Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Common Causes of Sciatica

There is number of lumbar spine disorders that cause sciatica. Sciatica is known as a mild to intense pain, which can be felt in the right or left leg. There are also instances where both legs are affected by the pain. Sciatica is due to the compression of nerves in a person’s lower back. 

Causes of Sciatica PainAnother term used by doctors is Radiculopathy. It is a medical term, which describes weakness, tingling, numbness, and pain in the legs or arms, which is caused by the nerve problem. Now, when the pain is in the neck and is caused by the nerves, then this is called cervical radiculopathy. Since the lower back is the one affected by sciatica, it is then known as lumbar radiculopathy.

Sciatica Nerve Pain

Causes of Sciatica PainThe sciatic nerve is made out of 5 sets of nerve roots, which is located in the lumbar spine. This nerve starts at the back of sacrum and runs through the back of the buttock, through the hip until it reaches the leg. These nerve roots may not be structures that are solitary, but they are part of the nervous system, which can transmit pain. It can also transmit different kinds of sensation in different parts of the body. Sciatica pain occurs when the nerve is being compressed. 

There are common causes of Sciatica that you should know about. Let’s get to them now and get to know each:

Herniated Disc

Causes of Sciatica PainOne of the most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disc. This kind of problem happens when the nucleus breaks through the body’s annulus fibrosus. This problem can press the nerve root and the nerve tissues that are delicate, which can then cause sciatica. A herniated disc can also cause nerve inflammation because the disc contains a chemical and acidic irritant. Besides extreme pain, an individual can also feel muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness.


Causes of Sciatica PainSpondylolisthesis is known as a disorder that can affect an individual’s lumbar spine. It is often characterized by a single vertebra that is slipping forward over a vertebra that is adjacent. Now, when the vertebra slips and becomes displaced, the spinal nerve root will get compressed. This will then cause sciatica pain in the leg. Spondylolisthesis can be developed during childhood or even at birth. Sometimes it can also be from spinal degeneration, physical stress, or trauma.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Causes of Sciatica NerveSpinal Stenosis is known as a nerve compression disorder, which can affect older adults. Due to this disorder, leg pain can occur, which can be mistaken for sciatica. The pain felt is positional, wherein it can be brought by certain activities like walking or standing. The pain is then relieved by sitting down.

Piriformis Syndrome

Causes of Sciatica PainPiriformis syndrome is the pain that is caused by the piriformis muscle. This muscle can be found in the spine’s lower part. It is connected to the thighbone and helps in the rotation of the hip. The sciatic nerve usually runs in the piriformis muscle, and when muscle spasms occur, it will compress the sciatic nerve, which can cause pain. 

These are some of the most common causes of sciatica pain. If you’ve been experiencing sciatica pain, then consulting your doctor about this is ideal. In this way, he can help you in treating the pain and give you back the pain free life that you deserve.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

How to Get Motivated to Work Out: The Proven Tips

For years, I didn’t have the habit of working out. Then one day I decided to start building the habit and now I’m glad to say that I work out almost every day.

So how can we get motivated to work out?

The starting point, I believe, is internalizing the benefits. The more you internalize the benefits, the more motivated you will be.

Here are the benefits you will get from working out:
  • Energy
    Personally, this is the benefit that I like the most. Since I spent years not exercising, I can attest to the difference it makes. Exercise gives me more energy throughout the day. It results in more enthusiasm and better focus.
    For this to happen, I suggest you exercise in the morning. That way you will get the energy you need for the rest of the day.
  • Improved Self-Control
    Studies show that exercise can help you build self-control. In The Power of Habit, it’s mentioned that exercise is a keystone habit, which means that building this habit can help you build other good habits.
  • Happiness
    When you have more enthusiasm and self-control, you will increase your happiness. I can say from experience that working out is a good way to lift your mood.
  • Long-Term Health
    Working out is essential for maintaining good health. There are so many health risks that can be reduced if you make working out a habit.
In addition to the benefits above, you can use your exercise time for learning. Bill Gates, for instance, uses his exercise sessions to watch video lectures. I use mine to listen to podcasts. It’s a good way to build your knowledge without taking extra time.

Some Tips on Getting Started

Having seen the benefits of working out, here are some tips on getting started:

1. Start Small

I almost fainted when I first tried to run. I had to lay myself down on the side of the road for a few minutes! I learned a lesson from the experience: start small. Don’t be too ambitious, because you might overestimate your ability. Just start small and build from there.

2. Make It a Priority

In the Eisenhower Matrix, working out is a quadrant II activity. That means the activity is important but not urgent. Since it’s not urgent, it’s easy to get overridden by other things. So make time for it. Make it a priority.

3. Make It Easy

Make it as easy as possible for you to work out. In my case, I work out at home, so I don’t have the excuse of being too lazy to go to the gym. In your case, you might decide to work out with friends if the peer pressure makes it easier for you to do it.

Read more:

Related article: How to Reach and Maintain Your Fitness Goals

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Scientists Have Discovered a Drug That Fixes Cavities and Regrows Teeth

Goodbye, Fillings

Dental fillings may soon be left in the ash heap of history, thanks to a recent discovery about a drug called Tideglusib. Developed for and trialled to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the drug also happens to promote the natural tooth regrowth mechanism, allowing the tooth to repair cavities.

Tideglusib works by stimulating stem cells in the pulp of teeth, the source of new dentine. Dentine is the mineralized substance beneath tooth enamel that gets eaten away by tooth decay.

Teeth can naturally regenerate dentine without assistance, but only under certain circumstances. The pulp must be exposed through infection (such as decay) or trauma to prompt the manufacture of dentine. But even then, the tooth can only regrow a very thin layer naturally—not enough to repair cavities caused by decay, which are generally deep. Tideglusib changes this outcome because it turns off the GSK-3 enzyme, which stops dentine from forming.

 Image Credit: ales_kartal/Pixabay

 In the research, the team inserted small, biodegradable sponges made of collagen soaked in Tideglusib into cavities. The sponges triggered dentine growth and within six weeks, the damage was repaired. The collagen structure of the sponges melted away, leaving only the intact tooth.

Related article: Three Posts About Teeth

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

5 Soothing Essential Oils To Rub On Your Sciatic Nerve For Instant Pain Relief

The largest nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve, stretches from the spine, down to the ankle and even the feet. Yet, it might get inflamed and lead to severe pain, tingling, and numbness.

This pain might also be a result of prolonged hours of sitting, improper body posture, heavy lifting, stress, pressure on the nerve, and a prolapsed disk in your spine.
Yet, numerous people have successfully relieved these symptoms with the help of yoga and stretching.
However, if you do not have much time, make sure you do at least the following: lie on the back with the knees drawn to the chest or supported by a chair and rest the head on a pillow. Repeat this every night, for 10 minutes.
Essential oils and herbs are extremely helpful in the case of sciatica pain as well.
They should be diluted in some carrier oil like jojoba, extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil.
You should use the powerful mixture to massage the painful areas. After the massage, place a warm cloth over the affected places, to relax the muscles. Yet, make sure you do a patch test before you apply the essential oil, as they might irritate the sensitive skin.
The following essential oils would be your best choice to treat sciatica pain:
  • Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Juniper Essential Oil
  • Pepper Essential Oil
  • Mustard Oil

Friday, December 1, 2017

How to Treat and Prevent Running Injuries: Lower Back Pain

Back issues can result from all manner of activity and inactivity. While some runners experience lower back pain, it may more often be a result of sitting hunched in front of a computer screen all day than from that 5 miles you ran before work.

In fact, research published in the journal Spine, which surveyed 937 former elite athletes from different sports and 620 control participants, discovered that lower back pain was actually less of a problem for athletes than the general population. When the researchers honed in on runners in particular, they didn't find any correlation between lower back pain and higher training mileage.

More: 10 Tips to Extend Your Running Life

While those results are comforting for runners who don't currently have issues with back pain, there are still plenty of harriers out there who struggle with this issue. The pain generally materializes as an ache in the lower back muscles before, during or after running. While the culprit of this ailment isn't always running related, there are a number of potential links.

"Oftentimes it is an overuse issue due to a lack of hip mobility and inappropriate core stability," explains Jim Beversdorf, a licensed athletic trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist at Bellin Health Sports Medicine in Green Bay, Wisconsin. "Core is a very generalized and often overused term by many today, so to get to the root issue takes an in-depth understanding of what needs to be corrected with regards to stabilization of the core."

More: 9 Core Exercises That Improve Running Form

One of the main trouble areas of the core that may be a partial cause of lower back pain: the hips. In particular, research has shown that runners often lack hip mobility, meaning they are less flexible in this area. Many experts believe that, along with tight hamstrings, the pelvis can end up rotated too far forward or backward, thereby placing undue strain on the spine.

More: Hip Strengthening and Mobility Exercises for Runners

Poor form, which can be correlated to decreased hip mobility in some cases, can also be one of the root causes of lower back pain in runners. If you suspect this may be your problem, Beversdorf suggests going to see an expert.

"Educating a runner on proper form and, more importantly, teaching them the corrective exercises that influence their form, is the important part," Beversdorf says. "Simply telling someone to change [his or her] posture isn't going to do it for most runners; their current posture position has been trained for long periods of time, and it takes specific corrective techniques to positively improve posture."

Continue reading the rest of the article here:

 Related Article: Return to Lexington: A Team Through Time

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Comprehensive Guide to the New Science of Treating Lower Back Pain

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin’s back pain started when she was 16, on the day she flew off her horse and landed on her right hip.

For the next four decades, Ramin says her back pain was like a small rodent nibbling at the base of her spine. The aching left her bedridden on some days and made it difficult to work, run a household, and raise her two boys.

By 2008, after Ramin had exhausted what seemed like all her options, she elected to have a “minimally invasive” nerve decompression procedure. But the $8,000 operation didn’t fix her back, either. The same pain remained, along with new neck aches.


At that point, Ramin decided to deploy her skills as a journalist and investigate the $100 billion back pain industry. She went on to write Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery, an incredible tale of back pain and its treatment, published last May.

The big takeaway: Millions of back patients like Ramin are floundering in a medical system that isn’t equipped to help them. They’re pushed toward intrusive, addictive, expensive interventions that often fail or can even harm them, and away from things like yoga or psychotherapy, which actually seem to help. Meanwhile, Americans and their doctors have come to expect cures for everything — and back pain is one of those nearly universal ailments with no cure. Patients and taxpayers wind up paying the price for this failure, both in dollars and in health. 

Thankfully, Ramin finally discovered an exercise program that has eased her discomfort. And to this day, no matter how busy her life gets, she does a series of exercises every morning called “the McGill Big Three” (more on them later). “With very rare exceptions,” she says, “I find time to exercise, even when I’m on the road.”

More and more people like Ramin are seeking out conservative therapies for back pain. While yoga, massage, and psychotherapy have been around for a long time, there was little high-quality research out there to understand their effects on back pain, and doctors sometimes looked down on these practices. But over the past decade, that’s changed. 

To learn more, I searched the medical literature on treatments for lower back pain (the most common type) and read through more than 80 studies (mainly reviews of the research that summarized the findings of hundreds more studies) about both “active” approaches (yoga, Pilates, tai chi, etc.) and passive therapies (massage, chiropractics, acupuncture, and so on). I also talked to nine experts and researchers in this field. (For more detail on our methods, scroll to the end.)

What I found surprised me: Many of these approaches really do seem to help, though often with modest effects. But when you compare even those small benefits with the harm we’re currently doing while medically “treating” back pain, the horror of the status quo becomes clear. “No one dies of low back pain,” one back pain expert, University of Amsterdam assistant professor Sidney Rubinstein, summed up, “but people are now dying from the treatment.”

Mainstream medicine has failed people with chronic back pain

Lower back pain is one of the top reasons people go to the doctor in the US, and it affects 29 percent of adult Americans, according to surveys. It’s also the leading reason for missing work anywhere in the world. The US spends approximately $90 billion a year on back pain — more than the annual expenditures on high blood pressure, pregnancy and postpartum care, and depression — and that doesn’t include the estimated $10 to $20 billion in lost productivity related to back pain.

Doctors talk about back pain in a few different ways, but the kind most people (about 85 percent) suffer from is what they call "nonspecific low back pain." This means the persistent pain has no detectable cause — like a tumor, pinched nerve, infection, or cauda equina syndrome.

About 90 percent of the time, low back pain is short-lived (or in medical lingo, “acute”) and goes away within a few days or weeks without much fuss. A minority of patients, though, go on to have subacute back pain (lasting between four and 12 weeks) or chronic back pain (lasting 12 or more weeks). 

Chronic nonspecific back pain is the kind the medical community is often terrible at treating. Many of the most popular treatments on offer from doctors for chronic nonspecific low back pain — bed rest, spinal surgery, opioid painkillers, steroid injections — have been proven ineffective in the majority of cases, and sometimes downright harmful. 

Consider opioids. In 2017, more than 30,000 Americans will die from opioid overdoses. Opioid prescribing is common among people with back pain, with almost 20 percent receiving long-term opioid prescriptions.

Here’s the outrageous part: All these opioids were being prescribed before we actually knew if they helped people with chronic lower back pain. It gets worse: Now high-quality evidence is coming in, and opioids don’t actually help many patients with chronic low back pain. 

This soon-to-be-published randomized controlled trial was the first to compare the long-term use of opioids versus non-opioid medications (such as anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen) for low back pain. After a year, the researchers found opioids did not improve patients’ pain or function, and the people on opioids were actually in slightly more pain compared to the non-opioid group (perhaps the result of “opioid-induced hyperalgesia” — heightened pain brought on by these drugs). 

As for surgery, only a small minority of patients with chronic low back pain require it, according to UpToDate, a service that synthesizes the best available research for clinicians. In randomized trials, there was no clinically meaningful difference when comparing the outcomes of patients who got spinal fusion (which has become more and more popular in the US over the years) with those who got a nonsurgical treatment.

Steroid injections for back pain, another popular medical treatment, tend to have similarly lackluster results: They improve pain slightly in the short term, but the effects dissipate within a few months. They also don’t improve patients’ long-term health outcomes. 

It’s not entirely surprising that the surgeries, injections, and prescription drugs often fail considering what researchers are now learning about back pain. 

Historically, the medical community thought back pain (and pain in general) was correlated to the nature and severity of an injury or anatomical issue. But now it’s clear that what’s going on in your brain matters too. 

“Our best understanding of low back pain is that it is a complex, biopsychosocial condition — meaning that biological aspects like structural or anatomical causes play some role but psychological and social factors also play a big role," Roger Chou, a back pain expert and professor at Oregon Health and Science University, summarized.

For example, when you compare people with the same MRI results showing the same back injury — bulging discs, say, or facet joint arthritis — some may experience terrible chronic pain while others report no pain at all. And people who are under stress, or prone to depression, catastrophizing, and anxiety tend to suffer more, as do those who have histories of trauma in their early lives or poor job satisfaction. 

The awareness about the role psychological factors play in how people experience pain has grown more widespread with the general shift away from the dualist view of the mind and body toward the more integrated biopsychosocial model. Chronic nonspecific low back pain “should not been considered as a homogenous condition meaning all cases are identical,” researchers in one review of the research on exercise cautioned. 

A new understanding of pain called “central sensitization” is also gaining traction. The basic idea is that in some people who have ongoing pain, there are changes that occur between the body and brain that heighten pain sensitivity — to the point where even things that normally don’t hurt are perceived as painful. That means some people with chronic low back pain may actually be suffering from malfunctioning pain signals.