Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Causes of Back Pain

6 surprising causes of back pain

By Nicole DeCoursy,

If you’ve ever had a bout of back pain, you’re not alone: According to the National Institutes of Health, 8 out of 10 people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Most of the time, back pain is set off by something totally minor, says Venu Akuthota, MD, director of the Spine Center at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

Besides obvious causes (constantly lugging a too-heavy purse, for instance), experts say that everyday habits like hunching over your smartphone can strain your spine and the surrounding muscles over time, causing pain and making you more vulnerable to serious injury. To stop back pain now—and avoid future agony—try targeting these unexpected culprits.

Culprit No. 1: Your fancy office chair
Even an expensive, ergonomic chair can be bad for your back if you sit in it all day without a break. Sitting not only lessens blood flow to the discs that cushion your spine (wearing them out and stressing your back), but it puts 30% more pressure on the spine than standing or walking, says New York City chiropractor Todd Sinett, author of The Truth About Back Pain. Be sure to stretch at your desk and get up every hour to walk around. Don’t assume that built-in lumbar support makes your chair back-friendly—in fact, for many people, lumbar supports don’t make a bit of difference, especially if they aren’t positioned properly (at the base of your spine), says Heidi Prather, a physical-medicine and rehabilitation specialist and associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

No matter what type of chair you sit in, make sure your head is straight (not tilted down) when you’re typing or reading. Avoid slouching and adjust your seat so it tilts back slightly to help alleviate some of the load on your back, Sinett says. And keep your feet planted firmly on the floor.

Culprit No. 2: The wrong shoes
When you strut in stilettos, your foot strikes the ground in a toe-forward motion rather than the normal heel-toe gait, stressing your knees, hips, and back, Sinett explains. "Wearing heels also alters the angle of your body so your weight isn’t evenly distributed over the spine," he says. This instability can set you up for pain and injury radiating from your knees all the way to your back.

Another shoe no-no: the backless kind (even flats and flip-flops), which allow your heel to slide around. Again, the lack of stability distributes your body weight unevenly, putting more pressure on your spine. Your shoe should firmly hold your foot in place to keep you stable and protect your back, says Sinett, who also advises sticking to heels that are less than three inches high.

Culprit No. 3: Your beloved smartphone or tablet
Mobile technology has not been kind to our backs and necks, Prather says. "We’re hovering over laptops, iPads, and smartphones all the time," she notes. "This head-down position strains the muscles in the neck, and the pain can extend all the way down your spine to your lower back." Take frequent breaks, and try to look straight ahead—rather than down—while using a laptop, tablet, or phone. You can buy a stand to help hold your laptop or tablet at a more back-friendly height and angle.

Culprit No. 4: Extra pounds
Carrying even just a few extra inches around your midsection—whether it’s due to belly fat or pregnancy—makes your pelvis tilt forward and out of alignment, as your body works to keep itself balanced. This can cause excessive strain on your lower back, Dr. Akuthota says. He recommends doing this easy stretch several times daily: Tighten your abs (like you’re bracing for a punch in the stomach) to activate core muscles and take a load off the lumbar discs; hold 10 seconds, then release. (Pregnant? Check with your doctor before doing any exercise.)

And if weight gain is your problem, consider making whole grains an essential part of your slim-down plan: A new study from Tufts University found that those who ate three or more servings of whole grains a day had 10% less abdominal fat compared with those who ate essentially no whole grains.

Culprit No. 5: The wrong bra
Large-breasted women obviously carry significantly more weight in front than those who have smaller breasts. This can lead to hunching and sore neck and back muscles, Sinett says. A bra that offers proper support can actually minimize that forward hunch and relieve pain, while one that doesn’t may exacerbate the problem, as you hunch or strain even more to compensate for uncomfortable straps or a riding-up band.

Research shows that many women wear the wrong size bra, but the right fit can mean the difference between sagging and supported; get fitted by a bra professional. Prather says you may want to try a T-back (a.k.a. racer-back) style. "It gives the body a cue to pull the shoulders back," she says.

Culprit No. 6: Your crazy schedule
Just like the rest of you, your back muscles can tense up when you’re frazzled. Muscles are designed to contract and relax, Sinett explains, but when you’re stressed, they may contract so much that they can eventually start to spasm. Stress also boosts production of the hormone cortisol, which increases inflammation and can lead to achiness, he says.

On top of that, "Chronic stress can affect the way a person perceives pain," says Alan Hilibrand, MD, spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and professor of orthopaedic and neurological surgery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. "So those who are stressed will often have a harder time managing back pain than those who aren’t." Lower-impact aerobic exercise (think walking or working out on an elliptical trainer) may help relieve back pain and ease stress—so you can beat the pain for good.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Public Service Announcement - Female Heart Attacks

This was sent to me by a Paramedic so I thought I would post as a PSA.


I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and pass it on!


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read..

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack.. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

'I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation--the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.

Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned firsthand.

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up... which doesn't happen.

My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics.' And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Busser’s Back Pain Reduced By Wearing Strange Shoes

A gentleman who did not want his real name used was telling me that he was augmenting the back pain reduction he was experiencing with the pharmaceutical grade Glucosamine product by wearing a specialized footwear sometimes know as “Skeleton Toes” or “Five Finger shoes”.

In the past two months I have seen quite a few people wearing this type of foot wear where each separate toe has it’s own sleeve.

Some of the more common manufacturers and names are: Merrel Barefoot shoes, Vibram Five Fingers and Bikila, and, Fila Skele-toes.

Make no mistake about it, these “shoes” if you can call them that, are not your house slippers. Although some versions are made for water use and could be used around the house. Some of these versions with a several millimeter thick abrasion resistant vibram sole and EVA midsole are made for running and hiking.

Some of the advantages of wearing footwear like this is the separation of the toes which can help circulation and minimize rubbing of the toes and therefore formation of blisters and corns.

Busser tells me that his lumbar back pain, especially walking on the concrete, has been further reduced by wearing these shoes. He also told me that for the first week your feet and calves will be a little more sore but that’s a good thing as you are strengthening your foot and lower leg. Busser’s knee pain, which went away almost totally using the pharmaceutical Glucosamine, came back in a different fashion with wearing these shoes, but he said it must have been muscle releated as it went away with the calf and foot soreness. I guess they just take getting use to.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weight Loss Can Help Ease Joint Pain,....but Don't Trust That Weight Loss Pill, Jay! received this question from a reader: ”I’d like your opinion on this product I am going to be trying. I am overweight, about 40 pounds accordingly to my Doctor who told me that I would reduce the pain in my knees if I lost some weight. So I have found this product called (name deleted) which is advertised to help me lose 21 pounds in a month without dietary restrictions, without gym needed exercise sessions and will increase my energy and testosterone up to 49%. Have you heard of this product and do you know anything about it? - Jay”

Here’s the deal Jay.......I have not heard of this particular product until your question popped into me. I am not using the name for three reasons,...1 – I don’t need a bunch of complaints when I write about this product; 2- I don't feel like advertising this product, because even a negative comment is advertising; and, 3 – there are thousands of products just like this. Manufacturers of these products rely on thousands of people basing a hope for a better, pain free life or quick weight loss and throwing their money at it.

Your Doctor is half right saying that weight loss, when you are overweight, can help reduce joint pain, or in your case knee pain simply because with less weight you are placing less stress on that joint(s). If you have a mechanical injury such as soft tissue or bone damage, then it probably won’t help. However, I highly suggest losing any excess weight simply for your health. Better health can decrease joint pain because better health (getting more quality nutrients and minimizing bad foods and toxins) will allow your body’s immune system to function better and start to abate the damage from free radicals which can manifest itself into many problems, including joint pain.

It is problematic to me that the supplement you are thinking of taking advertises a “49%” increase in energy. How do you measure that? I can see measuring testosterone through a blood test,....but energy? And weight loss without “dietary restrictions”? What if you took this pill but still ate 5 lbs of ice cream a day? Would you still lose weight? Plus the promise to lose weight without “gym needed” exercise? You need to read some of my articles on the Chair of Health where eating right, taking high quality supplements, getting some physical exercise and avoiding toxins are the “legs”, or the four areas you need to work in to achieve health.

Since you are wanting to lose weight to see if that relieves your knee pain, I am sending you information on our five day program to re-set your health with had a side effect of safe weight loss with an average of 5 lbs in 5 days. This is only effective if you start trying to be more healthy through proper eating, taking high quality nutritional supplements, getting some exercise and avoiding toxins. I’ll be in touch via e-mail.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pain Killer Addiction - Common for Joint Pain Sufferers

There are many people who rely soley on the use of pain killers or NSAIDS to treat their chronic joint pain. Not only is the routine use of these medications bad for the person, but pain killers can cause an addiction and require an ever increasing amount to manage the pain.

I fully understand that some people may not have an alternative. Proper nutrition and the consumption of high quality nutritional supplements may not alleviate pain to the extent where pain killers are not necessary. I am fortunate enough to discover advanced nutritional supplements and they have helped me live a great, pain and sickness free life the past 6 years, however, not all people are as fortunate. I would habve not found a safe, nutritional supplement solution and would have had to rely on pain killers or NSAIDS then I would surely be concerned for my stomach, gastointestinal tract and liver.

If you know someone who routinely takes pain killers and risks addiction, then the following article, however very long it is, would be helpful in understanding and identifying these potential addicts.

20 Secret Signs of Addiction by Melanie Haiken,

Knowing whether someone you love has a problem with alcohol or drugs isn't as straightforward as it sounds. Despite the stereotypes of the staggering drunk or the emaciated addict, most people who overuse alcohol and drugs become adept at disguising their behavior. Shame, embarrassment, and fear of consequences are powerful motivators. And in many cases, the person who's drinking too much or using drugs doesn't want to recognize or admit that he's not in control of the situation.

Sadly, many times we don't find out until a tragedy, such as a drunk driving accident or an overdose, has occurred. And then we're left wondering why we didn't spot the signs of addiction earlier. Knowing these 20 secret signs of addiction can help you prevent that from happening.

1. Quantity control
Over time, a higher tolerance to alcohol or drugs leads people with addiction problems to increase the quantity and frequency of their substance of choice without showing signs of being out of control. You might notice that someone refills his or her glass more often than anyone else or is always the one to suggest opening another bottle of wine. Prescription drug users will start going through a prescription faster, complaining that they "ran out" or that "the doctor forgot to renew my prescription."

To spot drug dependence, notice if the person you're concerned about frequently seems to need an early refill, always with a different reason, says physician Gregory A. Smith, medical director of the Comprehensive Pain Relief Group in Redondo Beach , California . Excuses Smith says he's heard a thousand times: "The pills spilled into the sink and went down the drain." "My car got broken into, and they took my bag that had all my pills." "My brother's friend who has a drug problem stole my pills." "The pharmacy shorted me on my pills . . . there were supposed to be 120, but there were only 95 pills in the bottle when I got home and counted them."

2. Hide-and-seek around the house
Quick, check under the bathroom sink -- is there a bottle hiding behind the Ajax ? How about in the laundry room behind the detergent, or in the garage? Finding a bottle or a six-pack tucked where it shouldn't be is one of the most common tip-offs that someone's drinking is getting out of hand. Similarly, pills and powders may turn up in glove compartments, the inside pockets of purses, jewelry boxes, or the toolbox.

Over time, alcoholics and addicts develop a network of hiding places to stash their drugs. You may notice that the person is oddly protective of certain rooms or areas of the house or garage, insisting that they be kept private, says physician John Massella, regional program director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh . There may even be a sense that the family member is "guarding" the alcohol, Massella says. Outbursts of temper may ensue if someone disturbs the private territory.

3. The disappearing act
When it comes to drug addiction, items don't so much appear around the house as disappear, says Jacqueline E. Barnes, author of The Whirlpool -- Surviving a Loved One's Addiction. "You notice that checks are missing from your checkbook, sometimes taken from the middle of the checkbook rather than from the back of it," Barnes says. The need for money and the desperation of addiction make anything fair game. "Items like cameras and jewelry begin to disappear from your house; family heirlooms are taken to a pawn shop," Barnes says. "Sadly, addicts lose touch with guilt and remorse. They'll sell anything belonging to family and friends to get money to buy drugs."

4. A head start
"Priming the pump" or drinking alone before going out with friends is a big red flag, experts say. "Alcoholics will often drink wine, beer, or liquor before meeting with friends so that it appears that they're drinking the same amount as everyone else -- when, in fact, they're way ahead," says Joseph Garbely, chief medical officer at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia . Why? Alcoholics want to appear to be just like their friends in public, but their tolerance is much higher, so they have to drink a lot more.

5. Tricks and manipulations
Hiding an addiction leads to constant subterfuge. Alcoholics will often drink before and/or after a social event, then drink very little while other people are imbibing. Teenagers and young adults who are starting to use drugs may throw parents and teachers off the track by admitting to use of a lesser drug, like pot, when harder drugs are the real problem.

And all alcoholics and addicts make great use of the "divide and conquer" strategy, manipulating family members by telling one thing to one person, something else to another. This typically takes the form of half-confessions. "They may be honest with one family member about one thing and honest about another thing to someone else, but no one family member will know everything," says John Massella of Gateway. If it feels like your family's getting tangled up in lies and half-truths, it's time to pay attention.

6. The money magnet
Drugs are expensive, and so is stopping at the bar four times a week. Impaired judgment also leads many people to get in financial hot water simply by not minding the store.

Just about any unusual money behavior can tip families off to drug or alcohol abuse, experts say. Bills may pile up unopened, or someone might suddenly start selling possessions on eBay when he or she has never done so before. The manic periods of elation from coke and speed can send people on buying sprees; alcohol can fuel gambling binges. Other tip-offs: Asking friends for loans or using a family member's credit card without asking.

7. The clear choice
Vodka is a drink of choice for alcoholics for one reason only: It's clear and looks just like water when poured in a tumbler. Vodka can also be added to soft drinks and juice without changing the color or giving off a noticeable smell.

"A definite sign of abuse is when people put vodka in their thermos and mix it with their morning coffee," says Neil Capretto, medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh . If someone you love switches from a previous drink of choice to vodka, it's cause for alarm. Ditto if sipping from their cup of coffee or coke reveals that it's spiked. Pay attention to grocery receipts, too -- is vodka on the list?

8. Missing in action
That birthday party that Dad didn't show up for, the high school graduation your sister swanned into halfway through -- these are the kinds of things people remember when they look back and wonder why they didn't recognize a loved one's addiction sooner. Becoming unreliable and secretive is a trademark of the alcoholic or addict. They start to forget appointments, miss important events, roll in late to work or school.

Maintaining and hiding an addiction takes time; you have to make your connection, pop by the bar on the way home, stop for coffee to sober up. Sneaking around the house is another tip-off, including slipping into the house to reach the bathroom (and the toothpaste and Visine) before talking to anyone. If every time you turn around, your loved one seems to be somewhere else, trust your instincts and start checking up.

9. A narrower world
As addiction takes hold, it tends to block out other interests and activities that used to be important sources of pleasure and fulfillment. Loss of interest in friends, sports, social activities, and anything else that used to define someone can be a clue that something's not right.

Sometimes the signs of addiction can be as subtle as a sense that the person isn't himself anymore. "You might notice someone finding an excuse not to go to family functions because they know they'll be under tremendous scrutiny from 'the village that raised them' -- the extended family," says Joseph Garbely of Friends Hospital in Philadelphia .

Another sign of isolation is changing their daily routine without a good reason; they may be redirecting their steps as they try to avoid friends, coworkers, and family.

10. Magic bottles
Checking the state of the liquor cabinet is a time-honored ritual for those who live with heavy drinkers. Harder to spot but even more telltale is the "magic bottle" -- the bottle that never seems to get empty. If the liquid levels in liquor bottles seem to rise and fall mysteriously, your only recourse is to taste. Watered-down liquor is a sure sign that the person you're worried about wishes to hide his liquor intake from you.

You might also suspect that bottles are being hidden. "Many people with alcohol abuse and alcoholism hide beer cans, wine bottles, etc., at the bottom of their recycling bins so their neighbors don't get suspicious about their problem," says Neil Capretto of Pittsburgh 's Gateway Rehabilitation Center . If you hear the clink of bottles being moved around in the recycling bin or carried out to the car late at night, your secret addict may be doing a midnight drop-off.

11. Can I try the diet you're on?
Crystal meth, cocaine, and other "uppers" stimulate energy to the point that people feel like they can go and go and go without eating. Many have no appetite at all. A natural side effect of this behavior pattern is, of course, rapid weight loss.

While this seems like an obvious sign of abuse, it's actually frequently missed because it's not considered something to worry about, experts say. "Weight loss is usually seen as a positive thing in our society, so it's often overlooked as a symptom of drug abuse," says Joseph Garbely of Friends Hospital in Philadelphia .

12. Squeaky clean
Sure we all want to be hygienic. But overuse of certain products signals that someone's trying to hide something. Constant use of gum or breath mints? Someone might be trying to mask the smell of alcohol. The same goes for excessive use of mouthwash or hand gel (and constantly smelling like these products). Antistatic dryer sheets treated with a fragrance can be used to disguise the smell of smoke on clothes.

A bottle of eyedrops in the purse can be a tip-off that someone's trying to hide reddened eyes, especially if he or she seems to go through bottles remarkably quickly. And eyedrops first thing in the morning? Enough said.

13. The bathroom game
Where do you find prescription drugs? In the bathroom. And if your own bathroom cabinets are empty of supplies, the obvious next choice is other people's bathroom cabinets. Someone who's abusing prescription drugs won't be able to resist the temptation to scrounge them in other people's houses, usually by making pretenses to visit the bathroom.

What you'll notice, if you pay attention, is overly frequent trips and taking a long time during bathroom visits. Hint: Listen for the sound of water running for an extended time to disguise the noise of cabinets and drawers opening and closing. Another telltale oddity: When visiting a home with more than one bathroom, a drug user will find excuses to use a different bathroom each time. "People abusing prescription drugs may even attend real estate open houses just so they can look in unsuspecting homeowners' medicine cabinets," says physician John Massella of Gateway.

14. Mood management
Many family members describe the emotional experience of living with an alcoholic or addict as being like a roller-coaster ride. "Hallmarks of any kind of addiction are unstable mood and unpredictable emotions and actions," says addiction specialist Clare Kavin, director of the Waismann Method of dependency treatment. Moods can go from numb and calm to extremely aggressive within minutes, often with no apparent explanation.

Someone smoking a lot of pot will be in "slow-down mode, with no ambition or energy," says Liliane Desjardins, an addiction specialist and co-founder of Pavillion International, a recovery treatment center in Texas . "They're playing it mellow, but what's really happening is that thinking and feeling are impaired, as is the ability to make rational choices or to follow up on decisions."

15. Sleeping sickness
"Mommy's asleep on the couch and won't wake up," is how a young child of an alcoholic or addict typically describes the behavior she witnesses, and it's a pretty apt description. Alcohol and many common drugs are sedatives, or "downers," which means they make you feel more relaxed but also make you sleep, and sleep heavily. If you notice that someone you're concerned about falls asleep at inappropriate times or has a hard time waking up, pay attention.

Excessive sleepiness can also signal crashing out after a drug binge, experts warn. "After cocaine or meth binges, users become listless and very low on energy and will sleep for days," says Harold Urschel, author of Healing the Addicted Brain and medical director of Enterhealth, a recovery center in Dallas. One clue that this isn't just the flu or a need to "sleep in" is that, just as suddenly, the person wakes up with a ravenous appetite.

16. Pain that never ends
Prescription drug addiction is one of the most common types of addiction today, and abusers learn a closetful of tricks to get hold of medications. Back pain is one of the most common symptoms used to get pain meds, doctors say, because it's nondescript and hard to prove, even with testing. It's also relatively easy to fake. If a young, healthy person claims to be suffering from chronic back pain and asks for narcotic pain medication, look closely.

Another tactic is going to more than one doctor and getting prescriptions for similar drugs or claiming that certain drugs don't work. "If someone tells their physician that they're allergic to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Motrin, and they say that only narcotics work for pain, that's a red flag," says Joseph Garbely of Friends Hospital in Philadelphia . The reason? When a patient says this, a doctor is automatically limited and can only prescribe narcotic painkillers, Garbely says.

17. Sickness without cause
When people are abusing alcohol or drugs, they just don't feel good much of the time, so frequent, vague illnesses can be a sign that something's up. Sickness can also be an excuse to duck out of work. Typically, you'll hear a lot of different explanations, all of them vague and hard to prove or disprove, says Gregory Smith of California 's Comprehensive Pain Relief Group. Seafood poisoning, headache, diarrhea, constipation, and "my back went out" are all common -- and sometimes real, sometimes not.

In addition, low energy, fatigue, and depression that seem to come on suddenly without reason may not be caused by the drug itself but by withdrawal, says Smith. All of these symptoms are likely to be accompanied by irritability and even flashes of anger, especially if you question their authenticity or seriousness.

18. Paranoia and panic attacks
Attacks of paranoia are a well-known occurrence to anyone who's smoked pot, but they're also a common side effect of many other drugs and alcohol. Panic attacks, too, can be caused by many drugs, particularly stimulants.

Sometimes these symptoms are temporary, but over time drug addicts' personalities can completely change. "Cocaine alters the brain and can cause a variety of psychological symptoms, including thoughts that 'everyone is out to get me' or 'the walls are closing in around me,'" says Harold Urschel of Dallas .

Those abusing alcohol and drugs may develop social anxiety, feeling nervous and anxious in public situations and avoiding them whenever possible.

19. The storyteller
Would it surprise you to know that someone who proclaims dramatically that he hasn't had a drink in two weeks is probably an alcoholic? It shouldn't; telling stories to yourself and others is a natural reaction for someone who can't admit he has a drinking problem.

Even more frustrating, he may not even know they're stories. Drugs and alcohol cause memory lapses and blackouts; he may honestly not remember what happened. It's hard to admit that, of course, so rather than confess to a blackout, he makes up a story about it.

The lies don't just involve family members -- they can extend to bosses, doctors, cops, anyone in the person's life. Prescription drug addicts often take a family member such as a child or an aging parent to the doctor and try to get a prescription that they really intend for themselves. "The person will say: 'Listen, my mother won't tell you, but she's in terrible pain and really needs painkillers," says Joseph Garbely of Friends Hospital in Philadelphia .

20. The blame game
The craziness that overtakes families when a family member is abusing drugs and alcohol can feel like a contagious disease. The reason? The need to deny the addiction leads to an epidemic of blame.

"Addicts and alcoholics are known for blaming, guilt-tripping, and making others responsible for their misery," says Liliane Desjardins of the Pavillion International treatment center in Texas . Endless excuses for bad behavior become the norm, but no matter what happens, somehow it's always someone else's fault. That dented bumper? Well, why did you leave the car in the driveway where he didn't expect it to be?

The blame game ups the conflict level; a formerly peaceful family can begin to feel like a war zone. But the conflicts are always the fault of someone other than the alcoholic or addict.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

FDA and Product Warnings

I am no fan of the FDA. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4th, 2011. It seems pretty hypocritical to me to get more involved than ever before in the food industry, yet prescription drugs are marketed after minimal trial periods on a fast track plan. However, I really don’t have a dog in this fight (yet). I have been asked by groups to lend my support against the FSMA, particularly for nutritional supplement manufacturers, who fear further government regulation will drive their manufacturing and product prices up and their profits down. Probably true. But I have partnered with one of the few nutritional supplements manufacturers who use voluntary pharmaceutical grade Good Manufacturing Practices, ensuring that their products are pure, potent, have proper dissolution and are bio-available. So we are already under the highest standards.

Having said that, I think there is a place for the FDA and especially in the area of safety with product re-calls. The FDA has created a new page on their web site for the re-call and safety notifications of foods, drugs and supplements. This is not the re-classification page, but it does contains safety alerts and re-calls for foods, drugs and supplements issued within the last 60 days.

Go here.

One of the FDA Press Releases will look like this:

Recall -- Firm Press Release

FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.

Shaping Beauty, Inc. Issues a Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Weight Loss Tea Found to Contain an Undeclared Drug Ingredient

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 15, 2011 - Southampton, PA, Shaping Beauty, Inc. has been informed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that a weight loss dietary supplement sold and marketed by the firm contain an undeclared drug ingredient. FDA lab analyses of dietary supplement tea distributed by the company were found to contain undeclared Sibutramine used as an appetite suppressant for weight loss. The FDA has not approved the following products as drugs; therefore the safety and effectiveness of this product is unknown. All lots of the following dietary supplement products are being recalled: CELERITETM SLIMMING TEA

The products listed above were sold and distributed nationwide via the internet at www.shapingbeauty.com1

FDA advises that these products pose a threat to consumers because Sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke.

I hope people will bookmark and use this site from time to time to check on safety notices from the diverse products being consumed that are not manufactured in a safe manner.

For Information on the Products I recommend, click here, to contact me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eva and Mark - Proving the Science

I have a client named Eva, who is 47 years old, her husband Mark is a friend of mine. Eva first was interested in nutritional supplements years ago. Because she never experienced any advantage in taking supplements, which were 'off the shelf' brands, she really didn't believe in what she called "magic vitamins", but for the most part has been taking supplements, albeit different brands for the past few years. Now to be fair, many people even taking the highest quality supplements may not feel or experience any profund change. You have to have some faith in the science and the fact that virtually everyone needs nutritional supplementation simply because the foods we eat today have such a marked difference in nutritional content than the foods that were available 50 and even 30 years ago.

I don't have endless energy (I not supposed to at 52), nor do I run around like an idiot wearing a bowling shirt and a clown smile, but the fact that I have not been sick in going on 6 years and my previous knee and back pain and stiffness are gone,....not diminished, but gone is my proof.  Even though I know the pharmaceutical grade supplements are helping me by the lack of sickness or chronic joint pain that plagued me for seemingly forever,....the proof is in the blood tests which I get every 12 to 15 months. Anyway, back to Eva,....

After meeting my wife, Eva asked how can my wife have such nice skin, nails and hair when she works outside much of the day in the Sun and wind? My wife, not really caring too much about supplements,...I have to put them out in her bowl everyday so otherwise she'll forget them,....said to Eva something to the effect,.... "I don't know, maybe it's the vitamins Brad put me on."

Eva came to me and asked me what we are taking, so I told her. She said she was sometimes taking another brand. I said "Great! I think that's the first step - to take nutritional supplements. I think the second step is to take the highest quality you can find or afford."

I told Eva the difference in what she was taking (I was familiar with the company) and what we take was that our supplements were USP verified AND pharmaceutical grade. I may have been in a hurry that afternoon, but ended our conversation with words to the effect, "Hey, if what you're taking is working for you, good. "

Well it must have been seeing my wife and the fact that Eva thought we had a "secret", she called at night and became a client. Fast forward two months and we see Eva again and she exclaims, "Look at my nails! I think it's the supplements you put us on. Mark is taking the supplement for the joints and is now riding his bicycle again as his knee pain is very little." That's what is called a positive experience, a physical feeling usually a decline in pain or symptoms. Sometimes you won't get that and need blood tests to prove the science. Both are ways to achieve "the proof is in the pudding".

For Information on the Products I recommend, click here, to contact me.