Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pain in tailbone (Coccydynia)

Coccydynia is the medical term for coccyx pain, but the condition is more commonly known as tailbone pain.

The coccyx is believed to be the remnant of our ancestral tail.

It contains several segmented parts that are collectively referred to as the coccygeal vertebrae.

Even when you have employed the most modern forms of pain relief, some cases of coccyx pain can last for a long time.

This is why it is very important to get the proper diagnosis whenever you feel any kind of coccyx pain.

There are several factors that may aggravate the coccyx pain that you experience
Activities like biking, horseback riding, driving, rowing, and weight lifting are some of the most common culprits for the worsening of coccyx pain cases.

And those who suffer from such condition may experience a variety of symptoms, including temproray relief or excruciating pain during bowel movement.

Some patients also experience a worsening of their condition due to constipation. Women in particular are prone to the type of coccyx pain that is directly affected by sexual intercourse.

A Word of Caution
The very first thing you need to do when you experience coccyx pain is to get medical attention. That is because the condition may be caused by serious health issues like cancer.

It is also a good idea to get a second opinion because coccyx pain is often misdiagnosed, which can lead to inappropriate and unnecessary treatment methods.

In spite of the fact that coccyx pain is one of the conditions that take longest to heal, it does respond fairly well to the right form of treatment.

If, however, you have exhausted your treatment options and the pain is still there, then there is a huge possibility that your condition is psychosomatic. In this case, you may have to seek psychological therapy to get lasting pain relief.

Recommendation
The tailbone is often seen as a useless reminder of the evolutionary process. For this reason, many doctors recommend coccyx removal to get relief from chronic lower back pain.

While it is true that the coccyx can be removed without any significant effect on your body’s functions, you should bear in mind that surgery always comes with a set of risks.

Furthermore, you need to understand that just because a certain part of your body is practically unnecessary, that doesn’t mean you have to remove it.
You should also take into consideration the fact that many people who have undergone coccyx removal surgery still experience lower back pain after the procedure.

This is often referred to as “phantom pain” because the tailbone is no longer there and can therefore no longer cause such pain. However, this may actually be a case of undergoing the wrong treatment method as a result of a wrong diagnosis of the condition. Such an ordeal can be easily avoided if you, as the patient, make the effort to learn more about your condition.

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Health Benefits of Walnuts

Walnuts Protect Arteries after High-Fat Meal

Walnuts, a rich source of the omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), improve artery function after a high fat meal and may be even more important in a Mediterranean-type diet than olive oil in promoting heart health, suggests a small study from Spain (Cortes B, Nunez I, J Am Coll Cardiol).

The study, funded by the California Walnut Commission and the Spanish Ministry of Health, looked at the effects on a number of markers of cardiovascular health of adding walnuts or olive oil to a fatty meal.

Twelve healthy people and 12 patients with high cholesterol levels were randomly assigned to eat either a high-fat meal (80 g fat, 35 per cent saturated fat) that also included 40 grams of walnuts or one that included 25 grams of olive oil (30 grams = 1 ounce). After one week, the participants eating walnuts were crossed over to olive oil and visa versa.

The researchers evaluated the activity of the subjects’ blood vessels after the meal, and looked at cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as markers of free radical (oxidative) stress and blood levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA). AMDA is a by-product of the metabolism of the protein, arginine, that is said to interfere with the amino acid L-arginine, which is involved in the production of nitric oxide (NO). NO acts upon smooth muscle in blood vessels, causing them to dilate and thus increasing blood flow.

The researchers reported that blood flow in the brachial artery of the arm, (flow-mediated dilation) increased 24% in the subjects with high cholesterol after they ate the walnut-containing meal, while the olive oil-containing meal actually resulted in a 36% decrease in blood flow.

However, levels of cholesterol and triglycerides decreased in similar amounts after both meals. Blood levels of ADMA were not affected by either walnuts or olive oil. The fact that a single walnut meal positively affects postprandial vasoactivity further supports the beneficial effects of walnuts on cardiovascular risk, wrote lead author Berenice Cortés in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

E-selectin, a molecule that plays a role in cell adhesion-the process by which damaged cholesterol adheres to blood vessel walls to form plaques-also fell after the walnut meal. Many people forget that walnuts are an important part of the Mediterranean diet, providing numerous health benefits…Walnuts, unlike olive oil and other nuts, contain significant amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential plant-based omega-3. They also provide antioxidants and L-arginine, components identified in past studies as potential nutrients that improve artery function., said Dr. Ross. Robert Vogel, a researcher from the University of Maryland, who did not participate in the study, commented: This demonstrates that the protective fat from walnuts actually undoes some of the detrimental effects of a high-saturated-fat diet, whereas a neutral fat, such as olive oil, does not have as much protective ability>,/q> This raises a very interesting issue because many people who eat a Mediterranean diet believe the olive oil is providing the benefits. But this research and other data indicate that’s not true…There are probably other factors in the diet, including that it is a relatively rich source of nuts. This is not to say that olive oil is bad, but it’s not the key protective factor in the Mediterranean diet, said Vogel.

This does not mean that simply eating a handful of walnuts can make up for an unhealthy diet. Consumers would get the wrong message from our findings if they think they can continue eating unhealthy fats provided they add walnuts to their meals, said study author Emilio Ros from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. While this research clearly indicates that nuts are highly beneficial, they are only one component of the Mediterranean diet. Rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, fish and olive oil, as well as nuts, the Mediterranean diet includes literally thousands of protective vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It’s the combination of all these beneficial compounds that explains why this healthy way of eating is associated with longer life and protection against numerous diseases including cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and a number of cancers.

Food for Better Thought

Walnuts have often been thought of as a “brain food,” not only because of the wrinkled brain-like appearance of their shells, but because of their high concentration of omega-3 fats. Your brain is more than 60% structural fat. For your brain cells to function properly, this structural fat needs to be primarily the omega-3 fats found in walnuts, flaxseed and cold-water fish. This is because the membranes of all our cells, including our brain cells or neurons, are primarily composed of fats. Cell membranes are the gatekeepers of the cell. Anything that wants to get into or out of a cell must pass through the cell’s outer membrane. And omega-3 fats, which are especially fluid and flexible, make this process a whole lot easier, thus maximizing the cell’s ability to usher in nutrients while eliminating wastes–definitely a good idea, especially when the cell in question is in your brain.

Epidemiological studies in various countries including the U.S. suggest a connection between increased rates of depression and decreased omega-3 consumption, and in children, the relationship between low dietary intake of omega-3 fats and ADHD has begun to be studied. A recent Purdue University study showed that kids low in omega-3 essential fatty acids are significantly more likely to be hyperactive, have learning disorders, and to display behavioral problems. In the Purdue study, a greater number of behavioral problems, temper tantrums, and sleep problems were reported in subjects with lower total omega-3 fatty acid concentrations. More learning and health problems were also found in the children in the study who had lower total omega-3 fatty acid concentrations.

Over 2,000 scientific studies have demonstrated the wide range of problems associated with omega-3 deficiencies. The American diet is almost devoid of omega-3s, except for nuts, such as walnuts, seeds and cold-water fish. In fact, researchers believe that about 60% of Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and about 20% have so little that test methods cannot even detect any in their blood.

Help Prevent Gallstones

Twenty years of dietary data collected on over 80,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study shows that women who eat least 1 ounce of nuts, peanuts or peanut butter each week have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones. Since 1 ounce is only 28.6 nuts or about 2 tablespoons of nut butter, preventing gallbladder disease may be as easy as having a handful of walnuts as an afternoon pick me up, or tossing some walnuts on your oatmeal or salad.

A Source of Bio-Available Melatonin

Want a better night’s sleep? Try sprinkling your dinner’s tossed green salad, fruit salad or steamed vegetables with a handful of walnuts. Or enjoy a baked apple or poached pear topped with walnuts for dessert.

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which is involved in inducing and regulating sleep and is also a powerful antioxidant, has been discovered in walnuts in bio-available form, making them the perfect evening food for a natural good night’s sleep.

Melatonin has been shown to help improve sleep for night shift workers and people suffering from jet lag, but maintaining healthy levels of this hormone is important for everyone over the age of 40 since the amount of melatonin produced by the human body decreases significantly as we age, and this decrease in antioxidant protection may be related to the development of free radical-related diseases later in life.

In a study published in Nutrition, Russell Reiter and colleagues at the University of Texas have not only quantified the amount of melatonin present in walnuts-between 2.5 and 4.5 ng/gram-but have demonstrated that eating walnuts triples blood levels of melatonin and also increases antioxidant activity in the bloodstream in animals.

The authors theorize that by helping the body resist oxidative stress (free radical damage), walnuts may help reduce the risk of cancer and delay or reduce the severity of cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Walnuts, best known as a heart-healthy nut, are also a rich source of another highly cardio-protective nutrient: omega-3-fatty acids, so Reiter and his team will next investigate possible synergy between walnuts’ omega-3 fats and melatonin. To us at the World’s Healthiest Foods, this sounds familiar theme in Nature’s symphony in which whole, wholesome foods each provide a wealth of nutrients whose harmony promotes our optimal health.

Omega-3-rich Walnuts Protect Bone Health

Alpha linolenic acid, the omega-3 fat found in walnuts, promotes bone health by helping to prevent excessive bone turnover-when consumption of foods rich in this omega-3 fat results in a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet.(Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Nutrition Journal)

Other studies have shown that diets rich in the omega-3s from fish (DHA and EPA), which also naturally result in a lowered ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, reduce bone loss. Researchers think this is most likely because omega-6 fats are converted into pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, while omega-3 fats are metabolized into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. (Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances made in our bodies from fatty acids.)

In this study, 23 participants ate each of 3 diets for a 6-week period with a 3 week washout period in between diets. All 3 diets provided a similar amount of fat, but their ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats was quite different:

Diet 1 provided 34% total fat with omega-6 and omega-3 fats in amounts typically seen in the American diet: 9% polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) of which 7.7% were omega-6 and only 0.8% omega-3 fats, resulting in a pro-inflammatory ratio of 9.6:1.

Diet 2, an omega-6-rich diet, provided 37% total fat containing 16% PUFAs of which 12% were omega-6 and 3.6% omega-3, a better but still pro-inflammatory ratio of 3.3:1.

Diet 3, which provided 38% in total fats, was an omega-3-rich diet, containing 17% PUFAs, of which 10.5% were omega-6 and 6.5% omega-3, resulting in an anti-inflammatory ratio of 1.6:1.

After each diet, subjects’ blood levels of N-telopeptides, a marker of bone breakdown, were measured, and were found to be much lower following Diet 3, the omega-3-rich diet, than either of the other two.

The level of N-telopeptides seen in subjects’ blood each diet also correlated with that of a marker of inflammation called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Diets 1 and 2-the diets which had a significantly higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats-also had much higher levels of TNF-alpha than the Diet 3, which was high in omega-3 fats from walnuts and flaxseed. Practical Tip: Protect your bones’ by making anti-inflammatory omega-3-rich flaxseed and walnuts, as well as cold water fish, frequent contributors to your healthy way of eating.

Protective Omega-3 Levels Greatly Improved by Eating Just 4 Walnuts a Day

Enjoying just 4 walnuts a day significantly increased blood levels of the health-protective omega-3 essential fatty acids, alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in 10 adults.

EPA, a longer-chain omega-3 fat, is already present in cold water fish, but is not found in nuts, which contain the shorter-chain omega-3 fat, ALA. Fortunately, as this study confirms, our bodies can make EPA from the ALA provided by walnuts, which are its richest source among all the nuts.

After a 2-week run-in period, during which no walnuts were eaten, blood levels of ALA and EPA were assessed, and study participants then ate 4 walnuts a day, in addition to their regular diet, for 3 weeks.

When blood tests were again run, significant increases in levels of ALA (from 0.23 to 0.47) and EPA (from 0.23 to 0.82) were seen. And levels of ALA and EPA remained elevated over subjects’ initial levels even after a final 2-week period during which no walnuts were eaten. This study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, clearly shows that even a very simple change in diet can have highly beneficial and lasting effects on our health. Boosting your body’s supply of cardio-protective, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids couldn’t be any easier-just add a few walnuts to your morning cereal or daily salad or just grab a handful for an afternoon snack.

Eating Nuts Lowers Risk of Weight Gain

Although nuts are known to provide a variety of cardio-protective benefits, many avoid them for fear of weight gain. A prospective study published in the journal Obesity shows such fears are groundless. In fact, people who eat nuts at least twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never eat nuts.

The 28-month study involving 8,865 adult men and women in Spain, found that participants who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than were participants who never or almost never ate nuts.

And, among the study participants who gained weight, those who never or almost never ate nuts gained more (an average of 424 g more) than those who ate nuts at least twice weekly.

Study authors concluded, “Frequent nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of weight gain (5 kg or more). These results support the recommendation of nut consumption as an important component of a cardioprotective diet and also allay fears of possible weight gain.”

Practical Tip: Don’t let concerns about gaining weight prevent you from enjoying the delicious taste and many health benefits of nuts!

Spread some nut butter on your morning toast or bagel. Remember how many great childhood lunches involved a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Upgrade that lunchbox favorite by spreading organic peanut butter and concord grape jelly on whole wheat bread. Fill a celery stick with nut butter for an afternoon pick-me-up. Sprinkle a handful of nuts over your morning cereal, lunchtime salad, dinner’s steamed vegetables. Or just enjoy a handful of lightly roasted nuts as a healthy snack.
Not the End of Walnut’s Health Benefits

Walnuts are a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper, two minerals that are essential cofactors in a number of enzymes important in antioxidant defenses. For example, the key oxidative enzyme superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within cell cytoplasm and the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells) requires both copper and manganese.

Walnuts also contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks the metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer. Ellagic acid not only helps protect healthy cells from free radical damage, but also helps detoxify potential cancer-causing substances and helps prevent cancer cells from replicating. In a study of over 1,200 elderly people, those who ate the most strawberries (another food that contains ellagic acid) were three times less likely to develop cancer than those who ate few or no strawberries.

What those creaking joints REALLY mean!

Fibular fracture with ankle joint widening.

Fibular fracture with ankle joint widening. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Should you be concerned if your elbow clicks or hip grates?

Painless noise in or around a joint is nothing to worry about — but when the noise is persistent and there is pain accompanying then it, ­potentially, becomes significant,’ says Peter Brownson, an orthopaedic ­shoulder and elbow ­specialist at The Bone and Joint Centre at Spire Liverpool Hospital.

Each joint is held together by a complicated array of ligaments, ­tendons and muscles — and the noise each makes depends on how this is arranged. Here, we help you decipher those snaps, crackles and pops…

Each joint is held together by a complicated array of ligaments, tendons and muscles – and the noise each makes depends on how this is arranged

SHOULDERS
Any clicking sounds in the shoulder joint should be interpreted according to your age, says Mr Brownson. In the under-35s, shoulder noises can be a sign of joint ­instability – particularly if you have loose or double-jointed shoulders.
‘Moving the joint causes the ball part of the arm bone to partially come out of the shoulder socket or fully dislocate,’ he explains. ‘This usually causes a loud ­popping or clunking noise when moving the shoulder.’

In the under-35s, shoulder noises can be a sign of joint ­instabilityThis is often the result of an injury to the shoulder muscles and, with physiotherapy, the vast majority of cases will be corrected in four months. If you are aged from 35 to 60, clicking and ­grating ­accompanied by pain – especially when you reach over your head or behind your back – could mean you have impingement syndrome.

Here the tendons around the shoulder have become inflamed, partly because of degeneration from middle age onwards.

This can be successfully treated in the early stages with physiotherapy. In later stages, a steroid injection can reduce inflammation – but severe cases need ­keyhole surgery. Those older than 60 are more likely to hear and feel a painful ­grating sensation in the shoulder with all shoulder movement. ‘This is often caused by arthritis and requires an X-ray to determine the exact cause and extent of the condition,’ says Mr Brownson.

Racquet sports athletes and ­contact sportsmen, such as foot­ballers, often complain of a clicking in the shoulder with pain, causing reduced performance. This could be superior labrum anterior to post­erior lesions (SLAP), where the biceps tendon partially detaches as a result of repetitive use. ‘Unfortunately the only treatment is keyhole surgery,’ says Mr Brownson.

ELBOWS
Does your elbow click and make grating noises? If this is ­uncomfortable and the elbow gets stuck in a bent ­position (for anything up to a few minutes), you could have a loose piece of bone or ­cartilage floating around in the joint.

‘A small piece of detached cartilage can calcify, much like a grain of sand in an ­oyster turns into a pearl,’ says Mr Brownson. ‘This causes the joint to lock. As the joint unlocks there is usually a distinctive popping and clicking.’

A popping or clicking sensation on the inside of the elbow is likely to be a subluxing ulnar nerve – something around one in ten ­people are born with.
‘The ulnar nerve is responsible for the “funny bone” sensation when you knock your elbow,’ says Mr Brownson. ‘If it keeps flipping in and out of the groove where it’s ­supposed to sit you can hear a pop.’
This can bruise the nerve, causing a tingling in the ring and little ­fingers. It is easily treated, with a simple operation on the nerve.

HANDS/WRISTS
The old wives’ tale about cracking your knuckles giving you arthritis is little more than that
The old wives’ tale about cracking your knuckles giving you arthritis is little more than that, according to Mike Hayton, consultant ­orthopaedic hand and wrist ­specialist at BMI The Alexandra Hospital, Cheadle in Manchester.

‘There’s no evidence to suggest it causes harm,’ he says.
‘When you stretch or pull your knuckle joint, you are stretching a small bag of protective fluid inside, which alters the pressure in the fluid.
‘This releases ­bubbles of natural gases, making the cracking noise.’ Indeed, a U.S. survey of 300 ­people found that the joints of habitual knuckle-crackers were no more damaged than those of ­people who never cracked.

The second most common hand noise is De Quervain’s ­tenosynovitis, Mr Hayton says.

‘It’s where you flex your thumb towards your palm and hear a sound like a door creaking.

‘The noise happens because the tendons that bend the thumb back run down a smooth ­tunnel which has lost fluid and the tendons rub against the ­tunnel walls.’

This can occur at any age, but is common in pregnant women or those with young children, due to constant lifting of the child. Steroid injections can treat the inflammation, although occasionally a small operation under local anaesthetic is needed to trim the tendon. A creaking at the base of the thumb, combined with sharp pain, could be arthritis.

The noise is caused by the two worn ends of the bone rubbing together, as the cartilage has been worn away. It can be treated with a steroid injection or surgery to replace the joint entirely.

HIPS
The most common complaint is a ‘snapping’ noise, says Alasdair ­Santini, consultant hip and knee surgeon at The Bone And Joint Centre at Spire Liverpool Hospital.

It occurs when the thick band of fibrous tissue that supports the leg muscles catches on the ­outside of the thigh bone.

‘It’s very rarely painful and almost always is nothing to worry about,’ he says. It is particularly common in young women and can be eased by stretching exercises. A grinding noise ­accompanied by pain is likely to be a tear of the labral tissue around the joint socket.

‘It’s a natural wear and tear ­phenomenon and can settle on its own,’ says Mr Santini. But it can also herald the onset of arthritis, so should be expertly monitored.

ANKLES
The loudest noise any human joint is likely to make is when the Achilles tendon ruptures or tears – it can sound like a gun being fired. The noise is due to extremely high ­tension in the tendon making a bang when it is released.

‘But often there is no noise and people don’t realise it’s happened until the pain hits a few moments later,’ says Rohit Madhav, ­consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the London Orthopaedic Centre.

‘It feels like someone has whacked the back of your heel.’
Treatment is either surgery to stitch the two ends back together or a below-knee cast, with the toes pointing down so that the tendon ends re-join naturally.

A quieter snap could mean you have damaged the ­tendons around the ankle -usually caused by a jerking injury, such as falling off a horse or a bicycle.
These tendons are on the outside of the joint – unlike the Achilles, which is on the back.

As a result of the injury, every time you move the ankle, the tendons dislocate and relocate, hence the snapping sound. Surgery is the only option.
If you twist your ankle and hear a pop (like a champagne cork), it is probably a sprain.

‘It’s the classic injury when you step off the edge of a kerb and your ankle turns. Then 30 ­seconds later it is too painful to stand on and, in a ­few hours, is ­swollen to the size of a ­tennis ball,’ says Mr Madhav.
It is caused when a ligament, which joins bone to bone, ruptures. ‘The popping noise happens because the palus bone in the ankle joint temporarily dislocates away from the shinbone, creating a ­vacuum in the surrounding fluid.’

Strains shouldn’t make any noise, as the ligament has just stretched.
More than 85 per cent of sprains and strains heal without surgery – they simply need rest, ice, ­compression and elevation.

KNEES
If it is ­difficult to put weight on your knee and it makes a clicking noise when you move it, you may have torn the cartilage
Why do knees – and hips – crack when you squat?

‘You’re putting up to seven times your body weight through the full range of movement of your knees and the noise is the tissue’s way of protesting,’ says Mr Santini.

If you knock or twist your knee, it will be painful. But if it is ­difficult to put weight on it and it makes a clicking noise when you move it, you may have torn the cartilage.

This happens to young athletes twisting and turning, when ­playing football or hockey.

A clicking inside the joint with a dull pain and a grinding ­sensation is likely to be arthritis.

‘When the cartilage in the knee is worn away, there is often bone-on-bone contact, which feels like ­rubbing pieces of sand­paper together,’ says Mr Santini.

‘It is a question of ­managing the joint and ­considering a knee replacement in future.’

TOES
The most common noise in feet is clicking between the toes, caused by a condition called Morton’s ­Neuroma, says Mr Madhav.

‘It’s a progressive ­condition, linked to running or walking, that results in trauma and the swelling of the nerve in the ball of the foot.’
As well as the sporadic clicking – often between the second and third or third and fourth toes – patients liken the feeling to walking with a pebble in their shoe, with searing pains in the toes.

‘The theory is that the nerve between the ends of the bones in the balls of your feet has been crushed and is swollen,’ he says. The clicking is the swelling on the nerve sliding between the bones.

It may be caused by tight shoes. The condition is more common in women, with up to 15 per cent ­suffering at some point.

Treatment involves ­specialist inserts to support the ball of the foot – helping it heal on its own – steroid ­injections to shrink the swelling or ­the removal of the nerve swelling.

JAW
Up to ten per cent of people have a clicking jaw, says Dr Tom Kennedy, consultant in rheuma­tology at Royal Liverpool and ­Broadgreen University Hospitals.

This is caused by the ­cartilage between the bone of the jaw and the skull popping back into ­position. However, if you notice pain in the jaw when it clicks you may have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.
‘This is often due to tension in the muscle, which causes people to grind their jaw at night as a ­reaction to stress,’ says Dr Kennedy.
‘Occasionally, TMJ is due to poor alignment of the teeth or natural wear and tear to the jaw joint.’

See a dentist to check your teeth are properly aligned, otherwise physiotherapy and tablets can help relax the jaw muscle.

SCALENE muscles of the neck:

In addition to flexing, rotating, and stabilizing the neck, the scalene muscles also elevate the 1st and 2nd ribs during inhalation. The diaphragm is responsible for normal, relaxed breathing, but muscles like the scalenes help the rib cage to expand when greater effort is required, such as with exercise or with respiratory pathologies such as asthma.

When the scalenes are over taxed, neck mobility may become limited, shallow or dysfunctional breathing may occur, as well as compression of the brachial plexus or subclavian artery.

This compression can lead to thoracic outlet syndrome which can be exhibited as pain, weakness, numbness, or even heavy sensations in the affected hand/arm. Due to the nature of these symptoms, thoracic outlet syndrome often times gets mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cardio Exercise

DEFINITION OF CARDIO EXERCISE
“Cardio,” which is fitness slang for cardiovascular activity, may be one of the most important types of physical activity to engage in. To maintain health, the Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend performing a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity on most, if not all, days of the week. Many different types of cardio exist, and you can mix and match different varieties to get the most benefit from your workout regimen.

BROAD DEFINITION
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, cardio, or cardiovascular exercise, is any activity that increases heart rate and respiration while using large muscle groups repetitively and rhythmically. The root word “card,” or “heart,” provides a clue as to why this type of exercise is so important. By providing training that progressively challenges your most vital internal life support network, cardio can improve both the function and the performance of your heart, lungs and circulatory system.

HIGH IMPACT
Among the most popular and enduring of the high-impact cardio activities, jogging and running still attract and retain large numbers of exercise enthusiasts. High-impact activity involves having both feet off the ground at some point during the exercise, and therefore includes jumping rope, high-impact aerobic dance as well as certain types of advanced strength training. This type of cardio is weight-bearing, meaning that you are supporting your own body weight with your limbs against gravity.

LOW IMPACT
The definition of low-impact cardio is any aerobic activity during which one foot is kept on the ground at all times. Just because it’s low impact doesn’t necessarily mean it’s lower intensity. This type of cardio is still a weight-bearing activity, meaning that it is good for maintaining healthy bones in addition to conditioning the heart and lungs. Walking, hiking and low-impact aerobic dance are the most common forms of this type of exercise.

NO IMPACT
Being immersed in water reduces the pull of gravity on your body; in effect, cardio in water is a no-impact activity. Swimming or water aerobics increase your heart rate and burn calories effectively. Bicycling can also be considered a no-impact workout, as the frame and tires of your bike support most of your body weight. Both aquatic exercise and cycling eliminate much of the pounding and jarring associated with land-based activity, making them ideal choices for arthritic conditions and injury rehabilitation.

ATHLETICS
Many types of sports contain a significant cardio component; examples include soccer and basketball. However, different types of sports, such as doubles tennis and standard volleyball, include a large percentage of downtime during which little or no aerobic activity is occurring. Bear this in mind when selecting athletics for cardio purposes.

WARNING
Before beginning or changing your exercise regimen, be certain to consult with your primary care physician. Cardiovascular activity can put significant stress on your heart, lungs and circulatory system. Not all types of cardio are appropriate for everyone. Together, you and your doctor can work out the best plan for your particular needs.

What is Tendinosis?

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What is Tendinosis?
Tendons are rope-like structures that attach muscles to bones. Ligaments are similar structures that attach bones to other bones. When muscles and bones move, they exert stresses on the tendons and ligaments that are attached to them.

When your muscles move in new ways or do more work than they can handle, your muscles and tendons can sustain some damage on a cellular scale. If the increase in demand is made gradually, muscle and tendon tissues will usually heal, build in strength, and adapt to new loads. Athletes use these principles to build muscle and tendon strength with good training programs.

You can, however, do some activity that injures a tendon on a microscopic scale and then do more injury before the tendon heals. If you continue the injurious activity, you will gradually accumulate these microinjuries. When enough injury accumulates, you’ll feel pain. This kind of injury that comes on slowly with time and persists is a chronic injury; acute tendon injuries are sudden tears that cause immediate pain and obvious symptoms. Tendon injuries often require patience and careful rehabilitation because tendons heal more slowly than muscles do.

Tendinosis is an accumulation over time of small-scale injuries that don’t heal properly; it is a chronic injury of failed healing.

Tendinosis can occur in many different tendons, with some of the most common areas being the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulder, knee, and heel.

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