Category Archives: Pain relief

AlexVan / Pixabay

Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain

If you’re dealing with chronic pain, your search for relief probably seems endless, perhaps hopeless. You doctor will tell you that being anxious or stressed can make pain worse, and set in motion a vicious cycle as the pain causes more anxiety and stress. It seems that avoiding the affects of stress might play an important part in managing pain according to work that appears in the journal Brain. This finding is particularly important for those with a smaller than typical hippocampus as these people seem to be more vulnerable to the effects of stress than the rest of us.

The research by Dr. Pierre Rainville, Ph.D. of the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM) and his team included 16 subjects who had chronic back pain and a control group of 16 healthy participants. The team was looking for relationships between 1) cortisol levels, 2) assessment of clinical pain reported by subjects before their brain scan, 3) hippocampus volumes measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 4) brain activations using functional MRI that followed thermal pain stimulation. The subjects with chronic pain generally had higher cortisol levels than healthy people.

Cortisol is a hormone that’s made by the adrenal glands (sometimes known as the stress hormone) and the study shows that having a small hippocampus volume is linked to higher cortisol levels. This makes you more vulnerable to pain and having that pain become chronic.

Looking more closely at the data, the team saw that those with a smaller hippocampus had higher cortisol levels and stronger reactions to acute pain in a part of the brain involved with anticipatory anxiety that relates to pain. The response of the brain to the pain during the scan reflected, in part, the intensity of the patient’s current pain levels. This supports the idea that those with a smaller hippocampus end up with a stronger response to stress, and this in turn increases their pain and the risk of having that pain become chronic.

The research sheds more light onto the neurobiological mechanisms involved in stress and pain. No matter the reason, pain is often associated with high levels of stress, and there is value to be found in managing stress to help in treatments for those who are dealing with pain that lasts. Add stress management to your medical treatment plan by talking with a counselor, using relaxation techniques or practicing meditation.

Stress management won’t take away the pain, but it will help you get it under your control, help muscles release, while both breathing and heart rate slow down. When you relax, the mind slows and focuses on other things… becoming distracted from pain sensations so that they drop into the background.

Here are some simple stress management techniques to try…

Continues below…


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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

So, what do doctors do when they can’t sleep?

Here’s the answer.

Click through today to discover the 7 mistakes that are killing your sleep, and how overcome them…
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain Continued…

- Breathe deeply, inhale and hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale.
Do this at least three times in a row while you close your eyes and focus only on the sound of your breath.

- Distract yourself by bringing to mind an image that is peaceful and relaxing.
Imagine doing something you enjoy that’s calming, like taking a bath, walking along the beach, resting in a hammock or just relaxing in a peaceful garden… visualize this place as vividly as possible with all sights, sounds, smells you can and take yourself there any time you need to escape.

- Sing or listen to music you find pleasant. Singing helps release tension.

- Walk away as taking a little break from a tense environment can be all you need to ease the tension building in you. Grab a water, or get some fresh air. Count to ten before you go back inside.

If these aren’t enough, you might want to look into more regular stress management techniques like practicing yoga, getting a massage, daily mediation or just schedule some down time for yourself, doing something you enjoy.

To your good health,

tpsdave / Pixabay

Myths About Muscle Soreness After A Workout

When you put in a really tough workout there’s nothing to match the feeling of accomplishment you have… except perhaps the aches and pains of your body that next day. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS for short. This is muscle soreness that shows up six to eight hours after your workout, and peaks at 24 to 48 hours , and fading at 72 hours, though the timing and course will vary for each person.

Muscle soreness is more likely when you start a new thing, whether it’s an activity, a higher intensity or length, or if you’re just getting active after a long sedentary lifestyle. On the inside, your body is adapting to prepare your muscles to do that action again. As you go on, you build up and you won’t be as sore when you do the same activity. DOMS does appear to be the result of trauma to your muscle fibers, but this isn’t a definitive measure of damage to the muscles.

Although all types of muscle contractions can bring on soreness, what’s known as eccentric contraction (muscles lengthens as it contracts) is most often behind DOMS. Other activities like running down a hill, lowering weights or going down into a push up or squat are also likely to cause problems because of the higher load placed on muscles. There is even some suggestion that movement of the upper body brings more soreness than movement of the lower body.

Besides the muscle soreness, other symptoms of DOMS include:

- Reduced range of motion

- Joint stiffness

- Local swelling and tenderness

- Decreased muscle strength

You can help yourself avoid these symptoms by taking things slow with a new workout routine and giving your muscles time to get adjusted and recover themselves. Always do a good warm up and cool down as part of your routine.

Taking things one step further, here are five
myths
about DOMS, busted.

1. Lactic acid buildup causes DOMS – This “buildup” is a natural result of the metabolic process where your cells become more acidic. This makes your muscles feel as if they are burning. This isn’t caused by lactate, the lactate is a byproduct of the process and acts as a buffer to slow the rate at which cells become acidic.

2. You can’t have a “good” workout without DOMS – Soreness is poorly correlated to muscle adaption and growth according to research. Your symptoms are not a sign of how much better your workout is, or what great shape you’re in. If soreness persists after 3 days, you’ve done too much.

Continues below…


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Myths About Muscle Soreness After A Workout Continued…

3. Your fitness level has an impact on if you’ll get DOMS – Delayed onset muscle soreness can happen to anyone. Yes, you’ll feel less sore as your body gets used to being active and learns how to distribute the exercise across the muscle fibers. There’s also a genetic component to how sore we feel after being active.

4. Muscle damage from DOMS is bad for you - False. It appears that some amount of muscle trauma is needed to stimulate both protein production and the growth of muscle. As a muscle repairs itself, it gets larger and stronger so soreness isn’t as likely to happen next time. Here is the grain of truth behind the “no pain, no gain” myth.

5. Stretching before/after workouts is a good way to prevent/treat
DOMS
– not so according to a review of studies found that pre or post workout stretches didn’t cut the effects of DOMS is healthy subjects. If you have DOMS, a sports massage is a great way to ease the pain. You might also try contrast showers (alternate between hot and cold water), Epsom salt baths, foam rolling, upping your protein intake, omega-3 supplementation and lots of good quality sleep.

To your good health,

Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Laughing Is Good For Your Health

Humor is infectious… in a good way. Shared laughter binds people, increasing feelings of both happiness and intimacy. Researchers think that laughter is truly good medicine as it lifts your mood, helping you feel better, more energized. It can ease pain and protect your from the damage of stress. What we don’t know is if it’s the act of laughing that makes the difference or is simply having a good sense of humor, a positive outlook and support of a network of friends and family that is responsible for the improvements in health.

Definitive research on the benefits of laughter hasn’t been done. We do know that nothing works faster to rebalance your body and that laughter is a powerful antidote to conflict and stress. The ability to laugh, freely, easily and often may well be an untapped resource for solving problems, enhancing relationships and doing all you can for your physical and emotional health.

Science has established that we undergo physiological changes when we are laughing. Muscles stretch all through the face and body, pulse rate and blood pressure increase and our breathing gets faster, which sends more oxygen to all the tissues of the body. Some people believe that the benefits of laughter equal that of a mild workout.

Here’s what science knows about how laughter affects the body…

-
Laughter keeps blood flow normal, so vessels expand and contract easily.

-
The ability to see humor might just raise levels of infection fighting antibodies;
boost amounts of immune cells.

-
Lower blood sugar levels are the result of laughter according to a small study
of those with diabetes.

-
Improved relaxation and better sleep come from watching things that make you
laugh, ten minutes has been shown to bring up to two hours of pain free rest.

Continues below…


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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

So, what do doctors do when they can’t sleep?

Here’s the answer.

Learn how a retired M.D. Laney Chouest from New Orleans broke his 5-year addiction to Ambien, and now sleeps peacefully without medication.

Also, discover how a Licensed Psychologist, Sharon Stein McNamara, Ed.D.fromMinnesota broke her insomnia cycle.

Click through today to discover the 7 mistakes that are killing your sleep, and how overcome them…
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Laughing Is Good For Your Health Continued…

A pioneer in research on laughter, William Fry, found that it took ten minutes
on a rowing machine to get his heart rate to the same level it was after only
a single minute of hearty laughter. Laughter also seems to burn calories; studies
have found that 10 to 15 minutes of laughing burns 50 calories.

When it comes to researching laughter, most of the work on laughter and the body involved small groups and was not well conducted, with many researchers having a rather obvious bias. This is an area where it’s pretty tough to determine cause and effect. It’s hard to say if laughter is an agent of change, or simply a sign of what a person was like to start.

One potential benefit of laughter that is supported by science is its ability to ease pain. There are many projects that examined people in pain and found that laughing brought reports of pain not being as bothersome. It may just be the distraction that works, and not the laughter itself. Or, it may be that being with family and friends is the benefit, and having a strong connection to others rather than laughing is responsible for the positive effects.

Even though the research can’t show why, being with those we are close to, feeling happy and laughing delivers a real boost to mood. And that’s a quality of life boost we all deserve.

To your good health,

Elektro-Plan / Pixabay

6 Ways You Could Be Hurting Your Feet

We depend on our feet for an awful lot… we’re on them all day, every day in fact. Your feet have over 26 bones and literally hundreds of muscles, playing a major part in our overall health and ability to get up, move and workout. One thing most people don’t realize is that a minor injury to your foot will be repeated over and over, becoming amplified pretty rapidly.

How can we all do better by our feet? By being aware of foot care mistakes and making changes so that we treat this very important body part with proper respect.

1. Running wrong: When you run you naturally land on the outside of the foot, roll to the inside and then come back to the outside. If you start to have shin splints or another running injury, it can be your body’s way of telling you your spending too much time on the inside of the foot as you run. This affects how you hit the ground and push off, affecting your shins, knees, hips and back.

2. Getting recurring callouses: They don’t look so hot, and they’re also a sign that you’re putting too much stress on a part of your foot. The most common places for a callus are the outside of the fifth toe, the inside of the big toe and under the ball of the foot, close to the second metatarsal bone. You can use a pumice stone to smooth them and moisturize on a regular basis. A visit to a podiatrist might also be in order.

3. Not enough arch strengthening: A catch your breath foot cramp during a workout is likely the result of weak arches. To make them stronger, put small balls on the ground and try picking them up using just your toes. Do this as much as you can and it might be a preventive for many issues.

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6 Ways You Could Be Hurting Your Feet Continued…

4. Wearing the wrong socks: If you aren’t wearing socks when you workout, you’re hurting yourself. The foot actually has more sweat glands than any other part of your body. Go for socks made of synthetic wicking material, stay away from cotton as this traps moisture and this can lead to blisters. You might also spray your feet with antiperspirant before you put on the workout shoes to stop sweat altogether.

5. No daily foot stretching: Just as you stretch after a workout, you need to take off your shoes and do a few foot stretches at the end of your day… a long, tough workout for your feet. You can buy toe spacing products to use each day to return your foot to a more natural position, not with toes constricted but rather where the widest point of the foot is at the tips of the toes. Toe socks might be another good solution for some.

6. Wearing those heels: Of course heels look awesome, the fashion must that make your feet look incredible; but there’s good reason why this style of shoe is bad for your feet. The style takes your foot out of its natural alignment, forcing you to lean forward as you walk and this works against your own natural gait, impacting your knees, hips and back. If you must wear high heels, at least kick them off and stretch your feet when you can.

To your good health,

How To Handle Your Neck Pain

Most often, neck pain or a stiff neck is nothing serious, typically resolving within a couple of days. This type of pain can come from sleeping in an awkward position, using a keyboard for a long time and yes… you can get a stiff neck from sitting in a cold draft. Anxiety or stress can also bring tension in the neck muscles, and this can keep you in pain and moving carefully.

Here are seven home remedies that you can try to help yourself:

1. Take regular doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen, whichever works best for you. Gel pain formulations can be rubbed onto your neck if you don’t like swallowing tablets. Be sure to follow the recommended dosing schedule.

2. Use a hot water bottle, heating pack or pad on your neck as this can ease pain and muscle tightness. Just be sure to keep the temperature from being too hot so that you don’t burn your skin.

3. Sleep on a low, firm pillow at night, and avoid using two pillows because this forces your neck to bend in an awkward way.

4. Watch your posture as bad posture can make pain worse, and may have brought it about in the first place. Practice sitting correctly.

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How To Handle Your Neck Pain Continued…

5. Don’t wear a neck collar as there’s no evidence to support wearing such a
device will help your neck get any better. The more modern approach finds it’s
better to keep your neck mobile, rather than held rigidly in place.

6. Don’t drive until the pain and stiffness are all gone. The need to turn your head to look at traffic is key to driving safely; so don’t get behind the wheel until you can move your head freely.

7. Try some simple neck exercises like gently tensing your neck muscles as you lift your head up and down, move it from side to side.

Sometimes you can wake up to find your neck twisted to one side and stuck that way. This condition is called acute torticollis and can happen if you’re in a cold draft for too long or if you’ve held your neck in an unusual position for a long time. Usually this only lasts 24-48 hours, but it can take up to a full week before you feel better.

Another cause of neck pain can be nerve or bone problems known to medicine as cervical spondylosis. Wear and tear on these bones happens naturally as we get older and though it might not cause symptoms, there can be neck stiffness or pain that radiates into the arms, pins and needles and numbness in the hands or legs.

If your neck pain or stiffness doesn’t get better after a few days, or you can’t control the pain with over the counter painkillers you should see your doctor. Your physician will look closely at your neck and ask a few questions to rule out other causes or conditions. You may be given a strong painkiller to take along with other medicines. If your pain and stiffness have gone on for more than a few weeks, it might be time for a referral to a physiotherapist. Your doctor may also refer you to a pain specialist who can offer injections to help you manage pain.

To your good health,

Manage Chronic Pain in 5 Natural Ways

It’s likely that you, or someone you see every day, is fighting to manage chronic pain, a condition that affects 100 million Americans. This is more than the numbers dealing with heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined. Chronic pain is considered any pain that lasts longer than three months, and it can cause changes in your nervous system that get worse over time. Relief seems like an impossible goal. Many rely on strong pain medication to manage their problem, though this has the risk of dependency and accidental overdose.

If you’re dealing with chronic pain and looking for a more natural way to manage it, try one of these practices and see if your pain doesn’t get better.

1. Massage

It sounds like expensive pampering, but massage is a treatment option that’s backed by research showing how effective it is in treating chronic pain in many parts of the body, including the lower back and shoulders. Painful knots or trigger points are often the reason for this pain. Because those with chronic pain are super sensitive to touch, a massage therapist (no matter what technique used) needs to take care not to over stimulate the area of pain. A skilled practitioner with experience working with trigger points and chronic pain will know where to put their hands to ease out the knots, without making things worse.

2. Acupuncture

Another costly treatment, this option often makes people cringe at the thought of being stuck with needles, but they are sterile, hair thin so you feel little if anything when they’re inserted. Acupuncture has been used safely for centuries to treat chronic pain and other conditions. Its gained wider acceptance in the U.S. with studies showing that it can successfully reduce levels of discomfort that are part of life when dealing with chronic pain. It can be very effective for those who can’t tolerate medication or who don’t want to take it.

You should be sure that the source of your pain is not a ligament tear, break in a bone or another structural issue before you consider acupuncture. Usually 6 treatments are needed before you can tell if your pain is getting better.

3. Proper Workouts

If a particular exercise ups the intensity of your pain, then you’re not ready for that yet. It can help to gradually add strengthening exercise to your routine, however they can hurt you more if you start them before you have your pain under control. When you do an exercise you increase muscle tension and this can make soft tissue pain worse. Experts suggest you start with stretching exercises that are research proven to help chronic pain related to the lower back. Yoga can also be helpful, but you need to talk with the instructor to change poses as needed. Being in tune with your body, so you know what makes pain worse, is super critical here.

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Manage Chronic Pain in 5 Natural Ways Continued…

4. Stress Management

Studies show a link between sustained stress and chronic pain. When stress is pushed inward, this can bring on muscle tension. You need an outlet that’s safe and healthy to release that excess energy. There are lots of choices in terms of stress management (deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery), so you’ll need to do a bit of research to find what feels right for you.

5. Sleep

Research finds that skipping sleep may exacerbate your pain, so getting the good, quality rest you need is very important for keeping chronic pain in check. Sleep is one of the best medicines in terms of pain, just as Mom used to say. It can help to set up a pre sleep routine that helps you wind down and sends a signal to the body that sleep is soon to come. Chamomile, mint and passionflower teas are very calming. If you wake during the night, try to avoid walking about, putting on lights or checking your devices; relax quietly and rest instead.

To your good health,

New Research Finding New Clue On Cause Of Migraine

Migraine sufferers, this is important news for you. New research appearing in Neurology finds that obesity is linked to migraines of any frequency. Episodic migraines, those that happen less than 15 days a month, are an issue for a surprising 10-15% of the general population. This type of headache has warning signs, sensitivity to light (fluorescent) and sound, tunnel vision or perhaps blind spots and then a pulsating pain (often on one side) like nothing else, which often brings on nausea and a suffering like you’ve never imagined.

This most recent research on migraine included over 3,700 adult subjects and found that obese participants were 81% more apt to have episodic migraines as compared to subjects at a healthy weight. As the BMI moved from normal to overweight and then to obese, the rate of headaches went up as well. The research team also saw that the link between episodic migraines was strongest for those under 50 years old, although why this might be remains a mystery.

Here’s the thing. The more frequent your migraines, the greater the risk of going from an episodic to a more chronic headache pattern according to study lead author B. Lee Peterlin, DO who is director of headache research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As if the added headaches weren’t bad enough, more frequent headaches also harm the cells of the brain, not what you’re after as you get older.

It’s important for physicians to treat episodic migraines early on, before they fall into a more permanent pattern. Doctors should be aware of the types of medications they offer patients as treatment options that might also impact weight. Solving one problem but adding to another is not what is needed here. Rather an approach that treats migraine suffering and also addresses any existing weight issues in the patient may well be highly successful.

Continues below…


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New Research Finding New Clue On Cause Of Migraine Continued…

Experts know a bit more about the impact of dropping some weight on headaches. There is research that finds aerobic exercise 3 days a week is linked to a drop in headache frequency. That’s good news, as exercise has so many incredible benefits to you – the hard part is getting people to do the workouts, and stick with them long enough to start feeling (and looking) better.

Researchers believe that the frequency, and severity, of your migraines contribute to just how much cell death is happening in the brain. There is still more work to be done before experts understand just what’s going on in the brain during these vicious headaches. The good news is that migraine induced brain volume losses appear to be reversible under treatment.

If you have headaches you think are migraines, but you’re not sure, look at lists of symptoms and see how many describe your experience. Keeping a headache journal is also tremendously helpful, write down when you feel a headache coming, what you ate, anything about the environment, and for women, whe

Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain

If you’re dealing with chronic pain, your search for relief probably seems endless, perhaps hopeless. You doctor will tell you that being anxious or stressed can make pain worse, and set in motion a vicious cycle as the pain causes more anxiety and stress. It seems that avoiding the affects of stress might play an important part in managing pain according to work that appears in the journal Brain. This finding is particularly important for those with a smaller than typical hippocampus as these people seem to be more vulnerable to the effects of stress than the rest of us.

The research by Dr. Pierre Rainville, Ph.D. of the Research Centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (IUGM) and his team included 16 subjects who had chronic back pain and a control group of 16 healthy participants. The team was looking for relationships between 1) cortisol levels, 2) assessment of clinical pain reported by subjects before their brain scan, 3) hippocampus volumes measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 4) brain activations using functional MRI that followed thermal pain stimulation. The subjects with chronic pain generally had higher cortisol levels than healthy people.

Cortisol is a hormone that’s made by the adrenal glands (sometimes known as the stress hormone) and the study shows that having a small hippocampus volume is linked to higher cortisol levels. This makes you more vulnerable to pain and having that pain become chronic.

Looking more closely at the data, the team saw that those with a smaller hippocampus had higher cortisol levels and stronger reactions to acute pain in a part of the brain involved with anticipatory anxiety that relates to pain. The response of the brain to the pain during the scan reflected, in part, the intensity of the patient’s current pain levels. This supports the idea that those with a smaller hippocampus end up with a stronger response to stress, and this in turn increases their pain and the risk of having that pain become chronic.

The research sheds more light onto the neurobiological mechanisms involved in stress and pain. No matter the reason, pain is often associated with high levels of stress, and there is value to be found in managing stress to help in treatments for those who are dealing with pain that lasts. Add stress management to your medical treatment plan by talking with a counselor, using relaxation techniques or practicing meditation.

Stress management won’t take away the pain, but it will help you get it under your control, help muscles release, while both breathing and heart rate slow down. When you relax, the mind slows and focuses on other things… becoming distracted from pain sensations so that they drop into the background.

Here are some simple stress management techniques to try…

Continues below…


*Highly Recommended*

Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

Ever lain awake at night and counted the hours till dawn? Isn’t frustrating to be in bed and be unable to sleep?

With around 18 million prescriptions written every year for expensive sleeping pills…

…it’s clear that there’s a national epidemic.

So, what do doctors do when they can’t sleep?

Here’s the answer.

Learn how a retired M.D. Laney Chouest from New Orleans broke his 5-year addiction to Ambien, and now sleeps peacefully without medication.

Also, discover how a Licensed Psychologist, Sharon Stein McNamara, Ed.D.fromMinnesota broke her insomnia cycle.

Click through today to discover the 7 mistakes that are killing your sleep, and how overcome them…
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Stress Management To Prevent Chronic Pain Continued…


Breathe deeply, inhale and hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale. Do this at least three times in a row while you close your eyes and focus only on the sound of your breath.

” Distract yourself by bringing to mind an image that is peaceful and relaxing. Imagine doing something you enjoy that’s calming, like taking a bath, walking along the beach, resting in a hammock or just relaxing in a peaceful garden… visualize this place as vividly as possible with all sights, sounds, smells you can and take yourself there any time you need to escape.

” Sing or listen to music you find pleasant. Singing helps release tension.

” Walk away as taking a little break from a tense environment can be all you need to ease the tension building in you. Grab a water, or get some fresh air. Count to ten before you go back inside.

If these aren’t enough, you might want to look into more regular stress management techniques like practicing yoga, getting a massage, daily mediation or just schedule some down time for yourself, doing something you enjoy.

To your good health,

More Sleep Less Pain

We all understand that pain is a serious intrusion into sleep. New research appearing in the latest issue of Sleep finds that more sleep can improve your ability to withstand pain. Experts like Michael Breus, Ph.D. hold that sleep and pain are tightly connected. Someone who’s sleepy is also likely to be irritable, moody, sad and a bit anxious and this makes any type of pain worse.

What types of pain disturb sleep the most?

- Back pain

- Headaches

- Facial pain from TMJ syndrome

- Musculoskeletal pain like arthritis and fibromyalgia

- Women have visceral, abdominal pain or premenstrual cramping

- Pain from cancer treatment or symptoms

This latest research on pain and sleep included 18 healthy people who were 21 to 35 years old who didn’t have any pain. Half of the subjects spent ten hours in bed for four consecutive nights, the rest kept their usual nighttime schedule. The longer sleeping volunteers ended up with about two hours more sleep per night, and also improved in a test measuring their sensitivity to pain.

The team measured pain by how long the subjects could keep a finger pressed to a heat source. The length of time they could do this increased by 25% in those who were getting more sleep. Earlier research in this area has found that the effect of added sleep is comparable to ingesting a 60 mg dose of codeine two times a day. That’s significant pain control.

If you’re getting eight hours of sleep a night, you aren’t likely to need more according to researcher Thomas Roth, PhD, the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Henry Ford Hospital. Although just how much more sleep can help improve sensitivity to pain isn’t well understood, experts generally agree that if you’re getting only six hours of sleep most nights, you need to try for more like the eight hours that’s closer to the ideal. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that healthy adults try for anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Sleeping longer appears to decrease your sensitivity to pain. This likely works for all types of pain, acute and chronic back aches as well as other disorders involving pain. The researchers speculate that lack of sleep and pain are both able to increase levels of inflammatory markers, but getting more sleep can help send those markers in the other direction.

Continues below…


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More Sleep Less Pain Continued…

Going forward, researchers hope that physicians look at patients before surgery to be sure they are not having any sleep issues that might affect how they experience pain and the amount of medications they may need. Still it’s a long way to applying study results to patients with chronic pain, as the study period was too short.

The best thing you can do for yourself in terms of sleeping is to practice good sleep habits – even on weekends, holidays and when you’re on vacation. If pain is disrupting your sleep more than two to three times each night, or you’re unable to fall back to sleep, you need to talk with your own doctor. There are things that can help your sleep and ease your pain, not just medications but physical therapy or other nontraditional approaches that can ease your symptoms and have you getting the rest you need.

To your good health,

Water Workouts Boost Endurance In COPD

C’mon in… the water is great! A small study finds that working out in water may beat land-based exercise for patients with chronic lung disease and other issues. A team from Australia found that working out in a pool upped physical endurance and energy levels in those who had COPD as well as eased complaints like back pain or conditions like obesity.

COPD is the name given to many conditions that cause breathlessness, things like chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is one of the most common lung diseases. Symptoms can develop slowly and some patients don’t know they are ill. The World Health Organization estimates almost 65 million people have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The condition can be treated with medications to open the airways or reduce lung inflammation and exercise to help improve symptoms.

Exercising can be particularly challenging for these patients… after all, it’s hard to workout if you’re having trouble breathing. Add other health problems into the mix and you can see why so many COPD patients have trouble sticking with regular exercise. Walking is a good place to start, but water workouts are likely another effective choice based on the findings of the Australian study appearing in the European Respiratory Journal, the first to examine the benefits of regular exercise in this group of patients.

Researchers led by Renae McNamara who is a physical therapist at The Prince of Wales Hospital located in Randwick involved 53 subjects assigning them to workouts in a hydrotherapy pool, gym based exercise or standard medical attention without any exercise recommendations. The exercise used were one hour long sessions three times a week for two months. A full 45 patients finished the study. Whether they did exercise on land or water, the subjects were able to walk faster afterward than those who just got medical care. Interesting that the subjects who worked out in the water said they felt less fatigued and had more endurance than those who exercised in the gym.

During a test where subjects had to walk as far as they could at a steady speed, those who exercised in water outpaced those who did their exercise in a gym by 748 feet (228 meters), well over the 203 meters researchers consider significant. Those who were doing water based exercise said they saw an improvement in many things, better stamina during daily activities like showing and dressing, as well as improved ability to finish formerly challenging activities such as walking a lot when shopping.

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Water Workouts Boost Endurance In COPD Continued…

The water exercisers liked the session and reported feeling less depressed as well as enjoying a sense of achievement at being able to workout (often too painful or hard on land) and do something helpful for their condition.

Why was water so beneficial? McNamara has many thoughts on this. There’s the buoyancy that supports body weight, reduces the force on joints and allows greater movement. Warm water helps with pain by increasing circulation. When it comes to COPD patients, there was concern by some experts that exercise in chest deep water would put the chest under pressure and make breathing harder, but the research team so no drop outs because of worsening symptoms in the swimmers, but they did lose subjects in the gym group.

Water based therapies are currently used to treat conditions like arthritis and joint pain. If you’re looking for a program, check with you local hospital or healthcare team. You’ll want a program that has an instructor to help show you the exercise and monitor your progress. The feelings and support of being part of a group cannot be underestimated and will have you feeling better than ever before.

To your good health,