Tag Archives: therapy

Tips to Lessen Back Pain (Part 1)

Back pain plagues millions upon millions of Americans, and can significantly impact quality of life. Even though many may worry their constant pain is there to stay, there are plenty of little lifestyle tweaks and tips you can apply to help get some relief. Let’s take a look at our pain tips:

  1. Check your posture – we’re all guilty of hunching over the laptop or slouching on the couch too often, but all this poor posture can really catch up on an already bad back. It is so important to train yourself to sit up tall, and walk with your shoulders back and straight. This will help realign those muscles in a healthier manner.
  2. Go, physio! The right physiotherapist can really change your life. If you’re used to constant back pain and just thought it would have to be background noise for the rest of your life, a good therapist can help you change that. Physiotherapists who specialize in back pain have some great tips and stretches specialized just for your body to help ease your pain.
  3. Ice, heat, baby – It may help to make extreme temps work for you. Those with long-term arthritic back pain may benefit more from using a heating pad (electronic ones are great), whereas those suffering from more acute or inflammatory back pain may benefit more from ice. Alternating between ice and heat can help as well.
  4. Get topical – Speaking of temperature, there are some wonderful creams out there that alternate between cold and hot sensations that may help take the edge off back pain. Topical NSAID cream can also be very beneficial.
  5. Try TENS – What do you mean, TENS? Tens of thousands? Nope. We’re talking portable transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machines. TENS machines work by sending pulsing electrical stimulation into the nerves, which are thought to interrupt or help redirect the trajectory of the pain sensation that was sent from the brain.
  6. Non-opiate prescriptions – For most people, it isn’t a great idea to start down the road of narcotic pain pills for a chronic back issue as they can be addictive, can lose their effect over time and can cause many unwanted side effects. However, there are plenty of other medication options out there such as NSAIDs, corticosteroid injections or even antidepressants such as amitriptyline (they can work for pain as well).
  7. Stay (gently!) active – even though it may seem counterintuitive when you just feel like constantly resting a bad back, it may be doing you no favors to lie around. You have to practice caution when exercising with a bad back, as many activities can further strain it. Walking, stretching and swimming are all good choices for activities that may help strengthen a weak back instead of further hurt it.

Stay tuned for the rest of our tips next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Therapeutic Massage Part 1 – Potential Health Benefits

There are different types of massage such as Swedish, deep tissue or full-body massage. The type that works for you may not work for the next person, as massage is a subjective, one-size-fits-one type of service. There is little conclusive empirical evidence that massage has definitive pain relief benefits, but there is much anecdotal and personal evidence that it can help with pain management and provide the following benefits:

  1. Stress management – Arguably the strongest proven health benefit of massage therapy is its effect on lowering stress. Stress triggers cortisol and adrenaline levels to rise in the body which can have detrimental effects on physical conditions and overall wellbeing, especially when these levels are perpetually elevated due to chronic stress. Massage has shown to reduce stress-releasing hormones, while simultaneously elevating levels of feel-good endorphins in the body which helps many people shake the stress of the day or week.

  2. Lower back pain relief – While research has been inconsistent on massage and pain in general, studies on the effectiveness of massage as pain relief have yielded the best results for patients with chronic lower back pain. Expert massage stimulates the release of natural analgesics in the brain, temporarily distracting the brain’s pain centers by redirecting it with these ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters and hormones. This effect seems to go further in helping back pain than shoulder, hip or migraine pain.
  3. Pregnancy benefits – According to the Mayo Clinic, prenatal massage can be very helpful in lowering stress and anxiety levels in pregnant women, as well as helping to ease the aches, pains and swelling that can be associated with pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA) prenatal massage may even improve delivery outcomes, however it is best to seek out a certified prenatal masseuse to ensure safety and effectivity.  

  4. Insomnia is connected with lower than average serotonin levels, and massage has shown to help increase these levels as well as release other feel-good hormones in the body. These hormones may also help bring down stress, alertness and make way for relaxation and perhaps improved sleep.

  5. Lymphedema – another strongly proven medical benefit of massage is for lymphedema patients. Some patients have such immense swelling and water retention in their lower limbs that water will actually drain out of their skin during the right type of medical massage known as a lymphatic drainage massage. This can be essential for some lymphedema patients, as there is no cure for the disease so patients often get relief from different types of treatment. ‘

 That concludes the first part of our look at the potential medicinal benefits of massages, stay tuned next for some of the risks and different types of massage. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Binge Drinking Part 2 – Risk Factors and Treatment

As we mentioned in Part 1 enjoying the occasional evening of drinks is perfectly normal, but if you find yourself constantly biding time until the next party, passing out from drinking, or if others take issue with your partying ways, it may be time for a doctor’s visit.

Risk Factors for Developing Alcohol Problems

People are at greater risk of developing drinking problems if they started binge drinking early, had a parent or close relative with alcohol problems, or hang around with people who frequently drink. Those suffering from certain mental health conditions may be at higher risk of developing problems with alcohol as well.

Is An Intervention Necessary?

It may be time for action if you, a friend, or family member is showing signs such as:

1. Having tried and failed to cut down on drinking

2. Spends much of their time either drinking or hungover from parties

3. Develops an inclining tolerance for alcohol

4. Is touchy, defensive or confrontational when the topic of alcohol abuse arises

5. Makes poor decisions such as drinking and driving

6. Fails to fulfill social or work-related obligations

People with alcohol disorders or problems are often in denial about their alcohol abuse, so sometimes friends and family may need to intervene to bring the problem to the person’s full attention. It may not go over well at first, but if family and friends encourage the person to seek treatment, they will often come around and do so.

What To Ask The Doctor

If you or a loved one feels out of control of drinking habits, it is time to talk to a professional about treatment. When you go to your appointment, your doctor will want to know certain information including your symptoms, any medications you take, exactly how much you drink or if there is any family history of alcoholism. You should prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor such as:
– Should I quit, or just cut back on my drinking?
– Is my drinking making health problems worse or caused me to develop new ones?
– Can you perform some tests to see if my drinking is effecting my physical health?
– Can you refer me to a therapist?
– What other treatment options are available for me?

Treatment Options And Lifestyle Changes

Depending on the severity of the patient’s problem, a doctor may recommend such treatment as:

  • Detoxing – cleansing one’s system of alcohol to help decrease or eliminate dependence, some people have to attend rehab facilities for this if they are unable to do so unassisted.
  • Psychological counseling – can help with any emotional or mental damage created by drinking, as well as help the person develop healthier coping mechanisms when they crave alcohol.
  • Changing lifestyle – people trying to get over alcohol issues may have to replace the time they would have spent drinking with another more beneficial activity such as group yoga, or going out for frozen yogurt with a group of friends a couple times a week.
  • Medications – sometimes depending on the severity of the situation, a doctor may recommend a medication such as Vivitrol to help someone combat alcoholism
  • Treating health issues – there may be subsequent damage done to the body if drinking has occurred over many years, these issues must be addressed and corrected for the person to live a healthy, happy new life.
  • Community support – some people with alcohol problems find it beneficial to attend community support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Societal Efforts To Curtail Bingeing

Governments have taken several steps toward discouraging binge drinking and preventing drinking-related issues such as:

  • Imposing additional taxes and tariffs on alcohol
  • Creating public awareness campaigns such as ‘Designated Drivers’
  • Shop liability for alcohol sold to underage customers
  • Strongly enforced laws such as underage drinking and drunk driving
  • Limiting stores that sell alcohol to only a few per city and restricting hours of sale

Thanks for stopping by DocChat! If you have any concerns about binge drinking or other alcohol problems, please feel free to contact one of our highly qualified DocChat physicians today.