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Back Pain!

 

Most back pain sufferers believe that pinning down the exact cause of their problem is the essential first step toward getting it solved. If you are one of these people, you will probably be shocked to learn that more than half of the millions of people who suffer from back pain never find out exactly what is wrong!

This does not mean, however, that you can't be treated successfully. Quite the contrary! Over the past few years, health care professionals have realized that when it comes to treating back pain, it is almost always enough to know the category or categories your problem falls into.

Here is an example of why categorizing a back problem is usually sufficient:
Let's say that you have a bulging disc in your lumbar, or lower spine. Certain postures, such as bending forward, will almost always aggravate a disc problem. Therefore, if you fall into this category, you will be advised to avoid bending forward as much as possible, especially during an acute bout. Among other things, an exercise program which emphasizes extension exercises will also be prescribed. It makes no difference whether the lowest, or the second lowest, lumbar disc is bulging, the recommended treatment will be the same.

The five main categories of back pain are:

Strains and/or sprains of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons;
Disc problems;
Spinal stenosis;
Facet Joint Syndrome;
Osteoarthritis.
In most cases, the correct category of back pain can be determined by a thorough clinical examination.

If you suffer from chronic back pain, you are not alone. Except for colds, back pain keeps more people home from work than any other medical problem.

And, while there are many opinions about why back pain is so common, there are also just about as many opinions on how it should be treated. The one thing everyone seems to agree on however, is that taking medication on a long-term basis should only be undertaken under close medical supervision.So before you start using tramadol and other medications on a regular basis, find out with your doctor, your other options.

Antidepressant medications are sometimes prescribed for longer periods of time for chronic pain patients.

Before taking any medication, consult your doctor. After a complete medical assessment your doctor will be able to advise you responsibly as to what course of treatment is best for you to follow.

If your doctor does prescribe medication, you should understand how it will affect you. Read the label. If you are unsure about any aspect of taking a medication talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Before taking any medication, consult your doctor or pharmacist. And please always read the label.

Types of medication:

Analgesics
Analgesics such as Advil®, Anacin® and Tylenol® are designed to relieve pain and are available without a prescription. For more serious pain and/or inflammation your doctor may prescribe something stronger requiring a prescription.

Muscle Relaxants and Anti-anxiety drugs
Muscle relaxants, , available in prescription and non-prescription strengths, reduce spasm and tension in muscles. They are sometimes combined with an analgesic for greater relief. Anti-anxiety drugs can be used for the same relief but may also have a strong sedative effect.

Anti-Depressants These are sometimes taken in low doses to relax muscles, reduce pain and aid sleep. They are most often prescribed for people who are anxious as well as depressed.

Weighty Matters!

Fighting Obesity

The sad fact is that excess weight and obesity are killing and/or damaging more Americans every year than terrorism, criminals or even automobile accidents. Research released in the summer of 2003 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, a function of the National Center for Health Statistics) revealed that the percentage of overweight or obese U.S. residents stood at 64% in 1999-2000. Almost two-thirds of the nation's adult population had a body mass index (BMI) of 25.0 or higher.

Fortunately, there are programs and products that can help health-conscious consumers avert excess adipose, and many of these are associated with or available at your neighborhood natural products store.

Diet Programs

Low-carb:Wildly popular during the past few years, although waning somewhat in recent months, high-protein/low-carb eating reached star status through the persistence of one man-the late Robert C. Atkins, M.D. In his 1992 book, Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, the author states that there are actually four Atkins diets, i.e. a very strict Induction period followed by Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance; and Maintenance. At each succeeding stage, there is a little more leniency in terms of allowing some carbohydrates back into the diet.

The South Beach Diet is a variation on the low-carb theme. Arthur Agatston, M.D., its developer, has described its key elements as "using the good fats-Mediterranean oils, olive oil, canola oil, the omega-3 fish oils and the oils found in almost all nuts, along with the good carbohydrates, which are the vegetables, the whole-grain breads and whole fruits. That, combined with strategic snacking, controls hunger and prevents the cravings that occur to so many Americans shortly after they finish a meal."

Low-fat:Among the individuals most closely linked with low-fat diets ( 15% or less) are the late Nathan Pritikin, his son Robert, who became director of the Santa Monica, CA-based Pritikin Longevity Center, and Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Eat More, Weigh Less: Dr. Dean Ornish's Life Choice Program for Losing Weight Safely While Eating Abundantly. The Pritikin diet ranks foods according to calories per pound and advises choosing low-calorie and medium-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, bread, rice and pasta over denser meat and dairy products. Ornish, too, favors plant-based foods, including produce, whole grains, beans and soy, with only small amounts of sugar and white flour.

Balanced diet:Barry Sears, Ph.D., developer of The Zone, espouses a regimen composed of 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates. His theory is that such a diet will not spike hunger-inducing insulin as much as a low-fat diet that is top-heavy with carbs.

There are countless other diets, too, including those that add group support, such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and the non-profit Overeaters Anonymous. Any and all of these work, but only if they are adhered to.

Weight-Loss Supplements

If food is the main reason we are fat, supplements may be part of the solution to shedding unwanted pounds. Readers must recognize that the following list is far from complete, due to constraints of time and space.

Coleus forskohlii:An extract of this root was tested with six overweight, but otherwise healthy, women. During the eight-week trial, the mean values for body weight and fat content significantly decreased, while lean body mass significantly increased as compared to the baseline.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA):A double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 180 women in Norway resulted in CLA-treated subjects losing 8% of body fat during the first 12 months. During the second year, all subjects were given CLA as triglycerides, and those in the previously treated group kept their body fat down, while the women who had initially been on placebo decreased their body fat by 5%.

Cortisol antagonist:a stress hormone, is needed in small amounts to control carbohydrate metabolism, inflammation and cardiovascular function. In large amounts, however, it "may lead to abdominal fat storage in some people." To counteract this, one company has introduced a patent pending formula comprised of vitamins, minerals, and proprietary blends of various substances, including magnolia bark extract, betasitosterol, theanine, green tea extract, bitter orange peel extract, banaba leaf extract and vanadium.

Corosolic acid:Derived from the Lagerstroemia speciosa L, a tropical botanical also known as banaba, corosolic acid has been tested in a crossover study using 12 human subjects. The results show that corosolic acid is effective in reducing blood glucose levels, with no adverse effects.

Konjac root extract: a proprietary blend of this highly viscous, non-absorbable soluble plant fiber was researched at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Center for Functional Medicine, where it was shown to reduce appetite by promoting a feeling of fullness.

Garcinia cambogia:This fruit contains (-) Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA). According to the website www.sirisimpex.com, besides promoting glycogen production, HCA is said to signal the Krebs cycle to initiate betaoxidation which bums the body's stored fat. Thus the fruit extract containing the highest concentration of FICA promotes weight loss and assists the body's natural cycles in proper metabolism of fats.

White kidney bean extract: white kidney beans help reduce levels of the digestive enzyme amylase from converting starch like pasta, potatoes and bread into glucose, causing excess carbs to travel throughout the body (from absorption to excretion) without being converted into fat.

Citrus aurautium:On his website, physician/author Ray Sahelian, M.D., says that the amines in Citrus aurantium (commonly known as bitter orange) stimulate beta-3 cell receptors, eliciting the breakdown of fat. "Simultaneously," he adds, "this stimulation causes an increase in the metabolic ratethermogenesis-which burns calories."

 

The International Alliance (TIA) is an umbrella organization made up of over 30 women's business organizations and networks representing 10,000 women around the world. Individuals who don't have a network affiliation, or who want to provide additional support to the organization, may also join as Alliance Associates.

Through its activities and conferences, TIA fosters an environment that assists women in reaching their potential and enables them to contribute significantly in business, the professions, academia, government and not-for-profit sectors. Members are dynamic, high achieving professionals committed to making a difference for all women in business around the world.

But that's just part of the story. TIA is about connections...about access...about exposure to people and situations that expand the way we look at things. As the world shrinks and the reality of virtual commerce emerges, it becomes more critical for all of us in business to have greater understanding about the issues that impact our personal and professional lives. As women become more of a pivotal factor in the global economic, political and social arenas, TIA provides its members with vehicles for gaining and implementing competitive advantages that will carry them solidly into the next century.

Networking is power. No new idea there. But organizations such as TIA, which exist for the purpose of networking, reinforce just how effective each of us can be. Women working together to advance and promote women have made a difference on the complexion of business. We have discovered that together, anything is possible.

For more information about how you can benefit from TIA, visit other areas of this site or contact us directly via email.