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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why Muscles Get Sore

People begin to complain more of pain in their joints and muscles as they grow older. Simple chores like bending over to pick up the morning news paper make them wince as they seem to stiffen up with age.

Such pain can grip so fiercely that they are sure it begins deep in their bones. According to a Johns Hopkins Medical School research, the real cause of soreness and stiffness is not in the joints or bones, but actually in the muscles and connective tissues that move the joints.

The frictional resistance generated by the two rubbing surfaces of bones in the joints is negligible, even in joints damaged by arthritis.

Flexibility is the medical term used to describe the range of a joint’s motion from full movement in one direction to full movement in the other. The greater the range of movement, the more flexible the joint.

If you bend forward at the hips and touch your toes with your fingertips, you have good flexibility, or range of motion of the hip joints. But can you bend over easily with a minimal expenditure of energy and force? The exertion required to flex a joint is just as important as its range of possible motion.

Different factors limit the flexibility and ease of movement in different joints and muscles. In the elbow and knee, the bony structure itself sets a definite limit. In other joints, such as the ankle, hip, and back, the soft tissue—muscle and connective tissue—limit the motion range.

The problem of inflexible joints and muscles is similar to the difficulty of opening and closing a gate because of a rarely used and rusty hinge that has become balky.

Hence, if people do not regularly move their muscles and joints through their full ranges of motion, they lose some of their potential. That is why when these people will try to move a joint after a long period of inactivity, they feel pain, and that discourages further use.

What happens next is that the muscles become shortened with prolonged disuse and produces spasms and cramps that can be irritating and extremely painful. The immobilization of muscles, as researchers have demonstrated with laboratory animals, brings about biochemical changes in the tissue.

Here are some other factors trigger sore muscles:

1. Too much exercise

Have you always believed on the saying, “No pain, no gain?” If you do, then, it is not so surprising if you have already experienced sore muscles. The problem with most people is that they exercise too much thinking that it is the fastest and the surest way to lose weight. Until they ache, they tend to ignore their muscles and connective tissue, even though they are what quite literally holds the body together.

2. Immobility

Sore muscles or muscle pain can be excruciating, owing to the body’s reaction to a cramp or ache. In this reaction, called the splinting reflex, the body automatically immobilizes a sore muscle by making it contract. Thus, a sore muscle can set off a vicious cycle pain.

First, an unused muscle becomes sore from exercise or being held in an unusual position. The body then responds with the splinting reflex, shortening the connective tissue around the muscle.

This cause more pain, and eventually the whole area is aching. One of the most common sites for this problem is the lower back.

3. Aging and inactivity

Connective tissue binds muscle to bone by tendons, binds bone to bone by ligaments, and covers and unites muscles with sheaths called fasciae. With age, the tendons, ligaments, and fasciae become less extensible. The tendons, with their densely packed fibers, are the most difficult to stretch.

The easiest are the fasciae. But if they are not stretched to improve joint mobility, the fasciae shorten, placing undue pressure on the nerve pathways in the muscle fasciae. Many aches and pains are the result of nerve impulses traveling along these pressured pathways.

4. Spasm theory

In the physiology laboratory at the University of Southern California, some people have set out to learn more about this cycle of pain.

Using some device, they measured electrical activity in the muscles. The researchers knew that normal, well-relaxed muscles produce no electrical activity, whereas, muscles that are not fully relaxed show considerable activity.

In one experiment, the researchers measured these electrical signals in the muscles of persons with athletic injuries, first with the muscle immobilized, and then, after the muscle had been stretched.

In almost every case, exercises that stretched or lengthened the muscle diminished electrical activity and relieved pain, either totally or partially.

These experiments led to the “spasm theory,” an explanation of the development and persistence of muscle pain in the absence of any obvious cause, such as traumatic injury.

According to this theory, a muscle that is overworked or used in a strange position becomes fatigued and as a result, sore muscles. Hence, it is extremely important to know the limitations and capacity of the muscles in order to
avoid sore muscles. This goes to show that there is no truth in the saying, “No pain, no gain.”

What matters most is on how people stay fit by exercising regularly at a normal range than once rarely but on a rigid routine.

A good stretching and warm up and cool down routine is important to an effective exercise program.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Caring For Dry Skin

It is hard to ignore dry skin. Dry skin gives one a bad appearance as the upper layer of skin show signs of cracking. Some of the main causes of dry skin are: too much exfoliation, dry climate and treatment of other skin problems.

Dry skin could just be the inherent of one's nature. Whatever the causes are, caring for dry skin is important and easy to accomplish.

Dry skin care starts with moisturisers, the most effective remedy for dry skin. Generally, moisturisers are classified under two categories based on the way they treat dry skin.

Category 1- includes moisturisers that provide dry skin care just by preserving the moisture within the skin. Vaseline would be one example of this. These moisturisers are inexpensive and are readily available, even at grocery stores.

Category 2- includes moisturisers that work by drawing moisture from the environment and supplying it to the skin. This is a very effective way of dry skin care in humid conditions. The moisturisers that provide this type of care are called humectants. For proper dry skin care, you must use a non-greasy type of moisturiser. Humectants fall into this category. The ingredients of humectants include propylene glycol, urea, glycerine, hyaluronic acid.

Dry skin care is not just about using moisturisers, it is also about using them properly. The best skin care procedure would be to cleanse the skin before applying the moisturiser. You can make the application more effective by applying the moisturiser while the skin is still damp after the cleansing. Make sure that you use soap-free products, especially on your face, neck and arms.

Exfoliating helps in dry skin care by removing dead skin cells. However, don’t exfoliate too hard. Skin care products should also provide some type of sun protection. Avoid too much sun exposure. Use a good sunscreen lotion before going out. A lot of moisturisers provide sun protection too, along with dry skin care.

There are natural skin products that provide dry skin care in a natural way without the use of synthetic chemicals. These skin care products supply lipid enhancements to the skin, hence enabling moisture retention within the skin.

Another important factor for skin care is the temperature of the water you use for showering or for washing your face. Use warm water, as water that is too hot or too cold can cause dryness.

Dry skin care is also about being gentle with your skin. You should avoid harsh detergents and alcohol based cleansers. Also, after a face wash, do not rub your towel on your face, just pat gently to soak the water off.

Dry skin care is really simple for anyone who is willing to take it seriously.

Don't forget to wash behind the ears!


Fighting Kidney Stones- the natural way

People suffering from kidney stones increase every year. This is a result of living an unhealthy lifestyle leading to the painful condition.

Kidney stones are pieces of waste material formed within the kidney and is the most common problem faced by many people who have kidney problems. The stones can be one or many and are hard like rock and can be very painful for the unlucky person that develope them.

But, unlike the real stones, kidney stones can be dissolved once they are diagnosed early.

Many experts say that the easiest way of dealing with kidney stones is to flush them out from the bpdy. This can be achieve through medication or by a simple medical procedure, although it is always best to do it the natural way.

Drinking tea is one of the natural ways of dissolving kidney stones and flushing it out from the system. Throughout the ages, tea has been providing people with a lot of benefits. And one of which is helping the body's system to flush out waste products that could bring health complications.

People who have suffered from kidney stones would agree that tea—those that contain Chinese herbs such as plantain leaf, meadowsweet, Joe-pye weed, and sarsaparilla, can help dissolve kidney stones because these contain natural properties, which are good in eliminating excess uric acid in the body.

China uses the mentioned herbs, in the form of tea, to treat kidney stones. Combined with other herbs such as corn silk, wild yam root, hydrangea root, yarrow leaf, and cramp bark, tea preparation can be an effective means of dissolving small kidney stones.

It takes time to prepare the tea in order to make it more effective and potent. This is done to ensure that all the natural properties will be intact. Many people attest to how great the tea preparation works, but its effectiveness may not work for everyone especially to those who bleed easily.

Another method of dissolving kidney stones the natural way is through diuretic tea. For this type of tea, you can choose either dandelion or corn silk. Many people say that these herbs are the two most popular choices of diuretic that can produce early results.

When combined with other herbs such as fennel seed, nettle leaf, and oat straw, diuretic tea can be more effective in dissolving even medium-sized kidney stones.

Preparation for a diuretic tea:

You need the ½ teaspoon of each mentioned herb and a quart of water that is boiling. Once it has reached it boiling point, cover the pot and set it aside for about 30 minutes. Before drinking it twice daily (one cup in the morning and one cup in the evening) filter it first.

If you are not the type of using herbs as a natural means of fighting kidney stones, there are other ways such as:

- drinking at least 8 glasses of water to flush out body waste

- taking in lemonade preparation to delay the development of stones

- eat foods that are rich in fiber but low in protein, calcium, and salt because these three are the primary causes of kidney stones

- engaging on a regular physical exercise because lack of movements in sedentary living can lead you faster to the formation kidney stones.

Once you have experienced the pain of having kidney stones, you will not want to go through it again.

Take care of yourself!