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SCIATICA AND OVERWEIGHT: MORE TIPS TO TRY

Posted on December 9, 2009, under Pain Relief-Muscle Relaxers.

There are also numerous ‘tricks’, psychological or otherwise, that you can use to good effect to help you feel less hungry or make a smaller portion of food just as satisfying as a larger one. Researchers have found that the following ideas work well for most people, enabling them to adhere more easily to a restricted diet:

Drink a full glass of water half an hour or so before every main meal. The water makes you feel fuller when you begin to eat, so reducing your appetite.

Serve your food on plates smaller than those you normally use. The smaller plate will make a slimmer’s portion appear bigger than it really is, so deceiving your brain into believing that you’re having a larger meal than you are. Extending the same principle, try eating with a cocktail fork. This will force you into eating more slowly – the more slowly you eat, the more filling the food will seem to be.

Another useful ‘psychological’ tip in the same vein is to select food that is low in calories but which takes up a lot of room on your plate. Studies have shown that we eat what looks like the amount of food we think we want, subconsciously judging portions by the space they occupy. This means that choosing low-calorie foods, such as salads, that fill a lot of space on your plate can provide you with the illusion that you’re eating more.

Perhaps a rather extreme tip, but one that he swears is truly most effective, comes from an American slimming expert who suggests that you can make yourself eat less by making your food look unattractive by shining a green light on it.

Some more eminently practical suggestions that you can use to train yourself to eat less:

Much as you may hate to throw away good food, do not save leftovers from meals. Stashing away leftovers in the fridge, say the experts, is unconscious plotting to provide yourself with snacks between meals.

Keep foods that are low in calories in easily accessible places in your cupboards or fridge while placing high-calorie foods where they’re difficult to get to.

In so far as this is practicable, eat alone instead of in the company of others. Studies have determined that people eating on their own consume fewer calories on the average than those having a meal as part of a group. Additionally, those eating alone also spent less time at the table, thereby reducing the length of time during which they could have been tempted into having an extra helping.

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SCIATICA: LIGHTENING THE BURDEN

Posted on December 9, 2009, under Pain Relief-Muscle Relaxers.

It stands to reason that being at all overweight is not going to help your sciatica or back problems one bit. As we’ve seen, the spine’s design is such that it all too often has difficulty in coping with even the normal, ordinary demands put upon it through everyday living. If the burden it has to bear becomes even greater because you’re overweight, then it’s obviously more likely that something is going to give sooner or later.

There’s an additional point to take into account: most overweight people carry their extra pounds in the abdomen area, the hips and the thighs. Extra weight in the abdomen is particularly bad news for back sufferers because its presence not only puts extra strain upon the spine while you’re erect – such as standing or walking – but even when you’re sitting. And, of course, bending over or lifting anything creates even greater demands upon the spine when there’s excess baggage hanging out in front of it.

Keeping your weight down to a reasonable level can make a major difference in both preventing and easing back problems and sciatica. What’s more, of course, keeping to a healthy weight will also pay rich dividends in other health benefits. Additionally, many of the exercises that are so important to maintaining a flexible and trouble-free spine will be a great deal easier to do if you’re not carrying too many extra pounds- and a lot more fun, too! It’s a fact that the overweight – the very people who would perhaps gain the greatest benefits from frequent and regular exercising – are often those who exercise the least, part of the reason for this obviously being that exercising is all that much harder and therefore less appealing for them. This lack of exercising often imposes a double penalty upon the back: firstly, it is likely to contribute to the putting on of ever more extra weight; secondly, because the back muscles are not exercised, they’re likely to be in poor condition, lacking strength and flexibility, providing less efficient support for the back and the spine as a whole.

Faced with an obese patient with recurrent sciatica or other back problems for which no other obvious treatment is indicated, doctors will often recommend a weight-loss programme. Good though that advice is, most doctors unfortunately do not have the time to provide specific guidelines about how best to shed the pounds. Following are some of the things your doctor might suggest if he had the time.

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SCIATICA: WHAT IS PAIN?

Posted on December 9, 2009, under Pain Relief-Muscle Relaxers.

Something that all of us experience at times, pain is essentially a warning that your body sends to you to let you know that something is amiss. While we tend to think of the pain we feel as being the problem, it is more often merely a signal intended to draw our attention.

Demonstrating this through a fairly obvious example, you’ll feel pain when you touch something that is too hot – the pain in that case causing you to withdraw your hand before further damage is done. In instances like this one, pain serves a very useful function.

Back pain and sciatica, unpleasant though they can be, also fulfil a similar purpose, in effect sending one or more of the following messages:

You’ve overdone things and subjected your back to greater demands than it can cope with comfortably.

Stop whatever it is that you’re doing, it’s causing harm.

There’s an underlying problem somewhere that needs attention (the message sent by sciatica is a bit confusing in this regard as it first draws attention to where the pain is felt, in the buttocks, legs, wherever, rather than to the area where the cause of it resides).

You’re being reminded that you’re susceptible to back problems and you’d be well-advised to treat your spine more considerately in the future.

While pain that alerts you to a situation that needs your attention is indeed useful, there are also many instances where pain appears to be of no purpose, or at least not obviously so. Typical of this are many chronic – that is long-lasting or ongoing – pains for which there is no obvious explanation, other than perhaps that they’re due to part of the nervous system failing to operate properly and as such may/could be considered as ‘false alarms’.

It’s also worth noting that valuable though pain is as a warning sign, its severity is by no means always directly related to the seriousness of the underlying cause. For example, migraines are notorious for causing excruciating pain, yet apart from that may present little risk to overall health. On the other hand, some extremely serious diseases are marked by little or even no pain, especially in their early stages.

Although the severity of sciatica and other pain symptoms related to back problems are usually a fairly good indication of how bad the problem is at that moment, it isn’t always so. Many factors influence how strongly a given individual perceives and reacts to pain, so it’s perfectly possible that two patients with back problems of equal severity may experience widely varying degrees of pain.

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