Inflammatory Arthritis: Enjoying Life after the Diagnosis


Six Tips For Keeping Your Aging Loved One Safe Behind The Wheel

Posted by on 6:13 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Six Tips For Keeping Your Aging Loved One Safe Behind The Wheel

Nearly 600 seniors are injured in car accidents every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But age alone isn’t reason enough to hang up the car keys–particularly because driving is inextricably linked with independence and mobility for so many older Americans. These six tips can help caregivers keep aging loved ones safe on the roads.   1. Choose Checkups While the majority of senior crash injuries occur due to medical complications and heightened susceptibility to injury, many are also linked to age-related declines in physical and cognitive function. One way to make sure that your aging loved one’s driving abilities haven’t undergone potentially dangerous changes is to schedule routine visits with a physician, who can check for everything from vision loss to arthritis. In many cases, prompt diagnosis leads to simple and effective solutions. For example, 47 percent of people over the age of 75 suffer from some form of hearing impairment. Recent developments in hearing aids and today’s sophisticated hearing aid brands make it easier than ever to manage hearing loss and keep seniors safe while driving. If your interested in learning about hearing aids, click here for more information. 2. Monitor Medications Polypharmacy is a frequent problem among seniors and can lead to catastrophic outcomes — especially on the roads. According to AAA, more than three-quarters of seniors use at least one medication, but fewer than one-third of them are aware that medication can impact their driving performance. Maintain a comprehensive list of the medications taken by your senior. Ask your aging loved one’s doctor or pharmacist to review it regularly in order to help identify potentially hazardous drugs and drug interactions. 3. Start With Strength While some physical decline is a natural part of the aging process, exercise counters these effects and helps seniors keep up their strength. Regular exercise, with a focus on strength training and balance work, builds strength, increases flexibility, and enhances range of motion. Not only do these activities foster better driving performance, they also support quality of life by boosting confidence levels and preventing trips and falls. Even baby steps can make a big difference. Encourage your aging loved one to start small and build from there. Physical therapists offer invaluable partnership in helping reluctant seniors stay safe and motivated while incorporating fitness into their lives. 4. Plan Ahead While many people can continue to drive well into their golden years, it may not be the carefree, get-in-the-car-and-go fantasy of youth. Instead, planning ahead can help seniors prepare for everything from adverse driving conditions to unfamiliar routes. Caregivers should encourage seniors to limit driving to decent weather and daylight hours whenever possible, as well as to map travel routes out in advance. 5. Make It Easy Distracted driving is an issue for people of all ages, but seniors are particularly susceptible. While technology like cell phones and GPS offers benefits in certain situations, it can also be a distraction behind the wheel. Make sure seniors aren’t multitasking by using GPS devices or cellphones while driving. Also, encourage your aging loved one to refrain from listening to the radio while driving and to keep their cognitive abilities sharp by getting enough sleep. 6. Explore Options The more transportation options seniors have, the less likely they are to become...

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What You Need To Know About Walk-In Bathtubs

Posted by on 8:33 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Need To Know About Walk-In Bathtubs

If you, or someone in your home, suffers from limited mobility you already know that taking a bath or shower can be a major undertaking. Because traditional bathtubs require you to lift your feet and lower legs over the rim of the tub, those with mobility issues may lose their balance or may experience pain in the knees, hips or other joints, making bath time a painful or dangerous time. A walk-in bath may be the solution to your problems. How does a walk-in bathtub work? Walk-in bathtubs have a door built into the base of the tub. Opening the door allows you to walk into the tub and close the door behind you. The door is fitted with special seals that prevent water from leaking out when the tub is filled. Many walk-in tubs may also contain a raised seating area, nonslip surfaces, hand rails, water jets, and hand-held shower heads. How much room does a walk-in bathtub require? Many walk-in bathtubs take up more room than traditional bathtubs, but some models are designed to fit into the space of your current bathtub. Generally, the more special features the tub contains, the more room it will require, but always check the specifications of the brand and model you are considering to determine how much room you need to allow for installation. Who installs walk-in bathtubs? Companies that sell walk-in bathtubs typically provide professional installation of the tub. Some claim they can remove your old tub and install the new walk-in tub in one day, but always ask about installation time as the amount of work and time required depends on the model you choose and the set-up of your bathroom. The installation fee may be separate from the cost of the walk-in tub. Make sure you understand whether the quote from the dealer includes the installation fee or whether you will be charged separately for that service. How much do walk-in bathtubs cost? Walk-in bathtubs range in price, depending on the model you choose. According to Walk-In Bathtub Reviews, a price of $2,500 or below is considered a low-end walk-in bathtub. It is likely of lower quality than higher-priced tubs and contains only basic features. It further explains that the average price range for walk-in tubs is between $2,500 and $5,500, but usually does not include installation. Those selling for between $7,500 and $10,000 typically include professional installation. If the tub you are considering has a higher price tag, shop around for a similar tub with a lower price. Will medical insurance pay for the cost of a walk-in tub? In most circumstances, medical insurance will not pay for the cost of walk-in tubs. According to Paying for Senior Care, Medicare rarely pays for walk-in tubs. They may, however, reimburse the cost in rare instances. Likewise, Medicaid may help in some situations, but as a rule, it does not. Other local organizations may provide assistance. If you are seeking financial assistance for a walk-in tub, call your local Area on Aging organization or your state Disabilities Association. Your medical professionals may also be able to refer you to organizations that offer financial assistance. Are there any drawbacks to walk-in bathtubs? While walk-in bathtubs provide access to the tub for those with limited mobility, they do have some drawbacks...

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5 Ways Optometrist-Led Vision Therapy Is Different Than DIY Vision Exercises

Posted by on 5:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Ways Optometrist-Led Vision Therapy Is Different Than DIY Vision Exercises

If your optometrist suggests vision therapy for your child, you might assume that they mean an at-home kit and exercises such as the ones that were popular at the turn of the century. These kits have been shown to overstate their effectiveness and have little scientific evidence to back up their claims, so you should be wary of them. However, your child’s optometrist is recommending something entirely different when they suggest optometrist-led vision therapy. Below are five of the main differences between vision therapy and DIY vision exercises.  Vision Therapy Is Recommended After a Physical Exam of Your Child’s Eyes  For the most part, vision training focuses on alignment issues your child’s eyes might have, such as Amblyopia or Strabismus, and eye movement disorders. Occasionally, it has been used to correct focusing disorders as well. In order to know that your child needs vision therapy, they will need an accurate, thorough diagnosis of their vision problems. This is because some anatomical issues that cause vision problems cannot be corrected by vision therapy and require surgery or other physical interventions.  Alternatively, vision exercises are recommended for anyone, without taking into consideration what may be causing their vision problems. This can lead to ineffective exercises and frustration.  Vision Therapy Is Designed Specifically for Your Child  Vision therapy involves progressive exercises that are carried out with a vision therapist. Although your child’s therapist may assign some exercises to be completed between sessions, most of the work will be done in the optometrist’s office, where your child’s progress can be monitored and specific exercises can be taught and adjusted to fit your child’s needs.  DIY vision exercises offer a one-size-fits-all approach to vision correction. This leaves you and your child in charge of deciding when to progress with new exercises and whether effective progress is being made. Your child may end up straining their eyes by attempting exercises that are not helpful to them or do not address their needs.  Vision Therapy Tends to Be Used Most With Children Vision therapy tends to be recommended for children. This is because many vision problems and behavioral problems associated with vision problems become apparent during childhood. Many children with undiagnosed vision problems may have trouble concentrating in school or reading, which may lead to further investigation into their vision. However, most adults have already had corrective measures or have found ways to cope with their vision problems, making them less likely to engage in vision therapy.  DIY exercises are generally marketed towards adults who want to stop using glasses, not children with a variety of vision problems. This is because they are advertised as strengthening eyes that have grown weaker throughout your life.  Your Child May Still Need Glasses After Vision Therapy If your child has anatomical issues that prevent them from focusing correctly, they may still need glasses after vision therapy. While the therapy may help their eyes work together and track objects, allowing your child to see properly with glasses, it may not be able to fully correct their issues focusing over a distance, and most optometrists are upfront about this reality.  DIY exercises tend to focus on ending your need for glasses rather than acknowledging that you may still need glasses or other physical corrective measures.  Your Insurance May Cover Vision Therapy ...

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The Relationship Between Men, Ultrasound, And Cancer

Posted by on 10:45 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Relationship Between Men, Ultrasound, And Cancer

Most people hear the term ultrasound and think of a pregnant woman at her OB/GYN’s office. When you hear the word cancer you might think of the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer – and its correlation to women. However, ultrasound and cancer can relate directly to men, as well. Continue reading to understand how these three terms are interconnected. Ultrasound is Used to Detect and Evaluate Cancer in Men An ultrasound isn’t reserved exclusively for prenatal checkups. It serves a variety of purposes in the medical field. You may be more familiar with ultrasound’s other medical term: sonography. This equipment uses soundwaves to create and project images onto a screen for easy evaluation. If you go in for a cancer screening, you will first need to provide your medical history and possibly undergo a physical exam. If a growth is discovered, ultrasound – or sonography – equipment might be used in your exam. A few examples of cancers detected using sonography include: Kidney and Organ Cancer: The ultrasound microphone is moved along your abdomen and side so your doctor can evaluate your kidneys from multiple angles. If any suspicious lumps are found, surrounding organs are observed using the ultrasound to see if it has spread. The projected image is also used to guide a biopsy needle towards the growth while a sample is taken. The sample is then evaluated in a lab to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant. Prostate Cancer: Use of the ultrasound is slightly more invasive to detect prostate cancer than other cancers. The ultrasound microphone is inserted partway into the rectum so the prostate gland can be observed and the lining of the prostate can be measured. This measurement is used to determine the density of prostate-specific antigens (PSAs). Doctors look for high PSA counts and changes in PSA count to determine the likelihood of you having prostate cancer. If necessary, other tests such as a digital rectal exam, blood tests, and a biopsy are also used to locate prostate cancer. Breast Cancer: While less common in men than women, breast cancer is still a concern. To diagnose it, a physical exam is first performed to identify lump size, quantity, and texture. An ultrasound machine designed specifically to observe breast tissue is then used to examine the entire breast and see if the lumps look harmful or not and if more action should be taken. Why Choose Ultrasound Over Other Tests? While your physician will probably prescribe a number of tests to determine if you have developed cancer, ultrasound is a good place to start if there is a valid concern. Here are just a few reasons why: Non-Invasive: This test is non-invasive but provides a reliable view of affected tissue. If there are no visible problems, you don’t have to undergo an invasive biopsy or other tests. If a problem is detected, the ultrasound helps guide needles during invasive procedures for safety and accuracy. No Radiation: Ultrasound doesn’t expose you to radiation the way an x-ray does, so you don’t have to undergo unnecessary exposure in order to observe a growth at different angles and measure its size. Differentiates Growths: Ultrasound equipment accurately differentiates between fluid-filled cysts and solid tumors. If a cyst is detected, a biopsy is unnecessary. In some...

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5 Risk Factors For Developing Tongue Cancer

Posted by on 10:21 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Risk Factors For Developing Tongue Cancer

There are many different things that can increase your risk of developing tongue cancer. Some of these risk factors are completely within your control, while others are uncontrollable. Here are five things that have been identified as factors for the development of tongue cancer. Increased age Cancers of the oral cavity, including tongue cancer, are fairly rare in younger people. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of a person diagnosed with oral cavity cancer is 62 years old. About one-quarter of patients are younger than 55 years old, and children are very rarely affected. Since these cancers are more common in older people, you need to start paying more attention to your mouth as you age. Your dentist may recommend regular oral cancer screenings so that he or she can carefully examine your tongue and other oral tissues for signs of cancer. Using tobacco products The link between the use of tobacco products and the development of oral cancers is well-established. Tobacco, whether it is smoked or chewed, is known to be a major cause of oral cancer. A University of California study found that a staggering eight out of 10 patients with oral cancer were smokers. There are a lot of dangerous chemicals in tobacco, and when you smoke or chewed tobacco, these chemicals are released into your mouth. These chemicals can cause cancer by damaging the DNA that makes up your cells. Even small amounts of tobacco are not safe, so your dentist will recommend quitting completely, not just cutting back on your usage. Drinking a lot of alcohol Heavy alcohol use has been identified as a risk factor for the development of tongue cancer and other cancers inside the mouth. Your risk is greater if you use alcohol and tobacco together, but alcohol is also risky on its own. Alcohol is potentially dangerous because as your body breaks down alcohol, it produces acetaldehyde. This chemical is what causes hangovers, but even worse, it has been identified as a carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancer. For women, the risk of developing tongue cancer increases after one drink per day, and for men the risk increases after two drinks per day. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. To reduce your risk, try to cut back on your drinking and be sure to watch your portion sizes, as it is very easy to over pour a glass of wine. Having HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has also been identified as a risk factor for tongue cancer. This sexually-transmitted virus is already known to cause cervical cancer in women, and it may have similar effects inside the mouth. Most of the time, oral HPV infections do not cause any symptoms, so you could have it right now without knowing that anything is wrong. Oral HPV infections can lead to cancers of the throat, the tonsils, or the back of the tongue. If you have a high risk of having oral HPV infection, your dentist may want to regularly examine the back of your tongue and surrounding areas for signs of cancer. Having a suppressed immune system Having a suppressed immune system can also make you more susceptible to tongue cancer and other types of...

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4 Possible Reasons For Your Foot And Ankle Pain

Posted by on 7:53 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Possible Reasons For Your Foot And Ankle Pain

Pain involving both the foot and the ankle can be a double dose of misery, especially if you lead an active life or work a job that requires constant standing and walking. The underlying causes of this discomfort can range of from age-related chronic conditions to acute injuries. Here are four possible foot and ankle issues commonly seen by podiatrists. 1. Arthritis Arthritis is a variety of inflammation that causes pain, swelling, and deterioration of cartilage in joints. One-quarter of all your body’s bones are located in your feet and ankles, allowing for 33 separate joints per extremity—so you can see how vulnerable this part of the body can be to arthritic stiffness and pain. Arthritis can take several different forms, the most common of which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a slow, progressive destruction of the joint cartilage which can eventually result in painful bone-on-bone friction. It can occur either gradually, over a lifetime of wear and tear, or it can be accelerated by a traumatic injury to the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is a more acute, potentially crippling inflammation that sometimes disappears for long periods of time (or even permanently) for no known reason. Since arthritis is a form of inflammation, your podiatrist may recommend the use anti-inflammatory medications to ease your symptoms. These may include either over-the-counter drugs or steroid-based substances such as cortisone or prednisone. If your foot or ankle arthritis has been aggravated by an unbalanced posture, you may also need customized orthotic footwear to compensate for any musculoskeletal abnormalities that throw your alignment off kilter. 2. Gout If you’re lying in bed peacefully one night when suddenly your big toe, foot or ankle experiences intense, agonizing pain, you might be suffering from gout. While gout is technically a form of arthritis, its causes, effects and treatment methods are distinctive enough to look at it as a separate condition. For one thing, your eating habits can play a huge role in the condition. Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, and consuming lots of meats, seafood, fructose and alcoholic beverages can raise your uric acid levels significantly. In fact, gout used to be thought of as a “rich man’s disease” because it’s tied both to the consumption of rich foods and to the obesity that frequently results. But certain underlying conditions, medications, and a family history of gout can also be factors. If you experience lingering pain, redness and swelling in the foot or ankle following the initial intense pain, your foot and ankle doctor will no doubt ask you about your dietary patterns and recommend the necessary lifestyle changes to help you get this problem under control. You may also receive medications such as: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Corticosteroids Xanthine oxidase inhibitors, which help prevent the production to excess uric acid in the body Probenecid, a drug that helps your body eliminate uric acid through the kidneys 3. Sprains and Fractures This class of foot and ankle problem can produce similar symptoms, so you may not know what kind of injury you have until your podiatrist can run an x-ray. In both cases, you may have sharp, sudden pain followed by rapid swelling, stiffness and discoloration. You won’t be able to put your weight on the injured foot...

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4 Things Athletes Need To Know About Os Trigonum Syndrome

Posted by on 11:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Things Athletes Need To Know About Os Trigonum Syndrome

There are many different things that can lead to pain in your ankle joint. One lesser-known cause of this pain is os trigonum syndrome. Here some things you need to know about os trigonum syndrome. What causes os trigonum syndrome? The os trigonum is an accessory bone in the foot. Accessory bones are extra, unnecessary bones that some people have and some people don’t. The os trigonum sndrowm is quite common as accessory bones go; experts report that as many as half of all people have this extra bone. The os trigonum forms in some people when the bones in the back portion of the ankle do not fuse together normally. This results in an extra bone. Generally, this extra bone is asymptomatic, and you can go your entire life without knowing that you have an extra bone in your ankle. The only time that this extra bone is a problem is when the bony fragment gets in the way of the motion of your ankle joint. Your os trigonum may become a problem following a sports injury, such as a fractured or sprained ankle. The condition that results from this is known as os trigonum syndrome. What are the symptoms of os trigonum syndrome? The main symptoms of os trigonum syndrome are pain and swelling in the back and outer side of your ankle. This may affect one or both ankles. The symptoms associated with this condition tend to get worse during activity and better with rest. If you notice these symptoms following an ankle injury, make sure to see your podiatrist. Is this condition serious? Os trigonum syndrome is a problem because of the effect it can have on your quality of life. This condition can make it hard for you to continue playing sports you love, and worse, it can make daily activities like walking or standing painful. For these reasons, the condition needs to be treated as soon as possible. How is os trigonum syndrome treated? Your podiatrist will first try to treat your pain with conservative therapies. These therapies may include things like taping or casting your ankle to keep it immobilized while it heals. Resting is important, so you will be told to avoid activities that could aggravate your injury, like running or other sports. If walking or standing are painful, you may be told to use crutches. Medications can also be used to ease your symptoms. Your podiatrist may inject steroids into the area around the bone to help reduce inflammation. You may also be told to use over-the-counter painkillers, and if necessary, your podiatrist may prescribe a stronger painkiller. If these conservative therapies are not enough, surgery will be required to remove your os trigonum. This surgery will be performed under either general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia, depending on your preference. To perform the surgery, your podiatrist will make an incision in the back of your ankle and will carefully remove your os trigonum. This procedure is risky as there are a lot of important nerves and tendons in this area, so podiatrists only perform the procedure when it is absolutely necessary. However, the benefit of this procedure is that it deals with the cause of the symptoms, not just the symptoms themselves. Once your symptoms are gone, your podiatrist may...

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At-Home Job Making Your Butt Hurt? Information And Tips To Ease Your Cramped Muscles

Posted by on 6:20 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on At-Home Job Making Your Butt Hurt? Information And Tips To Ease Your Cramped Muscles

If your buttocks cramp up from sitting at your computer all the time, take steps to ease your pain now. Each buttock contains the gluteus maximus, which is the largest muscle in your body. Although a thick layer of fat covers and cushions your gluteus maximus muscles, they can cramp up with tension and pain when you sit on your buttocks for long periods of time. In addition, the nerve fibers that support your muscles pinch or squeeze together from the constant pressure placed on your bottom. You can ease the pain in your cramped bottom with the right information and tips. Learn Why You Have Buttock Cramps The muscles in your buttocks cover and protect numerous nerves, including the sciatic nerve branches. Sitting on your buttocks forces the weight of your upper body to press down in your nerves until they throb with pain. Since the sciatic nerves travel through your lower back, legs and feet, your buttock pain can extend to these body areas over time. The blood vessels in your gluteus maximus muscles also develop problems when you sit for a long time. Instead of sending fresh oxygenated blood to your gluteus maximus muscles, the blood builds in other locations of the lower body. You essentially starve your buttocks of oxygen. When you finally stand up, the blood vessels release the built-up blood, which rushes to your gluteus maximus muscles.  One of the best ways to ease the cramps in your gluteus maximus muscles is to stretch and flex your hips.  Stretch and Flex Your Hips to Ease Your Buttock Cramps Your hips connect directly to your buttocks through the sides and back of your body through a network of smaller muscles, tendons and ligaments. Stretching and flexing the muscles in your hips release the tension and stress in your butt muscles, which help them receive the proper blood circulation and nerve stimulation they need to function. Here’s what you do: Place a high-back chair directly in front of you with the seat facing away from you. You want to use the back of the chair during this exercise. Place your right hand on the chair, then place your left hand on your hip. Take in a slow breath, pull your shoulders down and suck in your belly. You want to create a strong base or core to stabilize your body. Lift your left leg out to the side until it’s about 4-6 inches off the floor. Only lift your leg as high as you can without losing your balance or feeling discomfort. Flex your foot back and forth for 2 minutes, then lower the leg to the floor. Lift your left left again, then make small circles with your foot and ankle. You’ll feel the tension ooze out of your left buttock during this step. Lower your leg and rest for 1 minutes before proceeding. Repeat steps 2-6 with the right leg. Remember to follow step 3 precisely to keep your balance. After you complete the exercise, lie flat on the floor or a soft mat. Place your arms down along your sides, then raise your legs until they bend at the knees. Pull in your core muscles as you inhale slowly. Exhale as you lift your left leg. Clasp both hands around your shin and gently tug...

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When Wine Is Not So Fine: What Every Red Wine Oenophile Can Do To Protect Their Smile

Posted by on 4:37 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Wine Is Not So Fine: What Every Red Wine Oenophile Can Do To Protect Their Smile

If you read magazines or watch the news, you have probably read or heard about the many health benefits that can be had just by drinking red wine. In fact, modern medical research now shows that red wine contains several antioxidant compounds that enhance heath, including: resveratrol – believed to improve cardiovascular health, prevent blood clots and help slow or stop both mental and physcial aging processes quercetin – believed to help patients fight some types of cancer by inducing cancer cell death polyphenols – believed to help prevent some types of chronic disease tannins – believed to protect against heart disease In addition, red wine is thought to interfere with the growth and development of fat cells and even lower blood pressure, when used in moderation.  However, red wine oenophiles should also know that drinking red wine on more than an occasional basis can also discolor and cause deterioration of their teeth. If you are a red wine lover who would like to continue to enjoy sipping a daily glass of wine, but have concerns about the effects it can have on your teeth, the following tips will help you enjoy red wine without sacrificing your dental health or your smile.  Start With Red Wine, End With Red Wine White wine contains high levels of acids that can erode tooth enamel. Drinking white wine before drinking red wine allows these acids to strip away the protective coating on teeth so that the tannins found in the red wine can adhere to them better and cause more staining. Avoid drinking white wine before red wine.  Pair Fiber-Rich Foods With Red Wine Foods that contain a lot of fiber help to clean your teeth and remove red wine stains as you eat. Salads and vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and chard all have fiber that requires increased chewing action. This encourages your mouth to produce more saliva and when paired with the additional chewing action required for fiber-rich foods, teeth are effectively scrubbed clean of wine stains while you enjoy your meal. Enjoy Some Cheese With Your Red Wine  Snacking on hard cheese while drinking red wine is not only delicious, but good for your teeth. The calcium from the hard cheese builds up on the surface of your teeth, filling in the tiny openings that would otherwise allow the acids and tannins in the wine to infiltrate the enamel coating and cause tooth damage and staining. Brush Before You Pour, Rinse After Instead of attempting to brush away red wine stains immediately after consuming the wine, it is actually more effective and healthier for your teeth to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth an hour before you plan to enjoy a glass or two of red wine. The plaque that collects on your teeth between brushings provides a sticky surface that red wine can cling to easily. By removing this plaque before drinking, the wine will be less likely to stick to your teeth and form stains. In addition, the acids found in all types of wine, including red, can soften the surface of your teeth. This can cause them to suffer abrasions when brushing and flossing are done too soon after being exposed to the wine. Instead, choose to rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm...

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Acupuncture Can Help You With Pregnancy Discomfort

Posted by on 4:54 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Acupuncture Can Help You With Pregnancy Discomfort

Acupuncture may seem like an extreme alternative treatment for pregnancy troubles, but it can actually be very effective for many women who struggle with the effects of pregnancy. Acupuncture is used to treat all sorts of different ailments using thin needles to access specific nerve and pressure points in the body. For pregnant women, acupuncture can be especially effective for relieving these common forms of discomfort: 1. Morning Sickness Many women struggle with nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy, and some will continue to struggle even after they pass into the second and third trimesters. Pregnancy nausea, when severe, can be debilitating, as it can prevent the mother form getting enough nourishment and can lead to dehydration. One study of 593 women in the first trimester showed that acupuncture effectively reduced dry-heaving and nausea levels in pregnant women experiencing morning sickness.  2. Sciatica Sciatica is a common ailment for pregnant women. It occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back all the way down the back of each leg, becomes inflamed. Sometimes, the inflammation is caused because the nerve is pinched. Other times, it is because the nerve is irritated. Because the muscles and joints in the pelvic area and lower back become loose during pregnancy, the chances of developing sciatica are greater, simply because it’s easier for the hips and pelvis to become misaligned or for muscles that aren’t morally used to tighten in order to compensate for the looseness of the area. The pressure of the fetus can also cause pinching. Before getting acupuncture, you should see a health care professional first to make sure that your leg, butt, or hip pain is not caused by a more immediate problem. Sometimes, intense pain the leg during pregnancy can be a sign of blood clots, which are very serious. However, once the source of the pain is discovered, acupuncture and massage therapy can help. Acupuncture needles can help tap into the nerve itself, helping to reduce the pain signals that go from this nerve to the brain. If the sciatic nerve is being pinched because the surrounding muscles (namely the piriformis) have shifted or tightened, massaging these muscles can loosen them. 3. Depression. Unfortunately, depression affects up to 23% of pregnant women. While this condition may be different than a pulled muscle or pinched nerve, it can make pregnancy unbearable and cause significant disruption to your daily life. Studies show that acupuncture is an excellent alternative treatment for depression. This is especially good news for those who are expecting, because medications for depression while pregnant are limited in type and dose due to the effect they could have on the fetus.  Depression is actually an ideal condition for acupuncture to treat. According to tradition, emotional imbalances reflect an imbalance in a person’s Qi. While physical conditions can also affect Qi, depression is the manifestation that something in the body is out of balance. Therefore, during an acupuncture treatment for depression, the acupuncturist will try to restore the flow of Qi by stimulating the liver, spleen, and heart. You can expect some needles in these areas, as well as in the hands and feet, which provide secondary stimulators for the internal organs.  Living with pregnancy symptoms is difficult, especially if they are severe enough to affect...

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