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6 FOODS THAT HELP RELIEVE CHRONIC PAIN

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When we experience pain in our body, that is usually the body’s way of telling us something is damaged. According to a recent Institute of Medicine Report, pain as a health problem, costs the U.S. $560-$635 billion dollars annually. Furthermore, 100 million Americans are said to have chronic pain (2). Back in 2009, the Mayo Clinic claimed that 7 out of 10 Americans were on some kind of medication, and those medicines usually included anti-depressants and pain killers. Whether it’s chronic migraines, back pain, or pain in your joints, popping a pill for relief sounds like a tempting option, but what if there were natural, pain-killing food remedies that could be used instead?

6 Foods That Are Natural Pain Killers

1. Tumeric Tumeric

There is an anti-inflammatory component present in the turmeric root called Curcumin. It is bright in color and very favorable and can be added to your favorite foods.

Papaya2. Papaya

Papaya has an anti-inflammatory component in it called papain, which is in the flesh of the papaya fruit. It is also used after surgery to reduce swelling. You can find papain as a supplement and take it that way as well.

3. Ginger Root

Ginger root acts similar to aspirin and works like an anti-inflammatory, and helps lessen aches and pains.

Tuna & Salmon4. Tuna/Salmon/ Mackerel/ Sardines

These cold-water fish have wonderful health benefits, including helping placate the pain of damaged joints. The Omega-3 fatty acids in these fish help decrease the inflammation around damaged cartilage, as well as help improve cardiovascular function.

5. Dark Cherries

Dark CherriesInterestingly, according to a study conducted by John Hopkins University, eating about 20 cherries a day, can help alleviate pain in joints, as well as gastrointestinal pain and PMS symptoms, all by reducing inflammation.

6. Aloe Juice Aloe Vera Juice

Besides helping burns, aloe juice is a great remedy for treating stomach ulcers. By drinking this juice two times daily, aloe juice can relieve the symptoms of ulcers including nausea, pain, and weakness from blood loss.

So next time you are at the grocery, remember to pick up a few of these items and begin noting how your symptoms are after eating these!


TO STRETCH OR NOT TO STRETCH

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Are you ever about to start a tennis match or go for a run and you think, do I need to stretch first?  Recent evidence has found that typical stretching techniques do not necessarily prevent injuries, but actually can impair speed and strength in some individuals.  By typical stretching techniques, we are referring to “static stretching,” meaning, stretching muscles until the point when they just begin to hurt and then holding it briefly.

One study conducted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that stretching before lifting weights made individuals feel off balance and weaker during their workout.  Another study based on 104 people who stretched before they exercised left them 5.5% weaker during their workout.  And yet another study was conducted on fit men.  Those who stretched before they lifted weights lifted 8.3% less than those that did not.  Who would’ve thought?

More recently, trainers are focusing on longer bouts of post workout recovery stretching and less time on pre-workout stretching.  They would suggest just a brief stretch prior to the workout.  So how did stretching before a workout become such a permanent fixture in our pre-workout routine?  Too often than not, stretching has been equated with warming up of the muscles, when really, other routines are needed for warming up the muscles.

So what is it that can make stretching potentially more harmful than good?  Think of our muscles like a rubber band. Too much stretching and the band loses elasticity and won’t reshape back to its original place.  Similarly, muscles can lose elasticity if they are overworked. So instead of stretching too much prior to working out, exchange those stretches for warm up exercises such as jumping jacks. This can make your muscles ready to jump into activity, but not be too overworked to cause a potential injury.


IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH EXERCISE?

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Can exercise really do more harm than good? Well, let’s explain. According to research, James O’Keefe, a cardiologist at Mid America Heart Institute of St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas, MO, found that if exercise is overdone, it actually can be harmful.  O’Keefe says, “As great as exercise is, it’s like a powerful drug. More is better up to a certain dose, but after that, there is a point of diminishing returns, and it may actually detract from your longevity.”

This study was based off people we could call “extreme athletes,” who participated in triathlons, marathons, and ultra marathons on a regular basis.  While people who exercise regularly (15minutes -1 hour per day several days a week), reap extreme physical and mental benefits, the “extreme athletes” were found to have a higher dose of an enzyme called troponin, which is the same thing that happens to those who are undergoing a heart attack.  This enzyme is released when the heart muscle is in distress, which could be in an intense exercise session.  Overall, this enzyme can cause scar tissue making the heart more vulnerable to abnormal heart rhythms.

From all this, let me clarify that this doesn’t give us free reign to be couch potatoes! As stated, getting a low to moderate amount of exercise in several days a week is still essential to optimal health.  A lesson from this can be that it doesn’t take extreme measures to benefit from exercise.


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