Monday, December 19, 2011

Top 5 BACK PAIN Triggers that are often Neglected!

Back pain is considered as the second commonest reasons for absence from work, after common cold or flu like symptoms. Also it is one of the commonest problems that lead to reduced work efficiency and thus reduced work-output. It is almost equally common in men as well as women. Women often have more symptoms of backache related to their menstrual cycles, menopausal symptoms, and leucorrhea.

But today we are not going into details of the pathological conditions like spondylitis or disc problems. But we are going to consider some relatively so-called harmless causes that can be quite bothersome to a back-pain-prone individual.

Neglected Back-pain Triggers--

  1. Wrong Posture-

It has been observed that in most cases of backache, the fault lies in postural mal-adjustments. It might seem a casual issue without much importance. But the facts say something else. In many cases of recurrent backaches, mere postural adjustment suited to one’s sitting is enough to bring positive changes. Especially if you are a computer or laptop worker, you have more than 50% chance of developing acute back pain sometime or the other. Keeping your screen far up than your straight gaze is the culprit in most of the cases. It can be one of the potential causes to trigger the cervical spondylosis as well. Always have your screen slightly lower than your eye-sight and your chances of developing low back pain as well as neck pain reduce considerably.

  1. Bad bed-

Too soft or too hard bed is another cause of back pain or stiffness in the back muscles. In many cases too soft beds are often the culprit. The hard beds (as sleeping on a hard mat on floor) can also lead to stiffening of back muscles leading to pain. Go for the bed that is firm yet yielding to spinal curvatures. This kind of mattress supports your spine better when you sleep and avoids sprains.

  1. Excess of cold-

Though tolerance of heat and cold varies individually, in most cases back pain gets aggravated by excessive cold. Never lie down unknowingly on just a plastic mat on floor, especially when you are back ache prone. Instead go for hot fomentation for quick relief from pain as well as avoiding future pains.

  1. Wrong exercises-

Your exercise regime has to be personalized to your needs. Never opt for the exercises of experts or regular exercisers because they are used to the bends that you aren’t. If you stretch excessively, you almost always risk spraining or twisting of your back muscles. Always go slow in your exercise regime. Most sprains or even disc injuries may occur if you are not careful while starting your regime. Do not lift too heavy weights that you can, which can prove detrimental for your back health. Never over-do any kind of exercise even after you get used to it. Always set definite time limit for any type of exercise that you undertake. Always warm up before you start your regime.

  1. Diet low in calcium-

This is by far the neglected factor that contributes highly to the chronic back pain. You risk osteoporosis too if you keep having low calcium diet for long. Easy sprains and muscle catch are commoner then. Always have apt concentration of calcium in your diet and have more fruits, vegetables rich in calcium. Consult your physician to find out whether you need any dietary supplements.

Gout: Causative & Risk Factors-

Building up of uric acid crystals in the joints is the prime cause behind the development of gout. But this can be called as the exciting factor for the latent gout. Purines are the parts of various foods that we eat. Uric acid is nothing but the breakdown product of these purines.

When this crystallization of these compounds and handling of uric acid is at fault, the joints can be affected, kidney stones may be formed, or kidney filtering ducts may be blocked leading to renal failure eventually.

Risk factors for development of gout-

  1. Genetics- in about 18% of people, family history of gout is found. Therefore, genetics definitely play a role in development of gout.
  2. Age- the condition is commoner in male population and adult population than in women and children.
  3. Obesity- as there is availability of more tissue for the breakdown in obese people; the incidence of gout is more among them.
  4. Alcohol- alcohol often interferes with removal of uric acid from the body, thus leading to hyperuricemia.
  5. Food- eating lot of food rich in purines (like red meat) can aggravate the existing gout in many people.
  6. Sometimes, an enzyme defect can cause gout by interfering in the way of bodily breakdown of purines. In such people, often gout is genetically pre-disposed.
  7. Exposure to lead- This is a frequently verified fact that if a person is exposed to lead in the atmosphere over a prolonged period, he can develop gout
  8. Drugs- like diuretics, salicylates (like aspirin), excess of niacin, cyclosporins, and other immuno-suppressant drugs can lead to heightened uric acid levels in the blood leading to gout symptomatology.

Thus, we can understand that there are certain risk factors like alcohol consumption and eating too much red meat that can be avoided. Though genetic pre-dispositions are hard to tackle, with the holistic medicine like homeopathy, it is possible to enhance the person’s ability to counter the gouty symptoms and eventually cure it. Obviously lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet are crucial in any regime to have long term benefits and to get rid of the severe pain gout elicits!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mesothelioma- Still a Dread to Deal With… But Easy to Prevent Cancer!

Though rare, mesothelioma has become a word to dread from. Numerous people till today are becoming victims of asbestos poisoning that leads to this cancer. Though the cancer begins with genetic mutation, in 70 to 80% of people, asbestos plays a major role in development of mesothelioma.

The purpose of this article is to spread awareness regarding the harmful use of asbestos in any type of industries.

It is a substance used in many industries without taking the actual precaution it needs while handling. People working in asbestos mill, shipyard workers, workers in heating and construction industries, are at risk. Asbestos is also used in cement, insulation, breaks, flooring, roof shingles, etc. Asbestos is a group of minerals. They are the masses of strong flexible fibers that can be divided into thin threads and woven. During manufacturing process, the tiny asbestos particles float in the air and may be inhaled or swallowed. The fibers may settle in the lungs or in the stomach, where they can cause irritation and the cancer develops, though the exact mechanism is not known. It can take 20 to 40 years or more, before the symptoms become apparent after asbestos exposure. Also, people living in the houses of asbestos workers are at risk, as the workers may carry asbestos dust on their clothes, hair, etc. Smoking does not appear to increase the risk but a combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly raises the chances of air passage cancers.

Are there any other factors besides asbestos?

1)     Minerals like asbestos- Zeolite, a naturally occurring asbestos like mineral is supposed to cause mesothelioma. It is used in countries like Turkey to construct homes.
2)     Family history- as with some other cancers, family history is postulated to increase the risk of mesothelioma. But more research is needed to determine its true role.
3)     Radiation- Some researchers link thorium dioxide to the cancer. It is a radioactive substance used along with the X-rays for the diagnosis of different health conditions. But it is no longer used.
4)     Virus – SV40 is a virus found in monkeys. This virus got in contact with human beings when the monkey cells were used for polio vaccine. It is also stated that this virus can have human-to-human transmission but it is not clear how.

What are the alarming findings of mesothelioma that need to be shown to physician?
(Signs and symptoms of the cancer)-
They depend on the origin of cancer.
1)     If the pleura are involved, the presenting symptoms usually are shortness of breath and chest pain while breathing. Sometimes unusual lumps of tissue can be felt under the chest cage. There can be unexplained cachexia (weight loss) and non-productive cough.
2)     Peritoneal mesothelioma may present with abdominal pain, swelling, change in the bowel habit (unusual constipation or diarrhea), lump felt in the abdomen, etc.
3)     If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, there may be pain in the affected area, swelling of face and neck region with difficulty in swallowing.
Whatever your signs and symptoms indicate, remember that only a doctor can make a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Treatment of Mesothelioma-

Modern medicine is still struggling to find absolute cure for mesothelioma or any cancer for that matter. Obviously the baseline therapies like surgery, radiation, chemotherapy etc are opted for depending upon the stage of the cancer. But nowadays doctors emphasize on undergoing clinical trials for patients of Mesothelioma because numerous trials are being carried out in reputed cancer institutes. However the results are uncertain and the process may be excessively expensive.

Considering all the options, many doctors nowadays suggest the alternative therapies like Homeopathy for the dread called Mesothelioma. The homeopaths all over the world are contemplating various possibilities for the treatment of Mesothelioma. Though they do not boast to cure Mesothelioma totally, they do have very good results in terms of alleviation of symptoms of Mesothelioma. The excessive cough, chest pain, and constitutional symptoms like malaise, fever or weakness can be effectively dealt with by different Homeopathic remedies.

One of the definitive treatments in Homeopathy for Mesothelioma is said to be mistletoe therapy. It is an immuno-augmentative therapy in which an herb called Iscador is extracted from mistletoe and administered to the patient in the form of injections or tablets. As the name suggests, the therapy aims at boosting the suppressed immune system and thus giving relief to the troubled patient.

Prevention of Mesothelioma-

Simple use of well-fitting facial mask is sufficient to prevent the dreaded after effects of asbestos handling. Rather, all the employers must take ample precautions to avoid such incidences with their employees. Failing to do this, the employer may have to face stringent justice elicited in the court of law by mesothelioma lawyers. The compensation may cost millions to the employers. It is better to be safe than sorry later!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is Homeopathy Against Modern Medicine?

(Let me clarify here that the views expressed herewith are my personal opinions and should not be generalized. This purpose of this post is to answer this question that is repeatedly asked to me by my patients and students)

When it comes to therapeutic principles, those of homeopathy and modern medicine differ considerably. We (homeopaths) believe in natural mode of therapy administered while holding fast the principle, “like cures like”. Modern medicine is based more on suppressive kind of therapy that is based on physiological doses of oppositely acting medicine.

But if you ask me, do we homeopaths loathe the modern medicines altogether? My answer to this question is a plain NO.

We don’t!

It is not a battle to be won against anyone. It is not a rivalry either. Simply put, it is the understanding of each others’ plus and minus, by keeping the patient’s interest at the topmost priority. Both modes of therapies are sciences and arts of applying this science in an ailing patient.

Both sciences have their limitations and strengths. If homeopathy cannot work in extreme emergencies (or can work as supplementary in such conditions), modern medicine has no permanent answer to chronic conditions like arthritis, asthma, renal calculi, etc.

What should be our aim?

Well, our only aim is to resort to natural mode of therapy first than going for some strong medications. Instead of suppressing our immune functions by administering oppositely acting medicine, if we can stimulate our immunity by aptly selected simillimum in homeopathy, we can achieve healthier patient in the long run.

Is it wrong to take care of our patient’s long term interest?

If the smallest dose of medicine can relieve him of acute suffering and also make arrangements for his future robust immunity, why not go for the homeopathic therapy in the first place?

Also we are against the use of unnecessary antibiotic therapy. If the patient has severe septicemia or bacterimia, we can understand the use of antibiotics to curb the severe infection. Today we often see that the patient is given strong antibiotic therapy till he kills his immunity and becomes resistant to that particular antibiotic. Again the newer range of antibiotic is administered in such patients. And if all this is done when there is minor viral or similar infection, aren’t we robbing the patient of his natural right to have perfect immune powers? This is where homeopathy is against modern medicine.

Rather, I would go ahead and say, here too, homeopaths are against the physicians who administer such antibiotics at wrong times. I know many modern medicine physicians that take great care before they resort to antibiotics and they are certainly respected by all of us. There are many allopaths that trust homeopaths and refer their patients of chronic ailments for homeopathic care. Similarly we (homeopaths) seek help from our modern medicine experts when it comes to certain terminal illnesses.

In short, I would say, allpathy (modern medicine), homeopathy, ayurveda, and other branches of medicine are all designed to help ailing humanity. The practitioners of respective faculties should work together in order to attain the highest goal- freeing the sick of his suffering.

And just remember to cater utmost care while handling your patient’s immunities. They have so much trust in you that you are God for him.  And the God is always unprejudiced, right?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Top 20 Diet and Nutrition Facts-

  1. Don’t get bored by healthy routine diet. Search ways to make it variable every day and stick to it.

  1. Give importance to health-quotient of the food you eat than the calorie-quotient. This will take you longer in the search for nutritious food habits.

  1. Diet pills are rarely the answer for your appropriate weight loss. After all, you don’t want to lose muscles but fat. Also you cannot take them life long. Improve your lifestyle and you will find better results.

  1. The effective work out is must with ANY diet regime you follow. By eating less, you can never really obtain consistent weight loss that you desire.

  1. Reduce total carbohydrate content but do not avoid it totally. Instead opt for healthy complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.

  1. Only-Protein diets are often harmful, as your kidneys may not tolerate excess proteins.

  1. Fat-free diets are not only harmful but they also reduce proper absorption of important nutrients. Avoid them. Choose your fats wisely while avoiding trans-fats. Also fat-free diets will land you with shriveled and old-looking skin.

  1. You must have at least 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to help your body gain adequate antioxidants to fight against the free radicals that can damage your system and cause various diseases, including cancers.

  1. If you consume dietary supplements, remember that they are just “Supplements” and not “Substitutes”. So maintain your diet well even when on supplements!

  1. Consuming fruits is good when you do it empty stomach or the first thing in the morning. Having fruits post-lunch or post-dinner is neither good nor do you gain much benefit from their amazing properties.

  1. If you or your near and dear ones are suffering from depression, instead of going for anti-depressants, you need to check the faults in the diet first. Grooming the lifestyle and diet habits can prove beneficial in many cases.

  1. Water and Exercise are the two groups in the diet. Any diet excluding these two vital ingredients is futile to follow through!

  1. Your growing WHR (waist-hip ratio) is more important sign for starting an apt diet and exercise regimen than just your BMR (Basal Metabolic rate).

  1. Worshiping your food and giving it a spiritual belief helps you gain vitality out of what you eat. It is not exaggeration but this practice even balances your attitude towards your diet and you tend to avoid indulgence.

  1. Think of those less fortunate than you when you chalk out your diet plan. Think of those hungry children and reduce your portions. This is one way to reduce the indulgence and wastage of food that is so rampant in our so called civilized society.

  1. ‘How and when to eat’ is a vital skill perhaps more than ‘what to eat’. This will change your perception towards healthier and smaller meals.

  1. Set definite meal times. Yes you can do it and there is no excuse if you want to avoid undue flatulence, obesity, hyperacidity, and insomnia!

  1. Opt for the naturally sweet vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, beetroots, etc that add healthy carbohydrates to your diet along with many vital minerals. Also they curb your craving for other sweets.

  1. Salted nuts are the worst culprits for patients with hypertension. Opt for those without salt in moderate amount and they will help reduce your bad cholesterol levels.

  1. Remember that we tend to eat more after dinner or lunch when we relax. This is the time to engage in some hobby or constructive work to avoid these munching spells!