How To Relieve Back Pain Due To Sacroiliitis When You Have Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a disorder of the bowels that causes continual inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. This disease, which is often hereditary, affects the small bowel, colon and any other part of the digestive system. In addition to common symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea, Crohn’s patients often experience back pain and stiffness due to the development of sacroiliitis. This condition occurs when there is inflammation on either side of the lower spine in the sacroiliac joint. If you have sacroiliitis caused by Crohn’s disease, read the information below to learn how you can relieve pain in your lower back.

Use Heat Therapy

Placing a heating pad, hot water bottle or a warm gel pack on your lower back helps reduce sacroiliitis back pain in several ways. The warm sensation gets the blood flowing as it dilates the blood vessels in the muscles. This rebuilds damaged tissue by increasing the flow of oxygen.

Warmth also stimulates the nerve endings in the skin and decreases the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Heat also reduces stiffness and makes your back more stretchable by expanding the soft tissue and muscles around the spine.

When using heat therapy to ease back pain, place the source of heat on your lower back for 15 to 20 minutes. If you are using a hot water bottle, make sure the water is not too hot that it causes burns or discomfort.

Adjust Your Sleep Position

If your lower back pain is worse in the morning and you feel stiff getting out of bed, it may be your sleep position. Certain sleep positions lessen back pain for people who have sacroiliitis due to Crohn’s disease. After getting into bed, rest on your back, bend your knees slightly and position a pillow underneath your knees.

If your back pain feels worse when you are standing, you can benefit from sleeping in a recliner or in a bed that adjusts at the head. When you sleep with your head up and your knees tucked up in front of you, this helps alleviate pressure off the lower back.

Practice Spine Exercises

When you exercise your spine, you are forcing movement in the lumbar region, which helps reduce stiffness and pain. Follow the steps below to exercise your lower back.

  1. Situate yourself in a prone position on the floor.
  2. Bend both legs at the knees while keeping your feet flat.
  3. Move both knees simultaneously from side to side while keeping your spine still.
  4. Continue moving your knees back and forth for 30 seconds.

Maintain Good Posture

When you have sacroiliitis and Crohn’s disease, it is essential that you watch your posture to keep your entire body balanced and supported. If you slouch while standing or sitting, this strains your lower back muscles and puts added stress on your spine. A habit of not sitting up straight will cause the ligaments in your spine to stretch out and strain the discs.

To keep your back from becoming sore while sitting in a chair, keep your back and shoulders straight against the back of the chair. Avoid leaning forward and keep your feet even on the floor in front of your body. If necessary, use a footstool so your feet will not be dangling.

If possible, get up out of your chair frequently and take short walks if your back begins to feel tired or achy. As you are walking, keep most of your weight on the balls of your feet and do not walk on your heels. Stand up straight, keep your feet aligned with your shoulders and keep your arms down at your sides.

By following the tips above, you can minimize lower back pain from sacroiliitis. If necessary, visit a back pain specialist for specialized treatment options to relieve back pain symptoms due to Crohn’s disease.

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5 Common Misconceptions About Keeping Bees When You Have Allergies

While people believe many myths about beekeeping, perhaps the most pervasive misconceptions surround the fear of getting stung by the bees. This leads to the belief that people who keep bees, especially if they have stinging insect allergies, are suicidal, stupid, or both. Understanding the truth about sting allergies and the risks of beekeeping may encourage you to take up a fulfilling new hobby. Here are five common misconceptions you should be aware of. 

It is Impossible

Despite public belief, there are plenty of beekeepers that know they suffer from severe sting allergies. These apiarists know the risks and how to handle them instead of shying away from their favorite past time or business. Since a sting is painful enough to get noticed, alert beekeepers immediately know when they need medical help to prevent anaphylactic shock.

Non-Allergic Keepers are Immune

It seems like common sense that a person who was stung with no reaction in the past is safer when keeping bees than a person with a known allergy. Yet the truth is quite different, because non-allergic individuals can quickly develop a life-threatening allergy after repeated exposure in the form of sporadic stings. All beekeepers should take the same precautions and preparations to protect themselves, instead of assuming they are safe because of a lack of allergy history.

There is No Treatment

Being diagnosed with a stinging insect allergy doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life. Advancements in immune therapy and desensitization mean that even people with life-threatening reactions can slowly eliminate their symptoms with regular injections. You may need five years or more of weekly shots, but you may find the free honey and fresh beeswax well worth the effort and cost.

Safety Equipment will Fail

If you admit a bee allergy when talking to a apiary mentor, you may hear rumors that safety equipment can’t protect you. It’s true that no suit can completely eliminate all chances of a sting, but using the right tools still greatly reduces your chances of reacting to the venom. Create a safe routine whether you know of an allergy or not by investing in

  • A complete beekeeping suit with matching boots, gloves, and hat that seal together around all the edges
  • An epinephrine injector to keep in your pocket to use at the very first signs of a dangerous reaction
  • A medical alert bracelet identifying you as having a sting allergy, even if there’s no proof of one just yet. 

Deaths are Common

With so many allergic beekeepers, you may think that bee allergy deaths must number into the hundreds per year. However, only 40 people died of bee stings in total during 2013, while 51 died of lightning strikes. Experiencing anaphylactic shock isn’t a death sentence if you keep an emergency treatment on hand and work with a buddy who can call for an ambulance when you show signs of allergies.

All Bees Sting Equally

Aside from protecting yourself with extra equipment, you can reduce the risks of working with bees while allergic to their venom by picking a type that rarely or never stings. There are Australian and Mexican varieties that develop no stinger at all, but they are rare and hard to find outside of their native areas. Japanese and German honeybees are easier to find and have earned a reputation for being gentle and less likely to sting during normal beekeeping chores.

Don’t let your allergies or fears about stings keep you from enjoying the bounty of a backyard hive. Tackle your allergies with the help of a specialist to track how your reactions change with routine tests. If you notice an allergy starting to develop, you can take exposure therapy early and head off the biggest risks associated with bee venom reactions.

To learn more about any allergies and how to treat them, you can visit sites like http://www.oakbrookallergists.com

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The Ultra Marathoner’s Guide To Better Foot Health

It was once believed that a marathon was the limit of human endurance. After all, it requires more than 50,000 individual steps, and each of these steps requires your foot to absorb much more than your body weight. But, as an ultramarathoner, you know that your body is capable of going long beyond the marathon.

Here’s a quick guide to help you keep your feet healthy before, during, and after an ultramarathon.

Before

The average ultramarathoner runs hundreds of miles in preparation for race day. These miles are designed to train your body both inside and out. In particular, your feet can be strengthened or weakened a great deal during training.

  • The Right Shoe: When training for an ultramarathon, it’s critical that you choose proper footwear. The type of shoe that works for you should compliment your body type, running gait, and foot strike. The best way to find the right shoe that works for you is to consult a podiatrist and a running specialty shoe expert. Both types of specialist can assess your specific needs to help you find footwear that works for you.

  • The Right Fit: Even after you find the right shoe, it’s equally important to choose the right fit. Because running long distances can cause your feet to swell, you’ll want to choose a fit that’s slightly bigger (wider and longer) than you typically wear. Most ultramarathoners benefit from wearing a shoe that’s a width bigger and size longer than they would typically wear.

  • The Right Socks: Choosing the right sock is matter of comfort and functionality. Ultramarathoners simply run longer than most runners. As such, you’ll want socks that offer enough cushioning and absorption. The only way to really figure this out is through trial and error. You will want to buy five to ten different styles of running socks, train in them, and see which sock works best for you. A good fitting sock should leave your feet consistently blister-free.

During

Whether you’re running a 50k or a 50 miler, you will depend on your feet to get you through the race. The best approach to foot health during the race is to be proactive and prepared.

  • Fresh Clips: Every ultramarathoner should invest in a good pair of nail clippers

  • Fresh Socks: Ultramarathons tend to be sweaty, dirty, and wet. To prevent chafing, blistering, and other foot discomfort, you’ll need to freshen up your socks periodically. Generally speaking, every two hours you should attempt to swap out your socks. Switching your socks will give your feet more cushioning and better absorption, and prevent grit from irritating your feet during the race.

  • Fresh Lacing: Another easy way to ensure that your feet feel good during your race is to periodically tighten and adjust your shoe lacing. When you stop to swap out your socks, use the opportunity to make sure that your laces are tight, but not too tight. For most runners, this might mean loosening the bottom laces to compensate for foot swelling in the latter stages of the race.

After

You finished your ultramarathon. Congratulations are in order. However, it’s not time to prop your feet on the coffee table and rest just yet.

  • Salty Ice Bath: To make sure that your feet recover completely from your big race, you’ll want to manage inflammation. One of the easiest ways help your feet recover from your race is to give them a salty ice bath. The ice will reduce inflammation, while the salt can repair the inevitable derma-abrasions your feet will suffer during an ultramarathon. You’ll need a bucket or container deep enough and big enough to fit your feet up to your ankle. The solution you’ll need for your salty ice bath should be one-third ice, one-third cold water, and one-third epsom salt. You’ll want enough of each ingredient to cover your feet and ankles. You should soak your feet three to four times for fifteen minutes in the twenty-four hours after your race.

Ultramarathons require you to push your body to limits few can imagine. You’ll need your feet to carry you every step of the way. For the best results, make sure you work with an experienced podiatrist to keep your feet in the best shape possible. Visit http://www.westmorelandfootdoctor.com for more information. 

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7 Tips For Dealing With Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is a natural part of life for women, especially those in their late forties and early fifties, with 51 being the average age of menopause onset for women in the US. Despite the inevitability of menopause for women, this can still be a confusing and difficult time. In order to best cope with the transitional period of menopause, it’s a good idea to have a handle on what symptoms you can expect and plan a line of defense for dealing with them. Here are seven ways to handle menopause symptoms with ease:

Take Charge of Your Sleep Patterns

Many menopausal women report difficulty falling and staying asleep, usually as a result of hot flashes, which are sudden feelings of being overheated and sweaty that seem to come out of nowhere and often occur in the middle of the night.

Keeping your room cooler than usual and sleeping with a fan on, as well as wearing minimal clothing and sticking to lighter bedding, can help minimize the effect of hot flashes on your sleep. In addition, getting exercise and avoiding caffeine during the day can help you to get much better sleep during menopause.

Get Plenty of Exercise

Getting plenty of physical exercise every week won’t make menopause go away, but it can make the symptoms more bearable. Exercise is a natural mood-booster, which can help counteract the mood swings and irritability many women experience during menopause. Menopause can also cause weight gain in some women, and upping your weekly exercise is a great way to help prevent that from happening.

Try Hormone Replacement Therapy

If you’re worried about menopause symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy at a clinic like Genemedics Health Institute. Hormone replacement therapy helps counteract the negative effects of menopause by replacing the hormones your body no longer makes on its own. Hormone replacement therapy comes in a variety of forms, including creams and pills.

Try Acupuncture

Some women find that alternative treatments, particularly acupuncture, can help ease symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and mood swings. While there has not yet been much scientific evidence on behalf of acupuncture helping menopausal women, it may be worth a try, as acupuncture does not generally require a large time commitment or involve any serious side effects.

Get Plenty of Calcium

Getting plenty of calcium is very important during menopause because menopause often leads to more fragile, less dense bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Getting a lot of calcium is the best way to counteract this side effect of menopause. Calcium supplements are an easy fix, but for a more natural solution, try to incorporate as many of these calcium-rich foods into your diet as possible.

Deal with Dryness Issue

Decreased estrogen levels during menopause cause many women to experience vaginal dryness. This can be very uncomfortable, especially during sexual intercourse. Luckily, it is not necessary to live with this side effect, as many lubricating products exist for this problem. If you’re not sure which vaginal lubricant is best for you, it’s always a good idea to bring this concern up with your doctor.

Seek Counseling if Needed

Sometimes menopause involves emotional side effects as well as physical ones. Transitioning to a new phase in life and knowing you are no longer able to have biological children can be difficult psychologically. In addition, the physical side effects can wreak havoc on your mood.

If you feel overwhelmed by your experience with menopause, it’s a good idea to speak to a professional therapist. Other options include writing in a journal and confiding in a friend who has been through the same thing.

By following these tips, you will be able to navigate menopause with less stress and less severe side effects.

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Rehabilitation Options For Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons that attach the muscles in your forearm to the elbow joint become inflamed or damaged. Tennis elbow symptoms include pain and swelling in the area, as well as an inability to do specific tasks because of pain or reduced movement. Unfortunately, tennis elbow will not get better on its own. You will need to rehabilitate the area in order to get your elbow back to normal. Rehabilitation and treatment options include the following:

1. Discontinuance of the sport/job/hobby that caused the injury.

This is probably the most important aspect of rehabilitating tennis elbow. The injury to your elbow is almost always caused by repeated, strong motions that eventually over-work the muscles and tendons that are close to your elbow. If you continue to use your arm, you will only make the problem worse. Common repeated-motion activities that lead to tennis elbow include

  • painting walls with a roller
  • tennis (hence the name of the condition)
  • weight lifting
  • chopping meat and other food
  • opening heavy doors
  • rowing

2. Reducing pain and inflammation.

Initial rehabilitation will mostly focus on helping the tendons that are injured to “calm down”. Usually, this means

  • treating the area with a cold compress. Especially if elbow over-use is caused by your employment, you will probably need to apply cold compresses daily until you can find alternative ways to get your work done– ways that don’t affect your injury. 
  • using electrical stimulation or ultrasound to help relax the area. Sometimes, the tendons can become stiff, or the muscles attached to them can tighten to an extreme. Stimulating these areas with ultrasound waves and electrical impulses will help them to relax, taking some of the pressure off the joint.
  • bracing the area. Your orthopedist may even design a special brace for the elbow to help provide support to strained muscles and ligaments. Preventing further strain is a big part of reducing overall pain. 
  • steroid shots. If the pain is very bad, your orthopedic specialist will probably recommend a steroid shot to the affected muscles and tendons. Steroids help to reduce inflammation, which will decrease your overall level of pain. They work by suppressing your natural genetic inflammatory response to injuries, and are widely used in many aspects of the medical field. 

3. Stretching and exercising the area to make it stronger at it heals.

After the inflammation is under control, you can start doing some mild exercises to restore range of motion in your elbow. The exercises will include

  • stretching. Stretching your forearm will help to take pressure off the tendons, while also improving muscular flexibility. At first, you may not be able to hold the stretches very long, depending on your pain level. But try to increase stretch durations by a few seconds each day in order to get the full benefits of stretch treatment. 
  • strengthening. These exercises are not nearly as strenuous as lifting weights, but they do target the muscles in your arm and help to slowly allow more movement through the elbow. Some common exercises include stretching an elastic band open with all five fingers, or resisting pressure as someone pushes down on your forearm. 

4. Gradual returning to previous levels of activity.

After you have completed a course of physical therapy, your doctor will be ready to help you get back into your occupation or sport. You shouldn’t just jump back in all at once– returning full use to your elbow should be a gradual process. At first, do only a light form of the exercise with modified speed/resistance. You can slowly increase both speed and resistance as your strength returns.

If you try to rehabilitate tennis elbow and see very little progress, it’s time to talk to an orthopedic surgeon about surgically repairing the damage. Sometimes, if a tendon is badly torn or has separated from the elbow entirely, surgery is the best course of action for treatment. You can get in touch with an orthopedic surgeon at http://www.towncenterorthopaedics.com. Don’t just live with elbow pain– talk to a medical professional so that you can get your arm back on track.

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Itchy Blisters And Cracking Skin May Signal Dyshidrosis

If you have been diagnosed with dyshidrosis, you already know how itchy and painful the condition can be when the tiny blisters erupt on your hands and feet. This condition is a type of eczema that can recur throughout your lifetime. The key to living comfortable with this condition is to learn to manage the symptoms when they erupt and seek medical advice when your attempts fail. 

What is Dyshidrosis?

Dyshidrosis is sometimes called dyshidrotic dermatitis or dyshidrotic eczema. This skin condition presents with tiny, itchy blisters on the hands and feet. It is most common on the outside of the fingers and on the palm of the hand or sole of the feet, but can occur in other locations. Itching may begin before the blisters erupt, but often intensifies as the blisters form. You may be able to see tiny blisters beneath the skin before they erupt. Scratching often brings the blisters to the surface and causes them to break and ooze.The skin then thickens, forming scales that later flake away, revealing red, inflamed skin beneath. Your skin may develop painful cracks.The cycle may repeat for weeks or months and then suddenly disappear and return months or even years later.

What Causes Dyshidrosis?

The cause of dyshidrosis is unknown but may be related to atopic dermatitis, explains the Mayo Clinic. Like other forms of dermatitis, the symptoms may worsen when you are under stress, contact skin irritants (like soaps and cleaners) or ingest foods you are allergic to. People with asthma or allergies may be more prone to dyshidrosis, as the symptoms are often seasonal for those who suffer from nasal allergies. 

Medical Treatments for Dyshidrosis

While there is no cure for dyshidrosis, there are several common medical treatments.

  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroid creams or lotions may be applied to the skin to treat the blisters. While you can buy this over-the-counter, your dermatologist can prescribe a stronger version if necessary. In some cases, oral corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, may be used.
  • Immune-suppressing ointments: In people who cannot use corticosteroids, immune-suppressing ointments liketacrolimus or pimecrolimus may be used, says the Mayo Clinic.
  • Phototherapy: Special light therapy with ultraviolet light combined with medications is currently being used to treat dyshidrosis that is resistant to other forms of treatment.

What Else Can I Do?

While medical treatments can help clear up your symptoms, you need to do your part too. Follow these recommendations to ease the discomfort and prevent symptoms from returning.

  • Wear protective gloves when washing dishes or cleaning. Keeping the hands dry and avoiding exposure to chemicals is one of the most important steps you can take.
  • Use hand cream or lotion that is free of fragrance and additives. Many choose pure petroleum jelly or other natural products to soothe the skin.
  • Avoid hot baths or showers and opt for lukewarm instead. 
  • Wear gloves when you go outside in the winter. Cold air and wind damages skin quickly and may compound your existing condition.
  • Apply over-the-counter creams with coal tar in them. These are typically labeled for eczema or dermatitis and may speed the healing of your inflamed skin.
  • Take an antihistamine before going to bed, especially if you tend to scratch your hands or feet in your sleep. It will quell the itch and give your hands or feet time to heal.
  • Wear socks or slippers and avoid going barefoot if you develop blisters on your feet. 
  • Keep a notebook detailing when your symptoms are active. Note your activities, new foods or changes in shampoos, soaps and cleaning supplies. This may help you pinpoint the triggers for your symptoms.

While dyshidrosis cannot be cured, it can be managed. Talk to the dermatologist at a clinic like Desert Dermatology about your concerns to determine the right treatment options for you.

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Five Golden Rules Of Co-Parenting Every Divorced Parent Should Follow

If you’re recently divorced and will share parental duties with your ex-spouse, you may find yourself faced with new challenges in child-rearing. For the child’s best interest, set aside negative feelings towards your ex. In addition, it’s important to establish a mutually agreeable schedule with your former spouse and communicate openly.

Here are five golden rules to follow for successful co-parenting:

1. Don’t Shift Negative Feelings or Resentment for Your Ex Onto Your Child

Belittling your ex-partner in front of your child or speaking negatively about your ex is counterproductive. In many cases, this behavior is self-destructive. How so? By propelling your child into the conflict, you may be forcing him or her to choose sides. Your child could end up resenting you later.

This is why it’s vitally important for both parents to air personal grievances in private. Arguments and ill feelings will only add to the stress your child may already be experiencing after the transition of adjusting to a divorce.

2. Establish a Mutually Agreeable Co-Parenting Timetable

It’s possible that both you and your ex will have conflicting schedules. Between work and other obligations, what works for one parent might not always be optimal for the other. Your child’s best interests should be a top priority, therefore you and your ex need to work out a compromise, if necessary. If this means rearranging schedules, so be it.

Parenting dates should be arranged in advance, not on the spur of the moment. A verbal agreement of when each parent spends time with the child may not be adequate. Create a co-parenting schedule with your ex and put it in writing. To help you keep track of the timetable, write down the schedule on a dry erase board or desk calender. This will eliminate the risk of conflicts or misunderstandings over visitations.

3. Be an Informant

Sharing co-parenting duties with your ex means time spent apart from your child on visitation days. Wouldn’t you want to know if your child suddenly took ill or had a minor mishap during a visit with your ex? Offer that same consideration to your former spouse. It’s important for each parent to keep the other informed on a child’s progress and goings-on, from the important milestones to seemingly trivial matters.

4. Establish One Set of Consistent Rules for Both Households

Each household should establish the same set of rules for the child to abide by. Whether it’s an established time for chores, homework, or TV and recreation, a structured timetable will keep your child well-adjusted. If a child is not permitted to drink caffeinated soft drinks at Mom’s house, the same rule should be reinforced when visiting Dad. Both parents should be on the same page when it comes to house rules and boundaries.

5. Make Time for Yourself

Divorced parents are constantly making sacrifices and setting aside time for their children. During this transition, it’s equally important to set aside quality time for yourself. If you don’t allow yourself the time to relax and indulge in the simple pleasures you enjoy, your parenting may suffer. You can’t expect to be a good parent if you’re exhausted or devoid of leisure time.

What is the best way to enjoy your “me” time? Take advantage of your child’s visitation days with your ex. Use this time alone to pamper yourself. Relax in the tub or pool, crank up your favorite music or read a good book. Go out to dinner or to the movies with friends.

By devoting a day (or a few leisurely hours) to unwind and pamper yourself, you will feel refreshed and focused. You may also gain a new perspective on positive co-parenting. 

Co-parenting after a divorce can be difficult, but it is possible. If you need more tips, you may want to contact a parenting therapist or experienced family lawyer. 

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