Monthly Archives: May 2013

NICOTINE WITHDRAWAL

effects-of-nicotineCAUSES – Nicotine is an addictive agent.  Almost all people who try to quit have some form of nicotine withdrawal. Once someone tries to quit using the substance, physical and psychological responses occur within the body.

TREATMENT – Nicotine supplements come in several forms:

  • Gum
  • Nasal spray
  • Skin patch

Non-habit forming prescription medications may help you quit smoking and keep you from starting again.  Like any addiction, quitting tobacco is difficult, especially if you are acting alone. You have a much better chance of success if you join a smoking cessation program.

Exercise, healthy diet, and holistic treatments such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal and homeopathic remedies can also help someone going through nicotine withdrawals.  These treatments are safe and effective to reduce cravings and will also help to reduce weight gain and alleviate anxiety and irritability.

PREVENTION – If at all possible, try not to use substances in which you may get addictive to.  Always educate yourself before introducing foreign substances into your body.  Children should be educated on harmful substances or substances that may become addictive.

NEURALGIA

trigeminal_neuralgiaCAUSES –Neuralgia is a sharp, shocking pain that follows the path of a nerve.  It is due to irritation or damage to the nerve.  Postherpetic neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia are the two most common forms of neuralgia.  In many cases, the primary cause of neutralgia is unknown.  Some of the causes may include:

  • Certain drugs
  • Chemical irritation
  • Chronic renal insufficiency
  • Viral infections

TREATMENT – Treatment varies depending on the cause, location, and severity of the pain, and other factors.  The goal of treatment is to reverse or control the cause of the nerve problem (if found), and provide pain relief.  Medications to control pain may include; analgesics for short-term relief of severe pain (however, these do not always work well), anti-seizure medications (carbamazepine, phenytoin), and topical creams containing capsaicin.

Alternative therapies that include B-complex vitamins, a diet high in protein, carbohydrates and fats as well as acupuncture have also been successful in the treatment of neuralgia.  Herbal and homeopathic remedies and tissue salts are very effective for treating neuralgia and nerve damage.

PREVENTION – For some types of neuralgia, it is best to sit, stand, and lift items properly.  Consultation with a trained therapist can help you in determining the best options of treatment; i.e., body work therapies.

NASAL POLYPS

nasal-polyps-picturesCAUSES – Nasal polyps are usually associated with people that have allergies, children with cystic fibrosis, and those that overuse aspirin.  They usually start at the top of the inside of the nose and grow into open areas.  The large ones can block the nasal airway which makes it difficult to breathe through your nose.

TREATMENT – There are some treatments available, but the only way to make sure that they are completely gone is to have them surgically removed.  Treatments that are available are:

  • Corticosteroid pills or liquid may also improve symptoms.
  • Antibiotics should only be taken if there is a bacterial sinus infection.
  • Aromatherapy (Tea tree oil, eucalyptus, and peppermint)
  • Homeopathy

PREVENTION – There is no real way to prevent nasal polyps.  If you do get them, you can use nasal sprays, antihistamines, and allergy shots which may prevent polyps that block the airway.

MUSCLE CRAMPS

muscle crampsCAUSES – Muscle cramps are commonly associated with physical activity such as sports or activities that one isn’t accustomed to doing.  It is possible that cramps may come during the activity or later, sometimes many hours later (at bedtime).   Muscle fatigue from sitting or lying for an extended period in an awkward position or any repetitive use (typing) can cause cramps.  Low blood levels of either calcium or magnesium directly increase the excitability of both the nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate.  Muscle cramps can come from problems with circulation, nerves, metabolism, hormones, medications, and nutrition. 

TREATMENT – If the muscle can be stretched, the cramps can be stopped.  For cramps of the feet and legs, stretching can often be done by standing up and walking around.  A calf muscle cramp, the person can stand a few feet from a wall and lean into the wall to place the forearms against the wall with the knees and back straight and the heels in contact with the floor.   Another technique involves flexing the ankle by pulling the toes up toward the head while still lying flat with the leg as straight as possible.  If you massage the muscle, you will help it to relax.

PREVENTION – It is always a good idea to stretch before and after exercise or sports. You should also do adequate warm-up and cool down exercises, to prevent cramps that are caused by physical activity. Good hydration before, during, and after the activity is important, especially if the duration exceeds one hour.   You should try to replace lost electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium, which are major components of perspiration) by hydrating your body.  Adequate calcium, magnesium, and potassium are important aspects of prevention of night cramps.  Since vitamin E is thought to have other beneficial health effects and is not toxic in usual doses, taking 300 units of vitamin E daily can help prevent night cramps.

MOTION SICKNESS

motionsicknessCAUSES – Motion is sensed by the brain through the nervous system that send signals coming from the inner ear and the eyes.  Motion sickness is a very common disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion. In addition to sea travel, motion sickness can develop from the movement of a car or from turbulence in an airplane.  Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and a sense of feeling unwell are the most common symptoms.

TREATMENT – There a number of different classes of medications that have been effective in treating motion sickness.  Scopolamine is the most well-known medication for motion sickness.  It is most commonly administered as a time-released skin patch that is applied to the skin.  Remember that scopolamine can cause drowsiness and has other side effects, and its use should be discussed with your physician prior to your trip.

PREVENTION – It may be impossible to prevent all cases of motion sickness.  Listed below are a few tips can help you to lessen the severity of motion sickness:

  • Watch your consumption of foods, drinks, and alcohol before and during travel.  Heavy, spicy, or fat-rich foods may worsen motion sickness in some people.
  • Avoid strong food odors that may cause nausea.
  • Try to choose a seat where you will experience the least motion; middle of an airplane, lower level cabins near the center of a ship, in the front seat of a car if possible.
  • Do not sit facing backwards from your direction of travel.
  • When traveling by car or boat, it can sometimes help to keep your focus on the horizon or on a fixed point.
  • Open a vent or source of fresh air if possible.

Your doctor may prescribe medications for longer trips or if you repeatedly develop severe motion sickness.