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Why You Need Yoga for Lower Back Pain

by Cindy Gray

Yoga has many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It incorporates a gentle range of effective stretching techniques which can be beneficial for reducing lower back pain while helping to strengthen back muscles, lowering stress, improving circulation and balancing mood.

Yoga can ease lower back pain and improve inflammatory arthritis of the hands

Yoga principles are a form of exercise, but they are the opposite of aerobic exercises. This means that yoga can be practiced by all ages and abilities, even those in pain. Two key areas of physical health that can be eased with regular yoga exercises are inflammatory arthritis and lower back pain.

Yoga for Inflammatory Arthritis

The Journal of Rheumatology reported the results of a study on patients who had inflammatory arthritis of the hands. They found that those who practiced yoga as a therapeutic treatment had a greater range of movement in their fingers. They also reported less pain and tenderness in their arthritic finger joints than those who did not practice yoga.

Yoga for Lower Back Pain

A study of 25 patients suffering from lower back pain found that yoga provided significant benefits. After a six month trial period, 80% of those participants who practiced yoga reported reduced lower back pain compared to 44% of the study group who were given medications instead. 

Over time, just 12% of the yoga practitioners suffered an acute episode of arthritis pain while 56% of the medication group suffered a serious arthritis episode.

Related: Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Yoga and Muscle Strength

The more physical form of yoga known as Hatha Yoga relies on learning controlled breathing techniques, Pranayama, while holding complex body postures. Yoga increases muscle strength as you practice positions and movements. As weak muscles and misaligned posture are the main cause of lower back pain, it makes sense that practicing postures that strengthen the muscles, particularly in the lower back, will reverse the unnatural muscle stretching and reduce back pain.

Other yoga positions strengthen abdominal muscles which, together with back muscles, maintain a healthy muscle network that supports the spine. When these muscles are toned and conditioned they can significantly prevent or reduce lower back pain.

Stress may be another cause of back pain, causing shoulders to be hunched and muscle to be misaligned. Yoga includes stretching and relaxing techniques which reduce that tension and alleviate the lower back pain it causes.

With the additional benefit of improved blood circulation, yoga stretches the lower back, lowers stress and strengthens muscle tone to align the body and reduce or prevent lower back pain. As it also improves mobility in those with inflammatory arthritis of the hands, it’s never too late to consider joining a yoga class to improve your physical and mental health.

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Three Natural Arthritis Treatments in Your Kitchen

by Cindy Gray

Arthritis is a very common disorder that causes pain, stiffness and limited mobility in the joints.  Inflammation is the source of discomfort and often requires strong non-prescription and prescription pain relievers. However, there are several natural arthritis treatments that can be found in your kitchen.

Ginger

Many cultures around the globe have been using ginger in variety of medicinal ways. The root of the plant is where its many health benefits are contained. In addition to adding a spicy kick to many dishes, helping alleviate nausea, and being a rich source of antioxidants, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Research conducted in 2001 found that ginger oil reduced knee pain in participants diagnosed with osteoarthritis.  The journal Arthritis published a study that compared the effectiveness of ginger extract to medications like cortisone and ibuprofen for arthritis suffers.  The ginger extract was as effective in reducing cytokine production (a substance produced by the body with inflammatory effects, linked to arthritis pain).

That’s good news for those who want to avoid the unpleasant side effects of cortisone (aka betamethasone) like depression, seizures, muscle weakness and sleep problems, just to name a few.

If you are eating fresh ginger, two or three tablespoons grated into your dish are a correct amount for most people.  Taking ginger in capsule form (100 to 200 mgs) is the best way to reap the benefits of ginger as a natural arthritis treatment.

Turmeric

Turmeric is another natural arthritis treatment in your kitchen, and is a probably on your spice rack. Turmeric is not as widely used in the U.S., but is a staple in Chinese and Indian diets for its taste and many health benefits.

Related: Turmeric - The Natural Cancer Fighter in Your Curry

Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Like ginger, clinical studies comparing it to regular drugs for pain relief showed turmeric to be as effective for pain relief, but without the unpleasant side effects of OTC and prescribed medications.  In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, turmeric is an abundant source of antioxidants that help neutralize cell damaging free radicals.

Adding turmeric to your diet by taking a supplement is the best way to get maximum benefits.  Take a 300-milligram capsule with the meals to reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis.

Pineapple

Sweet, juicy exotic pineapple is proving to be tough on inflammation and a powerful pain reliever.  Bromelain, an extract from the fruit’s stem, has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and joint swelling.

Pineapple has actually been used in Hawaii and other tropical cultures as an effective treatment for sore throats and digestive issues.  Besides tasting delicious, pineapples are also rich in vitamin C and calcium. The digestive enzymes it contains are called bromelain and the source of the fruit’s anti-inflammatory effects.

For natural arthritis treatments, taking bromelain in capsule form is best. There is no standard dose, but in general, from 80-320 milligrams of the extract taken two or three times a day could offer pain relief without side effects.

Natural Relief

Using natural arthritis treatments makes dealing with arthritis pain and discomfort much more manageable without having to suffer the side effects of many prescription drugs.  Always be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid unfavorable drug interactions and to get the best dosage for you.

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Why Sulfur May Be the Answer for Chronic Back Pain

by IVL Products

It may smell a bit like rotten eggs, but sulphur is the eighth most common element in the human body, and is found in almost all of our tissues. Despite this fact, there is no recommended daily allowance of sulfur provided by the government or health agencies, which could be a contributing factor to chronic back pain.

Look to sulfur for relief from chronic back pain.

About 70% of American adults have reported experiencing lower back pain, according to national health surveys.  When the pain persists for 12 weeks or longer and is more than a dull ache that sticks around long after the initial incident, it’s diagnosed as chronic back pain. The symptoms can be milder one day, and more severe the next, but they are always present.  This has led some in the medical community to believe that a dietary deficiency could be contributing to the problem.

Sulfur’s Role in the Body

Many of our biological processes depend upon sulfur to work correctly. It helps maintain the integrity of the cell walls and produce collagen and essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin. Sulfur is also needed to produce connective tissue, keratin (the key component in hair and the outer layer of our skin) glucosamine and chondroitin, which are part of our cartilage, the crucial cushioning tissue between the bones in our joints.

Sulfur also plays a critical role in keeping our metabolism humming along efficiently. When we become sulfur deficient, our metabolism becomes defective, damaging muscle and fat cells; this can lead to becoming glucose intolerant. When that happens, there is a number of muscular and skeletal disorders that can result, such as inflammation and chronic pain.

Upping Your Sulfur Consumption

Getting more sulfur in your diet is important, whether or not you are suffering from chronic back pain.   Adding the supplement MSM to your daily diet could help alleviate chronic pain. 

Related: White Willow Bark For Safe And Effective Pain Relief

MSM stands for methyl sulfonyl methane and is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in human, animals and plants. It can be made manufactured into pill form or even a topical gel to help provide the correct daily dosage.  To date, MSM has proven to be non-toxic.

How Sulfur Can Help Relieve Chronic Back Pain

MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the pain of inflammation in joints and muscles.  For this reason, it is often used to treat a variety of discomforts such as:

  • Leg cramps
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Constipation

One of the ways MSM relieves chronic back pain and other disorders is by inhibiting the transmissions of pain impulses along nerve fibers.  This helps to reduce inflammation that could be compressing a nerve, and reduces muscle spasms, contributing to lower back pain.

Sulfur in MSM also has the ability to dilate blood vessels for improved circulation, bringing more nutrients to speed up the healing of damaged tissue. What’s more impressive is MSM’s potential to make cell membranes more permeable, letting the body’s own natural painkillers into damaged areas.

By reducing inflammation, enhancing blood flow to more flexible cells to allow for faster healing, MSM could play a big role in not only relieving chronic back pain, but also with the loss of joint mobility from arthritis.

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Natural Treatment for Arthritis

by Cindy Gray

A History of an Ayurvedic Natural Arthritis Treatment

Joint pain is a common complaint in this country affecting approximately one-third of the adult population. The most likely cause of painful joints is arthritis, and either rheumatoid (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA).  Clearly, finding a natural arthritis treatment is an attractive option for many sufferers.  

Natural treatments for arthritis can include Ayurveda.

A Natural Alternative Treatment

Ayurvedic medicine offers natural arthritis treatments that have shown to be highly effective in modern medical studies. This is good news for those who wish to manage their joint pain, but are wary of the side effects of prescription drugs, such as the possible increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, or drowsiness and constipation.

In addition to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin and ibuprofen, real relief can be found using Indian frankincense. Also known as Boswellia serrata, it has a centuries-long history of use for aromatherapy and in religious ceremonies.

Indian frankincense has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for relief from joint pain. Clinical trials by western medicine researchers have confirmed its effectiveness in relieving discomfort and helping to restore mobility to stiff joints by alleviating inflammation.

How Does Indian Frankincense Work?

It is believed that Indian frankincense helps to relieve arthritis pain by inhibiting the formation of leukotrienes, which cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation destroys joint tissue leading to pain and stiffness that becomes progressively worse over time to the point of being debilitating.

Four acids found in Boswellia resin (scientific name for Indian frankincense) are most likely responsible for the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties by suppressing 5-lipoxygenase or 5-LO, the enzyme that produces leukotriene.

Related: A New Strategy To Successfully Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a study published by Phytomedicine all 30 participants suffering OA-related knee pain reported a decrease in their pain and improved knee flexion; and the ability to walk farther with less discomfort after taking doses of Indian frankincense extract.

While results published in the Journal of Rheumatology about a research project involving the use of Boswellia extract for those with rheumatoid arthritis were not as dramatic, researchers concluded that it still may be an effective therapy because of the drug’s ability to interfere with the autoimmune disorder that causes RA.

ApresFLEX as a Natural Arthritis Treatment

Promising results were shown in a clinical study that tested the effectiveness of a trademark blend of Boswellia serrata known as ApresFLEX when compared to another form of the drug 5-Loxin.  The study involved 60 participants with OA knee pain.

In the 90-day, double blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study (meaning neither participants nor researchers knew who received the drugs or the placebo) those who received the placebo reported no significant relief in their joint pain. However, those who received the 5-Loxin and ApresFLEX reported significant improvements in joint pain and increased mobility.

What was especially significant was that those who received the 100 mg dose of ApresFLEX reported improvements to their OA symptoms in as little as five days, two days earlier than those who received the other Boswellia serrata extract!

With so many undesirable side effects associated with many prescription drugs, a more natural arthritis treatment like ApresFLEX offers a promising new way to address the pain and limited joint mobility of the disease more swiftly with fewer health risks.

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Why Ginger Should Be Your Gut’s Best Friend

by Health News

Ginger has been used as an indigestion treatment for centuries; use of the spicy, pungent root herb dates back over 2000 years to ancient China.  Its healing and health benefits have made it a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and many other cultures.

Ginger works as an indigestion treatmentThis rather bland looking root packs a powerful punch as an indigestion treatment for a long list of ailments, making it your gut’s best friend.

Tummy Trouble

Spicy, pungent and versatile, ginger is a proven treatment for nausea caused by motion sickness, illness, and even morning sickness in expectant moms.  There have been are numerous studies published that show ginger is even more effective at relieving nausea than drugs like Dramamine.

Since it is completely safe and natural with no known side effects, pregnant women suffering from morning sickness can get relief by drinking ginger tea, beverages with real ginger in the ingredients or mixing it into salads or other dishes.

Bathroom Bonus

Ginger can make trips to the bathroom a lot less stressful.  A grumpy gut can lead to constipation or diarrhea, but adding ginger to your diet can help alleviate the symptoms of both.  If you are seeking constipation relief, don’t miss this solution.

Constipation- hard infrequent stools leave you feeling bloated and irritable. Ginger has a laxative effect on the intestines thanks to chemical compounds that stimulate the wave-like contractions needed to get things moving regularly again.

Related: Safe Detox with Artichoke Extract

Diarrhea- on the flip side, ginger also can be an effective indigestion treatment for loose frequent stools.  The two compounds in ginger, gingerol and shogaol, can stimulate movement in the smooth muscles of the intestine to relieve constipation can also slow it down for diarrhea treatment.  Ginger decreases stomach spasms and helps eliminate gas, all common symptoms of diarrhea. 

This calming effect of ginger on the intestine and GI tract often relieves the abdominal pain associated with both constipation and diarrhea.

The I-s Have It

Indigestion and inflammation are common health problems that affect millions of Americans and result in many doctor visits.  Adding some ginger into your diet could help with both of these maladies.

Ginger has been used as an indigestion remedy for centuries for good reason.  It works!  Study after study has been published that finds ginger as, or more, effective than most synthetic drugs at relieving upset stomachs, gas, bloating, pain and discomfort along the GI tract.  It’s even an ingredient in many OTC drugs used to treat gas, constipation, and diarrhea.

Inflammation at the site of an injury inside or out of the body has its purpose, but when it becomes chronic it’s been linked to many painful disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heartburn and ulcers.  

Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can aid the body in healing itself while it relieves pain and discomfort.

Ginger in Its Many Forms

You can ingest ginger as an indigestion remedy in many forms.  When raw, it can be a salad topper, stir-fry add-in or used to spice up a sushi roll.

You can also take ginger in capsule form, dried for tea, or ground into a fine powder for adding a little kick to most any dish.

With no serious side effects, making ginger a part of your diet may help to relieve a number of digestive problems and should be considered a top indigestion remedy that is safe, natural and effective.

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The Squirrely Secret of Upper Back Pain

by Institute for Vibrant Living

With large workloads and busy schedules, many Americans grapple with stress on a daily basis.  Because of the body's natural fight-or-flight response, it reacts to stress, worry, or anxiety in a number of ways.  While some people are plagued with fatigue, indigestion, or moodiness, others experience shoulder, neck, or upper back pain as a result of tension or tightness in various muscles.  Just like a squirrel has a favorite stash for storing chestnuts, you may have specific muscles that store stress.

Relieving stress may help relieve the shoulder, neck, and upper back pain associated with it.

Ways to Alleviate Stress-Related Shoulder, Neck, and Upper Back Pain

It stands to reason that relieving stress may help relieve the pain associated with it.  Try these tips for alleviating stress-related shoulder, neck, and upper back pain.

4-7-8 Deep Breathing Method:  The next time you feel tension or tightness in a "storage area," stop what you are doing, sit upright, and practice the deep breathing method recommended by holistic health expert, Dr. Andrew Weil.  With the tip of the tongue held just behind the upper front teeth, inhale deeply through the nose to a mental count of four.  Hold the breath to a count of seven, and exhale through the mouth to a count of eight, continuing to keep the tongue in place (this will create a whooshing sound).  Start with three or four breaths for the first several weeks, and over time, increase to eight if desired.

Related: Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Self-Massage:  Muscle tension develops in areas with weak blood and energy flow.  At the onset of tightness or pain in the neck or shoulders, use your hands to gently massage the muscles.  Massage helps to improve blood flow and free up energy.  A licensed massaged therapist can people who experience upper back pain in hard-to-reach areas.

Exercise:  Aerobic exercise like jogging, cycling, or swimming offers a powerful prescription for stress relief.  In addition, studies show that exercise releases natural opiates like endorphins and other compounds that offer temporary pain relief.  Recent studies show that regular exercise may also offer a greater longer-term tolerance for pain.

While you may not be able to control everyday stressors, you do have some control over how your body responds to them.  Incorporating deep breathing, self-massage, and exercise into your routine helps prevent and release stored stress, keeping the body free of neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.

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The Simple Spice that Eases Back Pain and Arthritis

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to new research, ginger can reduce pain and inflammation in muscles and joints.Ginger For Muscle And Joint Pain Relief | Institute for Vibrant Living

Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India, as a natural anti-inflammatory therapy to soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea - and recent studies show it may help relieve pain and inflammation as well.

In one study, arthritic patients were given small amounts of ginger daily for three months. The majority showed significant improvements in pain, swelling and morning stiffness.

Another study concluded that ginger extract could be an equally effective, safer substitute for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract were compared to placebo in 247 patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Ginger was seen to reduce pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo. This may be because ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antioxidant and analgesic properties.

Ginger blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds prostaglandins and leukotrienes, while also breaking down inflammation and acidity in the fluid within joints.

While many forms of ginger provide health benefits, capsules appear to provide the best therapeutic benefits. Ginger capsules should be taken with food - because although small amounts of ginger can help settle a sour stomach, concentrated doses can actually cause stomach upset.

Before taking ginger, get professional advice - especially if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication for any other health conditions, as ginger may reverse the effects of these drugs.

If you enjoy the tangy taste of fresh ginger, a few tablespoons of grated ginger has been reported to help ease muscle pain caused by exercise. Fresh or dried ginger can also be added to stir fries, curries, soups, or made into tea.

As you age, your synovial fluid - the natural lubricating fluid that protects your joints from deterioration - breaks down, leading to more friction and wear on the cartilage surfaces of the joints. Try adding Ginger to your diet to help alleviate chronic joint pain.

Source: Is Ginger Better Than Drugs For Muscle and Joint Pain Relief?   

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Natural Pain Relief With White Willow Bark

by Health News

Natural Pain ReliefWhether you’re a seasoned athlete, a weekend warrior or just have joint pain, you’ve probably tried many different medicines in your quest for relief. Did you know that the white willow bark extract has natural anti-inflammatory properties?

White willow, more commonly known as willow bark or Salix alba, contains a compound known as salicin, the precursor of the pain-killing and anti-inflammatory drug, aspirin. Because of this, it is often used to treat ailments like muscle pain, headaches, inflammation and fever. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes* that it may also help to alleviate joint pain and inflammation. White willow works slowly, but according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center**, its therapeutic effects last longer than aspirin as the body converts the salicin to salicylic acid.

Another advantage? While aspirin and other standard NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) are contraindicated in people taking anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners), there is in-vitro evidence that white willow might be a safer alternative to usual NSAIDs because it contains tannins. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center**, “The tannins have astringent properties, and in vitro tests show that salicin and salicortin inhibit cyclooxygenase, and an irreversible inhibition of thrombocytes is unlikely. Therefore, no increased interaction with anticoagulants should occur.”

Are you ready for natural joint pain relief? Talk to your healthcare professional about incorporating white willow bark into your nutritional supplement regimen.

Source:
* http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/osteoarthritis-000118.htm
** http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/willow-bark

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Relieving Pain Without Drugs

by Not in Use Not In Use

In today’s society, it is all too common to see those suffering from chronic pain turn to the pharmaceutical industry. From aspirin to hydrocodone, pain relief medicine sells for billions of dollars each year. Much of this medicine is necessary for severely injured persons, but more often than is readily admitted this medicine is prescribed and taken by people for whom there are more natural alternatives to alleviate the pain.

Natural Pain Relief brought to by The Institute for Vibrant Living

Natural pain relief can be achieved - sometimes an affliction can be assuaged with a series of complementary practices; other times a single stimulus can create the desired result. Below are various methods for relieving your pain without the use of drugs - drugs with side-effects that can be worse than the pain it is trying to prevent.

  1. Endorphins - Endorphins are neurotransmitters which, when released, can block the signal of pain which is being sent to the brain. Physical exercise can release these body’s natural analgesics, which also can cause a feeling of euphoria, sometimes called a “runner’s high.” Acupuncture is also credited with releasing your body’s endorphins.
  2. Chiropractic Treatment/Massage - Problems caused by inflammation can ultimately lead to pain in nerves, joints and muscles. By manually adjusting bones, chiropractors correct these issues, restoring the nervous system to its optimal level. Similarly, massages can restore blood flow and release toxins caught up in taut muscles, leading to a release of tension and often chronic pain.
  3. Mediation and Breathing Exercises - Simply by breathing, you can relax yourmuscles, increase the oxygen supply to the cells, and augment the production of endorphins. Coupled with meditation - that is, prolonged moments of pointed focus - the mind is calmed, and pain has been shown in studies to be alleviated. 
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Natural Relief for Chronic Joint Pain

by Health News

Chronic joint pain is an affliction that millions of Americans must live with every day. Some of these problems are severe and require medical attention and rehabilitation; others, however, can be alleviated and/or prevented through changes in lifestyle. As with other aspects of good health, proper care and self-monitoring can go a long way in preserving activity, functionality, and increase energy naturally.

Many sufferers of chronic joint pain have found relief in various forms of physical therapy; but physical therapy is a fancy way of talking about exercise. And while therapy may be a more focused and efficient method for dealing with a specific pain, exercise is a general term for overall maintenance of the whole body.

But which types of exercise are the most effective in relieving joint pain?

Yoga is one of the best total body activities to deal with chronic afflictions, especially those of born from injury or wear and tear. Yoga increases flexibility, strength, and posture in practitioners, while oxygenating the blood and naturally boosting energy.

Your joints, your muscles, and your cardiovascular system all benefit from the many complex positions. Scientifically, studies have demonstrated that sufferers from rheumatoid arthritis have shown marked improvement from practicing yoga.

Yoga: A Natural Relief for Chronic Joint Pain

Other exercise regiments that offer relief from chronic joint pain while minimizing the chance of further injury include swimming, tai chi, and cycling.

As for dietary efforts,herbal supplements that contain anti-inflammatory agents can assuage chronic pain.

These include turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat’s claw, devil’s claw, and willow bark. Other nutritional supplements that can be of help are fish oil and Vitamin D. Fish oil gives the body much needed Omega-3s, while Vitamin D can positively affect both fibromyalgia and bone and joint pain. The best source of Vitamin D is plenty of sunlight, but supplements have shown to be beneficial as well.

Maintaining your body is analogous to maintaining an automobile. With proper care and the right fuel, you can minimize long term effects and stay running for years to come.