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Articles in Category: Exercise

Reducing Cancer Fatigue with Exercise and Therapy

New study shows that drugs are not as effective at treating CRF

Reducing Cancer Fatigue with Exercise and Therapy
Published Tuesday, 09 May 2017

One of the most common symptoms of cancer treatments is fatigue. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy can feel exhausted and heavy, with little to no desire to join in everyday activities. This type of fatigue oftentimes cannot be cured by simply getting more sleep. A report by The JAMA Network released in early March revealed that non-drug treatments such as exercise or psychotherapy are more effective for reducing cancer-related-fatigue (CRF) than pharmaceutical solutions.

  • The JAMA Network’s report analyzed 113 individual studies monitoring over 11,500 unique participants, in order to determine which treatment – exercise, psychological, the combination of exercise and psychological, and pharmaceutical – normally recommended for CRF is most effective.
  • Exercise and psychological treatments, as well as the combination of the two, reduced fatigue by 26 to 30 percent during and after cancer treatment.
  • Pharmaceutical treatments were only seen to reduce fatigue by 9 percent.
  • The authors of the study urge doctors to prescribe exercise or psychological interventions as first-line treatments for CRF.
  • The main author of the study, Dr. Karen Mustian of the University of Rochester Medical Center, says that the exercise therapy doesn’t necessarily have to be intense or vigorous. Most of the studies analyzed included walking and resistance training exercises. Also, the psychological treatment does not only mean structured therapy appointments with a counselor, but can also include group sessions and actively practicing mindfulness.

This report demonstrates that pharmaceutical treatments should no longer be the go-to prescription for patients dealing with CRF. Physical activity and psychological therapy can often do more to help reduce this fatigue than drugs or caffeine, even if they do not always seem like the easiest solutions.

Dr. Mustian in an interview said, “While our knee-jerk reactions might be to retreat, and to rest, and for caretakers to be very protective…actually encouraging [cancer patients] to be more active, asking them to get up and go for a 10-minute walk and walking with them – those kinds of things can make some of the most drastic positive impacts in the entire experience that someone would have with cancer.”

Read more about the report and real life success stories here

Arthritis a Growing Pain for US Adults

CDC recommends physical activity and self-management education interventions

Arthritis a Growing Pain for US Adults
Published Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Arthritis is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition caused by inflammation of the joints. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 54 million adults are suffering from doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the United States.  Almost half of those diagnosed also described some sort of activity limitations attributed to arthritis pain, a 20 percent increase from 2002.

CDC Report Highlights:

  • Approximately 50 percent of adults with heart disease and diabetes and 30 percent of adults with obesity were also diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis pain can cause even more complications for patients dealing with such preexisting conditions.
  • Medical expenses, including hip and knee joint replacements, stemming from arthritis pain cost the nation about $81 billion annually.
  • Adults diagnosed with arthritis are often prescribed opioids to help deal with the pain; however, the CDC recommends physical activity which can help reduce pain and improve physical function by almost 40 percent.
  • The CDC also endorses self-management education interventions, which are programs aimed to improve patients’ confidence and teach them skills to manage their condition. These courses have been shown to reduce pain, fatigue, and depression by 10 to 20 percent, but only 11 percent of adults diagnosed with arthritis have ever reported taking them.
  • People were more likely to attend a self-management education program when their healthcare provider recommended one.

Arthritis seems to be a growing and expensive problem in the United States, one that is causing many adults to have trouble completing simple, everyday tasks. Due to the scarcity of patients participating in self-management education interventions or treatment plans which prioritize physical activity over opioids, the CDC report also calls for further research to encourage these types of strategies.

In a teleconference with reporters, the acting director of the CDC, Anne Schuchat, M.D., “called on healthcare providers to do more to encourage patients to slowly increase their physical activity – such as with a short walk or a lap in the pool – and to strive for a healthy weight to reduce pressure on joints.”

You can read the CDC’s full report here

Head Injuries and Sports

Soccer players may be "heading" for concussions

Head Injuries and Sports
Published Wednesday, 01 March 2017

One of the most popular sports in the world, soccer is often considered a rite of passage for today’s youth. It is also a sport known for a high rate of concussions in it players, according to a study published in 2007 by the Journal of Athletic Training. In 2013, researchers conducted the Einstein Soccer Study, tracking soccer players in order to determine if “heading” the ball intentionally contributed to concussion symptoms to the same degree as accidental impacts, such as player-to-player or goal post collisions.

  • During the study, 222 amateur adult soccer players (79% male) completed questionnaires over a two-week period. The questionnaires asked them about their practice and game schedules, any intentional or unintentional head impacts that may have occurred during those practices or games, and any concussion symptoms (headache pain, dizziness, confusion) they may have experienced.
  • Researchers found that players who intentionally headed the ball the most were three times more likely to experience concussion symptoms.
  • However, players who suffered two or more unintentional head collisions were six times more likely to report concussion symptoms as those who only suffered a single impact. This suggests that unintentional head collisions are more risky than intentional ones.
  • In an interview with Reuters Health, the lead author of the study, Dr. Michael Lipton stated that this study only shows the short-term effects of heading, and more research is needed to address the long-term consequences.
  • The study followed amateur adult athletes in the northeast United States, so it is still unknown if the results can be applied to teenagers and children as well.

The report, published on February 1, 2017 in Neurology, demonstrates that concussion symptoms do arise from intentional heading, though more severe symptoms of concussion did mainly occur due to accidental collisions with other players or goal posts. While this may cause concern in parents over their children heading the ball in youth leagues, Lipton stressed there is a need for more research to track the long-term brain changes associated with heading.

Speaking to the New York Times, Lipton said, “We don’t know how much is too much. It would be great to say ‘no heading,’ but we don’t have enough information to say that. Public health interventions have to be based on evidence.”

Read more about the Einstein Soccer Study here.

Yoga Alone Is Not Enough For Back Pain Relief

Discover the link between Yoga and the best methods to relieve back pain

Published Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Yoga For Back PainThe annoying back pain that keeps rearing its ugly head might have you reaching for the Tylenol or aspirin, or might leave you entertaining thoughts of more radical treatment methods like surgery or injections. Before you let your achy back call all the shots, consider these other approaches to pain relief FIRST. Because the pain you are experiencing is probably more within your control than you may believe.

Why Should You Look for Alternative Treatment Methods for Back Pain?

Given that back pain affects most Americans to some extent, leading to multiple medical visits, it is often overtreated. As a matter of fact, it seems that many American adults get addicted to one or more types of painkillers while trying anything that might reduce their discomfort. Moreover, those who are desperately seeking the best remedy for their lower back pain may also be exposed to a series of side-effects linked to their treatment plan, including the dissatisfying results of ineffective procedures, such as surgery or steroid injections, or stomach ulcers and bleeding caused by common anti-inflammatory medications.

What Works Best When It Comes To Alleviating Back Pain?

If you are a fervent supporter of the Movement Is Medicine system, then you are probably wondering if practicing yoga is enough to help you overcome persistent back pain. In some cases, you may need more than a few yoga lessons to reach your goal; it all depends on what’s causing the pain that is disrupting your balance and daily activities. For example, if your body is misaligned as a result of an injury, yoga may not manage to provide the most effective solution to your problem.

On the other hand, regardless of its underlying causes, back pain can be alleviated through a combination of natural remedies, including quality chiropractic care, stretching via the Egoscue Method, strength training, osteopathic manipulation, better stress management tactics, meditation, massage, and acupuncture. To begin with, you may want to schedule your first appointment with a chiropractor who could help you treat musculoskeletal pain through a series of gentle spinal adjustments. Stretching (especially Egoscue) contributes to a correct skeletal alignment and reestablishes your lost muscular balance, offering you a longer-lasting pain relief. Strength training leads to stronger core muscles, which play an important part in preventing injuries and reducing pain.

Believe it or not, even less conventional options, such as meditation, acupuncture, and massage, can lead to major signs of improvement, as long as they are associated with other key elements, such as chiropractic sessions and a moderate workout. For instance, meditation may act as a potent pain reliever, allowing people to decrease the intensity of their discomfort and gain more control over their mind and body. Through a relaxing massage session, you could release endorphins, stimulating your body to relax and relieve pain. At the end of the day, it is your duty to test all the pain-banishing factors listed above and recreate the combination that works best for your body. 

What are the Back Pain Benefits of Yoga?

A regular Yoga practice ensures better stress management and allows you to achieve a longer-lasting balance between body, mind, and spirit. Yoga enables you to achieve a state of serenity, banish daily problems and concerns, and focus on movements that put your muscles to work in ways that benefit your back. Finding significant pain relief is a complex process that usually involves a trial and error system; however, each yoga session will give you the chance to stay active, boost core muscle strength and increase your flexibility. Quite often, patients that practice yoga at least once a week feel better than the ones who receive physical therapy and medication to improve their physical condition and win the battle with chronic back pain. There are several specific poses that you should master to reduce the discomfort that you’re experiencing, including Bird Dog, Boat, Cow Face Pose and Forearm Plank. All poses will tone several parts of your body, promoting mobility, improving your mood and stimulating you to stay active. For instance, the Cow Face Pose can stretch out your buttocks, hips, upper back and shoulders, letting you work on different key areas to strengthen your body and develop stronger pain coping capabilities. 

Quite often, patients who practice yoga at least once a week feel better than those who utilize physical therapy and medication alone to relieve chronic back pain. A couple of Yoga poses to consider for stretching tight muscles and ligaments as well as for building balanced muscle strength, include: 

  • Bird Dog Pose- starting on your hands and knees (on all fours) extend one arm out straight in front of you, and the opposite leg out straight behind you. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Boat Pose- balancing on your behind, create a 45-degree angle between your upper body and lower body and hold. At first, you may not be able to straighten your legs, and that is ok. 
  • Cow Face Pose- Sitting with legs crossed, one over the other, and arms linked behind the back. 
  • Forearm Plank- In a plank position on the floor, with your arms bent so your weight is resting on your forearms and your toes. 

All poses will tone several parts of your body, promoting mobility, improving your mood and stimulating you to stay active. Yoga, meditation, and regular chiropractic adjustments are a powerful combination for not only reducing the debilitating effects of chronic pain in the back but also for promoting flexibility and strength. This approach goes beyond just eliminating pain, to promoting an overall state of health and wellbeing. 

Good News for Desk-Bound Employees!

Studies reveal the magic exercise number to counter-balance sedentary jobs.

Good News for Desk-Bound Employees!
Published Monday, 22 August 2016
Researchers of a sedentary lifestyle study have good news for office workers who find themselves trapped behind a desk every day from 9 to 5. The negative health effects created by long hours of sitting down can be reduced by daily exercise.
 
The study looked at data from 16 previous studies, mainly involving people ages 45 and above from the United States, Australia, and Western Europe. They found during their follow-up period of two to 18 years that those who sat for eight hours a day with little exercise had a 9.9 percent change of mortality, while those who sat for less than four hours per day with one hour of exercise had a 6.8 percent chance of mortality.
 
The study goes on to recommend that those who sit daily for an average of eight hours should try to exercise one hour per day, while those who sit 6 or less should aim for half an hour of exercise. Right now, most health experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise every day. Adding another 30 minutes may seem daunting, but you can squeeze it in without interrupting your schedule.
 
We know it's not always easy to get up and move during the work day, especially when deadlines loom, but being mindful of movement can really help. When getting up to use the bathroom or get a drink, be sure to take the longest office route possible. Also, getting a quick walk around during lunch time can help stretch muscles and give your mind a break.When not at the office, try to insert exercise into your daily life. Start mornings with a walk around the neighborhood and maybe try a visit to the park before dinner, too.
 
Choosing to consistently add activity throughout the day will get you up to one hour of exercise before you know it. For more information on daily exercises, contact our chiropractors.

Beat The Heat and Boost Your Exercise Routine

A surprising way to stay hydrated while improving your performance.

Beat The Heat and Boost Your Exercise Routine
Published Wednesday, 20 July 2016

In one study, runners were given two cups of either a frozen or room-temperature drink 45 minutes before a 10K event in 82 degrees Fahrenheit weather.

Results showed, those who drank the slushy drink ran an average of 15 seconds faster. One possible explanation for this is the ice in the slushy drink increased body heat storage capacity, which allowed runners to improve running time by avoiding overheating. Eating an ice pop may have a similar effect! Yum!

So before hitting the streets and sidewalks of Maplewood and South Orange in the Summer, drink and ice-cold glass of H2O before you go! You may not be trying to set any land speed records, but your body will thank you.

Jason Kai Wei Lee, Ph.D., head, human performance laboratory, DSO National Laboratories, Singapore.

The 10-minute exercise solution

Published Saturday, 09 May 2015

No time to work out? Try following this speedy routine three times per week (but first check with your doctor): Warm up for 2 minutes. Then exercise as hard as you can for 20 seconds, followed by 2 minutes of activity at a slower pace. Do that three times. Finish by cooling down for 3 minutes.

New thinking on knee arthritis

Published Saturday, 25 April 2015

Jumping—yes, jumping!—may help. Recent study: Postmenopausal women with minor knee osteoarthritis who did high-impact exercise (step aerobics with quick turns and jumps) three times a week had improved stability and stronger knee cartilage than those who didn’t do this exercise. Why: Jumping and other high-impact movements build collagen and bone. Implication: Men and women with knee osteoarthritis may benefit from high-impact exercise but should get an OK from a doctor first.

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