3 Conditions Commonly Misdiagnosed As Sciatica

Sciatica is a common diagnosis of lower back, hip and leg pain. The cause of sciatica is often a herniated disc in the lower back, but could also be related to other conditions like SI joint dysfunction or piriformis syndrome. Since sciatica is a common cause of radiating pain, it is easy for other conditions that cause such pain to be misdiagnosed as sciatica. Misdiagnosis means mistreatment.

As a patient or a medical professional, it is important to be aware of all possible causes of pain to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. The following conditions may mimic aspects of sciatica.

Hip Bursitis

Bursa is a fluid sac that allows two body parts to move smoothly over one another. A tendon passes over the outside of the upper thigh bone and a bursa rests between them to prevent friction. Inflamed hip bursa causes hip bursitis. The tendon moves across the bursa and hip with every leg movement; if the bursa is inflamed, this motion will cause pain. This pain can radiate through the pelvis, affecting the lower back, buttocks and groin.

Hip bursitis is only common in athletic people who do a lot of running and those who have had hip surgery. It may also appear in people who have fallen hard on the hip. Many of its symptoms are similar to those of sciatica, and it may be misdiagnosed as such. People with hip bursitis usually have visible infection at the site of the bursa and feel pain when this area is touched; This is not a symptom of sciatica and can be used to distinguish between the two conditions.

Femoral Nerve Entrapment

The femoral nerve leaves the spine at the second, third and fourth lumbar vertebrae and travels down the front of the thigh. This nerve supplies sensory and motor function to the groin and the front of the thigh.

On its journey from the lower back to the leg, the femoral nerve passes through the psoas muscle. This muscle stretches from the top of the thigh bone to the lumbar spine and assists in movements that bring the lower and upper body closer together. If the psoas muscle is tight and inflamed, it can compress the femoral nerve, which causes referred pain through the groin and down the leg.

The femoral nerve may also be compressed at the groin fold due to static “frog leg position,” such as when riding a horse. It can be compressed by wearing tight belts or by impact. The radiating pain caused by femoral nerve compression can be mistaken for a symptom of sciatica. Pain radiating from the femoral nerve will likely occur on the front of the thigh, whereas sciatica pain tends to be more focused on the back of the thigh. This can help decipher the true cause.

Trigger Points

Trigger points are knots that form in the connective tissue of muscles. They are composed of tissue in isolated spasm, and generally occur through overuse of a muscle over time. Trigger points can refer pain to other parts of the body. When these knots form in the muscles of the lower back or buttocks, they can refer pain along the same path as the sciatic nerve. See the blog by neuromuscular therapist Christina Abbott at http://abbottcenter.com/bostonpaintherapy/?p=3447 for more on this.

Hip bursitis, femoral nerve entrapment and trigger points in muscles of the core can cause sciatica-like symptoms. Avoiding common diagnosis errors will help ensure that you get proper treatment for the cause of your pain.

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Anandamide, Nature’s Morphine

Until last Autumn, I did not even take aspirin for pain. I remember telling the doc 'pain is a messenger' which helps the body heal. Oh, baby. That was before I broke 4 ribs surfing in Australia, pneumonia set in and I had to lung surgery to save my life. The kind of pain from having your rib cage cut open is not a message, its a Final Notice.

The doc wave me something he called 'the strongest narcotic known to man' and I liked it. I was in three hospitals and came home with a renewed interest in biochemistry. Why and how do morphine, codeine, heroin, cannabis and all the pain killers work so perfectly and efficiently in the body? Being a mad scientist and tantric yogini, I'm a big fan of psychoneuroimmunology and the production of chemicals in the body.

Almost everything the chemist or doc gives you is a copy of what your body naturally makes, and in my opinion, a cheap copy. We can do better. Almost all narcotics are derived from plants: opiates come from poppies, cannabis is the flower of an herb. While our lives depend on plants, the receptors in our brain are wired for something else. We naturally create a chemical Anandamide , also known as N -arachidonoylethanolamide an endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter. The name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss.

The reason opiates and cannabinoids work so well is that they fit exactly into the brain receptors that are intended for anandamide. Your body makes this stuff naturally! Its synthesized from lecithin. I cry when people tell me they eat egg whites. The yolks are pure lecithin, the bliss ingredients. You can also get lecithin by combining two simple B vitamins, choline and inositol.

Anandamide is the chemical that gives you the “chills”, the little orgasmic thrill you get from nothing something beautiful. It is the supreme pain killer and much stronger and more effective than morphine. The trouble with anandamide though is that that very short lived in the body, so you need to help it out a little.

Acetaminophen, a common painkiller, works because it is a re-uptake inhibitor of anandamide. What that means is it keeps the bliss molecules around longer. Pain IS a messenger. It helps create the chemical as does exercise, meditation, music and love. Acetaminophen helps keep it around. And lecithin (choline and inositol) feed it. High levels of inter cellular calcium also contribute to high levels of Anandamide production.

So here's my prescription for do-it-yourself morphine: feed your heart, take a few grams of crystal choline and inositol with your Tylenol, eat your egg yolks, and throw in some chocolate (another re-uptake inhibitor). I'm not an ice cream lover, but its loaded with egg yolk and usually has added lecithin. So go for it.

My teacher Deepak Chopra recommends 12 hugs a day for maximum health and I suspect this may be because of the anandamide production. I prefer kisses.

Rx: 2 grams crystal choline and inositol, 1 gram acetaminophen, 2000 iu's D3, a half gram coral calcium and call me in the morning.

ENJOY!

Happiness, Health and Wealth!

Nancy Travis

CEO, Lotus Wellbeing, Inc./Lotus Liberty

Drop me a comment, please!

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Magnetic Therapy – What Is Gauss Rating?

Magnetic products and especially those used for magnetic therapy will always have a GAUSS rating. What exactly does this mean?

Magnetic therapy is well known for its healing properties and many people around the world still use magnets to obtain natural pain relief rather than resort to drugs. But not all magnets are the same. The key differentiator is the gauss strength – But what exactly is gauss strength?

In simple terms the gauss rating of a magnet determines the speed in which it works, and the thickness of the magnet determines the depth of penetration.

Many companies selling magnets or magnetic products state the internal gauss and not the external gauss rating. This can be misleading and for a far more accurate insight into the product that you are buying you should take the external gauss rating and multiply this number by 3.9. So for example, a magnet with an external strength 500 gauss can be said to have a internal strength of 3.9 x 500 which is 1,950. So you should ensure that when the seller specifics the gauss rating he or she is clear whether that is the internal or the external rating.

Also be aware that the strength of a magnetic field reduces rapidly as the magnet is moved away from the part of the body where you are wearing it. So the actual gauss strength applied to your injured area will decrease as soon as you move the magnet away from that particular point of pain or discomfort.

If you have a product, such as a magnetic knee support or a magnetic bracelet and t does not specify if the gauss rating is external or internal you can determine the external rating yourself by dividing the rating by 3.9. So for example a rating of 9,000 would have an external rating of 2,308.

Another important point is that gauss strength is not cumulative. In other words if each magnet you are using has gauss rating of 1,500 and there are ten magnets in the product, the gauss strength is still 1,500 gauss and not as you might imagine 15,000 gauss. Certainly more magnets in a single product does mean that the magnets are much closer together, thereby creating a more uniform magnetic field. But the number of magnets required establish a consistent magnetic is dependent upon the size of the magnets.

As a guide for a magnet to penetrate into human tissue it does need to be quite strong. For the healing properties of a magnet to penetrate to a depth of one inch it should have a rating of at least 700 gauss external strength and ideally 1,000. If you require the magnet to penetrate two inches into the body it should have an external gauss strength of at least 1,200 and ideally 2,000.

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Shingles Treatment

Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you get chickenpox, usually as a child, the virus remains dormant in certain nerves in the body.

If the virus becomes active again in these nerves, shingles occur, even years later after you've had chickenpox.

Scientists do not have an answer as to why the virus suddenly becomes active. Often, only one attack occurs and then it's dormant the rest of your life.

Shingles can happen in any age group, but it's more likely to happen if:

Older than 60

Had chickenpox before age 1

Your immune system is weakened by medications or disease

If either an adult or child has direct contact with a shingles rash on someone, and has not already had chickenpox as a child or a chickenpox vaccine, they can develop chickenpox from this contact. They will not get shingles, but rather chickenpox.

The first symptom is usually one-sided pain, tingling, or burning. The pain and burning can be severe and is usually shows up before any rash appears.

For most people, red patches on the skin, followed by small blisters, are the symptoms.

Then the blisters break, forming small ulcers that begin to dry and form crusts. The crises fall off in 2 to 3 weeks, but fortunately, scarring is rare.

The rash is typically spotted in a narrow area from the spine, around to the front of the belly area or chest.

The face, eyes, mouth, and ears may be affected by the rash.

Other symptoms of shingles may include:

Fever and chills

General ill-feeling

Abdominal pain

Chills

Difficulty moving some of the muscles in the face

Drooping eyelid

Genital lesions

Headache

Hearing loss

Joint pain

Loss of eye motion

Swollen glands (lymph nodes)

Taste problems

Vision problems

Sometimes pain, muscle weakness, and a rash can show around different parts of your face, if shingles affects a nerve in your face.

Signs and tests

Doctor can make the diagnosis by looking at your skin and asking about your medical history.

Tests are rarely needed, but your doctor may take a skin sample to see if the skin is infected with the virus that causes shinglees.

Blood tests may show an increase in white blood cells and antibodies to the chickenpox virus, but can not prove the rash is caused from shingles.

Treatment For Shingles:

Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral like Acyclovir, Famciclovir, or Valacyclovir. The drug helps reduce pain and shortens the course of the disease.

The medications ideally should be started within 24 hours of feeling pain or burning, and preferably before the blisters appear.

The drugs are in pill form, and given in doses many times greater than those recommended for HSV-1 and HSV-2.

Some people may need the medicine through a vein (by IV), instead of pill form.

Anti-inflammatory drugs, (corticosteroids, like Prednisone), may be used to reduce swelling and slow continued pain.

Unfortunately, these drugs do not work for all patients.

Other medicines to relieve symptoms may include:

Antihistamines to reduce itching

Pain medicines

Zostrix, a cream that may reduce the risk of postherpetic neuralgia

Cool wet compresses can be used to reduce pain.

Colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or calamine lotion, may help relieve itching and discomfort.

Resting in bed until the fever goes down is recommended.

Skin should be kept clean, and contaminated items should not be reused.

Nondisposable items should be washed in boiling water. Isolate the infected person while lesions are oozing, to prevent infecting other people, who have never had chickenpox.

Pregnant women are especially at risk when exposed to an infected person.

Fortunately, herpes zoster (shingles) usually clears in 2 to 3 weeks and rarely recurs.

If the virus affects nerves that control movement, (the motor nerves), you may experience a temporary or permanent weakness or paralysis.

Sometimes, the pain where the shingles occurred may last from months to years in that same area.

This is called posttherpetic neuralgia and it's caused by the nerves being damaged after an outbreak of shingles. Pain ranges from mild to very severe.

Usually, in people over 60 years of age.

Complications of Shingles may include:

Another attack of shingle

Blindness (if shingles occurs in the eye)

Deafness

Infection, including “encephalitis or sepsis” in persons with weakened immune systems

Bacterial skin infections

Ramsay Hunt syndrome (a painful rash around the ear that occurs when the varicella zoster virus infects a nerve in the head)

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of shingles, and if you have a weakened immune system and your symptoms persist or worsen.

Shingles that affect the eye is most serious, since if you do not get emergency medical care, it could lead to permanent blindness.

Is there anything that can be done to prevent shingles?

Avoid touching the rash and blisters on people with shingles or chickenpox, especially, if you've never had chickenpox or chickenpox vaccine.

A herpes zoster vaccine is available and it's not the same as the chickenpox vaccine.

Older adults who receive the herpes zoster vaccine are less likely to have complications from shingles.

Doctors recommend that adults older than 60 should receive the vaccine as part of routine medical care ..

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An Essential Guide to Orthopaedic Beds

Aches and pains can form a regular part of our day to day lives, especially as we get older. Sometimes these aches and pains can be mildly irritating and other times they can be so debilitating that they limit our quality of life. It is estimated that 20% of the world (that's one in every five people) suffer from some sort of back pain. Therefore, we all need to ensure that we're doing all we can keep our muscles and joints healthy. This article will give you a great overview of orthopedic beds and how they help you stay on top of your physical health.

So, what exactly are they?

Well, they look just like regular beds but they come equipped with a hugely beneficial difference … the ergonomic properties. As science and our understanding of the human body has developed, so has our development of new products. Orthopedic beds are basically modern day beds that are designed to support the human body. They ease the pressure on joints, muscles, and the back and spine.

What will they do for me?

There are plenty of gains to be had by investing in an orthopedic bed. General benefits include the encouragement of retaining good posture and making sleep much more comfortable. However, the real magic lies in some of the more specific benefits. Scientific evidence has shown orthopedic beds to be great at relieving joint pains, back and spinal pain, neck pain, and improve circulation. The overall benefits that can be had are quite amazing and millions of people, including those in the medical profession, speak very highly of orthopedic beds.

What materials do they use?

The older beds usually use the standard coil spring system you'll find on traditional beds. The difference is they have been manipulated to enhance their comfort and protection. However, this type of orthopedic bed is rarely found on today's market as a new, revolutionary material has hit the shelves. That material is memory foam.

What's memory foam?

This is a mattress material that, believe it or not, was originally developed by those clever clogs over at NASA to reduce the G-force experienced by astronauts. The material was so good at protecting the human body that it is now widely available for use in orthopedic beds. The unique structure of memory foam allows it to mold around the shape of your body. This severely reduces tossing and turning in the night, makes sleep more more comfortable, and encourages good posture while you are sleeping. It has been thoroughly researched (it was used by NASA, after all) and is widely accepted for its evidenced benefits in eases aches and pains.

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Avoid Knee Surgery With This Simple Exercise

I've been there. I played over twelve years of professional football, basketball in high school, soccer before that. I hyperextended my knees more than I care to remember and sore knee braces most of my high school and college career. I remember looking for ANY solution I could find to stop the nauseating ache in my left knee. I took Advil like they were tic-tacs and used Bengay like it was going out of style.

Nothing cave me the relief I was looking for … until now.

I fell into the category of “do not move around too much and your knee will be fine”. What a pathetic philosophy! Now I have been enlightened to the fact that exactly the opposite is true. What I am about to share with you came from a man that had BOTH his knees crushed after being stuck by a car. After numerous surgeries, he was asked to go through one more but declined. Instead, he came up with this very simple yet effective technique to allow his knees to heal NATURALLY. I know, I know, that sounds too good to be true but think about it.

Is your body smart or stupid? If you cut yourself does it heal on it's own or do you have to think about it? If you get sick how does your body know what to do to rid itself of the invading bacteria or virus? Sounds like it's pretty smart to me. Did you know that the lining of the mouth regenerates every four days or that the entire skeleton regenerates after about 16 months? We are living, breathing creatures that are CONSTANTLY breaking down and rebuilding. This is the basis for the simple knee rejuvenation exercise.

Patellar tracking problems are not addressed in this exercise and should be diagnosed by your healthcare practitioner as they can lead to biomechanical problems with your gait and structural damage to the intrinsic muscles of the foot and lower leg.

Assuming the patella is tracking properly, the exercise is performed as follows:

Get some ankle weights from the local sporting goods store. Depending on your size, 10 to 25lbs per weight may be in order. Find a table you can sit on that allows you to dangle your feet like you used to do as a little kid. Put the weights on your ankles and dangle them with a slight swing back and forth (no more than a few inches). Do this for ten minutes every day twice a day and you will be on your way to pain free knees!

Here is how this works. The knees are the largest joint in the body (no it's not the hips … look it up). They involve the femur or thigh bone and the tibia of the lower leg. It is a synovial joint that includes a medial and lateral minuscus which are like thick cartilage in the joint to act as shock absorbers. There are also several ligaments involved but we are not concerned about those here. The miniscus can have small tears in them from basic, everyday wear and tear that accumulates over time. The ankle weights distract the knee joint during the exercise which allows fluid to be folded into the joint itself. This accelerates the healing of the knee. A hot pack can be added to the knee to speed up the process by increasing the circulation to to area.

It's that simple. Obviously, total ACL, MCL, LCL tears will not be miraculously cured by this exercise, but for the everyday achy knees that just feel worn out, these works GREAT!

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Knowing Different Type Of Knee Brace For Running

Running is the simplest form of whole body exercise, and it's becoming more and more popular nowdays as people are discovering that it easy to do. People take up running for various reasons. Some do it to keep fit, and some to lose weight while others find it rejuvenating.

However, it has been known that knee injury is the most common form of injury a runner can suffer. And at some point, many runners start experiencing some form of pain or injury in their knee after doing some running activity. It is common knowledge that while running the knee has to absorb a lot of impact, which can result in injury that may have long-term implications. If the knee injury gets serious, surgery is the only option for remedy, which again may not be effective in all cases.

The disturbing fact about knee injury is that once you have it, there is no going back. Therefore, before you take up running, you need to adopt some kind of preventive measure in order to protect your knee from injury. The effective way to prevent knee injury is to use knee brace for running.

If you already have some kind of injury to your knee, it is important that you determine which brace will be the best for you based on the type of injury sustained. Here are some types of running braces that you can check.

1. Neoprene brace

Neoprene brace has the dual property of stretch ability and insulation. The brace tighten the knee movement and also insulate it from cold. It is mostly used when running in cold weather.

2. Hinged brace

These braces are more advanced than the neoprene brace. They are capable of providing more stability and less flexible. In fact, hinged braces can be adjusted in order to limit the range of movement of the knee at the required degrees of movement. These are available in standard form and also in adjustable form. Moreover, hinged knee brace for running can be customized according to the need of a runner.

3. Knee bands

Knee bands are generally straps. It wrapped around the knee in order to relieve stress on the tendon. These knee bands are generally used for treatment of runner's knee and tendonitis.

4. Arthritic knee brace

This brace is specifically designed with hinges that reduce the friction between the bones, which in turn reduces the pain while running. This brace is perfect for person who suffers from arthritis.

5. Patellar stabilizing brace

Patella is the scientific name for kneecap. This brace helps in stabilizing the kneecap so that it properly tracks in the groove of the femur or thigh bone. Pain arises when the kneecap does not track properly. Patellar stabilizing brace has been designed to provide proper tracking of the patella. These braces are provided with block to hold the patella in position when the knee goes through motion.

When you are using knee brace for running, remember that it is not a solution for your injury. It is just a temporary appraise to helps your knees into proper shape and to heal you from pain. You need to consult with qualified medical professional who will be able to provide you with the solution for your knee injury. Moreover, you also need to consult to the doctor who will be able to recommend you the appropriate brace depending on the type of injury you have sustain.

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Scar Tissue: Cause of Chronic Muscle Pain and Reinjury

Scar tissue formation is one of the leading causes of repeated injury, limited mobility and chronic pain at the site of an old injury. Understanding how scars form, how they are broken down and how they can be warned will help you avoid prolonged pain.

Scar Tissue Formation

When we think of scars, we generally think of skin. While this is the most visible location, scarring can occur to our soft tissues and organs as well. Muscles, ligaments and tendons are susceptible to scarring when they are injured. These tissues can be torn due to an acute injury or prolonged, repetitive use.

Inflammation is the body's response to injury. The immune system sends a cascade of blood filled with white blood cells, collagen and other materials to block off the injured area and promote healing. Fibrous collagen surrounds the tear and attempts to rejoin the separated tissue fibers. This buildup of collagen is known as scar tissue.

The inflammatory response begins immediately. The entire process of scar tissue formation can take anywhere from weeks up to a year depending on the extent and location of injury (ligaments and tendons take longer as they receive poor blood supply).

Scar tissue is generally weaker and less flexible than the type of tissue it replace. A large amount of this type of tissue in the hamstring, for example, can limit the leg's range of motion and cause hamstring weakness. Weakness increases the risk of strain (tearing), thus increasing the risk of more scarring. There are ways to break this cycle and limit the effect that scar tissue has on your recovery from injury.

Prevention

While scars might not be completely preventable, their proliferation can be managed by controlling the inflammatory response that causes it. While one of the main purposes of the inflammatory response is to facilitate healing, it often goes too far and lasts too long. The longer infection lasts, the more scar tissue formation can be expected. Controlling inflammation with ice and a brief period of immobilization followed by remobilization, heat and massage can help to limit inflammation.

Active Release

Once scar tissue is formed, it is difficult to break down. Active Release Technique (ART), developed by a chiropractor named Dr. Leahy, hit the scene in 1991 to address this problem. Practitioners of the technique can identify this type of tissue with their hands and are trained to break it down. ART practitioners apply pressure in the direction of the muscle's fibers, which help to achieve scar breakdown. Through a combination of massage techniques on the practitioner's part and guided movements on your part, you work together with the specialist to heal.

If you have a repetitive use injury or persistent pain at the site of an old injury, it is likely that scar tissue is prolonging your pain. Restoring flexibility and strength to your soft tissues combined with efforts to prevent re-injury will allow you to break the cycle of pain.

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Latest on Osteoarthritis Knee Joint

The technique of “Unmasking and treating the undering problem”:

This technique is being explained for the first time. It is a source of new hope for the patients, and gives promising results. It also gives us the clue and the knowledge of a new etiology for the symptom of Pain Knee Joint. Clinically our work has proved that the pain knee is due to lesions that are outside the joint and the aging process has nothing to do with it. These lesions may appear as early as 35 years of age and are invariably found in all cases of Osteo-arthritis knee joint that clinically present with Pain Knee. Why these lesions develop is a question yet to be answered, but anyway they are well demarcated, identifiable and severely tender on deep palpation. These lesions when treated give complete relief to the symptom of Pain Knee, so certain other treatment modalities would be required to be postponed, till the time that the patient escapes any benefit from this new technique.

However a big task is still lying ahead. This new algorithm needs to be authenticated and standardized by designing larger treatment models. Their results evaluated and follow-ups carried out. Till date this new algorithm only gives us a clue of the etiology of pain knee and a new possible treatment technique.
Trigger spots identified around knee joint are as under:

1. Above the joint on the medial side it is on the Adductor Tubercle, possibly the insertion of Addoror Magnus (Fibro Osseous Junction).

2. Higher up on the tendons and ligaments in the same line on the medial side. May be these are tendonitis or with associated underlying Bursitis.

3. On Lateral side it is on the origin of the Gastronemius lateral head (Fibro Osseous Junction).

4. Higher up on the tendons and ligaments in the same line on the lateral side. May be these are tendonitis or with associated underlying Bursitis.

5. Underneath the upper border of Patella (this is very rare).

6. On the medial aspect of the joint upon Tibial Collateral Ligament (Pes anserine bursa).

7. On the Dorsum above the popliteal fossa.
The first and the third points are invariably found in all cases presenting with Pain Knee joint. Rarely a patient may have only one of them. These points are basically causing the main symptom of pain as we clinically see in our everyday practice. Why these sites are more prone to develop these pathological changes is a very important question that needs to be answered.

However other questions that are looking forward towards us for explaining the etiology and pathogenesis of this disease are:

What in particular is the pathology at these sites?
Why are certain people more prone to develop these changes while others are not?
Can these be invented?
Are these posture related?
Having identified them what are the most effective options to treat them?

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Feet Without Pain

Have our early ancestors complained of sore, tired feet?

In order to better understand why so many people today have tired, sore feet, we need to take a quick look at the history of our feet and their immediate environment, the ground benefit.

Our ancestors spent their days in their upright position, on their feet. Thus, the feet received constant pressure from the ground, and from stepping on the big and small particles of debris that covered the grounds. Walking on debris created hot spots of pressure in different parts of the foot. In this way, people received foot massage, and their reflex points got stimulated at the same time. In addition to previous benefits, the uneven natural grounds made the feet bend and stretch in many ways.

Is there any evidence to suggest that our older pedestrians had foot problems? No. The old form of foot massage (from the ground up) worked for us up until around 4,300 years ago, when people started making first paved roads, also in Egypt around 4,600 years ago. The first pictograph depicting the person massaging feet of others was also found in Egypt, dating back 4,300 years back. This “massage therapist” was second after Pharaoh, all thanks to his powers to heal people by massaging their feet. As see here, reflexology was born on the heels of introduction of paved roads. As you know, feet may hurt not only because of injuries; they may also hurt due to inflated reflex points. These points can become highly sensitive due to many reasons, one of which could simply be the absence of stimulation.

The invention of paved roads came with unintended consequences. Flat roads prevented feet from bending and stretching in many ways, causing some foot muscles to become lethargic, even stagnant. Plus, without debris, reflex points lost their stimulation. The paved roads and primitive footwear wave birth to all sorts of problems associated with feet. Reflexology spread through the African deserts, while the Far East, in India and China saw a variation of reflex point therapy where needles are used to reach and stimulate these reflex points.

Today, no matter what shoes we wear, or do not wear, we are still walking on grounds that are flat. This flatness makes feet ache, and if left untreated, the aches turn into pain. Now you know why deep foot massage and reflexology have become so popular slowly. It's because of wearing shoes everywhere, even at home on carpet, and on the beach on top of sand; and because of flat roads everywhere we step.

How to prevent feet from getting tired and sore

To prevent feet from aching we need to give them what they had in abundance in the distant past. We need to walk barefoot on grass, sand, rocks, landscape filler, and / or different natural, uneven floors.

I realize that just reading these words makes many people uncomfortable. Without practice, modern feet have become intolerant to walking on natural grounds. To overcome such high intolerance, I suggest wearing one or two pairs of thick socks, (no shoes), and trying to slowly walk on grass, sand, rocks, landscape fill, or any uneven grounds. If feet are still too sensitive, you can apply Tiger Balm (sports balm) to temporarily reduce foot sensitivity.

However, for some, the outdoor options are not feasible. For such cases, I've created a way to replicate the outdoor experience in your home, giving more attention to the needs of delicate feet.

Here are the basics of the Nestoiter-Gravity Foot Massaging Rock Pillow. (see details below) A case from super strong fabric is made and filled with rocks. An adjustable cushion goes on top of that rock pillow. After practice over several weeks, you will be able to stand and walk in place on top of that rock pillow. With a little music, you can make dance steps on the pillow.

Here, gravity does the work while you drive. The point is to move your feet by stepping on different parts of the rock pillow. Because the rocks in the rock pillow move slowly under your weight, every time you step, you step on a new surface. Just like in nature, you never step on the same spot twice. Feet love variety. If you linger in one spot for too long it will irritate or even hurt that spot. When feet do not move, as in wearing shoes, even when we spend long hours sitting, your feet will hurt. That's because our feet were made to move, from one spot to another, non-stop movement.

On average, it would take about two months for the feet to be ready to walk on the rock pillow without cushion. At this stage, you are massaging your feet, stretching and bending them in the process. Now you start receiving sufficient pressure to reach reflex points in your feet.

This is where the magic begins to happen. As your feet get reflexology treatment, your body switches to the self-healing mode and begins to align you energy fields and align the work of your glands and organs in the body. At this stage, almost every week brings some good surprises. It is different for every person, but everyone discovers what a difference it makes when this or that organ starts to function at its optimum level.

For some, the skin complexion could clear up. For others, it could have improved blood circulation in the feet and legs. You could begin to feel better because the liver is eliminating more toxins from the body. It could be that the digestive system is moving things at a faster pace and reducing your weight. It could have the disappearance of heads, or the desire to eat sweets. The pain in the lower back could just be gone.

I can go on and on because reflexology is a powerful treatment, and the body's self-healing powers are amazing. The best way to treat a problem is by using the body's self-healing ways.

Did I mention anything about removing pain from feet? I did not. Why? Because by the time you can stand and step on the rock pillow without cushion, there will be no pain in your feet.

How to build the rock pillow

I will outline the basics in creating the Nestoiter-Gravity Foot Massaging Rock Pillow.

  • The final size of 18 “x 24”. Use fabric in two layers.
  • Get heavy grade upholstery fabric, and 18 “heavy-duty sports zipper.
  • Using the sewing machine, make the “pillow case” with the zipper on the short side. Use at least double stitch on all sewing lines.
  • At Home Depot or at your local landscape shop, get smooth, roundish stones 3 “(the size of your fist) on average. getting stones from another place, get enough to cover 6 square feet, 2 “thick. The rocks weigh-in around 50-60 pounds.
  • Make sure the stones are fully dry and are rated to prevent mold or other green stuff growing on them. If you the stones you are buying were not treated, wash them in bleach and let dry. Before you start placing the stones into the pillowcase, add in 1-2 pounds of coarse salt.
  • Close the zipper after you fill the case. Keep in mind, the more stones you have in the case, the smoother will be the walking surface. At first, pack the case tight. Only after some experience, you can start removing stones. Remove up to 10 stones per week so your feet have time to adjust to the new experience.
  • For the cushion, you will need one thick and very large beach towel.

To start, fold the towel to create 8 layers and place on top of your rock pillow. Wear thick cotton socks (no shoes.) If the towel is thick, you should feel the rocks through the towel cushion, but very faintly. Walk in place for a few minutes. If you feel that the pressure from the rocks is coming through the towel, you can either add more towels or wear the second pair of thick socks.

After a week or two, your feet will ask (yes, feet do communicate with us, just not in words) to reduce cushion. Fold the towel to make 6 layers and try it. A little pressure is normal. Too much of it will cause pain, and you should not be experiencing pain while doing this. Give it another one or two weeks, or when you are ready, fold the towel to make 4, 2, and 1 layer (s) of towel. Always wear thick cotton socks.

Keep in mind that when you finish this project and become comfortable with what to do and how, it will be your favorite activity. Your whole family will enjoy it and benefit from it. Also, if you want to become more popular with your friends and neighbors, invite them over for complimentary foot massage via gravity and your rock pillow. Once people find out what you have, your home will always have guests.

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Gluten Sensitivity Can Trigger Autoimmunity and Chronic Pain

We all have that one chore or project in our house we never seem to get around to. Maybe it's cleaning the garage, finally getting the family picture framed, or reorganizing your kitchen. You know it would not take much time to accomplish the task and you will feel better when you are finished, but you just never quite seem to make the time.

Living with an autoimmune illness and chronic pain is similar. You know there is probably a better way to treat your ailments than the constant drugs, appointments and new treatments. Yet, you continue to go about your medical routine, succumbing what feels like the inevitability of living with chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses and the host of drugs and doctors that go along with it.

However, just like you will feel better when you finally tackle that nagging chore, you can find relief from your autoimmune illness and chronic pain by stepping outside the traditional approaches to these ailments.

Gluten sensitivity is an under-diagnosed common trigger of many autoimmune illnesses and chronic pain. Once patients discover they have a gluten sensitivity and resignation a gluten-free diet, their illness and pain often disappears. It's an amazing yet incredibly simple diagnosis that brings relief to many people suffering needlessly each year. Let's take a closer look at how this simple diagnosis can bring the much thought after cure you have been searching for.

Gluten Sensitivity: The Basics

Gluten is a protein found in common grains, specifically wheat, rye, barley, malt and a few other grains like spelt and couscous. Gluten is what gives dough its elasticity and helps it to rise. It is the composite of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Most people can eat and digest this protein without any problems.

However, many people suffer from gluten sensitivity or essentially an allergy to gluten. Unlike other allergies, say to peanuts for example, gluten does not typically cause anaphylaxis. It does, however, trigger the basic allergic response. When you consume gluten, your immune system produces antibodies to fight off what it perceives as harmful to your health. This immune response causes inflammation in your body leading to a host of autoimmune illnesses.

Some of the most common autoimmune responses seen in people with gluten sensitivity include:

  • Thyroid disorders;
  • Neurological problems;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Celiac sprue disease;
  • Skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema;
  • Arthritis;
  • And chronic pain.

There are also a set of secondary issues related to gluten sensitivity because of the way the gluten protein damages your intestines. As gluten passes through your intestines, it can trigger damage to the villi, the small follicles that pick up nutrients out of your food and pass it through your body, feeding and nourishing you and your organs. When the villi are damaged, they can not absorb nutrients from your food and you may experience chronic fatigue, anemia, narcolepsy and other symptoms related to nutrition deficiencies.

Ending Autoimmune Illnesses

The traditional medical community has just just started making the connection between autoimmune illnesses and gluten. Those illnesses were always seen as standardone problems that doctors would treat with drugs. Doctors could test for gluten sensitivity but the old tests targeted just a fraction of the antibodies associated with gluten sensitivity. Many people went undiagnosed when these tests came back negative. They continued to eat gluten and continued to suffer needlessly.

Recently, newer tests that look at a broader spectrum of antibodies associated with gluten sensitivity have become available and patients can get more definitive answers from doctors who understand the link between autoimmune illnesses and gluten sensitivity. You can learn more about why the typical gluten tolerance test is not adequate by reading an informative white paper on the subject.

You can take action to address your chronic pain and autoimmune ailments without testing as well by simply moving to a gluten-free diet. However, often a gluten sensitive individual can have gluten cross reactions with many of the ingredients found in gluten-free products. Ideally you should endeavor to work with a gluten knowledgeable doctor who can guide you in the proper food selection process.

As you probably suspected for years, there is a better way to treat your autoimmune disorder and your chronic pain than regular doctor visits and hands of medicine. Take the time to explore your illness a little deeper to find the root cause of your ailments. Who knows? Once you tackle your chronic illness, you might just be ready to clean out the garage as well.

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Trigeminal Neuralgia – Find Out More About This Treatment

When a person suffers from a one sided pain of his or her face, he or she is most likely suffering from a problem called Trigeminal neuralgia. This condition can now be treated with a lot of advanced methods that have been developed recently. Anyone suffering from Trigeminal neuralgia is obviously going to be subjected to a lot of pain, so pain relief is primary in the treatment measures. Patients who are suffering from Trigeminal neuralgia are most often prescribed the drug known as Carbamazepine. The brand name of this drug is Tegretol. It provides maximum relief and effectively reduces the facial pain that is experienced by patients. Also commonly used drugs such as Gabapentin and Baclofen. Klonazepin or Trileptol are also good alternatives.

The most common symptom of Trigeminal neuralgia is a very sharp pain. The pain could be fleeting, lasting for a few seconds only, or it could be long and tortuous. The pain will be felt as though a trigger has intensified a sharp feeling on the different regions of the facial muscles. It could be stimulated by a mere touch to the face or even the passage of air against it. Then the face will start experiencing pain. The pain will definitely make itself felt by the simple act of eating, chewing or even speaking. Soon even the normal or regular things we do everyday will become an ordeal.

The most highly recommended treatment for Trigeminal neuralgia involves the use of anticonvulsant drugs. But there are also other types of drugs that are proven to be effective for such purpose. Phenytoin, sodium vaporate, Lamotrigine and Oxcarbazpine are simply a few of them. Some doctors will also prescribe the use of oxycodone and morphine. These drugs are used in particular by patients who suffer from neuropathic pain. They will even be more effective if they are used in tandem with another drug like Gabapentin.

Some people might be having two problems at the same time. A person suffering from neuropathic pain or Trigeminal neuralgia could also be having depression. A good treatment for this would be the use of drugs like Duloxetine. Aside from bringing pain relief, it is also an antidepressant. Surgery is also another option that people choose. Treating Trigeminal neuralgia would also entail the use of glycerol injections. This is comparable to an alcoholic substance. It is made to pass through the nerve track. You should expect some nerve damage since, by nature, it is a bit corrosive.

Another process you can try out is what is known as micro vascular decompression. Some people also try out radiofrequency thermorhizotomy. Often, you will also find many hospitals performing gamma knife radiosurgery. In most of these procedures, there will certainly be pain relief. But along with this benefit, there will be a few other side effects. For instance, in the gamma knife surgery, you might feel slight numbness in the treated area. It's not something you can do away with. But that should not stop you from trying these treatments. After all, they are very effective. There are also treatment methods where catheters and needles are used. Often, these are passed through the face of the patient.

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Relieving Shoulder Pain With The Emotion Code

The majority of people experience some degree of shoulder pain from time to time. The joint enables the body to perform a wide variety of everyday tasks from getting dressed to playing sports. The complexity of the multiple joints within the shoulder makes it easy to accidently tweak it just a little too far, causing discomfort and pain that may or may not require serious medical attention.

The most common causes for shoulder pain include inflammation, arthritis, and a break in the bone. In the case of inflation, the issue may be caused by swollen tendons or bursae. The tendons within the shoulder serve to connect bone to muscle. Tendon infection is simply a matter of wear and tear, which occurs when the tendons wear down over time.

Shoulder pain due to tendonitis can be caused by a long-term health condition such as arthritis or aging, which is more commonly seen in seniors. This is referred to as chronic tendonitis. Acute tendonitis is brought on by some form of repetitive action that may be required in certain manual labor positions or from excessive overhead actions like pitching a ball.

Bursae, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones and help provide smooth motion, may also become inflamed. Bursitis occurs in the location of the shoulder between the rotator cuff and a portion of the shoulder blade. Just as with tendonitis, bursitis is caused by excessive and repetitive use of the shoulder.

More serious causes of shoulder pain include infection, tumors, and medical issues that involve the body's nervous system. However, many times the cause of bodily pain – including shoulder pain – is linked to an individual's state of emotions, which has a direct impact on physical health. According to this idea, the body's emotions exert energy that may potentially cause physical illness or pain. Releasing these trapped emotions is the key to finding healing.

The Emotion Code is a book written by Dr. Bradley Nelson, which confirms this concept and explores emotional solutions that will bring resolution to both mind and body. By incorporating this energy healing technique, Dr. Nelson says individuals suffering from shoulder pain can learn to release their trapped emotions and, consequentially, their physical ailments. It enables those who take the time to learn from it to reap long-term benefits that will last a lifetime.

When individuals are unable to find relief for pain through conventional methods of treatment and treatment, chances are that the cause is emotional. The energy healing techniques from The Emotion Code are the safest and most natural way to treat the root cause of shoulder pain. The information within this book will equip the individual with the techniques to release trapped emotion and soothe shoulder pain, whether acute or chronic.

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Magnetic Therapy – Does It Work?

Magnetic therapy has been known to man for centuries now and is probably just as popular today as it has always been.

So do magnets have genuine healing properties or is it really just a ploy that the mind plays on the body? ie I think that this is helping me and so it is ?!

Most converts will arguably vehemently about the benefits of magnets to many human conditions in particular they will claim that magnetic therapy can alleviate the pain associated with illnesses such as arthritis, Sciatica, Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis and much more. They claim that these benefits apply equally to animals as they do to humans.

Many sports players, both professional and amateur will swear by the healing properties that they have obtained from a magnetic knee support or a magnetic elbow support for example.

Today the i-Balance bracelet in its many forms and colors is worn by many leading sports players across a wide variety of sporting activities. In fact the bracelet has even become something of a fashion statement.

So are these many converts really getting actual benefits from magnets or is it all in the mind? Here are some facts to consider:

From a scientific point of view it is a fact that the vast majority of the biological chemicals within our bodies are actually electro-chemical ions. They have either positive or negative charges, and produce electro-magnetic fields.

The careful balance of positive and negative ions in and around nerves in the body contains a slightly negative charge. When triggered, the balance of ions shifts, and becomes more positive. This sends a pain signal to the brain. The balance and movement of different ions signals and regulates different biological processes and most fascinating of all is the discovery that these ions can be influenced by external magnetic forces.

Authentic research has given us indisputable evidence that negative magnetic fields actually constrict and dilate the walls of capillary blood vessels. This response assists the body with regulating blood circulation. Capillaries constrict to reduce blood flow near areas of injury and trauma, decreasing swelling and pain. When waving is removed, capillaries then dilate to increase blood flow. This carries oxygen and nutrients more efficiently to speed up cellular repair.

Subsequently negative magnetic fields enhance the body's ability to quickly adapt and regulate these biological responses. This leads to greater pain relief and faster healing.

So if you are in the 'Old Wives Tale' camp it really does seem that magnetic therapy has proven healing powers both for humans and animals alike.

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Should You Take Antidepressants For Chronic Back Pain?

If you've gone to the doctor for back pain, you likely left with a prescription for some type of medication. People with recurrent or chronic back pain are often prescribed antidepressants.

Antidepressants are thought to be effective in treating pain because they increase the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain that decrease negative feelings like pain – both physically and mentally. Also, many people with chronic pain also experience depression, either due to the shared areas of the brain that process both physical and emotional pain or to the systematic reduction of quality of life experienced by many with chronic pain. While using medication to target both conditions may seem sound, arguments against the use of antidepressants to treat chronic pain have been mounting for over a decade.

Antidepressants do not cure the cause of back pain; when they work, they may simply mask the sensation of pain. These drugs are generally prescribed to people with nonspecific, or undiagnosed, back pain in lieu of treatments that address the unknown cause of pain.

Do They Work?

Antidepressants were designed to affect brain chemistry as they do because it is hypothesized that abnormal brain chemistry, including a deficiency of key neurotransmitters, is one of the causes of clinical depression. While these drugs have shown to improve the lives of people with severe, clinical depression, they have not shown consistent results for people with chronic back pain. A number of studies have been done in recent decades to assess the use of these drugs for the treatment of various conditions. While some studies show that they can treat back pain, others show that they are no better than placebos. The unpredictability of the effects are enough to make prescription of antidepressants for back pain questionable, yet they continue to be prescribed en masse.

Researchers for the Cochrane Library reviewed 10 trials that compared antidepressant effects and placebo effects on people with back pain. They found that there was no difference in pain reduction between the medication and the placebo group in many studies and, at best, conflicting evidence in others. Review the study at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001703.pub3/abstract .

Risks

Even if an antidepressant could have caused your back pain, there are risks of both short- and long-term use that must be considered. At first, they may cause hyper-alertness or the opposite, a sedated state. Other symptoms such as constipation, dry mouth, nausea, insomnia and headache are common. These may decrease as your brain gets used to the new situation.

Long-term use of these drugs comes with additional side effects. Weight gain and loss of libido are common, particularly in women. Abrupt cessation of SSRI drugs has been linked to nausea and dizziness. Some medical professionals warn against abrupt cessation of any antidepressant for fear of psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms, while others maintain that there is no concern.

Aside from physical symptoms, long-term use of these medications can have a negative impact on you psychologically. One concern is tolerance; as the brain gets used to the drug's effects, the body may begin to perform processes to oppose it. This means that the drug ceases to be effective as the brain gets better at creating a ripe environment for depression. Recurrent depressive episodes and worsening of symptoms are possible. This poses a concern particularly for people with chronic pain and depressive symptoms. For those being treated for pain exclusively, drugs are generally administrated at lower doses and may or may not produce psychological side effects. However, dosages increase as physical tolerance builds up. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-peter-breggin/antidepressants-long-term-depression_b_1077185.html for more on tolerance and adverse effects.

The most frightening part of this discussion of risks associated with long-term antidepressant use is that it is incomplete. Antidepressants planned the market before long-term studies were done to confirm their safety. It was only after years of use by children and teens that, in 2004, the FDA announced that anti-depressant use can increase the risk of suicidal tendencies in young people. While these drugs can improve the lives of people with severe, chronic depression, their use by people with mild depression, chronic back pain or both is unsubstantiated; the risks may outweigh the benefits.

Alternatives

One main way to avoid antidepressant use for chronic back pain is to find the cause of your pain and seek treatments that address it. A few commonly undiagnosed causes of pain are muscle imbalance, myofascial pain syndrome and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Researching all possible causes of your pain and finding an open-minded doctor who will hear you out are the first steps to obtaining an accurate diagnosis.

For people with depression, there are ways to alter brain chemistry naturally. Diet, exercise and talk therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy have proven to do so. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques can even be learned online for free.

Chronic back pain and depression do not destine you to a life of pills. Knowing the evidence, risks and alternatives associated with antidepressant use for back pain can help you make informed decisions about your treatment.

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