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Avoiding Repetitive Stress Injures: Tips For Sports-Loving Adults And Children

Posted by on Feb 9, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Avoiding Repetitive Stress Injures: Tips For Sports-Loving Adults And Children

When you hear the phrase “repetitive stress injury,” chances are your first thought is the danger of carpal tunnel syndrome from spending too much time on the computer. However, anyone can suffer from a repetitive stress injury if they continue to overuse the same tendons, muscles, and nerves, even when playing sports. If you’re a sports-loving family, here are a few tips to help kids and adults alike avoid repetitive stress injuries. Get a Physical Before you enroll your child in a school-related sport or if you are concerned the adults in your family are susceptible to repetitive stress injuries, don’t hesitate to schedule each person a physical. In addition to checking on the family member’s general health, the doctor will be able to pinpoint any conditions or abnormalities that could leave a person susceptible to repetitive stress injuries. For example, if your family is genetically prone to tendon, muscle, or nerve disorders, or if any of your family members have underlying conditions or the beginning symptoms of a repetitive stress injury, such as pain or inflammation, it could leave them vulnerable to sports-related injuries. If the doctor notices an underlying muscle, tendon, or nerve disorder, they will likely refer you or your child to a sports medicine physician at a medical facility like Advanced Physical Therapy. This physician can help your family member strengthen their body and treat or prevent any repetitive stress injuries in the future. Warm Up and Cool Down Your child’s coach or your personal trainer have probably emphasized the importance or warming up before you play sports, or cooling down after the game or practice. If you’ve typically skipped these vital steps, it’s important to begin making them both a regular part of playing sports. The easiest way to prevent repetitive stress injuries while enjoying your favorite sport is to stretch your muscles, both before and after the game. For example, simply lifting your arms over your body and touching your fingers to your toes several times are simple ways you can stretch your muscles. Taking a few moments before and after enjoying a favorite sport is a simple and effective way to both prevent and treat repetitive stress injuries. Change It Up If you’re a football fanatic or your little ones can’t get enough of tennis, it’s important to introduce other sports and activities into everyone’s life. Playing one sport exclusively can help you master the game. However, because you are constantly using the same muscles and tendons, you are actually leaving yourself vulnerable to repetitive stress injuries. The simplest way to prevent injury is to simply get into several sports or other physical activities. For example, if you love golf, don’t play it several days in a row. Instead, take a break from golf once in a while and instead, play a game of basketball, take a walk, or enjoy a game of backyard football with your kids. In addition to introducing you and your family to an activity everyone will love, playing a variety of sports or enjoying different physical activities can help strengthen the various muscles and tendons throughout your body, which will help prevent repetitive stress injuries in the future. Preventing Repetitive Stress Injuries in Everyday Life Finally, don’t forget that off the field, your body is still susceptible...

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What’s Best for Your Hay Fever?

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What’s Best for Your Hay Fever?

Hay fever, otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, is caused by airborne allergens and leads to a stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and scratchy throat. The symptoms themselves can range in severity, impacting your day-to-day functions and making it difficult to sleep and focus on important tasks. If you’re not sure what will work best on your hay fever, here are three of the most popular treatment options to discuss with your physician. Oral Antihistamines During an allergic reaction, your body produces histamines that attach to and damage your cells. Antihistamines work by blocking the histamines, thereby reducing your body’s response to the allergens. OTC treatments are a good place to start if your symptoms are mild to moderate, and there are currently two different kinds of treatment to choose from. First generation. These types of antihistamines are for allergic reactions, but they also target areas of the brain that are responsible for nausea and vomiting. So they can also control motion sickness. These medications are short-acting and tend to cause drowsiness in a lot of people, and in such a situation, your doctor may recommend you try something else. First generations are best suited for use right before being exposed to an allergen, like at an outdoor picnic or before visiting a relative with pets. Second generation. These medications are newer, longer lasting, and much less likely to make the patient sleepy. They have become the go-to for a lot of people suffering from hay fever, and most of them are only available by prescription. Unlike the first-generation drugs, the second-generation drugs are recommended for those who need daily intervention from seasonal allergies. Side effects that tend to be most common include dry eyes, mouth, and throat. But they can also cause restlessness, nervousness, and headaches. If you experience any unusual or uncomfortable side effects, your doctor will probably discuss other options with you. Decongestants Nasal decongestants are often used in people with hay fever, either in conjunction with antihistamines or as an alternative. They do not target histamines but rather work by reducing the swelling that causes stuffiness. So while you’ll be able to breathe better, you could still suffer from sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes and throat. Unless you’ve been given the okay by your physician, decongestants should not be used by children under six, patients taking an MAOI inhibitor, or anyone with the following health conditions: High blood pressure Heart conditions Diabetes Glaucoma Kidney problems Hyperthyroid Prostate problems Decongestants can be taken orally or as a nasal spray. When deciding which one is best, keep in mind the nasal spray works almost immediately, whereas an oral dose might take longer to take effect. While most people say that the nasal sprays work best, you shouldn’t take them for more than a week or so, or else you could suffer from rebound stuffiness once you do stop the medication. Decongestants are better for those who need only temporary relief from allergies.  Nasal Corticosteroid Sprays Nasal steroids are commonly prescribed for those suffering with hay fever. These are not the same steroids used by body builders. They actually work by reducing the inflammation that comes with an allergic reaction. They also cut down on mucus production and alleviate other allergy symptoms. Several brands are available as an OTC option,...

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Valuable Information About Attaching And Emptying Your Leg Bag

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Valuable Information About Attaching And Emptying Your Leg Bag

From a severe spinal cord injury to the presence of kidney stones or the use of medications that impact the bladder muscles, according to Healthline, there are several reasons why a person requires a catheter and a urine drainage bag. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a condition or need a surgery that requires you use a leg urine drainage bag, chances are there are several question you will have about its use and care. Here is some invaluable information for anyone who is new to leg urine drainage bags: Attaching Your Leg Bag Your leg bag should fit comfortably, and most importantly, be placed below your waist. This will ensure that gravity will move your waste from the catheter into the bag. Here are the steps you need to take to correctly place your leg bag: Begin by washing your hands with soap and water. Grab the leg bag’s drainage tube and gently remove the cover from the tip. Clean the end of the tube with rubbing alcohol. Insert the leg bag’s drainage tube into the catheter tube. Make sure to avoid pulling on the catheter tube, because it will lead to discomfort or even damage to your bladder. Locate a comfortable spot on your thigh and carefully attach the leg bag with the Velcro strip. Fasten the catheter tubing to your leg with some tape. Make sure that the bag isn’t attached too tightly. Instead, it should be secure, but comfortable. Once again, it is critical that the leg bag sits below your bladder. Otherwise, your urine could back-up into your bladder. Don’t worry about the leg bag being visible. It is easily and comfortably hidden under most clothing. Emptying Out Your Leg Bag Another aspect of wearing a urine drainage bag is emptying it periodically throughout the day. Don’t wait until the bag is completely full before you empty it. The weight of a full bag can place pressure on the catheter and your bladder. To empty the bag, begin by washing your hands. Stand over the toilet or a container that was provided to you by the doctor, carefully open the tube’s drainage spout by releasing the clamp or twisting the end off. Empty the contents of your bag completely. It is important that you never allow the bag or drainage tube to touch the toilet or the container. If you were provided a container by your doctor and instructed to write down the amount of urine that was in the bag, do so now. Empty out the container and rinse it with soapy water, if applicable. Wash your hands again before leaving the bathroom. A Few More Tips In addition to the above-mentioned information, here are a few more simple tips to help you effectively care for yourself and your leg bag: Avoid pulling on the bag or the tubing itself. In addition to being very uncomfortable, you could actually damage your bladder. Keep an eye on your catheter tubing throughout the day. Make sure that you don’t accidentally step on it, or that it is never twisted or pinched. Call the doctor if you notice any signs that you’re suffering from an infection. Common signs of an infection caused by your catheter include foul smelling urine, lower back pain, fever, exhaustion and pain...

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Newly Diagnosed with EDS? What You Need to Know About Your Eyes

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Newly Diagnosed with EDS? What You Need to Know About Your Eyes

If you or your child has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, there’s no doubt you have a list of medical specialists to see, such as dermatologists, rheumatologists, and physical therapists. Additionally, you’ll need to also see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. Why? Because Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a connective tissue disorder due to not having enough collagen, which is the glue that holds everything together in the body. The eye is 80% collagen. Here’s what you need to know.  Know the eye conditions and symptoms related to EDS Due to the lack of collagen in your eyes, your eyes and vision can be affected. EDS can cause the whites of your eyes to turn blue. Your vision may be blurry, or one eye may drift or cross. You may see floaters in your field of vision, and your eyes may be sensitive to light. Due to the hyperelasticity of your skin, your eyelids may have folds of skin. While those symptoms can be irritating, some are treatable, such as by wearing prescription lenses with prisms to correct your vision. However, the following symptoms may be life-changing. Glaucoma. Pressure inside the eye can increase due to lack of collagen. This causes changes in the anatomy of the eye and can lead to glaucoma, which is irreversible and may require surgery.  Detached retina. The retina is what directs rays of light to be focused in your eye. The retina can detach due to the lack of collagen in the eye, causing the eye to expand, lengthen, or change shape. This may be corrected with surgery. Macular degeneration. The macula is the part of your eye that has the highest concentration of receptors. Macular degeneration occurs when the blood vessels break or leak and cause the macula to atrophy. If not corrected, such as with medication or therapy, this condition can cause blindness.  Establish a baseline with a comprehensive eye exam It’s important to know that EDS is progressive. Symptoms of the condition will worsen throughout your body, and that includes your eye symptoms. Because of this, it is crucial that you establish a baseline with every medical specialist you will see as soon as possible after getting diagnosed with EDS. In regard to your eye care, a baseline can be established through an eye exam and used to determine whether any significant changes occur in between subsequent visits. Any changes that are noted will be marked as an additional baseline moving forward, especially when it comes to irreversible damage to your eyes. This can help your eye doctor determine how progressive your condition is so he or she can treat you appropriately.  Watch for comorbid conditions that can also affect eyesight There are a number of comorbid medical conditions that can go along with EDS in some way. Chiari malformation is one of them. It’s believed, though not proven, that some people with EDS have Chiari malformation due to the lack of collagen in the body causing the lower part of the brain to be lower than it should in the skull. Chiari malformation also affects the eyes with blurred vision, double vision, or nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). It’s important to get tested for Chiari if you have these eye symptoms or pressure headaches in the back of your head. Testing...

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Liquid Oxygen Therapy: Its Use, Advantages And Disadvantages

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Liquid Oxygen Therapy: Its Use, Advantages And Disadvantages

Medical oxygen can be delivered in a variety of formats to patients, including both tank and tankless methods. Traditional compressed tanks are still widely used, and the use of oxygen concentrators is also popular among many patients. Another less-common format is the use of liquid oxygen conversion to gas; this modality has several advantages, but its use requires an understanding of its limitations and special considerations. Below is more information about liquid oxygen medical therapy and what you should know about it: How is liquid oxygen stored and utilized If oxygen gas is cooled to a temperature of nearly minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit, it will liquify and can be stored in an insulated container for an extended period of time. For the purpose of oxygen therapy, containers holding approximately 10 gallons of liquid oxygen are installed inside the patient’s home. These containers are refilled as needed by home medical equipment suppliers, though most users receive refills once every week or two. Once delivered to the home, the patient or caregiver fills smaller containers that can be kept close for metered delivery of the oxygen. These special containers convert the oxygen back to a gas, where it is then delivered via a cannula, face mask or other appropriate appliance. Advantages of using liquid oxygen in medical therapy Ease of storing large quantities of oxygen The chief advantage of using liquid oxygen for at-home therapy is the ability to store a relatively large amount of oxygen in a confined space. A unit of liquid oxygen is equivalent to about 860 times the same amount of gaseous oxygen in the free atmosphere. This fact offers a tremendous advantage for high volume users of oxygen, as it frees them up from being forced to store an extensive number of compressed gas tanks in their homes. Safe option for storing oxygen Liquid oxygen is also safe to store and use in the home. It is kept at lower pressures than compressed oxygen gas, and there is also a lower likelihood of an accident involving a “runaway” container. In the event of a fire, liquid oxygen is more likely to simply evaporate than contribute to the combustive process. Weighs less than compressed tanks Since so much gaseous oxygen can be derived from a given unit of liquid oxygen, that means users don’t need to carry as much liquid oxygen with them to gain the same benefit. Portable containers are a lot lighter than filled metal tanks and are also less bulky during transit. Power independent Along with compressed oxygen, a big advantage offered by liquid oxygen therapy is that no electrical power is required for delivery to the patient. In fact, the pressure of the evaporating liquid is sufficient for pushing the oxygen to the patient through the system. Power outages don’t prevent patients from receiving their oxygen, and there is less expense involved with the oxygen delivery process since no household current is needed. Disadvantages of using liquid oxygen in therapy While liquid oxygen therapy has multiple advantages associated with it, there are a few disadvantages to be aware of before using it in the home. Below are the potential problems to keep in mind: Availability is limited in some locations Liquid oxygen suitable for medical applications may not be available in all locales....

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5 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy After Age 35

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy After Age 35

With more and more women putting off having children until later in life, you are far from alone if you are trying to conceive a baby after the age of 35. While some women in this age range do have difficulty conceiving and maintaining healthy pregnancies, many women successfully have babies in their late thirties, well into their forties and beyond. Here are five tips to boost your chances of a healthy pregnancy after age 35: Find a Great OB-GYN A great OB-GYN will be there to guide your health as you work toward becoming pregnant, as well as during your actual pregnancy. By letting your OB-GYN know you are hoping to conceive, they can help make sure you are aware of any potential health issues that may interfere, and provide treatment plans if necessary. If you have difficulty conceiving, you may want to find an OB-GYN specialist with a focus on fertility. Once you are pregnant, you will be spending a lot of time at your doctor’s office, so it’s ideal to find a doctor you are happy with and trust as early as possible. This way you can form a lasting patient-doctor relationship rather than switch doctors during your pregnancy. Ideally, you will choose a doctor with a lot of experience helping women over age 35 with their pregnancies. Take a Prenatal Supplement Prenatal vitamins are very important if there’s a chance you could become pregnant, because they provide key nutrients that reduce the risk of certain birth defects that are more common when you are of advanced maternal age. Since these birth defects can form in the first month of pregnancy, before you’re even aware that you are pregnant, you should start taking them as soon as you begin trying to conceive a baby.  Get Fit Getting your body into great shape can help regulate your menstrual cycle, making it easier to track your ovulation and conceive a baby. Plus, the more fit you are the easier your pregnancy will be on you physically, and the more easily your body will recover afterward. This is especially important since many older moms find pregnancy and childbirth more physically difficult. Make sure you consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, and to get a good idea of your ideal weight pre-pregnancy. Being seriously under or overweight can negatively impact your fertility. Get Plenty of Nutrients When trying to conceive a baby, especially after age 35, you should give your body all the fuel it needs to get pregnant, and to keep your baby healthy once you are pregnant. Don’t worry about restricting your diet so much as adding as many healthy nutrients as possible. Eating a wide range of vitamins and minerals in the form of a healthy diet will not only help boost your fertility, but help keep a developing baby healthy as well. Add as many servings of fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to your daily diet. If you struggle to fit in enough veggies and fruit, try starting your day with a green smoothie loaded with healthy food like baby spinach, kale, cucumbers, berries, and oranges. Try to limit caffeine and alcohol during this time as well. Be Prepared for Twins The older you are when you get pregnant, the higher your chances...

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7 Ways To Heal Back Pain

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 7 Ways To Heal Back Pain

Over 26 million people in the U.S. aged 20 to 64 deal with regular back pain, according to a National Institute of Health Statistics survey. If you are one of the many people who suffer from this debilitating pain on a daily basis, you probably feel very frustrated. This kind of pain can prevent you from doing your daily activities. There is some positive news, though. It is possible to reduce back pain and live a normal life. Here are seven effective ways to deal back pain: Drop Some Weight Extra weight can make back pain a lot worse. When you carry around more pounds than you should, it can put extra pressure on your spine, causing discomfort in your back. If you get yourself down to a healthy weight, it can do wonders for your back. Start by cutting junk food out of your diet and adding wholesome foods, like chicken, turkey, whole grain bread, fruits and vegetables. Exercising a few times a week will also help you burn extra calories and lose weight steadily. Try Yoga Yoga can do so much good for your body, including reducing back pain. Certain yoga poses can make your muscles stronger and lengthen your spine. A child pose, for example, is one of the simplest and most effective yoga poses for back pain. It lengthens your back and makes it feel much better. To perform this pose, Everyday Health recommends starting on your hands and knees. Sit back on your heels and rest your belly on your thighs. Extend your arms in front of your body.  Stay in this pose for five to 10 breaths.  Use Heat Another good way you can reduce back pain is to apply heat to the area. Heat can relieve cramping and muscle spasms in your back. While you are sitting down in a chair, apply a heating pad on your back until the pain goes away. Get a New Mattress A mattress is not supposed to last forever. In fact, sleeping on an old mattress can lead to back pain. If you feel yourself sinking into the mattress, it is time to invest in a new one. An old mattress will not give your back the support it needs, causing pain and discomfort. Put the Cigarettes Away If you are looking to reduce back pain and decrease your chances of developing several chronic diseases, it is time to quit smoking. This habit can cause back pain by reducing oxygen in the cells in your spine. Breaking this habit will not be easy, but it can certainly be done. Ask your doctor for suggestions on how to quit successfully. Improve Your Posture It is easy to slouch if you have to sit all day at your job. However, poor posture can put more strain on your back. To prevent back pain, make an effort to improve your posture. Sit up straight with your shoulders back. Whenever you get the urge to slouch, just think about what it will do to your back. Visit a Chiropractor If it seems like nothing will help your back pain, you should make an appointment with an experienced chiropractor soon. One of these healthcare professionals will use his hands to manipulate your spine, which will help relieve back pain. If it is necessary,...

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The 5 Biggest Potential Benefits of Osseointegrated Artificial Limbs for Younger Amputees

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The 5 Biggest Potential Benefits of Osseointegrated Artificial Limbs for Younger Amputees

While losing a limb is difficult at any age, it is often more disruptive for a younger amputee that relies on their physical ability for work. Osseointegrated artificial limbs are still in the testing stages, but these bone-anchored devices are showing a lot of promise. Find out how these upcoming prosthetic advancements could greatly help younger amputees return to the careers and leisure activities. Less Irritation Prostheses tend to rely on a socket and suspender system, also known as a cup or suction attachment. No matter how soft and well-molded the cup used for connecting the artificial limb to the arm or leg, the constant contact between it and the skin results in painful skin and soft tissue irritation. Many younger amputees struggle to practice enough with their artificial limb to feel natural using it because of all the pain, bruising, and chafing caused by a poor-fitting cup. The development of ongoing skin infections and ulcers can limit the patient’s options permanently. The idea of spending the next few decades facing that kind of pain and irritation is very disheartening. A bone-embedded implant eliminates the contact between the implant and the skin, and mechanical friction is eliminated as long as the skin around the implant area is properly prepared before the surgery. Faster Attachment Preparing for school or work already takes long enough, but adding the attachment and adjustment of a prosthetic stretches that routine out even further. With snap-on technology to connect a strong artificial limb to an equally strong embedded anchor shaft, the time-strapped young amputee can quickly get the limb attached and get on with the next hurdle of the day. There’s no fit to fiddle with or harness straps to tighten and loosen as needed throughout the day, either, and it’s easier to remove the prosthetic if necessary during the daily routine without the concern of struggling to get it back on again in a hurry. Enhanced Sensation Active amputees in their 20s and 30s are often disappointed that hiking, biking, and rock climbing becomes more difficult even after they regain their strength and balance with an artificial limb. This is due to the loss of proprioception, or your ability to feel the feedback generated by your foot or hand contacting a surface. The loss of this sense makes it harder to feel where you’re placing your limb, reducing reaction time during challenging sports and other physical activities. The connection from the artificial limb to the bone, with all its surrounding nerve endings, restores at least some of the original proprioception of the body part. Reduced Joint Pain Cup prostheses also cause pain aside from the pressure put on the amputation site. Most lower limb amputees struggle with hip pain along with inflammation in the knee if they’re using a below-the-knee device. Studies conducted over the last 10 years about early osseointegration tests show that this attachment method helps younger patients adapt to life with a leg prosthesis by reducing pain and soreness in the hip through providing a better weight balance and more natural gait increasing hip flexibility and range of motion, making it possible to enjoy a wider range of physical activities supporting long-term joint health by reducing unnecessary wear and tear, which is essential when you’re going to spend 50 or more...

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Do You Feel Like You’re Wearing A Cape Of Pain On Your Back? You May Have Syringomyelia

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do You Feel Like You’re Wearing A Cape Of Pain On Your Back? You May Have Syringomyelia

If you have pain across your upper back, neck, and shoulders in the areas that would be touched by a cape if you wore one, you may have what is called syringomyelia. This is not a medical condition, but it is a result or symptom of a disorder of or injury to the spinal cord. Here’s what you need to know.  Syringomyelia Syringomyelia is the medical word used to describe the formation of cysts filled with cerebrospinal fluid in the spinal cord. This type of cyst is called a syrinx and it can elongate and get wider over time, which damages the tissues of the spinal cord. A syrinx can block the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, which can ultimately lead to complete paralysis if the syrinx is left untreated and/or continues to grow.  Causes  Syringomyelia can be caused by a condition called Chiari malformation, which is when the base of the brain herniates into the spinal cord. This malformation blocks the spinal fluid, which can cause a syrinx to form. In fact, it’s been estimated that 30-50% of Chiari patients have syringomyelia. Spinal cord injuries and tumors in the spinal cord can also cause syringomyelia.  Symptoms  When left untreated, especially for a long time, back pain can develop from damage to the spinal cord. In addition to having “cape effect” pain, other symptoms can include:  loss of muscular strength in arms and legs  stiffness in muscles and joints  numbness in face, hands, and feet  difficulty regulating body temperature  loss of bowel and bladder control  scoliosis The symptoms can vary depending on the location and size of the syrinx in the spinal cord. They can develop and progress over time. Therefore, it can take months or years for syringomyelia to develop. Don’t dismiss the possibility that you may have syringomyelia if you don’t currently have any other symptoms. It’s better to be safe than sorry and seek a medical diagnosis for the neck, shoulder, and back pain you are experiencing.  Diagnosis  Syringomyelia is initially diagnosed through an MRI or a CT scan. However, since fluid movement cannot be seen on a still photo, cine MRIs are also necessary to confirm the severity of any blockage of the spinal fluid. A cine MRI is a type of magnetic resonance imaging that records a video of the flow of the spinal fluid. Because this imaging produces a video of your spinal fluid instead of still images, cine MRIs take longer to perform than regular MRIs. You will need to see a neurosurgeon or a neurologist for this testing and a diagnosis.  Treatment  Treatment for syringomyelia depends on the cause of the condition, but typically includes surgery and/or pain management through medication, physical therapy, and psychological therapy. Unfortunately, treatment does not reverse damage to the spinal cord and nervous system. Therefore, your physician will need to keep a watchful eye on your syrinx and the flow of your spinal fluid. That means you’ll be asked to have a cine MRI each time your symptoms change, if they do.  Prognosis  Some patients with syringomyelia never require surgical intervention or prescription medication and physical therapy for pain management. Others may need every possible treatment available as they try to find relief from their symptoms. Only a qualified spinal cord specialist, neurosurgeon, or neurologist can determine the possible long-term outcome of...

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Want To Keep Your Weight Loss Resolutions? Consider These 3 Strategies

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Want To Keep Your Weight Loss Resolutions? Consider These 3 Strategies

Everyone knows how to lose those extra pounds – just eat less, exercise more, and use good old fashioned willpower, right? But what if you’re trying that and it just isn’t working? The truth is that if weight loss were really that easy, there wouldn’t be a need for so many diet products and plans. Sometimes, those stubborn pounds just won’t come off – and sometimes willpower is pretty hard to come by. It may take more than just telling yourself to eat less to keep the pounds off. Take a look at some strategies that can help. Limit Your Variety Restaurants, grocery stores, and most likely your own kitchen all offer a dizzying array of food choices. And you know that you’re supposed to eat a variety of foods including grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy. But can too much variety be a bad thing? It seems the answer is yes. Variety may be the spice of life, but it turns out that that spice makes food more appealing. Researchers found that when they split a group of adults on similar diets into two groups and restricted one of those groups to only two types of junk food for a year and a half, the group with the restrictions ate less junk food overall than the group without any restrictions. Presumably, they became less inclined to eat to excess because they were bored with the same two choices for months at a time. Studies have also found that people tend to overeat when offered a buffet of foods rather than just one food and that there is a positive association between having a variety of snacks available and being overweight. So, if you want to help yourself resist the lure of junk food or overeating, your best bet is to limit the types of junk food and snacks that you bring into the house – stick with one or two constants instead. And don’t serve too many dishes at any one meal. You still need to eat a variety of healthy foods overall, but they don’t all need to be included in every meal. Switch Your Plates Another simple trick you can use to help cut your food consumption is to use smaller plates to serve foods higher in fat. There’s an optical illusion that occurs when you dish up food onto a large plate – the size of the plate and the empty space around the food make servings look smaller than they really are and could cause you to eat more.  You will actually feel less full than you would if you ate the meal off of a smaller plate. The trick works the same way in reverse, however. A portion size that would look large and leave you feeling satisfied on a smaller plate looks less significant on a large plate. This means that you can trick your brain into eating more vegetables and fewer meats or sweets by serving salads and veggies on large dinner plates and serving higher fat foods on lunch or dessert plates. Get Outside Help Too often, you can feel like you can’t ask for help with your weight problem. You may feel like you were the one who packed on the pounds, so you’re the one that has to take...

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