Back Surgery Alternatives

Suffering from back pain and wondering if surgery is the way to go? Well here is the cold hard truth.  Back surgery should not be your first or only option. You should first check out your back surgery alternatives.

There are many types of surgery for the back.  Here are a few: Spinal Fusion, Laminectomy, Foraminotomy, Discectomy, Disc Replacement and Interlaminar. The type of surgery obviously depends on your specific symptoms.

Along with these types of operations, advances in surgical techniques has made operations less invasive, resulting in less risk, speedier recovery and shorter hospital stays.  Also all this means a better chance of a successful operation and elimination of your back / spinal problems.Back Surgery: The Cold, Hard Truth

This is all great news and certainly surgery is a very viable option. But there are also risks involved in any surgical procedure, e.g.. blood clots, infections, reactions to medications and anesthesia and nerve damage.

Many times the surgery is successful, but the pain continues. There is even a term to describe this. It is called “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”. Some statistics claim that the failure rate is as high as seventy-four percent!

The biggest reason is the fact that back pain is very hard to identify.

Back Surgery: The Cold, Hard Truth

The back and spine is a very complex system of nerves, muscles, bones and ligaments. Even with the best diagnostic tools it is very hard to pin point the problem. Also many times the muscles and nerves have been inflamed for so long that recovery is very slow if at all.

I also think that too many patients, and for that matter doctors, see surgery as the only solution.  Back pain sufferers believe that all they have to do is have an operation and presto the pain is gone.

While that is true for some, for many the pain is still there.

I know people who have  had back pain and surgery.  Based on their experiences, here are my suggestions.  Now I am no expert, so take these ideas as based on one person’s observation and research.

However many studies have concluded that anyone suffering from back pain should consider the following suggestions before resorting to surgery.

  1. Rest: Many times simply resting for a few day and taking over the counter painkillers will alleviate the problem.
  2. Lose weight: The amount of stress a few extra pounds of weight places on the back is enormous, and although this is a long term solution, and results will not be felt for some time.  It is definitely a good course of action.
  3. Exercise: Again, like losing weight, this will take time, but again the results are worth it. Walking is probably the best single thing you can do for a bad back. There are also specific exercises for your particular back problem.
  4. Avoidance: Learn what types of activities cause the back pain and avoid them. Sounds easy I know, but hard to do in practice. For me shoveling snow can set off my back. So if I have to shovel I use an ergonomic shovel, take smaller scoops and rest frequently.  Of course moving further South would solve this problem!

Back Surgery: The Cold, Hard Truth

So the cold hard truth is surgery is a viable option.  But in my opinion taking an alternative approach and exploring these non- surgical options first is the way to go.

Your comments or questions below are always welcome.

Protein Marker May Help in Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

Diagnosing one of the most complex psychological problems, bipolar disorder, is a daunting task and a wrong treatment can exacerbate the condition.

Doctors, psychiatrists, and researchers have long been trying to fathom it and invent an elixir for it, but to no avail.  However, a recent study has unraveled a protein that might help detect the disorder.

Living with bipolar is an uphill task because of unpredictable mood upheavals, sometimes high and at times dismally low. It is even marked by depression, racing thoughts, delusions of grandeur and thoughts of inconceivable miseries.Life gets jeopardized as bipolar affects every aspect of one’s life, be it the job or relationship with family members and society.

Diagnosis of bipolar

The current bipolar diagnosis does not have a foolproof system in place and draws most of its inferences from questionnaires, brain scans or blood tests, that also just to rule out other potential conditions.

Apart from these, there are no other procedures which can help in the diagnosis. But the latest study comes as a respite and offers some hope to the cause of bipolar treatment.

A study by the Mayo Clinic tried to identify a marker in the blood for bipolar,  and analyzed 272 different proteins in blood samples of 288 patients. The researchers said, “It is one of the first studies to assess the feasibility of high throughput multiplexed immunoassay technology (272 proteins) trying to distinguish different types of mood disorders.”

The group of participants was divided into four recognized clinical subsections of the disease – bipolar I disorder (46), bipolar II disorder (49), unipolar depression (52) and 141 individuals without mood disorders, to act as controls.

Of the 272 different proteins, the researchers found that 73 proteins differed between the four study groups and six were found to significantly differ between bipolar I disorder and the control group.

The findings, though in the initial stage, lay the foundation for further research and give a new hope to those battling the debilitating condition.

Understanding bipolar disorder

Protein Marker May Help in Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), categorizes bipolar into four recognized clinical subsections:

Bipolar I disorder: It is characterized by manic episodes that last at least for a week. The attacks could be so intense that the individual might need immediate hospitalization. Depressive episodes are also seen here.

Bipolar II disorder: It is marked by depressive episodes and hypomanic (less serious than manic) episodes, but no full manic episodes.

Bipolar disorder not normally specified (BP-NOS): In this case, though bipolar symptoms can be seen, they do not fit the criteria for types I or II.

Cyclothymic disorder (Cyclothymia): It is characterized by episodes of hypomania and mild depression for at least two years, but does not meet the diagnostic requirements of the bipolar types mentioned above.

Available treatment options

Though not curable, it can be treated and contained to a large extent. A proper diagnosis is important for that and at the right juncture. But a proper diagnosis is the biggest challenge in the treatment of bipolar.

If you have any things you wish to contribute to this subject  or questions to ask,  please feel free to leave them here.

 

Get the Motivation to Lose Weight: Can You Lose Weight?

The motivation to lose weight can be very hard to find, particularly when you’ve often tried and failed before.  Or when you’ve tried, done it… and then put it all back on again!

There comes a point when you just give up, accept that you are the weight and size you are,  and that you’re stuck with it.

But the truth is that this is the best time to understand why it is that you can’t lose weight, or keep it off when you have.

In this article, we’re going to look at several things that affect your weight and are totally out of your control. These include:

  • Hormones
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Medication
  • Metabolism

After we’ve looked at the above, we’ll look at how to prepare your body to find the motivation to lose weight.

Hormones and weight loss

When you say “it’s my hormones”, people smile and give you knowing looks. But your hormones have a huge effect on your motivation, metabolism and mood.

If you’re under long term stress at work or at home, your body releases a type of adrenalin called cortisol, a hormone that affects your body shape.

And the problem is abdominal fat tends to stick around even if the original stress has passed.  Why?  Because by that time, your stress is about your body shape, but your hormones can’t tell the difference between the original stress and the stress about weight gain, so it just keeps pumping out the cortisol.

Stress and weight loss

A study of 6,700 nurses published in the International Journal of Obesity by Overgaard et al (2004) indicated that stress and its accompanying hormone changes – due to workload in the case of those nurses – is a major contributor to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen.

Anxiety and weight loss

Anxiety, a close relative of stress, also affects hormones.

Stress and anxiety tend to go together and as a result your body shape changes over time. The more anxious you are, the more it affects your hormones.

Weirdly, anxiety can also result in weight loss. Ever heard the expression “she lives on her nerves” about a very thin woman? That’s the anxiety, and that’s not healthy either.

Medication and weight loss

Sometimes it feels like you just can’t win.

Many people do not understand that when you say “my medication makes me fat”, you are telling the unvarnished truth.

But when you have a life threatening condition like diabetes, auto inflammatory disease, heart disease or epilepsy, your doctor will probably  convince you that it’s important that you keep taking the medications to keep you alive.

Anti depressants, birth control pills and antibiotics are also prescribed for your health in certain circumstances

Unfortunately, those same medications can make you really hungry a lot of  the time.

The reason farmers fill their animals with antibiotics?  It makes them gain weight.  It also makes you gain weight.

And there’s nothing like having a baby to make you gain weight.

Metabolism and weight loss

Some are born with a slow metabolism.

Some have slow metabolism thrust upon them.

Some people just have slower metabolisms than others. They are born that way, which means that the “average” calorie intake for an adult tends to put weight on them.

Alternatively, those who originally had average metabolisms and gained weight, lost it, gained it back again (and more) – known as yoyo dieting – tend to develop slower metabolisms through dieting.

A recent study from the National Institutes of Health on contestants from “The Biggest Loser” program indicated that those who lose a lot of weight are more likely to gain most of it back and can even put on more weight than before they lost it.

Their bodies went into famine mode and never came out again.

What’s the answer?  How to lose weight

The answer lies in preparing your body through addressing your stress, balancing your gut and letting your body know that this is not a famine.

Stress can be reduced through gentle movement or stretching like yoga, Tai Chi or Chi Gung.  Meditation can also help.

You can begin to balance your gut through adding a probiotic to your diet.  Make sure you choose one with many strains, rather than just one.  Care needs to be exercised here because many strains do not work well.  If anyone wants to contact me at fabulou4@fabuloushealthnews.com, I can give you some personal advice on that.

Living food can also help: bio active yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir are some examples of living food.

Add a fresh juice or smoothie to your diet. Not bought from a store, but made at home in your own juicer or blender. Fresh fruit and vegetables are incredibly nourishing. Nourishment tends to reduce hunger.

Do you have questions or observations from your own experience?  We would love to hear from you.

Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis Pain

You know something just isn’t right when you wake up every morning dreading those first steps getting out of your bed.

The pain is sharp. The pain is real. The pain is instant. Slowly, as you take a few more steps you find some relief only to go through it all again each and every time you get up from a sitting position.

You’ve got plantar fasciitis and it is not fun. Plantar fasciitis heel brings over one million people per year to a doctor or chiropractor for relief.

While it is often associated with certain sports, plantar fasciitis heel pain is not influenced by gender, nor is it exclusively an athlete’s problem. Sedentary folks find themselves with plantar fasciitis as well.

So, to help, here are 5 easy things you can do right now to help relieve the heel pain that comes from plantar fasciitis.

    1. Walk. Yes those initial steps are going to be painful. Sometimes they are very painful, but as you slowly walk you’ll find the pain subside quite a bit with each and every step. Take it slow but keep going.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2.  Roll. Get a tennis ball or child’s play ball, or even a golf ball            and gently roll the bottom of your foot from just behind th         ball of the foot to the heel on the ball.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Start by doing this while you’re sitting and then slowly                   increase the pressure to roll while standing. Do not put                 your full weight into the ball

        3. Stretch. Believe it or not, the pain you feel in your heel from                     plantar fasciitis is associated with your calf muscle. You need                   to stretch those muscles.

One way to do this is to take a towel and roll it into a log                             shape.  Place the ball of your foot on the top of the rolled up                     towel and   drop your heel to the ground to stretch the calf.                       Hold the  stretch for 60 seconds and then switch to the other                 foot.

         4.  Soak. Soak your feet in a warm epsom salt bath. For even                           more benefit, add a few marbles to the water and roll your                       feet on the marbles while you soak. Add some essential oils                     too to help relax or invigorate you.

         5.  Massage. After your foot soak, warm some coconut or olive                     oil between your hands and gently massage the bottom of                         your feet starting with the ball of your foot down through the                 arch to the heel.

Many people find permanent relief following these simple 5 steps on a regular basis. Other helpful tips include reducing the heel height of your shoes, walking barefoot occasionally and losing weight.

If the above methods fail to help, you might want to check out my previous blog on shoe insoles.

Please feel free as always to leave you comments or ask questions.

Good Feet Insole Prices — Review

Walking or standing for a prolonged period can cause health problems that you might not be aware of while you are still young. However, as we grow old, the stress that we put on our joints can cause not only joint pains but other health issues as well.

One way to help relieve our joints is to use insoles. Insoles are basically removable pads that are placed inside one’s footwear to provide comfort and support to the person as well as stability for some patients that are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.

Insole Types:

When purchasing your insoles, there are 3 kinds that you will encounter – comfort, support and custom orthotics.

  1.  Comfort type

These are basically sold in a health store,  department store or box  store, as one does not need a prescription or a podiatrist’s advice to get them.

These soles are made with gel or foam and are commonly called the insole that is “one size fits all”.  They are also lightweight and easy to slip on.  For people who have to stand for a prolonged period of time, wearing these would not only improve shock absorption but also provide comfort.

2.  Support type

Arch support is the most common support type and often used in sports to provide players with flexibility and shock absorption especially for heavy sports activities.

Because I have fallen arches and require support, years ago I had to invest in several pairs of insoles to support my arches..  I added them to all my shoes and slippers, and from that time, I have no longer had to walk with pain in the arches of my feet. .  I am very happy and even though they cost a lot of money at the time, they were well worth it.

I just wish I had known then that I could buy good quality insoles on line for less money.  To check out the kind I used at a price less than I paid click here.

3.  CustoImized insoles

These are made from molds of the patient’s feet to correct any problems.  Some patients also use these insoles to help ease pain and speed up recovery time by alleviating the pressure on the body.

Purchasing Insoles 

When purchasing insoles, fit is important.. Try standing on one and balance yourself with the other foot. If you feel wobbly or your heels are overlapping the heel cup then you might want a different size.

Remember that it will take some getting used to and it might be difficult at first.  However, once you use the insoles every day, you will notice a difference in your health.  Insoles should last for years if cleaned and dried out properly.

Please tell us about your experience with insoles or ask questions, if  you like.