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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Health Benefits Associated With Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has long since been considered a luxury therapy: one designed to soothe, but not provide any substantial health benefits. However, in recent years, it is becoming more and more common to see massage therapy being practiced in hospitals, clinics and other medical establishments.

The reason for this influx is due to the many advantages for the body associated with this specific treatment. In fact, massage therapy has been shown to improve symptoms in a number of conditions, as well as promote overall healing while simultaneously preventing healing complications.

The word "massage" is a general term for rubbing, kneading, pressing or otherwise manipulating the skin, muscles and underlying tissues. Depending on the type of massage, as well as on the practitioner, pressure and targeted areas can vary. Typically, a massage involves the use of a specialized massage table and on occasion creams and oils specifically for the targeted massage. Sites like Massage Table Outlet have these available for you if you feel that you could benefit from massage therapy.  Here is a list of physical ailments that have shown improvement when treated by massage.

1. Anxiety

Massage and tissue manipulation have been shown to reduce certain symptoms of anxiety, including insomnia, restlessness, headache, pain in the joints and muscles, nausea, loss of appetite and more.

2. Stress

Like anxiety, stress is often approached with massage therapy. Since massage can relieve stress, it may also play a role in treating and preventing complications like high blood pressure, insomnia, headache, weight gain and more.

3. Digestive Disorders

In patients with IBS, chronic constipation and other digestive disorders, massage can provide relief and stimulate healthy digestive function.

4. Fibromyalgia

The widespread pain associated with fibromyalgia is often treated through tissue manipulation. Deep-tissue massage has been shown to increase the brain's production of "feel good" chemicals called endorphins, which can reduce pain, fatigue and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

5. TMJ

TMJ disorders can be extremely painful, and can also interfere with eating, speaking, sleeping and other aspects of everyday life. However, facial massage can help ease pain and tension, thus improving quality of life for sufferers of TMJ.

6. Injuries

Sprained ankles, broken bones, injuries to the muscles or joints are commonly treated with massage. In addition to relieving pain and discomfort, tissue manipulation has been shown to promote healing, which can result in quicker, healthier recoveries.

7. Migraine

Migraine headaches can be extremely painful and, in some cases, debilitating. And since tension often plays a role in the development of migraine headaches, massage is a great way to reduce pain and prevent flare-ups.

8. Spinal Misalignment

Spinal misalignment is associated with dysfunction or misalignment of the vertebra, or bones of the spinal column. This condition can lead to pressure on the nerves, discs or soft tissues of the spine, which often results in pain, numbness, tingling and other uncomfortable effects. Massage can be used to correct spinal misalignment, as certain techniques are designed to safely and effectively guide the vertebra back into place.

In conclusion, massage therapy can provide significant benefits for individuals suffering from various illnesses and complications with their health. Speak to a doctor to see if massage is right for you!

This is a post by Nancy Evans.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Is There Any Treatment For Optic Nerve Atrophy?

Optic Nerve Atrophy results from damage or degeneration to the optic nerve. The nerve is responsible for transporting visual information from the eye to the visual center of the brain for processing. The visual cortex of the brain then interprets the signals produced by the retina light stimulation through the optic nerve as visual images.

Signs & symptoms

Some of the leading symptoms of optic nerve atrophy include:

•  Reduced brightness of one eye

•  Decrease in side vision (peripheral vision), contrast sensitivity, sharpness, and/or clarity of vision (visual activity)

•  Optic disc changes

•  Degree of color vision impairment

•  Decreased pupil reaction to the light

•  Loss of retina ability to see fine detail

Individuals facing one or more of these symptoms may not necessarily mean they have optic nerve atrophy, but seeing an ophthalmologist is strongly recommended for a complete assessment.

What causes optic nerve atrophy?

This condition can occur without a proven cause, but the following are the known causes that may lead to optic atrophy:

Hereditary eye disease: this disease mostly occurs in the early 20s or late teens. It is diagnosed by the development of painless, but serious visual loss in one eye, followed by the same impairment in the other eye.

Sight swelling is normally experienced in the beginning, but eventually the optic nerve atrophied leads to permanent vision loss in most instances.

Inflammation of the optic nerve: eye pain which becomes severe upon the movement of the eye. Inflammation may cause optic neuritis in women young to middle-age. Some individuals suffering this condition may develop multiple sclerosis with age.

Nutritional deficiencies: this may be caused by vitamin deficiencies, vitamin B group deficiencies in particular. These deficiencies could result from a poor diet, frequent starvation, problems with absorption or alcoholism. Usually vitamin B12 deficiency is the leading cause of nerve damage. According to glaucoma.org, this condition is accountable for 90% of glaucoma cases. It develops slowly and has symptoms and damage that may not be noticed in the early stages.

Toxins and poisons: may cause optic neuropathy. The condition results from tobacco or alcohol amblyopia, which is known to be caused by cyanide exposure from smoking tobacco, and by vitamin B12 deficiency. Exposure to lead, carbon monoxide, moonshine (methyl alcohol) and antifreeze (ethylene glycol) may also lead to optic neuropathy.

Treatment options

Optic nerve atrophy info from Natural Eye Care explains that, at the moment, there isn’t any effective treatment for this condition. This is because the nerve fibers in the optic nerve never heal or grow again once they are lost. The best defense is an early diagnosis because detection of the root cause can prevent further damage. 

For example, if increased fluid pressure around the spinal cord and the brain is detected early and reduced, it may prevent further damage. A specialist may prescribe spectacles to correct refractive error, and tinted lenses may keep visual function healthy.

Studies

There is no specific research on this condition, but there are studies on nutrients like zeaxanthin, lutein and bilberry that have been found to have a positive effect on the health of the optic nerve. There are some studies going on about the transplantation of limbal stem cells from a healthy eye, which can repair the patient’s cornea and give back sight, according to a research report. But most of these studies are still in the early stages.

This is a post by Nancy Evans.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Help a Drug Addict

Drug addiction is unfortunately a very real and serious problem in our society today. Whether it be alcohol, prescription medication or illegal substances, the reality is that we will encounter at least one person in our lives who is battling with a drug addiction of sorts.

One thing we all wish we could do is help our friends and loved ones in these times of need, offering help, support and treatment in order to get them back on track. This can be intimidating and overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.

Initially, everyone thinks of rehab and the sort of shows like Celebrity Rehab which people often turn to, when seeking help and recovery. However there are many other things which can be done to help a drug addict which can both complement and in some cases be employed instead of rehab.

Signs/Symptoms

The first step in helping a drug addict is spotting the signs. These can be different from person to person and vary depending on which substance they use, but ultimately they are the initial step in recognizing that somebody may have a problem.

Common physical signs of addiction to drugs include a decline in physical appearance and grooming, sudden weight loss or gain, dilated pupils and bad dental hygiene. Of course not all symptoms will be purely physical, and sometimes may not even present in this way at all.

There are other behavioral signs to consider here too. An addict’s problem is all-consuming, almost completely taking over their lives. Often, finding the next high becomes the most important thing in that person’s life, and they will do anything to get it. This is where you may notice a change in behaviors such as skipping work or school commitments, neglecting family life and friends, and becoming withdrawn or distant.

In addition to this forgetful, blasé and uncaring attitude, other behavioral signs may come into play helping you to recognize addiction. For instance if the addict is suffering financially, he or she might result to stealing to fund their habit, or carry out violent threats, actions or blackmail in order to lead them to their next high.

Of course these behaviors and appearances are not exclusive, but are the most common displays of symptoms that someone is a drug addict.

Show Compassion

Sometimes this can be the most difficult thing to do if you have just learned that somebody close to you has a drug habit, but it is one of the best things you can do in this situation. Try not to become angry, sad or show signs of hurt, and where possible avoid any conflict with the addict.

Addicts can become easily angry and are often irrational, especially whilst under the influence of their chosen drug. The key is not to upset  them or creating a situation which makes the addict feel uncomfortable, threatened or undermined. Don’t be confrontational – if you can, be comforting, understanding and offer support.

Seek Treatment

After you have spoken to the addict about their problem, and both recognized together that help is needed, the next step in the process is to seek treatment.

Sometimes, if an addict is reluctant to recognize that they have a problem, or does not want to seek help, an intervention may be more appropriate at this stage. There are plenty of intervention specialists who can help you plan this and work out how to approach the situation, who should be involved, what needs to be said and so forth.

If, however, that stage was not necessary and your friend or loved one has reached out to seek help, you will need to go through the range of treatment options available. This can of course vary depending on the addictive substance, and how bad the addiction itself is.

Sometimes, an addict may benefit from attending therapy sessions, and attending anonymous group meetings periodically. It can also help if they have a sponsor to lean on and relate to, in order to help them recover. This can quite often be the help process employed for alcohol addicts, but again the level of addiction, substance consumed and impact on the person’s life has to be taken into account here.

Usually, the logical treatment process is to enter a rehabilitation center which will keep patients in the facility for a minimum period of time, allowing the patient to detox, learn, talk and recover. Again in these situations, programs can vary dependent on the addiction in question, though it is possible in some cases and in some facilities, to enroll in a program which combats multiple addictions.

It can be a bit of a tough choice searching through programs and facilities at different centers to decide on the best appropriate treatment, especially if you have never had any dealings with such facilities before.

Hopefully this list of how to help a drug addict proves useful to you, in the instance that you ever need to approach a friend or loved one about an addiction, and look to seek them some help.

This post is by Timothy Lon.