Friday, August 24, 2012

PLANTAR FASCIITIS, NATURAL TREATMENTS

For about 5 years, during the mid 2000’s I was experiencing one injury after another with my knees and feet. It wasn’t until I started going to an Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractor that I learned and realized how so many things in our body can be affected if we are not in proper alignment. In another blog, I will further discuss this chiropractic technique which has truly been a benefit to me. It is the painful condition of plantar fasciitis that I will now, hopefully offer some helpful information.
Trying to treat a painful condition is always a challenge, especially one that last for months or longer. When I was experiencing Plantar Fasciitis 8 years ago, it was frustrating and discouraging because it seemed as if there was no relief in sight. The tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects the heel bone to your toes, supporting your arch is the Plantar Fascia. For many different reasons this connective tissue can become inflamed and it affects over 2 million Americans. Typically, upon rising in the morning or after a period of activity, there may be intense stabbing pain in the heel. Often, as the fascia warms up the pain may decrease. But those with a chronic condition experience pain all day. Some of the reasons this inflammation may occur include; long periods of weight bearing, unsupportive footwear, obesity, inactivity, faulty foot mechanics, etc.
I had been working a part time retail job and was on my feet for hours. Added to this was the fact that aging bodies tend to lose some padding in the foot as mine had. Later I also learned my body was out of alignment. But initially, after 2 months of pain, I went to a podiatrist and was hopeful for a remedy. What a disappointment that visit was! He confirmed I did have Plantar Fasciitis and offered very little hope. Luckily I had done my homework on the subject and actually asked him about some of the things that could be done. First on my list was a night splint or what I called, my boot. This allows you to keep your foot at a 90 degree angle, placing a prolonged stretch on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon while you sleep. Research shows that night splinting relieves symptoms over 80% of the time. There are many different styles and prices and I ended up purchasing 2 before my inflammation finally subsided because I used to put it on as soon as I came home from work! It really helped ease the pain. Then, I asked for physical therapy. That turned out to be very helpful as the therapist shows you stretching exercises and I also asked for and received ultra sound treatments. Ultra sound is high on my list of beneficial treatments for many painful conditions and I eventually purchased a home unit. Another good tip is to keep a small, plastic bottled water in the freezer and roll you foot over it whenever possible to calm down the inflammation. My foot was finally starting to feel a little better, but as soon as the PT and ultra sound stopped my foot was just as painful as before.
Now 5 months into the condition, I went to a second podiatrist. He offered me more hope by suggesting orthotics. The ones my feet were cast for and I purchased, cost $400 and they weren’t even the most expensive ones. They offered me no relief at all and were very uncomfortable. After 2 months of that, and in so much pain, I asked for a steroid shot. This was really against my better judgment, which I should have paid attention to. The shot did nothing for the pain and a month after receiving it, a layer of dead skin peeled off my heel. When steroid shots aren’t effective, the next step is surgery. I really did my homework on that and knew it wasn’t worth the risks involved. So I never saw the doctor again and tried to figure out more ways to help myself. I started taking MSM for pain relief (more about this in another blog), used MSM topical cream, iced a lot more, continued with the night splint, purchased a home ultra sound unit and found NAOT shoes. This was quite by accident when I was at the mall looking for something my foot would feel good wearing, tried on a pair of NAOT sandals and couldn’t believe the comfort! The sandals have cork beds with a well formed arch and are very light weight. It was a perfect shoe for my feet and I ended up purchasing 2 pairs.
A couple more months passed and one day I realized, the pain was much less. My foot was doing so good that I started going for long walks again and had finally turned the corner on this painful condition. To this day, NAOTS and Clarks Springers are my most comfortable sandals/shoes but I actually started walking barefoot again, in and out of the house. This is something I never thought would happen. But at times when I have over exerted myself or my resistance is low, I will feel little pangs of pain in my heel, a small reminder of my bout with Plantar Fasciitis. I hope this information has been helpful and contact me with any questions you may have.



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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2012


 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

PAPAYA, FOR REFLUX RELIEF

GERD is short for Heartburn/Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.The symptoms can be a burning sensation, stomach and/or chest pain, bloating, nausea, gas, a shortness of breath and a sour or acidic taste in the throat. If the esophageal sphincter muscle isn't functioning properly, some of the stomach acid slips past and into the esophagus. Anyone can experience this condition with one or more of the symptoms, at any age. There are various reasons for reflux including: a hiatal hernia; ulcers, gallbladder problems, digestive enzyme deficiencies; consuming too much coffee, alcohol, spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, citrus fruits, etc. This condition has made popular the use of over the counter antacids and drugs such as Prilosec and Zantac. But there is a big downside to using these products. Antacids contain ingredients that contain excessive amounts of sodium and aluminum. The medications, such as Prilosec, suppress the production of stomach acid and used long term can damage the stomach lining.
Up until the beginning of this year, reflux was only an occasional annoyance for me. But during the winter, it became an acute problem. I didn't understand why it was happening and I almost dreaded going to sleep because if I didn't get it as soon as I laid down, it was sure to wake me during the night. The first things I tried were not eating for at least 2 or 3 hours before bed and propping up 2-3 pillows for sleeping. It seemed to help a little but even during the day I was experiencing uncomfortable symptoms. I read about the wonders of apple cider vinegar and took a couple tablespoons in water with a meal. Again, I felt a little relief, but it didn't last. Digestive enzyme supplements were next. but one of the ingredients definitely didn't agree with me. While everything helped a little, no one thing was able to rid me of all my symptoms after 3 weeks. Finally, I started taking Country Life Papayachewable tablets with each meal. They have been a staple in my house for years to sooth occasional indigestion and I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. Within a day, I was no longer experiencing any of the symptoms! For whatever reason, my digestive system must need the particular enzyme papaya contains and I don't care if I have to take them with every meal or whenever I eat. They are easy to bring anywhere, inexpensive and taste good.
While papaya is what helped me, everyone is different. So try some or all of the things I mentioned and there are more natural remedies if you need. Just know that it is possible to find relief from GERD naturally. Contact me if you have questions or an experience to share.



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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2012





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

STRONTIUM, REVERSING OSTEOPENIA/OSTEOPOROSIS

I was a child in the 1950’s and still remember hearing talk about the danger of
strontium 90 to humans.  Due to all the above ground nuclear testing, it was a radio active element, found in human bone and could lead to cancer. This is not the strontium I am referring to which  is one of the elements found in human bones and connective tissue ( approximately 320 – 400 mg.) and has been found to aid in the antiresorptive activity (prevent calcium from being leached from the bones) and the formation of new bone cells.  Strontium has been used safely for over a hundred years as a medicinal substance and was first listed in Squire’s Companion to the British Pharmacopoeia in 1884. From there, it was used in the United States and Europe.  While I have heard and read conflicting views on the use of strontium, I prefer putting my bones in its care rather than using the bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva.  Recent long term studies show side effects of these drugs which include; esophageal irritation and or/ ulceration and perforation, bone aching, destruction of the jaw bone with pain, tooth loss and caving-in of the gums, and unusual fractures such as bones breaking or snapping much more easily and even without trauma.
It is very important to accumulate sufficient bone mass from childhood through early adulthood. Around the age of thirty, bone is at its strongest and after that, starts to decline. There are many factors that can lead to osteopenia and eventually osteoporosis which can affect men as well as women. Thyroid problems, a poor diet (especially consuming too much soda, sugar, caffeine, alcohol), being too acidic vs having the body chemistry alkaline, medications, poor digestion or absorption issues, small/fine boned women, being postmenopausal and race/ethnicity are  some of the reasons leading to bone loss. It is a good idea to try to rule out and/or treat any medical condition when possible. But if nothing very obvious seems to be the main factor, starting a natural treatment plan may at least be a step in the right direction. This leads me to my story and how strontium helped my bones.
Because I had been postmenopausal for about 6 years, which can lead to an increased risk for osteoporosis, my Ob/Gyn ordered a dexascan for me about 12 years ago in 2000. This is a test to measure bone density.  My lumbar spine “T” value indicated borderline osteopenia  but my left hip “T” value indicated osteopenia. Taking  more calcium and  weight bearing exercise were recommended. Osteopenia  was new to me and I started trying to find out why I was experiencing it and what might correct or halt it. First I found that not just calcium, but calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals were all important and worked together.  It amazes me to this day, that so many women I talk to don’t know this and take only calcium. The ratio of calcium to magnesium should be 2:1.  Vitamin D, boron, copper, manganese and zinc are some other minerals to be included and all of these are found in the supplement I have been taking for years, TwinLab Tri-Boron Plus capsules. A discussion of calcium supplementation, forms and quality, is another topic, as is getting calcium from your diet. The dairy products most people use are actually acid forming which may cause leaching from the bones. Along with the supplementation, I included walking and yoga. My second dexascan done in 2004 indicated both sets of “T” values were a little worse. My GP gave me a script for Fosamax, which I didn’t fill, while the Ob/Gyn told me to start taking vitamin D. This was time for more research and I found out taking vitamin D was very important, especially the D3 form. I also discovered from reading the affects of being too acidic and started to test my ph levels by mouth, which at that time, turned out to be pretty acidic. Changes to my diet included more alkaline producing foods and less acid forming foods. I was really hopeful my next dexascan would show improvements.  When I had it done in 2006, there were some improvements. My spine now showed to be within normal limits but my left hip osteopenia slightly increased.  Again, my GP wanted me to start Fosamax and again, I opted not to. By this time, I had been hearing about the awful side effects of this drug. What to do? I started adding vitamin K to my regiment and be more vigilant with my diet.
2008 was the dexascan that brought me to strontium as the numbers were not good. My spine was no longer within normal limits and my left hip again was worse, indicating osteopenia in both areas. I was really frustrated by now and had heard Dr.Ronald Hoffman talk about strontium on his WOR radio show. The results sounded amazing and I went on line checking out more information. I should add that I had been listening to Dr. Hoffman for about 10 years at this point and really came to trust and highly regard his information.  He is located in NY city and a traditional MD who uses alternative treatments whenever possible before prescribing medications. Even though I liked what he had to say, I procrastinated about starting the strontium until 3 months before I was due for my next dexascan in January 2011. But 3 months of strontium made quite a difference on my test results!  The lumbar spine area improved 2%, bringing me back into normal limits and my left hip improved 7%, greatly lowering the degree of osteopenia. I was very pleased and decided that I would continue to take strontium on a regular basis along with calcium and the other minerals and vitamins. But instead of taking it every day, I’ve been taking it for 3 days, stop for 3 days and continue this way. It is important not to take it at the same time you are taking calcium as it is very closely related to calcium and will not be utilized effectively by your body. Take strontium 4 hours away from calcium and other minerals, before bed and on an empty stomach. The brand I use is Life Extension Strontium and 3 capsules taken together equal 750mg of strontium citrate, the preferred form and recommended dose. I am looking forward to my next dexascan which will be done in January 2013 and will post my results. I also recommend always asking for copies of your test results. You can then read and compare your numbers at home instead of trying to take it all in during a quick phone call from your doctor. I hope this information has been helpful and would be happy to hear what you’ve tried, if it did or didn’t work and any questions you may have.


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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2012







Thursday, August 16, 2012

LYSINE, THE MIRACLE TREATMENT FOR HERPES/SHINGLES

This is my first posting and it was difficult to choose a condition/ailment and remedy to start with. But I decided this particular find could benefit many, many people. Anyone who has had chicken pox, gotten Herpes Simplex type 1 (HSV-1), or shingles, will know how painful the blisters can be from this nasty virus. Though I haven't personally experienced Herpes Simplex type 2 (HST-2), the genital blisters are also extremely painful. There are actually seven types of herpes viruses. To make it worse, the virus remains in your body forever, just waiting to erupt. The HSV-1 virus lays dormant in the nerve cells near the ear.  Throw into this mix the fact that there is a condition in which a person can have shingles without the rash. It is called, zoster sin herpete and not many doctors know about or believe it to exist. That is what happened to me and why I have to share my "find" in the hope of helping others who experience shingles, with or without the rash.
About 15 years ago, I was periodically experiencing a pain and sensitivity on one side of my head. It would usually start on my ear lobe and then either go across part of my face or head. The area would have a throbbing like pain and be very sensitive to the touch. At that time, I was still a user of Tylenol or Ibuprofen. But neither of those pain relievers offered much relief. I started looking through some medical books and decided it was a neuritis or neuralgia and there was not much to be done about it. Usually after 2 weeks or more, the symptoms would subside; that is, until the next episode. After about 5 years of this, I had such a severe attack that it sent me to the doctor. The strong, throbbing pain was at the back of my head and bringing me to tears. My GP gave me an extra strength pain killer along with a referral to a neurologist. I had a brain MRI done which showed some stenosis of the spinal cord in the cervical area, was given a prescription for neurontin and a script for physical therapy. Opting not to take the neurontin, I started trying to find out what this really was. By then, 3 or 4 weeks had gone by so the symptoms were gone. Bear in mind that with all these "outbreaks" I never experienced cold sores or blisters. At least I thought I didn't. Nothing was appearing externally, but I would usually get a "canker" sore in my mouth towards the back of my gums. Sometimes it actually felt like I had a sore throat and later realized a sore would be down the back of my throat. Along with this came the feeling of being exhausted and sometimes, muscle and joint pain.
Then, I stumbled across information on herpes virus infections in a book I purchased, Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James F. Balch, MD. This book has since become my medical bible. It mentioned some natural remedies for coping with an outbreak and lysine was among them. It was the one I tried first and never needed anything else! When the sensitivity and dull pain would start, immediately I took 500mg 3 times a day. It usually halted the outbreak in its tracks or reduced the duration to about 3 or 4 days instead of 2 to 3 weeks. This was a miracle to me. Now, many years later, I take lysine as a preventative 1 or 2 times a day. If I have been under stress, am overly fatigued, or have been exposed to someone sick, I take it 3 times a day. Also, nuts and chocolate (along with some other foods) have an amino acid called arginine which contributes to herpes outbreaks. Those are 2 of my favorite things to eat, but I try to watch the amounts I consume. Lastly, it was just recently that I discovered you can indeed have a shingles outbreak without the rash! How nice to confirm my hunch that it was/is shingles I experience/d during the painful episodes, without a rash. Many people are misdiagnosed, as I was by the neurologist. In fact over the last couple of years, the pain has shifted to across my face and eyes. The pain in my eyes can be sharp, stabbing and scarey. It is more important than ever for me to prevent the outbreaks, or quickly halt them. So to all of you out there searching for relief of shingles pain, with or without a rash, I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to contact me with questions or your experiences.


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I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. These are just my experiences and conclusions.
© 2012