Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yoga May Reduce Episodes of Atrial Fibrillation

In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Kansas Hospital have found that the ancient art of yoga can reduce the number of episodes of atrial fibrillation, a potentially dangerous irregular heartbeat, by almost 45 percent. The results of the research is scheduled to be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans.

The word yoga refers to traditional physical, mental, and disciplines that originated in India, and means “union” in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India. This union occurs between the mind, body, and spirit. Although often referred to by many people as simply stretching, yoga is actually a process of creating balance in the body through the development of both strength and flexibility. This is achieved with the performance of certain poses or postures that each provide specific physical benefits. These poses can be performed rapidly in succession to create heat in the body through movement, or done more slowly to build stamina and perfect the alignment of the poses.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that significantly increases the likelihood of developing clots and for stroke. The condition affects many older Americans, and treatments include medications that carry side effects, or surgery that attempts to eliminate the abnormality of defective nerve impulses that cause the two upper chambers, or atria, of the heart to beat at high speed. Over 2 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation.


                                         See Carefully and Follow The Instructions.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Exercise May Be the Most Effective Weapon Against Aging

Keeping active may be the secret to staying young for both mice and men. Researchers from Canada’s McMaster University discovered that endurance exercise could halt the aging process in a group of mice, even though they were genetically engineered to age faster.

These furry creatures continued to exhibit the same youthful appearance as normal mice after engaging in a treadmill exercise routine over a period of several months. In addition, the exercise program prevented premature aging in almost every organ of the morphed mice. Details on the mighty mice can be found in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The results of the analysis indicate that not only can exercise help to prevent an early death, it can also delay the aging process. The researchers said that the exercise routine provided nearly 100 percent protection against graying fur, hair loss, brain and muscle atrophy, and more.

According to lead study author Mark Tarnopolsky, a Professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster's DeGroote School of Medicine, “What really shocked us was the gonads, the spleen, liver -- every tissue we looked at was made better with the exercise. It has a systemic effect and even prevented a slight shrinkage of the brain.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Seasonal Allergies Increase Risk of Depression

        Although some people highly anticipate the warmth and beauty of the coming spring, for others, nature’s season of renewal brings feelings of dread. From watery, itchy eyes, and a constantly dripping nose, to nonstop sneezing and coughing, people with seasonal allergies may view spring as the season of suffering. Research has revealed that about 36 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies that can cause not only physical side effects, but mental ones as well.
     If you suffer from the blues during allergy season, it may offer some comfort to know that there are physiological explanations for your low mood. According to Dr. Paul Marshall, neuropsychologist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, research has shown that a person who suffers from allergies has about twice the risk the for depression than that of a person who has no allergies. In addition, people who have sought the help of an allergist for relief of their symptoms have about triple odds for developing depression.

     During an allergic reaction, small cell-signaling protein molecules known as cytokins signal the brain and cause flu-like feelings of illness and lethargy. Marshall explained that although the cytokine release isn’t as powerful in the case of allergies as with the flu, it is still present.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stretching for Back Pain Relief

Almost everyone can benefit from stretching the soft tissues - the muscles, ligaments and tendons - in the back, legs, buttock, and around the spine. The spinal column and its contiguous muscles, ligaments and tendons are all designed to move, and limitations in this motion can make back pain worse.
Patients with on going back pain may find it takes weeks or months of stretching and other back exercises to mobilize the spine and soft tissues, but will find that meaningful and sustained relief of back pain will usually follow the increase in motion.
Keep the following in mind when starting a stretching routine as part of a program of back exercises:
  • Wear comfortable clothes that won’t bind;
  • Stretching should be pain free; do not force the body into difficult positions;
  • Move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which may actually tear muscles;
  • Stretch on a clean, flat surface that is large enough to move freely;
  • Hold stretches long enough (20-30 seconds) to allow muscles or joints to become loose; and
  • Repeat the stretch, generally 5 – 10 times.
If one already has low back pain or neck pain, it is best to check with a physician or physical therapist to discuss whether the following neck, shoulder and lower back pain exercises  

Neck and Shoulder Stretches

A stiff back is sometimes accompanied by a stiff neck. The following exercises can be done to stretch the neck and shoulder area.
Flexion Stretch—Chin to Chest
While standing or sitting, gently bend the head forward while bringing the chin toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the back of neck.
Lateral Flexion—Ear to Shoulder
This exercise stretches the neck area below the ears as well as the top of the shoulder. To begin, gently bend the neck to one side as if to touch the ear to the shoulder until a stretch is felt in the side of the neck. Switch to stretch the other side.

Back Exercise Stretches

Many back pain patients know the feeling of tension in the back, especially first thing in the morning. These stretching back exercises can help bring back some suppleness and increase mobility, decreasing back pain and discomfort.
Back flexion exercise
While lying on one’s back, pull both knees to the chest while simultaneously flexing the head forward until a comfortable stretch is felt in a balled-up position.
Knee to Chest Stretch
While lying on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor, place both hands behind one knee and bring it to the chest.

Hips and Gluteus Stretches

The hips and buttocks (where the gluteus muscles are) support the lower back, and stretching these muscle groups plays a pivotal role in maintaining spine flexibility.
Hip stretch
while standing with feet shoulder-width apart, take a half-step back with the right foot, bend the left knee and shift weight back to the right hip. While keeping the right leg straight, bend forward more and reach down the right leg until a stretch in the outer hip is felt.
Piriformis muscle stretch
The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock and can contribute to back pain or leg pain. To stretch the this muscle, lie on the back and cross one leg over the other and gently pull the other knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Exercise and Back Pain

A typical response to experiencing back pain is to take it easy - either staying in bed or at least stopping any activity that is at all strenuous. While this approach is understandable and may even be recommended in the short term, when done for more than a day or two it can actually undermine healing. Instead, active forms of back exercises are almost always necessary to rehabilitate the spine and help alleviate back pain.

When done in a controlled, gradual, and progressive manner, active back exercises distribute nutrients into the disc space and soft tissues in the back to keep the discs, muscles, ligaments and joints healthy. Consequently, a regular routine of lower back exercises helps patients avoid stiffness and weakness, minimize recurrences of lower back pain, and reduce the severity and duration of possible future episodes of low back pain.

Who is most at risk for Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Problems?

There are several groups of patients where sacroiliac (SI) joint problems are more likely:
  • Significant trauma with bone fracture and/or disruption of the SI joint may result in acute or chronic dysfunction of the SI joint.
  • If the motion in your pelvis is asymmetric, then dysfunction can occur in your sacroiliac joint. You could have asymmetric motion if your legs are significantly different in length, such as from birth or a condition like polio or scoliosis. Having one leg weaker than the other can also cause asymmetric motion and/or instability. Even wearing inappropriate footwear can alter your gait and cause repetitive stress to your sacroiliac joint.
  • Over half the time, SI joint problems can be related to a specific event, often an injury from accidents or an event such as pregnancy/childbirth. In addition to pregnancy/childbirth, women may be at increased risk for sacroiliac joint problems because of their broader pelvises, the greater curve of their necks, and shorter limb lengths.
  • Other potential causes of SI joint problems include history of trauma, such as occupational lifting.