How to Protect the Back from Injuries?

 

Gym Back Pain Injury

The back, where our spinal column is located, plays a big role in our stance and posture. If the back is injured, damaged, or broken, it would be very difficult for us to stand, sit, walk, and make other movements. That’s why it is important to take good care of the back and avoid pain and injuries as much as possible.

Here are ways on how to protect the back from various types of injuries.

Go easy with your backpack.

A backpack is a convenient type of bag worn over the shoulders and carried by the back. If the backpack is big and carries loads of weight, it is the shoulder and the back that technically bear the heaviness. For a short period of time, your back may not feel it. But with continuous use on a regular basis, the pain will accumulate and cause more serious condition on your back, including back pain and back injury.

Thus, it is best that, when using a backpack, make sure that you carry a weight that is light and convenient for your body size. Moreover, arrange your stuff inside accordingly so the weight is spread equally. The straps should also be adjusted so that the length of the backpack is just right to hang over the back, and not below the buttocks which will add to the challenge of carrying it.

Lift heavy objects using your feet.

A common mistake when lifting a heavy object is carrying the weight through the arms all the way to the upper body, especially when you lift them from the floor bending forward. This is difficult and harmful, especially to the back. The proper way of lifting is squatting down, holding the object close to your body, and then standing up using both feet. This way, it is the feet that carry the weight and not your body.

Observe proper posture.

Bad habits such as slouching and sitting all day in front of the computer affects your posture, which in turn causes serious back pain and disorders, including scoliosis and osteoporosis. To avoid these conditions, you have to practice good posture at all times.

Be mindful of your stance such that you are standing on both feet. Wear flat shoes, too, as much as possible. When sitting down, make sure that your back is straight. Use an ergonomic chair when you have to work on your computer the whole day, and make sure to get up and move around once in a while to relax the back.

Take time to exercise.

Engaging in regular exercise strengthens the back and spinal column. Take some time everyday to work out your body. Stretches are the best exercise for the back. This can also serve as your warm up before doing rigorous exercise and cool down after your work out.

Visit your chiropractor frequently.

Chiropractic care is the process of spine and nerve manipulation to treat back disorders and improve mobility and function. A frequent visit to your chiropractor will ensure that your back is in top shape and relieve any pain you are feeling.

It is best to take care of your back while you are still young so you won’t have to endure any pain and disorder as you grow older. By following the tips above, you can be sure that your back is well protected.

Protect Your Neck from Pain and Injuries

 

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The neck is a vital part of our body. It connects the torso to the head and is responsible for the head’s many movements. Imagine if your neck is stiffed, in pain, or injured, how can you look to your left and right? How can you look up and down? How can you rotate your head and look back? It is, therefore, very important to keep your neck protected from pain to make sure that it functions optimally every time.

Here are smart ways on how to protect your neck from pain and avoid any injury that will cause dysfunction.

Practice good posture. The way you sit, stand, walk, and move around affects the joints in your body, including the joint around your neck. Make sure that when you are watching TV or looking at your computer, the screen is within eye level and not in a height that requires you to tilt your head. Looking at something with your head not in natural straight angle will cause you neck pain.

Sleep in a position where your head and neck are comfortable. You will know what a comfortable position is when there is no effort to fall asleep because your head is relaxed. Additionally, use pillows that offer orthopedic support for the head and neck to help you correct your body positioning in case you have a habit of sleeping in the wrong position.

As much as possible, sleep on your bed lying down and avoid dozing off while sitting down or resting your head on a table, such as in an airplane or a classroom. The neck is most comfortably rested when you are facing up while your back is lying down. Sleeping inside moving vehicles can hurt your neck awfully.

Avoid playing sports or doing outdoor activities that may possibly injure your head and neck. Sports with high risk of damaging your neck include rugby, football, basketball, car racing, gymnastics, and hockey among many others. If unavoidable, wear protective head gear and be very mindful to protect your head at all times.

Follow safety measures when driving or riding a vehicle. Wear your seatbelt at all times. Before using a vehicle, check it for any damage – no matter how minor – and make necessary fixing. Drive slowly but surely, and make sure to follow all road signs as most road accidents happen by violating these rules. Car accidents are major causes of neck pain and injury called whiplash.

Do regular neck exercises to strengthen the neck and avoid pain brought by minor causes. Moreover, have a regular neck and head massage to relieve any tension caused by stress. A frequent visit to the chiropractor can also improve the function and mobility of your neck.

We use our neck everyday and it helps us do our daily tasks easier and more convenient. It is only clever to keep it safe and protected at all times for a comfortable and pain-free living.

How Tai Chi Helps Combat Arthritis

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In maintaining a good health and combating many health problems, more and more people are turning to exercise and realizing its complete benefits. Most adults and older folks, however, are deterred by a particular sickness to pursue exercise as a key to healing and pain alleviation and that is arthritis. The stiffness and fear of injury would usually drive people with arthritis away from exercises in general.

Lack of regular exercise, however, will be more detrimental for arthritis patients since it will result to stiffer and more painful joints, decrease in muscle strength, further weakening of the bones, slowing of blood circulation, and increase in other disease risks such that of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressures. The answer then is for them to get into an exercise program that is safe but would be effective for their condition. Here is where the magic of Tai Chi would come in.

Benefits of Tai Chi

Since stiff joints are extremely painful to move, Tai Chi offers an option of exercising despite the gentle movements of one’s joints, muscles, and tendons. Similarly, the slow and deliberately controlled movements in Tai Chi will help the muscle strength build up in one’s legs and arms. Tai Chi could also be a cardiovascular exercise, which could increase the functioning of your heart and lungs which would improve the circulation of the blood and oxygen supply in your body.

Tai Chi, with its focus on proper posture all of the time, will also help you to keep your spine aligned and to open your lungs. It can also assist you in keeping intact skills on coordination and balance which you could effortlessly integrate in your daily life. Since good balance and coordination can help you avoid falling injuries and enable you to move more efficiently, Tai Chi – in its efforts at incorporating simultaneous arm and leg movements – can surely assure you this balance and coordination. Proper performance of Tai Chi, with discipline and patience, will not only help the arthritic person’s body but also improve his mind and soul.

Since people with arthritis could also be plagued by feelings of stress and depression, Tai Chi could also assist in getting through this as Tai Chi integrates mind and body by using the conscious mind to direct the force coming from within which in turn directs each movement.

When doing Tai Chi, direct your attention in each movement, this mental training will enhance the clarity of your mind and help you relieve stress and will surely uplift your mood. Proper performance of Tai Chi, with discipline and patience not only will help the arthritic person’s body but also his mind and soul.

Understanding Arthritis and Rheumatism

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Arthritis and rheumatism both attack the body’s musculoskeletal system. Arthritis is a term applied to a large number of diseases which affect the joints, a part of the musculoskeletal system. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, is one of the most common forms of arthritis resulting from an inflammatory process of the synovium or the lining of the joint.  Gout, another type of arthritis, is caused by urate crystals forming in the joints.

Similarities between Arthritis and Rheumatism

Similarly, rheumatism is a musculoskeletal disease composed of painful disorders. It is a condition characterized by inflammation or pain in muscles, joints, or fibrous tissues of the body. Bursitis, for instance, is a form of rheumatism which is the inflammation of a small sac between one’s tendon and bone or between muscles, all parts of the musculoskeletal system. Damaging joints, muscles and tendons, arthritis, and rheumatism continue to be among the top afflictions of the musculoskeletal system.

Another resemblance between arthritis and rheumatism is the extreme pain involved in both diseases.  Arthritis makes one’s joints painful, stiff, and swollen. The pain usually results from the breakdown of the affected joints. It is widely believed that arthritis causes more pain than any other kind of human illness. This precisely is why physical activity is often painful for arthritis patients.

Still another likeness is that arthritis and rheumatism both have inflammation or swelling as a main feature. In arthritis, inflammation is the joint tissues’ reaction to some form of damage or injury. Dr. Perry Tan of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center’s Rayuma Klinik explains in his Arthritis column that there are three kinds of swelling: Fluid accumulation, bony swelling, and thickened, proliferating joint lining.  He further says that inflammation is an initial response to bacterial invasion in the synovial tissues. When infection progresses, the joint activities are invaded and pus accumulates in the synovial membrane and joint fluid. A perfect example of this is the swelling of the metacarpophalangeal joints and proximal interphalangeal joints, leading to the filling in of the hollows between the knuckles and spindling of the fingers which is common in early rheumatoid arthritis. Similarly, inflammation of either the joints or muscles is a significant part of rheumatism. It may be for this reason that rheumatism was derived from the Greek word “rheuma” which means swelling. Truly, the inflammation resulting from the two illnesses reveal the extent of damage that a person’s joint, a muscle or a tendon sustained.

Both musculoskeletal diseases may cause deformity and, worse, may lead to serious disability.  In arthritis, the continuous deterioration of the joint and bone tissues eventually results into deformities. Due to synovial thickening, affected joints become enlarged and quickly deformed. Joints may even freeze in one position and may not extend or open. Rheumatism is a crippling disease. Consequently, it is regarded as one of the most serious threats to health because it causes widespread invalidism. Evidently, the deformity and serious disability caused by arthritis and rheumatism have led to a lot of lost opportunities.

Apart from the deformity and disability that arthritis and rheumatism bring to the afflicted, yet another similarity between the two is the weakness they cause. Among the chief symptoms of arthritis is loss of energy. When one has arthritis, he or she loses appetite and feels pain in one or more body parts. This causes the patient to weaken.  Comparably, rheumatism weakens a person. The pain associated with the disease makes it extremely difficult for a patient to perform his or her regular tasks. Weakness resulting from arthritis and diseases leave a lot of patients feeling useless because they cannot perform their regular activities and duties.

Treatments for Arthritis and Rheumatism

Fortunately, arthritis and rheumatism are both treatable. There are a lot means to treat arthritis. The major element in treating arthritis is to rest the affected joint, because using it may further aggravate the patient’s condition. Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are often prescribed by doctors to help the afflicted cope. There are a lot of treatments available including medicine, application of heat, chiropractic adjustment, massage, and sweating therapy.  Truly, as treatments are available for diseases, arthritic and rheumatic patients can still hope of living a normal life – without pain, without swelling and without stiffness.

However, treatment is often costly.  Effective arthritis treatment requires early recognition, a good rheumatologist, prompt arthrocentesis, and the regular administration of antibiotics. It is important that treatment is maintained, as intermittent treatment will negatively impact on the disease.

Back Pains as Signs to Serious Illness

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The body is a self-healing mechanism. This is a fundamental belief that certain healthcare professionals, particularly doctors of chiropractic adhere to, for good reasons. The other related principle these practitioners subscribe to, is that the nervous system, being the communication center of your body,  carries the signals from the brain to other parts of your body to coordinate all body functions. Likewise, any abnormalities in the various organs of your body are transmitted back to the brain.

Even more health care professionals, including medical doctors believe that organs sometimes send pain signals to other parts of your body, notably the back. This process is what doctors call “referred pain.” We know that your back is where the spine is. The spine and the nervous system have intimate relationship.

Doctors believe that strong pain signals along your nerve paths leap or overwhelm other adjacent nerves that can cause the pain sensation to be experienced on the original location of that particular series of nerves.

The back pain you feel in your back may therefore be telling you something. A lot of people spend countless hours and substantially big amount of money going back and forth to the medical clinic and the pharmacy for their back pain treatment but ending up discovering that the condition they have is more than just back pain.

Back pain may be a sign of serious illness. Your back pain may be telling you of possible infections, kidney and bladder problems and even cancer conditions.

When Back Pains are Signs to Serious Illness

Here are some of the most common underlying illnesses to your back pains, especially those not showing symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders:

Kidney problems including kidney stones and infections – These disorders can easily be mistaken for back pain. They are particularly common in women.

Bladder and gallbladder disorders – An example of a bladder problem is cystitis, or inflammation of the bladder. Bladder and gallbladder problems are also more prevalent in women and can be mistaken as just back pain.

Pancreatic problems – Back pain is usually a symptom of pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas, and pancreatic cancer. It was shown in a study of 3,000 patients with pancreatic cancer that 17 percent of them reported back pain as a major symptom.

Lung, colon, and ovarian cancer – Though rarely, back pain is reported as a symptom in cases involving cancer conditions of these three organs of the body.

Back pain must not be taken for granted. Have it diagnosed and treated by professional health care providers. You will be in a win-win situation if you do this. You will get relief from the back pain if it is of musculoskeletal origin. You will likewise be able to treat or prevent serious illnesses if theback pain is merely a symptom of something more serious.

Understanding the Types of Back Pain

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Sometimes, you realize the value of a healthy back when you start to experience having back pain and not being able to do simple things you used to be capable of doing effortlessly, like bending to pick up things on the floor and playing your favorite sports. Back pain affects the quality of life.

It is important to know the types of back pain you have to allow for better treatment. The type of back pains may be categorized according to their location in your body and and how long the condition lasts.

Upper Back Pain

Back pain may be classified as upper back pain if the pain originates from the upper half part of your back. The pain is felt in your upper back pain and extends to the shoulder and neck.

There are several causes of upper back pain. A common cause is injury, especially where there is damage to the ligaments and tendons resulting from overstretching. Poor posture, weak abdominal muscles and being overweight may result in lack of spinal balance and cause your neck to bend forward to compensate. Emotional tension and stress can also cause tightening and contracting of the muscles and cause upper back pain and pain in the neck and arms.

Lower back Pain

If the back pain originates in the lower half of your back, the back pain is called lower back pain. Some of the causes of lower back pain are lifting heavy loads, injury or trauma and overstretching the muscles in the lower back. Strain or sprain in the lower back may result from these causes and may cause pain or muscle spasms. The extra body weight from being overweight also bears down on your lower back. Stress is another contributor to lower back pain.

Upper back pain and lower back pain all emanate from the spine. All the causes for both types of back pain may result in spinal subluxations or misalignments in the bones in the vertebrae.

Also, sudden twisting action especially when lifting or carrying a heavy load can cause herniated disc,  the slipping forward of one of the bones (vertebra) in the low back on the area below it, which will eventually result to back pain.

Aside from the location of the back pain, the other factor for classifying back pains is how long the back pain lasts. They can either be acute or chronic.

Acute Back Pain

Many episodes of back pain last for a short period of time, in some cases, a few days up to a few weeks before they disappear, upon the application of treatment. These are what can be called acute back pain.

Causes of acute back pain are trauma to the back or arthritis.

Chronic Back Pain

Back pains are classified as chronic when they persist for three months or more. This type of back pain progressively worsens over time.

Treatment of Back Pains

Regardless of the types of back pains, these treatment methods are commonly used:

Medications – Over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol may be considered when you have upper or lower back pain.

Home care methods – To ease the pain, hot or cold compress may be used. Exercise and relaxation techniques can also provide relief from muscle tension, strengthen the back and the abdominal muscles.

Chiropractic care – Your chiropractor can give advice to improve your posture, prepare and implement a treatment plan that does not involve medications or surgery, which can include exercise to speed up your recovery.

If you have not experienced back pain conditions, it is in your interest to prevent it. Some of the things you can do are having good posture, maintaining a healthy weight and going into strengthening exercises. If on the other hand you are among the majority of adults who have back pain conditions, you can best treat your condition by going for the lasting and permanent solutions rather than just medications, which tend to provide only temporary relief.

 

Quick and Easy Tips to Prevent Osteoporosis

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The prevention of osteoporosis is essentially about alterations of general preferences within individual lifestyles and the utilization of particular medical treatments. Below are effective ways on how to prevent osteoporosis and promote good bone function.

Regular Exercise

Consistent and frequent physical activity with moderate to reasonably intense degrees of exertion is also highly recommended to further prevent the happening of osteoporosis either today or in the recent future. The exact duration of exercise needed to insure sufficient for prevention is really not unanimously determined, but most physicians have settled for thirty minutes of vigorous exercise for at least three times a week to five times a week as the best for all ages.

Calcium Intake

For those in the adolescent stages and those in their teen years, dietary calcium intake should be monitored if the peak bone mass is to be achieved. The same could be said of those who are already beyond sixty years of age. It is therefore advisable, for the teens and those beyond sixty, to increase their ingestion of foods containing or are with high calcium content, or allow them to take in specific calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Estrogen

For those women in the menopausal stage, the appropriate administration of estrogen is said to be the most effective means to preserve the bone mass and would, therefore, further prevent future fractures. Moreover, the change in the low reproductive hormone levels is important if maintenance of one’s bone mass is desired.

In the field of medical science, there actually exists no single way of treatment that could absolutely guarantee the absence of fractures due to osteoporosis. But this should not stop us in making necessary efforts to diminish the effects of the disease by practicing informed preventive actions and by seeking assistance from the learned and experts in dealing with it, including doctors, therapists, and chiropractors.

Most of all, the simple acts of insuring consistent and appropriate physical activities, ingesting proper nutrition, and maintaining normal levels of reproductive hormones in the body are but a few of the recommended steps in achieving osteoporosis prevention, a small price to pay for a healthier future.

How Physical Activity Helps Strengthen the Bones

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Our bones are live tissues, hence they respond to the environment just as tissues do. Be sure, therefore, to provide the appropriate environment and stimulus to elicit the just right and healthy responses. Our bones respond to the stress that is placed on them. When stress normally applied is removed from the bones, they will lose its density and would develop a risk of becoming brittle or deformed.

Exercise Strengthens the Bones

Exercise has a positive effect on the bone density and is, therefore, one factor that could massively decrease the potential occurrence of osteoporosis, arthritis, slipped disc, and other bone problems. Weight bearing exercises which include the likes of walking, running, jogging, and dancing have been the types of exercise that doctors have recommended for the past years. In fact, it has become somewhat clear that those activities with higher impact on the bones provide greater benefits to prevention of osteoporosis, like those already mentioned than the cardiovascular movements similar to those that swimming could provide.

For the older ones, a regular program of brisk walking or some meditative techniques like tai chi may actually facilitate bone maintenance, and although weight lifting is not one of the high impact exercises it can increase leg strength and may prevent falls and frequent hip fractures.  Be sure to have an instructor so that you know how much weight your body type and structure can handle.  We would not want to crush the bones under all the steel.

Studies have shown that the bone mass will decrease when exercise and the physical activities actually stop. Hence, for the goal of healthy and strong bones to be realizable, one’s exercise regimen or program should be kept constant and consistent. Is it is also crucial that one should consult first his or her doctor prior to commencement of the exercise program. Your doctor should first prescribe the appropriate exercise for you before you immerse yourself in any of the types that are currently available.

What is Slipped Disc?

It is well to review the structure of your spinal column to describe what a slipped disc is. Your spinal column consists of 26 bones (collectively vertebrae), each one cushioned by discs. These discs protect the bones by absorbing the shocks coming from daily activities and movements such as walking, running, lifting and twisting.  Each disc has inner and outer parts. The inner part is soft and gelatinous while the outer ring is tough.

 

Slipped disc or herniated disc occurs when the inner portion in the vertebral bone protrudes through the outer ring. This condition is frequently the result of injury or weakness. This condition causes pain and discomfort to the affected person. The slipped disc may compress one of the spiral nerves, causing numbness and pain in the nerve area affected. Treatment for slipped disc may be costly and complicated.

 

Causes of Slipped Disc

 

A slipped disc may occur when the outer ring becomes weak and tears, allowing the inner portion to slip and protrude out. The ring weakens and deteriorates with aging. Slipped disc may also be caused by physical activities like turning or twisting while lifting a very heavy object. Frequent carrying of heavy objects not only strains the lower back but poses real risk of suffering from slipped disc.

 

Being overweight or obese may cause slipped disc. The heavy body weight your lower back supports are borne by the discs as well. Sedentary lifestyle is another cause of slipped disc as it contributes to the weakening of the bones and muscles.

 

People most susceptible to slipped disc are those in the 35 to 45 age group. Your discs around this age begin to lose some of the protective water content, and which will continue as you age. They can slip more easily out of place as a result. Slipped disc is more common among men than women.

 

Effects of Slipped Disc

 

When slipped disc is left untreated, it may deteriorate and cause permanent damage to the nerve. In extreme cases, a slipped disc may cut off nerve impulses to certain nerves in your leg and lower back. When this happens, you may lose bladder or bowel control.

 

Saddle anesthesia, a long-term complication in slipped disc conditions may compress nerves that can cause sensory loss in the back of your legs, inner thighs and around your rectum.

 

Symptoms of Slipped Disc

 

The following symptoms are common to people with slipped disc, though the pain level they experience may vary:

 

Pain and numbness, tingling or burning sensation especially common on one side of the body

Pain extending to your arms or legs or both

Pain that becomes more intense after standing or sitting

Muscle weakness with no known cause

Pain that grows more intense at night

 

While some symptoms may improve, they can also worsen, which should tell you to immediately seek medical help.

 

There are several techniques doctors use to determine the presence of slipped disc condition. After thorough clinical examination and check of your medical history, the doctor may use at least one of the following diagnostic methods: X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans or discograms.

 

Options available for the treatment of slipped discs include medications, surgery, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment.

 

Slipped disc should be avoided as the consequences are serious and far-reaching.