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    Natracure Blog — Pain Management

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    6 Reasons You Feel Awful When You Wake Up

    Hooray! You got a solid 8 hours of sleep last night. But then why did you wake up this morning feeling like roadkill? Facing the day refreshed isn't as simple as logging those elusive 7 to 8 hours in dreamland. We've got six surprising reasons you're not feeling your best—and simple fixes. You read your Kindle before bed. People who read before bed using an iPad or similar device find it harder to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed than those who curl up with a printed book, according to a recent Harvard study. The reason? The blue light emitted from the Kindle suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, which controls your sleep and wake cycles, says Robert Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, an Arizona sleep medicine specialist and author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day. Translation: When your melatonin levels are out of whack, you probably aren't sleeping as soundly as you think you are. He recommends shutting down all electronic devices (computers, cell phones, tablets, eReaders) 90 minutes before bed. Also, move your cell phone out of the room; even if it's on airplane mode, a phone emits enough light to interfere with sleep, says Sylvia Morris, MD, MPH, an internist in Atlanta. You sleep in a bad position. Waking up with a sore back? It may be from sleeping on your side all night, which can create significant flexion at the hip, says Benjamin Domb, MD, founder of the American Hip Institute. If you're one of the 57% of Americans who slumber in this position, it's a good idea to sleep with a pillow between your legs to maintain proper hip alignment. "Hip injuries are some of the most common, yet trickiest, sleep injuries because the pain from the injury often shows itself in a different part of the body—like in the lower back," says Domb. (Here's how 3 common sleep positions affect your health.) Your pillow sucks. That huge fluffy pillow may seem like luxury, but it can cause massive pain. "Sleeping with your head propped up pulls your spine out of alignment—it's like walking around for 8 hours during the day with your neck tilted down," explains Shawn Stevenson, BS, FDN, founder of the Advance Integrative Health Alliance and author of the 2016 book Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success. Use a pillow that's soft but has a supportive foam core, like the Intelli-Gel pillow ($150, You grind your teeth at night. If you wake up with a headache, it's most likely because you've been clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth overnight, says Kathy Gruver, PhD, a massage therapist in Santa Monica, CA. Research shows that massage can help with symptoms, so apply some gentle pressure and/or a warm, damp cloth to the jaw area right before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the AM to help break the cycle. Also consider seeing your dentist for a mouth guard, which keeps your teeth from grinding down. You have a nightcap. It's true that booze can send you off to dreamland quickly, since alcohol does have a sedative effect. But it also disrupts your normal sleep cycle, says Aaron Clark, MD, a family medicine physician at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. In a 2015 Australian study, people who downed orange juice mixed with vodka as a bedtime drink showed more alpha brain activity while they snoozed, which meant they weren't getting deep, restorative sleep. Women are particularly susceptible to sleep disruptions from alcohol because we metabolize it faster, according to the National Sleep Foundation, so we're bound to wake up sooner. An occasional glass of spirits won't hurt, but to make sure you're getting quality z's, limit yourself to one drink a night and have it a couple of hours before bedtime. You have undiagnosed sleep apnea. Half of all adult women have some type of sleep apnea, according to a 2012 study. (Women between the ages of 20 and 44 have a 25% chance of having sleep apnea, which also affects 56% of women ages 45 to 54 and 75% of women ages 55 to 70.) With this condition, "patients briefly stop breathing multiple times through the night, which leads to poor sleep quality," explains Clark. Sleep apnea is especially common in women as they go through perimenopause, when they mistakenly assume that their frequent night awakenings are a result of hot flashes. As a result, you'll often wake up exhausted, even if you've theoretically gotten plenty of sleep. Ask your doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist. The best way to diagnose sleep apnea is via a sleep study—at-home devices can pick up only severe cases. Mild cases can often be treated with weight loss and alcohol avoidance before bedtime, but if you've got a moderate to severe case, you'll need to use a device like a CPAP, an oxygen tube under the nose that emits mild air pressure to keep the airways open.

    By Hellie Levine via msn health

    Vinegar for your Arthritis?

    Arthritis is amongst the most prevalent ailments today, affecting literally millions around the globe. There are actually over a hundred kinds of arthritis, with the common signs and symptoms of joint pain and inflammation. This causes great discomfort, and often those with arthritis experience it to a degree that it can take over their lives. For this reason, people with arthritis often try to find remedies that will provide effective, long-term relief, in order to enjoy life as normally as possible. Arthritis apple cider vinegar treatments are one of many methods people consider. It's been in use for many centuries, and has been proven to relieve the inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. It has actually been utilized for other conditions as well. Being full of minerals and vitamins, it allows the body to fight illnesses effectively. One arthritis apple cider vinegar remedy uses a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed to a glass of water. Honey or even some spice may be added to this mixture to improve the taste; honey is even thought to enhance the strength of the solution. This mixture is then taken in the morning and before going to bed at nighttime, to provide relief from arthritis symptoms. An additional way to use apple cider vinegar is to apply it as a liniment, using it straight to afflicted joints. It is almost always warmed, then applied through the use of a clean washcloth. It can then either be massaged in or simply applied to provide immediate respite from the pain. Many people believe in the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for arthritis. Nevertheless, whenever employing an alternative form of treatment, it's always best to check with your medical doctor to avoid any possible complications. Apple cider vinegar is available in supermarkets, and even on the web. In purchasing this vinegar you need to also look at the quality so it will be more effective for the management of diseases. Organic vinegars are believed more potent, specially those with the mother-of-vinegar still included. Apple cider vinegar is one of the techniques that arthritis has been treated through the years, and it has been considered effective and safe - important points for those with arthritis. If you need to find out about apple cider vinegar and exactly how it can help your arthritis, have a look at By Meredith Walker via

    Should You Really Be Taking Fish Oil?

    At Charlotte’s Book, we’re serious about our supplements: you are what you eat, after all. We were surprised to see this recent New York Times video portraying a fish oil market where oxidation causes the quality of fish oil to deteriorate—apparently, New Zealand has a particular problem with sub-par product, with 83% of fish oils on the market below standard. We decided to check in with two Charlotte’s Book experts—Daniela Turley, MCPP, AHG, a medical herbalist, and Dr. Frank Lipman, who specializes in integrative medicine—and asked them both three questions about fish oil. Their answers here.   1. The Basics: Is Fish Oil Harmful Or Helpful? Dr. Frank Lipman says, “I believe that fish oil is helpful. It promotes a stronger immune system, better cardiovascular health, less inflammation, healthier joints, improved vision, a more robust metabolism and healthy weight management. Fish oil has also been shown to improve skin, hair, and nails, as well as cognitive functions like your thinking power, attention, mood and memory.” “Fish oil can be harmful if not a good quality—if it’s rancid or contains heavy metals,” says Daniela Turley. “It’s always best to come in the form of food, which means eating small fish that are low down the food chain. When I do recommend it as a supplement, in cases of autoimmune disease, for example, I recommend a brand that just makes fish oil. Eskimo Oils or Nordic Naturals are good examples. In studies, these are high quality and low in residue.”

    Related: Don’t Guess. Know These Popular Herbal Supplement Doses   2. What’s Important To Know When Buying Fish Oil? Says Turley, “See above. Go for a manufacturer that makes fish oil exclusively; I personally only recommend those two brands.” Lipman echoes the importance of purity: “When shopping for fish oils, do your research. Make sure you choose a good quality fish oil to ensure purity and the removal of heavy metals, pesticides, PCB’s and other contaminants. The Be Well Omega-3 Fish Oils deliver their EPA and DHA in their natural triglyceride forms. Not only do they contain almost double the industry standard concentration of triglyceride-bound omega-3 oils normally found in most formulations, they also contain mixed tocopherols as antioxidants, plus Lipase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down fats for easier digestion and absorption. Both of these ingredients also enhance the molecular stability of the product.”   3. Who Should Take Fish Oil? “People with with inflammatory-based illnesses,” says Turley, “people who can’t eat fish three times a week. I recommend it in cases of autoimmune disease, e.g. psoriasis or Rheumatoid arthritis, and in people with CV risk factors along with antioxidant herbs to help protect the oil from going rancid once in the body. Please note that the ratio between omega 3:6 is important, and that a ​​lot of the benefits of taking fish oil can be secured by reducing omega 6 intake.”
    Lipman takes a more liberal view: “I urge everyone to indulge. They support your body’s ability to prevent chronic diseases and help protect it against inflammation. Fish oil is seriously good stuff, but as with Vitamin D, you can’t make your own omega-3 fatty acids, so you’ve got to get it from outside sources. Fatty fish and fish oil supplements are your best sources.”Related: Reduce Inflammation With These 10 Delicious Foods.   via Charlotte's Book

    6 Things Podiatrists Wish You Knew About Your Feet

    You don’t need a step monitor to tell you that you’re on your feet quite a bit. You know they take a significant beating every day. Yet, we are quick to forget the importance of our feet. Besides the occasional massage or pedicure, we often ignore one of the most crucial parts of the human body. It is time to change that! Start your New Year off right by heeding the advice of podiatrists and start to be conscious of your feet.   Smelly Feet? Don’t be embarrassed by the scent of your feet. They can spend the whole pounding the ground while being trapped inside your footwear They are going to sweat and they are going to smell. How can you combat this? Use deodorant. Yes, the same deodorant that you use for your underarms. Podiatrists preach it is a great way to prevent stinky feet.   Listen to Your Feet Your feet are actually an effective barometer of your overall health. If your feet have very dry skin coupled with ulcers that won’t heal, it could be an indication that you have diabetes. The high glucose level associated with diabetes contributes to a decrease in oil and sweat production. Moreover, if you traditionally have hairy toes and you notice that it disappears while the skin on your feet becomes shinier or thinner, you may have peripheral arterial disease. Otherwise known as PAD, it is defined as the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the legs. This can cause major heart problems or even a stroke. So be sure to pay attention to those feet!

      Take Caution When Showering in Public Places This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is crucial to your health. Public bathing areas are hotbeds for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. How do you counter that? Pop on some flip-flops or sandals at all times in public places where moisture is commonplace. In addition, make sure your feet are thoroughly dry before leaving. Podiatrists recommend using a towel in between toes to make sure you remove all the moisture. If you frequent the nail salon for pedicures, it will be in your best interest to get the earliest appointment as possible. This way, your foot tub will most likely be the cleanest it can be.   Your Feet are Getting Bigger No, you aren’t seeing things. As you get older, your feet are actually getting bigger. This is completely normal and is due to the tendons that link your bones losing their elasticity. Be sure to get your feet sized at least once a year to make sure you have an accurate foot size. Wearing the wrong size shoes can create or enhance bunions, cause blisters and more!   Toe Length is More Important than You Think
    If you’re like me, your second toe is slightly larger than your big toe. This is the case in an estimated 20-30% of Americans. Why is this a concern? It has to do with the way we distribute our weight. With a longer second toe, you have an increased risk for hammertoes, bunions and back problems, all due to our weight distribution. Be sure to talk to your podiatrist about the best kind of footwear to match the shape of your feet.
      Combating Toenail Fungus Are you embarrassed by stubborn toenail fungus that just isn’t going away? For many people, antifungal pills don’t do the trick. Podiatrists recommend using topical creams to effectively treat the fungus. However, the best way to combat the problem is to avoid it in the first place! Be sure to keep your feet as dry as possible and change out of sweaty socks immediately. Fungus thrives in moist, warm environments and can easily invade your skin through small cuts and the opening between your nail bed and toenail.   Your feet are crucial to your body. Foot pain and foot problems can lead to trouble for the rest of your body, especially in your back and posture. Make sure to give your feet a bit more attention this year. After all, they keep you upright and moving! The least we can do is show them a little more tender, love and care.   By Pat DeRiso Sources:, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Mayo Clinic

    Can Mistletoe Cure Cancer?

    Traditional holiday mistletoe has a relative that packs more than just a big smooch. Studies indicate that the European mistletoe may actually be a viable cancer fighter. As a common plant in Great Britain, mainland Europe and even Western Asia, the twigs and leaves have been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for common ailments in the body. However, the real potential lies in what’s inside the plant. The extract from the semiparasitic plant has been used in multiple studies. Findings concluded that the extract has shown the ability to kill cancer cells. However, studies have not yet proven that the extract can help the human body fight cancer. Studies performed in Europe in 2009 were only performed on animals and in test tubes. That said, the results were very positive. Researchers agreed that the extract could effectively increase survival rates of cancer patients by reducing tumor growth as well as bolstering the immune system. These findings have Europeans using the extract in cancer therapy injections, mainly under the skin. The injections are also sometimes placed into veins or into the tumors themselves. These treatments are used to combat symptoms from malignant tumors in order to improve the quality of life of patients. Encouragingly, these injections have shown few negative side effects. In the United States, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve the mistletoe extract for any medical conditions. Furthermore, it does not allow the import of injectable mistletoe to be imported, sold, or used for anything other than research purposes. It is clear that European mistletoe has proven to provide many benefits to cancer patients, including combating side effects of chemotherapy, decreasing fatigue, and raising morale. But can it actually cure cancer in humans? The answer right now is no. Many human studies have been conducted since the 1960s, but no substantial evidence has been found. However, the findings do provide some hope that the European Mistletoe may someday be the answer. So stay tuned!   By Pat DeRiso Sources:,