Category Archives: FOOD

Don’t Let Back Pain Disrupt Your Sleep

Girl stretching on mat

Picture by: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Let Back Pain Disrupt Your Sleep

After a long day and an aching back, nothing sounds better than falling into bed and drifting off to sleep. Unfortunately, if you are a back pain sufferer, sleep might not provide the sweet relief you are looking for. The pain continues, you can’t get comfortable, and it ends up being a painful night of tossing and turning. While there isn’t a cure for your back pain, there are a few ways to take some of the pressure off so that you can escape to dreamland.

Strengthen Your Core

When pain is involved, exercise is likely the last thing you want to do, but strengthening your core could help alleviate some of that pain. According to physical therapist Sean Kinsman, “When the muscles that surround and help stabilize the spine aren’t strong enough to properly function, other structures have to pick up the slack,” which results in stress on your back and the resulting pain. A strong core can take the pressure off and give you some relief. There are several easy exercises you can perform from the comfort of home such as the bird dog, dead bug, or seated hip switches. You might also try some gentle stretching before bed as well to loosen up tight muscles and relax both your mind and body.

Eat Right for Healthy Joints

Have you ever stopped and truly thought about how important food is to your overall health? The food you put in your body has a direct impact on every system in your body, including bone and joint health. Some foods in particular rise above the others as far as their ability to promote healthy joints. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale help your bones absorb calcium. Broccoli even takes its superpowers a step further with sulforaphane, a bio-active compound that can help prevent joint pain. Other super foods to add to your diet include ginger, bone broth, and fruits that are rich in vitamin C such as pineapples, strawberries, and mangoes.

Change Your Sleep Position

We all have that one sleep position in which we feel the most comfortable, but there are a few changes you can make to reduce pain. Side sleepers should keep knees bent, put a pillow between their legs to align their spine, and switch sides periodically. If you are a back sleeper, put a pillow under your knees and a rolled-up towel under the small of your back to mimic your back’s natural curve. Sleeping on your stomach isn’t recommended due to its lack of support, but if you must, put a pillow under your abdomen and try going without the head pillow to avoid straining your neck.

Shop for a New Mattress and Pillow

Both your mattress and your pillow could be exacerbating your pain rather than relieving it. The proper mattress for ultimate spinal support will be the perfect firmness (medium-firm), which can be achieved with memory foam, latex foam, or an innerspring. All options conform to your body’s natural shape, so it comes down to a matter of comfort, preference, and budget. When you shop around for a new mattress, make sure you try it out on each side as well as your back, and ask about the return policy.

You might also consider investing in a new pillow that helps align your spine, support your head and neck, and reduce pressure points. Back and stomach sleepers will benefit from a thin pillow with a little lift at the bottom to support the head. Side sleeps should opt for a firm pillow with a gusset to add thickness. No matter what you choose, don’t let your purchases go to waste by getting out of bed the wrong way and twisting your back. Instead of popping out of bed and risking even more pain, roll on your side and push yourself up.

Millions of people have back pain, and as one of them, you know the effects it has on your sleep. Don’t lie there in pain. Instead of just reading the above tips, put them into action today!

by,

Cheryl Conklin

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MS Pain, Inflammation, and Non-Alcoholic Beer

A picture of me.

Bill Walker

MS Inflammation and Non-Alcoholic Beer

The 2018 Olympics are now just about over and it appears that Germany will come in second or third with the total medal count at these winter games. In the overall scheme of things that isn’t all that surprising. However, one reason that the German trainers are attributing this too is kind of a surprise.

     We all know that Germany is considered the beer capital of the world. But it appears that it is not just the work ethic of the German Olympic team that is helping them on to victory. German trainers and the teams Olympic Doctors are also attributing the team’s success to non-alcoholic beer.

     It should come as a no brainer that drinking regular alcoholic beer isn’t the best way to train for the Olympics so trainers a few years back started letting their athletes drink non-alcoholic beer while training instead of forcing them to be completely beer free.

     Over a short period of time the trainers and doctors began to notice that their athletes were recovering from injuries in a far shorter period of time than they had previously. And of course this made everyone wonder why?

     Through a process of elimination they began to suspect that maybe it had something to do with the non-alcoholic beer that these Olympians were now drinking so they decided to study it. And low and behold they discovered that the reason these athletes were recovering so quickly was because non-alcoholic beer has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body. Which naturally accelerated the body’s ability to heal after most injuries.

     In the article I read they did not specify what exactly it was in non-alcoholic beer that was responsible, nor did this article say whether regular beer also has this same effect. But really, who cares.

     So don’t feel bad if you have the urge to go grab a six pack of non-alcoholic beer and let lose.

     This one’s for you multiple sclerosis!    

Bill Walker   

MS and Gut Bacteria

A picture of me.

Bill Walker

This is a reprint from a recent study.

A study has found that microbes in your gut may influence the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). It could be a key step towards specific treatment, and help solve what causes MS.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, two different teams conducted separate research and made the same findings. One was from the University of California, San Francisco, and the other from the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

The first team investigated the gut microbiomes of 71 MS patients and 71 control subjects. They identified specific species of bacteria that were more common in the former than the latter. Next, they exposed these bacteria to human immune cells, and found that two species triggered cells to become pro-inflammatory. One found at lower levels triggered immune responses.

In tests on mice, they found that these bacteria had a similar effect. Replacing mice microbiomes with those from an MS patient caused the mice to lose immune-regulatory cells and develop neurodegeneration, a pathway to MS.

The second study came to a similar conclusion, finding that microbiome transplants could increase symptoms in mice.

“Two different groups, using two separate cohorts of patients and controls, and two distinct mouse models of the disease, saw very similar results,” Egle Cekanaviciute said in a statement, who was involved in both studies. “This is very promising evidence that we’re on the right track.”

MS affects about 2.5 million people across the globe, and is known as an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder. It can lead to loss of vision, weakness, and even paralysis. It’s caused by the immune system attacking the insulation around nerve cells, called myelin, but scientists have been at a loss to explain why this occurs.

These latest studies could provide an answer. While the microbiome probably isn’t the only trigger, it could play a role. This could lead to some new treatments in the future to help tackle MS.

“The microbiome is very malleable,” said Sergio Baranzini, also involved in both studies. “You could relatively easily change it in an adult who has MS or is susceptible – something you cannot do with their genetics. This is not a magical approach, but it is hopeful.”

MS Turmeric and Inflammation

A picture of me.

That would be me!

     Turmeric is derived from the spice curry used extensively in India. It’s health benefits range from helping to treat constipation to also being a huge anti-inflammatory agent. I personally had read so many great things about turmeric , including that some people believed it have something to do with India’s very small incidence of Multiple Sclerosis, that I just had to give it a try. 

     That was over a year ago and unfortunately I did not experience the health benefits that I had hoped to achieve. I am certainly not saying that it doesn’t provide benefits to other people but it doesn’t seem to do much for me except cost money. It may come down to each persons own body chemistry being a factor in whether turmeric has a positive effect or not. I know that researchers are discovering that many cancer drugs can work wonders for some people and have absolutely little if any effect for others.

     In closing, if it works for you, by all means keep using it as long as your neurologist and general practitioner are aware of you using it as many supplements like turmeric can have undesirable effects when used with other prescribed drugs!   

by

Bill Walker

 

PS. I am still in search of a literary agent/publisher for my book if anyone can help by putting in a good word for me!

MS Donald Trump and His Medicaid Budget Cuts

A picture of me.

That would be me!

No matter how you voted or what your personal political beliefs are of Donald Trump and his administration, the 2017-2018 budget that was just released, is nothing short of draconian with respect to anyone who has a disability.

This budget calls for cuts of up to 1.4 Trillion, yes Trillion, dollars to medicaid over the next ten years. This will mean every single person with a disability that relies on medicaid for health care, including children, will be impacted.

Donald Trump has also asked for cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars from the social security fund that provides disability checks for both Veterans and people living with disabilities. And, on top of that, his administration is also seeking large cuts to the Snap program that helps people with disabilities buy food through the use of food stamps to help supplement their disability checks.  

People with disabilities need to stand as one and say, “NO!” to these outrages cuts.

Bill Walker

MS Halloween and Chocolate

Fred Meyer Holiday Pumpkin Patch

Yea, not very scary! LOL

As we rapidly approach Halloween, probably the second biggest holiday where chocolate is indulged upon with Valentines Day being the first, I once again broach the subject of a few of chocolates healthy benefits. I’ve already discussed how chocolate is a huge anti-inflammatory treat as long as you eat the purer forms of chocolate with higher amounts of cocoa then the regular milk chocolate that is mostly available in grocery stores candy counters. And as long as you eat it remembering that moderation is the key here. And also remembering that chocolate, no matter what kind you eat, also has a high fat content that can make weight gain a real possibility if you consume to much.

I also wanted to add information that is new about a study using athletes. This study found that athletes who consumed small amounts of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content once a week of about 1.4 ounces just before working out found that their endurance was greatly enhanced. It appears that this rich chocolate acts to open veins and arteries allowing for greater blood flow which increases stamina. And if it helps athletes with their workouts I don’t see any reason that dark chocolate wouldn’t also help people with other diseases or disorders do the same thing during their exercise workouts including people with multiple sclerosis.

So please enjoy your Halloween and allow yourself a small indulgence without guilt as you celebrate All Hallows Day. The day we all chase away all of those negative spirits from our past. Be safe, and please, try to enjoy yourselves as we begin a long march towards the Fall and Winter Holidays to come!

And now I have a small favor to ask of anyone who might have either an Editor at a Book Publishing House or a Literary Agent in the family or as a friend. I’m trying to find either an Editor or an Agent that would give my book VISUS a serious read with the hopes of getting  my book out into the literary hands of the general public. Even if you get them to read the first chapter that is listed above in the title bar would be greatly appreciated by me.

Again, please have a safe Halloween weekend and enjoy your family and friends!

Bill Walker

MS Chocolate and Valentines Day’s Healthy Choice

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     In a previous article I discussed the heart healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits that chocolate can provide but that’s certainly not all of the benefits that science is learning about this treat.

      Chocolate especially the purer kinds with higher cocoa content and less sugar can also help to lower blood pressure while also making blood platelets less sticky allowing them to clot easier. And dark chocolate also contains oleic acid which is a heart healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in something else that’s considered very heart healthy, olive oil.

     Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants; in fact chocolate has eight times the amount of antioxidants as strawberries. And the antioxidants in chocolate help to remove free radicals from environmental factors that we encounter on a daily basis from smoke and other air pollutants as well as from other things that we eat. Chocolate also helps keep LDL, or the bad cholesterol, from forming in the body while also helping in balancing certain hormones.

     And chocolate even has some benefits for your mental health like stimulating endorphin production giving you a feeling of pleasure. And chocolate also contains serotonin which acts as a natural anti-depressant. And finally it also contains theobromine and caffeine which act as stimulants for a quick little pick-me up when needed.

     Chocolate should always be eaten in moderation as it does have a high fat content however most of these fats are considered to be the healthy kind, so go ahead, and indulge a little.

     Happy Valentines Day! ♥

 

Bill Walker-Author of Visus