Are Your Nightmares Causing Sleep Loss?

October 5, 2012  |  sleep problems  |  No Comments

Are you having sleeping issues because of your nightmares? Have they been constantly disrupting your sleep?

Although it is more prevalent in children, nightmare do also occurs in adults. In fact, fifty pecent of all adults experience nightmares from time to time. Two to eight percent among all adults are gravely troubled by their nightmares. While that may be a small percentage of all adults, you may most certainly be one of them.

Nightmares: What Are they?

Nightmares are terrifying dreams that normally include illusory harm or danger. They tend to scare you until you wake up from your deep sleep.  Nightmare subjects differ from one person to another. The most common among adults would be resemble the following:

  • You are running at high speed because something or someone harmful is chasing you. You are running out of breath because you just could not keep up.
  • You are just a few inches away from falling from the top of a building or a cliff.
  • Any traumatic experience you have encountered may haunt you. The petrifying event seem worse in your dream and may keep on repeating during your sleep.
  • Someone kills you or a member of your family.

When Do Nightmares Occur?

Nightmares commonly happen during REM or rapid eye movement. It is the phase of your sleep when the majority of dreaming come about. Since REM sleep stage gradually lengthens as the night advances, you may be awakened by your nightmares at dawn.

Are Nightmares The Same As Night Terrors?

Both nightmares and night terrors may cause you to get up due to intense horror. Yet, they are still two different things. Unlike nightmares, night terrors strike during the earlier stage of your sleep. When you experience night terrors, you do not usually remember why are so frightened when you wake up. This is because they are not really experienced as dreams, but as feelings.

What Causes Nightmares?

There are many common causes of nightmares among adults, and these are some of the following:

1. Medications. Medicines affecting the substances in your brain, just like narcotics and anti-depressants, may contribute to your nightmares. Other medications that may cause nightmares are blood pressure drugs.

2. Withdrawal. When you are fighting your addiction to substances like tranquilizers and alcohol, or when you change your medication, you may experience withdrawal. Withdrawal may involve pain, discomfort, and even nightmares. When you experience any of these withdrawal symptoms, consult your doctor.

3. Sleep Deprivation. Although sleep deprivation is already a sleep problem itself, it may still cause your nightmares.

4. Eating at Night. Do you like having midnight snacks? Do you eat your dinner very late at night? Eating close to the hours of sleep boosts your metabolism and makes your brain more active.

5. Psychological Factors. Psychological factors that may cause nightmares include depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).

If you constantly experience nightmares and are troubled by them, you may want to check if any of these factors above are true to you. Some of these factors can easily be avoided – such as sleep deprivation or eating at night.

If you suspect psychological factors to be the cause of your nightmares, try to seek help as soon as you can. Remember that sleep is very important so you should do what you can to improve your sleeping condition right away.

Who Is At Risk For Neck Pain?

October 5, 2012  |  neck pain  |  No Comments

The neck is a composite interconnecting structure, which is composed of joints, bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. While it may be a small part of the body, it has a very important task.

The primary task of the neck, which is to hold your head’s weight up, is not that simple.  In addition, there is the condition that the head should be capable of moving horizontally and vertically. The neck also has to develop a channel for the spinal cord, transport blood vessels, and control the passage for food and air. With all these tasks, it is not surprising for the neck to feel some pain at some point in time.

Neck pain may arise and be manifested between your head and shoulders. However, the pain may also extend to your arms and upper back. The pain may range from mild to unbearable, depending on the underlying condition and cause of the pain.

Who Is At Risk?

One question asked by many is, “who really are at risk of developing this physical pain?” The straight answer here is everyone. At one point or another, almost everyone experience the chronic neck pain. However, there are some situations and things that people do to make them more prone to the condition. If you answer yes to any of the questions below, then your risk of neck pain is a little bit higher than most people.

Do you smoke? If you are an excessive smoker, you are more prone to suffer neck pain. Smoking can cause deficiency of your bone density, which raises your risk of neck pain in the later life.

Are you more than 50 years old? Your body wears and tears as you age. This is why people who are above the age of fifty are more susceptible to experiencing neck pain.

Do you have the habit of slouching? Slouching destroys the right alignment of your spine. In order to prevent neck pain, you must start the habit of maintaining a good posture, which includes standing, sitting, and sleeping.

Do you have a poor diet? Your extra pounds may cause unnecessary pressure on your spine, which may end up agonizing your neck. Maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy weight is the key.

Do you maintain the same position for a long period? When you are glued to your computer for an exceptionally long time without breaks, you tend to be in just one position without realizing it. Later, you may start to feel the pain on your neck. If your work requires you to just sit in front of a computer or to just be in one position for so long, try to take some short breaks in between. Stand up and stretch.

Do you perform tedious activities? When you do repetitive activities, such as undue twisting, bending, or lifting, you tend to cause deterioration of your body, particularly your spine. This leads to the neck pain. Try to avoid doing these tedious activities. Or, just do the proper stretching first and take a lot of breaks.

If you believe you are at risk for neck pain, there are many things that you can do as preventive measures. Try to avoid these risk factors by proper exercise, stretching and keeping your body in proper posture. You can also consult a doctor for further evaluation and tips to help prevent the occurrence of neck pain.

Why Do I Need An Orthopedic Pillow?

October 4, 2012  |  Orthopedic Pillow  |  No Comments

Many people suffer from various aches and pains every day. These conditions can range from back pain to neck pain. If you suffer from any of these problems, then you may have been advised to use an orthopedic pillow at some point. Many doctors recommend these pillows to give added support when sleeping and reduce your painful sensations.

Examples of Orthopedic Pillows

There are many types of orthopedic pillows for the body. There are pillow for the head, neck and back. If you are in the market for one, here are different types of orthopedic pillows that you can consider.

  • Body Orthopedic Pillow – this kind of pillow is almost as long as the human body. They come in rectangular, L, C or even V shapes. They are recommended for people who like to sleep on their side, because the size and the length of the pillows support the body. Body pillows are usually recommended for pregnant women or those suffering from back pain.
  • Cervical Pillow – This type of pillow is curved and is designed to support the weight of the head, neck and the shoulders. These pillows are useful for those suffering from neck pain and for people who like to sleep on their backs, since this keeps the neck properly aligned with the spine.
  • Lumbar Pillow – This pillow is suggested for those who experience lower back pain. Designed for daily use, the lumbar pillow is wedged between the curve of the spine and the chair while the user sitting down.
  • Doughnut Pillow – this is an orthopedic pillow shaped like a doughnut. It is round and it has a hole in the center. This is perfect for those suffering from hemorrhoids or those who are suffering from coccyx pain.

What are the benefits of orthopedic pillows?

Some people think that all pillows are just the same. However, orthopedic pillows provide more support than regular pillows. They target and cushion different parts of the body and are suitable for specific pain conditions.

Many orthopedic pillows are made to help you sustain the correct posture, especially when you are sleeping or sitting down. These pillows are also designed to follow to the natural curves of your body, so that your bones and vertebrae are properly aligned.

These pillows also make sleeping more comfortable. We spend hours at night sleeping, and sleeping on the wrong pillow can cause unnecessary aches and pains during the day. Orthopedic pillows help you sleep in a proper position, lessening your chances of acquiring body aches and pains upon waking up.

Orthopedic pillows are also prescribed by your doctor when you feel body aches and pains frequently. These pillows lower the painful sensation by diffusing pressure from one specific part of your body. This helps reduce the discomfort and also prevents you from getting new aches and pains from other parts of the body as well.

The type of pillow you will need will depend on your condition. Orthopedic pillows can greatly help you improve your posture and reduce your pain sensations, so take the time to choose the best one for you.

Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Hypertension?

October 1, 2012  |  sleep and health, sleep problems  |  No Comments

You are probably acquainted with the feeling of little to no sleep. You have to peel your eyes to keep them open. You move sluggishly and would readily snap at anyone who would ask simple questions.

Some may think that the remedy is simply to sleep more in the future or make up for it by sleeping for more than the usual the following night. What they do not know though, is that they are setting themselves up as possible candidates of high blood pressure.

Who Is At Risk?

Studies have shown that the less you sleep, the higher your risk is for high blood pressure. If you have been sleeping for less than five hours on a regular basis, then you should really consider changing your sleeping pattern. If you are sleeping for at least six hours or less, the risk may be a little lesser – but it is still there. If you already have high blood pressure, a regular lack of sleep can definitely worsen your condition.

Why Does Lack of Sleep Cause Hypertension?

Studies have shown the relationship between lack of sleep and hypertension. The American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions for example released a study which said that people who did not experience enough sleep (at least 7-8 hours, for adults) at night may have serious repercussions on their health. Some of these adults who do not get enough sleep may have high blood pressure, and in the long run, may develop to resistant hypertension.

Another study from Harvard Medical School shows that people who had enough deep sleep at night had better heart health than those who had light sleep. Some people can sleep for several hours a night but not achieve adequate deep sleep, leaving them tired in the morning.

Deep sleep – also known as slow wave sleep – is the time when the electrical activity of the brain slows down. This usually happens several hours into the night or early in the morning and makes the person feel rested in the morning. During this time, the person’s heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline levels also lower, promoting better heart health. Lack of hours at night or poor quality sleep usually means that a person does not achieve enough deep sleep. When blood pressure does not fall at night, it causes a condition called “nondipping,” which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Lack of Sleep And Secondary Factors

Aside from that, lack of sleep also causes secondary health problems, which may also play a role for high blood pressure. For example, people with less sleep at night are more prone to stress or depression. They may also end up making bad food choices and may not have the energy to exercise during the day. These things can also add to the condition.

Sleep For Your Health

It is good to note that hypertension is very rampant worldwide. It can lead to serious complications like cardiac arrest, strokes and heart attacks, which are very fatal. Hypertension involves numerous factors that you cannot control like gender, genetics and age. However, there are things that you can take into your own hands, such as healthy lifestyle, stress, exercise and sleep. Thus, it is important that you take control of these factors.

Be sure to eat well, exercise well, de-stress regularly and get enough sleep at night to help reduce your risk of developing hypertension.

 

Choosing The Right Sheets For Better Sleep

September 29, 2012  |  bed sheets and linen  |  No Comments

Having the right bed and the right mattress are essential to a restful, good night’s sleep. However, do you know that your sheets also matter? The right sheets can help you feel more comfortable at night, providing you with excellent quality sleep.

Sheets and Thread Counts

If you have been looking at bed sheets and blankets, you may have come across the term thread count. What exactly do they mean by it and what makes it so important?

Thread count generally means the number of threads woven within a square inch. The threads are counted both widthwise and lengthwise. This means that a blanket with 100 threads lengthwise and 100 threads widthwise per square inch has a thread count of 200.

Many department stores sell linen with thread counts ranging from 180 to 320, but there are actually sheets that can have as much as 800 to 1200 thread count.

What To Consider When Buying Sheets

  • Fiber – when buying high-quality sheets, you should look for the key terms: “Egyptian long-staple”, “Supima”, “Pima.”  These terms signify high-quality long fibers. If you want to wake up to cool, luxurious sheets, you should go for the sheets that are 100% cotton.
  • Weave – This is one of the prime factors that dictate the looks, longevity, price and feel of the sheets. Percale, which is one of the higher-class plain weave, has a thread count of 180 and higher. These are generally crisper, and last longer than other types of weave.
  • Finish – There are sheets that are treated with chlorine, silicone and other types of chemicals so that they do not shrink, lose their shape or wrinkle easily. There are even some sheets that are cured with alkalis so that they will produce sheen. Some companies have pure-finish sheets, which are not treated by chemicals. These are best for people who have sensitivities to chemicals.
  • Dye – these are the color patterns that are put on the sheets right after weaving.

 

 

 

Benefits of Sheets with High Thread Count

Sheets with high thread count are more durable. They will not suffer much after your laundry – what you pay is what you get, in a good way. Even if you use it for a long time, they will not be destroyed easily and you will still feel the comfort after several washes.

A high thread count, as mentioned above, makes the sheets more comfortable and softer. Even if it is higher in price compared to other sheets, it increases the comfort and luxury of one’s bed, promoting better sleep.

High Thread Count Equals More Quality?

The idea is, the higher the thread count of your sheets, the more comfortable and luxurious it is. It may work that way, if you are comparing sheets with 200 thread count vs. 1200 thread count. However, it is also important to consider the thread quality. A 200-count sheet with high quality thread can feel so much better than a 400-count sheet with inferior or rough fibers.

Thus, if you are looking for new sheets for the room,  it is important to not just look at the numbers alone but the type of thread used for the products as well.

Can Botox Ease Neck Pain?

September 18, 2012  |  neck pain  |  No Comments

A shot of Botox is no longer just for fine lines and wrinkles. It may also eliminate pain from your neck. Recent studies show that Botox injections can significantly reduce neck pain especially when accompanied by physical therapy.

What Is Botox?

Botox comes from botulinium toxin type A, the same toxin that causes botulism. In small doses, the substance can be safely used to relax muscles of the body and treat uncontrolled muscle spasms.

During the past decade, however, Botox has gained notoriety for being an effective cosmetic product. Hundreds of thousands of people use Botox to eradicate fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging.

How Does Botox Work For Neck Pain?

A recent study published in the American Journal of Pain Management looked at the effects of Botox injections on 25 people suffering from neck pain. A single dose was injected on to the affected neck muscle of each patient. Then, they all underwent standard physical therapy.

Three months into the study, the participants were then asked to rate their pain from one to ten. Their scores showed an average pain reduction of 40%. More than half of the participants also expressed the interest to undergo Botox injections in the future for similar pain problems.

The research did not compare Botox combined with physical therapy and simple physical therapy alone. Still, researchers believe that Botox may help relax muscles prior to rehabilitation, thereby increasing its effects.

Why Botox Over Other Treatments?

Treating neck pain with the use of Botox injections may have a considerable advantage over oral medication. Over-the-counter and prescription pain medication causes typical side effects like nausea, dizziness and fatigue. The only discomfort associated with Botox is the sting from the needle.

Because the effects of Botox last for at least six months, patients do not need to take pain medication regularly in order to deal with the discomfort.

How Much Does A Botox Injection Cost?

Botox injections are not approved as official treatments for chronic neck pain. Hence, major health insurance companies will not cover this. Majority of patients will have to pay for Botox injections out of their pockets, which can cost anywhere from £150 per shot.

Tips on Botox For Neck Pain

Like many other pharmaceutical options for neck pain, there are also many criticisms against Botox. Many people suggest trying non-invasive treatment options first before getting Botox shots. Still, it may be worth considering especially if you have tried many other options for pain relief.

Botox for neck pain is relatively new. However, several researches have attested its effectiveness in helping relieve the condition by relaxing the muscles. If you do decide to have Botox injections for neck pain, make sure that you talk things thoroughly with your doctor. The procedure also comes with its own set of disadvantages, so it pays to be informed before doing anything. Likewise, make sure that your doctor has all the necessary information about you, especially things relating to your medical history.

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Can Sleep Troubles Be Caused by Fear of The Dark?

September 15, 2012  |  sleep problems  |  No Comments

moon in dark sky

Do you usually find yourself awake at night while all others are already in deep slumber?

Do you suffer from a sleep disorder called insomnia?

Well, there are many reasons for this.

Most of the time, sleep problems are associated with sleeping patterns, sleep hygiene and lifestyle.However, recent studies also manifest that these troubles with sleeping may also be associated with the fear of the dark.

What Surveys Say

Researchers from Ryerson University Sleep and Depression Lab conducted a study on 93 college students. They answered a survey that aimed to assess their fear of darkness and sleeping pattern. From the survey alone, they found out that merely 25 percent of the good sleepers confessed that they were afraid of the dark, while a surprising 46 percent of the poor sleepers did.This brought them to the connection between insomnia and achluophobia or fear of the dark.

Eye Blink Latency Test

Aside from the survey, the researchers also ran an eye blink latency test in order to measure the students’ reaction towards sudden sounds when the lights are either on or off.

They measured the speed, the size, and the number of blinks. They did it four times in a virtual bedroom. During the first two times, the light was turned on. During the last two, it was already dark.

At the start of the test, both types of sleepers were startled at the sound. Poor sleepers blinked speedily when they heard the sudden noise. They tended to be more quickly disrupted by the unexpected sound when lights are turned off. Later on, the good sleepers were already becoming accustomed to the unexpected noises, while poor sleepers became increasingly restless and startled at the supposed bumps in the dark. Being able to get used to the noises is a common tendency when there is no fear. The poor sleepers, indeed, became more fearful.

This is where the Reyson University Sleep and Depression Laboratory Director, Dr. Colleen Carney, concluded that fear of darkness or achluophobia may influence the greater stimulation of the poor sleepers once lights are not lit.

Treatment

Carney stated that in order to treat insomnia associated with fear of the dark, you need to prioritize the treatment of the fear directly. Instead of popping pills for sleep problems, you can do this best by undergoing psychotherapy. During this process a therapist may perform a talk therapy focused on changing the patient’s behavior. This may take a number of sessions before the fear of the dark is overcome.

What Else Can You Do?

If you are afraid of the dark, here are some things that you can do to help reduce your sleeping problem and improve your sleep:

Gradually lessen the light in your room until such time you can already sleep with your lights off. For the time being, you may also want to take sleeping pills. Consult your doctor about it first. Lastly, keep your phone near you. Knowing you have people you can call in case of emergency may help minimize the anxiety.

Can Blue Light Affect Your Sleep?

September 15, 2012  |  sleep  |  No Comments

blue sky and beachWe see blue light everywhere, especially now that LED and electronics are becoming more and more common.

However, do you know that they can affect our sleeping patterns?

What is blue light, and where does it come from?

There are plenty of variations of UV light wavelengths, but UV light is described to be a part of the invisible spectrum, the scope of which is 380-200 nanometer (nm). It is only recently that researchers have explored “near UV” lights or blue light, which can be seen by humans. We can find blue light in:

  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • Flat LED television screens and computer screens
  • White-light nightlights and streetlights

How does blue light affect our sleep?
Our exposure to blue light is unavoidable, considering that we regularly use products that emit it. The exposure has certain effects on our body, such as a change in alertness, inhibition of melatonin, and disruption of our sleeping patterns. The light can especially affect the elderly and those who are sensitive to sleep disruption.

Exposure to blue light can make it difficult to achieve sleep. Lack of sleep, especially due changing patterns, has a negative effect on our health. Poor sleeping patterns may lead to depression, obesity, diabetes and certain cardiovascular conditions and can result to an overall poor quality of life.

Blue light also has positive effects
Blue light is not without its benefits, as it is not completely all that bad. For those people who love to travel yet often experience jet lag symptoms, blue light therapy can alter your sleeping pattern and eradicate these problems. The use of sleeping pills may also have certain side effects to the body, so if you want to alter your sleeping patterns, you may want to consider light exposure as a better alternative to pills. Some people may be wary of this of radiation or UV waves, but blue light does not emit any of these.

How does blue light therapy work?
Blue light sleep therapy, as mentioned above, resets a person’s sleeping pattern. With this, therapy can be used to help alter sleeping patterns and promote bettere slep. The therapy is done by exposing a person to a specific blue light frequency for a certain amount of time whenever they wake up or before go to sleep. Research shows that the lighting gives the person better sleep and restore the person’s circadian (sleep) rhythm.

Avoiding blue light
Still, blue light is a double edged sword. If you do not need to alter your sleeping patterns, then you do not need any blue light therapy. But with constant exposure to electronic products and gadgets, you may be exposed to it and it may cause sleep disruptions. So,  how can you avoid blue light and have better sleep?

First, you should always follow a normal bedtime routine, in order to prevent blue light exposure from further aggravating your sleeping pattern. You can also improve your sleep hygiene by making a few lifestyle changes. Also, it is important that you limit your use of blue light-emitting gadgets. Turn your devices off at least one to two hours before going to bed – these should help you fall asleep easier.

Is Your iPad Causing Sleep Problems?

September 8, 2012  |  sleep problems  |  No Comments

dog sleepingPeople are taking their iPads everywhere – even to bed. 

In fact, you may even be doing the same thing, too.

Yet, did you know that using an iPad before bedtime can have an effect on your sleeping habits?

Reasons Why The iPad Alters Your Sleeping Pattern

It inhibits melatonin release in the body.

The lights emitted by your tablet PC causes an inhibition of the body’s melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that facilitates the circadian rhythms or the sleeping and waking cycles. It is produced by the pineal gland on your brain.

Your tablet possesses a touch-screen LCD that emits light just like that of your television and computer. When the iPad emits its bright light, it suppresses the melatonin production and release in the body. Most people keep their iPads at least a foot or even just inches away from their faces. Doing so exposes your eyes directly to abnormal light, which disrupts your melatonin secretion. This will then cause your sleeping problem.

It stimulates your brain.

Aside from your tablet’s ability to suppress melatonin secretion, it can also stimulate your brain. Instead of relaxing and falling asleep, it keeps you awake longer instead.

What To Di If You Still Want To Use Your iPad To Bed

Most people are not willing to give up their iPads during bedtime. This is expected, after all. Despite its ability to cause sleep problems, it still has features and advantages that you, like many other users, are not willing to give up just yet. You may want to play a quick game of Words with Friends or read the daily news before calling it a night. If this is the case though, here are some things that you can do to optimize your tablet and help promote better sleep.

Turn down the lights. Most of the time, users utilize the full brightness of the device. Don’t forget that your tablet  has an automatic dimmer function that you can use at night. You may switch off the lights in your room, too.

Buy a filter. A filter can aid in lowering the glare and in wiping out the melatonin-killer blue light. In looking for a good filter, choose the one that interrupts wavelengths less than 520 nanometers. This may lessen the color quality, though.

Impose a time limit. Since iPad has the ability to interrupt your circadian rhythms, you may need to limit the time you spend using the product at night.

Use the appropriate proximity. Using the gadget too closely may intensify the negative effects of its light. It would be better if you put a good distance between you and your gadget.

How about the iPhones?

 Other small devices like the iPhone may not influence your sleeping pattern. The reason is simple. The smaller the gadget, the lesser the light. Yet, even if iPhones do not disrupt your melatonin supply, it may still stimulate your brain and delay your sleep. With that said, it’s good to use all devices moderately and follow the tips mentioned above in order to prevent them from running your sleep.

When To Consider Neck Surgery For Pain

August 30, 2012  |  neck pain  |  No Comments

anatomy of the neck musclesNeck pain can be inconvenience, which can distract you from work and many other things.

Some people opt to get neck surgery to fully get rid of back pain, but is surgery really worth it?

Doctors usually recommend rest, home therapy and medication to treat neck pain right at its onset.

If the pain does not subside within days, a visit to the clinic and some tests may be necessary to diagnose the underlying condition. Upon diagnosis, your physician will most likely recommend physical therapy, medication or in very severe cases, surgery.

Reasons, Techniques and Risks for Neck Surgery

Neck surgery is usually recommended to cure these conditions:

  • To remove the pressure on your spinal cord, which is brought about by bone spurs, or herniated discs.
  • To eliminate the pain caused by a nerve root, which is being pressed on by bone spurs or materials from a herniated or ruptured disc. This condition is called radiculopathy.
  • To prevent the vertebrae from rubbing together, as an effect of degenerative disc disease. This can lead to pinched nerves, which bring about neck pain.

Your doctor may use either one of the surgical techniques:

  • Stabilization – A surgical procedure where the doctor regulates the motion in between your vertebrae.
  • Decompression – A procedure in which the doctor removes the tissue which is pressing on your nerve.

As with any surgery, there are risks that come along with it. Your doctor will inform you of any risks before giving you a consent form, so you have a general idea of what may happen.

  1. Pseudoarthrosis, the condition in where your bony fusion does not heal at all
  2. Neck pain does not disappear
  3. Injury to your nerves, spinal cord, carotid artery, esophagus or vocal cords
  4. Infection
  5. Pain and swelling
  6. Paralysis
  7. Death

The last two risks are very dangerous, but these happen in very rare cases. Still, these are possibilities that may happen, so it is always a good idea to have these in mind before deciding. Given the risk and expense of pain surgery, you should take the time to think and consider the possible side effects before turning in the consent form.

Hospitalization after the surgery may take up to a week. Healing and complete elimination of pain may be longer and can take weeks. You may also need to wear neck braces to help steady the area during the healing process.

Before Deciding On Surgery

Before deciding on surgery, you should try to eliminate all sources of neck pain first. For example, you may want to change your mattress or invest in a good orthopedic pillow first. Who knows, your neck pain may simply be caused by sleep or bed-related reasons.  Ask your doctor for all possible forms of treatments that you can try.

Surgery should always be a last resort for any pain symptom. If other forms treatment or therapy for neck pain are still possible,  you take these steps first before finally deciding to go under the knife.

got neck pain

 

Choosing The Best Bed Frames

August 29, 2012  |  bed  |  No Comments

Shopping for furniture – whether it’s for a new home or just replacing ones that have worn out over years of use – can be fun.

However, it can also be confusing and time consuming for some. Even if you’re just looking around for a new bed frame, there are still some factors that you should consider. After all, a bed is not really a bed if it does not have a frame, right? The wrong ones can be an eyesore to your bedroom and can have detrimental effects on your sleep. The right bed frame, howeer, will work well with your mattress and your room – proving to be a very wise investment.

 What are the types of bed frames?

Here are some of the most common examples of bed frames in the market:

  • Metal bed frames – These are sturdier and longer lasting than wooden bed frames, so if you’re after something that will last you for a very long time, this is your best bet. Metal bed frames also provide excellent support for heavy individuals, and do not sag under the weight of the mattress and the person. You can choose from adjustable or non-adjustable metal bed frames. However, if you want to purchase metal bed frames, you should choose that are made from heavy-duty steel, because these are believed to provide better support. Choose bed frames that are welded, rather than bolted. This is because bolts can be removed and can get lost over time if you aren’t careful.
  • Wooden bed frames – If the décor of your room is the natural type and you’d rather take wooden bed frames, be sure that you don’t buy the cheap ones. There are plenty of low-quality wood frames that look spectacular, but these can get destroyed easily. Wood frames can eventually give in months or years of usage and can start to creak. This can be very disturbing as you get into bed or move in your sleep in the middle of the night.
  • Shallow base bed frames – These are bed frames that can store stuff (such as toys, books, clothes) underneath the mattress. If you’re short on space and dislike the sight of clutter, this bed is well-suited for you.

Choosing Bed Frames

If you are planning to buy a bed-frame today, here are some things that you should keep in mind:

  • Height. You should also keep in mind the height of the person using the bed, since they will need to fit in the bed comfortably when they sleep. You want a bed that is long enough and wide enough for your mattress, so that the mattress does not jut out or gets propped up at an irregular angle.
  • Weight.  You should also consider the weight of the mattress – or the type of mattress – that you’ll be using. Memory foam mattresses are generally heavier than most, so you should really keep the weight of the mattress in mind so that there will be adequate support. Lighter mattresses require lesser support, so you should always keep this in mind.

Like your mattress, your bedframe of choice can also contritbute to your comfort during sleep. Make sure that you choose one that complements your room and works well with your needs so you can say hello to excellent and sleep-filled nights ahead.

What Are The Benefits of a Neck Pillow

August 21, 2012  |  pillows  |  No Comments

Most people do not realize that their pillows are one of the reasons why they wake up with sore backs in the morning. Indeed, the wrong pillows can cause stiffness on your back while you sleep, causing pain in the morning. Your pillow can either be thick, thin, fluffy – or simply not suited for your sleeping preference. With that, it is important to find a good pillow that can provide the proper support you need.

We all know that pillows are created to support the neck and the head. Their main function is to ensure that our head, necks and spines are correctly aligned and properly supported. If you want support for you neck, then you should get something that is specifically designed for that purpose, a neck pillow.

Types of Neck Pillows

There are different types of neck pillows, and you may have difficulty in selecting which of these best fits you. Most people choose between the three varieties – the heated ones, memory foam neck pillows, or just the normal neck support pillows. Sometimes your chiropractor would recommend a specific type that he believes fits your condition best.

Benefits of Neck Pillows

  • Provides good neck support. This is good news for those suffering from stiff neck constantly. Neck pillows are the tools that help you relieve the pressure from the neck because it helps align your spine and head properly. It also gives proper traction, as well as support, for your neck.
  • Prevents or reduces snoring. Perhaps you share a room with a snorer, or you yourself snore. Neck pillows are one of your best bets to prevent and reduce snoring. Usually, a person snores because the air passages of their throats are blocked. If you use a neck pillow, those blocked air passages will open up and make breathing easier.
  • Promotes proper posture. Having a neck pillow can give you proper posture, which is essential in the long run so that you won’t develop any conditions that affect your spine. The neck pillow aligns the cervical spine so that you will naturally relax your spinal cord and stretch the neck into its proper position.
  • Reduces allergic reactions. If you’re prone to experiencing allergic reactions to regular pillows, there are neck pillows are made of high-quality, hypoallergenic materials that you can use. You can also buy a non-allergenic cover for your pillow if you want to lessen the risk of experiencing allergies.
  • Enhances blood circulation. Since neck pillows help the body to become naturally aligned, the blood will flow better because there are little to no obstructions.
  • Promotes good sleep at night. You will have increased energy to perform your daily routine, since you have slept better during the night and you don’t wake up to stiff neck or sore backs in the morning. A good night’s sleep is essential to give you energy to do everything you have planned for the day.

Prevention is better than cure, but sometimes prevention can be quite costly. You might get worried and daunted by the price of neck pillows, since they cost more than ordinary pillows. However, if you really think it through, you’ll find that neck pillows are actually better investments than not buying one but ending up in a chiropractor’s clinic.

Ginger: Can You Use It For Neck Pain?

August 21, 2012  |  neck pain remedies  |  No Comments

If you want to give your body a break from aspirin but you can’t seem to take the annoying pain in your neck, then you may want to turn to a herbal remedies.

Western medicine is slowly recognizing the potential of herbal medicine. Most herbs are considered to be safe and effective, not to mention that they rarely have any side effects to your body. When you have chronic neck pain, you may want to ask  a herbal specialist about the ginger plant, which is considered to be one of the best plants to stop chronic neck pain.

 

Benefits of Ginger

Aside from enhancing the flavour of your dishes, ginger lifts up your mood as well. It also aids your digestion and wards off high blood pressure. For pregnant women, ginger alleviates the feeling of nausea, as well as morning sickness. Ginger has also been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and boost your body’s immune system.

In terms of relieving you from neck pain, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory attributes and improves the circulation of the blood in your body. There was a recent study done on patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, muscular discomfort and osteoarthritis. The patients took ginger in its powdered form for a set period. At the end of that period, the research showed that the pain has been relieved as high as 75%. The patients were monitored for three years, and nobody has reported an adverse effect to ginger.

The study has shown that taking in ginger – in any form – can help reduce the dependence of people to steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. While these drugs are effective for pain management, they may have adverse effects on the body when use is prolonged.

Methods of Treatment

You can choose from various ways of taking in ginger. There are lots of forms:

  • Ginger oil can be used to massage your back and neck. You can also blend it with your bath water so that it can help soothe your body. You may also blend the ginger oil with a base cream whenever you feel arthritis symptoms coming on.
  • Get fresh ginger root and slice it into thin strips. Boil it with water and let it simmer for thirty minutes while covered. After thirty minutes, cool it down and strain the ginger out. Add some honey to the water so that it will taste better, and drink it.
  • You may also incorporate it with sesame oil. Get some fresh ginger and grate it. Remove the juice, but don’t throw it, because you have to mix the juice with the sesame oil. Heat the mixture up and rub it in the afflicted area. This is one of the homemade ointments wherein ginger is used.

Ginger has been used for centuries by the Chinese, Japanese and traditional Indians not only in cooking, but also as medicine for many aches and pains. After being proven effective over centuries, there is no reason why you cannot use it for your neck pain problems today.

Top Natural Pillow Fillings To Choose From

August 15, 2012  |  pillows  |  No Comments

Sleep is one of life’s greatest pleasures. In fact we are subject to a lot of  ill effects when we do not get enough sleep.

The pillow you choose is one of the factors that can affect the quality of your sleep. Thus, buying a high quality one is definitely a good investment.

Synthetic or Natural?

You must be wondering – should you choose synthetic fillings or natural ones when buying pillows? Synthetic pillows are generally cheaper than natural fillings, so if you are not willing to spend a lot of money on pillows, this may be your best bet. Synthetic fillings are made from latex, polyester or foam. These types of pillow fillings are best for people that have allergies.

So, if the synthetic fillings are cheaper and generally allergen-free, why should you choose the natural pillows? Natural pillows also have their own benefits.

First, people generally prefer the durability of pillows with natural fillings. They last longer than synthetic components since they are easier to re-fluff them when they lose shape. You may find that re-fluffing synthetically-filled pillows are nearly impossible.

There are also some people who find comfort in knowing that they’re using materials that do not help destroy the environment, since they are produced by nature.

Some Natural Fillings To Consider

If you are interested in pillows filled with natural materials, here is a list of the top natural pillow fillings that you can easily find:

  • Down – this is one of the more popular choice when people buy pillows, and this is also costlier than most. Down is the softer, fluffier feathers that are hidden underneath the main feathers of the fowl, usually gotten from ducks or geese. However, you can’t clean pillows made of down feathers by yourself – you need to take them to a professional cleaner’s. If you’re allergic to down fillings, there are pillows that are hypoallergenic made by manufacturers that clean goose down.
  • Cotton – this is one of the natural fillings that are easier to find. For people who suffer from allergies to other natural fillings, as well as sensitivities to synthetic fillings, this is the ideal choice. The only downside that comes with having cotton-filled pillows is that it may not be as sturdy as the other types of pillows.
  • Feathers – the less expensive alternative of down pillows, pillows are filled with larger feathers taken from birds. They are not as soft and fluffy as comfortable as down pillows, but for those who do not have enough budget for down feathers, this is a great alternative. However, you can also search for pillows that are a combination of down and feathers.
  • Husks and Seeds – this is the least common in the list. Usually, people who use pillows filled with husks and seeds are made out of buckwheat or millet. They mould themselves to fit your head’s shape perfectly, so it can be very comfortable. One of the best benefits of having husks and seeds as fillings are that dust mites (which can cause allergies) do not reside in this type of filling.

These are the most common natural pillow fillings that you can find in the market. Before buying one though, make sure that take you time in choosing one. Familiarize yourself with the things to look out for when choosing the right pillow for you!

How Can You Prevent Pillow Allergies?

August 12, 2012  |  allergies  |  No Comments

girl hugging pillowHave you ever experienced waking up in the morning sneezing your head off, but unsure where you got the allergies? Or were there times when you stayed up all night with a runny nose?

You may wonder why you have scratchy eyes and sniffles even if it is not pollen season, or even if you have not exposed yourself to other allergens.

There is one source of allergens you probably have never thought of – your pillow.

Your pillow, especially if you have been using it for years changed for years, may be home to tiny organisms called dust mites. Essentially, they are almost everywhere  and you cannot see them. They are very small, at around 0.4 millimeters in size. Usually, these dust mites love hot weather. They are almost everywhere in the tropics, such as Florida and some parts of Asia, but they are quite rare in places with colder climate.

How Do Dust Mites Cause Allergies?

Dust mites love eating up flakes of human skin, but it is not their bites that cause allergies. It’s their feces. The fecal matter of dust mites contains a substance called DerP1, which can cause allergies. People who allergic to the feces of dust mites may experience eczema, sinus problems that never goes away, and asthma-like symptoms.

How To Prevent Your Pillow From Becoming A Potent Allergen?

close up of pillowHaving allergies is not fun at all  it prevents you from going to sleep due to your runny nose, you keep on sniffling, and your eyes water up. Your skin gets red and rashes may pop up, can put you in a generally rotten mood. Here are some tips to prevent your pillow from becoming one of your allergens:

  • Wash your pillow cases, linen, blankets, comforters and all else in hot water every week. This can stop the spread of dust mites, which thrive on the dead skin cells that shed off your face and body.
  • You may try buying a plastic dust mite casing that can cover your pillows, mattress, and even your box springs. If you feel uncomfortable sleeping with the feel of plastic along your face, there are dust mite casings that are plastic on the inside, but cloth on the outside.
  • Purchase more pillows, and assign a rotation. Since dust mites feed on flakes of the skin, if you cycle the use of the pillows, they will be kept in control numbers. This is also helpful when your other pillows are in the wash. Buy a plastic case for those pillows you’re keeping in the closet to avoid dust accumulation.
  • Buy hypoallergenic pillows. There are many pillows, especially those made from synthetic materials which are hypoallergenic. Dust mites and other allergens tend to thrive more in organic pillows. You can invest in a hypoallergenic memory foam pillow, for example. It does not only protect you from allergens and dust mites, it also provides excellent support for your neck and head when you sleep. Dust mites live not just on pillows but on mattresses and linens, too. So it may also be a good idea to get a hypoallergenic set for everything.

These are just a few things that you can do to avoid allergies at night. This way you can get the good night’s rest that you deserve.

What Are The Causes Of Neck Pain

August 10, 2012  |  Orthopedic Pillow  |  No Comments

Most people who have had stiff neck or neck pain before would definitely agree that it is not an experience they would like to repeat. A stiff neck is sore, uncomfortable and can make you feel immobilized. Craning your neck to look either left or right can become a rather difficult feat. Those who love people-watching may have to put their hobby on hold when they have stiff neck, since it becomes awkward to keep on twisting their bodies just to look at something.

Stiff neck is an inconvenience that does not end in a short period of time – it may last from two days to a week, or even more.

So what causes neck pain or stiff neck? Here are some of the most common causes of the pain:

  • Straining – Keeping the neck in an awkward position for a long period of time can cause neck pain. Have you ever experienced waking up to a painful neck? Chances are, you may have slept in a position that strained your neck muscles. Some people who watch television while lying in bed may also experience the same from time to time.
  • Injuries – This can be considered as one of the most common causes of neck pain. This alone gives a variety of causes – from falling, to playing sports, to vehicular accidents. Improper stretching can even injure the neck. If your head is suddenly jerked forward or backward swiftly, the muscles in your neck may have been injured which leads to stiffness and soreness.
  • Infections – Meningitis is a common example infection that causes stiff neck. Meningitis is the bacterial infection occurring in the protective membranes of the brain, as well as portions of the spinal cord. It is very serious and should be treated right away. You will know if your neck problem is caused by an infection because it is usually accompanied by fever, nausea and sluggishness.
  • ArthritisOsteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be causes of stiff neck. Osteoarthritis is a condition that comes from the deterioration of the joints including those of the neck. The condition is age-related, which means that it usually occurs to older people. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder which also affects the joints of your body. It can cause extreme pain and stiffness in the neck, usually located on the upper portion of your neck. Arthritis can also cause pinched nerve, a condition caused by damage to one or a set of nerves. This can also cause pain in the affected area.

When should you go to a doctor?

Many forms of neck pain usually subside after a week. During this time, you can help improve your discomfort by giving the area a cold compress and using a orthopedic-approved pillow. If you do not see any improvement within the next few days, then you may need to visit your doctor for an assessment.

If you suddenly experience neck pain without being injured in any way, you should visit your doctor to have the underlying cause of your pain diagnosed. Also,  if your neck hurts after a traumatic injury or if you experience fever along with your neck pain, you should seek medical help too.

got neck pain
 

Is Your Birth Control Pill Causing Insomnia?

August 10, 2012  |  sleep problems  |  No Comments

tired womanWhen you’re having difficulty in falling asleep at night – or even have a poor quality of sleep – you may be suffering from insomnia.

It is literally the Latin word for “no sleep”, in which you cannot fall or remain asleep.

You may suffer from acute insomnia, in which the inability to fall asleep may last for a few nights.

If you have had the difficulty of falling asleep for several months to a year, it may be chronic insomnia that you’re suffering from. The number of people who suffer from chronic insomnia small in number.

Normally, people who have insomnia have the ‘chronic-intermittent’ type, which means that you may have difficulty falling asleep, followed by a few months of adequate sleep, and then insomnia returns again.

There are several factors which lead to insomnia, such as stress, jetlag or physical discomfort. It may also be psychological, such as people going through a divorce. But if you’re a woman, you may be surprised to learn that your birth control can be the root cause of your insomnia.

How Do Birth Control Pills Cause Insomnia

The reason why birth control pills cause insomnia is a bit more indirect. The pill content is not actually the culprit for your lack of sleep. What it does though is cause side effects, which in turn may disrupt your ability to relax and fall asleep.

Some of the most common side effects of birth control pills include nausea, throwing up, bloating, sensitivity of the breasts, sensitivity of the eyes, mood swings (which may lead to depression) and headaches. These side effects can make you feel very uncomfortable and irritable, increasing your stress levels and anxiety. When this happens, it becomes hard to achieve that relaxed state required for good sleep.

What To Do

Did you have difficulty in falling asleep when you started taking in your birth control pills? If so, you should try asking your gynaecologist about the side effects of the pill prescribed to you.

Your doctor will ask you about any side effects that you may be experiencing. He may also ask about physical activities, exercises, extracurricular hobbies and work schedules. This will help determine if your sleep problem is caused by other factors related to your lifestyle, or due to the pills and its side effects.

In the event that your birth control pills are the culprit for your lack of sleep, your doctor can switch your prescription to a low-dose drug. There are many brands of pills which contain different doses, too. Your doctor may switch prescriptions from time to time to see which works best for you.

Alternatives To Pills

There is also a possibility that you’ve been experiencing insomnia before and taking in birth control pills  may have aggravated your condition. In the event that you do not find a low-dose version that works for you, you can simply switch birth control plans. You may want to consider other forms of contraception like condoms and intrauterine devices.

While you are in the process of determining the right birth control pill for you, you can try to improve your sleep by making yourself more comfortable. You can learn to reduce stress and anxiety through relaxation techniques and make your bedroom more conducive to sleep.

How to Sleep Better with Orthopedic Pillows

Are you suffering from a lack of sleep?

Has your sleep deficit reached a point where you’re concerned enough to actually consider taking sleeping pills?

Failing to get enough sleep every night can be annoying and inconvenient. But, more than that, it can pose serious health risks and affect the quality of your life.

If you don’t get a good night’s sleep do you experience any of the following :

  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Inability to focus and concentrate, which affects your work
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Headache, stomach ache and pains in your muscles
  • Increased risk of minor ailments like colds and allergies
  • Increased risk for health problems like high blood pressure
  • Depression caused by a lack of energy

These are just some of the common consequences of not getting enough sleep. If any of these seem familiar, then isn’t it time to look for the solution that could finally allow you to sleep better once and for all

Orthopedic pillows…

In most cases, something as simple as switching to an orthopaedic pillow can play a huge role in helping you get a good night’s sleep.

Here’s a useful video

Orthopedic pillows provide you with the right comfort and support – so you sleep undisturbed throughout the night…

orthopedic pillows imageDesigned in a special contour shape, they follow the natural curve of your neck and properly cushion your head at just the right elevation.

The combination of this contoured design and the special memory foam material promotes proper posture while you sleep. You’re spine is properly aligned so you not only sleep soundly, but wake up fully rested and pain-free.

Using an orthopaedic pillow allows you to:

  • Relieve aches and pains caused by poor sleeping posture
  • Fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night
  • Avoid feeling fatigued during the day

Switching to an orthopaedic pillow requires a little bit of effort and expense, of course.

Although an orthopaedic pillow normally costs more than an ordinary pillow, it’s a great investment considering the benefits good quality sleep provides.

Also see article:
The Importance of Posture in Relieving Back and Neck Pain

 

Snooze Away Your Neck Pain – 3 Tips For a Pain-Free Night…

February 4, 2011  |  memory foam, neck pain  |  No Comments

Your neck is a very delicate structure and is part and parcel of your spine.

The top of your neck is comprised of seven vertebrae called cervical vertebrae with the seventh one being that prominent bump at the base of your neck.

Even though the neck is a considerably weak connection to your spine it is flexible allowing it to move quite freely. In most cases whenever we feel the onset of neck pain it is mostly caused either by pain in the joints or torn muscle fibers with the latter being more common than the prior.

Neck pain
If you experience neck pain when you wake up in the morning or whenever you lie down for a while there are a few things you can do to remedy this. However it is important to first understand that neck pain is mostly caused by sleeping with the wrong posture.

Not sleeping correctly can put lots of strain on your neck causing its muscle fibers to tear often causing pain and in some cases inflammation. Not correcting your sleeping posture will later lead to much more painful conditions such as low back pain, chronic headaches etc.

Use a firm mattress
If your mattress feels soft and you often sink in whenever you lie on it chances are that it is putting stress on your neck and shoulders, since some body parts are heavier than others your body is going to be misbalanced while you sleep.

The best way to correct this situation will be use a new mattress and place a pillow on the side of your neck so that it is in a neutral position as opposed to hanging out or popping out. If you mostly lie straight on your back it would be a good idea to place a pillow under your neck.

Exercises for strong shoulders and neck muscles
There are a number of exercises which can be performed in order to avoid instances of neck and shoulder pain while you sleep. Exercises such as shoulder shrugs, neck twists and pull-ups etc. will help build strong neck and shoulder muscles which should be able to take the beating of sleeping with the wrong posture or on a soft and uneven mattress.

However the problem with these exercises is that they are great for the long run but don’t expect any short term relief, plus these will hurt when you first start them.

An orthopedic pillow
The easiest way to correct your sleeping posture is to use an orthopedic pillow. An orthopedic pillow has been specially designed to support your neck, head and shoulders while you sleep eliminating instances of undue stress on them.

Many people will experience instant relief as soon as they start using an orthopedic pillow making this the easiest and most hassle free way to rid yourself of neck pain every morning.