woman getting better sleep

How to get a better sleep at night

If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. Whether it’s that you don’t feel sleepy at night, you have trouble staying asleep, or you don’t feel rested in the morning, sleep problems are a common issue.

Luckily, there are many simple measures you can take to improve your sleeping habits and get better quality sleep.

Set a Sleep Schedule and Stick to It

Your body tries to anticipate when you’re going to sleep and begins the process as your bedtime approaches. For example, it releases melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Having an irregular sleep schedule means you won’t be able to take full advantage of these processes. So try to keep to your regular sleep and wake times, even on weekends.

Exercise Regularly

Vigorous exercise is best, but any physical activity can help you use up energy during the day so you can rest better at night.

Do Something Relaxing Before Bed

Find a calming activity that you can add to your bedtime routine. For example,  reading, listening to relaxing music, meditating, practicing gentle yoga or taking a bath.

Avoid Taking Naps, Especially in the Afternoon

A nice nap may feel refreshing, but studies show that daytime napping leads to worse nighttime sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you should save your sleep for bedtime. 

Use The Right Mattress and Pillow

If you’ve had your mattress for too long, it might not be providing proper support, so check if it’s time for a replacement. Most good quality mattresses have a life expectancy of about 10 years.

There are a variety of specially-designed pillows that may help you sleep better, such as cervical neck pillows designed to keep your head and neck properly positioned.  

Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink

While you probably know to avoid caffeine right before bed, it might surprise you that research shows that drinking coffee up to six hours before bed can impact your sleep.

You should also avoid eating large meals for 2-3 hours before bed, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes, as they can also disrupt sleep.

Avoid Bright Light Before Bed

Being exposed to bright light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. It throws your internal clock (also known as the circadian rhythm) out of whack.  So looking at the bright screen of a TV, computer, or phone before bed will make it harder for you to fall asleep.

If you have trouble avoiding those electronics before bed, there are screen dimmer apps that can help. They can automatically adjust your phone or computer screen, so that as your bedtime approaches, the light gets gradually shifted towards the red end of the spectrum. This helps minimize the effects on your sleep because red light is the least disruptive to your internal clock.

Get More Bright Light During the Day

Being exposed to bright light during the day can help your internal clock stay in sync, which will help you feel more energized during the day and sleep better at night.

Put it into Practice

These sleeping tips should give you some options when it comes to improving your sleep habits. So try a few of them out to find what works best for you and enjoy a good night’s sleep!

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Six Surprising Remedies for Headaches

Reduce Headache Symptoms With These Lesser-Known Solutions

There are several different types of headaches, and they have a range of possible causes. Tension headaches are the most common type, but there are also sinus headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, and more.

No matter what type of headache you have, you may be searching for ways to relieve the pain. You probably know some of the common home remedies for dealing with headaches, like dimming the lights or putting a cold pack on your forehead. 

But if you’ve tried the classic methods and are still looking for relief, here are some headache remedies that might surprise you.

 

Spit Out Your Chewing Gum

Research has found that chewing gum can cause tension headaches and migraines. That’s because excessive chewing can cause stress to the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. Dysfunction in the TMJ is a known cause of headaches. Therefore, you may want to consider ditching the gum.

Take Off Your Hat

Compression headaches can be caused by pressure on the head and scalp. They can also result from wearing a hat that is too tight, as well as:

  • Headbands
  • Sports helmets
  • Hard hats
  • Swim goggles
  • Having your hair in a tight ponytail

Try taking off your hat, letting your hair down, or ensuring your headgear fits properly.

Avoid Certain Foods

There are a number of foods that can trigger headaches. They include foods that are high in histamine, such as:

  • Aged cheeses
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Fermented food
  • Cured meats
  • Smoked fish

In addition, foods that contain nitrates and nitrites can also be a culprit. They include:

  • Bacon
  • Sausages
  • Hot dogs
  • Other processed meats 

If you’re getting frequent headaches, put some more thought into your diet or consider speaking to a nutritionist.

Get Some Fresh Air

Strong smells can trigger headaches in some people. Perfumes, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and foods with strong smells are common causes.

Sensitivity to odours is common in people who suffer from migraines. Therefore, If you feel a headache coming on, try getting some fresh air.

Drink More Water

A common cause for tension headaches and migraines is chronic dehydration. Drinking a glass of water can provide headache relief pretty quickly. Studies have shown that drinking some water can sometimes relieve headache symptoms within 30 minutes.

Take Some Ginger

Ginger supplements, ginger root, or even ginger tea can help cure a headache. One study showed that ginger was just as effective as conventional headache medications, with fewer side effects.

Other Remedies

If you’re still looking for more ideas, here’s a list of other headache remedies to try:

  • Try yoga or other relaxation techniques
  • Get more sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get some caffeine
  • For tension headaches, put a heating pad on the back of the head and neck
  • Get a massage
  • Visit an acupuncturist

FAQ's

  • 1. Can an acupuncturist relieve headaches?

    Whether an acupuncturist can relieve a headache or not depends in part on what the underlying cause is. Many migraine sufferers find that they have fewer headaches when they attend regular acupuncture sessions. This is because of the relaxing effect acupuncture has and the gentle way it stimulates the body

  • 2. What can a massage do for headaches?

    Many people find that regular massages help to relieve tension and stress, which in turn means that they experience fewer headaches. Some people´s headaches are a knock-on effect of shoulder and neck pain. When they find a massage technique that relieves that pain, often they can get relief for their headaches as well.

  • 3. What are the most common causes of headaches?

    The most common causes of headaches are stress, overexertion, not eating regularly, dehydration and having a cold. They can also be caused by bad posture, which can be due to an underlying condition like arthritis. Some people´s migraine headaches are triggered by bright lights, exercise, stress, even by tension in the neck and the jaw. Relieving the tension can reduce the incidence of these types of headaches.

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How to Avoid the Most Common Sports Injuries

From Shin Splints to ACL Injuries, Here are Some of The Most Common Sports Injuries and What to Do About Them

When you get injured playing sports, it can be a very discouraging experience. Not only does it sideline you from the game, but it may get in the way of your regular daily activities. If the injury is bad enough, you might be unable to work or even walk until the injury heals.

But you shouldn’t let the possibility of an injury get in the way of staying active. Sports are a great choice when it comes to fitting more physical activity into your life, and can help you stay motivated about improving your fitness.

To help you stay on the field and avoid injuries, let’s go over some of the most common sports injuries, how to spot them, and how to prevent them before they happen.

Common Sports Injuries

Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow

Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are overuse injuries. They occur when the tendons in your arm get over stressed and tiny tears form in the tissue causing pain, weakness, and stiffness. 

Despite the names of these injuries, they can be caused by any activity that involves repeated use of the arm and wrist. Where they differ is that tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of the elbow, and golfer’s elbow causes pain on the inside of the elbow.

ACL Tear or Strain

The ACL is one of the major ligaments in your knee, and can sometimes get injured by excessive stress such as in sports that involve sudden changes in direction, jumping, and landing.

If you experience an ACL injury, you may hear or feel a “pop” in the knee followed by severe pain, rapid swelling, and loss of range of motion. You may also feel the knee giving way when you try to put weight on it.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are caused by repetitive stress on the connective tissues around your shinbone. It can result when you start playing a new sport, or intensify your training too quickly. This injury causes pain along the shinbone and may cause some mild leg swelling.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee can describe a number of conditions that cause pain around your kneecap. It typically involves irritation of the soft tissues or worn cartilage in the knee. As the name suggests, it is common among runners, but can also be caused by any activity that puts repetitive stress on the knee. 

Hamstring Strain

The hamstring is made up of three muscles behind the knee. Hamstring injuries can range from a mild strain to a complete tear of the muscle. These injuries can be caused by fatigue, lack of a warmup, or improper running technique. It causes sudden pain in the back of the thigh and lower buttock and may cause some bruising.

How to Prevent Injuries

Now that you know some of the basics about what injuries to look out for and how to spot them, here are some tips on how to prevent those injuries before they happen. These preventative measures also apply to many other types of sports injuries.

Warm-up

This is the most important thing you can do to prevent sports injuries. Taking the time to stretch and warm-up before athletics helps prepare your body for the stresses it’s about to face. It increases blood flow to your muscles, loosens your joints, and improves flexibility. In addition to preventing injuries, it can also help with your athletic performance. 

Wear Proper Shoes

Having the right footwear is another important part of preventing injuries. During athletics, your shoes provide cushioning and support that helps you move more efficiently and take some of the stress off your joints.

Ensure you replace your athletic shoes before they get too worn out.

For added support, consider using orthotic inserts or orthotic shoes. They can be custom designed to provide the perfect amount of support and correct imperfections in the way you move. 

Gradually Increase Intensity

Whenever you start playing a new sport or up the intensity of an exercise, it brings some risk of injury. That’s because you put your body under stress that it’s not properly prepared for. 

Take it slow when you’re trying something new. For example, a rule of thumb for distance running is to gradually increase your distance by no more than 10 percent a week.

FAQ's

  • 1. Can orthotics help prevent sports injuries?

    The right orthotics can help to prevent sports injuries. Provided the orthotics are made from the best materials and by someone with the right experience they improve the wearer's posture. This means the body is always in the correct position. But that can only happen if the orthotics are customized to fit precisely. If they are not, the person will not stand, walk, or run in a balanced way, this will put additional stress on the body.

  • 2. What are examples of improper running techniques?

    Wearing the wrong footwear and immediately launching into a fast-paced run are two examples of improper running practice. Another mistake people make is not maintaining good posture when they run. Your head should be up, your back straight and your shoulders need to be kept level.

  • 3. What does overuse injury mean?

    An overuse injury occurs when a muscle or joint is used too much. Examples of this kind of injury include stress fractures, tendinitis and pulled muscles. They can occur in an instant when too much pressure is put on a part of the body. But, most of them build up over time. So, it is important not to ignore the warning signs of overuse. The longer you leave things the worse your injury will become and the more time it will take to heal.

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What’s Causing My Toes to Become Numb?

What causes numbness in toes

If you’re dealing with numbness in your toes, it can really get you down. It may make it difficult to stay active, cause you to trip and fall, or even make it painful to just walk around.

If foot pain or numbness makes you change the way you walk, it can cause issues like knee pain or back pain. In addition, the loss of feeling can result in foot injuries you might not be aware of.

Sometimes toe numbness can go away on its own. In other cases, it’s a symptom of a serious health condition. Here’s what you need to know about the possible causes of toe numbness and what to do about it.

What is Toe Numbness?

Toe numbness describes the loss of feeling in your toes, but it can also involve some related symptoms such as:

  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • A pins-and-needles sensation

The symptoms can sometimes extend upwards to the foot and leg as well. And it may only affect one side of your body or both.

What Causes Numbness in Feet and Toes?

A wide variety of health conditions can cause numbness in feet and toes. The most common causes include:

How is Numbness in Toes Diagnosed?

To start diagnosing the cause of your toe numbness, your doctor will speak with you about your medical history and symptoms. Afterwards, you’ll receive a physical examination. This may include testing your sense of feeling in your feet, such as checking your ability to sense temperature.

Depending on what they find, they may use diagnostic tools like MRI and CT scans to check for conditions such as spinal issues or a stroke.

Nerve conduction studies may also be used to check for pinched nerves. This test uses an electric current passing through the nerves to check if the nerve signals are being transmitted normally. 

Treating Chronic Foot Numbness

If your toe numbness doesn’t go away on its own and sticks around for several months, it’s referred to as chronic. There are a number of options for treating chronic foot numbness.

The appropriate treatment will depend on the underlying cause for your toe numbness. But there are also some things you can do to relieve the symptoms and reduce the risk of developing cuts and sores.

  • Wearing soft, thick socks, such as diabetic socks
  • Wearing well-fitting shoes or custom orthotics
  • Checking your feet daily for cuts (use a handheld mirror to check the bottoms of your feet)

FAQs About Numbness in Toes

How do I get rid of numbness in my toes?

There are a number of remedies that can help reduce numbness in your toes, including getting better footwear or custom orthotics. But to actually get rid of the numbness for good, you should see a doctor for help identifying the cause.

Is numbness in toes dangerous?

No, having numbness in your toes is not considered dangerous. However, it is sometimes a symptom of a serious condition, so its a good idea to get it checked out. The only real direct danger that comes from numb toes is the risk of falling due to being unable to feel the ground with your feet, and the risk of developing wounds on your feet.

Will numbness in toes go away?

It depends on the cause and the particular case. In some cases, numbness in toes will go away on its own. In other cases, it will go away and return periodically. And sometimes, it sticks around for good and requires treatment to get any improvement. So if you’ve tried simple remedies (like ensuring you have proper shoes) but your toe numbness remains, you should consider getting it checked out.

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Sprain vs Strain: What’s the Difference?

Sprain vs Strain which is worse

Sprains and strains are two types of injuries that can affect the soft tissues in your body. They share a number of symptoms, but there are also a few important differences.

The main one is that they affect different soft tissues:

  • Sprains affect ligaments around your joints, which are the bands of tissue that connect your bones to other bones and cartilage.
  • Strains affect muscles or tendons, which are the cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. 

To help you tell these two injuries apart, get to the bottom of which one you have, and find out how to treat it, let’s take a closer look at sprains vs strains.

What are the Symptoms of Sprains and Strains?

Symptoms of Sprains

Sprains typically occur due to falling, twisting, or other force that causes a joint to move out of its normal range of motion. Some signs of a sprain can include:

  • Commonly occurs in joints such as the wrists, ankles or knees
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited movement
  • A popping sensation when the injury occurred
  • Bruising around the joint

Symptoms of Strains

Strains can occur either suddenly or gradually over time. They can be caused by things like running, jumping, or lifting a heavy object. The common symptoms of strains include:

  • Commonly occurs in the legs, back, or feet
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited movement
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness

Sprain vs Strain: Which is Worse?

As you can see from the symptoms above, sprains and strains are quite similar. In addition, many of the same treatments are used to heal both issues. 

Neither of these injuries is necessarily worse than the other. What’s important is the severity of the injury. That’s because both sprains and strains can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, your soft tissues may be overstretched or twisted, while in severe cases these tissues can be completely torn.

Mild sprains and strains can heal in as little as two days and are often treated with rest and ice packs. However, severe cases can take months to recover from and may require treatment such as physiotherapy or even surgery.

When to See a Doctor

There are a few symptoms to look for that are signs that your strain or sprain is not likely to heal on its own and will require treatment:

  • The pain and swelling increases over time
  • Difficulty standing or walking without pain
  • Limited movement
  • Numbness
  • Fever
  • A deformity of the joint

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor. Treatments such as physiotherapy can speed up your recovery, reduce the risk for complications, and keep the problem from coming back. 

Prevention of Sprains and Strains

There are a number of measures you can take to reduce your risk for these injuries:

Sprain vs Strain FAQs

How long does it take for a sprain or strain to heal?

It depends on the severity of the injury. It can take as little as a couple of days up to several months. But getting treatment such as physiotherapy can speed up your healing time, increase the likelihood of a full recovery, and prevent the injury from reoccurring.

Do sprains heal on their own?

Mild sprains can heal on their own with simple rest. For moderate to severe cases, treatment may be required. The treatment may be as simple as getting an exercise plan from a physiotherapist, or in the most severe cases, surgery may be required.

Is it OK to walk on a sprained ankle?

The primary treatment for mild sprains is rest, so you should avoid walking on a sprained ankle if possible, especially during the first 24-48 hours. If you can’t avoid walking, you should consider protecting the injury with an ankle brace.

After 48 hours, and if any swelling has subsided, you can start gradually putting weight on the ankle again.

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Dealing With Chronic Heel Pain? Here Are Some Ways You Can Get The Pain Under Control

Chronic heel pain

Heel pain can interfere with your ability to exercise or even just get around. If it doesn’t go away on its own, you may need professional treatment to deal with it.

There are a number of possible causes and even more options for treatment. Here is what you need to know about what causes heel pain and how to manage it.

Chronic Heel Pain Causes

One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. One way to help identify it is that the heel pain will be on the bottom of the heel and tends to be at its worst during your first few steps in the morning.

Another common cause of heel pain is Achilles tendinitis. This condition involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which runs down your lower leg to your heel. Similar to plantar fasciitis, the pain tends to be at its worst in the morning, but the pain will focus on the back of the heel.

Some other possible causes for heel pain include:

Relieving Chronic Heel Pain

To get some relief from your heel pain, there are some simple remedies you can try. 

  • Give it a rest: Try to avoid activities that put excess strain on your heels, such as running or standing for long periods.
  • Apply ice: Put an ice pack on your heel for up to 20 minutes at a time, three times daily.
  • Take an Aspirin: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs are effective at relieving the most common forms of heel pain.

Chronic Heel Pain Treatment

While sometimes heel pain can go away on its own or with the simple remedies listed above, other times it can be more stubborn. If you’ve been dealing with heel pain for several weeks or longer, it may be a sign of an issue that needs treatment. 

In those cases, getting professional help is the best way to uncover the cause of your heel pain, solve it, and prevent it from coming back.

Some of the options for treatment include:

Prevention of Chronic Heel and Foot Pain

Once you get some relief from your heel pain, you’ll probably want to know everything you can do to keep it from coming back. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure your footwear fits properly, replace your shoes before the cushioning wears out, and consider getting some orthotic insoles.
  • Lose excess body weight to reduce the amount of stress on your heels.
  • Take the time to properly stretch and warm-up before exercise.

Dealing With Chronic Heel Pain? Here Are Some Ways You Can Get The Pain Under Control – FAQs

What does it mean when your heels hurt all the time?

There are many possible causes for heel pain. The only way to know for sure what caused it is to visit a doctor. 

Is heel pain a sign of cancer?

Yes, in rare cases, heel pain can be a sign of cancer. That’s because cancer can sometimes cause a painful lesion on the heel bone. However, there are many other causes for heel pain that are much more likely. See a health care professional for a thorough analysis of your pain.

When should you see a doctor for heel pain?

There are a few symptoms that can be signs that your heel pain is caused by a serious health condition and is not going to go away on its own. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see doctor:

  • Severe pain and swelling
  • Severe pain following an injury
  • Fever
  • Being unable to walk normally
  • Being unable to bend your foot downward or rise up on your toes

FAQ's

  • 1. What happens if plantar fasciitis goes untreated?

    If left untreated, plantar fasciitis gets worse. Gradually, the time between flareups shortens and the condition becomes chronic. The fact that you have been walking awkwardly because you are in pain will begin to have a negative impact on other areas of your body. Your posture will suffer, you will limp slightly and over time your musculoskeletal system will become unbalanced.

  • 2. Is walking bad for plantar fasciitis?

    Walking is not bad for plantar fasciitis. Provided that is that you walk in the correct way. If you are suffering from the condition a physiotherapist will be able to recommend the best way to recover. Including, how to stand and walk without making things worse.

  • 3. How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis or heel spurs?

    If the pain you are experiencing is focused in a small area of the bottom of the heel, in all likelihood it is a heel spur. The pain can be quite sharp especially when you first stand up. Usually, if you have plantar fasciitis, the pain will be coming from a larger area of the heel. A lot of people who have heel spurs end up developing plantar fasciitis, so it is not uncommon to be suffering from both conditions.

What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

If you are dealing with numbness in your fingers, it can make even the simplest of tasks seem difficult. The loss of feeling in your fingers may prevent you from doing anything that requires a light touch or precision, such as using cutlery or signing your name.

But numbness in fingers is more than just an irritation. It can actually be a sign of a variety of health conditions. So to help you uncover the source of your finger numbness, we are going to look at some of the most common causes and what you can do about them.

What is Finger Numbness?

Finger numbness refers to the loss of feeling in your fingers. It can also involve a number of related symptoms affecting your fingers including:

  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • A pins-and-needles sensation
  • Weakness
  • A feeling of clumsiness

Causes of Finger Numbness

There are many possible causes of numbness in fingers. Here are some of the most common causes and the additional symptoms that will help you figure out the source of your finger numbness.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive strain injury. It occurs when repetitive motions or overuse causes a nerve in your wrist to get pinched or obstructed.

  • Numbness usually affects the thumb, index finger, and middle finger

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy involves the inflammation or compression of a nerve root in your neck. It’s commonly caused by a spinal issue such as a bone spur or herniated disc resulting from an injury or aging-related changes.

  • Numbness and weakness may also affect the shoulder, arm, and hand

Diabetes

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is an essential source of energy for many systems in your body, which is why diabetes causes a wide range of symptoms.

  • Numbness, pain, and tingling may also affect the feet
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Cuts and bruises take a long time to heal

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition where blood flow to certain areas of your body is periodically restricted. It’s caused by a dysfunction in your blood vessels that cause episodes of numbness that can last from a few minutes up to several hours. Sometimes these episodes can be triggered by stress or cold temperatures.

  • Numbness may also affect the toes, ears, or nose.
  • Affected areas turn white and feel ice cold.
  • When numbness goes away, the affected areas throb and turn red.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, which means it involves your immune system attacking your own body. In RA, the immune system attacks the joints, and it can cause numbness in fingers and hands. The exact causes of the condition are unknown.

  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling 

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Ulnar nerve entrapment happens when a nerve in your arm gets irritated or compressed. Most often, the compression happens behind the inside of your elbow. It can be caused by an injury, overuse, or even just leaning on your elbow for long periods.

  • Numbness in fingers tends to affect the pinkie fingers and ring fingers.

How to Treat Finger Numbness

There are many options for treatment when it comes to finger numbness:

  • Rest the hand and wrist
  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil
  • Hand therapy is a specialized type of physiotherapy that can resolve many conditions affecting the hand and arm.
  • Functional braces or splints can keep your wrist or elbow in a natural position to avoid aggravating the condition.
  • Chiropractic care or massage therapy can help solve nerve issues
  • Acupuncture can relieve symptoms, stimulate circulation, and promote healing

Can Exercise Help With Finger Numbness?

Depending on the cause of your finger numbness, exercises and stretches may help. However, if the cause of your finger numbness is a repetitive strain injury, doing the wrong exercise could make matters worse.

To get the best results, you should consider getting help from a physiotherapist. They can identify the cause of finger numbness, determine if exercise and stretching will help, and then guide you through the process. They can also provide a plan to prevent the issue from returning.

Numbness in Fingers FAQs

What causes numbness in tips of fingers?

Finger numbness can have many causes, whether it affects just the tips of your fingers or your whole hand. However, if you experience additional symptoms, or numbness only in specific fingers, it can help you identify if you have one of the conditions listed above.

How do I get rid of numbness in my fingers?

The best treatment to resolve numbness in fingers depends on what caused it. The first step is seeing your doctor to get a diagnosis. But there are a few things you can do to relieve your symptoms. This includes resting your hand and wrist, applying ice, and taking anti-inflammatories.

Are numb fingers a sign of diabetes?

Yes, numb fingers can be a symptom of diabetes. But diabetes also causes a range of other symptoms that can help you identify it. For instance, it causes circulation problems throughout the body, so the numbness will likely affect your feet as well. Some other symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, blurred vision, and extreme hunger.

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Simple Ways to relieve Stress and improve your Mental Health

Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Everyone experiences stress, but it’s not always a bad thing. For example, when you’re preparing for a job interview, some stress can be expected and it can sometimes motivate you to perform well.

However, stress is a problem when it becomes constant or overwhelming. It can cause changes in your body that negatively affect your immune system, sleeping habits, mental health, and more. 

This leads to symptoms like anger, sadness, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and sleeplessness. Over time, stress can contribute to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Some people even experience stress rashes and hives.

Thankfully, there are a lot of techniques for helping you deal with stress. They range from simple mental exercises to guidelines for managing your daily schedule. The wide range of methods available means that you should be able to find options that will work for you in different situations. 

 Here are some effective coping techniques for overcoming stress:

Take a Breather

Controlling your breathing is one of the easiest ways you can calm your body and feel more relaxed. It’s also a technique you can do wherever you may be—whether it’s the office, in traffic, at home or outdoors. There are several different breathing methods you can try, but a simple one to start is to just focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to three, hold it for one second, and then slowly exhale while counting to three again. Go ahead and try it right now while you read this. 

Meditate On It

Meditation involves focusing your attention and blocking out all your nagging thoughts. Besides relieving stress, meditation has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of a range of conditions, from chronic pain to asthma.

There are many different types of meditation, but the one that most people are familiar with is mantra meditation. This method involves closing your eyes, choosing a calming word or phrase, and then repeating it in your mind. The mantra gives you something to focus your attention on while avoiding distracting thoughts. Among meditation’s many benefits, it can retrain your mind to be better focused and block out unwanted and anxious thoughts.

Hug a Loved One

This tip may sound silly or simple, but you may not realize just how beneficial hugging can be. Research shows that a simple caring touch from a loved one can make a real impact on your health. That’s because it releases oxytocin, which causes relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and results in a decrease in stress hormone levels such as cortisol.

Shorten Your To-Do List

Setting goals and priorities is a good thing. It can help you stay on top of your responsibilities and can give you a sense of accomplishment. But your to-do list can also be a major contributor to your stress when it becomes unmanageable. So whittle down that list of tasks so it’s more realistic.

To help guide you, start keeping track of how often you are able to complete everything on your daily agenda. Then start making adjustments until it becomes the norm.

Talk it Out

When you’re dealing with stress on your own, every little problem can seem worse than it actually is. In this way, your distorted perception of problems can contribute to your stress. 

But speaking to someone you trust, like your family or friends can help you get some perspective. By helping you see things from another point of view, you may realize that an issue that was stressing you out was not as bad as you thought. Talking with others can also give you more confidence to deal with situations by receiving helpful feedback.

Get Help From an Expert

Mental health professionals like counsellors and therapists are experts at stress management. Besides knowing the different techniques, they understand how to help you use them properly and find the best solutions for you.

Getting expert help may be easier than you think, and wellness clinics such as Activa Clinics, help with assessing your specific needs and creating a treatment plan customized for your needs. 

Don’t Ignore It

Remember, stress is normal, but being overwhelmed by it isn’t. You shouldn’t learn to live with chronic stress as part of your daily routine. It can seriously impact your mental state and overall health. But with some simple techniques and a little help, you can overcome it.

Contact us to book an appointment if your stress is causing anxiety or depression issues.

FAQ’s

Can stress have a physical impact on my body?

Stress does have a negative impact on your body. Being under constant stress makes it hard to get enough sleep, which, in time compromises the body´s ability to maintain itself properly. When we are under stress our body releases corticosteroid, a hormone that suppresses the immune system. Leaving it unable to effectively identify and deal with rogue cells or fight off viruses and other infections. Stress also leads to muscle tension which can cause musculoskeletal issues, persistent headaches, even digestive problems.

What is chronic stress, and how do I know if I’m suffering from it?

Chronic stress is when you feel almost constantly strung out and under too much pressure. In time, you start to feel this way even when everything in your life is going smoothly. You will also start to suffer from physical issues as a result of your body being constantly flooded by stress hormones. Headaches, digestive issues, tense muscles, palpitations, difficulty breathing, fatigue and unexplained pains can all be caused by chronic stress.

Can my stress lead to serious health conditions?

Stress can lead to serious health conditions. Over time it puts your body under a tremendous physical strain. Especially if the stress you are suffering from stops you from being able to sleep properly. When that happens, your body cannot protect or repair itself as well as it should.

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Is Back pain Linked to Causing Headaches?

New Research Reveals the Back Pain/Headache Connection

Back pain and headaches often go hand in hand. There have long been theories about how the two conditions are related. But the latest research reveals that the connection may be stronger than anyone thought.

It shows that if you suffer from one of these issues, it doubles your risk for developing the other one. 

These findings could change the approach to treating these conditions and help get relief for people who suffer from them.

The Study

The research was published in the Journal of Headache and Pain. Here are some highlights:

  • It studied the link between chronic headaches and persistent low back pain.
  • Researchers reviewed 14 existing studies.
  • The studies had sample sizes ranging up to 400,000 people.
  • Every study they reviewed suggested there’s a connection.
  • The connection is even stronger for people who suffer from migraines.

How Are They Linked?

It’s still unclear exactly how the two issues are connected. But there are a few theories.

Pain Signals

One possibility is that it’s related to how people feel pain differently. Researchers say that genetic differences in how pain is signalled could mean that some people are just more likely to feel pain from these conditions and to be more sensitive to it.

The Vicious Cycle

Another explanation is based on psychology. It says that chronic pain can lead to a vicious cycle. That’s because pain can cause mental health issues which then increase your sensitivity to pain. So as your pain worsens, so does your mental state, and vice versa. This cycle increases your chances of ending up with both conditions. 

Underlying Issues

And for some people, the cause may be an underlying health issue that leads to both headaches and back pain. That can include things like poor posture, vitamin deficiencies, injuries, and certain diseases.

What Does This Mean for Treatment?

The findings highlight the importance of taking a whole-body approach to health care. It shows that the old-school philosophy of treating these conditions separately is not the most effective solution.

According to the researchers, combined treatment is the answer. They say that whenever a doctor is treating one of these issues, they need to ask about the other and tailor the treatment accordingly.

Chiropractic Can Help

You probably know that chiropractors are experts at treating back pain. But chiropractic care has also been proven as an effective treatment for chronic headaches.

That’s because the adjustments and spinal manipulations that chiropractors perform can alleviate stress on many areas of your body—including the nerves and muscles that cause headaches.

Chiropractors also have the training to provide advice for relieving both back pain and headaches. That includes recommendations on posture, ergonomics, nutrition, exercises, stretches, and relaxation techniques.

Take a Whole-Body Approach

The adjustments and advice chiropractors can provide make them a great starting point for your treatment. But you shouldn’t stop there. You should talk to your healthcare providers about creating a whole-body treatment plan. Since your health issues can often be connected or come from sources you might not expect, this is the best way to uncover the root causes and ensure they don’t return.

Can chiropractic care relieve headaches?

If your headache is a side-effect of poor posture, back or neck problems chiropractic care can help to relieve them. The manipulations carried out are designed to quickly relieve the unnatural stress parts of your body are being put under. The fact that after a session a lot of people feel more relaxed can also help, especially if you suffer from stress-induced headaches.

Can my poor posture cause headaches?

Poor posture can be an underlying cause of headaches. When your spine and other areas of your skeleton are not properly aligned, this leads to tension. In particular, in the back, shoulders and neck. When the muscles in those areas are too tight the nerves are put under unnatural pressure and headaches occur. The fact that the neck muscles attach to the ones that run over the scalp is another factor. Poor posture tightens the neck muscles, which in turn pulls the ones in the scalp too tight.

In medical terms, what is a vicious cycle?

In medical terms, a vicious cycle is an ongoing or repeating condition, that causes other health issues. One that makes the initial health issue worse and, often, more difficult to treat. For example, someone gets a persistent cough, the constant coughing makes their throat sore. This causes it to swell, which makes it feel like there is something in the throat, causing more coughing. In time, the nerve becomes overstimulated, which exacerbates the problem. When that happens, even swallowing a spec of dust can lead to the nerve telling your body to cough.

FAQ's

  • 1. Can chiropractic care relieve headaches?

    If your headache is a side-effect of poor posture, back or neck problems chiropractic care can help to relieve them. The manipulations carried out are designed to quickly relieve the unnatural stress parts of your body are being put under. The fact that after a session a lot of people feel more relaxed can also help, especially if you suffer from stress-induced headaches.

  • 2. Can my poor posture cause headaches?

    Poor posture can be an underlying cause of headaches. When your spine and other areas of your skeleton are not properly aligned, this leads to tension. In particular, in the back, shoulders and neck. When the muscles in those areas are too tight the nerves are put under unnatural pressure and headaches occur. The fact that the neck muscles attach to the ones that run over the scalp is another factor. Poor posture tightens the neck muscles, which in turn pulls the ones in the scalp too tight.

  • 3. In medical terms, what is a vicious cycle?

    In medical terms, a vicious cycle is an ongoing or repeating condition, that causes other health issues. One that makes the initial health issue worse and, often, more difficult to treat. For example, someone gets a persistent cough, the constant coughing makes their throat sore. This causes it to swell, which makes it feel like there is something in the throat, causing more coughing. In time, the nerve becomes overstimulated, which exacerbates the problem. When that happens, even swallowing a spec of dust can lead to the nerve telling your body to cough.

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Heart attack symptoms and first aid

Believe it or not, there are about 2.4 million Canadian adults living with diagnosed heart disease. That means they have a buildup of plaque in their arteries that makes them more likely to suffer a heart attack.

With that kind of prevalence, it’s a good idea to learn how to spot the signs of a heart attack, what to do when one strikes, and how to prevent heart attacks before they happen.

How to spot a heart attack

A man having heart attack

If you’re in an emergency situation where you think someone is having a heart attack, it’s tough not to panic. In those hectic moments, one way to know what heart attack symptoms to look for is to remember “the four P’s”:

Pain

  • Squeezing chest pain
  • Pain that spreads to the jaw, neck, or arms
  • Back pain (happens more commonly in women)

Paleness

  • The skin may be paler than normal and may even go bluish

Pulse

  • The pulse can be both rapid and weak

Perspiration

  • The skin may be cold and sweaty

Other possible symptoms

While the four P’s are a good starting point, the possible signs of a heart attack don’t end there. They can also include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness 

Soft signs

To make matters even more complicated, some people only experience “soft signs” of a heart attack. These soft signs are more common in the elderly, women, and people with diabetes.

  • Mild chest discomfort (it may come and go, lessen with rest, or gradually get worse)
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Gastric discomfort

What to do

If you or someone you’re with is having a heart attack, here are the steps you should take:

Call 911

A Phone Calling 911

When calling 911, you should try to stay calm, speak clearly, and listen carefully. Also, be ready to provide any necessary location information like the address and nearest intersection. Also, stay on the line until the call taker says it’s ok to hang up.

If you need to ask someone to call 911 for you, ask them to let you know once the ambulance is on the way. This ensures you’re not left wondering whether help is coming.

Here are a few more helpful tips for making a 911 call

Position

Have the person sit on the floor with their back leaning against a wall with their knees bent. This is the best position because it can relieve pressure on the heart, and also helps prevent injury in case the person collapses.

Give them an aspirin

Something you can do for first aid, in some cases, giving the person having a heart attack an aspirin can stop a heart attack in its tracks. It does that by dissolving blood clots in the arteries. You can use a plain, normal-strength aspirin and ask the person to chew it, as that’s the quickest way to get it into the bloodstream.

If possible, you should avoid aspirins that are enteric-coated (those are the smooth, colored ones often labeled as “safety coated”) because they take longer for the body to absorb. Also, make sure the person is not allergic to aspirin.

Perform CPR

If the person collapses and becomes unresponsive, you should begin CPR until help can arrive.

According to the Canadian Red Cross, if you don’t have any CPR training, a compression-only method is acceptable. That’s because unless you’re dealing with a child, or an adult who’s suffering a respiratory issue (like drowning or an asthma attack), there’s already enough oxygen in their blood.

That means you don’t have to remember the ratio of breaths to chest compressions, you can simply start pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest. To get the right speed (about 100 compressions a minute) you can do it to the beat of the song Stayin’ Alive.

Use an AED

Many buildings now have automatic external defibrillators (AED) that offer the best chance of saving someone from cardiac arrest (which means the heart stops beating). And with their automated voice directions, you don’t have to remember anything, just follow the instructions.

What causes heart attacks?

Now that you know some ways to spot a heart attack and what to do about it, let’s look at what causes them and how to prevent them before they happen.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to one section of the heart gets cut off (usually by a blood clot) and that section of the heart begins to die.

Having a buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries makes these blockages much more likely. But there are many things you can do to improve heart health and reduce your risks.

Maintain a healthy weight

There are some weight loss programs that make it easier to lose weight. They do that by solving imbalances such as hormonal issues that contribute to unhealthy eating and weight gain. When combined with regular exercise, these programs can help you achieve a healthy weight and keep the excess pounds off.

Quit smoking

A pair of hands breaking a cigarette in half.
Our Smoking Cessation Programs make quitting easier by combining a range of therapies.

It may seem like an insurmountable challenge if you’re a long-time smoker. But people tend to be more successful when they seek out some help to drop the habit. So consider looking into a smoking cessation program or talking to your doctor about the prescription options.

Get cardiac rehab

If you have a number of risk factors for heart attack, or have already been diagnosed with some form of heart disease, a cardiac rehabilitation program can help. These are customized programs that can involve an exercise plan, nutritional consultation, education, and more. Because they are tailored to patients with heart issues, they ensure that the exercise is always kept at a safe level of intensity, and is designed to help you get the most out of your efforts.

Can aspirin help in heart attacks?

If you are having a heart attack, taking an aspirin can help. But you need to be certain that you are having a heart attack and not a stroke that is caused by a bleed. If you are bleeding, taking aspirin could make things worse. So, you must learn what the symptoms of both medical events are so that you can properly identify what the issue is. If you have previously had a heart attack, ask your doctor about regularly taking a low dose of aspirin, which can reduce your risk.

What is compression-only CPR?

Compression-only CPR is when you administer the chest compressions without pausing to breathe into the person´s lungs. It is an alternative that those who are not trained in full CPR can use to keep someone alive for a short while until proper medical help arrives. However, if someone does not have enough oxygen in their blood, for example, someone who has drowned, chocked on something, had a respiratory event or an asthma attack, this form of CPR will not be sufficient.

How do I go about getting a cardiac rehab program?

Your doctor will be able to help you to get on a cardiac rehab program. If for some reason, they refuse to do that, you can always get a second opinion. In some cases, that may mean paying to see a private doctor. But it is worth doing because there is a growing body of research that shows that cardiac rehab will help you to stay healthy for longer.