot and Leg Center is a medical center specializing in lower legs and feet.

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Runner’s Knee Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The term runner's knee is used to refer to a number of conditions that causes pain around the front portion of the knee. The pain is medically referred to as patellofemoral pain. Runner's knee may occur in athletes that participate in such sports as running, cycling, skiing, and soccer due to the nature of the activity and susceptibility to injury.

Common Causes of Runner's Knee

Since the knee is a complex structure and sensitive to injury, there are a number of factors that may contribute to the condition. Some of the most common causes include:

· A complete or partial dislocation

· Injury

· Flat feet

· Imbalance, tightness or weakness of the thigh muscles

· Malalignment of the kneecap

The pain associated with the condition may be the result of irritation surrounding the soft tissues in the front of the knee. Since strained tendons are generally common in athletes, the condition may develop due to overuse, muscle imbalance and insufficient stretching of the leg.

In some cases with the condition, the kneecap may be out of alignment, contributing to the problems. When this occurs, vigorous exercise and activities may cause excessive stress, along with wear and tear, on the kneecap's cartilage. This may lead to cartilage softening and breakdown of the patella, resulting in pain and irritation.

Runner's Knee Symptoms

The most common symptom associated with the painful knee is a dull and aching pain just beneeth or around the front portion of the kneecap (patella) where it connects with the lower end of the femur bone.

Pain may occur when walking up or down stairs, squatting, kneeling or sitting with a bent knee for long periods of time. Pain may subside with rest and avoidance of walking or bending the knee; however, symptoms may become exacerbated when activities are resumed.

Treatment Options of Runner's Knee

Treatment options for the problem may vary depending on the problem that is causing the knee pain. Treatment is usually nonsurgical, but in the event that nonsurgical options do not relate the symptoms, surgery may be recommended.

The most common treatment plan consist of of using the RICE formula, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. The doctor may recommend that the patient stop performing any activity that is contributing to pain in the knee. Anti-inflammatories may also be administered to reduce swapping and inflammation.

If symptoms persist for long periods of time, continuous nonsurgical efforts, arthroscopy or realignment may be recommended. Your orthopedic surgeon can provide you with treatment options that are best suited for your condition.

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How to Know When You Need a Doctor’s Care Instead of Rest

Weekend warriors are used to the aches and pains that come with their outdoor activities, but some injuries need more than just a week's rest. Sometimes those aches and pains are signals of a more pressing injury, but how can you tell the difference? If you have an injury, how can you tell when you need a doctor, or just rest? It can be hard to tell the difference, but there is a vast difference between sore muscles and strained joints. The biggest signal is pain.

I Hurt, But is it Serious?

If you are a sports enthusiast and exercise frequently, you may recognize the signs of overuse. Stiffness in the morning or after resting for a while can translate into built up lactic acid in your muscles, which makes the muscles sore. However, if the pain is more intense than just the everyday stiffness, it could be a sign of a more serious injury. Stiffness will generally ease up as you begin to walk about, warming up the muscles which can help release the buildup of lactic acid. If you find the pain eases up after you get the blood flowing, you have overworked muscles which simply need rest and maybe a little analgesic rub.

If you find that you have an area, like a foot bone or a knee joint, which is swollen, bruised and extremely painful, you may need a doctor. Fluid on joints can mean ligaments and tendons are torn or displaced. Bruising, without a proper cause like dropping something on your foot, may indicate a major sprain, fracture or broken bone. If you can not put weight on a leg or move your arm without extreme pain, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Most injuries will heal by themselves with a little bit of ice, pain relievers like ibuprofen, and rest. However, if you find that you can no longer use an appendage, or the pain is too extreme to manage, consult a physician immediately. If you wait to seek medical attention, you may end up damaging the area more severely. At the first sign of massive pain, visit a doctor.

Do not attempt to walk it off! Delaying medical attention can cause fractures and broken bones to heal improperly, causing you more pain and damage in the long run. Pain is always a sign of injury, but how much pain you are in is one of the largest determining factors. If you are unable to tolerate the amount of pain an injury gives you and you can not use that area due to the pain, do not hesitate in consulting a physician. You do not want to suffer any longer than you should. Your body will tell you when it's serious, so listen to it and get yourself to a physician as soon as possible.

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Anterior Knee Pain in Adolescents

Chronic pain occurring in the front and center of the knee can be common among active, healthy young female adolescent. While the condition can affect young boys, it is more prominent in girls. The cause for the pain in the anterior portion of the knee may not be known, but the complex anatomy of the knee joint makes it more sensitive and susceptible to activity, training, and overuse.

Pressure may have a tendency to pull the kneecap sideways due to overuse or activity, attributing to the pain just behind the kneecap. In adolescent cases a number of factors may be involved.

· Imbalance of thigh muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) that support the knee joint

· Overdoing sports activities

· Poor flexibility

· Problems with alignment of the legs between the hips and the ankles

· Using improper sports training techniques or equipment

Symptoms in Adolescents

Most adolescents report that the pain in the anterior portion of the knee is preliminary, but over time can occur at all hours of the day or night. If you suffer from this condition you may experience these common symptoms:

· Popping or crackling sounds in the knee when you climb stairs or stand up and walk after prolonged sitting.

· Pain at night.

· Pain during activities that repeatedly bend the knee (ie, jumping, squatting, running, and other exercise, especially involving weight-lifting).

· Pain that causes your knees to give way (buckle), although this is uncommon

· Pain related to a change in activity level or intensity, playing surface, or equipment.

If the pain persisters and limits regular daily activities, the thigh muscle may need due to lack of use. If the knee pain is lasting, it is important to see your doctor right away to diagnose the cause of the pain and administrator treatment.

Treatment and Prevention of Knee Pain

If the pain is mild, but not severe enough to seek medical treatment, you may follow steps for conservative at-home care. Ice, rest, and simple exercises are often helpful for adolescents with pain just behind the kneecap. If the pain persists, a visit to the doctor may be required. Your doctor may offer non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to assist with the painful episodes.

If the pain goes away through conservative treatment at home, but you have concerns about it returning, you may be able to prevent recurrences by following these steps:

· Limit the total number of miles you run in training and competition.

· Stop or reduce any activity that used to hurt your knees.

· Wear shoes appropriate to your activities.

· Warm up with stretching exercises before physical activity.

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Overprescription of Narcotic Medication For Chronic Pain Conditions Has Harmful Results

In the beginning of 2012, the CDC released a report on the drastic increase in narcotic drug prescriptions since the 90's and the effects this increase has had on patient health and mortality. Narcotic, or opioid, drugs are derived from the same plant as heroin. 15 years ago, these drugs were reserved for the treatment of post-surgery, traumatic and cancer pain. Over the past decade, this class of strong painkillers has been increasingly used for the treatment of chronic pain.

Distribution of morphine through pharmaceutical companies increased over 600% from 1997 to 2007, according to the CDC report. Narcotics have become a popular prescription for people with chronic pain and especially those with chronic back pain, a prevalent condition today. Previously, doctors avoided prescribed narcotics except for dire cases because the risks associated with them were thought to outweigh the benefits. However, the past decade has seen a shift of opinion as many doctors do not hesitate to prescribe an opioid to help patients manage day-to-day pain.

Unfortunately, what perhaps began as good will may be the cause of very harmful consequences. Deaths in the US attributed to opioid medication use have increased from about 3,000 in 1999 to about 12,000 in 2007. This latter toll far exceeded the number of heroin and cocaine overdose deaths combined.

Narcotic medications like morphine, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone carry with them high risk of dependence and abuse as well as other unpleasant side effects. Understanding the risks of these medications requires an understanding of how they work.

Opioids and the Body

Opioids take effect on the body by binding to Mu receptors located in the brain and brain stem. Endorphins that occur naturally in the body bind to these same receptors. Endorphins and opioids both activate the body's reward system, causing good feelings and alleviating pain.

One of the dangers of opioid use is that it tends to cause a down-regulation of mu receptors. Down-regulation occurs when there is a decrease in the number of receptors. The fewer Mu receptors one has, the more of a drug one needs to achieve the same good feeling; this is what is meant by tolerance. This down-regulation can also limit a person's ability to naturally feel good. Dependence on the drug may result.

Loss of Mu receptors can actually lead to increased pain sensitivity. In this way, taking an opioid medication may lead to worsened pain in the long run. This effect is called hyperalgesia.

Opioids are highly addictive. A person can become tolerant of opioid medication in as little as two to four weeks according to This is why they were originally only used for cases of severe, non-chronic pain or for people with a terminal illness. Taken daily for a month or more, many people will develop some level of dependency.

Anyone taking opioids for more than a period of weeks should be sure that they are prescribed long-acting opioids. Although this form of drug still carries a risk of dependency, it is less than with its short-acting counterparts. Studies have yet to conclude it, but long-acting opioids appear to be associated with less euphoric feelings than the short-acting variety, accounting for less abuse potential.

Protect Yourself

Taking narcotic medication for chronic back pain and other long-term conditions is a choice that should be made carefully. It is important to ensure that you are keeping up to date on the latest research and that you are trying alternative means of pain management like acupuncture, massage therapy, myofascial release and exercise therapy.

If you are showing signs of opiate abuse, such as trying to get medication from more than one source, it is important to seek early substance abuse treatment. See for information on treatment options in your area.

For the CDC's full report on opiate medication use and consequences in the US, see .

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Whiplash Myths

Whiplash is a term commonly associated with rapid uncontrolled movement of the head and neck as they “whip” back and forth during a motor vehicle accident. Strenuous movement occurring in the accident can cause injury to the occupants of the vehicle. Whether the accident is a rear end, front end or side to side type the bottom line is: the neck hurts!

When a whiplash injury occurs there can be singing of the muscles and tendons which is called a “strain”. Also there can be singing of ligaments which is called a “sprain”. Ligaments are tissues which attach from one bone to another and allow a proper amount of motion but not too much. Also there can be damage to the discs of the neck which are similar to pads or cushions between the bones. At times the joints of the neck can be damaged which can be similar to when we hurt the joints of our knuckles. Often the nerves exiting openings between the spinal bones can be pinched and irritated. Here are some myths and truths about whiplash you should know.

MYTH # 1: Time and rest will heal the whiplash.

Although time is certainly a factor in helping a health problem to improve many people find that time alone is not sufficient. One study showed that a significant number of those injured in a motor vehicle trauma suffered chronic symptoms. Thirty years after being injured: 45% completely recovered, 40% reported “nuisance” symptoms but 15% still had significant symptoms and impairments requiring ungoing treatment. Perhaps a better approach than watching and waiting is to think more in terms of a sports injury model where rapid treatment is given as soon as possible after the injury occurs. Rather than wear a neck collar and take pain pills studies show that manipulation and mobilization, which is commonly performed by chiropractors, often yields significantly better outcomes.

MYTH # 2: Seatbelts prevent whiplash injuries.

Seatbelts save lives. It is against the law not to wear a seatbelt. They prevent us from hiring the windshield or even worse, being thrown from the vehicle. So it is important to wear seatbelts. However, when it comes to preventing whiplash the opposite may actually be true. The reason seatbelts can add to neck injury is because when the chest and trunk are tightly against the seat the head and neck move into more of a whipping action when the force of the accident occurs. One of the best ways to minimize whiplash injury is to position the head restraint high enough (typically above the ears) and close to the head (no more than to to 1 inch) so the head rest stops the back whipping motion. Additionally, keeping the seat back more vertical than reclined is a good preventive tactic.

MYTH # 3: People who are unaware of the impending impact are less likely to be hurt.

The fact is the opposite is true. Sometimes it is not uncommon to hear someone say that because they did not have any awareness that an accident was about to occur they were limp and their body just “went along with the force” and therefore no injuries happened. Actually, those who can brace and protect themselves are less likely, despite still vulnerable, to suffer injury. This is also why someone with a greater neck muscle mass tend to have less damage in an automobile accident than a person like a female or tall, thin people with non-muscular necks.

MYTH # 4: Negative x-rays mean everything is fine.

Many times a person who has x-rays after an auto accident is told by the radiologist or their doctor that the x-rays are “normal”. This should not be confused to mean there is no injury. X-rays show only the bones of the neck, not the soft tissues. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, ligaments, disks and nerves. Only an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) shows the soft tissues. But because an MRI costs more than x-rays it may not be ordered. Do not assume that you are okay just because the x-rays do not show damage.

When a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident the question arises what type of care to best choose in recovery. Certainly if emergency measures are needed one should initially immediately seek help from emergency medical technicians and a trauma emergency center. If there is no emergency situation or the emergency crisis has passed a chiropractor is well suited to handle people having neck pain from whiplash, headaches and shoulder and arm pain. Chiropractors are doctors who have extensive training and insight into helping people to heal, as much as possible, from their problems. Chiropractors commonly can provide advice on whether to use ice or heat to the damaged areas. Chiropractors can perform adjustments, manipulations or mobilizations to the spine and extemities to restore proper movement and motion and to help realign the injured joints. Chiropractors can also provide therapies that can help physically, such as electrical muscle stimulation. A chiropractor can also instruct the patient on which type of stretching and strengthening exercises are best utilized. If you or a family member or friend require care for whiplash a chiropractor can be a great asset in assisting health recovery.

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Walking Off Your Rotator Cuff Syndrome

True story. And the timeline from which they could have happened is endless … “referring to a clients inquiring about a recent left rotator cuff issue.

I try to tell stories as short, fast, and as simple as possible. Like a good joke. It's quick, and you can remember it. I'm an actor when they first come in, and when they're on my table and I'm working on their issues I'm a comedian, or I try to be, telling short stories like punch lines. In the most recent movie I saw, called “Argo” the CIA agent told the American captives in Iran wishing to escape to be actors – “You have to believe in what you're saying, otherwise they're never going to believe you, and you will be arrested and killed “(in so many words.) And so the captive actors had to learn how to truly become the role they were assigned.

I believe. And I know that what I say is true; like the players. Because it's based on statistics. “Arithmetic,” Bill Clinton said. What happens over time that is measured and can be proved mathematically through formula. I've seen it now for over ten years. Numbers, repetition. The people come in, I hear their stories. Person says one story, that's “1.” One year later I hear it again, that's “2.” Five years later I hear again the same story, one plus one plus one, yup – see? The math is just that easy. And then it becomes a story, which is set aside as one mathematical formula, sometimes with a solution.

Short story now (aka: Cliché). Here it is: Client A: “I just do not understand what could have led to my bum shoulder” (in so many words.) There was not any understanding why there was a left rotator cuff issue when the client was right- handed. “It could be so many things,” I said. “Often times it's the very simple, unseen things that you do that just add up. For example, I had one client not too long ago – just like you – who told me about their dog. day the dog was walked. I then asked: Okay, what is the weight of your dog? “The reply,” 60 pounds. ”

Mathematical formula: (This is not a mathematical reasoning question you get in school, but please try to answer me this.) A human being who is 5 feet 4 inches, approximately 130 pounds, has a dog weighing 60 pounds, and walks it for one hour per day, holding the dog with the same hand, 7 days a week. How long, after 1 months time, has the human being had enough force in order to then hear from a doctor that there is a rotator cuff syndrome in the left shoulder and needs a cortisone shot?

Now I am telling my Client A story to the current Client B on my table. In response, what did I hear? Silence. Finally: “Well, my dog ​​is sixty-TWO pounds, and I walk her with MY left hand …”

“Ding-Ding-Ding,” One, two … THREE! After three of the same stories I just want to step out of the ring.

One tight leash + 62 pound dog + utilizing left hand = left rotator cuff syndrome. This is not my prognosis, because I am not a doctor, you see. It's just a true story, or two, or ..

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Prepare A Pain Management Plan To Overcome Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain can lead to a devastating position if unattended to. Before one plans for a treatment for the same, it is necessary to understand the root cause of the occurrence. To find this, it requires for an individual to note down the changes that they are experiencing physically. A reputed spinal therapist will use the symptoms as the base to find the root of sciatica. The next step will involve treatment through medication and exercises. All the exercises are planned in such a way that they act on the affected region and subdue sciatica.

With knowledge on the causes and symptoms, a person will be in a position to react at an early stage to prevent further evolution of sciatica. Sciatica pain is observed in the lower back portion, buttocks, thighs and toes. This is the region where sciatica nerve is located. It is originated at the lower end of the spinal column and ends at toes. It is the longest and the largest nerve present in human anatomy. It requires immediate attention to prevent it from reaching higher levels. Usually, it is treatable and does not require any surgeries. But, when there is no change in a person through non-surgical treatment, the only option left to cure is through surgical treatment.

Sciatica pain is caused due to compression of nerve roots. This can occur at different levels of the spinal end and due to different reasons. A herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis and lumbar spondylolisthesis are the major role players in development of sciatica. The other reasons are through the natural aging process which reduces the spinal canal area. A person affected often pens pinching, irritation and inflammation in the region. The pain is horrible and makes it difficult to perform regular activities.

With information on sciatica pain, it will be easy for a person to have a proper pain management implemented. This will prevent further development of sciatica. Regular sessions with a reputed spinal therapist will bring back the condition to normal. All it requires is to follow a schedule that has been tailor made according to the symptoms experienced by an individual. With complete information about causes, it becomes easy to control the pain and prevent it from reaching a higher level. Exercises are the best natural way to prevent sciatica and reduce the same. Make sure you have a pain management implemented to keep sciatica at bay.

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Muscle Cramping – Causes And Prevention

Cramps! If you've ever had a good race spoiled by cramps, you know how frustrating it can be. You're cruising along with ease, lots of fuel still left in the tank, feeling great about your finishing time prospects, when out of now you get that feeling. It starts with a little spasm, usually in the medial quad or hamstring that comes and goes – you start to worry. You hit a little rise in the course, and the spasm lasts a little long – you give your legs a little slap, maybe even stop for a second to shake them out. This lasts until at times you can not move. I've lived this tale a few times during triathlons, and it is no joke. After the race the search for answers begins – Did I hydrate enough? Should I have dropped more salt supplements? Should I start wearing compression shorts? Do I need to get the new Cervelo P5 with Zipp wheels? Or, am I just doomed to a life of cramping?

Cramps are a funny thing. If you experience them you have probably noticed something interesting, and that is that you most likely do not cramp when training – no matter the distance, weather conditions, or intensity. When you really think about that, it calls into question some of the most popular myths about cramping, number one being that cramping is caused by the electrolyte loss from sweating. If that's true, why can I run for 2 hours in 90 degree weather with little or no fluid intake, but cramp in the final 2 miles of a relatively short triathlon when hydrating regularly? Add to that the physiological fact that your plasma electrolyte concentration actually increases when you sweat excessively (you lose far more water than electrolytes). So what's really going on here? To answer that question we need to look at muscle physiology, and how fatigue affects neural activity.

Take the following into consideration: Typically only active muscles cramp. One of the best ways to treat a cramp is by stretching the inserted muscle. Cramping is most likely to occur when racing, and typically near the end of the race. Muscle activity is controlled by what are called alpha motor neurons – what you might consider the primary control pathway – but also by spinal reflex activity. This reflex activity comes in the form of muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs. The job of the spindle is to make sure that your muscle does not stretch too much, and is activated every time your muscle is stretched. As spindle firing rates go up, the muscle will contract. The Golgi tendon organ monitors tension in muscles and tendons. Its job is to make sure the muscle does not contact too forcefully or under too much load (think of how your muscles essentially shut off when trying to curl too much weight). However, if the Golgi tendon organ is inhibited, the primary muscle will increase its firing rate.

Here is what we know from the available research: When muscles become protected, like during an intense race, the firing rate of the muscle spindles increases, and the firing rate of the Golgi tendon organ decreases. So, that means that you increase the rate of muscle contracting without a stopping mechanism. The end result here, if you have not figured it out yet, is a good old fashioned muscle cramp. In fact, there is research that demonstrated that crampers in a marathon had greater alpha motor neuron activity than non-crampers. Now we're getting somewhere. But how can we prevent them?

The key to prevention of muscle cramping is to decrease susceptibility to fatigue. We can do this in a few ways. The easiest, or course, is to race within yourself. In fact, researchers have demonstrated that you can predict who will cramp based on their goal finishing time. Basically, if your goal far exceeds past efforts, you have a higher likelihood of cramping. We also know that a stronger muscle is more likely to resist fatigue, so adding strength training in the form of hill repeats, speed work, and plyometrics, is essential. Finally, regular stretching may help decrease your cramping risk – although no evidence currently exists to support this, but nothing to lose with this one.

Unfortunately, as is true in life, there appear to be no quick fixes if you are predisposed to cramping. Have faith though, for with hard work and good race planning, you can beat this demon. And if all else fails, throw down a few sodium tablets – sometimes perception is reality, and a psychological boost may just do the trick.

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Athletes, Injuries, and Liquid Glucosamine for Joint Pain

The explosion of sports activities in the United States continues. Athletes at the high school, collegiate, professional, or weekend warrior level are put at risk for joint injury. Recovery in our youth is fast, and returning to our favorite sport usually requires a little rest and a few weeks to recover. The problem is these injuries can have lifelong effects, many of which lead to osteoarthritis to the damaged joint.

As cartilage ages or injured, its' ability to act as a cushion and lubricant to our joint is compromised. The cartilage can no longer protect the joint properly. Knees especially take a pounding and historically, enough cartilage wears away causing bone on bone contact and the onset of osteoarthritis joint pain.

Today, more and more athletes are adding glucosamine with chondroitin to their daily intake of vitamins and other health supplements. Serious athletes at a more competitive level, put in long hours of joint pounding practice, and use a glucosamine chondroitin combination to give their joints the nutrition they need to help prevent deterioration of healthy cartilage. Healthy, pain free joints let them train longer.

All of us have seen retired football players (Mike Ditka) from the NFL limping around. The physical punishment of their bodies have endured is beyond comprehension. But these same types of injuries can occur in anyone, and damaged joint cartilage is a recipe for arthritis. Cartilage breaking down is a natural occurrence, whether from aging or genetics. Injury to a knee, ankle, or shoulder joint can damage the soft tissue know as cartilage and speed up the process of osteoarthritis.

Recommendations are for athletes to take 1500 milligrams of glucosamine with chondroitin daily. Both substances are naturally occurring in our bodies, but sometimes our body can stop producing the necessary levels need to maintain healthy cartilage. Studies have shown that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin act as an anti-inflammatory, while supplying nutrients is necessary for cartilage regeneration. While there are drugs available that do the same thing, they are anything but natural. Common prescriptions for inflamed joints are NSAIDs. (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) NSAID's like Celebrex, come with a long list of potential side effects. One NSAID was recently dropped from the market due to the devastating effects it was having on some consumers.

Recent studies have shown that glucosamine has the same effects on reducing moderate to severe joint pain as Celecoxib (Celebrex). That's quite a statement. Glucosamine chondroitin products have essentially no side effects. They contain no pain medication or ant-inflammatory drugs, only naturally occurring substances. Synflex 1500 Liquid Glucosamine contains these essential ingredients, but continues the formula with several anti-inflammatory supplements including White Willow Bark that has been used since the 5th century BC, when Hippocrates noted and recommended its use for pain and inflammation.

Many athletes have begun using Synflex 1500 to improve their joint health. In fact, Olympic Biathlete Tim Burke found that at the age of 20 he was suffering from the inflammation of arthritis and needed to find pain relief continue with his training. Trying many different brands of glucosamine, Tim found that Synflex controlled his arthritis pain involving him to continue with his training and competitions.

Whether competing in sports or enjoying retired life, if arthritis joint pain has you sidelined, Synflex 1500 Liquid Glucosamine can get you back in the game and control the joint pain you've been enduring.

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What To Do About Arm and Neck Pain

One of the most painful conditions anyone can experience is a discomfort originating in the neck and traveling down into the arm. Sometimes the pain is a deep ache, others feel a burning soreness and still others may note an intermittent sharp, shooting discomfort. It can be hard to know how to deal with this pain.

Neck pain with upper extremity involvement is considered common. A study that surveyed people in a Scandinavian country revealed that 16% to 18% of the population were experiencing this type of torment.

There are a number of conditions that can cause discomfort in the neck and arm including heart problems, tumors and infections. However one of the most prevalent causes is called “cervical radiculopathy”. Cervical is an anatomical word for the neck area. Radiculopathy is a term meaning that pain radiates from one area into another area. Therefore cervical radiculopathy signifies that there is a problem in the neck which causes discomfort of some type to travel into some area of ​​the upper extremity. It may be felt in the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, hand and fingers.

With cervical radiculopathy a common source of the problem involves the spinal, the spinal cord and spinal nerves, and the disks of the spinal.

Spinal discs are pads or cushions which sit between the bones of the spine which are called vertebrae. If the discs in the cervical spinal are irritated or injured they can swell and get inflamed. That swelling places pressure on the nerves which causes the discomfort to travel into the upper extremity.

Another cause of cervical radiculopathy may be that arthritis has caused the openings of the cervical spine, called foramen, through which nervs exit and travel into the arm, to become reduced in size. Normally there should be plenty of room in the foramen for the nerves. However arthritis and degeneration can cause a reduction of the size of the opening. In addition if there is also a misalignment of the vertebrae in the cervical area then there may be a pinching of the nerve to the arm resulting in various types of discomfort.

Treatment of cervical radiculopathy may take many forms. Medicines like anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers, or painkillers are one path that may be used. Surgery is another, albeit aggressive, option.

Another approach one might take is to consider chiropractic treatment. A number of research studies have shown chiropractic treatment of cervical radiculopathy to be a safe, effective, nonsurgical alternative.

Chiropractors provide treatment that helps the body to heal itself. There are a variety of methods chiropractors use to treat cervical radiculopathy; especially gentle manipulations or adjustments to realign the spelling and restore proper motion and mobility. Electrical muscle stimulation to the area can help the muscles of the area to relax and relieve inflammation of the spinal nerves.

Patients will heal at varying rates but a chiropractor can also provide beneficial advice on exercises a person can perform and lifestyle improvements a patient can make to help the condition improve and be maintained. Of course in the event a patient does not respond to treatment the chiropractor will refer the patient for a second opinion.

Chiropractic has been incredibly effective for decades in helping those suffering from cervical radiculopathy and should be considered in its treatment.

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Shoulder Pain? Check the Biceps!

Shoulder pain is prevalent in the United States, 9% of American adults reported having shoulder pain in 2006 according to the CDC. Shoulder pain can be the result of many different things from osteoarthritis to a heart attack. One of the causes of shoulder and arm pain that commonly gets overlooked is bicep tendonitis.

The biceps muscle crosses the shoulder and elbow joints and its main action is to flex the arm and supinate the forearm. Both of these movements are used when opening a bottle with a corkscrew; supination to unscrew the cork and second flexion to pull the cork out.

Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon, the part of the muscle that attaches to bone. Symptoms of tendonitis can vary from aches or pains and local joint stiffness, to a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the inflamed tendon. With tendonitis, the pain is usually worse during and after activity, and the tendon and joint area can become stiffer the following day as muscles tighten from the movement of the tendon.

Biceps tendonitis can be confirmed by an easy and quick test. Start with the painful arm out in front of you with the thumb pointing up, have someone push down on the arm with even pressure, keep in mind that this is not an arm wrestling match. If weakness is shown, the arm pushes down easily, and pain in the shoulder is felt with this movement than Biceps tendonitis is a possible cause of the shoulder pain.

To confirm find the bicep tendon which is about an inch above the armpit and just inside the ball of the humerus, or the main arm bone. If tendonitis is present the tendon will be reliably easy to find, will feel ropy and exquisitely tender. Once the tendon is found massage in a straight horizontal fashion with the pads of the fingers, not in a vertical motion or in a circle but horizontal only. After 30 seconds or so repeat the thumb up test to see if there is any improvement, if the massage is done correctly the arm should be stronger.

This type of massage used is called cross friction massage and is great for tendonitis. Do this cross friction massage 4 times per day for 30 seconds to a minute each time, followed by ice to the area. Since it is an inflammation of the tendon doing some anti-inflammatory herbs would also help improve the tendonitis. Look for natural anti-inflammatories such as Devil's Claw and Boswelia, I personally like Boswelia Complex by MediHerb.

If diligent with the cross friction massage, ice and anti-inflammatory herbs the tendonitis should clear up in 2-4 wks. If doing a physical activity with the arm such as lifting, pulling or pushing do the cross friction massage before and after the activity. Also a good shoulder adjustment from your Chiropractor can put the humerus back in the correct place and decrease the chance of further injury.

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Some Tips for Living With Arthritis

If you have arthritis, it can be a disabling experience living with the discomfort and pain that the condition can cause. However, countless people across the UK are living with the effects of arthritis on a daily basis and are able to lead full and active lifestyles, simply by finding new ways to keep their minds and bodies active and stimulated.

If you have just been diagnosed with the condition, there is no need to feel like you are on your own and that there is nothing you can do. On the contrary, there are entire groups dedicated to learning how to live comfortably with arthritis. Below are just a couple of things which you might like to try that could give you some ideas of how to enjoy yourself while improving your health.

Interestingly, the simple act of listening to music has been said to reduce arthritis pain. It may seem like a minor step to take, but research has found that classical music in particular can have tragic results, with the natural relaxing nature of the melodies helping to increase relaxation and lift depression, which are both causes of chronic pain related to arthritis .

Even changing what you eat and drink as a snack can help to improve your condition. Vitamin C has been shown to be an excellent way of reducing both the cause and the progress of osteoarthritis, with oranges and orange juice being the easiest and most effective way of attaining this source. An additional bonus of eating oranges is that they are also a good source of folic acid. This beneficial acid can ensure that the side effects of the arthritis drug methotrexate are kept to a minimum.

There are some tactics for dealing with arthritis which may really take you by surprise. One of these is changing your footwear; Unfortunately, it can be the case that tight-fitting, fashionable shoes can be detrimental to your comfort, reduce circulation and generally be an unwelcome complication to the condition you are already living with.

Finally, when it comes to alternative therapies, you may be taken aback to learn that prayer has been revealed to be the most popular choice with arthritis sufferers. Although worship and faith should not be used as like-for-like substitutes for medicine, research has indicated that belief in a higher spiritual power can make people feel better, both emotionally and physically, and that that is a useful part of any healing process .

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