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Stress and Pain

Today many people are in a constant stress alert state but the fight or flight response so useful to cavemen is as useful now in the workplace as a dinosaur. Under stress the body struggles to cope with elevated levels of stress produced hormones and chemicals: adrenaline, cortisol which increases heart rate and blood pressure, concentrates blood in the muscles and releases sugar and fats.

We have become so accustomed to living with stress that we often ignore some of the persistent symptoms :- muscle tension, neck and back pain from sustained muscle contraction, headaches, frequent colds, restless sleep. If left unchecked stress can contribute to serious health problems such as heart disease, ulcers, weakened immune system even cancer.

There are many sources for stress reduction/relaxation in the community: an exercise program is still the best antidote also massage, yoga, imagery, books and videos to detail more options.

Safety Tips for Water

Fluid replacement is a critical part of exercise. Fluid loss can cause lethargy and nausea interfering with your performance. In endurance activities water loss can be severe, potentially producing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Water is the ideal fluid and researchers have found that drinks containing up to 10% sugar are usually as well absorbed as water. Moreover, when consumed during a strenuous endurance event sugared beverages may help your body conserve its carbohydrate stores, maintain blood sugar levels and thus delay fatigue. Many people also find slightly sweet (and slightly salty) drinks more palatable than water and thus easier to drink in large quantities.

Thirst is satisfied long before you have replenished lost fluids. During strenuous exercise especially in hot weather drink at least 16 to 20 oz two hours before exercise and another 8oz 15-30 minutes before. If possible sip 4-6 oz every 15-20 minutes during exercise.

Applying Ice

As therapy for use on inflammations, ice is effective, reasonable, and mostly safe in short exposures. The application of cold to a pain or strain, acts to constrict the small blood vessels in the area. As a result less fluid escapes into the tissue. . With less inflammation, there is less pressure on the nerves and muscles thereby lessening pain. There is also a numbing effect on the nerves. The application of heat has the opposite effect in blood flow and swelling. This is why a cold pack should be used first. After 72 hrs moist heat can be alternated with cold packs. If either cold or therapy causes an increase in pain, stop the therapy. Depending on how cold the ice, application should not be for more than 5-10 minutes or until there is pinkening of the skin and not reapplied until the skin has returned to normal temperature at least one hour later.

Losing Weight

Even those recovering from surgery or medical conditions can benefit from this low impact aerobic activity. -WALKING.

Tips for success: -REALLY stretch before and after walking especially calf and thigh muscles and hamstrings

* Find your target heart rate THR (more on that next time)

* Walk normally for 5 minutes to increase heart rate slowly. Walk briskly for 10-45 mins. Check THR

* Walk as long as you can maintain a good erect posture with gentle contraction of lower abdominal muscles, hold upper body extended and squeeze gluteals on push off phase. Shoulders relaxed and deep rhythmic breathing. Swing arms easily. It is better to walk slower and gradually increase your endurance Cool down with 5 mins slower walk to lower pulse safely

* Beginners or people under medical care can start with half mile3 times week increasing 10% per week until they reach approx 2-3 miles comfortably

* Make it fun listen to educational tapes or books on tape, take a friend or your dog.


Wear and tear in the shoulders can be traced to poor posture and alignment, and muscle imbalances around the shoulder girdle. The Rotator Cuff is a set of small muscles and tendons which come from the Shoulder blade to the top of the arm bone (humerus) It’s job is to help hold the arm in the shoulder socket and rotate the arm inwards and outwards. Impingement pain is caused when the rotator cuff is squeezed under the shoulder bone (acromium) when lifting the arm over head or out to the side. Poor alignment of the shoulder girdle especially with slouched posture puts stress on the rotator cuff which makes the muscles work at a mechanical disadvantage so that they tire Easily and may become inflamed or torn If excessive loads are put on them over a long period of time or a sudden load like a Fall. Treatment at first is ice, rest and anti-inflammatories. Your doctor may inject cortisone into the joint in resistant cases but the muscle imbalances and alignment problems need to be addressed to prevent further problems.
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