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Simple Steps For Quitting Soda

Simple Steps For Quitting Soda 1) Determine why you are quitting soda. There can be several reasons, and any one of them can make living a soda-free life an attractive option. 2) Stock up on substitutes. Water is the healthiest and cheapest replacement for soda, but quitting soda cold turkey and making the big switch to water might mean setting yourself up for failure. Some fruit juices have more calories and cost more than soda which may defeat the goals you just set up. 3) Track your soda consumption. Estimate, as accurately as you can, how much soda you’re drinking per week. (This is very important for the next step.) Do you drink soda with lunch at work? In between classes? While you’re unwinding in front of the TV? Calculate how many calories you’re racking up from soda alone. 4) Make a quitting schedule. Whatever the amount of soda you drink per week, cut that amount by 25% for one week, then by 50% the next, and so on.people, this is a powerful observation that might give you the motivation you need to change this habit. Gradually increase your consumption of the substitutes you chose. 5) Be sure that you’re still consuming the same amount of liquid (if not more) or else you may become dehydrated. 6) If you drink a lot of soda from vending machines, don’t carry a lot of extra change with you. If somebody who you live with loves to drink soda, then ask them to hide it so you won’t have to drink any. Purchase less and less soda over time for home use. 7) Prepare for caffeine withdrawal. It is easy to underestimate the addictive power of caffeine. If most of the soda […]

Soft-Tissue Injuries: Better, Faster Healing

Which parts of the body can develop soft-tissue injuries? Soft-tissue injuries, such as strains and sprains, often affect the extremities—the legs or arms. A soft-tissue injury can occur anywhere that ligaments, tendons, muscles, or myofascia are found. Ligaments connect two or more bones and help stabilize the joints. Tendons attach muscles to bones. Ligaments, tendons, and muscles provide a natural brace to protect the bony skeleton from injury. A ligament can be injured, for example, by making a movement that would take a joint outside of its normal range. How do soft tissues become injured? Athletes who suffer a traumatic injury will often need soft- tissue-specific rehabilitation to get back full-range of pain- free motion. Many soft-tissue injuries, however, result from repetitive motion. People who may suffer from such injuries include: Assembly-line workers Golfers and other athletes People who spend long hours at a computer without regular stretch breaks Mothers who hold their babies only on one hip Students who overfill backpacks or who hang heavy backpacks over one shoulder Sedentary people who allow their muscles to atrophy.  How do the injuries heal? When the body is injured, it works to repair itself through a three-phase “healing cascade” process of inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. In the inflammatory (“acute”) phase, the body releases chemicals that start the healing process. This process continues through the proliferative phase, during which the body migrates materials it needs to create scar tissue at the site of injury. During the maturation phase of healing, scar tissue forms in the soft-tissue injury site. In this phase, the injury becomes chronic. Scar tissue helps the body form a “patch” at the site of an open wound or internal injury. Scar tissue, however, is much less flexible than […]

Whiplash

Whiplash is a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly and/or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in motor vehicle accidents, but it can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other incidents. What structures are injured in a whiplash? Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury. In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Even though it is very rare, vertebrae can be fractured and/or dislocated in a whiplash injury. What are the common signs & symptoms of whiplash? The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck. These symptoms are generally found in the areas that are “whiplashed.” For example, during a whiplash, first the head is lifted up from the upper-cervical spine. This creates a sprain/ strain in the region just below the skull, where symptoms usually occur. Symptoms may also commonly be seen in the front and back of the neck. Turning the head often makes the pain and discomfort worse. Headache, especially at the base of the skull, is also a common symptom, seen in more than two thirds […]

Curbing Antibiotic Resistance

With drug-resistant staph infections making headlines, many concerned patients are trying to separate fact from fiction while learning how to best protect themselves and their families from the new “superbugs.” Although methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is probably the most talked-about drug resistant infection, today about 70 percent of bacteria that are associated with infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one common antibiotic. Tuberculosis, gonorrhea, malaria, childhood ear infections, and other bacterial conditions are getting increasingly hard to treat. Many diseases can become untreatable, returning us to the days before antibiotics were invented. There are steps you can take, however, to help curb antibiotic resistance and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to MRSA and other drug resistant bacteria. What Causes Antibiotic Resistance? Antibiotic resistance is a natural process in the evolution of bacteria—single-celled organisms found on the inside and outside of the body, except in sterile areas, such as blood and spinal fluid. Most bacteria are harmless and even beneficial. Some bacteria can cause illnesses such as strep throats or ear infections, which are usually treated with antibiotic medications. When antibiotics are taken, they kill the bacteria that are too weak to resist them—but those strong enough to withstand the antibiotic effect can survive, multiply, and dominate the bacteria strain. Many social factors contribute to antibiotic resistance, as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic prescriptions rose dramatically from 1985 to the early 1990s—by 7 million for sinusitis and by 8 million for middle-ear infections. At the same time, medical visits for children’s ear infections doubled—a trend some have attributed to the widespread use of day-care facilities. Immunosuppressant medications accompanying chemotherapy and transplants also predispose people to infections. Another […]

Chronic Pain & Depression

Pain serves an important function in our lives. When you suffer an acute injury, pain warns you to stop the activity that is causing the injury and tells you to take care of the affected body part. Chronic pain, on the other hand, persists for weeks, months, or even years. Some people, often older adults, suffer from chronic pain without any definable past injury or signs of body damage. Common chronic pain can be caused by headaches, the low back, and arthritis. Unfortunately, there is scant objective evidence or physical findings to explain such pain. Until recently, some doctors who could not find a physical cause for a person’s pain simply suggested that it was imaginary—“all in your head.” This is unfortunate because we know that all pain is real and not imagined, except in the most extreme cases of psychosis. Emerging scientific evidence is demonstrating that the nerves in the spinal cord of patients with chronic pain undergo structural changes. Psychological and social issues often amplify the effects of chronic pain. For example, people with chronic pain frequently report a wide range of limitations in family and social roles, such as the inability to perform household or workplace chores, take care of children or engage in leisure activities. In turn, spouses, children, and co-workers often have to take over these responsibilities. Such changes often lead to depression, agitation, resentment, and anger for the pain patient and to stress and strain in family and other social relationships. How is depression involved with chronic pain? Depression is the most common emotion associated with chronic pain. It is thought to be 3 to 4 times more common in people with chronic pain than in the general population. […]

Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

Each year, about a million Americans learn that they have skin cancer—the most common type of cancer in the United States. Approximately 40-50% of Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once in their lifetimes. The risk is greatest for people who have fair skin that freckles easily—often those with red or blond hair and blue or light-colored eyes—although everyone can develop skin cancer. The main cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from excess exposure to the sun or artificial sources of UV radiation, such as sun lamps and tanning booths. People who live in areas closer to the equator, which gets high levels of UV radiation from the sun, are more likely to get skin cancer. For example, skin cancer is more common in Texas than in Minnesota, where the sun is not as strong. Skin cancer is also related to lifetime exposure to UV radiation. Most commonly, it appears after the age of 50, but the sun’s damaging effects begin at an early age. Therefore, protection should start in childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life. What Is Skin Cancer? The skin is the body’s largest organ, weighing about 6 pounds. It protects us against heat, light, injury, and infection; helps to regulate our body temperature; and stores water, fat, and vitamin D. Cancer (malignant tumor) is the out-of-control division of abnormal cells in the body. These cells can then invade nearby tissues and spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. The two most common kinds of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90% of all skin cancers in […]

PreventingJoint Injuries with Proper Movement

Human joints come in many shapes and sizes and allow us to move and carry out normal activities of daily living. Without joints, we would be rigid and immobile. But they are also often injured, causing pain and discomfort. The most commonly injured joints are the knees, shoulders, ankles and spine. Approximately 30 million doctor visits a year are due to knee and shoulder injuries alone. Some 150 million to 200 million cases of back pain send people to the doctor every year—and many of those are related to joint injuries. How do joints work? Joints are designed to withstand the loads placed on them and provide a full range of motion. Each joint is made up of at least two surfaces that touch each other and allow for movement. These include ball-and-socket joints such as the hip; hinge joints such as the knee and elbow; and gliding joints, such as those in the spine. The bones that make up the joint allow movement, but it is the muscles that pull the bones that produce the movement. Muscles are attached to bones by structures called tendons. Tendons must be both strong to facilitate movement and compliant to prevent damage to the muscle tissues. Ligaments, which are stiff structures that connect bones, help to prevent excessive movement. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments are attached around each joint at very specific positions, with joint surfaces shaped in exact dimensions. Fluid within most of the joints lubricates the joint surfaces to reduce friction and allow for lifelong use. How do I keep joints in good shape? The movements that you perform on a daily basis are critical to long-term joint health, as are proper nutrition, a healthy exercise regimen, […]