What Causes Heart Disease?

There are two basic underlying reasons of what causes heart disease. The first is hereditary, and the second is lifestyle. The following are high risk factors of developing some kind of heart disease.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • High blood uric levels
  • Metabolic disorders – most notable Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

How can I help prevent it?

Of course, there is nothing you can do about the hereditary factor, but there are many ways in which you can change your lifestyle to lessen your personal risk factor of what causes heart disease.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating correctly is one of the major factors, so ensure that you eat a well balanced diet which includes plenty of fruit and green, leafy vegetables
  • Take moderate exercise.
  • Quit smoking
  • If you are Diabetic, ensure that you control the condition and keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels.
  • If you are overweight, seek advice to follow a sensible diet to help you lose the weight
  • If you lead a highly stressed lifestyle, this can also be a contributory factor, so it would be wise to look into some stress management issues.

As you can see, a lot of the factors are something which you can take direct action to avoid. This is especially important if there is a family history of the disease. The most crucial element is diet and you should be looking to eliminate fatty, high sugar or processed foods as much as possible. This includes cream, butter, high fat content red meat, white flour and sugar, as well as avoiding excessive consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol.

With a little thought and planning, you really can change your lifestyle so you are not at the mercy of what causes heart disease.

How to Stop Hair Loss and Grow New Hair?

Are you suffering from extreme work stress and find your hair falling out of the brunches? The fact is, there are several hosts of reasons that could cause you to lose your hair. Causes of hair loss can include things like stress, lack of care, nutrients, genetic as well as medication.

For example, if you are short of amino acids, minerals, or vitamins, your hair follicles can retard and stop growing new hair cells. If you continue to left it untreated, you could be facing the prospect of baldness for the rest of your life.

So what can you do right now to prevent hair thinning in order to make sure you don’t end up bald?

When it comes to hair, it is always better to treat it early. Don’t wait till you lose so much hair before you decide to take action. With suitable hair care and regular treatment, you can prevent and minimize such hair thinning problems.

Here are 3 tips that can help you stop hair loss and grow new hair naturally.

Tip 1: Brushing Your Hair

To stimulate blood flow to your scalp, make sure you brush your hair with a wide brush instead of a curler. Avoid rough brushing as it can cause damages to your delicate hair follicles.

Tip 2: Massage Your Scalp

This is an easy to do task if you want to regrow your hair naturally. Just use your fingers and massage your scalp for at least 5 minutes per day. You can do this while you are watching a show, shampooing or just before you head to bed. Massaging your scalp increases blood flow which can help to promote and invigorate your hair follicles.

Tip 3: Shampoos

Avoid sulfate laden shampoo as it can make your hair dry and brittle. Try to choose organic or natural shampoos that is less harsh on your hair cells.

Minimally Invasive Atrial Myxoma Surgery – A New Painless and Scarless Solution to an Old Problem

Atrial Myxoma is the most common primary cardiac tumor. In the adult population, 50% of all benign cardiac tumors are Atrial Myxoma. We surgeons treat quite a number of these lesions because of their frequency. The good news is that the potential for a permanent cure after resection is very high. New minimally invasive atrial myxoma surgery techniques are now available in specialized centers. Most atrial myxomas arise in the atrial chambers inside the heart and tend to be friable and gelatinous in consistence. There presence inside the heart can cause several symptoms:

* Tumor occlusion. In some cases they are so bulky that can actually interfere with the blood flow inside the heart. Patients with this situation often complain of shortness of breath, palpitations and fatigue even with light exercise. This is a life threatening condition that needs a prompt evaluation and management

* Embolic manifestations. Atrial myxoma tissue is friable and can break off into the general circulation and cause strokes, heart attacks, leg gangrene and other embolic complications

* Constitutional manifestations. Some patients experience fevers, headaches, malaise and other vague symptoms that warrant further investigation

There is also a good percentage of patients who have absolutely no symptoms and are lucky enough to find out because an imaging test (MRI, CAT scan or Echocardiogram) of the heart was obtained for other reasons.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms you should seek medical advice and inquire whether an echocardiogram can be obtained to rule out the presence of an atrial myxoma inside the heart. Echocardiograms are simple, non invasive imaging studies that can show the cardiac tumors and help make a diagnosis before any serious complications arise.

Once the diagnosis is made it is time to find a heart surgery center that can treat this problem and allow the best postoperative recovery. Most Minimally invasive heart surgery centers can now offer a definitive treatment with atrial myxoma surgery performed through a tiny 2″ incision hidden in the skin fold underneath the right breast. The atrial myxoma surgery is carried out in between two ribs and does not involve any bone cutting. Most patients recover promptly, with minimal pain, no blood transfusions and superior cosmetic results with a scar effectively out of sight. The overwhelming majority of patients can return to their homes and families two days after surgery and back to work in one to two weeks.

It goes without saying that this is a great alternative to the old-fashioned atrial myxoma surgery carried out by splitting the breast bone with a 10″ incision in the center of the chest. This traditional approach poses a significant delay to recovery and is associated with more bleeding, pain and much longer hospital stays.

Now that you are informed consumers, DO NOT BE SHY about asking about minimally invasive options. If your local surgical service does not offer this option consider contacting a minimally invasive and bloodless heart surgery center to discuss your case and plan your treatment. It is certainly worth a trip out of town to have the best treatment for your heart. Most out-of-town patients are allowed to drive or fly back home within a week after surgery and can then follow up with their local cardiologist.

What Smoking Does to You – Good Reasons to Quit Today

When you stop to consider what smoking does to you, you should find some very good reasons to quit smoking today.

Due to the fact that cigarettes are a cocktail of chemicals, they are the most health-damaging of all nicotine and tobacco products because of the way the smoke (with over 3,000 different chemicals) delivers toxins into the body.

Smoking not only causes cancers of the respiratory system, it also multiplies the risk of cervical cancer by 4 times, doubles the risk of breast and stomach cancers and is considered to be responsible for 40% of bladder and kidney cancers.

With wrinkled skin and yellowed teeth, many smokers look a lot older than their age; it is also the major preventable cause of macular degeneration, an irreversible condition which causes blurred central vision in older people.

The Effect Of Smoking:

  • Smoking causes some 50 diseases, 20 of which are fatal. When you smoke, you have a two to three times higher risk of having a heart attack as it increases your blood pressure as well as the tendency for the development of blood clots, both precursors of heart disease and possible heart attacks or stroke.
  • Smoking effects include fatal diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema, pleurisy and lung cancer.
  • Smoking has shown to be an indicator in the development of dementia and other cognitive illnesses.
  • Smoking is hard on the heart, but the fact is, tobacco use plays a role in a multitude of diseases that ultimately lead to disability and/or death.
  • Heart attack and stroke UK studies show that smokers in their 30s and 40s are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers.
  • Research published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that smokers over the age of 40 have a much faster rate of memory loss than non-smokers.

The Effect Of Smoking On Women

Women of childbearing age who smoke face higher rates of infertility and greater risks for complications during pregnancy. Women who quit smoking as late as the first trimester may diminish some of these risks, but the risk of certain congenital malformations – such as cleft palate – is increased even in women who quit early in pregnancy.

Smokers have a fourfold risk of having a low birth-weight baby; such babies are more likely than normal-weight babies to have impaired physical, emotional, and intellectual development.

The health profession now view smoking as the most preventable cause of death in the modern world.

Research shows that one of the most important elements in successfully stopping smoking is planning ahead and that hypnosis for smoking is more effective in helping smokers quit, out of all the new methods including Nicotine Replacement, Group Therapy, and Acupuncture amongst many others.

Workouts For Chest Muscles – How to Build a Rock Solid Chest Fast (Proven Exercises & Routine)

If you’re aspiring to build a rock solid chest then its important to know which workouts for chest muscles you should do. There is so much information available today it is so easy to get both overwhelmed and confused. Lets take a look in this article at some of the most effective exercises and a routine that will get you good looking, solid chest muscles. Very important to start with a warm up as this gets a blood supply into your pectoral region. Training cold muscles and tendons will eventually lead to injury and set you back for weeks or even months.

~ Workouts For Chest Muscles:

Compound exercises such as the barbell and dumbbell bench press should be the foundation of your routine. Each movement has a positive and a negative so make sure that you lower the weights slowly on the negative part. There is far to much sloppy form in the gyms these days so do not sacrifice strict form for too much weight.

Secondary movements like flat and incline dumbbell flyes and then some cable crossovers can be performed after your bench press moves. Incline bench press and dumbbell press works the upper part of your chest known as the pectoralis minor. Always keep the bench lower than 45 degrees incline here otherwise you will just be putting to much emphasise on your front deltoid (shoulder muscle).

Stretching is just as important as your weights workout. This believe it or not will speed up your muscle growth and also prevent injury. Aim to stretch at the end of your workouts for chest muscles when your pectorals are fully warmed up and flexible. Give your pecs at least 72 hours rest before training them again and its a good idea to train them on the same day as your shoulders and triceps as these are all “push” movements. This will prevent over training and speed up your chest muscle growth.

Workouts for chest muscles are easily put into the following routine: Alternate these 2 routines – Chest-shoulders-Triceps then next workout Legs-Back-Biceps and either Mon-Wed-Fri or Tues-Thurs-Sat are very effective.

Building chest muscle is easy when you know how.

Cracking Joints – How to Deal With Them

Joints are designed for movement, the rotating and angular movements between various bones are made possible by the joints that we have in our body. When joints are subject to strenuous work, sprains, dislocation and cracking joints are some of the issues that you have to deal with.

The joints in our body allow a wide range of movements ranging from the limited movements of the wrist to the complex rotating movements of the shoulder joints. The end of each of the bones is covered with a smooth thin layer of tissue called the synovial membrane. The two bony surfaces never touch and are always separated by the thin layer of fluid. Outside the synovial membrane the joint is enclosed by a tough, fibrous capsule. It is when this protective mechanism is disturbed that we experience the problem of cracking joints.

Joints are strengthened by bands of ligaments. Fibrous ligaments are elastic and cover all the joint surfaces; thereby acting as a kind of shock absorber. These ligaments complement the tendons and other connective tissue in maintaining the mobility of the joints. The numerous firm ligaments keep the joints together, connect the bones and give stability to the joints by preventing too free a movement and help to avoid cracking joints.

Let me explain this further with an example. The kneecap serves as protection for the front of the knee joint against the risk of an injury from external stress forces. As the knee bends the ligaments are stretched. If you crack the joints of your knee forcefully, it can lead to the problem of cracking joints in the knee accompanied by the swelling of the joint and the particular area. The affected joint then has to be rested in a position most comfortable for the patient for providing immediate relief.

Safeguard against Cracking Joints: Avoid all pressures on the affected joint to ensure proper healing. In case you find that the muscles surrounding the joint are sore, you could gently squeeze the muscles to improve the circulation and bring in a feeling of relief. You could also apply a cold compress at the affected area to bring in symptomatic relief. Do not forcibly crack your joints to relieve the stress, it only adds to the problem. The affected joint should be carefully manipulated by a medical practitioner and further deterioration should be prevented. Even mild injury to the bones can cause the problem of cracking joint.

Role of Physiotherapy in Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction or Jaw Pain

Jaw pain is a very common problem. The condition is sometimes known as TMD (Temporo Mandibular Disorder). These symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain with jaw restriction and locking. Pain may be felt in the jaw joint, jaw bone, teeth, jaw muscles, temple region, ears and neck. This condition can also cause headaches. TMD can have a devastating effect on your life, interfering with eating, laughing, yawning and even talking.

Causes of Jaw Pain

  • An injury, such as a blow to your jaw or a fall onto your chin.
  • Surgical procedures in and through mouth, throat, stomach or lengthy dental procedures, where the jaw has been held open for an extended period of time.
  • Clenching or grinding (bruxism) your teeth.
  • Upper and lower teeth not meeting together properly (mal-occlusion).
  • Missing several teeth in a row.
  • Arthritis and joint damage in Temporo Mandibular junction
  • Neck postural problem / stress.
  • Resting your chin on your hand as you work.
  • Dislocation or pinching of the disc in the jaw joint, this can cause locking or clicking in the joint.


Making an accurate of your TMD condition is essential so an effective treatment regime can be implemented for your particular symptoms. Physiotherapists will assess your jaw joint and muscles, your neck and your posture. If there is a problem with your bite or if there is any unusual or excessive wearing of your teeth then seek opinion from dental surgeon. If your symptoms are more severe you may need to see an oro-facial specialist who will screen for any internal derangement or damage in your joint with a CT or MRI scan.


Modalities such as TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve stimulation), Ice, Heat, Ultrasonic therapy and laser therapy to provide pain relief.

Manual therapy to restore movement to the TMJ and cervical spine.

Myofascial release of the muscles in the neck and facial areas.

Therapeutic exercise to improve joint movements, strengthening the facial muscles and correct forward head alignment.


Pulsed ultrasound at 0.3 to 0.6 watts per sq cm over the lateral poles of the temporomandibular joint condyles with a small transducer for 2 to 3 minutes per side. The more inflamed the joint, the lower the ultrasound setting should be. If any temporomandibular joint-or ear pain reported by the patient after Ultrasound application, this treatment should be discontinued for four to five days.

Continuous or pulsed ultrasound for tender masseter and anterior temporalis musculature at 2 MHz / 0.5 watts per sq cm 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on area to be covered. This modality is most effectively applied at muscle-tendon-bone junctions.

Galvanic current

Galvanic and modulated direct current stimulation can be used over the lateral capsule of the inflamed temporomandibular joint at a comfortable sensory level for 8 to 10 minutes. The dispersal pad should be placed on the ipsilateral cervical region.


Only pulsed diathermy should be used over and around the temporomandibular joints when joint inflammation/ effusion are suspected. Treatments usually range from 6 to 10 minutes per side with settings of 15 to 30 watts. Duration and intensity should be inversely proportional to the degree of inflammation in the joint. This is an ideal treatment for the acute inflammatory response to injury.


Cold compresses can be effectively used over the inflamed temporomandibular joints 15 minutes per application following other therapeutic modalities.

If you grind or clench your teeth or if you have malocclusion problems then your dentist may need to make you a night splint (occlusal splint). The splint will hold your jaw joint slightly apart while you sleep even if you are clenching, preventing compression of your jaw joint. This helps your jaw muscles to relax and reduces the swelling and inflammation in your joint.

If you have other dental problems, such as cavities, that are causing pain, you may be chewing on the other side only. With time this will cause irritation and damage to the side being overused. You will need to have these dental problems fixed to prevent a recurrence of the TMD.

Fracture and Bone Healing – What Your Body Requires

Bone healing occurs in four stages – Haematoma formation, cellular growth, callus formation, and ossification. When a fracture occurs there is bleeding from the vessels into the fracture site. Aseptic inflammatory response follows (except the skin is broken). The blood clots and forms a haematoma and inflammatory exudates around the damaged bone ends.

The blood clot is not absorbed; rather it becomes a part of the bone with time. Later, fibroblasts and capillaries from adjacent connective tissues and blood vessels spread into the haematoma and exudates, and form the granulation tissue.

This granulation tissue is referred to as provisional callus. Osteoblasts multiply from the inner surface of the periosteum and invade the granulation tissue to form the callus. In about 6-10 days, the granulation tissue is converted into a binding tissue called callus. The callus surrounds the bone at the site of fracture and increase the bone thickness.

The osteoblast ensures that the required mineral salts such as calcium and phosphate ions are deposited on the callus to strengthen it. The osteoclast remodels the new bone tissue ensuring its smoothness. In the adults the healing process takes about 2 to 3 months, whereas in children it is usually between 4-6 weeks.

Factors that promote bone healing:

1. Adequate rest: Adequate rest enables the body to mobilize all materials needed to fight stress and promote healing. Rest enables the body to produce granulation tissues as quickly as possible.

2. Good nutrition: Balanced diet rich especially in proteins and vitamin c is needed to promote bone healing. Vitamin c which is the healing vitamin should be gotten from fruits especially citrus. Calcium can be derived from sea foods, chicken bones, snails or from supplements e.g. calcium c300.

3. Good blood supply: Good blood supply ensures enough supply of oxygen and nutrients to the affected tissues, supply leucocytes that help to fight against bacteria, and also ensure removal of exudates or waste materials produced in the wound. Enough blood supply also helps in the proliferation of granulation tissues and capillaries that hasten the healing process.

4. Proper bone alignment: When there is good reduction or proper alignment of the ends of the broken bone or when the fragments are properly arranged healing is rapid. When there are no tissues in between the fragments and the initial haematoma is intact, it facilitates healing.

Causes of delay in fracture healing

Factors that can delay fracture healing include:

a. Poor blood supply: If the plaster of Paris or the splint applied to the limb is too tight it impairs blood supply to the limb. With poor blood supply healing is delayed.

b. Infection: Infection delays the growth of fibrous tissues and new blood vessels that should promote the healing of the bone cells. Infection also disrupts blood supply to the injured site and causes a delay in the healing of the fracture.

c. Loss of initial haematoma: The initial haematoma that forms around the fracture provides a foundation for the formation of granulation tissues and new blood capillaries. Whereby this initial haematoma is lost there would be a marked delay in the healing of the bone since the body would take a longer process to form these granulation tissues and capillaries without the haematoma.

d. Malnutrition: Malnutrition slows down the healing process since the essential nutrients – proteins, vitamins and minerals needed for rapid healing are in short supply.

e. Bone disease: Disease of the bone can also cause a delay in healing of the fracture. Malignant disease or cancer prevents the normal physiological process of healing from taking place hence a delay in the healing of the injury.

f. Wide gap between fragments: Where there is a wide separation between bone fragments healing takes a longer period to take place.

Feeding Bones to Your Dog

I have always felt that feeding a dog a bone was the same as giving a child a cookie. Dogs love bones and kids love cookies, at least in my home. Well, suddenly there has come a controversy over feeding dogs raw bones.

One side of the element says dogs should have raw bones and the other side says ‘no!” Raw bones are bad for your dog. So what is a concerned dog owner to do. Me, I decided to look at both sides of the coin (so to speak) and then decide for myself what I was going to do.

Personally, I feel dogs were eating raw bones long before they became domesticated and they have survived this long, but in order to give you both sides of the story, I will present both sides and you can decide.

What are the benefits of feeding raw bones? Raw bones are a great benefit to a dog’s dental health. Chewing raw bones provides an abrasive action within a dog’s mouth that helps to keep their teeth clean. However, just for the record, bones do not do that job entirely or completely.

Some dogs for whatever reason have clean teeth most of their lives, while others, no matter what you do accumulate tartar on their teeth. Studies do show, as reported by owners, bones do a good job of keeping teeth in pretty good shape. That means fewer trips to the vet for tooth checkups and problems.

Another good reason for feeding your dog raw bones and sometimes bones with meat on them is the fact it is good for their mental and physical health.

I know that you are now thinking, my dog has mental health problems?

No, but have you ever watched your dog chewing on a bone, can’t you feel and see the joy in his/her face? Chewing on a raw bone and especially one that has meat on it, is one of the most blissful things a dog can imagine, providing a dog could imagine something? In plain English it is almost like us having a nice cool drink on a hot day, actually I had something else in mind, but this is a family article.

When a dog is chewing on a bone, it is working its face, jaw and tongue muscles, it is like giving a dog a sedative, it is so good for its nerves. Bone chewing is an acquired trait that dogs inherited from their wolf ancestors. It is a natural instinct. Most dog owners who feed raw bones report that bone chewing helps their dog’s digestion, joints, skin and immune system.

There are also nutritional benefits from feeding your dog raw bones. Hard bones that a dog only gets to chew on, but has little or no ability to break down the bone to actually get inside to get to the calcium and phosphorous are of little or no nutritional value. They only give enjoyment. However, bones with meat on them are highly nutritional. Chondroitin, an important joint nutrient, is found in the cartilage on meaty bones and helps lubricate joints.

The important thing to realize is that feeding your dog raw bones does not in anyway provides a proper and nutritional diet. A dog need dog food, bones are just one wonderful recreational enjoyment for your dog and some bones do provide a little nutrition.

What are the negative sides of feeding raw bones? On the negative side of the coin, people who say, “do not feed your dog raw bones,” will now have their day in court.

Raw bones cause cracked and broken teeth. I agree that is possible, especially if your dog is an aggressive chewer. Aggressive chewers have been known to gnaw their teeth to nubs in a few short years. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, you need to supervise the time spent chewing and try to enforce slower chewing.

Bone splinters, yes, raw bones have been known to splinter and can cause extreme damage to your dog. Pieces can get stuck in their throats and anywhere else along the digestive tract and may require surgery, if a laxative does not work. A splinter can damage an intestine if it punctures it; this is a rare thing, but possible and will require surgery.

Bacteria and germs: It does not take long for a bone that has been rolling around on the floor or out in the grass to gather a few germs and/or bacteria. I feel that in many ways this is a poor excuse to stop feeding a dog raw bones. Remember dogs ate day old carcasses that were laden with a lot more than germs and bacteria in the days when dogs were wild. Their genetic well being I think is programmed to be able to handle a few germs and bacteria.

I think the most important thing for us, as humans, is to remember to wash our hands after handling a used bone and even after petting our dog. We are more likely to get sick and not the dog.

What can you do to make bone chewing safer? First of all do not feed your dog cooked bones. Cooked bones are brittle and can splinter easily, especially chicken bones. Do not feed raw chicken bones either, that is my personal opinion, cause they do shatter quite easily.

Raw bones should fit the size of the dog, do not feed small bones that can be swallowed. Dogs need to chew and the bone should be large enough to get the dog’s molars around the bone.

Supervision is important, if a bone starts to splinter, get it away from the dog. When your dog is no longer interested in its bone, toss it out, in the garbage as a prevention of any germs or bacteria.

If you have a heavy jawed dog or a puppy that is chewing on a bone for the first time, keep an eye on them as a prevention of future trouble.

If you do not feel you want to feed your dog raw bones, you can buy a strong grinder and grind the bones. This will give your dog the benefit of having bones in its diet; it will just not have the thrill of chewing on one.

Most vets agree that chewing raw bones is something dogs should be allowed to do, it is part of their nature and on a one-to-one basis, the chances of problems arising are few. Supervision of course is important.

I personally belong to the raw bone-feeding group and I know how my dogs loved their raw bone treats. Me, I would rather settle for some brownies and vanilla ice cream, but then I am a human.

Training With Cerebral Palsy – Training for Dressing

Children are the most common sufferers of cerebral palsy and since it is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured, we need to make the child as independent as possible with the help of cerebral palsy training. A child suffering from cerebral palsy will find difficulty in movement, as well as thinking and listening, which in turn affects their day to day activities. Children will need help in walking, eating, sitting, standing and even dressing!

Learning to dress and undress will be a major step towards independence for the children. However, whether the goal can be made realistic or not depends on the degree of the child’s motor skills. If the child has enough motor skills to help him achieve the goal, then you can train him to be as independent as possible. If the child wants to learn the skill but cannot do it fully, then you can teach him to participate as much as possible in the process.

The first thing that you should concentrate on while teaching your child to dress is by positioning him properly. This is very critical, and children find it easier when they are seated on a low bench or chair. If the child does not have head and trunk control, then you can help him by making him sit on your lap before doing the action.

Generally, it is easier to teach undressing than dressing skills. Of all the tasks that lay ahead of them, children find taking off the socks easiest. So, it is best you start off with that! On the first day, you can help your child pull off the sock almost and then give him the last part of tugging it off which he is most often successful. Once your child is able to accomplish one task you can keep helping him do the other tasks as well and gradually reduce your help. In this way, you can make your child dress and undress by his self over a period of time.

If your child has the desire and the understanding but not the ability, then you can help him by making him participate in the action as much as possible. Encourage him to help you as much as he can, one such example being to have him raise his arm when you want to pull off his shirt or shift his weight when you want to remove his pants. If this is also not possible, then motivate him to at least look at the clothing that should be done next. In this way, your child will not lose hope and will feel like he can do something for you.

For an older child, the same rules apply. However, because these children will be much heavier, it will be easy for you to dress him if he is standing. This is a good therapy and will help your child to become independent in these small activities. Help your child in all ways possible in accordance with the cerebral palsy training so that they may learn what to do and what not to do.

Easy Paraplegic Exercises That You Can Do Regularly

Paraplegia is a condition that is linked to injuries of the spinal cord and causes paralysis of the lower body. Although a person suffering from the condition could have complete or partial mobility of the upper body, the muscles can atrophy and there may be a decline of cardiovascular health due to inactivity. An inactive lifestyle makes a person more prone to coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes. The benefits of doing paraplegic exercises include improvement of mood and strength, wider range of motion and buildup of muscular mass.

Breathing Exercises

The degree of paralysis varies among individuals but many have difficulty in breathing. Paraplegic exercises for breathing increase the capacity of the lungs and strengthen cardiovascular stamina. It has been recommended by the Spinal Cord Injury Network Information Center of the University of Alabama at Birmingham that breathing exercises for paraplegics should start with a deep breath, holding it for five seconds before exhaling. You should then take deep breaths as fast as you can and exhale all the air out of your lungs immediately. The pattern is as follows: inhale deeply, hold, inhale and hold. Repeat once more before exhaling. Finally, take a deep breath and exhale while you are counting out loud.

Bicep Curls

Doing paraplegic exercises for the upper body such as bicep curls builds the strength of the arm, promotes better weight and reduces muscular weakening or breakdown. Paraplegics can have muscular weakness and it is vital that you start the program slowly, building initial strength through the use of light weights then going into a more intense regimen. Using free weights provide resistance and aid in building stronger muscles. Bicep curls for paraplegics build the strength of the upper and frontal part of your arms. To do the exercise, hang your arms outside the wheelchair with a light weight in both of your hands. Your palms should be turned towards the front. Bend the arms slightly, lifting the weights towards the shoulders. Stop before they touch your body. Go back to the straight arm position and repeat until the desired repetitions are achieved.

Lateral Shrugs and Raises

These paraplegic exercises build the strength of the shoulders and increases their mobility and range of motion. With a light weight held in each hand, position your arms straight by the sides. Bend your arms until the weights are parallel to floor. Go back to starting position and then repeat until the desired number of repetitions is completed.

These are just some of the paraplegic exercises that you can do. There are more exercises that are suited to a particular disability. You can search for them online or ask your physical therapist about them.

Is it Normal to Have a Fever After Hernia Surgery?

If you have undergone hernia surgery within the past few days or weeks, you are no doubt hoping for a quick and successful recovery. That is why it can be worrisome if you find that you have a fever shortly after having had hernia surgery.

Since we were children, we have often been taught that a fever can quickly go from being something to not worry about to a “call the doctor”-type of emergency. Indeed, it is important to keep tabs on a fever, especially after surgery.

Anatomy of a Hernia

A hernia is a protrusion of the gut (or intestine) from inside the body through the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is made almost entirely of muscle. For some people, the abdominal wall can develop a weakness in one or more locations over time. If the weakness becomes pronounced enough, it can allow the intestine to bulge through the wall, becoming a hernia.

A hernia is usually visible to the naked eye as a bulge on the outside of the body. In fact, it is this visible quality of hernias that make them easy to diagnose.

How Hernia Surgery Works

Hernia surgery involves the patching of the weakness in the abdominal wall. The surgery starts with the doctor opening a small incision in the skin. The doctor then pushes the protruding parts (the gut) back into the body cavity. Finally, a mesh patch is applied over the opening to strengthen it and to prevent any recurrence of the hernia.

Chances for Infection

The quality and cleanliness of most medical facilities in developed countries today means that your hernia surgery was probably carried out in a sterile environment by a competent doctor. However, anytime you undergo surgery, you are exposing yourself to the potential for infection. Any open wound is necessarily exposed to bacteria and viruses which exist outside the body in the environment.

If you have had hernia surgery and are wondering, “Is it normal to have a fever after hernia surgery?”, it is important that you know what to look for and when you should be concerned.

When a Fever is Normal?

After hernia surgery, you will likely not be released from the hospital if you have a fever. But, it is not uncommon for a light fever to develop in the days or even a week or so after hernia surgery. As long as your fever comes on and then goes away within a couple of days without getting too high, you are fine.

When to Call Your Doctor

However, if your fever reaches over 101 degrees for more than a few hours, you should call your doctor. In that case, it is quite possible that you have an infection.

Other reasons to visit your doctor after hernia surgery include: unexplained leg pain (due to the possibility of blood clots), pus and drainage from your incision, very dark bowel movements (which may indicate blood in the stool), difficulty breathing and inability to eat.

What to Expect if You Have to Visit Your Doctor

If you do decide to visit the doctor due to a fever of 101 or higher, it is important not to let this worry you. Your doctor will likely inspect your wound to make sure it looks like it is healing properly. He or she will probably subscribe some antibiotics to treat a possible infection. However, if your fever is extremely high, you may be asked to check back into the hospital for a day or so in order for you to be properly observed until it goes away.

Back Pain Solutions Without Surgery

Acute back pain may begin suddenly and usually lasts around 3 months. Chronic back pain sometimes lasts throughout life.

The most common back pain is low back pain (LBP). It is is often described as sudden, sharp, persistent, or dull pain felt below the waist. LBP is very common and affects the majority of people at some point during their life. Up to 70%–85% of all people have back pain at some time in their lives. LBP is the most common cause of a limitation of activity in people younger than 45 years of age. It is the second most frequent reason for visits to a physician, and the third most common indication for surgery. It is the fifth-ranking cause of hospital admissions and is one of the leading causes of disability.

Low back pain is most commonly caused by muscle strain associated with heavy physical work, lifting or forceful movement, bending or twisting, awkward positions, or standing in one position too long. Any of these movements can exacerbate a prior or existing back disorder. Other conditions that can cause low back pain include spinal stenosis, arthritis (osteoarthritis), spinal infection (osteomyelitis), spinal tumors (benign and malignant), spondylolisthesis, and vertebral fractures (e.g. burst fracture).

Low back pain is either acute or chronic. Acute LBP may begin suddenly with intense pain usually lasting fewer than three months. Chronic pain is persistent long-term pain, sometimes lasting throughout life. Even chronic pain may present episodes of acute pain. Other symptoms include localized pain in a specific area of the low back, general aching, and/or pain that radiates into the low back, general aching, and/or pain that radiates into the low back, buttocks and leg(s). Sometimes pain is accompanied by neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness. Neurological symptoms requiring immediate medical attention include bowel or bladder dysfunction, groin or leg weakness or numbness, severe symptoms that do not subside after a few days, or pain prohibiting everyday activities.

Pain felt in the low back is not always indicative of a spinal problem. A thorough physical and neurological assessment may reveal the cause of the low back pain. The physical examination begins with the patient’s current condition and medical history. Examination of a patient with low back pain involves examining the patient’s range of spinal motion while standing straight, bending forward, and to the side. Asymmetry, posture, and leg length is noted. Methodical palpation of the spine can reveal muscle spasm, possible bony displacement, and tender points. Abdominal palpation is performed to determine if the cause of low back pain is possibly organ related (e.g. pancreas). The neurological assessment evaluates weakness, absence of reflexes, tingling, burning, pain, diminished function, and other signs that may indicate nerve involvement.

If infection, malignancy, fracture, or other risk factors are suspected, routine lab tests may be ordered. These tests may include complete blood count (CBC), erythrocyte sedimentation (ESR), and urinalysis. In some cases electrodiagnostic studies such as electromyography (EMG) or nerve condition velocity (NCV) are performed to confirm a diagnosis or localize the site of nerve injury. Plain radiographs (x-rays), CT Scan, and/or MRI studies are performed when fracture or neurological dysfunction is suspected. A MRI represents the gold standard in imaging today. A MRI renders high-resolution images of spinal tissues such as the spinal cord and intervertebral discs. X-rays are still the imaging methods of choice to study the bony elements in the low back. The results of the physical and neurological examinations combines with test results are carefully evaluated to confirm a diagnosis.

Most patients with low back pain are treated without surgery. A conventional treatment plan may include bed rest for a day or two combines with medication to reduce inflammation and pain. Medications recommended by the physician are based on the patient’s medical condition, age, other drugs the patient currently takes, and safety. The first choice for pain relief is often nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs should be taken with food to prevent stomach upset and stomach bleeding. Muscle relaxants may provide relief from muscle spasm but are actually benign sedatives, which often cause drowsiness. Narcotic pain relievers are prescribed for use during the acute phase and often for chronic pain management in appropriate patients.

Other modalities to treat low back pain might include physical therapy (PT), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) trial, ultrasound therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy. A managed PT program can help build muscle strength and flexibility, improve mobility, coordination, stability and balance, and promote relaxation. Patients who participate in a structured physical therapy program often progress to wellness more rapidly than those who do not. This includes low back maintenance through a home exercise program developed for the patient by the physical therapist.

Although the number of spinal surgeries done every year is on the rise, it is rarely required to treat low back pain. Surgery may be considered if the patient is experiencing bowel or bladder dysfunction, increased nerve impairment, progressive weakness, incapacitating pain, or spinal instability. The surgical procedure depends on the diagnosis or the cause of low back pain. To prevent low back pain, first and foremost, follow the treatment plan outlined by the physician. To enhance recovery from an episode of low back pain, or to help prevent future exacerbation, try to maintain good posture, be consistent in a home exercise program, and eat sensibly to maintain proper body weight.

Whiplash: Another Cause of Back Pain in the Upper Middle Shoulder Blades

I recently saw a patient who was involved in a rear end automobile accident. She suffered from what we call an acceleration-deceleration or hyper extension-flexion injury, frequently referred to as whiplash.

With our dependence on the automobile as a mode of transportation, these types of injuries are relatively common.

The mechanism of injury is fairly straightforward. The victim is stopped at a stop sign or traffic light. Another vehicle hits them from the rear.

What occurs is that the head slams backwards, and then is whipped forward, and then back again. Why whiplash occurs can be easily understood if one looks at how the neck is constructed.

The foundation of the neck is the cervical spine. This consists of seven bones, referred to as vertebra, each of which is separated from the other by a robbery cushion, called the disk. The vertebra and the discs are stacked on top of each other. The discs do not extend all the way to the rear of the vertebra.

Each vertebra has a large hole at the rear so that when the vertebra are stacked, there is a central canal which permits the passage of the spinal cord from the brain down. At each level between the vertebra are two openings to allow nerve roots to exit from the spinal cord.

The cervical spine is held together with a complex arrangement of ligaments and also supported by a girdle of muscles.

During a whiplash injury, the ligaments supporting the cervical spine may be stretched or torn. In addition, the muscles are also traumatized.

A typical whiplash victim usually does not have much discomfort at the time of the injury. However, within 24 hours, the patient may begin to experience severe stiffness and pain. The discomfort is so severe that the patient cannot bend nor turn their head. In addition to the pain, patients may also experience headache, dizziness, or nausea.

The pain can be intense radiating to the top of the head and downwards into the upper back between the shoulder blades.

When the patient presents to the doctor, the examination will show reduced range of motion in the neck along with muscle spasm. Usually, the neurologic examination is normal.

X-rays will show evidence of muscle spasm and loss of the normal gentle curve in the neck because of the muscle spasm.

The initial treatment consists of the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and a soft cervical collar. The collar should not be worn for more than a few days. Physical therapy is also recommended. Fortunately, most patients improve within 4 to 6 weeks.

Unfortunately, there are some people who will be left with chronic pain. This is a very difficult situation and patients may require other types of treatment including trigger point injections using either dry needling, lidocaine, botulinum toxin (Botox), and prolotherapy.

How Does an Epidural Steroid Injection Relieve Sciatica Pain From a Herniated Lumbar Disc?

Sciatica pain from a pinched nerve can be exceptionally painful. Pain Management treatments available to help the pain from a lumbar herniated disk include physical therapy, pain medication, spinal decompression treatment, chiropractic treatment, and epidural steroid injections.

When a nerve is pinched from a piece of disc that has herniated (slipped disc), the pressure from the disc is not painful by itself. The pressure sparks up an inflammation process, which produces mediators including interleukins, prostaglandins, and cytokines which surround the nerve root and that is what causes pain.

So the theory behind an epidural steroid injection for a lumbar disc herniation is to provide the anti-inflammatory substance to alleviate pain. Pain doctors typically inject a steroid medication under fluoroscopy (x-ray) guidance. The steroid medication is place around the pinched nerve root, bathing the area with an extremely potent anti-inflammatory material. The steroid medication is cortisone, and comes in various brand names such as Kenalog, Depo-Medrol, Celestone, and others.

The various types of steroids have different qualities with respect to what’s called particulate matter. the larger the particulate matter, the longer the steroid bathes the nerve root as it takes longer to dissolve.

Injecting steroids around the pinched nerve root can be very effective for sciatica pain, but it does not correct the herniated disc. It does not dissolve the lumbar disc herniation, it merely provides temporary pain relief for a few days, weeks, or months. The hope is that pain relief will be provided while one’s own body dissolves the piece of disc herniation that is pressing on the nerve root. If that does not happen before the relief from the epidural steroid injection wears off, then the spinal injection can be repeated.