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Infactual Articles » 2007 » January


Archive for January, 2007

Treating Fibromyalgia with Trigger Point Therapy

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 27th, 2007

Trigger point therapy is a treatment that has helped many people who suffer from fibromyalgia. It is an impressive therapy that effectively reduces trigger point pain. Trigger point therapy is used to relieve pain, and is a massage treatment that is frequently used to treat a variety of conditions including sports injuries, repetitive strain injury, accident trauma, myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Trigger point therapy is also known as myotherapy or myofascial trigger point therapy. It was established in the United States during the 1940’s by Dr. Janet Travell.

What is trigger point therapy?
Trigger point therapy is a technique that applies pressure through touch to sensitive muscle tissue known as trigger points. Pressure is applied by fingers, knuckles or elbows and is maintained for up to 10 seconds and released. Pressure is then reapplied in a pumping motion for another 30 seconds and released. After this treatment, the muscles are then stretched to improve flexibility.

The purpose of the therapy is to alleviate pain and dysfunction in other areas of the body, and improve muscular flexibility. Trigger point therapy is able to effectively reduce pain because the pressure that is applied during treatment increases blood flow to the targeted area. As a result, oxygen and nutrients can freely flow to the spot and work to heal the muscle. Furthermore, the applied pressure stimulates the body to release endorphins (natural painkillers) to help reduce pain.

What are trigger points?
Trigger points are the areas of your body that are extremely sensitive. Usually when they are touched, trigger points are painful, increase stiffness in muscles and limit motion. A trigger point will feel like a tight knot in the soft tissue that lies just beneath your skin. Trigger points generally form as a result of poor posture, exertion, stress or an illness such as fibromyalgia.

There are two different trigger points:
1. Active trigger points – These points result in pain when they are pressed, but do not cause pain in other parts of the body.
2. Latent trigger points – These points result in pain when they are pressed but can also cause pain in other parts of the body. For example, a trigger point in the neck may cause pain in the back when pressed.
If trigger points are not looked after, they can develop into satellite trigger points, the term given to trigger points that have spread from the original source. Satellite trigger points evolve into more painful symptoms.
How can trigger point therapy help fibromyalgia? Trigger point therapy has been proven to be very beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers. Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes various tender areas in the body. These sensitive spots often cause muscle stiffness, pain and other discomforts. This is why trigger point therapy is usually a successful treatment for those with fibromyalgia, because the treatment helps to eliminate the tender areas and the resulting symptoms. The following is how trigger point therapy works to help fibromyalgia sufferers:
• Decreases the stiffness in muscles
• Improves motion range and flexibility
• Encourages circulation to allow the body to heal
• Reduces anxiety and depression
Trigger point therapy should only be performed by a qualified therapist who has previous experience with treating fibromyalgia. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to tell the therapist the exact location where you are feeling pain, so that they can focus the therapy on these particular points to provide you with the best relief.
If you are not ready for trigger point therapy, and would like to try something first that doesn’t involve a therapist, consider trying relaxation techniques.

For more information on other Fibromyalgia treatment options please go to EliminateFibromyalgia.com

The Missing Link Between Gout and Alcohol Consumption

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 14th, 2007

Although there are many factors that can contribute to a build up of uric acid within your system, alcohol consumption appears to be a leading factor in gout development. However, this doesn’t mean that people who drink alcohol modestly on a regular basis will develop gout. Furthermore, research has discovered that different types of alcoholic beverages have different impacts on uric acid levels.

For hundreds of years, medical researchers have suspected that gout is linked to specific lifestyles such as diets high in red meat, salt and alcohol, combined with little to no exercise. This type of lifestyle, which many people in Western countries tend to adopt as they become older and closer to middle age, is very much like the lifestyle that was once led by English kings. In fact, gout is often called “the disease of kings”.

Today, researchers that have conducted studies on men in relation to alcohol consumption and its link to gout, have found that men who drank excessive amounts of certain forms of alcohol – especially beer – greatly increased their risk for developing gout.

What has been discovered is alcohol may not only affect the production of uric acid, but also its removal from the body. It appears that when alcohol is changed into lactic acid, it decreases the quantity of uric acid that the kidneys are able to remove from the body. The reason is because uric acid has to compete with the lactic acid in order to be removed by the kidneys.

In addition, researchers have found that certain types of alcohol have less risk of causing gout than others. Of all the alcohols studied, it appears that Beer poses the highest risk of gout, while moderate consumption of wine or spirits has little to no increased risk of gout.

What’s so risky about beer? Some researchers believe that beer has a non-alcoholic ingredient that makes the increase of gout even higher than other alcoholic beverages. Beer is apparently the only alcoholic beverage to include purines, and an excessive amount of purines in the system can lead to higher production of uric acid. Conversely, other researchers do not believe it is the purines in the drink that increase the risk of gout. These researchers don’t believe that having too many purines in the diet increase the risk of gout. Their reasoning is based on a study that was conducted on vegetarians from Taiwan who indulged in a diet that was high in purines. The study revealed that theses individuals actually had a lower risk of developing gout.

So, if it’s not the purines in beer then what is it? Some experts have a hunch that excessive beer drinkers have a higher risk in contracting gout due to their lifestyle. For instance, a person who drinks wine usually has their alcoholic beverage with a meal, or with healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, crackers and cheese. A beer drinker, on the other hand, will often indulge in eating salty and fatty snacks such as peanuts and chips, while they sit and watch TV on the couch hour after hour. Thus, enthusiastic beer drinkers are likely to have a more sedentary lifestyle.

Regardless of the alcohol beverage you enjoy, you can dramatically reduce your risk of developing gout by drinking modestly (IE a glass of wine or beer per day). Overindulging in alcohol on occasion isn’t going to have a dramatic effect on your chances of getting gout, but regular overindulgence may eventually lead to a serious pain in the big toe.

For more information about Gout diets take a look at Cure Gout Now.

Biofeedback For Blood Pressure - The facts

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 12th, 2007

Biofeedback is a system that provides you with real-time information about your body — blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and skin temperature, for example — on the theory that if you are aware of this information, you can control it. You’re not usually aware of your heart rate, for example, so you may not know if it’s too high. Biofeedback makes you cognizant of it, thus allowing you to take measures to regulate it if necessary.

In recent years, people have begun to use biofeedback as a means of lowering their blood pressure. A biofeedback device called Resperate, helps people relax by slowing their breathing, which in turn reduces hypertension. There are other things you can do, too, that involve keeping tabs on your blood pressure and responding accordingly to keep it in check.

First is something called autogenic training, which involves learning to control body conditions such as muscle tension, heart rate, and blood flow. Much of this involves a mind-over-matter attitude. By seeing your blood pressure go up (through a monitor you can use yourself), you can identify the stressors that are causing it to happen. Then, having identified the things that cause your blood pressure to rise, you can take steps to overcome them, either by eliminating the stressors or learning to deal with them positively.

There is ample information on the Internet about autogenic training, including many stress-reducing exercises you can do from your desk or at work.

Another way to deal with hypertension through biofeedback is “temperature training.” Some research indicates that the temperature of your finger is an accurate indicator of your blood pressure. High stress causes your finger temperature to drop as the fight-or-flight response sends blood quickly away from the extremities and toward the vital organs. This means an increase in blood pressure — thus, lower finger temperature equals higher blood pressure.

There are devices you can buy that monitor your finger temperature. Then, with relaxation techniques and stress management, you can lower your blood pressure, which will manifest itself in a higher finger temperature.

These techniques usually won’t help people with extreme hypertension. Those who can benefit from biofeedback include people with normal-to-slightly-high blood pressure or mild hypertension, and those with a family history of high blood pressure who want to take preemptive measures against getting it themselves.

It should be stressed that while biofeedback and relaxation techniques can be helpful in reducing blood pressure, they are not to be substituted for a healthy diet, regular exercise and whatever medication your doctor has prescribed. Biofeedback should be in addition to those things, not instead of them. As a medical technique, biofeedback has proponents and detractors. It’s certainly not going to hurt your health, but it may not always help it, either.

If you are looking for more help for Blood Pressure Reduction symptoms please visit NaturalBloodPressureReduction.com and sign up for a free newsletter.

Natural Ways to Beat Endometriosis

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 5th, 2007

There are different dietary and herbal supplements that can be taken to help alleviate symptoms caused by endometriosis. That being said, before taking any form of supplement, you should always consult your doctor first. This is especially important for any woman who suffers from kidney, liver or heart problems.

The following is a breakdown of the common types of dietary (vitamins and minerals) supplements used to treat endometriosis:

Vitamins

B Vitamins - biotin, choline, cobalamin, folic acid, inositol, niacin, PABA, panthothenic acid, pyridoxine, and riboflavin - Every member of the B vitamin family works to breakdown carbohydrates, fat and protein in the body. Folic acid is particularly important as it distributes oxygen to tissue, and a deficiency in this particular B vitamin can cause anemia. B vitamins also help to improve emotional symptoms caused by endometriosis.

Vitamin C – helps build and preserve collagen in the body, simulates the immune system, encourages healing, and resists disease. Caution: Although fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, it also contains bioflavinoids that can mirror estrogen effects on the body and cause severe cramping.

Vitamin E – helps strengthen immune system. When taken with selenium it can decrease inflammation associated with endometriosis. Caution: Women should not take vitamin E supplements if they are on anticoagulants.

Minerals

Calcium – approximately two weeks before menstruating, calcium levels decrease in women. This drop in levels can result in headaches, pelvic pain and muscle cramps. Note: Calcium requires vitamin D to be absorbed into the body; therefore, if taking a calcium supplement, ensure it contains vitamin D.

Iron – During menses, the average woman loses an estimated 30 mg of iron, and some women who have endometriosis may lose even more due to heavy menses. Iron deficiency can cause weakness, serious fatigue and mental haziness.

Potassium – aids in muscle contraction, heart rate regulation, and the balance of body fluids among other things. Women who experience diarrhea during their menses can become deficient in Potassium which can result in bloating, fatigue, and weakness.

Magnesium – Helps to relieve cramping during menstruation. Magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle and/or menstrual cramps.

Zinc – aids in the reproduction of cells and is vital for enzyme activity. It is believed that zinc helps women cope better with their emotions during menstruation and reduces irritability.Herbal remedies are another form of alternative medicine used to treat endometriosis. The objective of herbal therapy is to decrease pain in endometriosis sufferers, improve pelvis circulation, and establish hormonal balance. The following are a few herbs commonly used to treat endometriosis.

Evening Primrose Oil – These herbal seeds are high in essential fatty acids which boost the production of prostaglandin E1. Caution: women who are prone to seizures should not use this herbal remedy.

Vitex agnus castus – This herb has been considered useful to relieve endometriosis cramping and discomfort during menses because it reduces prolactin. Caution: women taking oral contraceptives should not use this herb as it can reduce contraceptive efficacy.

Cimicifugae racemosae rhizome– This herbal remedy is used to treat many forms of pain such as dysmenorrhea. Dandelion Tea – This herb helps to alleviate edema and swelling. It is believed that it can aid endometriosis by relieving the congestion in the pelvis.

Colic root – Works as a muscle relaxant, and is used to relieve bowel symptoms and cramping related to endometriosis.

Dong Quai – this herb helps relieve dysmenorrhea, constipation, abdominal discomfort/pain and anemia; conditions related to endometriosis. Caution: this herb should not be taken with anticoagulants as it increases the risk of bleeding.

Dietary supplements and herbs are not the only alternative treatments used to help women with endometriosis. Therapeutic massage can be another beneficial form of treatment.

For more information on all aspects of endometriosis please visit Treating Your Endometriosis