Category: Health Care Concerns

Top Ways To Help With Back Pain

a man suffering with back painMany times, when it comes to back pain, there is not one cure that works every time for all kinds of pains related to the back. The back is quite a complex structure and pain can be due to several factors. However, the back does have several areas which are prone to injury.

Often, back pain treatment requires trial and error approach to find the best treatment solutions for each particular case. Traditionally medical approaches tend to focus on looking over anatomical issues in the back to determine if the injury is muscular or structural based.

That being said the pains would be best kept at bay with a more multifaceted approach to facilitate the support of the affected area and the overall recovery of the injury and the surrounding structures and tissues.

Here are a few management techniques for chronic back pain that are not very emphasised and even can be overlooked in the world of traditional medical treatments:

1. Sufficient Restorative Sleep

The leading cause of insomnia is pain. This can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Therefore, the majority of those people suffering from chronic back pain also deal with some form of sleep disorder. As a result of sleeping inadequately, back pain can worsen. This type of cycle can make it difficult to treat the back pain solely. If you are experiencing problems with sleep, those issues must be addressed as well to improve your overall well-being and enable to back the best chance of recovery.

2. Use Cold and Hot to Ease the Pain

Many times the simplicity of applying a hot and or cold pack to reduce that back pain and speed up recovery is overlooked. However, to do this effectively, one must know whether hot or cold is the appropriate compress for the particular type of back pain.

As a general rule, if the pain is due to inflammation then a cold compress can be useful as the cold can help to take down the inflammation.

If however, the pain is due to contract, stiff or locked muscles, then a hot compress is recommended. The heat can help to soothe the locked or contracted muscles and bring an increase in blood flow to the area.

Cold Therapy

There are two main benefits to cold therapy:
Inflammation is reduced, inflammation is usually to blame for a lot of back pain.
Cold therapy works as a local anaesthetic; it does this by slowing down the nerve impulses; this prevents your nerves from spasming which can cause pain.

Heat Therapy

There are two main benefits to heat therapy:
The blood flow is stimulated, this helps to provide the nutrients that are needed to heal the affected area of the back.
The pain messages which are being sent to the brain are inhibited.

3. Exercise the Core

The muscles that play a critical role in supporting the back are your ab muscles. These are not muscles that are exercised on their own as the day goes by, they must be targeted during exercise. There are a variety of exercises which can be performed throughout the day to help strengthen your core, take the time to find the ones that would work best for you or speak to a physiotherapist or pilates instructor to find the best exercises that will suit your injury.

a person stretching her legs4. Stretch Your Hamstrings Twice a Day

Tight hamstrings can contribute to a back pain; this is something that is very often overlooked. If the hamstrings, which are found on the back of the thighs are too tight the rest of the back, as a result, could also start to get tight over time. You should carefully stretch your hamstrings twice every day.

5. Keep the Brain Engaged

Pain is not absolute, it is more than just a sensation, this is something that pain specialists have understood for a long time. A paramount role in how the pain is perceived is played by the way that the brain interprets and of course, processes the pain signals. There are ways in which a person can learn to control the pain to a certain degree by correct use of the mind. The mind is a powerful instrument, and can play an important role over how much pain a person may need to experience overall.

Seeking Help

The first point of call for back pain for most people is the local GP. However, most GP’s are not trained extensively in this kind of pain management, so they will often refer you to a physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath or even an acupuncturist.

Seeing a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a common form of treatment for back pain and is based locating the cause of the injury, applying various techniques to help to alleviate the pain and also incorporating exercises or the muscles to help to free tension, stretch tight muscles and enhance movement.

Seeing a Chiropractor

A chiropractor is a practitioner who specialises in problems arising from the spinal column itself. They work to correct issues of the spine that may be causing referred symptoms in other areas of the body.

Seeing an Acupuncturist

Acupuncture therapy is now also more commonly being referred to by Western doctors. Acupuncture has been found to be effective for certain types of back pain and can help to lessen the severity of the pain experienced, increase blood flow to the area and assist with other therapies.

Seeing an Osteopath

Osteopathy is also a physically manipulative therapy, like chiropractic. However, osteopathy works on a more generalised system of the whole body, rather than having its focus on the spine.

Natural Remedies to Help Migraine Pain

a man suffering from a migraine headacheUnless someone has experienced a migraine first-hand, it is very difficult to describe just how debilitating this condition can be. Often, simple pain meds such as paracetamol or ibuprofen don’t even come close to tackling a full-blown migraine leaving the victim to face the harshness of specially prescribed medication to help combat the condition.

However, many migraine sufferers report dissatisfaction with many drugs prescribed for the condition. Besides, many migraine meds also carry a risk of nasty side effects that include, weight gain, insomnia, nausea, depression and low blood pressure to name but a few.

So what are the alternatives? Can anything be done naturally to help with the symptoms of migraine intensity and frequency?

Here are five natural remedies that may be effective for a migraine.

1. During Plenty of Water

Although scientists do not yet fully understand the causes of a migraine attack, it has been established that dehydration can facilitate the onset of an episode. So stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid caffeinated drinks, which cause a person to become dehydrated more quickly.

2. Regular Exercise

During a migraine attack, the neck muscles can often tighten up and cause considerable tension and stress on the neck and scalp muscles. Therefore, it is advised that migraine sufferers should take regular exercise to help keep their neck and shoulder muscles supple, which may be able to lessen the frequency and intensity of an attack.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency has been directly linked to the occurrence of migraines in several clinical studies. Magnesium has a relaxing effect on the body and works to soothe muscles and nerves and also helps to prevent nerves from becoming over-stimulated.

Magnesium is effective for both a preventing migraine before they occur and also helping to minimise their severity once onset starts.

As our bodies do not produce magnesium naturally, we must ensure we are getting enough of this essential mineral from our food or through supplements.

However, magnesium is notoriously difficult to absorb. Therefore, it is recommended to be taken in a powder form mixed with calcium and dissolved in hot water before drinking. This way the calcium will help to facilitate the absorption process of the magnesium into the system.

4. Omega 3

Studies have shown that migraine sufferers are greatly benefited by the continual and frequent supplementation of omega three fatty acids.

Omega 3 is a substance derived from fish oil, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Therefore, it is suspected that these oils can also help to reduce the inflammation of the nerves and muscles that become inflamed during a migraine attack.

One Scandinavian study reported that as much as 87% of participants of one trial reported a notable improvement with their migraines since incorporating omega three into their diet on a daily basis.

5. Acupuncture

Many migraine sufferers seek out the help of an acupuncturist for their condition, with a large number of them reporting significant improvement in both the intensity and frequency of their attacks.

Some clinical trials have shown that the use of acupuncture treatment for a migraine can bring about the long-lasting effects of prescription drugs for the condition, but without the nasty side-effects that the drugs bring.

picture of an acupuncture needle in a persons scalp for headaches“Often, we find that migraine sufferers have considerable tension in the neck and shoulder area or are dehydrated without being aware of it. For others, the condition may be related to a hormonal imbalance, all of which seem to respond very well to acupuncture”, says Stephen West, an acupuncturist from the UK.

Stephen also explains that from a Chinese medicine perspective, congestion in the liver and gall bladder can cause irritability and muscle tension. Therefore, it is also advisable for those patients who are suffering in this way to take hot water with lemon on a daily basis to help move the congestion in the liver. A person may also use natural herbs such as calendula or milk thistle to achieve the same effect.

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There are several natural alternatives that one can consider when wanting to find natural ways to help with migraines. Over time, it may be possible for some sufferers of this debilitating condition, to start reducing the medication that they are taking to alleviate the condition.

However, when considering to reduce medications of any kind, it is highly advisable that you consult your doctor before doing so and follow their guidance on the best protocols for reducing your drugs.

Rhinitis And What To Do About It

allergic rhinitisRhinitis affects thousands of people in varying degrees. Symptoms can vary from constant sneezing, running or blocked nose to difficulty breathing, sinus headaches and chronic pain. It is due to irritation of the sensitive mucous membrane that becomes inflamed within the nasal cavity. The inflammation can cause the nasal passage to not only become sore but in some cases it can also swell and obstruct the airways, making breathing difficult. Due to the inevitable obstruction that often occurs, mucous can also build up in the nasal cavity making it more difficult to breathe.

Rhinitis is categorised in three ways:

  • Infective rhinitis
  • Non-allergic (vasomotor) rhinitis
  • Allergic rhinitis

Infective rhinitis

This is due to bacterial infections affecting the nasal passage. The infections can be of both an acute and chronic nature. There are various viruses that can cause this, including the common cold. With this type of rhinitis sneezing is often a typical symptom for the sufferer.

Non-allergic rhinitis

This type of rhinitis is typically characterised by a running nose but not due to a bacterial or viral infection of any kind. This type of rhinitis is often triggered in sensitive people by things such as a change in the air temperature or pressure, the presence of odours, a fluctuation in emotional state or various food factors that one may have an intolerance to.

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is also more commonly known as hay fever, irritating the sufferer seasonally (typically in spring or summer) with the presence of pollen. In some people, dust or animal fur such as cats, dogs and horses can also be a trigger. When these types of irritants enter the nasal passage they trigger the release of histamine by the body. The histamine is trying to get rid of the irritant however, it gets out of control and causes the sneezing, running nose and swelling of the nasal passage.

Treatment options

Medication: For the lucky ones, there is a range of medicines and pharmaceutical products that can help for rhinitis conditions and there are also several natural remedies that many people find effective too. These products can range from simple nasal sprays to decongestants that actually help to break down accumulated mucous in the nasal cavity and sinus area. Other medications work to destroy and eliminate bacterial and viral infections and some act to inhibit the action of histamine once it’s release is triggered by the body.

Surgery: For people with a more severe case of rhinitis or if they have any structural damage or miss-alignments then surgery may be necessary. This doesn’t have to be a scary prospect and you will probably find several qualified and highly experienced Rhinoplasty surgeons in your area who can perform the operation for you.

If you live in the San Francisco area then this may be a concern to you, due to the reasonably high pollen count that affects this area in the state of California. However, rhinoplasty surgery is not cheap and many people may be on a budget. So if you are looking for the cheapest San Francisco rhinoplasty surgery then you may want to spend some time looking into pricing options and various other factors that may make the procedure more affordable for you.