Have you been experiencing chronic back or neck pain? You may be suffering from arthritis of the spine. This condition is usually the result of normal wear and tear and is most often seen in adults over 50, but it can also occur at a much younger age from injury or overuse. Millions of Americans suffer from this painful condition, but it may not be necessary to live in pain. Effective, non-surgical treatment can provide significant long-term pain relief, enabling you to live a normal, active life.
the Source Of Pain
Arthritis of the spine develops in the small joints located between each vertebra called facet joints. As we age, the cartilage lining the joint surface can shrink and wear thin causing bone spurs and enlargement of the joint, which often leads to the inflammation and pain of arthritis.
Arthritis can occur anywhere in the spine from the neck to the lower back. Arthritis pain is often worse in the morning, when the weather changes, after overexertion or even after long periods of sitting. The sound of bone rubbing on bone, abnormal curvature of the spine, loss of flexibility and difficulty bending or walking may also occur. However, because these symptoms are not unique to arthritis, it is important to identify the correct source of pain to successfully treat your problem.
Thorough diagnostic testing may include a technique called facet joint injection. Both therapeutic and diagnostic, this procedure enables physicians to precisely identify the exact origin of your pain. Using X-ray guidance, the physician is able to see and accurately target the affected joints with anti-inflammatory medication. Performed under local anesthesia, it offers the advantage of providing immediate feedback in confirming the source of your pain.
Pain Relief Without Surgery
The facet joint injection is not only a precise diagnostic tool; it is also an effective therapy, providing substantial pain relief for several weeks to months. Another proven method of treatment is radiofrequency denervation (RF). This technique desensitizes the nerve endings using heat therapy and can provide up to two years of pain relief.
Approved by Medicare and most insurance plans, these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and generally take only 30-90 minutes. Proven to be safe and effective, this therapeutic approach offers the benefit of alleviating your pain without surgery, without general anesthesia, and without hospital stays or long recovery periods.
You do not need to live with pain from arthritis in your neck or back. Talk to a board certified pain specialist about how you can return to a healthy, pain-free life.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than two million people are diagnosed and over 10,000 people die annually.
The best way to reduce the risk of skin cancer is to protect your skin from unnecessary and prolonged sun exposure. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays in as little as 15 minutes.
Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays; they filter them – and sometimes only slightly. As such, it is recommended that you wear sunscreen everyday and especial on days when you know you will be outside for long periods of time.
There’s no other way to say it—tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside – whether sunburn or suntan – indicates damage from UV rays. Using a tanning bed causes damage to your skin too, just like the sun.
Once your skin is damaged by the sun or a tanning bed, your risk of developing skin cancer is increased. And, while you should be aware of any changes to your skin and share that information with your healthcare provider, the best way to detect skin cancer is to have routine professional skin cancer screenings.
A skin cancer screening is a visual inspection of your skin by a medical professional. No blood work is conducted at a screening. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends having a full-body screening yearly by a healthcare provider – it takes approximately 10 minutes, including completing the paperwork and getting your skin checked.
Skin cancers that are diagnosed late can cause disfigurement and death. Early detection of skin cancer helps greatly reduces damage to your body and saves lives.
Whether one is looking to avoid chemicals on the skin, simply detests the smell of chemical sprays, or has young children for whom DEET is not an option, there are many compelling reasons to seek out alternatives to chemical bug repellants. Fortunately, there are some effective alternatives from the plant kingdom.
Lemon eucalyptus is one of the few natural ingredients recognized by the Center for Disease Control as an effective mosquito repellant. This variety of eucalyptus, eucalyptus citriodora, is one of the hundreds of varieties of eucalyptus. It is rich in the plant constituents, geraniol and citronelle, as many of the plants that repel insects are, and has a strong pine and lemon odor. Because of its distinct odor, it is best blended with other essential oils that may temper its smell, as some find it too strong. This essential oil is not recommended for use in children under three years of age.
Patchouli and lemongrass are two Asian natives that yield potent smells that insects tend to avoid. These two oils blend well with others and can make a very pleasant bug repellant that most find appealing, yet bugs will not. Lavender is another pleasant option for keeping most nuisance insects away. Patchouli and lavender have the additional benefits of being anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, so they also soothe and heal the skin if one is already under attack. Lavender can be applied undiluted, or neat, to the skin for first aid for spider bites, bee stings, and mosquito bites that become infected or swollen. It has anti-venom properties and is a go-to remedy for anyone who spends time outdoors.
Catnip essential oil is another essential oil emerging on the scene of natural mosquito repellants. It has been found to be just as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitos in independent studies. Catnip oil and all of the oils mentioned above will offer protection from mosquitos, gnats, flies, including black fly, and no-see-ums. They seem to offer some protection from ticks, however the studies there are less conclusive. With the growing emergence of Lymes Disease, and the inherent safety of the oils, it would seem prudent to apply them as well as other measures, particularly in young children who cannot use the chemicals recommended to repel ticks.
Fitness apps are useful workout tools that hold you accountable. Install a fitness app on your smart phone and they’ll track everything from your heart rate to weight loss, and even your glucose levels. PC Magazine’s top fitness apps include free apps that count calories, offer coaching, and track and schedule workouts. In addition, several of the apps listed below also offer a sense of community, as well as friendly competition and encouragement.
Jazzercise - Customers can now stay connected to Jazzercise wherever they go with the help of the free Jazzercise App, now available on iTunes and Android. With the Jazzercise App, customers can
find up-to-date class schedules, add a class to their calendar, check-in on social media sites, search classes by their favorite instructors or class format, see current promotions and view facility hours and contact information.
Fitocracy - Fitocracy takes working out and gaming and turns it into a social platform for friendly competition. Track activities, earn points and move up another level. Earn “props” (similar to “likes” on Facebook) from the community, which is over half a million strong, and includes fitness coaches and nutrition experts.
GAIN Fitness - If you need a workout buddy, then let GAIN Fitness, an app for iPhone, coach you through an entire workout. Personal trainers created interactive, customizable workout packs in eight categories including interval training and yoga. The app is free to download and comes with a balanced routine, high definition images, and optional audio cues. Additional exercise packs begin at $2.99.
Lose It! - Designed for counting calories and logging exercise, Lose It! gives you instant access to healthy food options and tracks fitness levels. Set goals for weight loss, exercise, macronutrient intake, blood pressure and sleep, and Lose It! will track it for you. A food database with thousands of restaurant, grocery store, and brand-name foods lets you log your food activity.
MyFitnessPal - According to PC Magazine, MyFitnessPal, “is one of the best all-in-one calorie counter and exercise trackers for the iPhone.” An enormous database of foods and meals; recipes for imperial or metric systems; an easy to use interface; and a barcode scanner for packaged foods make this app quick and easy to use.