Avoid Heart Disease – Eat Healthy to Have a Healthy Heart

You are what you eat is a common phrase but it is true. If you have high cholesterol and eat only high fat junk food your heart will suffer from it. Make sure that you find a diet plan that allows you to eat a lot of vegetables along with a lot of healthy proteins. This will help you to lower your cholesterol level and weight.

You need to take care of your heart because one you get heart disease it makes life more difficult. You should have good habits when you are younger so that it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you get older. Find a plan that allows you to have healthy foods such as fruits and vegetable and avoid processed high fat foods.

A good rule of thumb when you are trying to figure out what to eat to maintain a healthy heat is to eat things that are grown. If they are made in a plant somewhere then they are probable not that healthy for you. If you still with all natural foods then you can be assured that you are getting the proper nutrient to have a healthy heart.

It is important to make your regular visits to your doctor. If you want to maintain good health then getting regular check ups can help you to accomplish this. It is again important to make a good habit of visiting your doctor regularly then it will become second nature to you.

Remember that bad things can happen to your heart if you abuse it. It is good to start by eating foods that are natural and avoid processed foods. You want to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating and exercising for your health. Make those regular visits to your doctor as well because it will ensure that if something is not right he will help you to correct it.

What is Sinus Tachycardia? – Some Useful Information on Sinus Tachycardia

What is sinus tachycardia. It occurs when the sinus rhythm goes above 100 beats per minute in an adult individual. They are regularly asymptomatic. Sinus trachycadia is normally associated with myocardial infarction. It is colloquially called sinus tach or sinus tachy. The rhythm increases and it starts from sinatorial node. The normal heart beat is 60-100 beats/min. In infants the rate is 110-150 BPM and older people have a lesser beat.

What are sinus tachycardia body signals? The indication is dizziness, chest pain, anxiety, shortness of breath is some of the ills of the disease. With exercising, stress, flight, fright and anger the rhythm could increase. These psychological situations could stimulate the sinus rhythms.

What is sinus tachycardia drug therapy? The most significant treatment is drug therapy. When going for therapy a patient’s case history and medical history should be taken into account. This children and breast feeding mothers are not advisable to take this treatment. Sinus node is the main focal point. Normally cardiac medicines tend to show negative reaction for a person who has acquired sinus node aberration. A thorough observation is important to cure the disease.

At times electric treatments and injections are required to bring the heart beat to normal. The heart beat should be brought to normal before further complications develop. The hearts functions could be hampered if they are not treated properly.

Radio frequency catheter ablation could also be used as a treatment for sinus tachycardia. Patients who do not want to go for medication shall try this as they respond more quickly. In other words it is removal of sinus node using the methods of surgery. But it is advisable that sinus node be adjusted instead of completely removing it. It is basically done to regulate the sinus tachycardia as they are source for the signs.

What is sinus tachycardia and why should it be cured soon? The final step to treating sinus tachycardia is surgery; however, it is the final resort. An open heart surgery with cardio pulmonary bypass is needed to deal with the situation. This is resorted only when all the other treatments fail to prove their results.

After Heart Attack Work Life – Keep That Blood Pressure Down!

When working after a heart attack, it is very easy to lose the discipline of monitoring your blood pressure and sharing the findings with your doctor. Taking your medication properly and logging both the medication and the blood pressure readings from many points in the day are necessary for your doctor to optimize your blood pressure medication and keep the zombie side effects to a minimum.

…or maybe I should calmly and quietly make that suggestion so mine does not go up…

Everyone is different and what makes one person’s blood pressure go up may not affect another at all. In my experience so far on this journey there are all kinds of situations that affect blood pressure, some up and some down and many of them do not necessarily make a lot of sense. For example, my blood pressure is often at its highest after waking up in the morning, even if I measure it in bed before I ever stand up or move around. Took me awhile to figure that one out even though the answer is pretty simple (but more on that in a bit). Some of the factors that control your blood pressure are under your control and some are not. The only way you can be sure you know what affects yours (and thus the health of your heart, brain, kidneys…) is to measure it often. Most importantly, measure it before and after situations you think might affect it or conscious efforts you undertake to achieve the right level. Otherwise, you will have no idea whether or not that situation or manipulation actually had any significant effect on your blood pressure.

Before I go on let me introduce myself in case you have not read any of my other articles. I am not a medical professional by any stretch of the imagination. I have no medical or related credentials at all. In fact, the only qualification I have is that I am living this myself. Everything in here is simply my experience and my opinion. It is my sincere desire that my words help you in some way but please do not wander off the path set by the professionals around your case or set by your own good judgment. My experience is simply that I had a severe heart attack at 44 years old and have been regearing my life and learning a new way of being in the world and working. These articles are my way of sharing my experiences with you in the hope that you find some nugget of value to you in your own unique situation.

The first thing you need to do is to determine what your daily pattern is. There are many things that drive this but the big ones are your physiology, your sleep (do you sleep well and long enough) and your medications. I mentioned earlier that it confused me for awhile to find that my blood pressure was often highest in the morning, even before I got out of bed or moved around much. I had all sorts of interesting theories running through my head on discovering that pattern ranging from my mattress cutting off circulation to dreaming about stressful or exciting things. Of course, once I understood how blood pressure medications work and how quickly most of them act and then fade away I was rather embarrassed by where my theories went. The simple explanation is that my blood pressure medications had worn off by morning. The point of all that is so that you can see that there is value in looking for the simplest explanation to what you see and see if that makes sense. Life after a heart attack will cause changes but they do not have to be complicated changes!

The example in the last paragraph leads me to my point in this section. Determine and record your daily blood pressure patterns right alongside your daily medication log. In my case, there is a very strong correlation between the medication’s effectiveness wearing off and my blood pressure rising. Since I do not want it to rise at all where I can help it I worked with my cardiologist to determine when I should take which medications so I can keep the pressure closer to the right level all the time. In the absence of keeping your own (and very honest) log of blood pressures and medication times and amounts, your doctor can only guess at amounts and times of day based on the averages found in studies and the one blood pressure reading they took when you walked into the exam room. This can easily result in being undermedicated, resulting in high blood pressure more than necessary, or being overmedicated, resulting in being more zombie-like than necessary. Measure your blood pressure often and record the results, medications and other notes you think may be important and present them to your doctor. He or she will appreciate having real information and the opportunity to adjust your medications as they need to be uniquely for you and for greatest success with the least medication.

Having your daily blood pressure cycles under control and your medication properly adjusted is very important to safely working after a heart attack. The pressure and fatigue of most jobs is probably going to play havoc with you so make sure you have the groundwork laid to help prevent that workplace havoc from harming your health any more than it has to. Once you get your medications balanced and your daily blood pressure cycles nice and steady in the good range make sure to keep monitoring. The stress levels of your work and life may go up or down, your heart and body may become significantly stronger or weaker, your metabolism of the medication may evolve and other factors may affect that daily cycle and change it over time. If those changes result in resetting your system for higher or lower blood pressures you may end up undermedicated or overmedicated even though you did not change anything. Keep on monitoring and working with your doctor to keep that blood pressure in its ideal range.

At least as important as getting good information for the decisions of you and your doctor is to keep taking your medication and keep taking it in a disciplined and conscientious manner. Blood pressure medication and the other medications that are protecting your heart after a heart attack can bring with them side effects that make it just plain hard to work. Fatigue, swelling, short term memory problems, dizziness, headaches, and just plain sleeping a huge amount can all happen on these medications. When you are tired of feeling like a zombie it is tempting to lower or stop your medications or to skip them because you want to be fully alert for some event. Do not do this! Blood pressure medication does not build up in your body. When your last dose wears off you are unprotected. In my case anyway, it does not take at all long. If I miss one of my times for taking my medication it doesn’t take more than an hour or two for my blood pressure to rocket right out of the safe range. For me, my chest starts feeling pressure (and sometimes pain) and it starts crawling into my throat and I end up taking a nitroglycerin tablet (which makes me dizzy and gives me a headache). While that cycle does serve to return my blood pressure to normal it has a few areas where it is not a good idea at all. First, my heart and other organs were subjected to a burst of high blood pressure unnecessarily. Second, my ability to perform in my work is impaired. Initially it is impaired by the distractions of pain and pressure and then it is impaired by the extra dizziness and headache of the nitroglycerin. Please also note that I am “lucky” in that I get warning signs when my blood pressure is rising. For many there are no such symptoms. If you are not monitoring you will not know.

Only you can keep your blood pressure down. If you are not monitoring and logging the results and medications and other events you have found to change your blood pressure your doctor does not have enough information to get your medication adjusted (and keep it adjusted) to where it needs to be uniquely for you. When you are working after a heart attack it is imperative that you keep that blood pressure down and your medications properly balanced at their optimum level or you will be harming your health, performing badly at work or both. Do you, your heart and your employer a favor and stay balanced!

Pulmonary Fibrosis, Protein and the Need For Good Nutrition

Pulmonary fibrosis is a serious disease that can possibly lead to increasing scarring of the lung tissues. The disease starts with injuries to the tissues, both within and between the alveoli (tiny air sacs) in the lungs. Continued damage leads to further scarring, which in turn can cause the lungs to become stiff.

A normal lung is flexible and pliant so that it can expand and contract for full breaths. The continued fibrosis (the medical term for scarring) makes breathing difficult and can lead to shortness of breath and a dry cough. Medications and therapy are usually used to treat pulmonary fibrosis, with the aim of improving lung function and quality of life for the sufferer. For those with advanced cases of pulmonary fibrosis or those who are not responding to treatment, there might need to be a lung transplant.

Timothy is concerned about his health. He has several problems that make him wonder if he does not have a severe problem developing. He goes to the doctor eventually with symptoms that include shortness of breath and a dry cough. In addition, he is always very tired and has lost almost twenty pounds although he has had no change in his diet at all. He has started feeling out of breath even when he is simply getting dressed and he can no longer do any of the things that he has previously enjoyed doing.

There are 300 million alveoli in each of the lungs, for a total of 600 million in the body. In each of these tiny air sacs, a small blood vessel removes oxygen from the blood and replaces it with carbon dioxide. This process is repeated every time that you breathe in and out and is necessary to keep the body supplied with oxygen.

Pulmonary fibrosis allows scarring to build up and make the lungs stiffer than they should be so that breathing is very difficult. There are several reasons that this might happen, including a problem with the nutrients inside of the body and a misfire in the healing process.

What Causes Pulmonary Fibrosis

After being diagnosed, considered to be a medical challenge in most cases, Tim will look at the factors that may have contributed to the damages to his lung. There are hundreds of factors that can damage the lungs and lead to pulmonary fibrosis, but some of the most common include:

– Environmental or occupational factors: there are a number of toxins and pollutants that you can come in contact with both in your job and daily life. Grain dust, sugar cane and animal droppings can also cause these problems as well.

– Radiation: lung damage can occur in people who are given radiation treatment for lung or breast cancer. This damage may not show up for months or even years, after the first treatment was done. The use of chemotherapy can also increase the risk of damages to the lung.

– Medications: certain drugs can be harmful to the lungs, including some chemotherapy drugs, some heart medications, some psychiatric medications and some antibiotics.

– Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD: when stomach acids back up into the esophagus, it can lead to damages not only to this structure but to the lungs as well.

– Lung infections and other medical conditions: some lung diseases, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, can lead to the scarring that increases the risk for pulmonary fibrosis. Other conditions that can lead to this disease: systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyostitis, poliomyelitis, Sjogren’s syndrome and acidosis. It may also be associated with scleroderma.

(Source: The Mayo Clinic)

There are some times when the disease has no known causes or risk factors. In these cases, it is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Timothy has never been a smoker nor has he ever had to have chemo or radiation treatment for any reason. The only factor that may have contributed to the condition is the work that he does in a factory. In addition, he has also had several bouts with pneumonia in the past few winters, but was never that worried about it until now.

After diagnosis, which involved a chest X-ray and a bronchoscopy (a method that allowed for a biopsy), Timothy is being given his treatment options for pulmonary fibrosis. One of the things that he is going to have to work on is improving his nutrition.

He will need to make sure that he is getting all of the nutrition that his body needs to stay strong and keep his lung function where it needs to be. He has already lost some weight and the doctor would like to keep him from losing more. While he wants to comply as much as possible, it is not easy for him to eat because he just does not feel up to it. One of the suggestions that the doctor makes for him is to use a protein supplement. He tries one, but it is too much for him and he gives up. He finally finds another option, which is small enough for him to consume without a lot of effort. For every serving, he gets 25 grams of protein without carbohydrates or fat. The additional protein is needed to prevent any further damage to his lungs and to keep his immune system working at its highest level.

Timothy is shocked though when his doctor tells him that he needs to start exercising more frequently. At first, it makes him feel even worse to move around, but after a few weeks, he finds out that he is actually feeling a little better and can breathe a little easier. He tries to make sure that he is also getting enough rest each night.

Once pulmonary fibrosis starts it cannot be reversed. It also cannot be stopped from progressing further. The treatments that are used are meant to slow this progression and to help keep the quality of life high.

Medications that are used to treat this disease include prednisone, a corticosteroid. Others include methotrexate or cyclosporine (both are immunosuppressants), and N-acetylcysteine, a derivative of a naturally occurring amino acid that may be added to the prednisone, which can slow the progression in some people. Another drug, pirfenidone, is being used in clinical trials and is showing some promise. (Source: The Mayo Clinic).

These medications can cause serious side effects, which can include diabetes, glaucoma, skin cancer and lymphoma. They may also cause the body to produce fewer red blood cells. Because these side effects are potentially as dangerous as the condition which the medication is treating, it is important that the doctor monitor for signs of improvement and discontinue the drugs if there is none after six months time. There are some people who will have no response on the medications at all. The treatment option of last resort for pulmonary fibrosis is a lung transplant.

In addition to these, there are therapies that are used to improve the quality of life. These include oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation. The wait for lungs to become available can be very long and emotionally draining for most people. In addition, they must make sure to stay as healthy as possible so that they can be ready for surgery whenever the call comes in.

References

Mayo Clinic Staff Pulmonary Fibrosis Mayoclinic.com

Hemorrhoids And Colon Cancer

If you suffer from hemorrhoids and are concerned about whether or not this condition can lead to colon cancer, you might want to read this article to help put some of your fears to rest.

To understand the differences between the two and whether or not there is a link between them, one needs to understand what each one is and what causes it. To some degree, they are linked but not in the way most people think. So let’s start with hemorrhoids first.

A hemorrhoid is a swollen vein or group of veins inside the anus. Some hemorrhoids are internal, meaning can’t be felt on the outside with a finger after bowel movement (in most cases) and some are external. External hemorrhoids are on the very end of the anus and almost always protrude after a bowl movement and, with severe hemorrhoids, sometimes protrude all of the time.

The swollen veins are not unlike varicose veins that some women have on their legs. They can be very painful depending on the severity but aren’t always. Sometimes a person can have hemorrhoids and not even know it if they’re mild enough. It isn’t usually until they notice some bleeding after a bowel movement that they even suspect that they have hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids are caused by a number of things. The most common are obesity, pregnancy, chronic constipation and/or diarrhea, and poor diet leading to the latter two.

Colon cancer is a completely different animal. Colon cancer is a malignant tumor inside the colon. The tumor can be on the veins of the anus but doesn’t have to be. Colon cancer is also caused by poor diet and in some cases pure heredity. Sometimes it just runs in the family and is almost unavoidable regardless of what you do. This is why many women are now doing testing for cancer genes to have preventative mastectomies like Angelina Jolie just did.

The only similarity between the two (hemorrhoids and colon cancer) is the bleeding in the stool, which is why if you first have this symptom you should see a doctor immediately to determine which it is. However, having hemorrhoids themselves does not have to lead to colon cancer. There is absolutely no link between them, at least none that has been proven or established yet.

Having said all that, and I am sure this has put your mind somewhat at ease, hemorrhoids are still no walk in the park. Left untreated, they can become quite serious and quite painful. I should know. I suffered from stage 4 external hemorrhoids for over 10 years. There were times when I was in pain for 4 or 5 days straight because of one bowel movement. When the doctor gave me the “good” news that I didn’t necessarily have to get colon cancer form these hemorrhoids, there were times I almost wished I could get colon cancer so I could be rid of the suffering. If you’ve never had external hemorrhoids you can’t imagine how bad they are.

However, if all you’re concerned about is whether or not you can get cancer from your hemorrhoids, you can rest easy. No link has been established yet.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to actually get rid of your hemorrhoids, you can read about how I got rid of mine in my signature. It’s a short 10 page report that won’t take long to read and it’s free. I think you’ll find it an interesting read if nothing else.

To YOUR Health,

Steve Wagner

Ernie Kovacs: Television’s Pioneer Of Visual Innovation And Comic Surrealism

Ernie Kovacs was television’s most original visual innovator and surreal comic genius, who made us see the world in a different way. He was a true artistic pioneer, who created his unique magic when the medium was just in its infancy.

The pictures that Kovacs conjured along the way, have had an enormous influence on a variety of television shows, as well as individual performers and writers who followed. These included: “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and “Saturday Night Live,” to name just a few. In addition, performers and writers, such as Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Chevy Chase, and Mel Brooks, all owe a great deal to this inspiring and creative free spirit.

In 1986, the Museum of Television and Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) presented an exhibit of Kovacs’s work, called “The Vision of Ernie Kovacs.” In the Museum’s booklet for the show, the Pulitzer Prize winning television critic, William Henry III wrote:

“Kovacs was more than another wide-eyed, self-ingratiating clown. He was television’s first significant video artist. He was its first surrealist…its most daring and imaginative writer. He was television’s first and possibly only auteur, and he was a genius… Kovacs’s genius lay in the realm of art. There, a genius is someone who causes an audience to look at the world in a new way.”

MEETING ERNIE KOVACS

In 1953, I first encountered Ernie Kovacs when I was 12 years old. Ernie’s early morning television show, “Kovacs Unlimited,” was being aired on network television in New York City on WCBS (channel 2). It was on this show that I first saw many of the visual sight gags, surreal illusions and characters that became an essential part of his astonishing and original vision. But as a 12-year-old kid, I just thought the show was very exciting, lots of fun and really cool!

As an avid fan of the show, I, immediately, joined Ernie’s Early Eyeball Fraternity and Marching Society (EEFMS) and, officially, became an EEFMS member. For years, I proudly carried my EEFMS membership card around in my wallet, and when called upon, would sing the EEFMS song, while saluting (left index finger extended, and held over left closed eye):

“Hail to thee, oh EEFMS members, thee so brave and strong,
Through hot Julys and cold Decembers, sing our EEFMS song.
EEFMS, oh EEFMS, EEFMS, oh EEFMS,
We say this now with no misgiving,
If you’re not EEFMS, you’re not living!”

Then on one spring day in 1953, my good friend Arnie Eastman and I decided to “crash” Ernie Kovacs’s studio at WCBS. Armed with our EEFMS membership cards, and the password: “It’s been real!,” we worked our way past the downstairs entrance guard and arrived, by elevator, at his studio floor. After we knocked on Kovacs’s studio door, we were greeted by a member of his staff, who told us to go away. But my friend, Arnie, who was very persistent continued to beg this staff member to let us in. Suddenly, we heard a voice from within the studio: “what’s the problem, Andy?” Then Ernie Kovacs came to the door, and after we explained that we were huge fans, and EEFMS members, he invited us into the studio, and seated us in two director’s chairs, right in front of the set! (wow!)

The set was comprised of a long table pitched on an angle, with the television camera bolted to the floor at the same angle. So when we viewed the television monitor, the table appeared to be in its normal horizontal position, not on an angle.

Then, one of Kovacs’s characters came out on the set carrying his lunchbox, and sat down at the tilted table. At the other end of the table sat another man reading his newspaper. Then each time the man with the lunchbox took an item out of his lunchbox and attempted to place it on the table, it would either slide or roll down the table into the lap of the man reading his newspaper. The finale of this sight gag came when the man with the lunchbox took out his thermos bottle, and attempted to pour some milk into his glass (which had been previously secured to the tabletop before the sketch began). The stream of milk moved at a bizarre angle, nearly parallel to the tabletop, completely missing the glass!

It was this classic sight gag stunt, and numerous other surreal effects, that shocked and delighted television audiences, and, ultimately, became a part of his renowned visual effects vocabulary.

After we stayed through the entire rehearsal of the show, Ernie Kovacs invited Arnie and me to join him for lunch! During lunch he regaled us with delightful anecdotes, as Arnie and I sat there hanging on his every word. Then after lunch, he asked us if we would like to see his office! – Arnie and I could hardly believe our good fortune, here we were, two unknown 12-year-old kids who Mr. Kovacs had never met before, and yet we were spending the day with Ernie Kovacs! (WOW!)

So after lunch, he took Arnie and me over to his office on West 57th Street, and he spent the afternoon with us, telling us fascinating stories, and showing us around his suite of offices. – Our favorite memory of the day was seeing the wild and wonderful collection of tribal artifacts, which Ernie had hanging and standing all around his private office – and the coolest thing of all was the border-cornice of shrunken heads surrounding the entire room!

THE EARLY YEARS and FINDING HIS PLACE

Ernest Edward Kovacs was born on January 23rd, 1919 in Trenton, New Jersey. He died in a car accident, just before his 43rd birthday, on January 13th, 1962.

Ernie Kovacs’ father, Andrew, emigrated to the United States from Hungary at the age of 13. After working at several jobs, unsuccessfully, during Prohibition Andrew became a very successful bootlegger, which enabled him to move his wife, Mary and their sons, Tom and Ernie, into a 20 room mansion, in a fashionable section of Trenton. But with the exception of this period during Prohibition, the family continued to live in humble surroundings.

Ernie’s interest in theater began in high school. At Trenton Central High School, Ernie came under the influence of his great mentor, drama teacher, Harold Van Kirk. Ernie received a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1937, with the assistance of Mr. Van Kirk. While working in Vermont in summer stock in 1939, Ernie became seriously ill with pneumonia and pleurisy, and spent the next year and a half in very serious condition in several hospitals.

It was during this time that his comedic talent began to show, as he enthralled the nurses, doctors and patients with his antics. (The doctors did not think that he would live). In addition, while in the hospital, Ernie developed a lifelong love and appreciation of classical music, and he kept his radio constantly tuned to WQXR, the classical music station, in New York City. In years to come, Kovacs would frequently use classical music in many of his sketches.

In 1941, Ernie found his first paid job in entertainment work as a disc jockey, at Trenton’s WTTM radio. He spent the next nine years with WTTM, becoming the station’s Director of Special Events. During this period, Kovacs experimented with a variety of “live” zany events, such as seeing what it would be like to be run over by a train (leaving the tracks at the last second), to broadcasting from the cockpit of an airplane (for which he took flying lessons).

During this period, Ernie was also involved in a local theater group, the Trenton Players Guild, in early 1941, doing some directing for the group. In June, 1945, the Trentonian, a local weekly newspaper, offered Kovacs a column, which he called “Kovacs Unlimited,” in which he found his voice as the local wag.

Ernie married his first wife, Betty Wilcox, on August 13, 1945. They had two daughters together, Elisabeth (Bette) and Kip Raleigh (Kippie). The marriage was an unhappy one, and they finally divorced on February 11, 1954. When the marriage ended, Ernie was awarded full custody of their two daughters, based on the court’s decision that his former wife was mentally unstable. In that same year Ernie married Edith (Edie) Adams on September 12, 1954.

In 1950, Kovacs had his first opportunity to break into television. He showed up at his audition at NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate, WPTZ (now KYW-TV) wearing a barrel and shorts, and got the job! Ernie’s first assignment was a show called “Pick Your Ideal,” a fashion and promotional show for the Ideal Manufacturing Company. Before long, he was also the host of “Deadline For Dinner,” which was a show where local chefs shared cooking tips and tricks. One night the guest chef did not show up, so Ernie was called into action to ad-lib at the 11th hour, and improvised his own recipe for Eggs Scavok (Kovacs spelled backwards).

Soon after, Ernie hosted and, ultimately, created a unique format for the groundbreaking show, “Three To Get Ready”(TTGR). This was the first regularly scheduled early morning show (7 to 9 AM) in a major TV market. Prior to this, it had been assumed that no one would watch TV at such an early hour. Although the show was billed as early morning news and weather, Ernie provided this, along with his own zany and original approach. When rain was in the weather forecast, Kovacs would stand on a high platform, and sprinkle water over the person reporting the weather forecast. On one occasion goats were auditioned for a local theater performance.

It was on the TTGR show that Ernie began to develop his ad-libbed, experimental style that would become his reputation. Among his many innovations early on, Kovacs allowed the so-called fourth wall to be breached, going beyond the boundaries of the show set to expose the behind-the-scenes action, at once shocking and fascinating the viewing audience, who had never seen anything like this before, as he went from interacting with the TV camera crew, to taking a tour of the control room, and chatting with the technicians. And then sometimes he went outside of the studio. He once, spontaneously, decided to wear a gorilla costume, and ran through a downtown Philadelphia restaurant.

When Ernie could no longer put up with his scant prop budget of $15 a week for the show, he solved the problem by asking his TV viewers to send anything that they no longer wanted, to channel 3, WPTZ. On that same day, the entire studio lobby was full of all the discarded stuff that his viewers had sent!

It was on this show that Kovacs found his milieu. Ironically, the failure of the highly rated show, “Kovacs on the Corner,” contributed to finding his place. He was gradually discovering that his true milieu was the television studio space, unencumbered by cutesy street sets, with crooked barber shop polls (the setting for “Kovacs on the Corner,” where there were too many creative collaborators). In the undecorated studio, he could give free rein to the flow of ideas, contrasting surreal mixtures of the commonplace and the unusual, which only he could visualize – he had to be in control.

As much as Ernie wanted to be in control of “the vision,” he relied heavily on his savvy crew, comprised of his special effects technicians, set designers, musical staff, cameramen, soundmen and others, many of whom had worked with him since the beginning, and knew his moods, idiosyncrasies and rhythms so well, that they were able to anticipate and improvise at a moment’s notice – sometimes inspiring, or even saving a sketch that was in trouble.

The process of creating new shows with a unique approach and original material, working with minimal scripts and very little rehearsal time, in a “live” television format of that period (there was no videotape, so you were performing without a net), was always a daunting prospect. By their very nature, the shows were experimental. Ernie set no limits for himself, constantly improvising and taking chances. Sometimes the results were brilliant and very funny, and at other times they were just inane and boring. From Ernie’s perspective everything was fun – success or failure – he was just a big kid, and the crew were his playmates.

But in the conventional world of television producers, and unsophisticated audiences, where high ratings were the badge of success, Ernie Kovacs was swimming against the tide, which was inevitable for such an innovative visionary.

Throughout his television career Ernie Kovacs always had a large cult following of avid viewers, and received constant praise from the critics. But, ironically, and perhaps, because of his inventive and experimental style, he was never able to consistently sustain the interest of the larger television audience, who had been conditioned by conventional sitcoms and vaudeville style variety shows.

CHARACTERS and SIGHT GAGS

As the incorrigible prankster, Kovacs also encouraged his crew to follow suit and improvise, and take chances. So on at least one occasion, the crew turned the tables on Ernie. On that day, Kovacs appeared as the inept magician, Matzoh Hepplewhite. The sketch called for Hepplewhite to hit a gong frequently. This was the signal for a sexy female assistant to appear with a tray with a bottle of liquor and a shot glass. Ernie (Hepplewhite) was supposed to take a snort, which was supposed to be tea. But the stagehands substituted real liquor instead of the tea. When Ernie took the snort of liquor, the expression on his face was priceless: realizing, of course, that every time he rang the gong he would have to drink another shot of real liquor! Since it was”live”television he had to continue on with the sketch. So at the end of the show, Ernie staggered off the set completely drunk.

As the madcap performer that he was, Ernie played a variety of roles, many of whom became recurring characters. These included the silent Chaplinesque, Eugene, who was the character who poured milk from his thermos bottle that never reached the glass on that tilted table. Ernie was also one of the three derby-hatted apes, known as the Nairobi Trio, who performed their mechanical antics to the tune of Robert Maxwell’s “Solfeggio.” They were regulars on the early morning show, “Kovacs Unlimited.”

One of my favorite characters was the effete poet laureate, Percy Dovetonsils, also portrayed by Kovacs, who spoke with a lisp, and often recited poetry, in between sips of his dry martini (once a stagehand slipped a goldfish into his glass, just as he was going on “live,” on the air).

In addition to the many characters that Ernie portrayed, there were many elaborate sight gags that he would perform that, often, only lasted a few seconds. One of my favorites is an underwater stunt, with Ernie playing himself, as the inveterate cigar smoker. In the sketch, Ernie is actually underwater, sitting in his easy chair with a cigar in his mouth, reading his newspaper. He then removes the cigar from his mouth and exhales a puff of white smoke! (The trick is that the “smoke” was actually a small amount of milk, which he filled his mouth with before going underwater).

KOVACS’S VISION and TECHNOLOGY

In the pioneer days when television was in its infancy – early 1940s into the 1950s – radio was still the reigning medium. As a result, the thinking about television as a medium, was very conventional. Directors of television productions would only use special effects, such as cuts or fades or dissolves, similar to the techniques commonly used in the movies at that time. The more sophisticated visual techniques that were available, such as super imposition (one image from one TV camera placed over a second image from another TV camera) was rarely used except in the most conventional way. Similarly, reverse polarity (throw a switch and turn positives into negatives), and reverse scanning (where images could be flipped upside down) were not used because early television generally stuck to realism. Most television productions at that time resembled filmed theater or vaudeville. Directors would just set up a stationary TV camera and let it run.

In the ongoing discussion of Ernie Kovacs’s unique form of visual comedy, much has been made of the technical wizardry involved, and the fact that he was ahead of his time. It is true that Kovacs was enthralled with these new electronic toys that had never been used before. He and his crew freely experimented with the technology, and realized that these techniques offered great possibilities. But, what was most important was determining what they would be used for. So the technology played a part, but the process always began, first, with Ernie visualizing a particular scene in his mind. According to the writer, Mike Marmer, who eventually worked for Kovacs:

“Ernie really saw pictures more than anything else. I don’t know where they came from, or why – they were just bizarre – but the point is, that that’s what he saw. He saw the shock of something.”

So for example: let’s say that Ernie had an idea for a sketch. He first saw a picture of a man (character) who sees a sign that says: “fly man wanted.” Then, Ernie saw a picture of the man walking upside down into the studio. Finally, the technology followed: by using the reverse scan function, the image of the man is flipped upside down, and “the vision” was complete.

FINALLY – RECOGNITION

Recognition of Ernie Kovacs’s artistic achievements has been woefully slow in coming. It was not until nearly 25 years after his death, that he began to receive the recognition that he deserved.

As I mentioned in greater detail at the beginning of this article, in 1986, the Museum of Television and Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) mounted a four-months long series “The Vision of Ernie Kovacs,” which showcased the diversity of his work. In 1987, Ernie Kovacs was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’s Hall of Fame. In 1989, on the occasion of television’s 50th anniversary, in a special issue of New York Magazine, Ernie Kovacs was named one of the medium’s top 25 stars of all time.

In the closing remarks in her wonderful book, “Kovacsland: a Biography of Ernie Kovacs,” Diana Rico wrote:

“The recognition is well-earned and long overdue. In his lifetime, despite a loyal contingency of fans and a supportive critical establishment, Ernie’s insistence on swimming against the mainstream tide prevented him from achieving the high prime time ratings that are regarded as the badge of success in network TV. But the same qualities that kept him from reaching the high numbers were what made him a special talent -the endlessly curious intellect, the love of experimentation, the boundless imagination, the subversive and surreal wit. Ernie Kovacs loved nothing more than to create his bizarre visions for the world to enjoy. We are fortunate that for a dozen years at the beginning of the most important medium of our time, he was able to do just that.”

Herbs For Clearing Phlegm

Phlegm is the name given to the excess mucus occurring in and secreted from the respiratory passages, mainly lungs, throat and sinuses. The sticky fluid of the nasal passages is not phlegm. Differing from this scientific view of the Westerners, the Chinese consider it as “congealed moisture” opposing the body’s Qi (or Chi). According to them while Qi, which is “vital energy”, is ‘light and flowing’, phlegm is just the opposite, ‘substantive and stagnating’. From the time of Hippocrates to the nineteenth century, phlegm was one of the four bodily humours (the others being black bile, yellow bile and blood). It was thought that phlegm caused sluggishness and laziness.

The color of phlegm, except when it is white may be indicative of some ailment or the other. Yellow, brown or greenish appearance implies there may be infection. Yellow means also that you may be suffering from the common cold. During the initial period of a flu attack, the phlegm may be colorless, when it is considered highly infectious. Later, it may turn yellow. In some cases, smoking renders the phlegm brown or brownish gray. In some instances, tuberculosis and, on a minor scale, bronchitis may make you cough up phlegm tinged with blood.

It is therefore important that you clear phlegm before it bothers you with minor infections or major illnesses. For this, you may choose to look for suitable herbs rather than take the usual prescription drugs. In that case, you will find quite a few herbal solutions to the problem of phlegm clogging your respiratory passages and making you acutely uncomfortable or even ill.

The Oriental Materia Medica along with the Thousand Formulas and the Thousand Herbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine provides a long list of herbs for clearing, according to the Chinese concept, both the types of phlegm, the ‘cold-phlegm’ and the ‘hot-phlegm’. Cold-phlegm is supposed to be ‘moist, thin and clear’ and the hot one ‘drier, thick and sometimes discolored’. Warming herbs clear cold-phlegm and cooling herbs hot-phlegm, as per the thinking of the practitioners of Chinese medicine.

The following are only some of those herbs found to be effective in clearing phlegm:

Bamboo: The Chinese call it Zhu. The edible shavings of the stem, which is called Zhuru, have a sweet taste and are used as an ingredient in a combination of Aurantium and Bamboo, an herbal remedy to stop nausea and vomiting resulting from phlegm. The combination contains triterpenes as its active ingredient. These clear phlegm and reduce inflammation.

Bamboo sap (the liquid form is called Zhuli and the dried form tianzhuhuang) has also got similar properties. It is used in a medicine called Baoying Dan, which is effective for fever and breathing problems in infants.

Bulbifera is rhizome, used as a component of Jia Kang Wan a medicine in several herbs useful for resolving phlegm by removing thyroid mass (phlegm mass).

Cynanchum, a rhizome of a plant with white leaves, is an important ingredient in the medicine Platycodon and Schizonepeta Formula (Zhi Sou San). It is useful in the treatment of cough. It helps remove sputum.

Fritillaria refers to two important species of the Lily family, Fritillaria cirrosa and Fritillaria thunbergii. The latter is good for clearing phlegm masses and tumors. Fritillaria is used in the medicine Platycodon and Fritillaria Combination.

Some other herbs and the medicines (put, along with Chinese names, between brackets), in which they are used as ingredients, include the following:-

FOR HOT PHLEGM:

Epicedium (Perilla Fruit Combination: Suzi Jiangqi Tang);

Sterculia (Yanhou Tang);

Trichosanthes (Ophiopogon and Trichosanthes Combination:

Maimendong Yin Zi);

Trichosanthes seed (Anemarrhena and Fritillaria Formula: Ermu Ningsou Wan);

Trichosanthes fruit (Trichosanthes, Bakeri, and Pinellia Combination:

Gualou Xiebai Banxia Tang);

FOR COLD PHLEGM:

Arisaema (Pinellia and Arisaema Combination: Qingshi Huatan Tang);

Centipeda (Xanthium 12: Kang Xieqi Pian);

Galitsis (Angelica and Mastic Combination: Xianfang Huoming Yin);

Inula (Schizonepeta and Pinellia Formula: Qingfei Cao San);

Pinellia (Pinellia Combination: Banxia Xiexin Tang);

Platycodon (Fritillaria and Platycodon Formula: Ning Sou Wan);

The list is by no means exhaustive. Before choosing one or more of the herbs for clearing phlegm, it is advisable to obtain the expert opinion of the practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in phlegm-resolving herbs.

What is Asmatic Bronchitis

Asmatic bronchitis is caused by untreated bronchitis. This is a medical condition where either of the large bronchus tubes are inflamed causing chest congestion, difficulty in breathing, coughing and wheezing.

The usual symptoms of bronchitis which are fatigue, fever, cough, wheezing, headache and respiratory problems are pronounced. Having chronic bronchitis for a long period of time is likely to lead to asmatic bronchitis because of the persistent irritation of the hair-thin structure found in the bronchial tubes as well as the accumulated mucus inside.

As of today, though asthma is a prevalent disease, no known cure has been developed yet. This is the reason why it’s important to prevent bronchitis from developing into this worse form.

Consult an ear-nose-throat medical specialist if the symptoms of bronchitis are visible for over a month already. Persistent and continuous irritation of the airways often results in the augmentation of mucus around the bronchus’s cilia. This obstructs air passage in and out the respiratory system. This causes shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing that leads to asthma in the long run.

Inflammation in the air passage causes blockage in the bronchial tube which is essential in filtering the air that enters the body’s respiratory system. Asmatic bronchitis is ultimately triggered by this relentless irritation caused by the blockage.

If you notice a loved one or friend with these symptoms extending for over a month, better get that person treated by a specialist at the soonest possible time. This way, the complications of asthma and pneumonia are kept at bay.

Rotator Cuff Muscle – Shoulder Pain

Rotator cuff muscles|shoulder pain (1): Supraspinatus

This is one of the three rotator cuff muscles infamously known for giving rise to shoulder pain. It arises from the fossa above the spine of the shoulder blade bone known as supraspinous fossa. It inserts into the upper facet of the greater tuberosity of the arm bone and from the capsule of the shoulder joint.

It assists the deltoid in moving the arm away from the side of the body (abduction). It also helps to roll the arm outward (external rotation). It is supplied by the suprascapular nerve from the upper trunk of the brachial plexus. The suprascapular nerve carries the C5 and C6 nerve nerve root fibers (especially the C5 nerve root fibers) to this muscle.

The tendon of this muscle is commonly involved in degenerative processes and may rupture. It can also be entrapped under the acromion.

Rotator cuff muscles|shoulder pain (2): Infraspinatus

Shoulder pain symptoms are commonly associated with a rotator cuff problem. The infraspinatus is the largest of the three muscles comprising the rotator cuff, the other two being supraspinatus and teres minor muscles.

The infraspinatus muscle arises from the infraspinous depression (fossa) of the shoulder blade bone and attaches to the middle portion of the greater tuberosity on the arm bone (humerus). It also arises from the capsule of the shoulder joint.

It functions primarily to roll the arm outward as in turning the palm forward so that the thumb is away from the midline of the body (external rotation). It is supplied by the suprascapular nerve from the upper trunk of the brachial plexus which carries the fibers of the C5 and C6 nerve roots, primarily the C6 nerve root.

Rotator cuff injuries occur because there is power mismatch between the muscles that roll the arm inward as in turning palm backward so that the thumb is toward the midline of the body (internal rotation).

There are very few muscles that can perform external rotation, namely the three rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor) and the posterior deltoid muscle.

In contrast, there are many internal rotator muscles and they are large and powerful. These include the latissimus dorsi, teres major, pectoralis major and subscapularis muscles. Most of the activities that we do daily are performed with the shoulder in internal rotation. Therefore the internal rotators become extremely strong and tight.

The external rotator muscles are used in lengthening contraction to stabilize the shoulder joint when it is internally rotated. Also, it is prone to attrition when caught under the acromion especially with the shoulder in internal rotation. As a result, the external rotators consisting of the rotator cuff gradually fail to the point that it can even rupture.

Therefore in all cases of nerve related shoulder joint pain using the eToims Twitch Relief Method, localized activation has to be performed first to the internal rotator muscles particularly the latissimus dorsi, teres major and subscapularis muscles. The pectoralis major muscle performs shortening contractions regularly, is not subjected to lengthening contractions and therefore treatments to this muscle can be included only after treating the other three internal rotator muscles.

© 2007 copyright www.stopmusclepain.com

Osteopath Explains When to Use an Ice Pack or Heat Pack

Ice packs and heat packs count among the most used home remedies for painful injuries. However, we often use these powerful healing aids without really knowing whether what we are doing is the right thing for our injuries. What really is the best thing for you – ice or heat?

The Role of Blood Flow in Recovery

First, it’s important to understand the role of blood flow in the recovery process. Your body is constantly circulating blood. This blood both distributes oxygen, nutrients and warmth, while at the same time removing toxins. When you injure an area, your body has an ‘inflammation’ reaction. This sees your body reacting to the injury by increasing blood flow to the area in an internal effort to remove foreign bodies and begin the healing process.

When to Use an Ice Pack

Treatment with an ice pack is usually administered in cases of acute injuries which have local inflammation. Inflammation is triggered by sporting injuries, overuse injuries such as tendonitis, deep bruising or even when you ‘put your back out’. The application of an ice pack reduces the flow of blood to the injured area, which in turn causes a reduction of local inflammation. By helping your body reduce inflammation there is less pressure on the region, which reduces pain and helps your healing process.

The most common use for an ice pack is on an ankle sprain. This can be really effective. If you put an ice pack on an injury as soon as the injury occurs, it helps minimize the inflammation. As the inflammation subsides, pain is reduced as well.

An ice pack is best used when you have had an injury in the past 48 hours and there is a lot of inflammation around the injured area.

Application of an ice pack may also be useful in chronic injuries, especially in cases where inflamed joints may be causing problems with mobility. Since icing an injured area can help control inflammation, conditions such as arthritis, can also be relieved by applying cold packs to joints.

How to Use an Ice Pack

Icing is most effective within 48 hours of an injury. After 48 hours, the benefits of using ice decline. An ice massage can be performed by applying ice directly to the injury. It is important to move the ice around and never allow it to sit in the same place as this can burn the skin. Ice should never be applied directly. Always wrap ice in a clean towel or a plastic bag.

While icing, it’s preferable to keep the injured area elevated above the heart. This acts to further stem blood flow and reduce inflammation. Never ice an area for more than 15 minutes at a time as the reduced local blood flow can lead to conditions such as frostbite. Consecutive applications of ice packs should be timed at least an hour apart.

Precautions When Using Ice Packs

An ice pack should always be used on recent injuries or on injuries where there is a lot of inflammation. Be aware that applying ice to which have a lot of nerve endings (such as a bone fracture site) can be painful and cause complications. It’s therefore recommended that you do not apply ice to these areas.

Injuries in that require blood flow such as broken bones, should not be treated with ice packs because applying cold to the injured area can reduce the blood flow to the injured area, which slows recovery.

In the neck region a cold cloth should be used instead of ice, as ice will significantly reduce essential blood flow to your head.

When to Use Heat Packs

Heat packs are ideal for use on chronic conditions. Despite popular belief, the term ‘chronic condition’ refers to an injury which has been present for at least three months. A heat pack can help dilate (or open up) blood vessels, therefore stimulating the blood flow to a particular area. Heat packs are perfect when dealing with areas where there is a lot of muscular tension like in the lower back, shoulders or neck region. Heat can also be used for injuries caused by overuse.

Heat should not be used immediately after an injury has occurred, especially one in which there is inflammation, as this will do more harm than good.

In conditions like osteoarthritis, where there is stiffness in the joints due to cold temperatures, a heat pack can be applied to provide relief.

How to Apply Heat

Heat can be applied using a heat pack. You can also fashion a homemade heat pack by heating a towel and applying it to the painful areas of your body. To avoid localised inflammation, heat should not be applied to the body for more than 20 minutes.

Precautions When Using Heat Packs

Heat should be applied very carefully in order to avoid any burns to your skin. Heating pads or hot towels should never be used for extended periods of time. Also, never use a heating pad or any kind of heat application while sleeping. Prolonged heating of an area can increase the risk of inflammation which will make you feel stiff again the next morning.

Using Heat and Ice Packs Together

Both heat and ice packs can sometimes be used together in cases where there is lots of inflammation or muscle spasms. If the muscle spasms and inflammation are located around each other, you can start off by applying a heat pack for 5-10 minutes, alternating with a cold pack for the same amount of time. This will help contain inflammation, while treating the tightness caused due to the muscle spasms. When combining heat and ice packs, always start and end with the heat pack

What happens if You’re Still Unsure?

If you’re still not confident in choosing whether to use an ice pack or a heat pack, simply give your GP or osteopath a quick call and they’ll be able to help you.

Breast Cancer – Radiation-induced Agony and Metastases – Part 3

The wife of a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago. She underwent mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She was well after that. She was a pride of the medical establishment and was invited to the “Celebration of Life” party. But it was not to be. Soon after receiving the invitation she did not feel well. Her arm swelled and the doctor said this could be due to the effect of radiotherapy done NINE years ago. In November 2002, she was hospitalised and diagnosed as having metastasis of the brain. She underwent radiotherapy. After the tenth treatment she developed severe lung infection and her white blood counts dropped drastically. Further radiation treatments (twenty more sessions) were abandoned. She remained immobilised in the hospital for more than two months. After that, she developed bladder infections. She was discharged from the hospital at the end of January 2003. In mid-March 2003, she passed out stools with blood and her blood pressure dropped (internal bleeding?). On 17 March 2003, my friend called to say that his wife had died that afternoon.

My experience in cancer work has shown that death and suffering do not come suddenly following the appearance of a small lump in the brain. Then, what about the blood in the stools? Could this be another of the effects of radiation? I have once said: “In serious cancer cases, even doing nothing could be better than taking the so-called scientific, proven heroic path.”

Stories from England

The Daily Mail of 31 March 1995 carried an article entitled: “Cancer Deception” by Paul Eastham.

Four angry members of RAGE (Radiotherapy Action Group Exposure) told the Members of Parliament’s Health Select Committee that “thousands of breast cancer victims were ‘fooled’ into having needless radiation which left them crippled and in agony.” They said doctors had assured them that radiotherapy was needed only as a precautionary measure after “their breast surgery and did not warn that their bones could crumble and they could lose the use of limbs.”

RAGE was founded by Lady Ironside who suffered paralysis of the arm after having undergone surgery and radiotherapy because of breast cancer. Her bone became brittle after radiotherapy and she suffered repeated fractures to her injured arm, collar bone and four ribs.

Lady Ironside said: “The radiographers weren’t frank with me. All of us in RAGE were told that there would be no profound side effects. We would suffer perhaps temporary nausea and exhaustion but no permanent injury … Perhaps I was trusting and foolish. Now I suffer severe pains and paralysis. If I had been properly informed about the dangers, I would have walked away and said, “No, thank you”, and taken my chances.”

Later, Lady Ironside discovered that nearly one in five breast cancer patients irradiated at one London hospital suffered severe injuries which would steadily get worse.

The suffering of Lady Ironside is not an isolated case of radiation side effects. Many others have also suffered like her. RAGE represents 1,000 breast cancer radiation victims and is in touch with 2,000 more.

Former art historian Lorna Patch, 72, was forced to stop working after her right arm was paralysed following radiotherapy. She said: “I was never warned about the risks. I am in constant pain. The condition is quite irreversible and progressive.”

Jan Millinglon is a 55-year-old headmistress. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1982. She had a lump removed and then underwent radiotherapy. Jan Millinglon claims that the hospital distributed leaflets at the time of her treatment declaring that the side effects were short-lived. Her right arm, however, is paralysed as a result of radiotherapy.

What Is Bell’s Palsy and How Do You Treat It?

Bell’s palsy is named for Sir Charles Bell, a 19th century Scottish surgeon who was the first to describe the condition. The problem is a form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to one of the two facial nerves, it is the most common cause of facial paralysis worldwide and one of the most common neurological disorders involving a cranial nerve.

Bell’s palsy can affect anyone, but rarely affects people under the age of 15 or over the age of 60. The condition is more commonly seen in young adults, and persons of Japanese descent have a slightly higher incidence of the condition. Onset is rapid and in 80% to 90% of patients it subsides spontaneously with complete recovery by 8 weeks.

It is more common in pregnant women, people recovering from a viral infection, and people with diabetes. Recurrences which occur in about 20% of cases may appear on either side of the face.

Causes of Bell’s Palsy

The condition occurs when there is a block of the 7th cranial nerve by an inflammatory reaction which may be the result of; an infection, a tumor, hemorrhage, meningitis, hypertension, local trauma or Lyme disease. Often people with this problem have a deficient immune system possibly due to genetics, unresolved or chronic illness, improper diet, exhaustion, exposure to toxic chemicals or drugs, or undue physical and emotional stress.

Signs and Symptoms

Rapid onset of mild weakness or even total paralysis on one side of the face occurring within hours to days. Possible aching of the jaw, or behind the ear and mouth droop. Taste perception can be distorted and there is a sensitivity to sound. Bell’s palsy can interrupt the eyelid’s natural blinking ability, leaving the eye exposed to irritation and drying.

Diagnosis

Based on clinical presentation and exclusion of other reasonable possibilities.

Patients often fear that they have suffered a stroke, but Bell’s palsy is not related to stroke. Electromyography helps to determine nerve damage and blood tests are used to rule out acute causes such as Sarcoidosis or Lyme’s disease.

Treatment of Bell’s Palsy

Recent studies have shown that steroids are an effective treatment for Bell’s palsy and that an antiviral drug such as acyclovir used to fight viral infections, combined with an anti inflammatory drug such as the steroid prednisone, used to reduce inflammation and swelling may be effective in improving facial function by limiting or reducing damage to the nerve. These drugs should be given within 24 hours of onset of paralysis. Lubricants for the eye and night time patching may be necessary to protect the eye.

A variety of non pharmacologic measures have been used to treat the condition, including physical therapy and acupuncture. Supplementation with cell signaling molecules has shown interesting, drug free possibilities.

When Does a Back Injury Become a Long Term Disability?

Have you ever pulled your back at work? A surprising amount of workers suffer from back injuries, but what makes one back injury a short-term affair, while others can turn into a chronic, long-term disability? This was the question burning in the mind of researcher Judith A. Turner, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle. She and her colleagues set out to find the answer to this question by determining the risk factors in long-term disability after a back injury.

The research involved more than 1,800 workers that received workers’ compensation. These workers had filed a claim 3 weeks after a job related back injury, on average, and were analyzed at one year after their injury. To determine the risk factors the researchers looked at many different variables including job characteristics, employer response, psychological factors, and health care providers.

The goal of this study was not only to find out risk factors, but to be able to use these risk factors to help target those at risk and work on prevention for long-term disability due to a back injury. After studying the risk factors that were found, the researchers developed a statistical model that was estimated at an 88 percent accuracy rate, for identifying the workers who are at the highest risk for long-term disabling and those who would and would not be disabled one year after a back injury.

What were the risk factors? While there were many different risk factors, the ones that stood out were:

Severe initial back injury (of course);

Pain that spread down the leg (signifying radiculopathy, or spinal nerve roots concern);

Previous injuries resulting in time off work (one month or higher);

First doctor seen (whether they were a specialist or not);

Whether or not a chiropractor was seen (those who saw a chiropractor were less likely to be disabled);

Whether or not employers provided accommodations (such as lighter workload or an easier, less stressful or less physical job)

and Whether or not the job was stressful or hectic;

Surprisingly, psychological factors that were studied were not significant risk factors.

Whether or not the initial back injury was severe was definitely a factor, but researchers found that the other risk factors seemed to be independent upon the severity of the initial injury.

Researchers are hoping the new statistical model based on these risk factors help in future prevention of back injuries turning into chronic, long term disability.

Causes of Sharp Lower Back Pain – Get Relief – Treatment Options That You Need To Consider

What causes sharp lower back pain?

Have you ever wondered what you can do about sharp lower back pain?

1.) Introduction

If your pain occurs fairly frequently, you could be suffering from lumbago or sciatica. Other causes of sharp lower back pain include a muscle strain or a herniated disc, for example. Although we all know it, we do not usually go to see our physicians. Now is perhaps the time for you to go for a medical check up and take the doctor’s advice. Doctors try to determine the causes by learning from the patients about their physical activities, such as if they have been indulging in heavy work involving the lower back. This can include lifting heavy weights or working with poor posture.

2.) How Back Pain Can Start

It is always best to remember that injuries may result from the extensive use of a person’s lower back muscles. Although we already know this, we sometimes forget. It is best to never put sudden pressure or strain on the lower back. When lifting things, do not become jerky with your movements.

Since any unattended pain can become chronic, it is best to start on the treatment as early as possible. This means you are facing the fact that you have back pain early on and not trying to think it will just go away. Many people do not pay heed to pains that come and go, though they may cause a sharp lower back pain. Sooner or later the pain starts to persist, refusing to go away in response to temporary remedial measures like over the counter medication. Doctors advise against engaging in impossible positions during exercises and exerting the body in any abnormal way or twisting it unnaturally which would cause sprains and strains.

3.) List of Pain

A large number of patients fail to explain their list of pains, nor do they tell the doctors in a cohesive way all the activities that could have caused the condition. A general kind of ache could start spreading from the upper back to the lower back. Numbness and tingling may occur sporadically at first, but become more frequent as the days go by. Muscle spasms will be examined by the doctors and he will also palpate the spine to look for displacement of muscles in the abdominal region.

4.) Conservative Treatment Options for LBP (Low Back Pain)

One of the best treatment options for people with lower back pain is the use of a low profile back support. These braces can help you feel more secure and they can also help to reduce your pain very quickly. When you need a brace for security or pain relief, it is wise to get medical advice for your particular situation from your local, licensed orthotist. This is true when you want medical advice on braces. General health advice should come from your physician.

Natural Cures For Shingles – Home Remedies and Treatment

The disease which is caused by the reactivation of the herpes zoster virus is called Shingles. It is also known by the name of herpes zoster. It is a localized skin rash which is very painful. Usually there are blisters on the top of the reddish skin. It is similar to chickenpox and is also caused by the same virus.

The virus of the chickenpox becomes reactivated and result into shingles but what is the reason behind this reactivation is not sure. Some of the major conditions which accelerate the reactivation are fatigue, stress, HIV/AIDS, treatments of radiation, cancer, due to weak immune system and due to some injury in the skin where rashes occur.

Shingles can affect many parts of the body depending upon the involvement of the nerves.

1. Extreme sensitivity or pain is one of the main symptoms of shingles. Different types of sensation can be experienced by a person like burning, shooting, headache, fever, chills, itching etc. One should take immediate medical help if these symptoms appear on the face especially near the eyes.

2. After one or two days the rashes with red bumps and blisters erupts on the skin with full pain. First they are filled with pus and after they form scabs by 10-12 days.

3. After two -three weeks as the scabs fall off, the rash disappears but result into the scarring.

4. In some patients postherpetic neuralgia is developed in which even after the rash disappears the pain remain for a long time.

Some of the natural cures of shingles are also available –

1. Apple cider vinegar is very effective for shingles. Make use of apple cider vinegar, it will reduce the pain caused by shingles. Even apple cider vinegar can be applied directly on the affected area by dabbing it with a soft cloth and let it dry. Repeat this process as often as needed by you. It will help the blisters to heal more rapidly.

2. As vitamin C help to boost our immune system. So make a habit to intake vitamin C in large quantity that is in between 2000 to 4000 mg.

3. You can also get relief from pain by the intake of MSM. So take 1000 mg at least two times a day.

4. Make a paste by mixing a small quantity of cayenne pepper and aloe vera gel. Apply it to the affected area. You will get immediate relief from the pain of shingles.