Your Health Archives - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Tag Archives: Your Health

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4 Steps to Relieve Back Pain

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Michael J. Homan is a Reiki Master and studies natural healthing methods such as Acupressure, Electro-Acupuncture, Reflexology, Crystal Therapy, Chinese Magnetic Cupping, has his own e-Book called 4 Steps To A Pain-FREE Back!, and has a health related web site devoted to health issues and natural healing techniques.
I have studied and taken courses in acupressure. Studied some on chiropractic. I also have looked into psychological issues to do with pain and medical problems. And I am also a Reiki Master.

So now that you have a little about my background, and what fuels my writing… let’s get to the real content.

I am going to condense this article for convenience since it is a combination of four major studies in themselves, but you can get my e-book or read my full articles at my web site, which is healthgrowhealthier.com.

I have found that 4 major things play an important part in your spines health.

First, there is posture. I know this is not the first time you have heard this, but it needs to be said again and again.
Posture should be noted in sitting, standing, and sleeping. Start taking note of your posture at all times. If it is not straight, then start working on fixing it.

If you sleep in a position like I have in the past, with both hands under your pillow while you lay on your side, you can pinch a nerve in your neck if your shoulder of the arm that’s up starts to relax and leans in toward your head or neck. It would be better to lay your arm of your upper hand down on your leg while one hand is under your pillow.
And if you can, buy a few different thickness pillows for throughout the night. I do not know about you, but I can not have a high, fluffy pillow when I lay on my back. But a thin pillow gives me neck ache when I lay on my side.

The second thing on our list is the flexibility of your back.

What you want to do when you notice your back goes out a lot and you experience pinched nerves, is in getting your spine back into alignment and having it flexible.

Of course if you feel a chiropractor is your best choice, by all means seek one. But think about your progress if you could align your own back when ever you needed to. It’s not all that hard!

If you are in pain at the present, put ice or heat on the spot until the pain seems to lessen.

Do NOT, under any circumstances exercise while any of your nerves are inflamed or swollen!

To get your back more flexible you might want to learn kundalini yoga. Not all yoga styles are like those you may have seen on television, where they twist themselves up. Kundalini yoga has very good and useful spinal exercises developed to help flexibility. Kundalini Yoga is also a spiritual tool to help before meditation as well.

It is very important to strengthen your back and the surrounding muscles. This is the third step to a healthy back.
Doing sit-ups is one such exercise, You do not have to do many sit-ups until you feel you can… step by step.
Take all of these things slow and at the pace of your body. Your body will let you know what it is feeling. Pain is a warning sign.
Just remember… taking pain pills is okay when you really need them. But also remember that they do not heal the problem, they only mask the warning sign, they simply stop the warning sign, but not the underlying problem.
Health is more than just eating right. One has to consider mental health, environmental, and many other factors. It is not all that easy for a doctor to diagnose the complete problem and cure it, especially if it has roots in psychological issues and has gone a long time unchecked, and became a physical problem.

The fourth and last step in back health is to start a daily stretching routine. You have
seen cats and dogs stretch when they get up, try it for yourself!

The key to back health is in keeping it actively flexible and strong, or well supported by the stomach and back muscles. You may have to find that happy medium in between like I have, being too much strength in one area will pull out another.
Each person is uniquely different in many areas. So never think what worked for someone else is going to work for you. You may have to build on someone else’s information and work it into your own, personal program.

I recommend you learn a little about acupressure as well to maintain your pain when it flares up.
I have found that I can manage pain by using acupressure, simply by putting pressure on certain areas of the body. But that is something I suggest you seek a professional for help, or look for someone who does acupuncture, or take a course in acupressure like I did.


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Is Special Eye Protection Needed in the Summer?

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Your eyes are very important, and also extremely delicate, so they require special care. You might wonder, though, is there a season during which the eyes need extra protection. As you may have guessed, summer can be hard on your eyes, and it’s crucial that you take good care of them during the summer months.  

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Coping with Seasonal Allergies Naturally

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It’s been all over the news, so you’ve probably seen it: research indicates that people who use allergy medications regularly may be at greater risk for dementia. Building on a study published last year, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have found that people who use anticholinergic medications, like Benadryl and Claritin, regularly, have reduced metabolic function and decreased brain size. While the risk varies, based on different factors like sensitivity, age and lifestyle, it’s still a good reason to try and avoid taking allergy medicine. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for allergies, so you’re sure to find one that works for you.  

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What to do about Indoor Allergens

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It’s wintertime, and it seems like everyone has got the sniffles. While much of that gets blamed on the common cold, which runs rampant at this time of year due to immune systems depressed by the cold and too much togetherness, a good portion is actually allergies. How can that be, when brisk temperatures and frequent precipitation make pollen unlikely? The answer is simple: indoor allergens.  

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8 Great Winter Workouts to Try

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In winter, there are tons of great reasons to remain active and not give into the lure of a sedentary lifestyle. Exercising in winter has many benefits though, not least of which is its fat burning power, and capacity to raise your spirits. What’s more, it can be great fun! Check out this list of activities to do in winter, and you’re sure to find one you’d like to try.  

  • Give ice skating a whirl! Whether you’re outside, or in an indoor skating rink, ice skating is excellent exercise. It tones your legs, tightens your core, and even boosts your behind, while burning about 500 calories an hour.
  • Strap on some skis. If you’re lucky enough to live where it’s snowy, consider this: not only does skiing offer thrilling speed and scenic surroundings, it also burns between 350 and 500 calories per hour.
  • Have some snowy fun on a sled. Kids all over the country long for snow days so they can ride sleds, trash can lids, boogie boards, or whatever contraption they can find, down the highest hill in their neighborhood. When you get the opportunity, you should join them! It’s good, breathless fun, and burns over 400 calories per hour.
  • Dance! Dance workouts have gone through many iterations, from Jazzercise to Zumba, but the dance workout of the moment is Barre-Based. Inspired by ballet, and combining components of Pilates, yoga, and weight training, these classes are great for your core and lower body; the moves used promote long, toned muscles.
  • Get nostalgic about your playground days. Shoot hoops, play dodgeball, or jump rope to rev up your heart rate as you reminisce.
  • Give boot camp a try. Boot camps use high-intensity cardio and strength training, for those who want a serious workout. They’re often held at parks or track fields, but in the winter many classes move indoors. If you’re concerned that you don’t have the stamina to commit to a boot camp series, find a program that offers trial classes so you can see if it’s right for you.
  • Bounce your troubles away. Indoor trampolines are extremely popular right now, for two reasons: they’re fun, and a great workout! Six minutes on a trampoline is roughly the same as running a mile, but the trampoline has the benefit of being low-impact, which protects your joints.
  • Use body weight to lose body weight. For the ultimate in DIY weight training, use your own body as the weight. TRX suspension training is a favorite workout for Navy SEALS, and uses a portable suspension trainer to work the whole body.

Establishing the habit of healthy exercise is important to a person’s well-being. It helps build a balanced life, and can lead you to your own place of optimal wellness and health. For more information on how we can help set you on the path to your best life, call today for your free consultation.


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Vegetables: To Cook, or Not to Cook?

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When it comes to food, there’s one point on which just about everyone is in agreement: it’s a good idea to eat vegetables. Packed with nutrients, vegetables are good for many different ailments, as well as overall health and wellness. How we eat our vegetables is a different story. Some people love their vegetables well done, while others feel that steaming them until they’re just al dente is better for keeping in the nutrients, and still others believe that only raw vegetables pack the appropriate nutritional punch. Who is correct? Do veggies have to be raw to have value, or can you cook them until they’re basically mush?
As it turns out, the answer is pretty complex. For example, when carrots are boiled, they lose their polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, but their carotenoid levels are increased. Carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, which protect against things like eye disease and cancer, are also boosted in other vegetables, including spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, peppers and zucchini, when boiled or steamed. Asparagus and tomatoes are better for you when cooked, while beets, broccoli, and red peppers are more beneficial raw, because cooking robs them of nutrients like folate, myrosinase, and vitamin C. Further, a recent study of people following a strict raw food diet indicated that, while they had normal levels of vitamin A and relatively high levels of beta-carotene, they were lacking in terms of lycopene, which lowers the risk of cancer and heart attacks. This might indicate that mixing it up, eating some raw and some cooked, is a more nutritious way to go.
The bottom line? Eat your vegetables. If you like them raw, eat them raw, and if you prefer cooked, cook them! Whatever you have to do to them to make them appealing, that’s what you should do. One caveat: don’t deep fry them, as this releases free radicals and kills antioxidants.
No matter how you choose to prepare your vegetables, make sure you’re eating at least five servings a day! A balanced diet is at the heart of a balanced life, which is the key for reaching your optimal state of wellness. At our clinic, our doctors can help to create a nutritional plan that is perfect for you and your lifestyle. To learn about how we can help you live your best life, call for your free consultation today.


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Do you know about Exercising in the Cold?

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Some people love the feel of a brisk winter workout, while others use the cold as an excuse to stay indoors and remain snuggly warm. No matter which opinion you favor, it’s possible that you have some misconceptions about exercising in the cold. Here, we answer some common questions, in order to dispel any myths, and give you the low down on working out in winter.  

  • Does exercising in the cold make you more susceptible to illness?Actually, yes, it does. Because exercising, particularly running, in cold weather increases your stress hormones, your immune system is weakened, and you’re more likely to fall prey to an infection. Take heart! You can still exercise, as long as you pull back your intensity, dress in layers, and run for shorter periods of time.
  • Is weight loss boosted by colder temperatures? Sadly, no. In fact, people tend to eat more in the winter, possibly because our evolutionary programming encourages us to conserve fat.
  • If you’re sad and sleepy, is it winter’s fault? Some people do get depressed in winter, not because of the cold weather, but because of the lack of light. That’s actually why we tend to feel sleepy, too; less daylight means more melatonin, which makes us want to go to sleep.
  • To stay warm, should you drink less water and more alcohol in the winter? Nice try, but no. While alcohol does increase body temperature quickly, the heat is only temporary, and mostly confined to the extremities, which makes it a bad choice when you’re working out. Then again, there are many reasons why alcohol could be a bad choice when involved in strenuous physical activity. As to water, it’s just as important in the winter as in the summer. Water helps protect our mucous membranes, which in turn helps protect us from illness. Your skin moisture and blood volume are also improved when you’re drinking water, which means less chapping, cracking, and opportunistic infection.

Whether you choose to get out in the cold, or stay in a climate controlled environment like the gym, exercise is extremely important to a well-balanced life, no matter the season. At our clinic, we work with our patients to help them live their best lives, and this means suggesting an exercise program that promotes overall wellness. To find out how we can help you find your path to optimal health, call for your free consultation today.


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One Resolution You Should Ditch This Year

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Each year, across the nation, people make tons of New Year’s resolutions, most of which fall by the wayside by the time Valentine’s Day arrives. Maybe this is the year you quit smoking, or do more volunteer work, or learn to say no more often. It’s certainly honorable to set goals for yourself, even if they’re in the form of New Year’s resolutions.

The one resolution you might want to scrap? Losing a certain amount of weight. Whether it’s 10 pounds or 100, the number should not be the focus of your resolution.

Why is establishing a weight loss target a less worthy goal than other resolutions? Because it focuses on the wrong thing. True, you may need to lose a certain number of pounds, but a better resolution would be one based on why you need to lose weight in the first place.

  • Have you gained weight during an overindulgent holiday season? It may be time to consider why you overindulged. Often our consumption is tied to our emotional health, whether it’s consumption of food or some other commodity. Until you determine what need you’re trying to fill with food, any weight you lose will likely return later in the year. Want to lose weight and keep it off? Start by nurturing yourself, and indulging in things you love that aren’t unhealthy or fattening.
  • Is your goal to be more capable of sports or other physical activities? Focus on the sport, not the scale. Do you want to walk a 5k, but can’t seem to walk to your mailbox? Concentrate on making it to that mailbox, and once you’ve conquered that, walk all the way across the street, and every day, keep taking baby steps toward your goal. The non-scale victory you’ll experience when you participate in your first 5k will be much more thrilling than watching numbers on a scale move.
  • Are you trying to live an overall healthier lifestyle? This is probably the best resolution you can make. Get more exercise, push past your bad habits, and change your relationship with food. Once you see food as fuel, you are on your way to making good food choices, based on nutrient density and how the food makes your body feel.
  • The one time a number is important is when it’s prescribed by your doctor. If you have a medical condition for which it’s recommended that you lose a certain amount of weight, by all means, do it. Consider, though, the factors mentioned above when you’re deciding how to go about losing the weight.

Here’s the good news: you’ll lose the weight you need to lose. When you focus on meeting your goals, living your best life, and being the healthiest you can be, you’ll find you’re happier and the steps you’ve taken will help you lose the weight. By focusing on the underlying issues and desires, you’ll get to the goal you wanted to reach.

At our clinic, our goal is to help our patients live an overall healthier lifestyle. Embracing an integrated approach to wellness, we create a customized plan for each patient, to help them find their own paths to optimal health. Addressing diet, exercise, supplements, and other wellness factors, we strive to help people live their best possible lives, free from pain and illness. Call today for your free consultation, and learn what we can do for you.


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How to Avoid Common Winter Illnesses

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The winter brings with it brisk temperatures, plenty of time indoors, and an increased risk of illness. But is getting sick in winter inevitable? While winter illness is common, there are certainly steps you can take to be proactive in keeping it at bay.  

  • The common cold can be caused by any of more than 200 viruses.With all those opportunities, no wonder most people find themselves sniffling at this time of year! The best way to avoid those nasty bugs? Wash your hands! Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, and avoiding contact with infected people will help you fight off a cold. If you do get infected, the best things to do are exactly what your mom always said: get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat some chicken soup, and keep washing your hands.
  • The CDC recommends that people older than six months get a flu shot, but is that the best way to avoid the flu?There are different schools of thought on this, and even the most hardcore flu shot advocates admit that the shot doesn’t cover all strains of the flu each year. As with a cold, the influenza can be avoided by hand washing and avoiding contact with those infected, but it also helps to frequently disinfect things like keyboards, telephones, doorknobs, and remote controls. If you do get the flu, baby yourself as much as you can in the beginning, and don’t treat the fever with medication if you can help it- there’s some evidence that a fever helps “burn off” the illness, because higher temperatures give white blood cells an advantage.
  • Norovirus is commonly known as the stomach flu, and it reaches its peak in winter. It’s very contagious, so again, hand washing and avoidance are the best preventative measures.
  • RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is an extremely common upper respiratory illness. It’s like a cold, but affects the lungs and breathing passages, and can be very serious in little children. Babies should definitely be kept away from people with cold-like symptoms, and again, hand washing is extremely important.
  • Does it surprise you to learn that foodborne illness increases in winter? It may be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen during the holidays! The best way to avoid these nasty illnesses, like salmonella? Avoid cross contamination, from sharing cutting boards or wash water between produce and animal products. And remember the old food safety adage: if in doubt, throw it out!

It’s pretty obvious that the best way to keep well this winter is to wash your hands and stay away from sick people. It’s also wise to take care of yourself, even during this busy time of year, by eating healthy foods, taking immune system boosting supplements, and getting plenty of rest. At our clinic, we work with our patients to help them live their healthiest lives, free from illness and pain. Call today for your free consultation, and see what we can do for you!


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Is Paleo for You?

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Certainly, by now everyone has heard of the Paleo diet. Unless you yourself have been living in a cave for the past few years, the chances are good that you know someone who follows this so-called “caveman diet”, and many people find it very rewarding. Paleo devotees say that their diet brings them many health benefits, including weight loss, reduction of cellular inflammation, and more. So is a Paleo diet right for you? Read on to learn more. 

  • What, exactly, is a Paleo diet? Touted as a “primal” diet, the Paleo diet is actually an updated approximation of the diet of the Paleolithic era, before agriculture was developed. It’s updated because the much of the food we have available to us did not exist during the Paleolithic era, and approximated because the reality is that people in different places ate different things. The basic idea is to eat like a hunter-gatherer, eating vegetables, fruit, seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
  • What’s the benefit of eating like that? This kind of diet, which eschews grains and processed foods, is naturally gluten free and low in high-glycemic carbs and added sugars. The Paleo diet is also rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and soluble fiber. Consuming these nutrients, while avoiding processed foods, is likely to make a person feel healthier. Remember, Paleolithic people got plenty of exercise and fresh air, too, which is an important part of any healthy lifestyle.
  • Are there any drawbacks? Well, yes. First, if you were truly able to go back to the diet of your Paleolithic ancestors, you might reconsider when you realized their lifespan was only about 20 years. Obviously, that was not entirely due to their diet, but our modern diet does contain some nutrients, like vitamin D and calcium, that are in short supply in the Paleo diet. In addition, Paleolithic meat animals were much leaner than the meat we eat today, which means that those who try to follow the Paleo diet may be unintentionally ingesting too much unhealthy fat. The assertion made by some proponents of the Paleo diet, that our bodies are not designed to process foods developed beyond the Paleolithic era is inaccurate, as our digestive systems have certainly evolved.
  • What’s the best way to design a diet plan? Even though it’s not true to say that our digestive systems haven’t gotten past the Paleolithic era, there are many things that Paleo enthusiasts have gotten right. The modern diet, full of processed foods and sugar, is not the healthiest way to eat. Focusing on lean proteins, fresh produce, nuts, and seeds is not a bad idea, though there are beneficial nutrients to be gained from whole grains, dairy products, and legumes as well. Seeking balance in your diet is important, as is getting plenty of exercise. If you’re confused about how to make the right dietary choices, consult a nutritionist for advice.

At our clinic, we strive to help our patients lead balanced lives, striving for healthy consistency rather than jumping onto each new diet plan that comes along. Our nutritionists are happy to help you determine the right kind of diet for your particular body type, lifestyle, and health factors, in order to set you on your own path to optimal wellness. To learn more about how we can help you live a healthier life, visit our website for call today for a free consultation.


 
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