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Monday, April 23, 2018

How to Grow Culinary Herbs Inside

Having fresh herbs throughout the year is a huge advantage when it comes to cooking. However, if you live in an area with long or cold winters, you may not have the option of growing herbs outside.

You can choose to grow your own fresh herbs inside though, throughout the year. Here are a few tips on how to grow your own herbs easily.

Have a Light Source

Light is essential to plant growth, so you'll need an abundant and intense source. Commercial fluorescent lights are a reasonable option and fluorescent grow lights have been shown to improve plant growth. More serious gardeners who want a high output use T5 lamps, which are a type of fluorescent light system.

You can also choose High Intensity Discharge lights which work well for leafy herbs, although they will need to be tailored well to the area of the plants. Finally, LED grow lights have become more popular although they are expensive for a casual grower.

Soil Vs. Hydroponics

Although beginning gardeners often do best with growing in soil, modern hydroponics take away much room for error. They also produce more abundant results, making them a better choice for serious gardeners. Growing plants without soil can be done with coconut coir, soil conditioners, or soilless mixes, based on personal preference since all produce good results.

Herbs grow well in specific conditions which is why you may want to try hydroponics. If you have extra space, you could use a grow tent. It may be easier to control the temperature and humidity levels of herbs in a tent and most of them are easy to set up and use. Check a few 4X8 Grow Tent 
Reviews to see how other gardeners have fared with these systems. A temperature of 70-75 degrees is ideal with a 40-60% humidity level. You'll also need to ensure that ventilation is adequate, as hydroponic gardening requires this for success.

Know Your Herbs

If you're not familiar with how well herbs grow, you'll want to brush up a little before going further. Annuals like cilantro and basil can be started from seed and that's probably your best option. Some gardeners will dig up basil from their garden in the fall before the first frost. However, new plants are best to keep your harvests ongoing.

Other fast-growing herbs like cilantro won't regenerate when they've been picked so you'll need fresh seeding to keep up with your supply. Also, digging up cilantro from outside to transplant won’t produce the best results. Perennial herbs such as oregano, rosemary, and marjoram are challenging to grow from seed and are best purchased as starts. Read about each type of herb you intend to grow for the best results.

Growing your own herbs throughout the year with a hydroponic system is a great choice and can be done with a little work and research. Even if you're not familiar with gardening, you can pick up the basics and learn with experience, so use these tips to start growing herbs inside.

This is a guest blog entry.

Recovering From A Crash In The Empire State

There is no more universally unpleasant experience than a car accident. Nobody wants to have their vehicle damaged and end up with injuries to themselves or their family members.

Yet as widespread as our dislike for car accidents is, there are differences from one state to another in terms of how the aftermath is handled. The work done by a personal injury law firm in New York is different from what's done in any other state because New York's laws are as unique as those of the other 49 states.

This is of particular concern in areas like the Northeast, where people often work in one state, live in another, and even do business in a third. The attorney they know at home in Connecticut won't be prepared to handle the case if they are injured on the way to work in New Jersey or while shopping in Manhattan.

One element of New York law is that it's a "no-fault" state. That means that a certain amount of your vehicle damage and your medical bills will be paid by your own insurance, even if the accident is clearly the fault of the other driver. How exactly the outcome is structured is not something to handle without a lawyer who practices in New York on a daily basis.

It is important to understand that your attorney can do more for you than simply represent you in court should your case go to trial. Lawyers are experts in the process known as discovery, which is the effort put into gathering all the facts about what happened in a situation.

There are many examples of what goes on in discovery for a car accident case. A capable attorney can gather a lot of information from the cars themselves, and that includes more than just the type and location of damage. Cars have extensive data logging capabilities in their computers, and a good attorney will get access to that data to establish everything from speed to headlight usage for every vehicle.

Information from outside the cars can come into play as well. Eyewitnesses can be helpful, and a good attorney will locate them, but they can sometimes be unreliable. A better option is the technology that makes it possible for attorneys to do even more, allowing them to track down active video surveillance systems in the area and analyze what they have captured. Attorneys may even be able to access cell phone records to determine if drivers may have been distracted at the time of the collision.

After discovery comes the process of determining the true cost of your accident. It is vital that you have an attorney who can capture all the costs, which may include things you would have never thought of. It could be child care for your kids while you make doctor visits or your travel expenses to those appointments. You may be due money for your meals as you seek treatment, and of course, you'll have the medical bills themselves. Those are compounded by lost wages, which you should also be compensated for, and potentially even things like loss of companionship by your spouse while you are injured.

With so many different factors involved in the process of litigating a car accident claim, it's clear that your choice of an attorney is essential. Without the right representation, there could be facts missed during discovery and considerations missed in terms of your claim, either of which can jeopardize your ability to recover the full and true costs of the accident.

We all want to avoid accidents and injuries, but when they do befall us, we want the fullest and most rapid recovery possible. A good attorney with local experience and skill will give you the best possible chance to bounce back on a quick time frame.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Reversing the Effects of Forward Head Syndrome

When it comes to communicating, shopping, reading the news, and even dating, smartphones beat just about every other device out there. In fact, the Pew Research Center shares that 77% of US adults own a smartphone which is over twice as many as were reported in 2011. While these digital devices offer convenience and accessibility to people, they are also proving to be the source of a problematic musculoskeletal condition that is affecting more and more people each year.

What is Text Neck?
Forward Head Syndrome, more commonly referred to as “text neck”, is the biomechanical phenomenon that occurs after prolonged periods of craning the neck forward past the shoulders and tilting the head down when using a smartphone (or another device like a laptop). Think about it - when you text, surf Facebook, check twitter, and so forth, are you holding the phone up in front of your face or down by your waist? It’s this seemingly harmless action that can have long-term effects on your body.

Researchers at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine found that the text neck posture can contribute to increased pressure on the spine as well as muscle strain and tension. How exactly? Based on the force of gravity and the average weight of the human head, they calculated the increase in pull on the spine as it compensates for the neck flexing and moving the center of mass forward.

At a 15° tilt forward, the head feels more like 27 lbs than its usual 10. At a 30° tilt forward that number grows to 40 lbs. And up to 60° angling down, the spine is fighting against a whopping 60 lbs of force.

What Does This Do to The Spine?
Experts believe that not only do your back and neck muscles have to work overtime to keep the spine stabilized and support the head, but the natural outward curve of the cervical spine (neck) can become compromised and degenerate faster.

Symptoms ranging from stiffness, pain, and pinched nerves can become commonplace in people with poor text neck postures. Symptoms may begin in the neck and back, but over time can cascade into issues with the hips, knees, and even your feet.

How Can You Reverse the Signs of Text Neck?
Luckily, you’re not doomed to a life of permanent spinal damage due to smartphone use. On the contrary, you can both reverse and prevent further damage with simple posture adjustments and minor lifestyle changes:

Soothe muscles - take care of the connective tissues like your muscles, tendons, and ligaments that are strained, pulled, and inflamed from text neck. Apply an ice pack daily to numb spasming nerve endings and reduce swelling, and then alternate with a heating pad that relaxes and loosens them back up.

Spinal manipulation/massage - trained and knowledgeable chiropractors or massage therapists can help provide adjustments and manual massage techniques to help realign the spine, knead damaged tissues, and relieve muscle tension.

Strengthening/stabilizing - dedicated stretching and strengthening exercises for your neck, back, and core can help you regain flexibility and strength in key muscle groups that reinforce good postures and spinal alignment. A neck brace you wear at night while you’re sleeping can also help stabilize your neck to relieve pressure on the spine and alleviate pain.

Proper phone use - altering the way you use your phone will make the biggest difference in reversing your text neck. Use a headset or speakerphone when talking on the phone, hold the phone in front of your face (not at your waist) when texting or browsing on it, make calls instead of texting, or use talk-to-text features to send messages instead of typing them out.

Update laptop use - if you work all day on a computer, make sure the screen or monitor you’re viewing is raised up enough so the top rim is level with your eyes; you may need to use an external monitor or monitor stand. And if you spend most of the day sitting at a desk, look into using a standing desk instead or alternating your frequent sitting time with regular movement, stretching, and neck rolls.

Years of poor text neck postures do have the potential to warrant surgery down the line to correct permanent spine deformities or damage. Don’t let smartphone use make you a victim. Practice smart body positions when using mobile devices!

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Healthiest Smoothies That Actually Taste Great!

A good, balanced diet has always been essential to good health, and since the dawn of time nutritious food packed with vitamins and nutrients has been the primary way we stave off sickness and maintain a good immune system. But amidst the busyness of 21st century life, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet, especially when most of us don’t always have the time to cook good meals, and the convenient fast food is loaded with fats, sugars, and salt that wreaks havoc on our weight and metabolism.

This is why the single biggest positive dietary change you can make is to start the day off with a smoothie that is rich in healthy ingredients and low in processed sugars and carbohydrates. While the smoothie craze has often gotten a bad rap for including bland, bitter, unpalatable ingredients that might be good for your body but are horrible for your taste buds, becoming a smoothie drinker doesn’t mean giving up on flavor. Here are just a few quick, easy-to-make smoothies that will make you excited to get out of bed in the morning!

1. Oatmeal, Almond, And Blueberry Delight

Oatmeal, almonds, and blueberries may seem like an odd combination, but it’s the perfect and natural way to blend protein, fiber, and antioxidants into one delicious breakfast.

Combine one cup of frozen blueberries, two sliced bananas, two tablespoons of almond butter, and four tablespoons of steel-cut oats with two cups of skim milk. If you want it a little sweeter add a date, then put it all in a Vitamix blender and you’re ready to start the day!

2. Spinach Orange Special

Spinach in smoothies has a bad reputation, but this light, citrus-y concoction should dispel any concerns you have.

Use one large orange, one cup of chopped spinach (frozen is ideal), a grapefruit, and half a cup of coconut water. If you want to make it a little creamier, consider adding a banana for texture. Blend for two minutes, and enjoy!

3. True Blue Smoothie

If you like berries, this is the smoothie for you. Depending on what is in season, you may consider adding different berries to create a local flavor — otherwise fresh or frozen works equally well!

Put one cup of blueberries, one cup of blackberries, two tablespoons of almonds and a chopped banana into your blender with a teaspoon of honey, then pour over a cup of nut or soy milk and a dollop of plain or Balkan-style yogurt. Blend for 3-4 minutes, and serve on ice.

Building a good diet is not just about cutting bad foods out; it’s also about embracing new ways of eating that you enjoy but which are better for you. Diet experts agree that you’ll never get anywhere eating foods you don’t enjoy, so creating a long-term health plan means finding ways to include food you get excited about into your morning routine. Starting the day off with a healthy smoothie that tastes great is one of the best ways to guarantee that you will have the energy and drive to meet the rest of your goals.

This is a guest blog entry.

Harmful Toxins That You Must Keep Away From Your Food

Many foods contain a certain amount of toxins. If you want to avoid the potential danger on your dinner plate or avoid toxins in your food, you have to read the labels, understand the food sources and also keep your kitchen clean from the unsavory ingredients. Avoiding toxins is necessary for both adults and children. Children should be kept away from toxins because you do not want them to develop chronic diseases in the future. Below is a list of toxins that should be positively avoided in your food.


Pesticides are used on a large scale for raising and treating produce as well as other products. Pesticides are linked to birth defects, chronic health problems, and cancer. Opt for organic foods as they are completely free from synthetic pesticides, which can cause harm to your body. You never know how much harm a pesticide can cause; only toxicologists can find it out and that’s why they are so well paid, as the Toxicologist Salaries Guide will tell you.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene

These are the most common food preservatives that are used in most canned foods. They have also been declared to be carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. They can impact the fertility of males and also disrupt various hormones which can affect the health of a person. You should check the ingredients list present on food packets in order to avoid these harmful chemicals.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

This hormone is given to cows for increasing the production of milk. It is potentially dangerous as it can elevate the level of insulin when you are consuming dairy products. Research results are mixed as to whether it is associated with prostate, colon and breast cancer. In order to stay away from this hormone, it is important that you choose the organic dairy products or the dairy products that do not contain this hormone.

Sodium Aluminium Sulphate and Potassium Aluminium Sulphate

These chemicals are used mostly in baked goods, microwave popcorns, and cheese products. Most packaged goods do not come without these chemicals. These chemicals have been linked with adverse neurological, developmental, reproductive, and behavioral defects. It is important to read the list of ingredients before purchasing a product if you want to avoid this potentially harmful toxin.


This is normally found in the beverage packages. There has been considerable scientific debate about the potential harm caused by this chemical with some saying that it causes no health concerns and others associating it with prostate and breast cancer, obesity, behavioral and reproductive problems, and most importantly, diabetes. The best solution to this problem is to avoid the canned foods. Instead, you can choose fresh and dried foods, which are often safer and contain fewer toxins. Some toxicologists suggest that this chemical should be avoided to a great extent.

Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrite is used in processed meats. Celery juice is used for processing the meat which has a high amount of nitrate in it.

You should keep in mind that your health is in your hands, and you should do everything to protect it from harmful toxins.

This is a guest blog entry.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

4 Restorative Dental Treatments You May Need

Restorative dental treatments are intended to correct issues that leave your teeth weakened, unattractive, and subject to more damage. At one time or another, most people are likely to need help with some sort of dental issue. Here are four examples of restorative treatments you should know about, just in case.

Dental Fillings

Fillings are the most effective way to deal with tooth decay. The process calls for Newmarket dentists removing the decayed portion and filling the empty space with some type of filling. Amalgam is one popular option, but some people prefer other materials. Your dentist can discuss the merits of each choice and recommend material that is right for your condition.

The filling protect the remaining portion of the tooth and prevents more decay from developing. It also prevents damage to the tooth nerve. Many people find that fillings remain in position for years before there is a need to replace them.

Crowns and Veneers

Crowns and veneers help to provide additional strength to damaged teeth. They can also improve the general appearance of those teeth. For example, veneers are sometimes used to add strength to cracked teeth. If the tooth happens to be chipped as well, a crown helps to restore the shape. Veneers and crowns can be tinted to match the exact hue of the rest of the teeth. This ensures the look is perfectly natural.

Crowns are sometimes used with fillings. Once the filling is in position, a crow is custom designed for the tooth. In this instance, the crown is tinted to match the shade of the tooth. No one will know the cavity was ever there, or that a filling is underneath the crown.

Teeth Whitening

Whitening treatments are a great way to undo years of yellowing. Many different habits can lead to the teeth losing their natural white appearance. The use of tobacco products, drinking beverages that stain the teeth, and poor dental hygiene all contribute to a yellowish hue. Under the care of a dental professional, it’s possible to employ whitening treatments that provide results in a short amount of time. Best of all, the dentist is there to check the teeth after each round of treatment. That makes it all the easier to achieve a natural hue without ending up with teeth that are overly bright.

The day may come when the last of your natural teeth have to go. If that time comes, it pays to know what sort of replacement options are available. Many people find that some form of dental implants are the best way to go. Implants help to maintain the natural shape of the jaw, do not have to be removed for cleaning, and are generally much easier to maintain. You can also expect them to last many years longer than a set of dentures.

Whether you need some simple treatment to correct a single issue or require a comprehensive series of treatments that repair damage from accidents or other causes, it pays to have a dental professional who can handle everything from quick repairs to a full mouth restoration. Contact a dental clinic today and arrange to establish an account. Have regular checkups and cleanings so potential issues can be identified and treated early. Doing so will keep your teeth healthy and looking their best.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Are You Ready to Have a Baby? Tips to Help You Conceive and Have a Healthy Pregnancy

While it's technically possible to get pregnant after your first cycle, and even after having sex just one time, it takes a bit more effort, and time, for most mothers to conceive. If you've made the decision to have a child, the following tips may make it easier to get pregnant.

Get Physically Fit

One factor that influences your ability to conceive and carry a baby full-term is your overall health. To get in shape for your pregnancy eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise on a regular basis and give up any habits that might harm your health or that of your child, such as smoking or drinking alcohol.

Taking steps to improve your health, before you get pregnant, helps your body to be ready for the pregnancy. It reduces your chances of suffering from a complication during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle before conception and throughout your pregnancy protects your unborn child. For example, CDC statistics show that about 7% of mothers smoke during pregnancy. This practice has been linked to an increased chance of birth defects, as well as low birth weight. If you have a harmful habit like this one, now is the time to kick it!

Track Your Cycles

In order to get pregnant, both egg and sperm must be in the right place, at the right time. Tracking your cycle to learn when you are ovulating, and at your most fertile, can help you and your partner know when will be the most favorable time to have intercourse. Apps like Your Fertility Friend offer resources that make it easy to track ovulation, and provides other information that's helpful for expectant parents.

Relax and Try Not to Stress

It's normal to feel at least a little anxious if you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for a while. Stress can, however, affect your hormone levels and cycle, so it's important to relax. Try not to worry too much if you don't manage to get pregnant the first few times that you try to conceive.

Get a Physical

If a few months have passed and you still haven't been able to get pregnant, it's probably a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional. Go for a checkup to see if there is a physical condition that is affecting your ability to conceive.

While several things can influence fertility, the good news is that procedures such as in vitro fertilization and other medical advances are making it easier to have a baby, even if you or your partner have one or more factors affecting conception.

Watch for Pregnancy Signs and Get Tested

While missed periods and morning nausea are common signs of possible pregnancy, many women don't show any obvious indicators. A pregnancy test is the only way to be certain.

Many pregnancy tests are now for sale over-the-counter, so you can buy one without a prescription and take the test in the privacy of your own home. Just be aware that while most tests are fairly accurate, there is still a chance of both a false positive and false negative. Follow up with your doctor and ask for a blood test to be certain of your pregnancy status.

You're Pregnant - Congratulations!  Now What?

Once you conceive, the process of having your baby is literally just beginning! To ensure that everything is on track follow up with a midwife, obstetrician or another healthcare professional for guidance, and follow their recommendations.

During your pregnancy, your doctor will monitor your health, and that of your unborn child. Your doctor may run several tests to check your child's development, such as ordering an ultrasound so they can visibly see how the baby is growing in your womb.

Your doctor may also want to perform amniocentesis, or other, less-invasive tests, to check for birth defects. Tests like these let your doctor know if your baby has a condition that can be corrected while they are still in the womb, or if they need to take extra precautions later in your pregnancy or during the delivery.

By taking steps to improve your health, and working with your healthcare professional, you can make it easier to get pregnant, carry your child to full-term and have a healthy baby!

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Simple Tips to Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Ill mental health is a problem that has been wracking the United States in recent years, with the rise of many people reporting stress, anxiety, and depressive episodes when they have never previously encountered them. Unfortunately, this means that much of the country is struggling to maintain their semblance of self in their daily lives, which can have strong effects on other areas of their life. Fortunately, there is a silver lining with such a problem, which comes in the form of many people being able to share what helps them stay on track. Luckily, such tips are easy to implement into your everyday life when you are feeling in the right mindset to do so.

Eat a balanced diet

Your body benefits highly from having a balanced diet, as the right foods can help you stay at a healthy weight and maintain energy. However, this is also true for your mind! For example, you can eat foods that are rich in Vitamin B12, which can help stop fatigue from ruining your day, or you can turn to alternative forms of caffeine such as green tea to give you a healthy energy boost. It means you don’t have to rely on the potentially anxiety-inducing caffeine which is found mostly in coffee.

Exercise regularly

As with maintaining a healthy body, your mind will also need regular exercise if you are to see the best effects of both. In fact, when you exercise, many endorphins are released into your brain, which acts as a natural dose of happiness. Such endorphins like serotonin are linked irrevocably to depression, but they can also help reduce stress and anxiety. A popular way of incorporating exercise into your life is by going on walks on your lunch break, or by walking wherever you can instead of driving. Recently, people have started using yoga for its healing benefits and its meditative component, which can help lower blood pressure and bring about healthy habits.

Induce a restful sleep

Although exercise will be one of the best ways to let your head fall seamlessly onto the pillow at night, there are also other ways of having a peaceful sleep. Without a good night’s sleep, you can become more irritable and emotionally fragile, which can leave you feeling as though you aren’t ready to take on the day ahead. If you are struggling with insomnia, you can create a comfy place for you to sleep, which will allow you to feel safer and more able to relax on an evening. Having a weighted blanket can soothe any anxieties by acting as a warm hug, but you should seek external help if the problem persists.

Have a daily routine

It is often big life changes that can throw people into a downward spiral, which makes it hard for them to stay on top of their daily routine. It could be the loss of a job, grief over a lost family member, or any unexplainable but major dips in their mental health. In any case, it is important to try and stick to a daily routine where possible, which can help you on bad days where you don’t feel like getting up out of bed. It is important to note that you should have some free time built into such a routine so that you have time to unwind and indulge in the things that make you happy.

Create a calm home environment

There are two places where you may spend most of your time: home or work. For some people, home is the only place their life revolves around, which can lead to feelings of being trapped. Although you should make time to get out and do a range of activities when you have time, there will be times in life where you can’t make these concessions. This makes it integral to create a calm home environment, which will welcome you and keep you safe, rather than being a place you aren’t happy spending most of your time. You can do this by investing in plush furnishings, displaying happy memories around the house, and by lighting gently scented candles to cast a warm glow on your walls.

Treat yourself

The mindset that many mental health sufferers fall into is one that places themselves at the bottom of their priority list. It is easy to feel angry at yourself for feeling down or to feel as though you don’t deserve to treat yourself. Not only is the opposite true, but you should actively start treating yourself to the things you love, as it can help you boost your self-worth. It doesn’t have to be (and isn’t recommended) that material possessions take precedence, but indulging in experiences like spa days or making time to watch your favorite movie can truly help pick you up on a bad day.

Avoid substances

There are many things that health professionals recommend you avoid in life, such as excess drinking and drugs. When you are suffering from a mental health problem, this becomes even more true due to the negative effects they can have on your wellness. This advice includes illegal drugs, but people should also avoid overusing prescription medication and over-the-counter medication, as there is a rising epidemic of such addictions in the country currently. If you are struggling with an addiction or someone you know is, you can find rehab centers which will help get life back on track and avoid any mental health problems becoming worse.

Make use of natural remedies

While some medication is important to the recovery of many individuals, that doesn’t mean you should turn your back on natural remedies, which can sometimes be key to a person’s recovery. Natural remedies can refer to anything that nature offers that has positive effects on the well-being of a person, such as the calming effects of lavender essential oils in tackling insomnia, or ancient methods such as acupuncture in relieving stress. Lots of people turn to massages as a way of working out any of their worries and resetting their mind, while others turn to exercises such as yoga, which is known for boosting ill mental health through meditation.

Spend time in nature

In a world where most people reside in cities or suburban areas, it is rare that they will get the chance to spend time in nature much through their life. This is a shame because scientific research has found that innovations such as ecotherapy and spending time in the natural world does wonders for mental well-being. From natural light to the calm environment nature has are all small ways that can help. If you are worried that you are missing out on such benefits, it is a great idea to make your next getaway one in the mountains or by the sea. You could even spend your lunch breaks taking a walk in your local park.

Bring nature indoors

For many city dwellers, spending time in nature is an impossibility, and they will often become overwhelmed by city smoke and the lack of green space. This is where bringing nature indoors can help you achieve the same benefits. For example, you can bring an array of colorful plants inside to sit on your windowsills or throughout your home, which will help improve air quality in your house. You can even make a habit of opening your windows whenever you are indoors on a hot day so that that air can make its way inside. Having prints of nature decorating your walls is also a good way to do this.

Fill your home with natural light

What most people enjoy about the great outdoors is the abundance of natural light that you see from all angles. Having sunlight come into your home has been linked to improving issues like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and giving people the dose of Vitamin D they need to maintain a healthy brain. The best way to do this is by restructuring your windows to let in as much light as possible, but this can take much time and money. However, you can also purchase mirrors to direct natural light into each room or paint your walls a light color to mimic the effects of natural light. Sometimes, it is important to have a SAD lamp inside when the dark winter months roll around.

Form a support network

Most importantly, you need to be able to know that you can turn to people for support during your time of need. Although you will feel lonely at times, having a support network of friends and family by your side will be an invaluable help in recovering. They can provide hugs, laughter, and a shoulder to cry on in your time of need, and they will want nothing more than to see you back to your smiling self. Though they can help in this way, you should also recognize that there will be times when it is better to seek alternative help from professionals, as your family won’t always have the resources or qualifications to help you.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Five Top Balance and Mobility Aids for Seniors

Every year, one in three adults aged 65 or older experiences a fall.

Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, and these injuries are the cause of the thousands of hospitalizations and deaths that occur each year.

Many seniors are scared of the increased risk of falls that accompanies aging. They’re so scared, in fact, that they avoid leaving their homes and participating in activities that they once enjoyed. This doesn’t have to be the case, though.

By investing in high-quality balance and mobility aids, seniors can continue to enjoy their daily activities without worrying about falling and hurting themselves. Five of the best balance and mobility aids for seniors are listed below:

1. Walking Sticks

Sometimes, a basic walking stick is all someone needs to feel more confident moving about inside and outside of their home.

When choosing a walking stick, seniors should keep these factors in mind:
  • Aluminum and carbon-fiber models are the best materials for bearing weight
  • A tripod or quadruped walking stick will support weight better than a traditional stick
  • Folding walking sticks are lightweight, easy to store, and are less likely to become tripping hazards
2. Grab Bars

Grab bars are great options for helping seniors avoid slipping and falling. They also promote independence and help seniors take care of personal hygiene tasks without a caregiver’s help.

Most seniors can benefit from having a bar installed in their bathroom. The shower and next to the toilet are both good places for one.

Look for a sturdy grab bar that has to be screwed into the wall. Bars that attach with suction cups are not very secure and could come crashing down under the user’s weight.

3. Shower Chairs

For many seniors, standing in the shower is tiring and difficult. Because of this, shower chairs are good for individuals with balance issues.

A shower chair is a chair that usually has suction cups or special grips attached to the legs so that it doesn’t slide on the tile or tub floor when the user sits down on it. These can be used in conjunction with grab bars to help seniors feel more secure when they’re showering.

4. Lifting Cushions

Many seniors often struggle to stand up from a sitting position, especially when they’re sitting on a soft surface like a couch or rocking chair. Lifting cushions are a handy tool that can be used to rectify this problem.

A lifting cushion is specially designed to give seniors a gentle boost when they’re standing up so that they don’t have to rely on their leg and core muscles quite as much. Cushions also help prevent injuries that can occur when a caregiver is trying to lift or pull a senior up out of a chair.

Most cushions lift between 70 and 80 percent of the user’s weight, but some automatic models can actually lift 100 percent of their weight.

Look for a cushion that is made with memory foam, especially if the user is going to be sitting on it for an extended period of time. These models will be the most comfortable.

5. Balance Discs
Seniors who struggle with poor balance don’t just have to accept their mobility limitations. While some limitations are more severe than others, many seniors can improve their mobility and functionality simply by doing daily exercises that strengthen their core and make them more stable.

Simply standing on one foot while using a chair or wall for support is a great place to start. Investing in a tool like a balance disc can also help seniors improve their stability.

Balance discs are designed to be sat, stood, and knelt on while performing exercises like squats, leg lifts, and planks. The disc creates an unstable surface that forces the user to engage their core to keep themselves from tipping over, so it’s a great option for seniors who want to feel stronger and steadier in their daily activities.

These five balance and mobility aids can make a major difference in the lives of seniors who struggle with mobility limitations or are anxious about falls and injuries. Give them a try today!

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, April 06, 2018

How to Get Quality Sleep When Your Back Is Hurting You

Back pain, especially lower back pain, can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. You toss and turn every night just trying to find a position that would be comfortable enough, and eventually fall asleep because of exhaustion.

This doesn’t last long however, as lower back pain can result in microarousals, periods in which the body shifts into a lighter sleep stage and causes you to wake up.

Microarousals can occur several times an hour. Pain in the back therefore decreases the amount of sleep you get, and with sleep deprivation also comes a diminished quality of life during daytime hours.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, individuals who have chronic pain lose an average of 42 minutes of sleep each night. That’s 42 minutes your body could have used to recover and heal itself.

But how can you get comfortable when a major part of your body that you use for sleeping is paining you? Here are some tips from the experts.

Sleep on your side.
If you have back pain, sleeping on your back can become unbearable - so sleep on your side instead. It helps if your mattress provides just the right amount of comfort and support to relieve pressure on the parts that make contact with your body, such as the hips and shoulders. A medium-firm mattress is usually recommended for those with back pain. Of course, it’s best if you try out different mattresses first to see which kind feels the most comfortable for you.

When sleeping on your side, bend your knees slightly toward your chest and place a pillow between them to keep your hips level and promote better alignment in the spine, pelvis and hips. If there is a gap between the mattress and your waist, you can place a small pillow there for added support and keep your spine aligned.

If you sleep on your back, prop up your knees with a pillow.
If sleeping on your back is what feels natural for you, you can relieve back pain by placing a pillow under your knees. The pillow would help keep the curve in the lower back and remove pressure from it. You can also roll up a small towel and position it under the small of your back.

Include yoga stretches in your bedtime routine.
There are several yoga poses that can alleviate pain in the lower back. Yoga stretches coupled with deep breathing exercises also helps in reducing stress. Take care not to overexert yourself especially if you’re a beginner - use props like blocks or rolled-up blankets for added support and to allow you to hold poses safely and comfortably.

Strengthen your core.
Along with yoga stretches, core exercises can also help in easing back pain. When you build flexibility strength in your core muscles (those in the abdomen, lower back, pelvis and hips), you reduce the risk of back strain and muscle spasms.

One of the ways you can exercise your core is by holding a plank position for 15 to 30 seconds. It may sound easy on paper but if you haven’t done it before, you may find it’s actually very challenging to maintain the proper position. Your hands should be straight under your shoulders with your legs out straight. Keep your body in a straight line - no sagging around the middle or bowing your back. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and don’t forget to breathe.

Following these tips can help keep your spine healthy and relieve pressure on your lower back, helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Try them out and let us know how it goes!

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Save Your Teeth – Find An Endodontist Now!

Your smile is integral to your day-to-day interactions. Teeth, in particular, are indicative of larger health issues and should therefore be prioritized, as far as one’s well-being goes. Great teeth, moreover, can give you confidence, while poor oral care health can negatively affect your digestion and cause you to be less active in the world at large.

Nevertheless, most people continue to fall under the assumption that all dental care is a painful and costly procedure, but professional dental care has made services not only more accessible financially, but efficient as far as pain prevention and relief go; this is indeed why it is important to know what an endodontist does– lest we avoid procedures that a certified professional would absolutely deem to be necessary, simply by virtue of our own naivety.

For example, traditional braces were uncomfortable and cost upwards of nearly $6,000. Today, clear braces require less recovery and cost far less than traditional sets, both in terms of installation and upkeep. In fact, more and more patients are seeking the professional help of an endodontist to improve their oral health.

With endodontistry on your side, you can choose from a quality professional with expertise on improving or enhancing your smile. An endodontist specializes in root canal therapy – in other words, they help relieve any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing in your teeth. With this in mind, it can be said that they offer interventions that are both cosmetic in nature and medically required. They'll remove the underlying pulp under the enamel which can become infected or inflamed. Indeed, preserving your smile is the number one goal of a professional dentistry specialist.

Signs You Should See An Endodontist

-    You have cracked or chipped teeth
-    You’re experiencing chewing pain
-    You have severe temperature sensitivity
-    You have a dislodged or knocked-out tooth

Additionally, missing canals – hidden from x-rays – can occasionally be located, but only with the aid of an endodontist. For this kind of procedure, they typically make use microsurgical techniques in order to enhance the appearance of your teeth, particularly in problematic areas around the root or canal.

No matter how daunting a procedure may seem, it’s important to trust the caring professionals you have readily available – they can assist you with your traumatic tooth injuries, which include many common therapy options like a root canal. Your comfort is, no doubt, their priority at all times. In any case, root canal therapy is very common and not as complex and painful as it once was for many patients, as any modern endodontist can tell you firsthand. By simply taking the time to treat your oral ailments, and doing research on your own time, you’ll never again have to sacrifice your smile out fear or by virtue of being uninformed. Indeed, saving face is easier than you once thought.

This is a guest blog posting.

Important Safety Reminders For First-Time Trekkers

Unlike hiking which is more organized and generally safer because of well-marked trails, trekking takes longer (often more than two days) and is a lot more challenging since you need to walk on uncharted paths in hilly or mountainous areas.

Based on data collected during the spring of 2017, around 47.2 million Americans went backpacking in the last 12 months. With travel goals and destinations posted all over social media, this number is bound to increase in the years to come. Becoming one with nature has many health benefits but for the ill-informed and unprepared, it can also prove dangerous.

Common trekking injuries
  • Blisters. Walking on uneven terrain for extended periods of time can lead to skin irritation like blisters. Blisters do not only occur in your feet; you can also get blisters from gripping your trekking pole too tightly.
  • Body pain. Muscle soreness may accompany trekking like it does most other physical activities that include physical exertion. The most common sites for injury include the knee, shoulder, lower back, and foot arch. Even seasoned trekkers experience body aches. It’s all a matter of preparation before the trek that can make a huge difference.
  • Dehydration. Depending on your chosen location, it can get very hot when you’re walking in the middle of the day or early afternoon. Drinking water or sports drinks to replenish the liquids and electrolytes you lose through sweating can help prevent dehydration.
  • Ankle sprain. Traversing uneven terrain and climbing over landmarks like fallen trees and boulders can make you more susceptible to losing your footing and twisting or spraining your ankle.

Safety reminders to keep in mind

1. Check the weather so you can better prepare especially if there are thunderstorms, strong winds, or heavy rain. In extreme conditions, it’s often not advisable to continue with the trek even more so if you’re a first-timer.

2. Have some basic knowledge of what to do in case of emergencies such as animal attacks, cuts and bruises, insect bites, and ankle sprains.

3.    Choose a high-quality pair of boots for trekking. Remember, when there’s discomfort in your foot, it will affect your gait and the way you walk, which will have a domino effect on your whole body. Go on short hikes with your new shoes to try to see if these will potentially give you problems during the trek.

4. Ensure feet comfort and protection by using gel insoles that provide adequate support and have a washable lining to avoid bacterial buildup. You can also wear thick and comfortable socks to prevent blisters. For problem areas, you can put blister tapes and antiperspirant powder for further protection.

5. Warm up for larger treks. If you have been largely sedentary and suddenly plunge into a grueling activity without preparing your body first, you could increase your risk of injury.

6. Pack a first aid kit. Include bug spray, alcohol wipes, sterile gauze, medical tape, antibacterial ointment, over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamine and anti-diarrheal medications, elastic bandages, and aloe vera gel to name a few. You can add more to this list depending on where you’re going.

7. Stay hydrated and use a pouch or any container that’s easily accessible like a hydration pack or a water bag. When you’re trekking on an ascending trail, it can be inconvenient to constantly open your backpack to take out your water bottle.

8. Protect your skin against sun damage from UV rays with sun block SPF 50+. To soothe your sunburnt skin, you can apply aloe vera gel.

9. Don’t trek by yourself. If you’re with a group, try to keep up with them and have a buddy so you can look out for each other. And it’s also a good idea to do a headcount every now and then just to make sure you didn’t leave anyone behind.

10. Don’t leave the trail and start exploring by yourself. It may be tempting but you can get lost and separated from the group.

11. Bring important items only because you need to save your energy for the walk and carrying a heavy backpack will only put additional stress and tension on your joints. It’s best to make a list in advance and double check if you have everything packed.

Trekking is a fun and exciting way of exploring new places. Since it is physically challenging, however, there are several risks that can potentially lead to an injury. If you are not sure what to expect, you can always ask seasoned trekkers.

This is a guest blog entry.