Archive for May, 2011

Posted on 31 May 2011
Health Care

Urgent Medical Care Centers

Urgent medical care centers are the type of thing that you do not pay any attention to until you absolutely and immediately need it. There is no time to waste, and for that reason probably no time to sit at the computer and find one. Better to be prepared and get familiar with the nearest center, and what they can handle in an emergency. You are more likely to be close to an urgent care center than a major hospital, and emergency rooms are always packed. By going to an emergency room (ER) you are devoting yourself to a long wait, and a constant flow of extremely injured patients who need more immediate attention. An ER center is the best possible alternative to a hospital when you need medical attention, and do not absolutely require a hospital to help. To begin it would be wise to go online and find one in your area. It will definitely have a website and phone number listed, and through there you can look into services offered and hours etc.
For common injuries such as a sprained ankle, or broken wrist you will spend hours waiting in the ER and receive rushed service and receive a large bill. By going to an immediate medical care center (IMCC) you will get help quicker. You will also be able to speak with the doctor and ask follow up questions, such as if any sort of surgery is required. They also have an x-ray machine for said broken bones, or any other reason. Simple things such as putting on a cast or threading stitches are a snap at a place like this. Stitches can also be given only in the first 8 hours after the injury, so if you are not near a hospital and do not have time to wait, an Urgent care center (UCC) can literally save lives.

If you own or manage a professional environment, liability for any accidents on company property can fall on your shoulders. Falls, from slipping or heights, can have a severe effect. Obviously you want to get the victim to the nearest place for medical attention as soon as possible. Hospitals are again, the slow, inefficient, and further option in most scenarios. If you or your child wishes to play sports for school, or wishes to go away to summer camp, a physical and signed doctor’s note is usually required. Going to your physician or a hospital can be a hassle, unless you go the quick and easy route to the UCC.

Posted on 30 May 2011
Pain Management

How A Chiropractor Can Help Patients Achieve Holistic Health

Once strictly considered an “alternative” health practice due to its drug-free, hands-on approach, the study of chiropractic treatment has evolved into more of a mainstream wellness method. Patients have embraced chiropractors’ method of spinal manipulation and adjustment as a sound and successful route to end pain with various root causes. However, many patients don’t realize that treatment isn’t only intended as reactive management for aches and injuries that have already occurred. Rather, proactive and consistent visits to a reputable chiropractor that include a diverse array of treatment services can maintain spinal alignment, prevent future injuries and help a patient achieve the ultimate goal of holistic health and wellness.

Adjustments And Massage: Classic Chiropractor Treatments

In pursuit of total wellness, it’s important to implement a plan of treatment that involves various chiropractor methods. An adjustment is a traditional tactic most commonly thought of as a way to target a specific area of discomfort. Patients often undergo an adjustment when looking to treat acute pain in the lower and upper back as well as shoulders. However, patients should understand that this technique can also be used as an ongoing therapy to gently manipulate the spine into its most natural state of alignment to maintain a healthy posture, reduce headaches and allergy suffering as well as guard against future injury.

A reputable facility will also offer patients extended services beyond the scope of spinal adjustments in an effort to achieve muscular-skeletal balance. Trigger point massage and myfascial release technique should also be considered in the patient’s treatment plan. These therapies focus on targeted muscles and help relieve pain through muscle relaxation as well as increased circulation. Proven to reduce discomfort, increase blood flow and improve range of motion, trigger point massage and myfascial release provide a muscular realignment to balance the spinal realignment of an adjustment.

Thinking Outside The Box With Chiropractor Care

No matter what our activity level, our spinal cord reacts to gravity and compresses. If left untreated, this compression can cause a loss of flexibility as well as potential pain as we age. While a traditional adjustment can help this process, traction can optimize treatment. Traction is a proven aid in decreasing neck pain, back pain and reducing migraines. When combined as part of a total wellness plan, traction can also promote spinal biomechanics as well as spinal alignment improvement.

Finally, a customized exercise plan can help round off chiropractic treatment. Allowing your chiropractor to create a regime specifically tailored to your own individual needs can complement your other treatments and optimize body strengthening while reducing stress and pain. These exercises are often performed right at the Dr.’s office for extra guidance and monitoring for patients looking to increase spine protection, improve muscle strength and enhance posture.

Understanding the various facets of chiropractic methods can help patients make an informed decision about the best treatment options for their specific needs. Taking this knowledge and partnering with a reputable chiropractor to create a diverse and balanced plan is a critical step towards achieving holistic health and well-being.

Posted on 30 May 2011
Back Pain

Back Pain and Osteopathy

Back pain has become a very common complaint the world over and is blamed on the modern lifestyle. It’s a pain that causes disability in both active and inactive people, especially those who are past middle age. The costs of health system expenditure have been rising and back problems are the leading cause of this rise.

Your back is the part of your body that starts from the back of your neck and shoulders down to the top of your buttocks. Your spinal canal is located down the centre of the spine where your nerves are attached. These nerves are the transmitters of pain signals to your brain. Back pain is a symptom ranging from a dull, annoying ache to debilitating pain that may be caused by many things, including simple stress on the muscles and ligaments or some underlying medical condition. The pain can sometimes be acute, swiftly coming and going. Alternatively your pains may be termed as chronic, lingering for an extended period of time. This pain can be focused in either your upper back or the lower back.

Lower back pain is localised to your lower back, typically beginning from the lumbar or spinal region, down the flank, the buttocks, the hips or the groin. Radiating pain down the legs into the feet can also be traced to lower back problems. It can bring a feeling of numbness or “pins and needles” or what is known as “falling asleep of the limbs” in your lower leg or foot. Your pains may also be associated with changes in bowel motions.

Other sources of back pain can be an injury either inflicted or from an accident, a herniated disc or other spinal disc injury from degeneration and aging that may have caused rupture to the disc sac or a bulging disc. Medical conditions like urinary tract infections, gynaecological or prostatic disorders can also be the root cause of your pain. Another reason why a person will experience these pains is a condition called pelvic imbalance. Frequent poor posture causes one side of the body, its muscles and ligaments to develop more than the other side. This imbalance sometimes results in muscle spasm or nerve irritation which causes pain.

Upper back pain, on the other hand is pain on the upper part of the torso, including the shoulder blades and lower neck. This is also associated with the “pins and needles” symptoms and numbness in the upper limbs, arms down to the fingers. Headaches, migraines, chest pains, reflux or shortness of breath are some of the other symptoms associated with back problems. Poor posture and pelvic imbalance may also cause upper pain. In some cases, underlying medical conditions such as heart disease may also contribute. This can also combine with blackouts, tingling down the left arm, jaw pain and dizziness. A General Practitioner should be immediately consulted when a patient is having these symptoms.

For your back pain and back related problems, osteopaths are there to address your pelvic imbalance and disc injuries. Osteopathy can help you by re-aligning your pelvis, hips and lower back. This process stimulates the nervous system and thus may also help urinary tract infections, bowel disorders, gynaecological and prostate problems.

Osteopathy considers your physical needs to treat your upper back directly but also looks at the lower back and neck to make sure that the problem is not originating from there. They will take a look at your thoracic spine, rib alignment and your lower back alignment in a holistic approach to treating back pain.

Osteopaths also prescribe stretching and other exercises designed to prevent further pain. One of the fastest growing specialties in Australia addressing allied health problems is the practice of Osteopathy.

Posted on 27 May 2011

The Horrible Truth About Antidepressants

The Nasty Little Secrets behind the SSRIs

What they Never Tell You about Antidepressants.

Almost every day now, or so it seems to me, I am hearing from young people who are taking antidepressant drugs and who are suffering from a sexual dysfunction as a direct consequence. In men their dysfunction may be erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or sex drive, loss of sensation during ejaculation or loss of ability to climax at all. In women their situation may be similar – loss of interest in matters sexual, an inability to feel orgasm when it eventually arrives, or, worst of all, an inability to reach orgasm at all. These, I think you will have to agree, are pretty devastating side effects for a single drug to have.

When you get your antidepressant dispensed to you by your friendly Community Pharmacist there will be, tucked inside the box, a Patient Information Leaflet. This is an EU or FDA generated document that is supposed to mean something. It is supposed to impart at least some useful information. Let’s look at it for Prozac then, the most popular antidepressant of them all. Under side effects in the category:
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• Urogenital System and Reproductive Disorders: we have: difficulty in passing urine, passing urine too frequently, poor sexual performance, prolonged erections and the production of breast milk.

Then, under this misinformation there is even more untruths:

Most of these side-effects are likely to disappear with continued treatment.

This leaflet was last approved by the FDA and the MHRA (UK) in October 2010. No mention of female inability to orgasm, no mention of male ejaculatory failure, no mention of sexual anhedonia or sexual anaesthesia in both men and women and no mention of loss of libido or sex drive in both men and women. All the consumer of modern antidepressants is being told is that there maybe some poor sexual performance. This is meaningless, unfair and disingenuous. But unfortunately, it gets much worse.

Clearly the manufactures of these antidepressants want the consumers to continue consuming in spite of obvious side-effects. To do this they mislead them even further by asserting:

Most of these side-effects are likely to disappear with continued treatment.

With respect to the negative sexual effects of the SSRI antidepressants these most certainly do not disappear with continued use. In fact it has been my experience that they get progressively worse with continued use. And not alone that, and this is the really shocking bit, the negative side-effects on human sexuality that modern antidepressants can have, do not disappear even long after the medication has been stopped. Doctors who treat sexual dysfunction on a regular bases as I do, are beginning to now recognise a new post SSRI phenomenon called Persistent Sexual Anaesthesia. In my view it is nothing short of criminal that this possibility is not even hinted at on the Patient’s Instruction Leaflet that comes with the drugs.

If your sex-life has been adversely affected in any way by antidepressants then I would welcome hearing from you. The more people that know about this the better.

Posted on 26 May 2011
Pain Management

What to Expect If Your Knee Joint Pain Does Not Go Away Easily

If you are even moderately physically active, then you must have, at some point in your life, experienced knee joint pain. If the discomfort doesn’t go away in a few days of routine home care and relaxation, do you have to go and seek professional medical advice?

Here is when it is best to see a doctor:

  • If, as a consequence of injury, your knee has swollen up virtually immediately;
  • if it looks as if the bones are deformed;
  • in the event you can no longer bear weight (i.e., get up comfortably);
  • when you’ve got insufferable ache;
  • if you happen to have lost sensation below the injury site;
  • if the foot and ankle have turned cold;
  • or in case your knee area is red and warm and there’s an accompanying fever along with the injury.

Normally, knee joint pain can be resolved at home by rest, applying ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). If different symptoms, such as recurrent ache and swelling, persist, then medical care is probably in order.

How Knee Injuries Are Diagnosed

Should you decide to seek medical help, you will first be given questions to complete a medical history. Naturally, the physician will wish to know the main points concerning the injury, such as when, where, how it happened, to find out what structures in the knee are perhaps damaged. If the injury is due to a direct blow, then a fracture or contusion (bruise) might be the issue. If it was a twisting injury, then a cartilage or meniscus tear could be the reason for the pain. What else might have placed stress on the knee and to potentially trigger a tear in the ligament?

Be ready to answer other inquiries to further assist with the diagnosis. For example, was swelling present, and did it happen instantly or did you first notice it hours later? Were you able to stand and walk immediately after the damage? Is there discomfort in different areas, such as the ankle or hip? Does it damage especially bad when going up or down steps?

The physician will then examine the knee, first to make certain every part is where it belongs. If the kneecap is fractured or the patellar tendon is injured, the kneecap can slide out of position. The physician can easily check to see if the kneecap is sliding to the outside or lateral part of the knee; if that is the case, then the patellar tendon is dislocated. If the knee is held slightly flexed, then there may be fluid within the joint space, since joint space is maximal at 15 degrees of flexion.

Feeling the knee, referred to as palpation, comes next. The physician can correlate the particular location of the ache to the underlying structures like ligaments or muscle-insertion points. Palpation over the space between the bones within the front part of the knee, often called the joint line, could be associated to fluid or tenderness resulting from a meniscus injury. The doctor might examine the uninjured knee to the injured one by exerting stress on the unhurt knee to see how loose or tight the normal ligaments are.

X-rays of the knee may be advisable to make certain there are not any broken bones, but if no direct blow to the area has precipitated the knee joint ache, then plain X-rays or imaging of the knee via an MRI might wait till another time.

Posted on 26 May 2011
Critical Care

Basic ECG Interpretation For Beginning Nursing Students

If you are a budding nursing student and are looking for ways to understand the all important ECG simulators, either because you are preparing for your nursing exam, or because you just want a refresher so to brush up on reading the ECG printouts in the hospital setting, then you will want to go over this information.

Or, perhaps you are a nursing technician who is reading the ECG printouts in your daily job testing patient monitors with ECG simulators. You will find here a simple explanation of the basic ECG patterns which will constitute a baseline with which all the more complicated arrhytmic heart patterns will be compared.

In this article, we will explain the ECG, electrocardiogram, signal in the simplest possible terms. This should help you establish a baseline for your more comprehensive study.

First, consider the flow of blood through the heart sections

For the purpose of the explanation of the cardiogram, let’s first establish the naming: Atrium is the upper part of the heart, Ventricle is the lower, bigger part of the heart. Between them, there is a heart valve which is designed to open in the direction of the blood flow. The blood always flows in the direction from the atrium to the ventricle. The valve design prevents the blood from flowing in the opposite direction.

The flow of electric impulses follows the flow of blood

The electric impulses that regulate the contractions of the heart have their own pathway from their origin in the “sinus” section of the top of the wall of the atrium. Starting in the atrium, the initial signal will cause the contraction of the atrium. From there, the electric signal lines go through the dividing region between the atrium and the ventricle (the AV region), where the signals get significantly delayed in time. Then, they move through the walls of ventricle where they finally cause the contraction of the ventricle.

The ECG signal mimics the flow of the electric impulse through the walls of the heart

The normal ECG signal is composed of the phases P, QRS, and T. The ECG signal in time follows the electric signal passing from the “sinus” section of the atrium, through the atrium, the AV section, and finally to the ventricle. So, the sequence of the repeating pulses you will see in the electrocardiogram printout will be as follows: P phase which takes about 0.1s is a small pulse representing atrial depolarization which is associated with atrium contraction. After a delay, the next phase is

QRS complex phase take about 0.1s is a large pulse representing ventricular depolarization which is associated with ventricular contraction. The phases Q and S are actually slightly negative, while the phase R is strong and positive. Incidentally, as the valve closes, the atrial repolarization takes place which is associated with atrium expansion. This, however, is hidden due to the size of the ventricular depolarization signal.

Finally, the last phase is

T phase which represents ventricular repolarization, corresponding to the slower expansion of the ventricle.
The entire process then normally repeats itself. This is the basic normal heart beat ECG signal, in a nutshell. ECG interpretation made easy.

Posted on 26 May 2011

Exercise and Asthma

When the attack comes, you know you’re in trouble. You can feel the constriction in your chest as you struggle to catch your every breath. Sometimes, just a minor change in the weather can trigger an attack. At other times, just increasing your level of activity causes the wheezing to commence. However, in what turns out to be an irony of ironies, exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms experienced by an asthma sufferer. By strengthening the respiratory muscles, increasing lung capacity and improving your body’s ability to utilize oxygen, you decrease the sensitivity of your airways and hence, the frequency of asthma episodes. With constant workouts, you don’t get as many exercise-induced asthma attacks. Eventually, you will also reduce your dependency on asthma medication.

Thus, anyone with this condition should include a regular workout regimen. Unlike those who are physically fit, however, exercising with asthma requires following certain guidelines to avoid exercise-induced asthma attacks. By following these safety measures, you should be able to carry on a workout program to stay fit, strong and asthma-free.

The first thing that you should remember is that any workout for those with asthma is pretty much the same as that for any other person. However, instead of exercising for long periods of time continuously, you need to focus on training at lower intensity combined with shorter bursts of exercise so you don’t have to stress your lungs out too much and trigger an attack. For example, if you’re doing an aerobic workout, strive for only a 15 to 20 minute session of comfortable pacing with a few short bursts of high intensity in between.

The location of your exercise matters as well. It is generally recommended that those exercising with asthma do their workouts on water as this prevents their lungs from drying out. The swimming pool is a dust-free environment that is also an essential requirement for any successful workout for those with this condition. This is the reason why swimming is the most beneficial exercise for those with asthma. Aside from the fact that it strengthens the lungs and heart, the position assumed helps clear mucus from the airways. Jogging, cycling and walking are also great exercise alternatives, however, these will have to be done in clean and pollen and dust-free surroundings.

You must always have your inhaler with you during your workout session for obvious reasons. Your dependence on it will continue to grow less and less as you gain strength and endurance, but still, this is always a prudent precautionary measure to take. Incidentally, bringing your inhaler with you is always sensible whether you’re exercising or not.

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Do a thorough 10 minute warm-up before every workout session and never forget to cool down to avoid a narrowing of the arteries which can happen if you abruptly stop a session.

Finally, make your workouts fun and relaxing. Any asthma sufferer knows that stress can precipitate an attack, so it makes sense to ensure that you are not under any form of stress as you do your

A regular exercise program is necessary and beneficial for individuals with this condition. Just make sure that you follow common sense so you stay safe while exercising with asthma.

Posted on 25 May 2011

Are You Exfoliating Too Much?

Back when I was in Esthetics school, we were encouraged to try treatments, serums, peels… etc. on ourselves to get a feel for the effects it has on the skin. Every soon-to-be esthetician that was in my class was of course mostly interested in different products that exfoliate, because we are taught that exfoliation gives us balanced, pimple- free skin. This is true, incorporating exfoliation into your skin care regimen is usually necessary and has many benefits. It prevents acne, improves cell turnover, helps to maintain elasticity and collagen production which in turn prevents wrinkles and other signs of aging. The problem is, when some people see these results, they think that they will get even better results if they exfoliate all the time. I witnessed many red, irritated faces when I was in esthetics school, due to combining too many exfoliates on a daily basis. We all became extremely familiar with the idea that when it comes to exfoliation, less is more.

There are so many exfoliating ingredients in skin care products today, that a lot of the time we don’t realize why all of a sudden our skin is drying out and feeling extremely sensitive. Over-exfoliation triggers the inflammatory response, leading to a compromised lipid barrier that won’t function properly, a sensitized skin condition, and accelerated premature aging.

The signs of over exfoliation include…

• noticeable dehydration
• patchy areas of dryness
• skin tautness
• redness and itchiness
• increased sensitivity
• inflammatory acne and irritation

If you want to incorporate exfoliation into your skin care regimen, learn about the different types of exfoliates available and what they do. Then start slowly, using the product 3 times a week and after about 2 weeks if you feel that your skin is still uneven, incorporate the product into your routine more often.

Types of Exfoliating Skin Care Products

Manual or Mechanical – A topical skin exfoliating product which is manually moved across the skin’s surface with fingers or applicator. Dead cells are forced off of the surface with physical friction. This type of exfoliation is not recommended for those with severe acne or broken capillaries. Examples of this type of product are scrubs with granules and microdermabrasion creams.

Enzymes – A topical exfoliating product that has proteolytic enzymes that dissolve dead tissue. This is form of exfoliation can be gentle enough to use daily and is recommended for most skin types. Examples of enzymes commonly used in skin care products are Papain and Bromelin (Papaya and Pineapple).

Chemical – Also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) or Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) A topical bio engineered ingredient with the ability to dissolve the glue-like substance that holds dead cells together. Not recommended for daily use. In small concentrations can be used on most skin types. Examples of AHA’s are lactic acid and glycolic acid, BHA’s include salicylic acid. When using chemicals to exfoliate the skin, you should be aware of possible side effects.
I am a trained skin care specialist with expertise in product/ingredient knowledge and formulation, make up application and acne treatments.

I have been a professional freelance writer for 5 years. I write technical articles for various websites specializing in skin care, health, and nutrition.

Posted on 25 May 2011

Living Well Despite Asthma

Living with asthma can be a physical and emotional drain if not properly controlled. And let’s face it, your condition impacts your entire family with day and night time flare ups, and trips to the emergency room. Gain better control of your asthma by taking these 5 steps to effect a change in your lifestyle.

Develop An Asthma Action Plan – This is a plan that your doctor will develop based on the severity of your condition. It will probably include a peak flow meter, a rescue inhaler, and various medications that suppress your body’s reaction and those that can deal with the symptoms once they start to occur.

Committing to this regimen will lessen the peaks and valleys of this condition making it easier to live a more normal life with less fear and anxiety.

Keep Weight Controlled – Studies have shown that people who are overweight are much more likely to become asthmatic. And being overweight can not only exacerbate the condition but can greatly increase the likelihood of developing other related breathing problems such as sleep apnea.

A well balanced diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, fish, and grains will keep your body fit; lessen chances of other diseases that often result with obesity such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating well will also strengthen your immune system and increase lung function, both of which can result in a better quality of life.

Clean House – Clutter exponentially increases the amount of surface where asthma triggers can collect. Get rid of the piles – books, magazines, mail, clothing, and toys. These are places that are hard to clean or may never get cleaned.

Typical household triggers such as dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pet dander and seasonal pollen can collect and lie in wait. The result is that the least bit of air current can send them airborne for you to inhale and possibly trigger an attack. Get someone else to de-clutter for the same reason.

Give Attention To The Bedroom – This space more than any other in your home should be one of relaxation, rejuvenation, and sleep. However, dust mites often make this impossible. These tiny bugs are most prolific in the bedroom, and mores specifically your bed.

The warm, dark, and moist conditions that your mattress and pillow offer are ideal. And since they feed on dead skin cells (dander) that are constantly being shed, they are literally happy campers. The feces from these critters are one of the most potent asthma triggers, so it’s important to get this problem under control.

Encasing your mattress and pillows with dust mite covers can greatly reduce their population and make sleeping through the night a reality. Wash your linens weekly in water that is 160 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer to kill them. Sunlight kills the mites, so letting your bed air out frequently will also reduce the population.

Filter Your Air – Irritants that cause debilitating symptoms and flare ups come in both particulate and gaseous forms. Being able to continually trap and eliminate these irritants in one of the most proactive ways to live stronger. By removing the triggers you are following the first and best rule of thumb for asthma – eliminate the triggers.

Posted on 24 May 2011

Ease Your Anxiety With Abdominal Breathing

The way you breathe directly reflects the amount of tension you feel in your body. When you are relaxed you are breathing deeply from low down in your abdomen, however when you are feeling tense your breathing will become quicker and will be shallow, emanating from your chest area.

If you have an anxiety disorder, suffer from phobias or panic you will have a tendency to suffer one or both of the following breathing problems.

Shallow, chest breathing
Fast breathing, hyperventilation – this is where you breath out too much carbon dioxide which can in turn give rise to symptoms associated with panic disorder
Shallow or chest level breathing is very common in people who are anxious or fearful. A shy or introverted person will breathe in this way whilst amongst a group of people for instance whilst an extrovert will feel more relaxed and hence breathing will be slower and from the abdomen. Rapid breathing from the chest will lead to hyperventilation which in turn will bring on a number of symptoms including dizziness, palpitations or rapid heartbeat and tingling sensations in the toes and fingers.

The time-honoured cure for hyperventilation is breathing into a paper bag. By breathing in this way you take in more carbon dioxide which corrects the imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Abdominal breathing is equally effective in reducing the symptoms of hyperventilation, both theses methods work by slowing down the rate of breathing which in turn stops too much carbon dioxide being exhaled.
By learning to recognize the onset of hyperventilation and then deliberately slowing your breathing down you will dramatically reduce your risk of having a panic or anxiety attack.

If your anxiety disorder is causing you to breathe as described above then you will find practicing abdominal breathing on a daily basis will help in retraining yourself to breathe correctly which will in turn help bring relief from anxiety and panic disorder.

The benefits of abdominal breathing include:

  • An increase in the supply of oxygen to the brain
  • An improvement in concentration and focus
  • Improved excretion of toxins – many toxic substances get excreted via the lungs during deep breathing
  • Feeling more relaxed – deep breathing triggers the relaxation response

You will find it is extremely difficult to feel tense and anxious whilst breathing deeply from the abdomen. A daily aerobic exercise program would be beneficial too as it would help in increasing your lung capacity which in turn will lead to deeper breathing.

So, by teaching yourself abdominal breathing you will have another weapon to use against your anxiety and or panic disorder.