Knee Replacement Surgery: A Women’s Health Issue. Delaying Treatment Can Harm Women’s Long-term Mobility And Quality Of Life

Knee Replacement Surgery: A Women’s Health Issue. Delaying Treatment Can Harm Women’s Long-term Mobility And Quality Of Life

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, affects more than 20 million Americans-and women are suffering from greater osteoarthritis-related disability than men. Yet the topic of knee replacement surgery is rarely raised when women’s health issues are discussed, even though osteoarthritis plays a significant role in driving the need for joint replacements.

Increased awareness of this issue is critical, since women today often wait too long to undergo knee replacement. By delaying the surgery, women with chronic, disabling knee pain forfeit the benefits of pain reduction, improved mobility and increased quality of life that can be offered by the procedure.

According to a 2000 study in The New England Journal of Medicine, women are three times more likely than men to suffer from continuous knee pain and three times less likely than men to undergo needed knee replacement surgery. They also have worse joint function when they do turn to surgery, which suggests that they wait longer before getting treatment.

Why are women waiting? Women are delaying surgery for a number of social and psychological reasons, from worries about caring for their families during recovery to myths about the surgery itself. Women may sometimes avoid knee replacement because of the conventional wisdom that surgery is only recommended when discomfort turns into disability that the patient can’t tolerate. Yet a 1999 study in Arthritis & Rheumatism found that those who get early treatment tend to have less postoperative pain and better knee function after surgery.

Women may also think it’s better to delay surgery until they’re older because they believe that knee implants don’t last. The reality is that the unique rotating platform knee replacements are designed to help improve wear reduction compared to older knee replacement technologies. A recent follow-up of a study in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery showed that even after 15 years, more than 97 percent of the rotating platform knees in the study are still performing.

“Many women suffer needlessly and give up the activities they enjoy,” says Wayne M. Goldstein, M.D., Clinical Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and founder and president of the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute. “New innovations in orthopaedic technology and knee replacement surgery can restore their ability to enjoy an active life.”

Dr. Goldstein adds, “Many women think that chronic pain is just part of getting older. But knee pain can often be healed. I encourage anyone who suffers from severe, debilitating knee pain to talk to their surgeon about their treatment options.”

Using the Internet to Develop Your Own Weight Loss Plan

Using the Internet to Develop Your Own Weight Loss Plan

Are you interested in developing your own weight loss plan? If you are looking to lose weight, there is a good chance that you may be interested in doing so. Although you can pay to have a weight loss plan supplied to you or you can choose to join an existing weight loss program, you may find the cost of doing so a little bit difficult, especially if you are on a budget. That is why many choose to develop their own weight loss plans.

If this is your first time developing a weight loss plan for yourself, you may not necessarily know how you should proceed. What is nice about developing a weight loss plan for yourself is that you have freedom. With that in mind, you will still want to make sure that your weight loss plan is one that you can benefit from and one that you can lose weight while on. For that reason, you may want to think about turning to the internet, when looking to develop your own weight loss plan or weight loss program.

When it comes to using the internet to help you develop your own weight loss plan, there are a number of different ways that the internet can offer you assistance. For starters, a good part of a weight loss program involves eating healthy. For many individuals, eating healthy is something that is difficult to do, as they are unsure as to what they should cook or how they should cook it. There are a number of websites that you can find online, many of which are free to use, that give you access to healthy foods and recipes. Many of these recipes are accompanied by pictures; therefore, you should be able to tell right away whether or not the food in question is something that you would eat.

Another part of losing weight involves exercise. For some individuals, taking a simple walk is enough to help them lose weight, but others must participate in more active exercise activities. If you are one of those individuals, you can find a number of websites that outline exercises that you should be able to do. You will likely find a number of fitness websites that come with detailed pictures or videos, which outline each step of the workout in question.

You can also use the internet to order weight loss resources, like weight loss books or exercise equipment. One piece of exercise equipment that you may want to look into buy is that of an exercise video. What is nice about using the internet to find an exercise video, which you can incorporate into your at-home weight loss program, is that you can not only buy videos online, but you can also find product reviews online. Product reviews are a great way to determine if the exercise video you are interested in buying is really worth the money.

Once you have found a number of exercises that you would like to do or a number of healthy meals that you would like to make for yourself, you are advised to develop yourself a list, in writing or on the computer. This list can act as a schedule for yourself. For instance, you could outline each workout that you would like to do on Monday’s, as well as which meals you would like to eat on that same day. Having a detailed weight loss plan for each day of the week is likely to improve the chances of you following your own plan.

As you can see, the internet is a nice tool to have, when looking to create you own weight loss plan. For the best results, with finding what you need online, you may want to perform a standard internet search. As a reminder, not everyone is able to develop their own at-home weight loss plans and follow them. If you find that you are having a difficult time with staying on track, you may want to think about joining one of your local weight loss programs or even an online weight loss program.

Simple Things You Must Know When It Comes To Organic Gardening (2)

Simple Things You Must Know When It Comes To Organic Gardening

Taking a step into the wondrous and green land of organic gardening for the very first time might feel a tad bit intimidating, but by keeping the helpful tips listed below in mind, you will soon find yourself growing organic plants on par with some of the best organic gardeners in the field.

When selecting the best plants for your garden, pick ones that are budding. You should avoid buying plants that are blooming already. That way when you transplant into your garden the plant will spend time growing, and getting accustom to the new environment. Blooms will detract from the plants ability to adapt.

Try adding some interest to your garden. Yes, trees come to mind when you mention “shade,” but there are more plants you can use. Try planting some vines. You can use these on walls, on fences, some overhead structures for a bit of quick shade, some softening of your verticals, or for some brightly colored flower displays.

Use your coffee grinds in your garden if you are an organic gardener and coffee lover! You can use coffee grounds to make a perfect mulch with just the right amount of acids. It is a wonderful way to compost in a environmentally friendly way.

While caring for your organic garden involves many big, day-long tasks, it also calls for smaller jobs that need to be performed more frequently. Keep a good handle on the minor needs of your garden so that you can make good use of brief periods of free time. When you have a few minutes to spare, why not use them weeding, pruning or performing other garden maintenance tasks?

Be careful of the leaves around your plants, certain kinds of leaves contain substances that can be harmful to plants. These leaves should not be used for mulching until they have been composted first. These include: acacia, California bay, camphor, cypress, eucalyptus, madrone, oak, pine, pittosporum, red cedar, and walnut.

Encourage toads to take up residence in your organic garden. Toads are a natural predator of many of the pesky bugs that will eat and destroy your crops. Create makeshift toad houses out of overturned broken clay pots and keep soil nice and moist to make it conducive to amphibian life.

If you have a young baby, consider wearing your child in a backpack while you garden. Being outdoors is a great stimulating experience for an infant, plus they get to spend more time with you. Organic gardening is safest for baby, as there is no risk of them encountering harsh or dangerous chemicals while you work.

A great tip for being economical in your home garden is to recycle your drink cups and use them to seed your tomatoes. When the seeds need to be transplanted, remove the bottom portion of the cups and plant them into the ground. This will also stop cutworms from getting into your plants.

So, after reading and applying the helpful tips listed above, you should feel a bit more at ease in the land of organic gardening. You have the tools, and it’s time to use them. You should feel excited and ready to begin your organic gardening adventure to grow healthier organic produce.

Great Tips For Gaining Your Whitest Smile

Great Tips For Gaining Your Whitest Smile

The first thing people notice about us is our smile. If you are looking for tips and tricks on how to get the whitest and brightest teeth, here are they are! Our helpful tips will help you to get a beautiful smile that you won’t be able to hide.

When you are trying to get a whiter smile, you should try brushing your teeth with teeth whitening toothpastes. These toothpastes can remove mild discoloration on your teeth through subtle abrasives that they contain. Get the smile that you have always wanted when you begin brushing your teeth with teeth whitening toothpaste.

If you have gum disease, a gum infection or unfilled cavities, consult with your family doctor or dentist before using any teeth whitening products. Certain chemicals can make you gum or tooth problem worse. Have any tooth or gum problems fixed or treated before you use any tooth whitening chemicals or procedures.

While brushing your teeth with some kind of tooth whitener can actually be a bit beneficial, it won’t be able brighten your smile by more than a degree or two. To have really improved whitening you will need to find a more aggressive program to take care of the discoloring problem.

If you over use teeth whitening products, especially extremely powerful ones, you could be doing serious harm to your teeth. You should always consult with your dentist before going through such a procedure and make sure it’s safe for you to do so. If your dentist says it’s too soon or you’ve done it too many times – listen to him!

If you are looking for a natural way to whiten your teeth, use fresh lemons. Simple rub the inside of a lemon peel on your teeth daily for whiter and brighter teeth. This teeth whitening technique is simple, fast, and inexpensive. Using lemon peels lets you whiten your teeth, without using the harsh chemicals found in some whiteners.

To have a white smile, make sure you avoid drinking water or using toothpastes that contain fluoride. It has been reported that fluoride may aid in discoloring and permanently staining your teeth. Many countries have actually banned fluoride from their drinking water due to this very reason. To stay on the safe side, avoid fluoride at all costs for a healthy and white smile.

Baking soda is a great way to naturally whiten your teeth. There are many toothpastes that use baking soda because of its proven effectiveness. If you want to make your own baking soda based tooth whitener; just mix baking soda with a little salt and water. It’s that easy, and it’s a cheap, but effective alternative to costly preparations.

You should not begin a teeth whitening regiment until you are around the age of 16 to 18. Until this time a child’s gums are incredibly sensitive. Therefore, the caustic and abrasive products that are used to clean teeth can cause a child’s mouth to enter a world of pain.

As you can see, a beautiful, white smile can be yours. If you follow our helpful tips you will have the whitest smile you’ve ever had. Our tips are proven and will work to get you the smile you have always dreamed about. So go ahead and show those pearly whites.

Knee Pain and Running

Knee Pain and Running

Running with knees that hurt and are not getting better trough time is no fun, and being addicted to running doesn’t help either.
Fortunately, pain isn’t always a definite sign of tissue damage; instead it can be protective pain that is coming from entities called myofascial trigger points.
Pain from trigger points can feel like its coming from knee joint or patellae, while it’s actually coming from contraction knots in the quadriceps muscles.
What makes things quite enigmatic is that these knots can sometimes reside high in quadriceps muscles, far from where the actual pain symptom is felt.
It’s not uncommon for knee pain to be solely or partially muscular. It’s also common for doctors to overlook trigger points as a possible pain cause, because at this point there is no imaging equipment in use, which could verify their existence.
For now, only way to find out if trigger point are part of the pain equation, is manually palpating and searching for them from the muscles. There are not many doctors who do this, or know how to do this, or think that it’s even beneficial to do this.
Fortunately finding and treating trigger points is quite easy, and you don’t need an expert to do it for you.
You just find tender spots which refer pain to your knee when pressed, from those muscles that are reported to be involved in knee pains.
Usually, even a few days of self-massage to those points, can make them stop referring pain to your knee area. And make it evident that they where indeed behind the pain.
Finding and massaging trigger points in the quadriceps and calf muscles, and the small muscles behind the knee( Plantaris & popliteus), should give you good results.

Women, Weight Loss, And Six-Pack Abs

Women, Weight Loss, And Six-Pack Abs

Times have really changed. Before, men are the only ones who would want to have a muscular body. So what they do, they go through rigorous training and exercise just to achieve six-pack abs. But now, women are also into the same thing because many of them believe that having a muscular body can be a gauge of their sexiness.

Studies show that more and more women are into getting six-pack abs because they are so conscious about their appearance. Since having six-pack abs indicate that one is slim, many of them are into losing weight. For those who are thinking of ways on how to get six-pack abs, losing weight can be an effective key but they must familiarize themselves with various means of weight loss before trying one.

Weight loss as an effective key to six-pack abs

Indeed, one of the most effective means of getting six-pack abs is to lose weight. And for most women, the easiest means of losing weight is through a weight loss program, which can either be followed by attending a class or can be used a guide especially on online classes. While it’s true that many people can attest to the effectivity of various weight loss programs, please bear in min that not all programs will lead to desirable results. To ensure that if the weight loss program will help you get six-pack abs, make sure you’re your conduct research on the available programs very well.

Nowadays, there are so many programs for losing weight. But, fitness experts categorize these into two—the clinical and the non-clinical. Clinical refers to the services provided in a health-care setting such as clinic or hospital and administered by licensed health care professionals like doctors, nurses, dietitians, and psychologists who suggest scientifically-proven weight loss care and treatment. Here, services such as physical activities, nutrition education, behavior change therapies, and surgeries are included to ensure that the program will help the student achieve a desirable body.

Non-clinical, on the other hand, pertains to commercially-operated weight loss procedures that privately owned such as in weight loss chain. This type usually requires people to join others in a support group, a worksite program, or community-based projects and may require patients to use the various foods or supplements offered by the program. The patients can follow a non-clinical program on their own with the help of a counselor, a guidebook, a website, or even the use of weight-loss products.

The type of weight loss program to get six-pack abs will depend on your schedule and your need. But experts warn that no matter which type of program you choose, make sure that you engage in any activity or diet provided by the program to ensure results. It is also advisable to visit a registered or licensed physician first before using any weight loss product offered by the program like food supplements, herbs, or over-the-counter medications and rigid sets of exercises.

Adhering to weight loss diets can also be an effective means of losing weight and achieving six pack abs. More and more people agre that weight loss diets can promote simple processes of burning calories such as the “Atkins Nutritional Approach” allowing the person to eat satisfying amounts of delicious and nutrient foods while customizing the program to specific individual needs, tastes and preferences; the “Bill Phillips’ Eating For Life,” based on four primary ingredients such as food, amount, combos, and times; “the Blood Type Diet” aiming to lose weight by matching the body’s biological profile through blood type, and the “NutriSystem” that manages diet through prepackaged foods that are ideal for people who want to achieve six-pack abs despite their busy schedules.

Quick And Easy Way To Figure Out If It Is Junk Food

Quick And Easy Way To Figure Out If It Is Junk Food

This article was written to answer many of the most frequently asked questions on this topic. I hope you find information helpful. Unless we really love cooking or plan and prepare ahead with our meals, we can fall victim to the easy way out – fast food or junk food.

Here is a story; could it be you? The weekend is here and you think you now have a couple of days to relax. Saturday morning – you make the coffee to start the day and then you’re off shopping. You get back just before lunch and discover that you have to get the kids to their hockey practise. Too late for a healthy lunch, by the time they are organized it will be time to go. So you pick up a hamburger on the way. Traffic is a nightmare. By the time you put your feet up, you find it is time to get the kids. It’s almost supper time and you’re really tired now and you’re in no mood to prepare a meal so you pick up pizzas from a well-known fast food outlet. Sunday and time to prepare brunch and you go downhill from there so you pick up some chicken with chips and some salad…

So what is a good diet? One which contains the nutrients your body needs in the correct amounts. That is the key to a healthy lifestyle. The main things your body needs from food are proteins (for growth and repair), carbohydrates (for energy), fats (gives a store of energy and the fatty layer protects and insulates your body from impacts and temperature loss), vitamins (for good health), minerals (for the correct functioning of your body systems) fibre (aids digestion and production of faeces) and water (70% or so of the body is water).

Does the hamburger provide all the things your body needs? Does it supply the nutrients you need? The answer is yes. The burger itself contains some meat, so there is the protein, some minerals and fat, the burger also contains fillers and those, plus the burger bun provides carbohydrate. The salad that comes with the burger meal provides fibre, water, vitamins and minerals. The fries provide more fat and carbohydrate and the main bulk of the water comes from the drink. To our surprise, the burger meals do provide all you need!

The problem is with the quantities of these nutrients. There is usually way too much fat and carbohydrate compared with the other nutrients. There is very little fibre. The vitamin and mineral proportions are low, unless you have a shake with the meal, which will increase the proportion of dairy product based minerals such as calcium. Now you need to make sure your next meal makes up for this out of balance meal. For your evening meal you should eat a low fat, high fibre meal, plenty of vegetables cooked lightly or eaten raw so as not to destroy the vitamins. If you must eat between meals, snack on fruit or vegetables.

Another issue is the use of additives. For example, the addition of salt improves the flavour of food so naturally manufacturers put it in so eating processed food increases your salt levels – increases blood pressure and leads to heart problems. A little salt is necessary; it provides your body with the mineral sodium which is needed in small quantities. Preservatives are another issue here. In small quantities, these are not supposed to be harmful. Do you eat processed food all of the time? This is something for you to think about because you are really causing great harm to your body.

Antioxidants are so important. They help to prevent damage to the cells of your body, damage that can lead to cells becoming cancerous. Teas are a very good source of antioxidants. Ordinary (black) tea provides some but a lot of the beneficial constituents are lost during the fermentation process. Unprocessed, pure organic teas like Green Tea or Oolong (the latter is only partly fermented) are the best. So instead of coffee in the morning, try tea, because it is more beneficial. Tea also contains the caffeine, but not as much as in coffee. You might have to drink more but think of the extra benefits to your health. Also, Green tea is thought to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol. The high levels of animal fats in burgers inevitably mean more cholesterol so there is another good reason for switching from coffee.

Simple changes to your diet can make your hectic lifestyle more healthy. Enjoy the odd burger or other fast food; just compensate healthier foods for the rest of the day.

I must say, a system that works very well for me is when I am making meals, cook extra and freeze them. When I come home tired, I just get the individual meals out of the freezer, heat them up and in minutes I’m eating a super meal. It’s even faster than fast food and tastes better too!

Thank you for joining us. We hope you have a look around while you’re here.

If You Enjoy Yapping You’ll Appreciate Good Dental Care.

If You Enjoy Yapping You’ll Appreciate Good Dental Care.

Taking care of your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth, including the repair or replacement of defective teeth is what defines dental care. It’s common to see a person suffering from dental diseases due to carelessness and lack of knowledge of good oral hygiene.

It is said that healthy gums and teeth are extremely important to keep your entire body system healthy and sound. Lack of proper care and a regular check up with your dentist may lead to several diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, dental plaque, periodontal disease, mouth odor, etc..

Symptoms and prevention of tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease:

1. Tooth Decay: The main cause of tooth decay is an acid base chemistry or an excess amount of acid. This is associated with sugar bugs, those who regularly eat sweet without brushing right after. Symptoms: First, a white spot appears on the tooth, which will lead to an early cavity if not dealt with. Cavities will begin with a light brown color on the tooth, and gradually become darker. Prevention:
• Be sure to brush twice daily, morning and before bedtime as well as after every meal.
• Floss daily (at least once), I know it’s a chore but it’s your smile we’re talking about here. (:–)
• Consult a dentist for a regular cleaning and examination. Try to follow their recommendations.
• Make sure retainers, dentures and other appliances are clean and don’t skip their recommended cleaning procedures.

2. Gingivitis & Periodontal Disease: Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, whereas periodontal disease is the advanced stage of gum disease, which attacks the gums, bone and around the teeth. Symptoms: swollen gums, mouth sores, bright red appearance of gums and bleeding gums. Prevention:
• Brush your teeth twice daily.
• Gently floss the teeth once a day.
• Consult your dentist for further instructions.

Dental products to avoid:

There are many dental care products to avoid; these include strong antiseptic mouthwashes, bleaching agents, hydrogen peroxide, fluoride toothpastes, alcohol breath fresheners and other oral hygiene products. On the plus side they kill bacteria but also promote dental plaque which will make things worse in the end.

Products for dental care are: antioxidant tooth powder and probiotic mouthwash. Consult your dentist for the best products for your situation.

Children are more susceptible to dental problems. They are prone to eating chocolates, candies and sweets and thus get easily affected and suffer from tooth decay and other problems. So it is important for parents to know the basics of good dental care and guide your children accordingly.

These few simple steps can keep you and your family from severe pain, health hazards and will help us to keep smiling all through out the day.

Chondromalacia : A Pain In The Knee

Chondromalacia : A Pain In The Knee

Little kids often come running to their parents crying over some bruises om their knees. But as these kids grow up, they are exposed to running the risk of getting more serious injuries, brought about by their chosen lifestyles.

Knee-related injuries and medical conditions are among the common reasons many people visit their doctors nowadays. Some people may consider knee pain as a minor problem, but it can lead to serious discomfort and acute disability, depending on the severity of the damage. Several knee injuries happen due to chronic overuse, alignment problems, active sports, failure to warm up and stretch before exercise, or even daily household chores that would require extra physical effort. Other knee-related problems can also result from trauma, such as a car accident, a fall or a direct blow to your knee, as well as due to medical conditions such as arthritis, gout or chondromalacia.

Much has been said about arthritis and gout. But what about chondromalacia? Is this a new type of malady? What causes it and who gets affected by it? Chondromalacia is a knee-joint condition that needs serious attention and requires proper treatment.

Chondromalacia of the patella, also called patellofemoral pain, is a term that refers to pain arising between the patella (kneecap) and the underlying thighbone (femur). The softening of the cartilage beneath the kneecap results in small areas of breakdown and pain around the knee. Instead of gliding smoothly over the knee, the patella rubs against the thighbone everytime the knee moves. These changes vary from mild to total erosion of the cartilage.

This condition is usually prevalent among young women, especially those who have a slight misalignment of the kneecap. Teenage girls are usually at high risk because the knee cartilage is prone to excessive and uneven pressure brought upon by the physiological changes that comes with the growth spurts of puberty. Adults over 40 may develop this condition as part of the wear-and-tear process, possibly resulting in arthritis of the kneecap or osteoarthrities of the knee joint. chondromalacia may also be caused by accidents and trauma, or abnormal pressures on the knee-joint, as experienced by athletes.

Pain and swelling caused by chondromalacia of the patella are felt in the front or inside of the knee. The kneepain becomes worse when seated for long periods, such as while getting up from a chair and when climbing stairs. A grating or grinding sensation may be noticed everytime the knee is extended or straightened.

Most of the time, conservative treatments for chondromalacia are exercise programs designed to strengthen the muscles around the knee and to bring back the normal alignment of the knee cap. These exercises must be approved by a physical therapist to selectively build the thigh muscles (the quads) and realign the knee cap.

A great number of patients usually improve with conservative treatment alone and without much further need for other therapy. Only a small number of cases where kneepain persists or worsens would knee joint surgery be required. While it may not be possible to avoid chondromalacia, certain measures can be taken to reduce the risk of trauma and injuries, as well as abnormal stress on the knee. Rehabilitation programs focusing on flexibilty and strength training of the muscles that control your kneecaps can greatly help in the prevention of its development in many cases. Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and other arthritis pain relief medications may be prescribed to alleviate suffering from pain and inflammation.

Alternative Approaches to Pain Relief

Alternative Approaches to Pain Relief

Pain. The great leveler. The rich feel it. So do the poor, the happy, the sad, tall, and short. And, of course, article writers, too. It’s therefore not surprising to note that since the dawn of time, humans have attempted to discover ways to reduce pain. In some respect, our ability to experience pain, and seek ways to solve it, connects us more than anything else. But what exactly is pain and how do we deal with it?
Pain is a message sent by the body to the brain, signaling the presence of disease, injury or strain. Without pain, you would be unaware of many problems – from torn ligaments to appendicitis. Pain is simply, Mother Nature’s way of telling you something is wrong.
Many of us kill the messenger with narcotics, anti-depressants and tranquilizers that take care of the symptoms, but not the cause of the pain. This kind of treatment cannot only mask symptoms of serious disease, but can also create a cycle of chronic pain.
Not all pain though, serves a useful function. While acute pain, as described above can alert us to a serious problem, chronic pain can linger long after an ailment or injury has healed in the body. Examples of chronic pain include backache, migraines and arthritis. In these cases, pain management, as opposed to a cure, may become the goal of treatment.
The psychological effects that accompany recovery from a disease or injury heighten chronic pain. A loss of confidence is often triggered by prolonged periods of rest and inactivity that cause a loss of physical strength, endurance and flexibility. If the injury has prevented you from performing your usual duties, you may succumb to frustration and depression. Impatience is chronic pain’s best friend as many individuals overexert themselves before they have completely healed, thus triggering more pain.
Various treatments can help alleviate chronic pain. Some treatments do so on a purely physical level by interfering with signals from the nerves to the brain or desensitizing the nerves. The following sections are meant to introduce you to some of the ways of dealing with pain without relying on non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, narcotics, tranquilizers or anti-depressants.
For many people, particularly those in the western world, pain relief solutions such as acupuncture, and herbal medicine are novel concepts. However, the rest of the world is probably wondering what the fuss is about, because these traditional approaches to pain relief have been around for thousands of years; Traditional Chinese Medicine, which relies on various techniques and herbs in order to balance the body’s internal energy, is over 5,000 years old.
Acupuncture: the ancient Chinese Practice of acupuncture is based on the belief that health is determined by the level of chi (vital life energy) that is in t he body. This energy is thought to move through the body through pathways called meridians, which connect to specific organs in the body. Acupuncturists insert needles into points on the body that connect to these channels to release blocked “chi” that might be the cause of pain. During acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts thin needles for anywhere from a few minutes to a half an hour into specific points on the body. This practice is thought to stimulate endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and is useful for the treatment of a variety of disorders including backache, sinus pain, jaw pain, spinal disorders, withdrawal and mental disorders.
Herbs: another important part of traditional Chinese medicine is herbal medicine. Herbs have been used for centuries for their pain relieving qualities. Here are some herbs that are recommended for common disorders:
Cramps & Spasms: angelica, cramp bar, kava, rosemary, valerian root.
Nerve Pain: capsaicin, chamomile, gotu kola, licorice, white willow.
Back Pain: hops, wood betony, passionflower.
Migraine: feverfew, linden, skullcap.
Headaches: peppermint, spearmint.
Joint pain: ginger, sea cucumber.
Meditation: meditation, which has also been practiced for thousands of years, is a conscious attempt to calm the mind so that it is not cluttered with thoughts and anxieties that might be contributing to an unnecessary belief in the existence of pain. There are hundreds of different meditation techniques, but mostly they all into three categories: concentrative, mindful and transcendental meditation. During concentrative meditation, focusing on a single sound, object or one’s breath, produces tranquil mind that facilitates the production of pain-relieving endorphins. During mindful meditations, the mind is encouraged to become aware of, but not reactive to thoughts, feelings and sensations in order to achieve a tranquil state of mind.
Nutrition: eating a well balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables is thought to be the best way raise your pain threshold or resistance to pain. A deficiency in any of the main vitamins (A, B, C, D or E) can cause chronic pain. Vitamin E is used to treat joint pain. A deficiency in calcium, iron, magnesium and other minerals may also lower your pain threshold. A calcium magnesium supplement taken in a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium is thought to relieve joint pain and headaches. Manganese is a vitamin that is sometimes used for chronic headaches and neuralgia. A deficiency of the B vitamins is also thought to cause nervousness, headaches and chronic pain.
Aromatherapy: sniffing or applying essential oils is thought to change an individual’s brain chemistry so that pleasurable neuro-transmitters called endorphins are released to relieve pain. Geranium, jasmine, juniper, lavender, peppermint, rose, rosemary and thyme are oils commonly used for this purpose.
Guided Imagery: research has indicated that bodily functions that were previously thought to be beyond conscious control, such as chronic pain, can be controlled thorough the use of visualization. Guided imagery encourages the sufferer to think in pictures that eliminate negative thoughts thus raising levels of pleasurable brain chemicals, such as serotonin, decreasing anxiety and increasing the effectiveness of the immune system. Through guided imagery, the mind conjures up mental scenes in order to better direct the body’s energy. For instance, if an individual is suffering from a stabbing pain, he or she might want to imagine a knife being removed from the spot and a subsequent glowing feeling of relief. Guided imagery has been used successfully to manage the pain of headaches, sinus problems, arthritis and cancer.
Biofeedback combines a variety of relaxation methods, such as guided imagery and meditation with the use of instruments that monitor the individual’s responses to the therapy. After many treatments, biofeedback is thought to train the individual to consciously regulate autonomic functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and other processes that are commonly believed to be out of our control. During a session, electrodes connected to a monitoring unit are taped to the skin. The monitor measures skin temperature, pulse, blood pressure, muscle tension and brain activity to determine the success of the relaxation technique. Eventually, over time, biofeedback can train an individual to control the pain of such disorders as TMJ, headaches and migraines.
It is difficult to imagine a world without pain; where would our poetry come from? What would divas sing about? Given that pain is probably always going to be a part of our world, it is of critical importance that we understand the various methods that exist to manage that pain. For some of us, that remedy may lie in the traditional realm, while for others it will be through prescription drugs or some other alternative. Regardless of what remedy you choose, make sure you inform yourself of the various pain treatment options open to you, and by doing so, you may just reduce the amount of suffering in your life. And isn’t that, in some respect, the goal that we all strive towards?
It is important to note that the above suggestions do not represent cures for conditions, but more represent strategies and opportunities to manage your chronic pain. It is also recommended that you consult with your health practitioner before embarking on any new pain management program.