Bee Stings they inject into your skin when they sting

Bee Stings they inject into your skin when they sting

Bee Stings The pain:

A local reaction to the attack of stinging insects, including honeybees, wasps, hornets or yellow jackets; Intense pain accompanied by redness, swelling and itching at the site of the sting.

The cause:

Stinging insects cause pain because of the venom they inject into your skin when they sting.  Only honeybees have a barbed stinger and are unable to extract it after stinging, which means the stinger and stinger sac are left behind.  This kills the insect, but the sac keeps pumping venom, making the sting worse.  The other insects can remove their stingers.  meaning they can sting repeatedly.

See a doctor if. you experience any symptoms of allergic reaction,

such as: trouble breathing, tightness in the throat or chest, dizziness or nausea, hives, a drippy nose, a swollen mouth or tongue, and difficulty breathing.  Seek medical attention immediately.  Remember to observe for symptoms of allergic reaction for up to 60 minutes after a sting.  Sometimes someone will look fine for the first 15 minutes or so and then develop a life-threatening reaction.  If you know you’re allergic to bees, get a prescription for an epinephrine kit from your doctor and always have it handy.  * ..

the swelling spreads to a large area-

for example, your entire arm or a large section of your trunk.  Seek medical attention immediately.

pain and swelling continue

more than 72 hours without relief.

Quick relief: Scrape out the stinger.

If the insect bite left behind a stinger, scrape it the sooner the better to scrape out or flick way the stinger, “he explains. (Don’t use your fingers or tweezers to pinch the fuzzy part sticking out-that’s the venom sac.) If you squeeze it, you’ll inject more venom into yourself.

Ice the bite.

Put an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel on for 15 to 20 Slap   minutes to soothe the pain and keep down the swelling.

Slap on some soda.

A paste of baking soda and water takes away the sting

of most bites especially bee stings.  “The baking soda neutralizes the acidity of the bee sting.

Neutralize a wasp attack.

Unlike bee stings, however, Wasp bites are alkaline, so you’ll need something acidic to neutralize them. suggests applying some lemon juice or vinegar to soothe those stings.

Try some tenderness. 

You may soothe the itching by rubbing the area with meat tenderizers made with the enzyme papain.

Use pastes against the pain.

Rubbing toothpaste on a sting makes it feel better because the menthol in the paste has a cooling effect,

Calamine will feel fine. 

Applied as needed, calamine will help soothe the area.

Cream it. To soothe the savage sting, apply some over – the – counter lotion, such as After Bite or Wasp – Eze. For the itching that comes later, apply an over – the – counter cortisone cream.

Wipe it out with ammonia. Sometimes dabbing some household ammonia on the sting does the trick.

Ongoing aid: Elevate the area. If a sting becomes so swollen that it actually aches, elevate the stung a.  rim, leg or other body part so that gravity helps fluid leave the area, reducing swelling and the soreness that comes with it.

Go over the counter.  To further relieve pain and itching, take an over-the-counter analgesic such as aspirin or acetaminophen (paracetamol.  Take as directed on the label.  If you have itching near the sting, oral antihistamines like Choler – Trimetric, Portion or Benadryl may be taken every 4 to 6 hours to ease the itch.

Resist the urge to itch.  Most bites and stings heal themselves after a few days.  If you scratch open a bite, it has a good chance of getting infected, especially in warm, moist climates.  Leave it be.

Put together a poultice.  Poultices ease stings, help heal wounds, and reduce swelling.  The simplest poultice for treating insect bites is a dab of mud.  Or if you want to be more hygienic about it, you can buy powdered clay at a health food store and mix it with a little water.

Apply gentle heat.  If you’re still swollen after the first day on ice, try placing a warning compress or heating pad on the sting as often as possible.

Vitamins and supplements: Increase the zinc.

Certain nutrients appear to offer protection against some insects, possible by altering body odor.  Try 60 mg of zinc a day (about four times the recommended dietary allowance).Dietary sources include oysters, red meats and fortified cereals.  Thiamine (B1) may also help.  Be sure to check with your doctor before taking either supplement. because high doses can cause problems.

Everyday prevention: Shield your skin.  If a bug can’t light, a bug can’t bite.  Wear a long – sleeve shirt and long pants.  Insects like bright colors and floral patterns, so choose white, green, tan, and khaki hues.

Tell bugs to bug off.  Always apply bug repellent when you’re out.  On clothing, use a repellent containing  (such as Permanence), the synthetic version of a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemums.  repels bugs even after several washings.  On your skin, you can try a natural product that contains citronella, such as Natal or Wasp Eye, which provides short-term protection from bugs.  These products are available at most health food stores.

Get shots for protection.  “If you have ever had a systemic reaction to an insect sting, you should see an allergist right away, It is vital that an allergist test you to find out which insect venom you are allergic to.  You can be placed on a regimen of allergy shots to lessen the intensity of or prevent allergic reactions in the future.

Carry a kit.  People who are allergic to insect venom should also carry a special medical kit to prevent anaphylactic shock.  It includes a chewable antihistamine and injectable adrenaline, both of which will help stop the symptoms.  Your allergist can prescribe a kit to carry with you at all times, especially outdoors, and demonstrate its correct use.  If you need to use the kit, you should go to the nearest emergency room via paramedic ambulance in case the reaction recurs.

Shun good scents.  Bees are attracted to floral smells.  So, don’t use perfume, aftershave, or even scented deodorant when you are headed for woods or fields or raking leaves and cleaning the gutters,

Choose plain soap.  Use unscented soap and wash your clothes in unscented detergent.  You don’t want to smell like a daffodil.

Be somber.  Avoid brightly colored clothing – no reds, yellows, blues, violets, oranges, or pinks.  And no floral patterns either.  Bees may mistake you for a garden.

Sip inside.  A stinging insect is attracted to any beverage.  If you leave a can of soda untended, a bee can fly into it.  Getting stung in the mouth or throat can cause swelling that could obstruct the airway, even to a no allergic person.

Look before you eat.  Yellow jackets and hornets have splendiferous palates.  Thus, keep a watchful eye on picnic foods during summer outings.

Drive with your windows closed.  If your car is air-conditioned, leave the windows up all summer long, even when the car is parked.  You never know when a stinging insect will make a beeline for the warm interior.

Always wear shoes.  If you are allergic to bee stings, you can’t risk a fancy-free barefoot amble through the meadow.

Try to stay calm.  If a stinging insect approaches, walk calmly away.  If you start flailing your arms and running away, the insect is more likely to sting.

Herbal Help: Soothe the pain with Calendula.  In her classic Modern Herbal, written in 1931. Maude Grieve writes picturesquely that calendula flower “rubbed on the affected part is an admirable remedy for the pain and swelling caused by the sting of a wasp or bee.”

Ease it with garlic and onion.  Both contain enzymes that break down chemical substances known as Prostaglandins that the body releases in response to pain.  Interestingly enough, garlic and onions work both internally and externally.  You can make a poultice of these herbs and apply them directly to insect bites and stings.  You can also get a measure of relief by eating them.

Stop pain with plantain.  Plantain is one of the first herbs my botanical friends mention for bug bites and stings.  (You need to rub on the fresh herb for this remedy to work.)

Oil up and say hash.  Try applying pure lavender, tea tree,  blue chamomile essential oil to the affected area.  The oil can be reapplied every ten minutes until you feel better.

Going, going, polygon.  Both mountain mint and pennyroyal contain polygon, a powerful insect repellent.  If you have access to fresh mountain mint, just pick some leaves and rub them on your skin and clothing.  (But don’t use pennyroyal or mountain mint if you’re pregnant, as the ingredients in these herbs have been known to increase the risk of miscarriage. Kids under age eight should also avoid pennyroyal.) Other repelling herbs include basil (Indians rub the leaves on their skin as an insect repellent, and Africans do the same) and citronella (available in candles and insect repellents, or dilute citronella oil by adding several drops to a vegetable oil base, then apply to skin).

Debug with oil: Try half a cup of olive oil, five or six drops each of essential oils of citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender, and two drops of pennyroyal.  Dab the mixture on as needed.  Avoid contact with your eyes and wash your hands after applying.

Bedsores The pain, dead tissue that surrounds a bedsore

Bedsores The pain, dead tissue that surrounds a bedsore

Bedsores The pain:

Pressure ulcers that start as a red spot on the skin; Left untreated, the affected skin can blister, deteriorate and die.  Eventually the sore can break through the skin and extend through the fat, into muscle and expose bone.

The cause:

They occur when you sit or lie in a single position for so long that the sheer weight of the body pinches off blood flow to certain areas.  Usually, the danger spots are bony areas of the body, especially the hips.  buttocks, and heels.  Anyone confined to a bed or wheelchair, especially those who have suffered paralysis or a stroke, is in danger of developing a pressure ulcer.  And a bedsore can start a lot sooner than you might think.  “Most experts say it takes about two hours to create a stage bedsore, but you can start to see the changes that lead to an ulcer after about 20 minutes.”  Once a bedsore opens, the body’s natural protective barrier has been compromised, leaving one vulnerable to bacteria, infection, and pain.

See a doctor if

You notice a reddened area that doesn’t go away.  Get a doctor’s help as quickly as possible, don’t assume that if a bedsore doesn’t hurt, it’s not serious, adds Krasner. Constant pressure tends to numb the skin and other conditions such as paralysis or diabetes may reduce the ability to feel pain.


Your doctor may want to prescribe antibiotics to assist healing, the doctor may also want to remove. or debride, dead tissue that surrounds a bedsore, If the bedsores hurt continuously, you may want to ask about taking over-the-counter medication at regular intervals, not just when the pain flares. acetaminophen (paracetamol), aspirin, or another pain reliever may be appropriate.  before taking these medications regularly.

 Nutritional remedies: Eat right.

“In a scientific study of nursing home patients, we have never found a pressure ulcer in anyone who was well nourished, “Along with pressure, malnutrition is the single biggest co-factor in the creation of bedsores.  “When people think of malnutrition, they frequently think of people who are thin or even emaciated.” That’s not the person who is at the greatest risk, “he says.” The people who are most in danger of developing pressure ulcers are obese people., those who are eating lots of processed foods and processed carbohydrates that lack protein.  “Keep that from happening by getting your loved one the minimum daily requirement for protein, which is two to three servings of meat, poultry, fish, or eggs a day. In addition, doctors recommend that people eat 6 to 11 servings of unprocessed whole.  grains, 2 to 4 servings of fresh fruits, and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day.

Choose your oils wisely.

If you’re preparing food for anyone who is bedridden, be careful about the kinds of oils that may be in their foods.  According to Dr “Omega-3 oils, which are found in fish, canola oil and flaxseed oil, lower blood cholesterol and support good circulation.  “He says. Avoid using corn or sunflower oil in your cooking because such oils can enhance inflammation, which decrease blood circulation and can increase bedsore risk, he adds.

Helpful vitamins and supplements:

Supplement against sores. Encourages people at risk for bedsores to take a multivitamin that contains vitamins C, E, and beta carotene. These vitamins are antioxidants that can speed healing. Some research suggests zinc is also helpful.

Everyday prevention:

Get even relief. Try to keep the person on a mattress or cushion.  that distributes their weight more evenly, such as an air mattress, says Dr “There are many kinds available, but a regular air mattress that you use at a lake or the beach can be used to help support a person who is bedridden.  “Be sure it’s thickly covered with an airy cotton blanket and sheets to prevent sweating. Sponge mattresses and water beds are also good choices. Other experts recommend using cotton padding or wool to soften the mattress. The extra padding should be evenly distributed. However, to prevent bunching and increasing the likelihood of pinching blood vessels.

Add an extra layer.

Cover the bed mattress with an air mattress or foam padding that is dense and at least four inches thick. “There are a lot of mattress overlay devices that put cushioning.  Between the bony surface and the bed surface.” And these devices can help prevent pressure ulcers.  “For people in wheelchairs, she suggests an air or gel cushion. The egg crate paddings that were once used to prevent bedsores are not collective, she says.” These are not dense enough, so the bone would still lie on the surface of the mattress, and there would be tissue destruction.

“Keep things moving.”

You’ve got to rotate the person’s body throughout the day.  “says Dr, The person should be shifted at least once an hour, just to relieve the pressure on any area of ​​the body.  “Not only is this an essential way to keep bedsores from worsening once they start. It’s also one of the best ways of preventing them. Be sure to reposition the person so that pressure is relieved from any reddened area on the body.

Help out the

One problem with repositioning – for example, turning a person from his back onto his side – is that a person lying on his side can get a pressure ulcer from his hipbones. To prevent this, turn the person on his back-part way toward his side, say, 30 degrees (a full turn onto the side would be 90 degrees). Then support his back with pillows so that he stays in the new position. This way, the pillow takes some of the weight.

Separate the knees and ankles.

Pressure sores can also form when an ankle is pressing on an ankle, or a knee on a knee. Use pillows to keep them separated,

Lower the head of the bed.

People who are propped up in bed tend to slide Down. And if the person is older, the skin on the back and the buttocks can stretch and tear, creating an ulcer.  This phenomenon is called shearing, and it can be prevented by keeping the head of the bed at the lowest angle possible and limiting the time it is elevated.

Do a “pushup.”

People who are confined to wheelchairs but still have the use of their upper bodies should do a slight pushup every four to five minutes on the arms of the wheelchair to relieve the pressure, says Jones.

Clean with care. 

A person in bed should be cleaned regularly, says Jones, since excess moisture – from elimination or perspiration – can weaken the skin.  But clean gently, using a mild soap.  And afterward.  Apply a moisturizer so that the skin doesn’t become too dry.  “Keep the skin lubricated, but not saturated,” she says.

Caring for the wounds: Maximize blood flow to existing ulcers.

Make sure there is no pressure on any area where an ulcer already exists.  If an ulcer appears on the heel, suspend the heel by raising the lower leg with pillows or soft blankets, she recommends.  Once pressure is relieved, blood will flow to the existing wound and aid healing 

Keep the wounds clean. 

Pressure ulcers have to be kept clean in order to avoid infection and to heal properly.  “Rinse the wound and surrounding skin with soap and water,” says Dr.  Do not use cleansing solutions containing disinfectants, such as providence – iodine.  Disinfectants generally slow the healing process.

Make the wound moist.

To help speed healing, cover any existing sores with gauze bandages coated in petroleum jelly or similar moist, thick ointment.  This encourages tissues to grow rapidly.  There are special dressings such as Didier and Vigil on, which are available through your pharmacist, that dissolve into the wound and create a good environment for healing.

Keep the healthy skin dry.

“Keep the wound moist and the surrounding skin dry.”  Kaminski.  Healthy skin that is allowed to remain moist is more susceptible to developing a sore and an open wound.  For patients who are incontinent, undergarments must be changed when needed in order to keep skin dry.

Back Pain most often in the lower part of the back

Back Pain most often in the lower part of the back

Back Pain

The pain: Chronic or sudden aches or spasms that occur most often in the lower part of the back.  Pain may vary from minor to intense, and at worst, can bend you over with lightening – like stabs of agony.

The cause:

Its source is the spine, which is a stack of bones called vertebrae and, between them, cushions of cartilage called disks.  Disk problems cause 99 percent of all back pain, When the disks are damaged, they develop rips, and little sections of the disk pop out and press on nerves.  Or a disk can collapse, causing the vertebrae to shift.  The exact cause of back pain can be tough to track down.  Pinpointing the cause and even the precise location of back pain often turns doctors into body detectives.  “When one muscle in the back becomes inflamed or spasms, it affects a whole bunch of muscles that may have nothing to do with it, structurally. ” Sometimes, moving your skull will affect your tailbone.  “Consequently, the causes of back pain are numerous: pinched nerves, weak abdominal muscles, loss of flexibility tight leg muscles, a big gut, trauma, sitting too long, poor overall fitness and herniated discs.

See a doctor if:

your pain is severe, lasts more than three days, or radiates to your hips or legs. … you have sudden pain and you’ve never had backache before. Your doctor can rule out serious injury and prescribe a course of action that can have you up and about quickly. … the pain follows a traumatic accident. … the pain is accompanied by bladder or bowel problems, severe illness or fever.


If it’s not poor muscle tone or improper movement that’s got your lower back in knots, you may want to peek in your medicine cabinet. A few drugs can cause backaches,

  a central nervous system depressant that is prescribed to relieve tension • Samaritan (Imitrex or Immigrant), which is used to treat severe migraine headaches Also, Vitamin D, especially when taken in high amounts, can cause muscle and joint pains, including backache.  To ease your pain, your doctor may recommend that you take acetaminophen (paracetamol), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, or aspirin.  These types of medicine may interact with other drugs, so make sure you talk to your doctor about possible conflicts.

Quick relief:

Pack some ice.  To relieve backache, reach for an ice pack, Apply it for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.  Alternately, fill a paper cup with water, freeze it, peel back the paper, and rub the ice on sore spots, don’t hold the ice on the area for more than 20 minutes, and keep a thin towel between you and the ice to prevent damage to your skin.

Pack some heat

After the first couple of days, you may get more comfort from the warmth of a heating pad, bath, or shower.  Try moist heat.  Rinse a small towel under hot water and bring it to near dry.  Apply heat for up to 15 minutes at a time.  If you use a heating pad on a medium setting, be careful not to fall asleep or leave it on too long, he says.  You could burn your skin.  Try hydro collars, which are sold at chemists and look like little sandbags.  Toss one into a pot of hot water and when the bag is heated, apply it to your sore spot for 15 minutes.

Go hot and cold. 

Its technical name is hydrotherapy, but all it means is using water to soothe your sore back.  Alternate hot and cold packs for about 15 minutes on your back when it hurts, says Robert Edwards, a massage therapist.  Get extra relief by soaking in a warm bath, then applying a cold compress.  “A warm bath is relaxing and soothing,” he adds.  while the cold compress helps minimize pain.

Ease the pain with exercise: Get out of bed. 

“Most people shouldn’t be in bed for back pain,” says Reid, therapy coordinator at the Spine Institute of New England.  Movement helps the body heal faster, even after age 60.  That may contradict what you’ve heard in the past, but doctors no longer recommend more than a few days of bed rest for backache and only then if the pain is severe.  Too much rest can actually make backache worse or lead to chronic pain that comes and goes for months or years.  That’s because muscles become lax and bones lose strength when they’re not used.  Resist the urge to rest in bed, especially for more than two to three days, says Steven Mandel, MD, a clinical professor of neurology.  Studies show that light activity actually hastens healing.  It you feel you need bed rest, take it but try walking around every few hours, even if you have a little pain, he says.  A stroll around the house or yard will help strengthen muscles and keep them limber.  Until you’re feeling better, though, avoid activities that may strain the lower back, such as vacuuming or gardening.

Reach for the home stretch. 

As soon as you’re able, add some gentle stretches to your daily routine.  This will speed healing and increase flexibility.

Try this exercise.  

Lie on the floor on your back and hug your knees to your chest.  Hold for 15 seconds.  Relax.  Repeat two times.  Go to the point of stretch, not to the point of pain.  If you can’t get down on the floor, you can still stretch, Reid says.  Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor.  Lean forward from the waist, bringing your chest slowly toward your thighs.  Breathe in on the way down, and let the air out with a sigh as you lower yourself near your legs.  Hold the stretch for 15 seconds.  You can do this stretch as often as you like.  Reid says.  Or try this standing stretch, Reid suggests.  Stand with your feet shoulder – width apart with your hands on the small of your back.  Lean backward as you breathe out, then ease off and repeat several times.  This promotes a backward motion of the spine.

Soothe with yoga. 

Yoga stretches, called asana, may help relieve some back pain, says Alice Christensen, founder and executive director of the American Yoga Association in Sarasota, Florida.  But be sure to get your doctor’s approval before trying this or other yoga poses.  With this pose, Christensen suggests, pretending that you’re an ocean liner slicing through the deep blue.  Lie on your stomach with your arms outstretched in front of you and your forehead on the floor Exhale completely, then inhale as you raise your legs, arms, and head all at once, looking up, lift yourself up only as far as you can comfortably.  Exhale and lower your body.  Rest completely, then repeat two more times.  The classic knee – to – chest pose helps relieve common lower – back discomfort: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides.  Place a folded towel under your head to keep your neck and head in line with the spine.  Bring your right knee up to your chest.  Place your clasped hands underneath your right knee.  Relax the right foot.  Straighten the left leg on the floor as you flex the left foot.  Keep your head centered and relax your shoulders.  Hold this pose for 20 to 60 seconds, and then do the same exercise with the left leg.  Try to do at least two sets every day, suggests yoga instructor,  .

Add some aerobic options. 

As your pain diminishes, within the first few days or weeks, add some light aerobic activity, such as walking, swimming, or bicycling.  Mandel suggests.  Exercise is no guarantee you’ll never have back pain but it can lessen the chances of a relapse by strengthening muscles and supplying them with oxygen.

Go slow. 

“When someone starts exercising, there’s a tendency to say, ‘Tell go until I can’t go anymore, “That’s a recipe for failure.” You may feel too sore to try again.  Instead, start with short periods of exercise several times a day.  Go for five minutes out and five minutes back.  Build up to six minutes and then seven.  “Before long, you’re up to your first half hour but you’re doing it safely.

Try a pseudo – sit up.    

suggests this modified sit-up.  Lie on your back with your knees bent in a comfortable position and your hands on your thighs.  Lift your head and shoulders off the floor slowly as you slide your fingertips to reach your knees.  Hold for a count of three and gradually ease back down.  Start slowly, but aim for three sets of 10 repetitions.  Don’t attempt this exercise, however, if you are currently experiencing back pain.

Stretch like an elephant.     

Stand up and bend your torso forward as far as is comfortable.  Let your arms hang separate and loosely at your sides.  Next, swing your arms gently from side to side like the trunk of a contented elephant. This relieves pressure in the sacrum the lower part of the spine – and loosens your hip and lower back muscles After a minute of swaying, uncurl your spine and slowly straighten to a standing position, Bring your head up last. Repeat these steps at least six times a day.

Try tai chi.

This “moving meditation “offers graceful movements that are relaxing and energizing, says Lana Sparker, a master instructor who has taught tai chi for more than 25 years.” Tai chi is successful for older people because it is done slowly and gently, exercising all the muscles of the body in a balanced way, “says Sparker, who is also a certified Alexander Technique instructor.

Slip into the pool.

Water provides buoyancy and allows your tender muscles the chance to move freely without a lot of resistance.  Here’s a tip: Take gentle laps for at least 10 to 12 minutes in a pool with a water temperature of at least 83 F.  Warm water helps relax back muscles.

Loosen the legs. 

You might think that the problem is in your back, where the pain is, but it could be in your legs.  After sitting or bending all day, your leg muscles may be extremely tight or unbalanced (meaning that some muscles may be loose and relaxed but others are contracted or in spasm).  Tight leg muscles pull oddly on the torso and put pressure on the back and abdominal muscles.  To rebalance your calf muscles, stand flat – footed on a stair step in flat, comfortable shoes with the balls of your feet on the very edge and your heels in the air, holding on to a railing for support, slowly lower your heels until you feel a tightness up the back of the legs.  Hold for a few seconds, repeat 5 to 10 times, and do as needed during the day.

Extend those hamstrings. 

The same is true of those muscles running down the back of your thighs.  Sitting for long periods, the bane of office workers – shortens the hamstring muscles in the back of your legs, which then yank on the pelvis and make other muscles compensate.  Work your hamstrings by standing up and placing one heel on a steady chair or end table.  (Hold on to a nearby table or chair for balance).  Keep this leg straight and lean forward until you feel a pulling sensation in the back of your thigh.  Hold for about 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg.

Do this a few times a day, especially after you’ve been sitting for a long time of no – stress sit – up.  To do a crunch, lie on your back on a carpeted floor or an exercise mat with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, fingertips lightly touching the sides of the head, and elbows out to the sides.  Tilt your pelvis so that your lower back stays flat on the floor, and then curl your body up so that your head and shoulders come off the floor.  Keep the crunch slow take three seconds to lift your head and shoulders, pause for a second with the abs fully contracted, and then take three seconds to lower your body. you do these crunches for a 10-minute session every day.

Stretch your spine. 

Carry on with your normal everyday activities, but avoid lifting and strenuous sports until the pain has subsided and your strength has returned.  Great Ormond Street Hospital.  London.  In the evening, she suggests you stretch out your spine by lying face up over a lumbar roll (also called a ‘back archer’) – most health stores stock them but check the instructions carefully, because it should be placed under the sacrum (the lower back, at the top of your bottom).  “If you can’t get one. Put a large, soft – backed book under your sacrum – a telephone directory is ideal,” says Dr  Start with a lumbar roll about two inches high and gradually increase the height as your flexibility improves.

You’ll feel a powerful stretch, but try to relax so that the vertebrae can separate a little and the spine opens out.  The first time you use the roll you may only manage a few seconds, but persevere and extend the time gradually until it feels relatively comfortable.  Always do five curl – ups after this exercise to stretch out the opposing muscles and prevent any muscular spasm.

Try some “back-ups.”

If you have lower back pain, do the following exercise.  Lying on your stomach, use your arms to push your upper body off whatever you are lying on.  Do 10 of these in bed before getting up, and another 10 before bed at night.  “It shouldn’t hurt, but if it does, disconnect immediately and get medical advice.

Hang around. 

Try hanging off a door frame for do – it – yourself traction, but only if you’re strong enough.  “This is particularly good for chronic back pain, but only do it if it helps.

Everyday prevention: Give yourself a lift. 

Bending and lifting incorrectly are major causes of back pain. Even if you’re not lifting anything, 70 percent of your body weight is above pounding every time he bends. The waist,” he says.  That means a 150 – pound person lifts about 100

Don’t lift with your back   

Next time you reach for a suitcase in your car trunk, bend your hips and knees, keeping your back straight.

Hold on tight. 

When you’re carrying luggage, keep it close to you.  The further away you hold an object, the more it weighs.  And avoid lifting loads of more than 5 to 10 pounds, he advises.

Push rather than pull your loads. 

That way your legs bear most of the weight.

Stay straight. 

If you’re moving a box, don’t pick it up and twist your body.  “Never bend and twist.  Instead, grasp the box diagonally from the bottom, keeping it close to your body.  Lift with your legs and buttock muscles while keeping your back straight.  Then face squarely to where you set it down.

Please don’t be seated

Sitting can actually aggravate back problems.  Sleeping sitting for long periods on soft, cushy sofas or recliners can cause your back to slouch or your neck and head to be held forced forward, he says.  Pick the right chair, “Sitting for prolonged periods can aggravate your back,” says Dr.  Light.  “You should find a chair with a firm cushion on the seat and with armrests. Both of these will help support the spine.

Rise from the monitor.

If you sit at a computer or desk for hours at a time, get up and do something else about every 30 minutes: You’ll provide your back with needed nutrients by keeping the circulation going. “It’s really important to move around.

Get even. 

Position your computer monitor at eye level, even if you have to put it on top of a telephone book.  Keep your elbows bent at 90-degree angles and your arms parallel with the floor.  Your feet should be flat on the floor or on a low stool.

Get out of a slump. 

When you’re sitting at your desk, try not to slouch, Reid cautions.  Tuck a pillow or rolled towel behind your lower back for extra support.  Or invest in a high – end office chair with a seat height and seat pan (the forward – back tilt of your seat) that can be adjusted to meet your needs,

Stand safely.  

When you’re standing for long periods of time, that, too, can aggravate back pain.  Vary your position.  While standing, keep one foot on a low stool.  Or keep a taller stool nearby, so you can sometimes sit while you work.  Wheeler suggests.  Another option, of course, is to run errands during off – peak hours so you won’t have to spend as much time standing in line.

Sleep right. 

To prevent or minimize back pain at night, keep your spine in a neutral position.  Dr. says.  Don’t prop your head and neck with a big pillow.  Instead, choose one that keeps your head and neck in line with your upper back.  “Sleep only on your side or your back, but never on your stomach.” He speaks.  Sleeping on your stomach twists your neck and back.  Also, avoid extremes in surfaces, such as saggy mattresses or bare floors.  A good mattress and pillow will maintain your neck and back in the correct posture even while you sleep.  Pillows between your knees or along your back or sides may provide further comfort to your back and shoulders.  Or.  Dr. says, if you’re on your back, prop a pillow under your knees.

Pick the right pillow. 

Hardness is the enemy.  A pillow only needs to be firm enough to keep its shape and support the lower neck when you sleep on your side.

Ease into the driver’s seat. 

To get safely into your car, lower yourself backward onto the seat, keeping your feet on the ground.  Bring one leg and then the other into the car, “even if you have to use your hands to pick up those legs.”     To get out of the car, do the opposite.  If you need to carefully support yourself on the back of the seat as you rise.

Ride in style

If you’re driving or riding in the car on a long trip, use a small pillow and vary its position on your back for comfort.  Take a break about every two hours and walk a bit.  Your back will thank you for it.  Don’t lean forward with your upper body when you are driving, cautions Hope.    the Alexander Technique is a method for improving movement and posture.  “You want your neck, shoulders, and back to be as free of tension as possible,” she says.  Slide your hips all the way into the back of the car seat and lean into the seat back.  And position your seat so that you can hold the steering wheel comfortably.  If you are too close, you will have to hunch your shoulders to hold the wheel.  If you are too far away, you will have to round your upper back to reach it.

DO a sidewalk window – check. 

“When you are walking by a shop window, look at your reflection and check out how you are moving,” says Tiller man.  “If you are leaning forward. Stop walking. Then bring your weight back on to your heels of your feet and feel the ground solidly underneath your whole foot.

Then watch your stride.

After you have checked out your reflection, continue to pay attention to your posture as you start walking again. If you are slumping and tucking your hips forward, let your hips shift slightly backward and unlock your knees. While you are moving, think about lengthening your spine, like an arrow pointing up away from the ground.

Wear well – cushioned shoes.

“Any shoe with a cushioned sole and good arch support can help prevent back pain,” says Dr. But high heels are the worst shoe for your back. “They exaggerate the lumbar curve – the curve in the lower part of your back – and that can cause back pain, “he says.

Belt up for safety.

If your job requires frequent lifting, Dr. suggests that you wear an abdominal belt:” It pulls in the abdomen, helps support the spine, and it reminds you to lift correctly.  “Weight lifters wear these belts to protect their backs during exercise. The belts are available at sporting goods stores and most drugstores.

Use a stool when you stand.”

If you are standing a lot, it is best to bend one knee and put it.  on a stool – that helps relax your back, “says Dr.

Bone up on supplements.”

If you are a woman over the age of 40. You BACK PAIN 53 should consider taking calcium supplements, “says Dr. Calcium helps protect your spine and the rest of your skeleton from osteoporosis. The disease of eroding and weakening bones. In older women especially. There is the risk that vertebrae may fracture.  If they are weakened by osteoporosis. But calcium can help prevent the disease. And if you have a family history of osteoporosis. 


“Smoking decreases circulation to the disks and causes them to degenerate sooner,” says Dr.  .

Hands – on help:

Find a hero. Attention all partners of back pain sufferers – here’s your chance to be a real hero to your mate When your partner begs for a gentle massage, rub to the rescue, says Dr. Using both your thumbs or the heels of your hands, rub up the center of the spine, starting at the bottom of the back.  and stopping just below the shoulder blades.  Then start over again at the bottom.  Massage stimulates the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid (which tends to accumulate around an injury site).  If you do this kind of massage, it reduces swelling and promotes healing.

Turn to a professional.  

Let someone else’s hands do the walking – all over your aching back.  Regular professional massages, as part of an overall treatment program, can significantly improve your back ailments.  Check with your insurance company; they may even cover therapeutic massage.  As you get your massage, don’t just lie there and grunt, by the way.  Be sure to tell your massage therapist what helps and what hurts, he adds.

Work on your feet. 

According to reflexology, the art of improving your health by manipulating pressure points in your feet, the midway point down the inner sides of your foot represent the spine and back area.  By pressing on that special point, you can relieve some of your back pain.  How do you find this precise spot?  Instead of memorizing the special reflexology chart, just give yourself a foot rub down those inner sides when you have back pain, Edwards says.  “If you find a point that is extremely tender, then you know you have it,” he says.  Once you find that point, gradually increase the amount of pressure.

Roll around. 

If your game isn’t up to par lately, you can still put all your tennis and golf balls to good use.  Grab a tennis ball (for beginners) or a golf ball (for advanced folks) to give yourself a quick and easy back massage, either sitting in a chair or lying down, take a tennis ball and place it behind your lower back or wherever you feel pain.  Then roll around and move your back so that the ball rubs into your back muscles.  “It will cause some relief.  If at any time you feel pain, either let up on the ball or stop, he adds.  suggests rolling around for two to three minutes twice a day.

Stretch back your back. 

This acupressure move stimulates several key trigger points in your upper back and loosens the knots that tend to pain.  Interlace your hands with your palms facing each other behind your back near your buttocks.  As you inhale deeply, stretch your arms away from your back, pressing your shoulder blades together, Hold for a few seconds.  Repeat this exercise three more times, and do them twice a day, says Dr.

Make some heat.  

Using either your palms or the back of your hands, rub your lower back until you generate heat.  “The friction will warm the area and increase circulation,” said Dr.  By rubbing the entire lower – back area, you inevitably stimulate many of the acupressure points located there .   This will activate those points and will ease some of your pain.

Reach for your knees. 

An acupressure point located in the center of the crease in the back of the knee can relieve back pain.  Using your fingers, find the center of the crease.  Apply firm pressure with your fingers at different angles, until you feel a rather sharp sensation.  “This usually takes some gentle poking around.  When you feel the sensation, you have the point.  Hold that point for about two minutes, slowly inhaling and exhaling.  After doing one side, switch to the other, Dr.  Gash says.  For best results, do both knees three times a day.

Press pain away.  

Another acupressure point for back pain is located on the outside of your ankles between the ankle bone and your heel.  Place your thumb on the outside of your right ankle, and place your index finger on the inside of your ankle, as if you were pinching your ankles.  Slide your thumb and press it into the soft tissue in the back of your heel bone.  Hold the pressure for at least two minutes.  Shake out the ankle before doing the same thing to your left side.  Keep your breathing deep and slow during the exercise.  Repeat this exercise three times a day for best results,

Stick your finger in your ear. 

There is an acupressure point inside the top of your ear – called the neuromata point – that can control back pain, says certified acupuncturist Dr.  David Nickel.  The neuromata point is located in the middle of the upper part of the ear, just above the main ear opening.  Press the point firmly for five seconds, then let go for five seconds.  Stick with the five – second intervals for one full minute.  Exhale through your mouth as you apply the pressure, and inhale through your nose as you ease off the pressure point.  If you can’t find the exact point, press all over your ear until you hit a tender spot, Repeat the exercises two or three times a day or as needed for relief of pain.

Engage in hand – to – hand combat.  

Two points on the top of your hand can   ease the pain for lower – back strains.  One point is about an inch or so down from your knuckles between your ring and pinkie finger, the other is at the same spot between your index and middle finger, Judi like you would for your ear acupressure points, press down on the point with your thumb or finger for five seconds, then release for five seconds, Inhale through your nose as you let up, exhale through your mouth as you apply the pressure.

You can use this point to prevent back pain as well, Press the points on the left hand, just like you would if you had an injury – five seconds on, five seconds off.  While you do this, slowly move the upper part of the body into the range of discomfort as you press and then exhale.  Then gently move your body back to a comfortable position Visualize the ligaments and muscles growing stronger as you breathe, you should feel a “good” hurt, that is, a hot stinging sensation, when you do preventive acupressure for back pain.  Then switch and apply the pressure points on the right hand.

Mind over malady: Change the pain. 

You can try to relax into the pain so your perception of it changes.  Just imagine that you smell cabbage cooking.  At first the scent is overpowering, but before long, you don’t notice it anymore.  The sensation of pain, too.  may be great.  But if you can relax and “just hang out with it for a time,” he says, your perception of the pain might lessen.  “The pain is still there but it doesn’t feel so bad.”

Relax your mind and your back.  

Back pain can be an endless cycle.  You have a spasm, or you feel a sharp stab of pain.  Your mind goes through a quick checklist: “Is it serious? Will I have to take off work? Do I have to see a doctor? How am I going to get everything done? I don’t need this.” This stressed – out feeling sends your body into tense mode, and ends up tensing up muscles everywhere, including your back   the result?  Tighten your back muscles even more, you end up with even greater pain, and the cycle repeats itself.  When you feel back pain, you need to calm down your mind and your back.  During your next back pain attack, try the following exercise:

Sit in a chair and focus on your breathing.  Slowly inhale, hold the breath for a second, then exhale as you are blowing on a candle flame but you don’t want to blow it out.  As you do this, picture yourself sinking into the chair Think about feeling warmth and heaviness near your back.  “The warmth helps relieve pain and tension.  Do this for two to five minutes a few times a day, he suggests.  “Whenever you feel the tense of stressed or your pain increases, take a short break, even one to two minutes, at work, at home, wherever. This is a portable approach that can be done anywhere as needed.” He explains.  This should help relieve some of the pain as well as relax your entire body and mind.

Harp on your back. 

Listening to the quiet music of the harp has helped people deal with pain for ages.  In the Bible.  David played the harp to rid Saul of an evil spirit.  Monks played the instrument to assist the dying.  You may just need it to quell some back pain.  The harp has been used in music therapy to alleviate many types of pain, but especially back pain, Campbell says.  Buy a tape or CD of harp music and have it ready to go the next time your back starts harping on you.  Although music is therapeutic and aids in relieving or “masking” pain, Campbell stresses that it is a great complementary therapy, when used as an adjunct to your normal medication.

Herbal Help: Pump in the blood flow. 

Getting fresh blood to an injury brings in nutrients needed for healing and also carries away waste products manufactured by injured cells.   The herb ginkgo biloba has been shown to dilate blood vessels and may theoretically increase blood flow to your aching back.  You can buy the herb in capsule form in health food stores and over the counter at many chemists.  Dr, recommends a product with standardized extract.  Follow the package directions for dosage information.

Try a combo. 

In some cases, a combination approach may be useful where ginkgo balboa increases blood flow, curcuma can add an anti-inflammatory effect, Curcuma, a highly concentrated form of turmeric sold in health food stores, is a potent anti-inflammatory medicine that is very effective for a soft tissue injury, like a sore back, says Dr.  Look for a product (capsule form) with standardized extract of 95 percent, and follow the recommended dosage on the bottle.

Pepper the pain.

 Red pepper contains a marvelous pain – relieving chemical – capsaicin – that is so potent that a tiny amount provides the active ingredient in some powerful pharmaceutical topical analgesics.  You can buy a commercial cream containing capsaicin and use that or simply use red pepper.  A hot pepper costs a few cents, while capsaicin drugs cost a few dollars.  You can mash a red pepper and rub it directly on the painful area.  You can also take any white skin cream that you have on hand – cold cream will do and mix in enough red pepper to turn it pink.  Whether you use a Foam or a hot pepper, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward: You don’t want to get it in your eyes.  Also, since some people are quite Sensitive to this compound, you should test it on a small area of ​​skin to make sure it’s okay for you to use before using it on a larger area.  If it seems to irritate your skin, use discontinue.

Try willow and other forms of natural aspirin.  

Aspirin originally came from compounds known as salicylates that occur naturally in willow bark, meadowsweet and wintergreen.  Any of these herbs can be made into pain relieving teas.

Make pain vanish with mint. 

You will find the compounds menthol and camphor in many over-the-counter backache medications.  They are chemicals that can help ease the muscle tightness that contributes to many bad backs.  Menthol is a natural constituent of plants in the mint family, particularly peppermint and spearmint, although the aromatic oils of all the other mints contain it as well.  Camphor occurs in spike lavender, hyssop and coriander.  Dilute essential oils in a carrier base oil such as jojoba, baby, or castor oil (10 to 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil).  Then have someone massage them into your back to help alleviate pain.  You can also put a few drops of peppermint on a compress and place it against the sore area of ​​your back.  Peppermint gets the circulation moving and the blood flowing to the injured area.

Strike oil. 

Treatment with essential oils can often help relieve the painful muscle spasms that contribute to back pain.  Several of these – sage, rosemary, thyme, horsebalm and mountain dittany – are rich in thymol and carvacrol, compounds that help relax muscles.  To use any of these oils, add a few drops to a couple of tablespoons of any vegetable oil and massage the oil mixture directly into the affected area.  You might also add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath and soak for a while, inhaling the vapors.  (Remember, though, never to ingest an essential oil, as small quantities of some oils can be fatal.)

The liver is the largest organ in the body, Gallstones

The liver is the largest organ in the body, Gallstones

Gallstones; raised liver enzymes

The liver is the largest organ in the body, and one of the most important.  It has many vital functions relating to the blood, and others relating to the digestion, absorption and storage of nutrients.  The gall – bladder nestles below the liver and supports it in the digestion of far: it acts as a reservoir for bile, the fat – digesting fluid produced by the liver.  The gall – bladder stores the bile until it is discharged during digestion into the duodenum, the first part of the intestine.  The majority of people don’t realize they have a gall-bladder until they are hit with the excruciating pain that accompanies gallstones and inflammation of the gall bladder.  It has been estimated that ten per cent of the Western population suffer from gallstones.  Gallstones are pebble – like balls of cholesterol – rich crystals which form within the gall bladder.

There may be one walnut – sized gallstone or hundreds of them, smaller than grains of rice.  Problems occur when they block the route of the bile to the intestine and irritate the lining of the gall-bladder, causing it to become inflamed (cholecystitis).  If the bile’s exit is blocked, its yellowish pigment will be returned to the blood via the liver, and the body can become jaundiced (the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellowy orange).  Jaundice requires medical investigation and treatment, along with specific dietary advice from your doctor.  Since the major function of bile is to help the body digest fat, the lack of bile causes fat malabsorption, which leads to other symptoms bloating, nausea, diarrhea and steatorrhea (fatty. Smelly stools) Nutritionally, the best way to prevent and treat gall – Bladder disease is to make sure that you eat plenty of high fiber foods, as these help your body rid itself of unwanted fat.  Having said this, some people seem to have a genetic predisposition to developing gallstones, however healthy and well balanced their diet is.

 Prevention of gallstones

Understanding your nutritional needs explains the elements of a balanced, healthy diet.  The general principles apply to anyone who wants to maintain good health

and prevent disease. While high fat, low fiber diets have been linked with the formation of gallstones, there is little evidence to say that you need to avoid fat completely.  You need a certain amount of fatty provide and metabolize nutrients within your body.  However, many people in Western society eat far too much fat.  If you eat a lot of fried foods, takeaways, high fat snacks such as crisps and chocolate, butter and cheese.  I suggest you think seriously about your eating habits.  Take things gradually: grill or bake rather than fry, plan a big healthy salad instead of a takeaway, make crisps and chocolate an occasional treat rather than an everyday snack.

Many people would also benefit from boosting their fiber intake.  Fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, wholegrain cereals, bread and rice should all feature in your daily or weekly eating plan.  Make sure you drink plenty of water to help the fiber work efficiently in your body.  Some studies have suggested that coffee and tea can reduce the production of gallstones, but do not take this to mean that copious consumption will dissolve the stones, it will not.  The disadvantages of excessive tea and coffee drinking far outweigh the benefits, so enjoy two to three cups a day, but no more.

Dealing with gall – bladder problems

Managing gall – bladder disease is all about discovering which foods upset you and which foods you can tolerate.  To investigate how different foods affect your symptoms, try keeping a food diary: for a couple of weeks.  Some people think that fat will upset them, but when they keep a note of everything, they eat they find that there is no correlation between fat and their symptoms.  The reason why fat can cause pain and nausea is that the presence of fat in the stomach stimulates the gall – bladder to contract and release bile.  If there are stones in the gall – bladder or the gall – bladder ducts are inflamed, this contraction can bring about pain.

Many patients diagnosed with gall-bladder problems think they need to shop for low fat products.  I do not generally recommend these because they don’t really contribute to a healthy diet: they can be very high in sugar, artificial additives and preservatives, and the taste often leaves a lot to be desired.  It is much better for you to stick to natural fats like olive oil and butter, but cut down on the amount you use.

The gall-bladder does not react any differently to saturated fats (found mainly in meat, butter and other dairy products) and unsaturated fats (found in vegetable fats such as olive oil, and in oily fish).  However, if you have a raised cholesterol level consider choosing olive oil rather than butter.  Women with gallstones need to be particularly careful when cutting out dairy products, because these provide such a significant amount of calcium.  Calcium is vital for maintaining healthy bones, and lack of it can increase the risk of osteoporosis, a common condition in women after menopause.  Younger women should be aware that they need to maintain bone density throughout their lives.

The best way to approach this and prevent gall – bladder discomfort is to avoid having large lumps of cheese or glasses of full cream milk on an empty stomach. Instead, incorporate small amounts of dairy products – semi – skimmed or skimmed milk, yoghurt, cheese – within meals.  these foods.  It is usually the large load of fat that causes problems.  Instead, stagger your intake of fat throughout the day, and combine it with high fiber foods, for instance having butter on whole meal bread or a light vinaigrette dressing on salads.  People sometimes forget that if you eat a lot the stomach may swell and press against the inflamed gall bladder and cause pain.

It may be nothing to do with the fat content of your meal, but simply the sheer volume of food in your stomach.  Small meals are often the best eating style, as this not only limits the pressure on the gall-bladder, it also allows the body to digest the food most efficiently.  Of course, if you are carrying excess body weight, a gall – bladder problem may be the spur you need to lose weight by reducing the amount of fat and other concentrated sources of calories in your diet.  But as with all weight loss programs it is best to lose weight gradually and to find an eating style which doesn’t make you feel deprived (see Achieving your ideal weight).

The majority of my patients with gall-bladder problems find that, if they increase their intake of high fiber foods, this has a cushioning effect which stops the fat within the meal setting off any pain.  Some patients notice that certain high fiber foods such as cauliflower and broccoli have a tendency to produce wind and bloating, which can set their gall-bladder pain off.  This is nothing to do with the fat content of the diet.  In this instance I suggest experimenting with different types of high fiber foods, drinking plenty of water and protecting the healthy bacteria in your gut. Some people find that excess tea and coffee can cause bloating, which can trigger pain, so limit yourself to two or three.  cups a day.

Removal of the gall – bladder

in the past the majority of people with gallstones had to have surgery to remove the gall – bladder, but now there are simpler, non – invasive treatments which can either dissolve the gallstones or smash them up with ultrasound.  The symptoms usually disappear almost immediately, although the gall bladder may remain inflamed for a few days after the procedure.  Some patients come to me having been told by their surgeon to lose excess weight before they can have the operation to remove the gall-bladder.  It is tempting to go on a crash diet to lose the weight so you can be relieved of the pain, but it is better to try to lose it gradually by adjusting you’re eating habits.  so that it stays off after the operation.

You should be able to lose weight while managing your symptoms by adopting a higher fiber, lower fat diet, so that the overall efficiency of your treatment is good.  If you have your gall – bladder removed, you will need to address the fat content of your diet if you are to remain symptom – free.  There is no reason why Your body cannot digest fat, as it is the liver that produces the bile, not the gall bladder.  So, when you have your gall – bladder removed the liver will still produce bile, but your body won’t have a reservoir on which it can draw if you have a fatty meal.  Most people find that keeping their intake of fat at a healthy level helps their digestive system to cope.

Try to have small amounts of fat regularly, taken with high fiber foods, such as a slice of cheese on whole meal bread with a bunch of grapes, rather than gorging on a plate of cheese on its own.  This eating pattern will enable your liver to judge how much bile to produce.  Don’t go for long, relatively fat – free periods and then expect your liver to produce a large amount of bile to digest a fatty meal, as the liver takes time to respond.  People who have the stone dissolved or smashed by ultrasound shouldn’t have any further problems digesting fat, but I suggest you keep a food diary for a few weeks to check your overall nutritional balance.

Raised liver enzymes

Routine blood tests can occasionally show raised liver enzymes.  The presence of abnormally raised enzymes in the blood suggests that the liver is working at a reduced capacity.  This can occur for many reasons and your doctor will need to investigate further.  The most common causes are infections such as those caused by the hepatitis virus (hepatitis A, B or C), or the side effects of certain drugs.  In some cases, a cancerous tumor will produce significantly higher enzyme levels.  Often there is no underlying cause for the raised enzymes other than that the liver is not coping with your eating and drinking habits.

In these cases, raised liver enzymes are a warning that you need to take your body seriously and start looking after it.  Your doctor will be able to tell whether the Gamma GT level is raised, which usually suggests that you are drinking too much alcohol.  However, some livers are just more sensitive than others.  There are people who, despite leading a healthy lifestyle, always show raised liver enzymes.  This may happen because of an earlier illness or as an unexplainable phenomenon, which many doctors don’t worry about unless the levels change significantly.

If you have been diagnosed as having raised liver enzyme levels and your doctor reassures you that all you need to do is start looking after your liver there are several nutritional issues you can address which will allow your liver to recover and stay healthy.  This is definitely in your best interest, as liver failure is one of the most debilitating illnesses.


Remember that everything you put into your body is metabolized by the liver.  This includes nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies, so don’t take any medication, whether wholly natural or over-the-counter drugs, unless you have discussed them with your GP.  It is important not to overload your liver with substances, be they food or drugs, that might compound the problem.


Your doctor may suggest that you abstain from alcohol until your liver enzymes return to normal.  There are plenty of alcohol – free drinks, such as sparkling and fruit – flavored waters, elderflower cordials, apple, cranberry and other fruit juices, that are quite delicious.  Remember that you are saving your liver.  In other circumstances you may simply be advised to cut down your alcohol intake.  Many people find that spirits – whiskey, brandy gin, vodka – hit the liver harder than wines, probably due to their high alcohol content.

I advise that you stick to wine and don’t drink on an empty stomach, as this causes a rush of alcohol into your system, which your liver has to work overtime to deal with Drinking a small amount of wine with food is the best plan.  Beware of dessert wines such as Sauternes and Taraji, as these tend to be hard on the liver.  Beers seem to be reasonably well tolerated, their main drawback being that you tend to drink them without food, which can cause your liver to complain.


caffeine irritates the liver, so cutting down on caffeine – containing drinks – tea, coffee, cola, hot chocolate – to no more than two cups a day will help your liver recover more quickly.


you have raised liver enzymes but no other medical problem such as hepatitis, a well-balanced, healthy diet, as discussed in the chapter on Understanding your nutritional needs, will enable your liver to recover as quickly as possible.  There is one area to which you should pay particular attention: fats.  Fat is one of the hardest foods for the body to break down and metabolize, and it is often even more difficult for people with raised liver enzymes.

They may suffer from indigestion, bloating, wind and a general feeling of heaviness when they eat fatty foods.  It is therefore best to avoid fried foods, cream, butter – rich pastries and large pieces of cheese on their own.  Keep food simple.  Chargrilled fish, roast lean meats, steamed, baked or roasted vegetables can all be flavored with herbs for plenty of variety: they don’t need to be cooked with lashings of oil, butter or cream.

Eat pasta with a tomato sauce rather than a creamy one, look to desserts based on fresh fruits.  If your body weight is on the low side and you are worried about cutting such a rich source of calories out of your diet, step up your intake of starchy foods (carbohydrates) such as pasta, rice, potatoes and bread, as well as pulses and lean proteins, to give your body the energy it needs.  Some people with raised liver enzymes get indigestion from certain foods such as bread or pasta.

If you suspect a particular food, keep a diary of your food, drink and symptoms If one item seems to be responsible, avoid it for a week or two, replacing it with an equally nutritious food, and see if there is any difference. I suggest you also read the Managing allergies.

Arthritis and Gout, arthritis means inflammation of a joint

Arthritis and Gout, arthritis means inflammation of a joint

Arthritis and gout

While heart disease and cancer are the biggest killers in the Western world, arthritis remains a major cause of disability. The term arthritis means inflammation of a joint. Painful, swollen, contorted joints can be a severe handicap, especially when these are the joints of the hand or wrist. Arthritis is not confined to the elderly , there are several types that affect people of all ages , from the juvenile arthritis known as Still’s disease , sometimes found in babies just a few months old , to ankylosing spondylitis , osteoarthritis , psoriatic , rheumatoid and crystal arthritis , also known as gout , which often begins when men are between forty and fifty Correct nutrition can bring tremendous relief to many arthritis sufferers , but it must be undertaken with care , as the different types of arthritis require different nutritional manage mint . It will also take time – anything from a few days to weeks – to calm your body down from any food – related inflammation, and you should allow a couple of months to glean the full benefit from the foods you eat.

You may be used to seeing quicker results from medication, but keep reminding yourself that in the long run your whole body will benefit. Of course, some people cannot cope without medication, but the side effects of some of the powerful drugs used to treat arthritis range from chronic loss of appetite and mild indigestion to more serious gastric or intestinal irritation, even bleeding and subsequent anemia. In this chapter I shall concentrate on rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout, as these are most common in Western society, but will begin with some general advice. The guidelines are much the same as for any healthy person: they play an important role in both the treatment of arthritis and the prevention of complications.

First of all, follow a healthy eating plan. By this I mean that you should eat as wide a variety as possible of fresh foods: vegetables and pulses, fruit, cereal products (bread, rice, pasta etc.) dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, meat. Vitamin and mineral intakes in arthritis sufferers are often low. This is partly because it can be difficult to shop. cook and care for yourself, and there may be days when you don’t feel like eating much. Medication also has a number of side effects: some drugs take your appetite away or make you crave sweet foods, which don’t tend to be high in vitamins and minerals.

Others interfere with the metabolism of vitamins and minerals, or increase the amount of protein, calcium and zinc the body excretes. Lack of these essential nutrients can cause your body to become more susceptible to colds, infections and other health problems. You should have small meals at least three times a day, rather than skipping meals or having one large, blow – out meal, especially late at night. A regular eating pattern will give your body a steady intake of nutrients.

Water is necessary to keep your body functioning efficiently and enable it to glean nutrients from the food you eat. Aim to drink two and a half liters / four to five pints a day. The following points apply to most arthritis sufferers:

• Keep your caffeine and tannin intakes low. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cola – based drinks contain caffeine and tannin, which inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals from the gut. Caffeine can also make the gut more sensitive to the irritating effects of anti – inflammatory medication and can increase fluid retention, both of which can cause disability and pain. Ideally keep your intake down to two or three cups a day. Try herb and fruit teas for caffeine – free alternatives.

Watch your weight. Excess weight puts stress on the joints, causing pain and discomfort. Remember it’s much easier to stop weight piling on than to try to lose it later. Unfortunately, it is very easy for arthritis sufferers to put on weight, especially if they are prescribed steroids to reduce the inflammatory process. The balance between calorie intake and expenditure goes against you when it is painful to move around and exercise. You also have to contend with the emotional aspect of being in pain and unable to do anything about it. We would all admit to comfort eating at times, and people with arthritis have more reason than most to turn to food for solace. When you are in pain it is tempting to grab something quick and easy – there are plenty of healthy foods which fit this description.

• Try to keep organized. Most people with arthritis go through good and not so – good periods. Use the periods when you are feeling better to stock up your cupboards and fridge and cook meals which can be frozen in small portions, so that when your joints are extra painful you have plenty of healthy food to. fall back on.

• Any doctor or physiotherapist will agree on the merits of regular exercise. It is important to keep your joints moving, so that in the long run they will be more flexible and less painful and disabling. You need to include stretching and strengthening exercises as well as cardiovascular aerobic exercises. There is a fine balance to achieve, though while you need to exercise the joints, you also need to give them time to recover and rest. If they are particularly inflamed and sore, see if things get better with a day or two’s rest. Once things improve, build up gradually with some exercise.

• Feeling tense, stressed or guilty about resting are arthritis – aggravating emotions. To help you relax, consider aromatherapy oils, such as comfrey. lavender, enroll, votive and benzoin. Comfrey is particularly good at reducing inflammation. These oils can be used in a burner, dropped into your bath, or diluted in a carrier oil (such as grapeseed) and used in massage. It needn’t be a whole-body massage; a foot, hand or back massage can relieve an affected area.

• If you suspect that your arthritis is aggravated by additives and preservatives, I suggest you avoid ready – made, convenience and fast foods for a couple of weeks instead eating simply cooked fresh foods. Replace your chilled or frozen ready to cook dinners with pieces of chicken or fish which are just as easy to pop in the oven or under the grill. Instead of sweets or a bar of chocolate, treat yourself to some grapes, strawberries or other seasonal fruit. Taking this one step further many of my patients feel much better when they eat organic produce and hence reduce their exposure to pesticides and other artificial food additives.

• Take your anti – inflammatory and painkillers with or after food. Many of the anti – inflammatory are particularly fierce on the stomach and intestine, taking them with food helps to minimize gastrointestinal discomfort. However, there are alternative ways of administering pain – relieving drugs, including suppositories, so discuss these options with your doctor.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts with swelling, pain or stiffness in the joints, especially the wrists, hands and feet, which is usually worse in the morning. With time the body becomes more and more riddled with pain. In the severest of cases the body can become so disabled that it picks up lung infections easily which can lead to breathing problems and even pneumonia.

The skin. liver and kidneys can also be badly affected. Rheumatoid arthritis plagues many elderly people to the extent that they become physically dependent on others, and this loss of independence, when their mind is still active, puts a strain on their relationships. In this situation food can be very empowering, choosing what to eat and how to manage your meals can have a positive effect on your life. You are making the decisions, instead of relying on doctors and careers.

Diet is very important in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to the good eating habits outlined above there are several modifications which help some people reduce their symptoms:

• People with rheumatoid arthritis frequently find that a diet rich in oily fish significantly reduces inflammation and pain. Oily fish, such as mackerel. salmon, herrings and kippers, tuna, sardines and anchovies, are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have a range of benefits, besides reducing inflammation they have been shown to protect against thrombosis and strengthen the immune system. Some people find oily fish a little heavy on the palate and digestion.

The traditional way to cut the oiliness is to marry the fish with a sharp fresh flavor a wedge of lemon or lime, ginger, horseradish, or a tangy fruit sauce such as gooseberry or rhubarb. Eating some fiber, such as whole meal bread or a portion of spinach, can help your body deal with the fat, my patients seem to experience maximum benefit when they take these fatty acids in food, but if you really dislike oily fish you could take a supplement The optimum dosage would be 600 mg omega 3 fatty acid a day, check that your supplement has this level of omega 3 oil and not just any fish oil.

• If you are a vegetarian and cannot eat fish oils, evening primrose oil has a similar beneficial effect. It contains gamma linoleic acid (GLA), an omega 6 fatty acid which, like the omega 3 fatty acids, seems to reduce the inflammation process. The current recommended dosage of evening primrose oil is 2000-4000 mg a day, usually taken in 500 mg tablets. There does not appear to be any equivalent dietary source of GLA.

• One important point to remember when you are boosting your intake of omega 3 or omega 6 fatty acids is that you need to keep your animal fat intake low as part of a healthy eating plan. If you eat too much animal fat, such as butter, cream cheese and fatty meat, the omega 3 fatty acids and GLA cannot work effectively, and therefore their potential healing power is lost. Many people are swallowing tablets with no chance of success.

• People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may be the exceptions to my general advice that everyone should eat the equivalent of a daily small pot of yoghurt containing bifid us and acidophilus (bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive system). Sometimes these cultures can cause your symptoms to flare up. I suggest that you keep a food and symptom diary for a few weeks. Take a couple of spoonsful of a yoghurt containing these cultures regularly, then avoid yoghurt for a few days, and note how your body responds. If you can tolerate them, they will help your overall health. Yoghurts containing lactobacillus cultures should not upset you.

Copper, zinc and nicotinamide supplements are sometimes advocated. Without further medical research, I wouldn’t recommend taking any tablets containing these ingredients. A copper wrist band is a traditional arthritis remedy that cannot do any harm, so if you feel it helps, by all means wear one. It may be that a small amount of copper which seeps through the skin in some way reduces the inflammatory response.


When you are in pain, it is tempting to try anything that might help, and you will hear of lots of remedies, many of them involving exclusion diets: no red meat or no citrus fruit for example. Before you cut anything out, take the time to ensure that your diet is well balanced, sometimes it is what you are not eating that can aggravate symptoms. It would be a pity to worry about avoiding foods if all you need to do is eat a healthy diet.

I suggest you keep a food diary to help you explore the relationship between food and your symptoms. Scientists disagree as to whether food intolerances have any role in the cause and hence treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. While not scientifically supported. some specific dietary modifications can make you feel better.

There are those that suggest excluding all meat, eating no cooked foods or grains, no citrus fruits, or drinking whole milk before meals, the respective theories being that meat (or wheat) causes arthritis, raw vegetables cleanse the body, citrus fruits create too much acid, milk helps to lubricate the joints. While these theories are not proven, it may be the case that the altered intake of nutrients beneficially affects the immune system, or the changes cause you to shed some excess weight.

Even if it’s just the placebo effect (. e. if you believe that the diet is helping the power of your mind helps you feel less pain and stiffness), it is always important to feel that you are doing something to help yourself. In order for any food therapy to help rather than hinder your body, it needs to be carefully executed.

A patient of mine was advised by a so – called nutritionist to cut out wheat, dairy products, meat, fish and of all things water from his diet. Without these sources of essential nutrients his body weight dropped dangerously low and he became seriously weak. While the severity of this outcome is extreme, there are thousands of people eating inappropriately in the hope of curing their arthritis symptoms.

If you decide to explore food intolerances you should go about it in a controlled manner, keeping detailed notes of your food and symptoms. Sometimes it is simply a matter of quantity: your body may be able to take a small amount of a specific food, but develops symptoms when you overstep the mark. Try reducing the quantity of a suspected food and see how your body responds. For instance, if you suspect wheat, have just one meal based on wheat (bread, pasta) in a day.

I suggest you allow a couple of weeks before you reach any conclusions, as the body needs a while to show any changes. Some people need to eliminate the food completely to experience any relief. In this case, it is important to replace the food with an alternative source of nutrients. For instance, if you cut out bread, get your carbohydrates from rice or potatoes. If you cut out dairy products you need to find another source of calcium if you cut out red meat you need another source of iron Food can be the most amazing healer, but finding the right foods for your body takes time and care.


Anemia is one of the most common secondary conditions affecting people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. This may arise as a result of a poor dietary intake of iron, folic acid or vitamin C. Those following exclusion diets can easily miss out on essential nutrients. Additionally, many of the anti – inflammatory and strong painkilling drugs interfere with the metabolism of vitamins and minerals, in particular the B group of vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin E. Anemia can also result from gastrointestinal bleeding, which can occur when you take a lot of non – steroidal painkillers.

You can reduce the likelihood of intestinal bleeding by eating something before taking painkillers. If you are feeling continually tired you should see your GP to ascertain the cause. If it is anemia, there is a lot you can do to help yourself.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition which is more common as you get older – although I have patients as young as ten years old. Osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage around the joints – especially weight – bearing joints such as hips and knees – wears away and new bone material grows beneath the worn cartilage. With the growth of bone tissue, the joint cannot move as smoothly as it is meant to and inflammation occurs. The joints become distorted, which leads to further pain, as muscles are strained and nerves get trapped.


Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, there is no special diet which greatly affects the progression and symptoms of osteoarthritis. However, some of my patients experience relief when they increase their intake of fish oils or evening primrose oil. A copper bracelet also seems to help some people. One unusual ingredient that is currently being investigated is the green – lipped mussel from New Zealand; results are suggesting that it may be able to relieve osteoarthritis.


The issue of weight is particularly relevant with this form of arthritis, since it commonly affects ‘ load – bearing joints such as the knee and hip; if you are carrying excess weight you will place an enormous strain on these joints. Many surgeons advise that patients who need surgery to replace joints should reduce their body weight before undergoing surgery. Losing excess weight increases the success rate of the operation both short and long term. However, as I constantly reiterate, crash diets are not the answer; their effect is only temporary – the weight will soon come back, which will not help your new joint. You can continue to enjoy your food and still lose weight by approaching it sensibly. Read Achieving your ideal weight.


Your physiotherapist and / or occupational therapist can help make your life easier to manage. Ask for advice about exercises and modified or specially designed household utensils and machines. Some patients don’t like to make a fuss, but if you are suffering pain, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to review your medication. There are so many different types of painkilling drugs that there should be one that can relieve you of the majority of pain and discomfort.

Some patients find that a change of temperature can reduce the pain. Experiment with heat and cold: hot water bottles, warm baths, ice packs for a bag of frozen peas) on the joints. You can also get special sound wave machines. called TENS machines, which help your body to produce natural painkilling substances. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist about these.


Gout, according to a friend of mine, is excruciatingly painful. ‘ It’s as if someone is ramming a huge hot needle into your toe! ‘ It generally affects men of middle age and older, although this particular friend is in his thirties, and women are not immune Gout has traditionally been labelled as the disease of the heavy drinker and the rich but not all sufferers fall into these categories. The cause is usually genetic, but occasionally gout is a side effect of certain diuretics.

Gout arises when crystals of uric acid deposit in the joints, causing them to become swollen and inflamed. It is most common in the toes, but also affects other joints. Gout is also known as crystal arthritis or hyperuricemia.

Drug therapy using Allopurinol has largely replaced the need for dietary restriction in the treatment of gout, but as a second line of defense many men choose to restrict their intake of purines, the main dietary ingredient that causes the formation of uric acid crystals. Bear in mind that if you suffer an attack of gout it usually takes about five days for the body to rid itself of the dietary sources of uric acid. You should ensure you are drinking enough water to help your body excrete unwanted substances.


Many men think that they need to avoid all types of red meat. This is not totally necessary: the richest sources of purines are game, offal and meat extracts (for example Oxo), and of course products made from them such as pâtés, sausages and pies. If you want to make gravy or soups, I suggest you use fresh stock rather than meat stock cubes. Meat such as beef, lamb and pork, as well as poultry is lower in purines.

Some fish are rather rich in purines: anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, sprats and whitebait, as well as fish roes and shellfish such as crab and prawns. This leaves the whole range of white fish open for your enjoyment, from cod and plaice to turbot and Dover sole. Smoked and pickled fish and meat are also high in purines, as are other salty foods, dried fruits, dried beans, peas and asparagus.

While it is good to steer clear of these items, there is no need to avoid them altogether. Instead, I suggest you look out for them, and avoid too many purine sources in one day. For example, by all means enjoy asparagus when it is in season, but follow it with chicken or white fish.


Red wine is traditionally associated with gout, since it can produce uric acid. However, you do not need to exclude all red wine. It is usually a question of quantity, as some men can tolerate more red wine than others. Some people find the lighter Beaujolais – style wines suit them better than port, mature claret and burgundy. The best way of finding the wines you can drink without painful symptoms is to keep a food and drink diary