Oct 19

Top 15 Tips on Making Meditation Work For You

inline_618x306_meditation_tips_that_workWhen it comes to meditation, there is more than one way to accomplish it. These tips can help you to enhance your experience. Know that it won’t be easy. You may feel frustrated or like giving up. In a word: don’t.

Resist the urge to expect perfection from the beginning. You won’t achieve it right off the bat. It can take weeks or months of constant practice before you are even able to get your mind somewhat in line. But, if you are true to your purpose for doing this in the first place, it will be worth the effort.


Tip #1 – Meditate daily. Find a time that suits you and keep that general time each day for your meditation. Repetition promotes habits that will stick.


Tip #2 – Use a trigger. This means associate your meditation time with another activity. You get up in the morning to go to work. Get up earlier to accommodate your meditation. If you walk after dinner, turn it into a walking meditation time.


Tip #3 – Stretch before sitting down. Stretching gets the muscles loose before you prepare to sit, walk, lie down or stand for your meditation. It can also help you focus.


Tip #4 – Meditation is an active process. You are actively focusing on your breathing and actively learning to control your thoughts. You work to understand yourself better and practice mindfulness.


Tip #5 – Pay attention to your breathing. As you exhale, imagine the air dispersing into your surroundings. As you inhale, feel the air coming into your nose, into your throat, down your windpipe and into your lungs. Hear it; feel it; see it.


Tip #6 – Choose a place where you can be alone – Interruptions are not conducive to a good session. They can increase anxiety. Let others know that this is your meditation time so you will not be disturbed. Try to use the same area all the time to gain familiarity and a sense of privacy and intimacy.


Tip #7 – Turn off the phones – Even a buzzing from your cell phone can jar you from a deep meditation. Take the opportunity to turn off your technology so that you can commune with yourself.


Tip #8 – Feel your body. Know that the air you fill your lungs with is being carried by the bloodstream and then permeating each organ it encounters. Visualize it passing all throughout your body. Visualize each muscle relaxing from your toes all the way up to your neck and face.


Tip #9 – Read a book on meditation. For beginners especially, it can help you gain more insight into the history and present day practice of meditation. Learn other options for meditation styles (Buddhist, Indian).


Tip #10 – Meditate with a partner or group. There is strength and assistance in groups. Find someone else who has made the commitment to this process just like you and meet with them.


Tip #11 – Ignore frustration – It will come so don’t worry about it. Even if you spend the entire session wrangling in your mind, then you have learned something. You are one step closer to greater self-awareness and the other benefits of practicing meditation.


Tip #12 – Dim the lights – You don’t want to be greeted with bright lights especially if you meditate with your eyes closed.


Tip #13 – Seek guidance if you need it. Before you decide to throw in the towel, seek professional help from a trained meditation expert. They might be able to help you to fine tune your process for better results.


Tip #14 – Wear comfortable clothing. You don’t want to practice in tight jeans or a sweater that makes you sweat. Clothes should breath and keep your body at a comfortable temperature.


Tip #15 – Practice mindfulness in other areas of your life. Whether you are writing, shopping, cleaning, laughing or driving, learn to live in the moment. Notice everything around you, how it looks, feels and what emotions you express.

These tips will help you get started on your meditation journey. Remember, it is a journey, so the arriving at the destination is not as important as what you learn along the way.

Oct 19

A Beginner’s Guide To The Sugar Detox Diet

sugar detoxNowadays much of the food found at supermarkets is highly processed containing refined sugar and MSG. While this is not extremely detrimental to your body, when consumed in large amounts over a prolonged period of time it can be disadvantageous.

Studies have shown that if an individual were to eat an unbalanced diet with too much refined sugar they are more likely to gain weight and experience lethargy than those who eat a balanced and healthy diet. If you are experiencing the symptoms of a sugary diet then it is highly recommended you undergo a sugar detox diet. This article provides information on how to do so.

1. Make a plan of action

By making a plan of action for the sugar detox diet you will be prepared for the changes to be experienced. Carefully examine your daily sugar intake and determine where you should begin to detox. For example, if you begin your morning with a sugary cup of coffee you can begin your dietary changes in the morning.

2. Planning a menu

One of the most important aspects of the sugar detox diet is to plan a menu for your meals and snacks. If you have a busy lifestyle you may find yourself reaching out for and purchasing sugary meals due to the convenience; however, if you have planned a non-sugar menu of snacks packed at home you are more likely to stick to a sugar detoxification diet.

3. Food product consumption

The majority of people believe that when completing a sugar detoxification diet you will be required to eat a restrictive diet; however this is not true. Sugar detox programs are working to remove toxins caused by refined sugar from your body, but this does not mean you are restricted to specific foods as there are many products available that do not contain refined sugar. Furthermore, supermarkets now offer may non-sugar options for those who do not eat refined sugar.

Food products that can be consumed when on this type of detox diet include all vegetables expect potatoes. You can also eat various free range meat products, such as free range beef, poultry, turkey, lamb and chicken. Salmon is an ideal fish option and lentils are a recommended choice. Pasta may be consumed; however this is only to a minimal amount.

While chocolate, sweets and crisps are not to be had there are numerous alternatives you can eat as a snack, such as goji berries and cherry tomatoes. Nuts and seeds are also tasty and very healthy. If you are not able to function without chocolate there are unsweetened dark chocolate products available; however, it is recommended that you give the berries a try before resorting to unsweetened chocolate blocks.

Final words on the matter

As is mentioned above, a full sugar detoxification can take between 10-21 days. This will be difficult to complete if you are a severe sugar addiction; however, as can be seen in the article, there are various enjoyable foods that can be consumed as substitutes.

Jul 24

Do You Want Flat Abs?

flat-absDo you want flat abs? Of course you do, we all do! Summer, and swimsuit season, is just around the corner. That means it’s time to start working on those flat abs you want so badly. Don’t have time to work out for hours every day? Not to worry, with a little planning and ten minutes a day, you can have the flat, toned abs you want.

Step #1 Pay attention to your fuel. Track what you eat and what you burn each day. Abdominal fat is just that, fat. If you want to see the muscles underneath and get rid of the bulge you’re going to have to consume fewer calories than you burn.

There are wonderful, free, and easy to use programs and iPod/iPhone applications that will help you track what you eat and what you burn each day. Use them to stay on track. One pound of fat is 3500 calories. That means that by simply burning 500 more calories a day than you eat you can lose a pound in 7 days.

Tracking what you eat will also help you see what foods fill you up longer and what foods burn quickly. Quick burning foods mean you’re hungry soon after you eat them. Aim for lean protein, lots of fiber and fruits and veggies.

Step #2 Get moving! Move your body; it wasn’t designed to sit on a couch or at a desk all day. Take the stairs, take a walk around the block, move your body and find a way to take at least 10,000 steps a day. Studies have shown that people who take 10,000 steps a day lose weight faster and keep it off. They’re healthier and thinner. You can be too!

Instead of sit-ups, spend ten minutes working through a low rep workout. Do full crunches where your legs also come off of the ground, bridge, single leg abdominal press, plank pose, and side plank. Move through each repetition slowly so you get the full benefit of the movement and hold the exercise for a few seconds before releasing it. You’ll build muscle and burn more fat. Repeat each exercise 8-10 times then move onto the next exercise.

The good thing about these core exercises is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to do them. All you need is ten minutes. Get down on the floor during your favorite television show or do them right when you get up in the morning before your shower.

With commitment, a plan of action and a little bit of willpower you can have those flat abs you want. Watch what you eat, get moving and find ten minutes each day to work your core muscles. You’ll have that beach body in no time.

Jul 24

Why You Should Walk More


by:  2014 LifeWorks Integrative health

women-walking-belly-600x450_0Walking is a great low-impact exercise. Walking is inexpensive and virtually everyone has the ability to engage in a walking exercise program. With more than one-third of American adults considered to be obese (as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), taking care of your health is now more important than ever before. Obesity has a number of associated health risks including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But why should you walk more? Taking a daily walk can help you to stay in shape and cut your risks for becoming obese or developing obesity-related health conditions. If you are overweight, obese or just have not exercised in a while, walking is a great way to ease yourself into a regular exercise routine.

Walking when combined with a sensible diet can do wonders for your health. If you still are not convinced why you should walk more, here are five reasons that will make you want to get off your computer and head to the nearest park or treadmill.

Why You Should Walk More:

  1. Did you know that engaging in a regular walking program can actually help to aid with the digestive process? Research indicates that a post-meal walk can not only aid in digestion but can also help to control blood sugar levels. Need another reason why you should walk more? Physically moving away from the kitchen or the dining room table eliminates the temptation to fill your plate with seconds or even thirds. Walking away from the table can do wonders for your waistline as well as your overall health.

  2. You should walk more for the health of your bones. Walking is not going to add serious bulk to your muscles. Walking will not add bulk to your quads, glutes and hamstrings in the same way that deadlifts or squats will; but walking can still help to build up your strength.

Walking is a strengthening exercise that helps to improve the strength of your legs and core. Walking is also a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. While walking may not build-up large and bulky muscles, walking strengthens your bones more than going for a swim, biking or using an elliptical machine would.

Look for a walking buddy. You are less likely to skip out on a walk if you have someone counting on you to walk with them. You are going to be much more likely to stick with your evening walks and build strong, healthy bones is someone i counting on you to be there with them.

  1. Walking is low-impact and won’t hurt your joints. In most situations, there is no reason to say that you are unable to participate in a walking program as part of a fitness routine. Even if you do engage in vigorous physical activity on a daily basis, you should walk more because sometimes your body
    needs a break from the physically demanding activities that you put in through.

Whether you are seasoned athlete, a bodybuilder, someone who has not exercised in years or someone who is recovering from an injury, walking is great for your health. If you are looking to lose weight, aim to walk for 20 minutes per day (this is with a healthy diet). If your diet is not-so-healthy, aim to walk one hour per day.

It’s recommended that we take 10,000 steps daily. To keep track of this, consider wearing a pedometer daily. This will help you to see how many steps you are taking and if you need to make any changes to your walking plan. If you need a little extra motivation to get off of the coach, a pedometer may also do the trick. If you don’t see your steps going up, chances are you are going to get up and do something about that! Prolonged time sitting down is not beneficial when it comes to anyone’s health.

  1. Did you know that walking can improve your mood. You should walk more for your mental health! Spending all day seated at your computer screen, checking e-mails and meeting tough deadlines can be extremely stressful. Going for a walk can help to improve your mood. If your job is stressful, consider going for a walk at lunch time. Stepping outside and walking can help to calm your nerves and help you to enjoy the rest of your day.. Walking is a quick and easy way to clear your head and boost your mood.

  2. You should walk more to put an end to any laziness you may be experiencing. Nine times out of 10 there is absolutely no excuse not to take a walk. Even if you don’t feel like it, walking is quick and easy. Walking helps to keep your bones, muscles and joints in working order.

Jul 19

Reduce Your High Cholesterol With These Ten Marvelous Foods

foodsPut away the eggs and bacon, and get rid of all the fatty foods. Okay, slow down for a second. Everyone seems to think that if they are going to fix a wellness concern within their bodies, it needs some type of instant and hard-driven fix. Rather, recognize that it took you some time to build up this bad cholesterol circumstance. While you’re going to remedy it much quicker by consuming the following 10 foods, you wish to approach any nutritional changes as way of living modifications. So relax, and delight in discovering ten foods you can make use of to help you lower your cholesterol.


Oat meal is one of your best daily sources for whole grains. When is the last time you took a look at the oat meal choices found on the cereal aisle? Or, are you 1 of those individuals consuming the country morning meal or chocolate covered cereals? Try eating a bowl of oat meal once in a while for morning meal and even every morning if you choose. The high fiber content in oat meal is soluble and assists to lower your LDL cholesterol levels.


Nuts, particularly walnuts, can assist you lower your cholesterol. They are tasty and full of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Baked Potato

This is a product that is far more healthy than those fast-food french fries or opposites that people often include into their meals. Potatoes are high in potassium, and they can help to reduce your cholesterol. Of course, you do not wish to load them with fatty toppings!


These also contain much soluble fiber, simply like the oat meal and oat bran. This likewise can assist people lose weight, and they absolutely assist you lower your cholesterol.

Eggplant & Okra

These two foods are also high in soluble fiber. You can certainly see a trend that a diet plan high in soluble fiber is very important; however, these foods and other foods that help lower cholesterol do so in different methods. For instance, certain foods mentioned are high in soluble fiber, which drags cholesterol from your system with a binding procedure. Others are high in polyunsaturated fats, which straight lowers LDL cholesterol as discussed earlier. Still, others consist of plant stanols and sterols and these help your body block cholesterol absorption.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish may sound rather fatty! However, omega 3 fatty acids is the subject here. These are healthy fats that can fill in those unhealthy fats discovered in red meats and other food items. Do not fry the fish!

With the food choices provided to you, you can substantially reduce your cholesterol levels. All it takes is a little expertise about what a healthy diet plan and the foods included within can do for you. It’s not enough to just know a veggie, fruit or whole grain is healthy to consume. You have to know exactly what they do!

Put away the eggs and bacon, and toss away all the fatty foods. Unwind, and delight in finding out about 10 foods you can make use of to assist you lower your cholesterol.

You can definitely see a trend that a diet high in soluble fiber is really essential; however, these foods and other foods that assist lower cholesterol do so in different ways. Particular foods discussed are high in soluble fiber, which drags cholesterol out of your system with a binding process. With the food choices offered to you, you can significantly minimize your cholesterol levels.

Jul 19

Top 10 List Of Benefits Of Exercise

exercise_600x450We all know about some benefits of exercising and that, overall, it’s good for us. But we all lead busy lives and whist we may recognize the physical benefits of exercising, that’s not always enough to get us motivated into actually doing it. Regular exercise has both immediate and long-lasting effects. So how much will you need to do to feel these benefits of exercising? That all depends on your current fitness levels. The good news is that just 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to improve your health drastically.

But often it’s not easy breaking the habit of a sedentary lifestyle. If you’re looking for a little inspiration to get started on a new exercise regime, here are 10 benefits of exercising and how it can improve your life.

1. It Improves Your Health.

There are so many health benefits of losing weight that it’s impossible to list them all here! By getting fit you’ll reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and much more.

2. More Energy.

Research has shown that regular exercise helps to reduce tiredness. Even though exercise in itself can be tiring, one of the main benefits of exercising is the fact that it will ultimately leave you feeling more energized.

3. It Helps You Sleep Better.

You will start to find it easier to get a good night’s sleep when you exercise regularly. This contributes to the energy boost that you’ll get from exercise in the long-term.

4. It Improves Your Mood.

One of the mental benefits of exercise is that it actually helps to improve your mood. Each time you exercise your body produces endorphins that help to make you feel good. Exercise really does give you a natural high!

5. It Lowers Your Stress Levels.

Exercise can hugely reduce stress levels. If you regularly suffer from stress, or even mental heath issues such as depression and anxiety, regular exercise can help to reduce your symptoms.

6. Improve Your Appearance.

Everybody knows that exercise for weight loss gets results. If being overweight or not being toned leaves you feeling unhappy about yourself then losing weight can help you to look and feel better.

7. Play With Your Kids.

It takes a lot of energy to keep up with your children. By losing weight and getting fit, you’ll be able to run around with them without continually getting out of breath. This can be one of the most fulfilling benefits of exercising as it helps you to enjoy life more.

8. Increase Your Strength and Stamina.

If you find it challenging to go on long walks or hard work carrying shopping bags up the stairs you’ll sooner or later be able to manage these activities without any problem once you start to exercise more.

9. A Sense Of Achievement.

When you start to exercise for weight loss and see the improvements you are making each week, you’ll really get the feeling that you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

10. Keep Your Independence Later In Life.

The more you can exercise now, while you’re still able, the more you can reduce the impact of certain health problems later in life. In short, keeping fit and healthy will help you to keep your independence as late into life as possible.

Jul 18

Pre and Post Workout Tips

woman_stretchingExperiment with your eating schedule to see what works best for you. Keep these tips in mind:

  • A high-carbohydrate, low-fat snack is easily digested and normalizes blood sugar.

  • Avoid fatty meals or snacks, because they may stay in your stomach for long periods of time.

  • Meal should be moderate in protein, i.e., just enough to satisfy hunger.

  • Drink lots of fluids. Your snack can be a liquid meal such as a fruit shake.

  • A light workout can be preceded with a light snack, but leave more lead time for intense workouts.


Depending on how heavy a meal you have eaten, wait at least 30 minutes to two hours before exercising. The bigger the meal the longer you will need to wait. If you just eat a light snack such as pretzels or a fruit drink, you should be ready to work out within 30 minutes.

If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to eat breakfast. That may mean one to two hours before your workout. Most of the energy you got from dinner the previous night is used up by morning and your blood sugar may be low. If you don’t eat, you may feel sluggish or light-headed when you exercise. If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a lighter breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink. Emphasize carbohydrates for maximum energy.

Good Pre Workout options include: Whole-grain cereals or bread, low-fat milk, juice, and bananas.

If you’re not a fan of eating in the morning before you work out, try a sports drink or have a bigger bedtime snack the night before. And remember, if you normally have coffee in the mornings, a cup or two before your workout is probably OK. Just don’t try any foods or drinks for the first time before a workout, or you risk an upset stomach.


Eat foods rich in carbohydrates during the hour or two following your workout and you should be enhancing your energy reserves for the next day’s workout. Also, after you exercise, drink plenty of water to rehydrated your body. Research shows that fatigue during exercise can be related to low levels of water and stored carbohydrates. Since we use carbohydrates as energy during exercise (including many forms of resistance training), we need to replenish these storage depots after a workout. This will assist weight trainers but is especially important for people who do a lot of aerobic exercise (more than 60 minutes) on consecutive days.

In addition, consumption of protein is necessary during your post-exercise meal. It will help rebuild the tissues damaged during your workout. In addition, protein will facilitate carbohydrate storage to improve recovery if it is consumed with carbohydrates during the initial two hours after a workout.

To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible. If you aren’t hungry after your workout, drink juice or a sports drink to provide replenishing carbohydrates.

Good Post-workout food choices include: Yogurt and fruit, peanut butter or meat sandwich, string cheese and crackers, nuts and dried fruit, and a regular meal with meat, starch, and cooked vegetable or salad

Jul 14

6 Ways To Start Your Belly Fat Diet Plan


belly fat dietThe only way that you can establish exactly what belly fat diet plan will work for you is to look at all areas of your lifestyle, from the food you eat, to the exercise that you do. To get a flat tummy, you need to follow a diet and exercise routine that will not only reduce the fat around your middle but also be something that you can stick with.

1. Cut Your Calorie Intake.

If you want to get a flat tummy, you first need to reduce your daily calorie consumption. You can do this by including more fresh vegetables and fruits into your diet. Fruits are an excellent way to stop sugar cravings. Fruits like raspberries, blackberries, papaya, watermelon, strawberries and peaches are tasty low-sugar options. But be careful of high sugar fruits like grapes, pomegranates, mangoes, bananas, cherries, and tangerines and eat them in moderation. Try to use an alternative for sugar whenever you can. For example, use honey in tea as a sweetener.

2. Drink Water.

Your belly fat diet plan needs to include drinking water. You should aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (approx 68 kilos), you should drink at least 75 ounces of water per day, which is about 2 litres. Water flushes your system of any potentially harmful toxins. It carries oxygen to all of your cells and helps cushions your joints, which will not only help you get a flat tummy but keep arthritis at bay later on.

3. Avoid Cigarettes and Alcohol.

Smoking and drinking alcohol help fat cells settle in different parts of your body. Alcohol contains a lot of calories and is frequently consumed in large amounts because it is a liquid. It can cause you to collect fat in your abdomen area. If you want to get a flat tummy, cut down on the booze. Don’t forget that there is a reason that the phrase “beer belly” exists!

4. Eat More Fibre Rich Foods.

In regards to your belly fat diet plan, try to incorporate as much fibre as possible. Fibre helps maintain a healthy cycle throughout your body. These foods include whole grain bread and pastas as well as fruits and vegetables. These foods help you to get the nutrients you need and they also help you to digest food properly. Many people feel bloated because they’re not eliminating waste properly. When you eat a lot of fibre, you help to shrink your waistline.

5. Enjoy Some Exercise!

Your belly fat diet plan should include some exercise. It’s important to find an activity you enjoy otherwise you’ll find it very challenging to stick with it. Going to the gym is not the only way to get a flat tummy. There are many activities you can do like walking, jogging, cycling and swimming that all offer easy workouts to lose weight and can be done on your own or with a friend. Try several exercise activities and routines so that you can find something that you like and will enjoy doing on a regular basis.

6.Avoid Processed Foods.

If you want a flat belly, stay away from processed foods that come in a box, can, bag or carton. These foods are often poor quality with no nutritional value at all. Even the ‘fat free’ versions of processed foods should be used sparingly if you want to get a flat tummy. Manufacturers remove the fat but often add extra sugar to improve the taste which generally results in additional calories. If you are tempted by a bag of potato chips, choose the baked variety. Baked chips contain up to 30% less fat and calories, and best of all, the majority of people cannot tell the difference.

Jul 14

Fish Oil Benefits For The Mind And Body

benefits-of-fish-oilThere are numerous benefits that the body and mind can acquire from fish oil as it contains a high presence of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These acids can be Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), or Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). There are a variety of fish that the oil can be obtained from besides taking a pre-made capsule, simply eating these fish can be beneficial for the mind and body: rainbow trout, mackerel, halibut, sea bass, swordfish, sardines, oysters, blue fin tuna, salmon, and many others. The quality of the oil that is obtained will depend on what type of fish it is. The most common ones are herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, and lake trout. Below explains five various proven benefits of the oil based on animal studies and concrete scientific research evidence.

Skin Care

Omega-3 is great for improving dry skin conditions and aiding the body in treating various skin problems. These could be psoriasis, eczema, skin redness, itching, rashes, or skin lesions. People who have psoriasis can benefit from taking this oil as the EPA present helps to restrict the growth of pro-inflammatory agents.

Reducing Inflammation

Many regular users of omega-3 have found that it minimizes inflammation in the blood and tissues and is a major factor in reducing the pro-inflammatory agents in psoriasis. People who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as gastrointestinal disorders, short bowel syndrome, Celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease can benefit from taking this oil. Patients who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are known to have difficulties absorbing vitamins, fats, and essential supplements, but can take this oil as placement as an effective diet.

Cardiovascular Health

The American Heart Association (AHA) and their clinical trials have proven that omega-3 is effective in dropping the rate of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). AHA recommends taking fish oil as it is a great source of omega-3 and will help in reducing the risk of heart arrhythmias and heart diseases. While the oil helps in preventing heart diseases it can also lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and aid in increasing the level of good cholesterol (HDL). Preliminary research have also proven that this oil can be taken to prevent atherosclerosis in coronary patients. With regular intake of omega-3 it can become effective in avoiding sudden cardiac death or future strokes.

Anxiety And Depression

The consistent consumption of omega-3 has led to a marked decrease in decreased sexual desire, suicidal tendencies, mental fatigue, stress, restlessness, sadness, anxiety and depression as a result of the fatty acid elements contained in it. A research publication titled “Fish Oils and Bipolar Disorder: A Promising but Untested Treatment” by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers in Cleveland, Ohio stated that the oil can be used to treat bipolar disorders and stabilize moods. Studies have shown that countries where people have an abundant amount of fish as part of their diet have a low incidence of gaining depression.

During Pregnancy

The DHA component of omega-3 makes it very beneficial for women that are pregnant. The DHA will aid in developing the brain and eyes of the baby and will help avoid possible low birth weight, premature birth, and miscarriages. A research in Denmark involving 8,729 pregnant women proved that a diet with low amounts of omega-3 resulted in pregnancies with a high risk of premature babies. The research also stated that pregnant women should not take any oil that was taken from the liver of a fish, like cod liver oil, as it contains rich amounts of vitamin A and retinol.

Jul 14

7 Best Chronic Back Pain Treatments

Copyright (c) 2014 Complete Healthcare Solutions

Back-Pain-TreatmentChronic back pain can be debilitating, having a damaging effect on your activities, range of motion, and quality of life. This is compounded by the fact that it can be difficult to pinpoint a specific cause for the pain. The good news, however, is that there are many effective chronic back pain treatments that can help give you relief, both self-care that you can practice at home or procedures and medications that your doctor can prescribe. Read on to learn more about some of the most effective chronic back pain treatments.

1. Ice and Heat
In the short-term, both cold and hot compresses can provide relief for your back pain and increase mobility. As soon as the pain develops, apply a cold compress for about 20 minutes several times a day for the purpose of reducing the inflammation that causes pain. After a few days, switch to a heating pad or a warm bath several times a day, which can help loosen muscles.

2. Oral Medications
Over-the-counter pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) and acetaminophen (Tylenol), can prove very effective in treating chronic back pain. If you find that these medications do not relieve pain, however, your doctor may prescribe a stronger painkiller, such as a muscle relaxer or opioid. These prescriptions should be used sparingly, however, due to the risk for dependence over time.

3. Prescription Topical Pain Cream
As an alternative to oral medications, your doctor may prescribe a prescription topical pain cream. These are typically topical medications that numb pain for a short period of time, or medications that reduce pain-causing inflammation when applied to the skin. Your doctor can determine whether a topical cream may help relieve your back pain.

4. Chiropractic Care
Visiting a chiropractor is a popular and effective way to treat chronic back pain. These professionals use spinal manipulation and other hands-on techniques to help realign the musculoskeletal structure of the body, restoring balance and thus relieving pain. This is a safe, effective treatment for most individuals for most types of back pain, although you should get a diagnosis and treatment plan from your primary care doctor before seeking relief through a chiropractor.

5. Acupuncture
The American Pain Society and American College of Physicians both consider acupuncture a safe and effective way to treat chronic lower back pain. In this form of Eastern medicine, very thin needles are inserted into pressure points in the body to relieve stress and pain. Experts believe that acupuncture works by stimulating the central nervous system. This is a very safe procedure, since side effects are extremely rare.

6. Physical Therapy
In general, staying active is an important part of relieving chronic pain. While rest is important immediately after an injury, studies show that extended bed rest can actually prolong pain. Your doctor can recommend stretching exercises that may help relieve your chronic back pain; if pain is severe, he or she may also refer you to a physical therapist who specializes in chronic back pain treatments. In addition to exercises, a physical therapist can prescribe helpful devices as well as treatment procedures such as nerve stimulation.

7. Surgery
Because of the potential risks of back surgery, this should be considered a last resort in treating chronic back pain. However, many people are candidates for minimally invasive procedures, which may speed recovery and reduce the instance of side effects. The type of surgery generally depends on what is causing the back pain; if your pain has not resolved after trying other treatment options, ask your doctor if you may be a candidate for surgery. Always make sure to get a second opinion when considering a major surgical procedure.

If you’re suffering from back pain, whether from an injury or unknown cause, see your primary care physician. He or she can provide advice about the treatment options that are right for you. Be sure to follow-up regularly about additional chronic back pain treatments if your pain does not resolve after several weeks.

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