Browsing: Back Pain

The Twisted World of Back Pain

Back pain can be a painful ordeal and having Scoliosis is one of the worst back conditions that can be contracted. There are many methods doctors use to treat this condition. These range from back braces to medication to pain management methodology. Some of those afflicted do not respond to conventional treatments but are finding success using newer compound pharmacy techniques.

S is For Spine

Scoliosis is classified as a medical condition that primarily affects the spine, causing it to become curved. In extreme cases, the spine can even develop into an S shape. This causes pain to the individual with the amount dependent upon the degree of the curve. Some describe acute pain that is bothersome but does not prevent taking part in most activities. Others describe constant, severe pain that deprives them of sleep and thinking clearly.

Not only does scoliosis cause pain, it also produces physical deformation. Hunching over and having a hunchback are typical symptoms of those with this condition. Uneven hip and arm lengths also develop while muscles grow abnormally bunched together on side of the spine.

Dealing with the Pain

There are a number of ways to help improve the quality of life, despite having scoliosis. One of the most common methods of treatment is bracing. There are two forms of bracing equipment, hard and soft. The bracing treatment helps prevent any further curving of the strain and is best used on those still growing. A major drawback is that these limit movement and are considered unsightly.

Another common treatment is physiotherapy. These teachers those afflicted by scoliosis on various exercise methods to reduce the progress of any curving and elimination of pain resulting from existing curving. This method helps those growing as well as those who have stopped growing to manage their scoliosis issues. A drawback with this is those with extreme curvatures of 40% and above may not experience complete relief.

Compound Pharmaceuticals and Scoliosis

Those with extreme Scoliosis can undergo surgery to help fix their back but some may not be comfortable with the risks. There is a new approach being employed for anyone in need of treatment with pain management focus, and extreme Scoliosis patients are no exceptions.

Compound pharmacies can employ a myriad of solutions to help deal with extreme pain from Scoliosis. Feeling constant pain, and especially chronic kind, makes it incredibly difficult ever to get rest. A compound pharmacy technician can work with a patient to develop a regimen of medications to treat pain and / or the sensation of pain. There are topical gels, traditional pills, and even folk-styled remedies, which can be used individually or together to manage even the most severe pain.

All for One, One for All

Scoliosis back pain is not only one of the worst pains to live through but difficult to treat. While physical therapy and bracing will work for some, others may have aggressive scoliosis, which resists traditional methods. Compound pharmacology can help everyone, even the worst cases of Scoliosis, achieve their right to live pain-free. Do not let even the most problematic pain ruin your life; explore a compound pharmacy with pain management focus today!

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A Guide to Drawing Reasonable Conclusions From Studies

The phrases “according to one study” and “some studies suggest” have become so common that the appeal to studies is now the butt of many jokes. It's hard to get through a news program or article without encountering some variation of these phrases, and for good reason: Studies can lend scientific perspective and credence to the views we discuss. This can help us avoid arguments that are skewed by empty rhetoric and false impressions.

Those of us in the field of health and wellness rely on studies heavily to learn about causes and treatments for health conditions, such as chronic back pain. Research is important, as it helps us understand how to prevent and manage pain safely and to know what the dangers of certain treatment methods are.

But sometimes appeals to studies, whether in the health and wellness niche or other areas, can stray from their positive purpose of getting us closer to the truth. Sometimes, such appearances can actually lead us astray.

There are a number of reasons for this, one of the most obvious being a failure to properly understand what a study suggests. This could manifest as a fundamental misinterpretation.

But despite a more ubiquitous reason why studies are often misunderstood that is not enough attention is paid in public discourse to the different levels of evidence studies may attain to. Rarely if ever can a study be said to “prove” something. The best studies provide such reliable evidence in support of a conclusion that it would be unreasonable to doubt it, but most studies fall more into the category of “suggesting” a possible conclusion – or none at all – and provide guidance for further research.

Quality studies contain a section devoted to a discussion of the limitations of the study and any flaws in its design. This section is typically found after the conclusion or discussion section. Seek “Limitations” sections out before drawing any firm conclusions.

Below is a list of the five levels of scientific evidence studies that can help you locate the studies you encounter. The levels are listed in order from most to least important.

Level 1:

Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)
Meta-Analysis / Systematic Review of multiple RCTs with similar results

Level 2:

Prospective Comparative Study
Meta-Analysis / Systematic Review of Level 2 studies
Meta-Analysis / Systematic Review of Level 1 studies with inconsistent results

Level 3:

Retrospective Cohort Study
Case-Control Study
Meta-Analysis / Systematic Review of Level 3 studies

Level 4:

Case Series

Level 5:

Case Report
Expert Opinion

For definitions of these various types of studies as well as variations for different types of studies – prognostic, diagnostic and therapeutic – see .

Studies are an important part of opinion-forming and decision-making in a variety of fields, but we should be careful not to misinterpret them or overestimate their conclusiveness. We can protect ourselves from erroneous concluding by maintaining awareness that not all studies are created equally and by paying attention to their limitations.

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Why Hasn’t My Doctor Mentioned This Disc Herniation Solution?

We will be talking about the topic of intervertebral disc herniation in this piece. Within our spines we've all got twenty-four spinal bones, or vertebrae. There exists a connective tissue cushion or intervertebral disc between each of those spinal bones. The connective tissue ring around the exterior of the disc can start to fail. When the external, connective tissue layer of the intervertebral disc gets weakened it may lead to a simple bulge in the disc or the interior of the disc that could actually squeeze out and lead to a disc herniation. Bulging disc or slipped disc are a few of the terms that are used to refer to a disc herniation.

It's commonly believed that the pain and symptoms that are linked with a disc herniation are assumed to be result of the herniated disc material putting pressure on spinal nerve roots. While this can certainly be the case, it does not seem to be the whole story. There's a lot of scientific research that shows that the existence of intervertebral disc herniation does not necessarily give rise to the painful sensations and symptoms that people commonly associate with disc herniation. In the New England Journal of Medicine there's a study in which 98 people without signs or symptoms received an MRI. The research study found that 52% of these people had a bulging disc in at least one level of their spine. The researchers put out a statement saying: “Given the high priority of these findings and of back pain, the discovery by MRI of bulges or protrutions in people with low back pain may frequently be coincidental.” This points to the fact that the presence of disc herniation by itself does not explain the pain and symptoms that are commonly attributed to disc herniation; there must be additional factors involved.

I would suggest that one of the additional major components in intervertebral disc herniation, if not THE major component, is the defensive programs that get stored in our nervous systems from a young age. This is the same defensive pattern that I have referred to in many of my content pieces as being the cause of a lot of the symptoms that people experience in their bodies and lives. These core survival programs consist of muscle tension that's being stored at the core of our system to sequester energy that's been viewed as unsafe to experience. Our low back and belly and pelvis end up becoming a repository for a lot of unprocessed energy that is being held by muscle tension. Sometimes this situation becomes chronic. This is a very common, human situation. The message is that our vulnerable parts are not OK. Consequently we become fragmented and polarized against the energy that exists in our belly and low back and tension is utilized to keep the belly and low back separate from the heart. The pressure that gets created within the intervertebral disc is analogous to pressing two ice cream cones together. The ice cream, or the disc material in this case, gets pushed out.

Incidentally, a lot of the pressure that is connected with these defensive patterns occurs in our lumbar spine and at the bottom of our neck. As it happens, the two most common areas for disc herniations to appear are in the lumbar spine, first, and at the bottom of the neck, second.

Another factor to take into consideration is that we alter our body post in association with the defensive patterns in our system. We change our body posture in order to create pulling or stretching in our spinal cord. It is a useful way of disconnecting from things, especially emotions, that our nervous systems have decided are too painful to feel. The stretching of our spinal cord is a primitive strategy that humans have that enables them to decrease the range and depth of what they can feel.

As we talked about earlier, intervertebral disc herniations tend to appear in the lumbar spine and at the base of the cervical spine. As it happens, the spinal cord floats freely everywhere else in the spine but it is attached to the bones in the lumbar spine and at the bottom of the neck. I would suggest that, in many instances, the origin of the pain related to disc herniation has little to do with the herniation pushing on the nerves and more about the nerve roots being rolled across the herniation. It seems to make sense that removing the herniation might help because it can alleviate some of the stretching being placed on the nerve roots; for the time being at least. However, the fundamental problem, the pressure being contained in the system that is translating into the intervertebral disc and the elongation of the spinal cord, is still there. And so problems of some nature are likely to recur down the road.

In my opinion and experience it makes more sense to address the root issue, which is the defensive patterns in the system and the consequent tension and spinal cord elongation.

Works Cited:

Jensen, Maureen C., Michael N. Brant-Zawadzki, Nancy Obuchowski, Michael T. Modic, Dennis Malkasian, and Jeffrey S. Ross. “Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People without Back Pain.” New England Journal of Medicine 331 (1994): 69-73.

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How to Get a Stronger Back

Most of us leave pretty sedentary lives spending most of the time sitting in the car, at work and at home; as a result our back muscles are weak and we are plagued by back aches. However there is something you can do to counter an inactive lifestyle: Build a strong back. Think of it this way your back muscles are the foundation of your body's most important structure. They support your spine, keeping all those vertebrae in place.

Without a strong back we open ourselves up to a wide variety of back problems. A weak back also prevails us from being as active as we would like to be from playing golf to swimming or just taking a walk: a weak and aching back is the major reason people give for not being more active. Besides having a strong back will improve your posture, help you lose weight and improve how you look in a tank top and jeans. Strong back contributions to your overall core strength and a strong core is vital to your health contributing to an overall muscular and strong physique.

So what is the best way to build a stronger back? Well first of all let us look at the three major muscles that make up your back. Your back consists of three muscle groups: the Trapezius or Traps, the Latissimus Dorsi or Lats and the Erector Spinae. The Traps are large muscles running from the base of your skull and later down the top of your spine supporting the spine, shoulder and arm. The Lats are the muscle that give body builders that “V” shape back. These large flat muscles are located just below the back of the arms and run down the side of the back. Lastly but just as important is the Erector Spinae. This muscle is made up of groups of muscles and tenons that run along each side of your spell. Think of it as a bundle of cables supporting your spine as the column column bends and twists.

So you can see how important it is to build a strong back. Problem is many people especially young men concentrate on the Lats & Traps because that is what gives them that strong athletic look when they are walking down the beach. However it is vital to exercise all these muscles in order to maintain muscle balance and give the spinal column proper support.

Of course before beginning this or any exercise program with your doctor and I strongly suggest signing up with a person trainer, especially if you have not workout in a while. Below are some common exercises that will build a strong back.

  1. Bent over rows.
  2. Cable pull downs
  3. Wide grip pull-ups.
  4. Planks
  5. Push ups

I included a mix of free / machine and body weight exercises. It is important to use a combination of these exercises to properly strengthen all three back muscles groups and prevent injury.

Also be sure to follow these guidelines:

  1. Do not forget to properly warm up and stretch your muscles.
  2. Start slow with light weights.
  3. Prevent injury by not pushing yourself too hard.
  4. Find a trainer that will work with you. You do not need a drill instructor your need someone who challenges you, but also knows when it is time to rest.
  5. Get plenty of rest between workouts, strength training two or three times a week is plenty.
  6. Rest! You do not build muscle when you exercise. In fact you tear down muscle fiber. It is only when you rest that your muscles have a chance to rebuild.

If you follow these tips you too can have a strong back, prevent back pain, feel good, be more active and look great this summer! Of course if you have back problems it is important to address the causes of your pain first, fortunately there are exercises to heal your pain and help build a strong and balance back.

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Why You Should Exercise Your Way Through Back Pain

Statistically there is a very good chance that you or someone you are close to will have back pain issues at some time. It is estimated that back pain will account for about 10% of all people who visit the doctor. That in America amounts to over $ 80 billion a year, and it is one of the toughest issues for doctors to diagnose. According to recent studies prescribed treatments often are ineffective, and some even cause more harm than good.

There are certainly times when surgery may be the only answer. Herniated discs, injuries and tumors are reasons that it could have considered, but this should only be a last resort. Think of surgery as an injury to the body, albeit a controlled injury, and if it is not certain it will address the cause of the pain surgery could cause even more problems. A surgical procedure can cause irreversible damage itself, so all other options should be exhausted.

The back pain that almost all of us have to end is not that severe, but it is painful and annoying. One of the leading causes of normal back pain is sitting for long periods of time. This leads to poor posture, which furthermore brings on muscle tightness. Over time this uninterrupted sitting is going to result in tight, shortened muscles, causing loss in flexibility and a variety of other ailments. Trouble is, often the back pain is triggered by the tightening of muscles and ligaments in an entirely different area to where the pain is.

Therapists are now looking at exercise as the way to alleviate this pain. But the first step, after of course being certain that the pain is not caused by the aforementioned issues that can be further aggravated by exercise, is to learn not to fear the pain. It will be difficult to commit to those exercises that will lead to a long-term pain-free condition if you expect one false move during exercise to bring about an irreversible condition.

So if we know that sitting for long periods of time will result in shortening of the muscles and ligaments, it should be obvious that just getting up and moving around periodically will reverse the condition. Making sure that those muscles and tendons connecting the core stay lose and flexible is vital, and there are easy stretching exercises that you can do at your desk to keep everything flexed and supple. This is something that everyone must do through the day.

But furthermore at least twice a week you should do some high-intensity workouts to really tax the body. Another routine that is getting very popular, especially for people in their middle-age and senior years is yoga. It is especially effective for promoting flexibility and strength in the core muscles, and this will be the key ingredient to eliminating back pain. If you really want to give your system a real challenge, try Bikram Yoga. Trust me, it's not easy, especially at first, but it will accelerate the positive results you are looking for in yoga training.

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Choosing A Good Pillow To Relieve Neck Pain

Once in a while you decide to step out and buy some. But a wrong investment is never appreciated. And if you or any of your family members is suffering from neck / back pain, then this pillow of yours' can further exacerbate the trouble. Not to forget, a pillow is used for the neck and shoulder muscles to relax completely to relieve and prevent neck or back pain for a more restful sleep.

Neck and back pains are something most people have had at some period of time in their lifetimes. They can vary from mild discomfort to severe burning sensation. In simple words, muscle tension. And can happen due to many reasons, from sleeping in an awkward position to unaccustomed exercise. Sleeping on an unsuitable pillow causes you to sleep with your cervix at an angle, either too high or too small and does not line up with your normal body structure.

Choosing the right pillow can be a tedious task, given the present flood of pillows in the markets. And it should be treated with a lot more care, when the person in question is suffering from neck or back pains. There are several pillows available when one is suffering from pain, like water, foam, traction, side sleeper and many more. But the most important question is which suits you the best? Let's have a look at the options available.

Starting from the basic ones, we have normal feather pillows which are suitable for almost everyone. Next in the list is water pillows, which has an inbuilt pouch filled with water. Clinical surveys have demonstrated that it reduces morning neck and back pain. It adjusts the gap between neck and shoulder. Orthopedic pillows have a slope so the neck has more support. Drawn from memory foam, they retain the physical body of the user's mind. Curved side sleepers ease the pressure put on the back. Lumbar wedge pillows can be used while sleeping as well as seating. They are useful for those individuals who sit at a desk all day long.

Oversized cushions can be utilized as a footrest when lying in bed. Facedown pillows are U-shaped pillows to cradle your face while you sleep on your stomach. Cylindrical roll pillows which provide extra lumbar support. Travel pillows are U or V-shaped pillows to keep your head straight. People with herniated discs can use a neck Traction.

A good pillow relieves and speeds up the healing process, giving you a sound night's sleep. While a bad one can aggravate many underlying causes of neck pain. For those, who have not changed their pillows since ages, pillows do not last forever and need to be replaced regularly. If you suffer from neck and back pains over long periods of time, then think of it my friend, no matter what advice your doctor gives, changing your pillow actually helps!

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Back to Health: Tips for Recovering From Back Surgery

The decision to have back surgery is often predicated by a great deal of pain, sometimes a decrease in quality of life, or even possible further complications or health concerns. For most, the decision to have surgery is never easy, and comes with much discussion with family and friends, research, and counseling from trusted medical professionals. Part of the consideration to surgery is the recovery time and process. Discussing possible outcomes and expectation with back surgeons can help patients to better understand what to expect and how to prepare.

Perhaps the first tip is to know that there will most likely be pain and discomfort post surgery. The surgeon will probably prescribe pain medication and possibly an antibiotic to prevent discomfort and infection. If the pain is not helped by the doctor or signs of a possible infection appear, it is recommended that patients call their back surgeons and discuss options and protocols for relief and infection relief.

Along with medications being prescribed, there is a good chance that physical therapy will be prescribed as well. It is very important to follow the program and to work with both the physical therapist and surgeon to ensure that the surgery is fully realized by the physical therapy regimen and homework. In some cases, physical therapy is not prescribed but exercises are and they are just as important to complete as discussed. These exercises help to loosen muscles, circulate blood flow, and can also help to provide a sense of accomplishment and happiness typical to most exercise. Along with following the prescribed exercises, it is also important to avoid activities, movement, and other physical restrictions as dictated by the surgeon.

It may seem odd, but discussing how sleep will be affected, is a best tip for someone about to have back surgery. Often the back pain itself has compromised quality and comfortable sleep. Although the surgery is to help alleviate back pain and to restore quality of life, it may be that post surgery, there are still sleep considerations. The recommendations may range from sleep positions to mattress type and firmness, to additional support such as bolsters or body pillows. It is always a good idea to heed this advice as it can alleviate undue stress and prevent discomfort from poor sleep. Often the advice is to help support the back and provide the best sleep possible.

Along with medication, proper sleep and physical therapy other best practices include utilizing heating and ice packs to help manage pain and back braces. Discuss if these are appropriate for the type of pain and surgery that are under discussion. Having upfront and open conversations with back surgeons can help patients be as best prepared as possible. There are no questions that are off the table, so whatever the patient feels needs to be asked should be asked. Remember to consult back surgeons for any surgical recommendation or advice and that it best to follow their advice and counsel. A healthy back is a happy back and that is a very good thing!

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Who Will Benefit From Chiropractic Care?

Many people have heard of the benefits of chiropractic care, but they do not really understand how a treatment plan from a chiropractor can help. If you're wondering whether you have an ailment that could have improved with a chiropractor's help, read on. Here are a few reasons why someone might choose to go chiropractic treatment.

Ask For Help After A Car Accident Or Sports Injury

Even car accidents that happen at low speeds may cause a lot of damage to the neck, spine and soft tissue in the back. An accident can throw a person's body against the seatbelt with a great deal of force. It's not uncommon for issues to develop days or even weeks after the accident, which is why it's important to seek care right away, even if there are no symptoms.

If the problems are related to a sports injury, a chiropractor can help with that too. It's not uncommon for athletes to begin playing their sport when they're as young as three, which may cause injuries to happen with more frequency. From weekend warriors to professional or semi-professional athletes, chiropractic care can help keep everyone in shape. Professional athletes like Joe Montana, Evander Holyfield and Emmit Smith all agree and have accredited treatment with helping keep them in top physical condition.

A Chiropractor Can Help Provide Pain Relief

Many people who live with back or neck pain are afraid that their only options are pain killers or muscle relaxers. However, chiropractic care may provide relief without the use of prescription medications. During treatment, patients will be given an individual plan that uses methods such as massage, ultrasound, manual adjustments and electrical muscle stimulation to stop the aching.

Most chiropractors will perform a full examination during the first visit and then outline a complete chiropractic treatment plan to treat the pain. It's important to follow through with the plan to ensure that the pain goes away. Once they're feeling better, some patients find that they benefit from maintenance visits every so often to keep their problems at bay.

Chiropractic Care Can Improve A Limited Range Of Motion

If you're having problems moving your legs, arms, shoulders, neck or back, a chiropractor can help by strengthening the muscles to improve range of motion. Ask if you should be performing physical therapy exercises at home to help speed up treatment. However, if you're experiencing pain when doing these exercises at home, stop until after a check with your chiropractor. This pain could be a sign that you're doing too much too quickly so it's important not to push yourself too far or else there could be further injuries.

Whether you've been in a car accident, suffered a sports injury, are experiencing pain or have a limited range of motion, search for chiropractors in the local area and find one that you're comfortable with so that a treatment plan can be devised as soon as possible. You may be surprised at how great those muscles can feel with a chiropractor's help.

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Is Your Snow Shoveling Technique Killing Your Back?

We have had a few inches of snow recently with more on the way! With the snow has come a flurry of patients complaining of neck and back pain. As nice as it is to catch up with our patients that we have not seen in a long time, in many cases, the pain could have been avoided by adopting different and better snow removal techniques. Let's talk a little bit about how to remove snow in a way that reduces the risk of back pain.

1) Use a snow blower, get help or get professional snow removal

For many of our patients who may already have serious back injuries, who may be older or otherwise indisposed, using a snow blower, getting help or using a professional service may be the best way to go.

2) Use the correct tools

There is evidence that using the ergonomic shovels can be beneficial when shoveling. Some shovels have curved handles. Others have handles with adjustable lengths. What this means for you is that there is less bending while shoveling which takes a lot of the pressure off the back. Opting for a shovel that is smaller and lighter is also advantageous.

3) Now it's time to warm up …

Yes! Before going out there to shovel you do need to warm up your cold muscles to prevent muscle strains. Take 5-10 minutes to warm up your neck, back and shoulders, low back and leg muscles with some gentle stretches. Do not forget that when your muscles are warm they are less sooner to injury.

4) Proper lifting technique

Proper lifting technique is a theme that seems to be repeated in a lot of our articles. Whether it is lifting while shopping, fall clean up or snow removal, the rules are the same: Try to do as little lifting as possible. If you can push the snow out of the way that is preferable. If the snow is piled high, take it a little at a time from the top. When lifting anything including a snow shovel face the thing you are lifting head on and bend at the hips and knees lifting with the legs and buttock muscles. Focus on small light loads for lifting. Be sure your grip of the handle is appropriate for you and hold the shovel you have lifted as close to your center of gravity as possible. Finally, avoid reaching and tossing.

5) Take breaks

I think this piece of advice is the one my patients find hardest to follow. It may also be the most important. Doing repetitive tasks for extended periods is the surest way to cause damage to muscles and joints. As much as we all want to just “get it done,” it's better to take a break for a minute or two for every 5-10 min of shoveling. Mixing up tasks may also be helpful in relieving the stress put on joints by repetitively doing the same thing.

Be sure to use proper lifting techniques this snow season.

Regards in health,
Dr. Shepherd

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How Reflexology Improves Blood Circulation

For centuries in reflexology has been used to cure a variety of aliments. Reflexology is a key component of Asian medicine. The principle behind this practice is that specific areas of the foot that connect to a specific body part. For example putting pressure on the center of the foot stimulates the kidney. In the same manner pressure on the toes affect the ears and nose. It is believed that applying pressure on these and other areas of the foot can eliminate pain and increase blood.

Increased blood flow can improve a number of health issues from insomnia to tension headaches. Because when blood flow is improved pain is reduced and healing can begin. Below are some other reasons for trying reflexology.

Stress is reduced and the ability to relax is improved.

Blood flow improvements.

Tension headaches, stomach disorders, insomnia and hormonal imbalances improve. Best of all pain is reduced. It is interesting and fascinating that a practice developed many thousands of years ago actually works.

A word of caution: You may experience some pain or discomfort when being massed by a reflexologist. It is important that if you experience any discomfort to let the practiceer know. This discomfort is usually caused by blockage of energy or imbalance.

Here are some tips and information to help you with your visit to the reflexologist.

  • Become familiar with the Reflexology flow chart. There are many examples online and having some knowledge of the chart will help you understand what the reflexiologist is doing.
  • Realize a number of treatments may be require before you notice the pain lessen. Foot and hand reflexology are not the same as foot and hand massages, although some regular massage techniques are incorporated into all reflexology treatments.
  • Try applying reflexology to your circulatory reflex points in between visits to your practiceer. Something as simple as rolling a tennis ball with your bare feet can give you relief.
  • Reflexology does work well with modern medical treatment. Best of all there are no side effects as there sometimes are with drugs.
  • A complete reflexology session should include all the pressure points for the circulatory system. After a session the reflexologist should do an assessment. Make sure to tell your practitioner at the beginning and end of the session of any concerns you may have and or any pain you are experiencing.

Reflexology is safe and non invasive treatment for many medical problems and along with modern medicine can be an effective holistic approach to healing and general wellness.

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Lumbar Support in Ergonomic Chairs

Lumbar support is one of the key features you should make sure your new ergonomic chair has. In fact, it is the top reason you should start looking for a new chair if your current seat at home or at the office is something that belongs to the pre-ergonomics age. Here, I will try to answer the questions of what the lumbar support is and why it is so important.

When sitting down on any type of seat with the intention to work on a desk or a computer, you will always lean forward to better deal with whatever task you are on. Even when you are not doing anything and just sitting on the chair, you inevitably grow tired sitting up right and put your arms on your knees to minimize energy use. That is when the upper end of your spine gets bent towards the front. The natural posture of your back has an inward curve in the middle and that has to do with the default shape of human spell. When you curve to the front, this natural shape is detected and the inward curve becomes an outward curve. Of course putting your spell in this shape for a minute is not the end of the world. Your body is designed to shift its shape to a certain degree. Yet, the problem is when you remain in this contorted posture for hours and hours and hours.

A lumbar support unit is what will help keep your spine in the right curve when you sit down on your office chair, even when you are not taking special care to sit up right. Lumbar support can be a built-in part of an ergonomic chair. High-end ergonomic chairs such as ErgoHuman, Aeron Chair and Embody Chair feature decent lumbar support, which is critical for your health. However, not everyone so lucky as to have the best office chair that offers the lumbar support you need. Luckily, there are also lumbar support cushions and pillows. These can offer a cheap solution to your problem.

No matter what ergonomic office chair you purchase to keep your back in shape, it is indeed your efforts to keep the correct posture that will ensure your prolonged health. You should always try to sit up right, exercise to strengthen lower back muscles and see your doctor if you are suffering from any pain in the back.

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9 Tips for Recovering From Spinal Fusion Surgery

There's no way around it: Recovery from spinal fusion surgery is a long and hard road. It will likely take at least several months for you to be moving like normal, and even then you'll have some activity limits. Although people with chronic back pain are used to pain upon movement, there are movements you can take for granted now that will not be easy or possible immediately after surgery.

When thinking about post-surgery tips, it's important not only to focus on making recovery manageable but on things that will increase the likelihood of a successful surgery. The following tips can help you through recovery.

1. Do not smoke.

Smoking increases the likelihood that the fusion will not take, meaning the bones in the spine will not fuse together. Compared to the general non-fusion rate of 14%, active smokers have a failure rate of 26%.

2. Bring everything you need to make yourself as comfortable as possible to the hospital.

While you're in the hospital, you'll need toiletries. You may also want to bring slip-on shoes and clothing that is easy to get in and out of, such as loose-fitting satin clothing. Some patients say that placing a trash bag benefit them in bed makes it easier to slide in and out. Trash bags can also be used on car seats and at home in bed.

3. Bring a noise-blocker to the hospital.

Without you sleep like a rock, you'll probably have a difficult time getting sleep in a hospital. Ear plugs or a music player, such as an iPod, are good options to help facilitate sleep.

4. Plan ahead to make your home “recovery friendly.”

You may be able to easily dodge obstacles and reach needed items at home now, but after surgery these things will be difficult. Make sure well-traveled pathways from the bedroom to the bathroom and kitchen are cleaned. Keep all items you usually use at waist-height or above, as bending over will be off the table.

5. Get a cooler or mini fridge.

While it's important to get moving as soon as possible after surgery – three to six days after, generally – you do not want to be walking around the house a bunch during your first few days home. Keeping essential foods and drinks close to hand is a good idea.

6. Keep a bedside table stocked with a computer, a phone, a remote, a book, your favorite movies, etc.

When you're in pain and your mobility is limited, it's important to have things nearby that you enjoy. Stock up on fun things beforehand.

7. Consider a shower chair.

You'll definitely want a shower sometime soon after your surgery, but standing long enough to thoroughly wash yourself may be difficult for a while. Investing in a shower chair can help. Also, make sure you have a mat in the shower to prevent slips.

8. After a week, make things more challenging.

Your doctor and surgeon should be consulted about how much and what types of activity you can do when. It can be easy, though, to sink into immobility since you just had surgery and you hurt. Understand that mobility is critical for recovery. Get rid of the mini fridge or cooler and the bedside table once it's time to move around more.

9. Have a few people you can call for help lined up.

Even if you live with someone, that person might not be around all the time or able to help in the way you need. It's good to make arrangements with other people ahead of time in case you need extra help.

See for additional tips on post-surgery recovery from day one to three months and beyond.

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Three Back Pain Myths and the Truth Behind Them

  1. “I'm too young, and in too good shape, to get back pain.” Each time I speak to people about back pain, I get the same reaction. People aged 45 and older pay attention to what I say. The people aged 44 and younger could not care less. Why? Because most people believe that back pain only affects the elderly or out-of-shape population. This belief can not be further from the truth. Low back pain is the number one reason people aged 45 and younger seek health care services. The spelling is the most frequently injured part of the body in most workman's comp cases. The discs in between each vertebra, that cushion your spine and provide movement, can start to degenerate before you hit puberty. Now, close your eyes and think of ten people. It does not matter their age, race, gender, whether they're in shape, or out of shape, rich or poor. Eight of these ten people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Pay attention, because it does not matter your age or whether you're in good shape. You are at risk.
  2. “My back pain will just go away on its own.” Patients entering my clinician frequently come in with the mindset that something very serious is coming to them because they've had lingering back pain that will not go away. Why? Because the majority of people believe their pain will go away on its own. And, if it does not go away, it must be something more serious. Right? Wrong. Low back pain is typically not self-limiting – it will not just stop on its own. In fact, almost 50% of people that have pain will still have pain after one year. And if you've already had pain, you have a 40% chance of getting pain again within the same year. On a side note, 90% of pain is usually just a simple backache. Less than two percent of back pain is from a serious spinal problem. Get your pain fixed. It's probably not going away.
  3. “There was one thing I did to cause my back pain.” Patients ask me all the time, “What did I do to cause my pain?” And I'll say, “Probably what you're doing now.” Of course, the patient will look at me confused because he / she is just sitting. So why do I say this? Because the majority of back pain (approximately 86%) is caused by repetitive misuse, or doing things the wrong way for a long time. It's likely your pain is from performing the same tasks the wrong way for a long time. Think of the spine as a long row of dominoes. Each time you perform a task the wrong way, you knock down one of those dominoes until they all fall. When this last domino falls, your back “goes out.” It did not “go out” because you bent down to put on your shoes last night. Your back went out because you bent down to put on your shoes the wrong way for five years. Your back “went out” because you sit for eight consecutive hours at your job every day. Your back “went out” because you pick up children improperly at a day care every day. Get the point? It's imperative that you learn the proper way to perform daily tasks and activities so you do not play dominoes with your spell.

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The Importance of Good Posture When Working In An Office

With more and more people sitting at desks and in offices for work, the occurrence of back problems, recurring pain and bad post is becoming more and more frequent. While ergonomic chairs, monitor risers and health and safety experts are commonplace, helping employees sit in the correct manner, such time sat at a desk in one position is not natural and can therefore lead to problems.

This is where the importance of good post comes in. By sitting correctly and understanding how the body should be positioned, it will not only reduce the likelihood of problems in later life but it also offers other benefits. A good posture will help improve how we feel while sat at work, but also helps to keep the muscles and spine in the right alignment so that the likelihood of pain or back aches is reduced.

Firstly, it's important to define what good post facto is. When sat a desk, the lower back should be adequately supported so that there is no strain on the muscles. Your feet should also be flat on the floor and your eyes level with the top of your monitor. Ideally your forearms should be perpendicular with your body too. All of this may be difficult to achieve without the use of ergonomic accessories such as screen risers, foot rests or back supports.

When all of these aspects are brought together, your body should be properly supported so that no muscles are straining or under pressure. It's also worth knowing that you should still regularly get up, walk around and stretch, rather than remaining sitting for extended periods of time.

So what is the importance of a good posture, apart from reducing aches and pains? One benefit is that it actually helps improve breathing and airflow through the body. By straightening your body, the airways are less restricted and the lungs can work to full capacity. So a good posture will help you take in more air and feel better as a result.

Another advantage of good posture is purely aesthetic, but it can also help you feel good within yourself. Many of us, while sat at a desk or when standing, slouch without really realizing it. However, good post helps us to look taller, leaner and much better; this not only makes us feel better but presents a better image to others too.

Keeping good posture is something that all of us should strive to achieve and does not take on enough importance in many working environments. However, with a few simple steps it is easy to improve posture and overall health.

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High-Fat Diet May Relieve Nerve, Inflammatory Pain

Typically, an anti-inflammatory diet involves following general health eating advice – lean protein, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables – along with incorporating a few extra ingredients know to have anti-inflammatory properties, such as ginger and curry spice. A different approach to fighting inflammatory pain may be a high-fat diet.

High-fat diets are also called ketogenic diets. They call for low carbohydrates intake as well as high fat intake. Typically, the body burns glucose from carbohydrates for energy. A ketogenic diet cuts down on carbs, thereby switching the body's fuel system from glucose to fats.

The first therapeutic use of the high-fat diet was in epileptic patients. The diet reduced the occurrence of seizures by decreasing nervous system excitability. Due to this same capacity, a ketogenic diet can actually increase one's pain threshold, thereby reducing the sensation of pain.

Another way in which a high-fat diet may influence pain is by decreasing inflammation. Inflammation is believed to play a major role in several health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathic pain, many cases of chronic back pain and some cancers. The body's metabolism of fats produces fewer free radicals than the breakdown of carbs, and free radicals are a source of inflammation.

For much more information on the complex connection between metabolism and pain, including a discussion of the biochemical differences in those who eat a ketogenic diet, see the review of several studies at / articles / PMC3312079 / .

Pros and Cons

A high-fat, low-carb diet is not what every doctor orders. There are concerns that the decrease in whole grains and certain produce items – particularly fruits – coupled with a high intake of saturated fats may leave patients deficient in several nutrients and susceptible to obesity and heart disease.

Saturated fats are a controversial topic; some medical professionals say that they are not actually unhealthy. A few recent studies support this, but organizations like the American Heart Association and the CDC have not been sufficiently persuaded to change their minds on the matter. Saturated fats are linked with unhealthy cholesterol levels, which in turn are linked with heart disease.

Somewhat of a middle-of-the-road approach comes from interventional cardiology specialist registrar Aseem Malhotra of London: Saturated fats from dairy products are probably impossible, since dairy products also deliver vitamins A and D as well as calcium and phosphorus, vitamins and minerals associated with reduced cardiovascular risk.

Learn more about Malhotra's take on saturated fats at .

If you're considering a high-fat diet to treat inflammatory and / or neurological pain, it's best to consult with a dietitian. It's important to ensure that you're keeping your cholesterol levels in check and getting the nutrients you need in order to be healthy.

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