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Lumbar Spondylosis

Definition:
Lumbar Spondylosis is a condition associated with degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs and facet joints. Spondylosis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, can affect the lumbar, thoracic, and/or the cervical regions of the spine. Although aging is the primary cause, the location and rate of degeneration is individual. As the lumbar discs and associated ligaments undergo aging, the disc spaces frequently narrow. Thickening of the ligaments that surround the disc and those that surround the facet joints develops. These ligamentous thickening may eventually become calcified. Compromise of the spinal canal or of the openings through which the spinal nerves leave the spinal canal can occur.

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Lumbar spondylosis encompasses lumbar disc bulges, herniations, facet joint degeneration, and vertebral bony overgrowths (osteophytes). Degenerative changes, including osteophyte formation, increase with age but are often asymptomatic. Disc herniation is symptomatic when it causes nerve root compression and spinal stenosis. Common symptoms include low back pain, sciatica, and restriction in back movement. Treatment is usually conservative, although surgery is indicated for spinal cord compression or intractable pain. Relapse is common, with patients experiencing episodic back pain.

Symptoms:
Symptoms of lumbar spondylosis follow those associated with each of the various aspects of the disorder: disc herniation, sciatica, spinal stenosis, degenerative spondylolisthesis, and degenerative scoliosis. Pain associated with disc degeneration may be felt locally in the back or at a distance away. This is called referred pain, as the pain is not felt at its site of origin. Lower back arthritis may be felt as pain in the buttock, hips, groin, and thighs. As with spinal stenosis or disc herniation in the lumbar region, it is important to be aware of any bowel or bladder incontinence, or numbness in the perianal area. These signs and symptoms could represent an important massive nerve compression needing surgical intervention (cauda equina syndrome).

Causes:
Spondylosis is mainly caused by ageing. As people age, certain biological and chemical changes cause tissues throughout the body to degenerate. In the spine, the vertebrae (spinal bones) and intervertebral discs degenerate with ageing. the intervertebral discs are cushion like structures that act as shock absorbers between the vertebral bones.

One of the structures that form the discs is known as the annulus fibrosus. The annulus fibrosus is made up of the 60 or more tough circular bands of collagen fiber (called lamellae). Collagen is a type of inelastic fiber. Collagen fibers, along with water and proteoglycans (types of large molecules made of a protein and at least one carbohydrate chain) help to form the soft, gel-like center part of each disk. This soft, center part is known as the nucleus pulposus and is surrounded by the annulus fibrosus.

The degenerative effects of ageing can cause the fibers of the discs to weaken, causing wear and tear. Constant wear and tear and injury to the joints of the vertebrae causes inflammation in the joints. Degeneration of the discs leads to the formation of mineral deposits within the discs. The water content of the center of the disc decreases with age and as a result the discs become hard, stiff, and decreased in size. This, in turn, results in strain on all the surrounding joints and tissues, causing the sensation of stiffness. With less water in the center of the discs, they have decreased shock absorbing qualities. An increased risk of disc herniation also results, which is when the disc abnormally protrudes from its normal position.

Each vertebral body contains four joints that act as hinges. These hinges are known as facet joints or zygapophyseal joints. The job of the facet joins is to allow the spinal column to flex, extend, and rotate. The bones of the facet joints are covered with cartilage (a type of flexible tissue) known as end plates. The job of the end plates is to attach the disks to the vertebrae and to supply nutrients to the disc. When the facet joints degenerate, the size of the end plates can decrease and stiffen. Movement can stimulate pain fibers in the facet joints and annulus fibrosus. Furthermore, the vertebral bone underneath the end plates can become thick and hard.

Degenerative disease can cause ligaments to lose their strength. A ligament is a tough band of tissue that attaches to joint bones. In the spine, ligaments connect spinal structures such as vertebrae and prevent them from moving too much. In degenerative spondylosis, one of the main ligaments (known as the ligamentum flavum) can thicken or buckle, making it weaken.

Knobby, abnormal bone growths (known as bone spurs or osteophytes) can form in the vertebrae. These changes can also cause osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints that is made worse by stress. In more severe cases, these bones spurs can compress nerves coming out of the spinal cord and/or decreased blood supply to the vertebrae. Areas of the body supplied by these nerves may become painful or develop loss of sensation and function.

Carrying around excessive weight can cause lumbar spondylosis. Spending much of the day seated can also be a contributing factor. An injury or trauma to the back can also contribute, as can genetic factors.

The main Risk Factors:
• Age: As a person ages the healing ability of the body decreases and developing arthritis at that time can make the disease progress much faster. Persons over 40 years of age are more prone to developing lumbar spondylosis.

• Obesity: Overweight puts excess load on the joints as the lumbar region carries most of the body’s weight, making a person prone to lumbar spondylosis.

• Sitting for prolonged periods: Sitting in one position for prolonged time which puts pressure on the lumbar vertebrae.

• Prior injury: Trauma makes a person more susceptible to developing lumbar spondylosis.

• Heredity or Family history
Diagnosis:
Physical Examination:
A thorough physical examination reveals much about the patient’s health and general fitness. The physical part of the exam includes a review of the patient’s medical and family history. Often laboratory tests such as complete blood count and urinalysis are ordered. The physical exam may include:

*Palpation (exam by touch) determines spinal abnormalities, areas of tenderness, and muscle spasm.

*Range of Motion measures the degree to which a patient can perform movement of flexion, extension, lateral bending, and spinal rotation.

*A neurologic evaluation assesses the patient’s symptoms including pain, numbness, paresthesias (e.g. tingling), extremity sensation and motor function, muscle spasm, weakness, and bowel/bladder changes. Particular attention may be given to the extremities. Either a CT Scan or MRI study may be required if there is evidence of neurologic dysfunction.

X-rays and Other Tests:
Radiographs (X-rays) may indicate loss of vertebral disc height and the presence of osteophytes, but is not as useful as a CT Scan or MRI. A CT Scan may help reveal bony changes sometimes associated with spondylosis. An MRI is a sensitive imaging tool capable of revealing disc, ligament, and nerve abnormalities. Discography seeks to reproduce the patient’s symptoms to identify the anatomical source of pain. Facet blocks work in a similar manner. Both are considered controversial.

The physician compares the patient’s symptoms to the findings to formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan. The results from the examination provide a baseline from which the physician can monitor and measure the patient’s progress.

Treatment:
Each patient is treated differently for arthritis depending on their individual condition. In the early stages lifestyle modifications or medicines are used for treatment and surgery is needed only if these measures are ineffective.

Yoga:
A few yoga poses and sequences can help lumbar spondylosis. Sun salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar A and B, are good for back strengthening and flexibility. The cobra pose, or Bhjangasana, stretches the lower back. The locust pose, or Shalabhasana, strengthens the lower back because it requires lifting one’s upper and lower body off the ground from a prone position on the floor. Meditation & pranayam 

Exercises:
Physical therapy is often prescribed to relieve problems caused by lumbar spondylosis. Back extensions are used on patients who can tolerate them. The patient lies face down on her stomach and then slowly lifts only her upper body off the floor. The arms may be placed palms down under her chest to take some strain off the back muscles. If lying down is too painful, this exercise can also be done against a wall. The patient puts her hands against a wall, standing about a foot away, and bends back, using a combination of lower back muscles and arms.

Stretches to Avoid:
Lying on the back and bringing the knees into the chest is an example of a common lower back stretch that flexes the spine. This is not recommended for people with lumbar spondylosis. Bending down to touch one’s toes from a standing position is also not recommended. Reaching for the toes while sitting can be problematic, too.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.ehow.com/about_5039006_lumbar-spondylosis-exercises.html
http://www.physiotherapy-treatment.com/lumbar-spondylosis.html

Preventing Kidney Stones May Be Simple

Today, the rates of kidney stones are rising like any other diseas.In most cases, kidney stones pass without causing lasting damage, but the pain during passing can be excruciating. Kidney stones are also sometimes associated with lower back pain, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, fever, and chills.

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Generally, the larger the stone, the more pain and symptoms it will cause. Sometimes aggressive treatments are needed to clear the stones, and each year, more & more people are going to emergency rooms due to kidney stones.

Once you’ve had them, your risk of recurrence increases. About 35 percent to 50 percent of people will have another bout with kidney stones within five years unless changes are made.Now, What type of changes? According to new guidelines issued by the American College of Physicians (ACP), one of the simplest strategies you can take is to drink more water.
If you Stay Hydrated you Lower Your Risk of Recurrent Kidney Stones:

The number one risk factor for kidney stones is not drinking enough water. If you aren’t drinking enough, your urine will have higher concentrations of substances that can precipitate out and form stones.

Specifically, stone-forming chemicals include calcium, oxalate, urate, cysteine, xanthine, and phosphate. These chemicals should be eliminated in your urine via your kidney, but if too little liquid is present, they can join together to form a stone. According to the National Kidney Foundation:

Urine has various wastes dissolved in it. When there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join together to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine… In most people, having enough liquid washes them out or other chemicals in urine stop a stone from forming.”

The new ACP guidelines call for people who have had a kidney stone in the past to increase their fluid intake so they have at least two liters of urine per day, which they say could decrease stone recurrence by at least half.And to achieve this, they recommend increased fluid intake spread throughout the day, pointing out that both water and mineral water are beneficial.

The National Kidney Foundation recommends drinking more than 12 glasses of water a day, but a simpler way to know if you are drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine; you want your urine to be a very light, pale yellow (darker urine is more concentrated).

Every person’s water requirement is different, depending on your particular metabolic requirements and activity level, but simply keeping your urine light yellow will go a long way toward preventing kidney stones.

Remember to increase your water intake whenever you increase your activity and when you’re in a warmer climate. If you happen to be taking any multivitamins or B supplements that contain vitamin B2 (riboflavin), the color of your urine will be a very bright, nearly fluorescent yellow and this will not allow you to use the color of your urine as a guide to how well you are hydrated.

By increasing water intake you will get rid of discomfort like, constipation,prostrate problems etc.

But if it in mind that Water Reduces Risk of kidney stone, but Soda wate or any othar areated water Increases It:

One important point: not just any fluid will do to increase your urine output. While water and mineral water were protective, drinking soda is associated with kidney stones, possibly because the phosphorus acid it contains acidifies your urine, which promotes stone formation.

In addition, one South African study found that drinking soda exacerbates conditions in your urine that lead to formation of calcium oxalate kidney stone problems.6 The sugar, including fructose (and high fructose corn syrup in soda), is also problematic.

A diet high in sugar can set you up for kidney stones, since sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body by interfering with calcium and magnesium absorption. The consumption of unhealthy sugars and soda by children is a large factor in why children as young as age 5 are now developing kidney stones.

Sugar can also increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in your kidney, such as the formation of kidney stones. According to The National Kidney Foundation, you should pay particular attention to keeping your fructose levels under control:

“Eating too much fructose correlates with increasing risk of developing a kidney stone. Fructose can be found in table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. In some individuals, fructose can be metabolized into oxalate.”

So if you’re a soda drinker, cutting back is an important strategy to remember. In one study, those with kidney stones who eliminated soda from their diet lowered their risk of recurrence by about 15 percent.
Kidney Stones Associated with Increased Risk of Broken Bones:

As mentioned, kidney stones usually pass without any lasting complications, however there are some long-term associated risks. Kidney stones increase your risk of developing chronic kidney disease, for instance, and new research also shows they might be associated with more brittle bones.

Past research has suggested that people with kidney stones have lower bone mineral density. The new study used data from more than 52,000 people and showed that those with kidney stones were at a significantly higher risk of bone fractures. Specifically:

*Men with kidney stones were 10 percent more likely to suffer broken bones than men without

*Male teens with kidney stones had a 55 percent higher fracture risk than those without

*Women with kidneys stones had a 17 percent to 52 percent increased fracture risk depending on age (from their 20s to 60s); those aged 30-39 had the highest risk
Fluoride Also Linked to Kidney Stones:

If you live in area with fluoridated drinking water (such as most of the US), you might be interested to know that high levels of fluoride in water are associated with kidney stones.11 The condition was nearly five times more common in an area with high fluoride (3.5 to 4.9 parts per million, or ppm) than a similar area without high fluoride levels in the water.

Overall, the prevalence of kidney stones in the high-fluoride area was nearly double in those with fluorosis than those without. Dental fluorosis – a condition in which your tooth enamel becomes progressively discolored and mottled – is one of the first signs of over-exposure to fluoride.

Eventually, it can result in badly damaged teeth, and worse… It’s important to realize that dental fluorosis is NOT “just cosmetic.” It can also be an indication that the rest of your body, such as your bones and internal organs, including your brain, has been overexposed to fluoride as well. In other words, if fluoride is having a visually detrimental effect on the surface of your teeth, you can be virtually guaranteed that it’s also damaging other parts of your body, such as your bones. A reverse osmosis water filtration system can remove fluoride from your drinking water.

Exercise, Avoiding Overeating Are Two More Powerful Tools for Preventing Kidney Stones:

You’re more prone to kidney stones if you’re bedridden or very sedentary for a long period of time, partly because limited activity can cause your bones to release more calcium. Exercise will also help you to resolve high blood pressure, a condition that doubles your risk for kidney stones. Even low amounts of exercise may be beneficial to reducing your risk. In a study involving more than 84,000 postmenopausal women, it was found that those who exercised had up to a 31 percent lower risk of kidney stones.13 The link persisted even with only small amounts of physical activity.

Specifically, the research showed a lower risk from three hours a week of walking, four hours of light gardening or just one hour of moderate jogging. You can find my comprehensive exercise recommendations, including how to perform highly recommended high-intensity interval training (HIIT), here. Diet wise, women who ate more than 2,200 calories per day increased their risk of kidney stones by up to 42 percent, while obesity also raised the risk. It should be noted that even though obesity increases kidney stone risk, weight loss surgery that alters your digestive tract actually makes them more common. After weight loss surgery, levels of oxalate are typically much higher (oxalate is the most common type of kidney stone crystal).
Dietary Approaches for Avoiding Kidney Stones:-

1. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Magnesium

Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body, and deficiency of this mineral has been linked to kidney stones. An estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient, so this could be a major factor. Magnesium plays an important role in your body’s absorption and assimilation of calcium, as if you consume too much calcium without adequate magnesium, the excess calcium can actually become toxic and contribute to health conditions like kidney stones.

Magnesium helps prevent calcium from combining with oxalate, which, as mentioned, is the most common type of kidney stone. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, and one of the simplest ways to make sure you’re consuming enough of these is by juicing your vegetables. Vegetable juice is an excellent source of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts like almonds, and seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Avocadoes are also a good source.

2. Eat Calcium-Rich Foods (But Be Careful with Supplements)

In the past, kidney stone sufferers have been warned to avoid foods high in calcium, as calcium is a major component of the majority of kidney stones. However, there is now evidence that avoiding calcium may do more harm than good. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study of more than 45,000 men,14 and the men who had diets rich in calcium had a one-third lower risk of kidney stones than those with lower calcium diets. It turns out that a diet rich in calcium actually blocks a chemical action that causes the formation of the stones.

It binds with oxalates (from foods) in your intestine, which then prevents both from being absorbed into your blood and later transferred to your kidneys. So, urinary oxalates may be more important to formation of calcium-oxalate kidney stone crystals than is urinary calcium. It is important to note that it is the calcium from foods that is beneficial — not calcium supplements, which have actually been found to increase your risk of kidney stones by 20 percent.
3. Avoid Non-Fermented Soy:

Soybeans and soy-based foods may promote kidney stones in those prone to them, as they may contain high levels of oxalates, which can bind with calcium in your kidney to form kidney stones. This is just one reason why unfermented soy — the type found in soy milk, soy burgers, soy ice cream, and even tofu — is not a health food. If you were to carefully review the thousands of studies published on soy, I strongly believe you would reach the same conclusion as I have — which is, the risks of consuming unfermented soy products FAR outweigh any possible benefits.

If you’re interested in enjoying the health benefits of soy, choose fermented soy, as after a long fermentation process, the phytate (which blocks your body’s uptake of essential minerals) and anti-nutrient levels of soybeans (including oxalates) are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system.

In the conclution it can be said that the good news is  there’s plenty you can do to reduce your risk of kidney stones.

Sources:Mercola.com

Avoid Feeding Your Child Drinking Water contains excessive Manganese

According to a report in Science Daily, a new Canadian study shows that children exposed to high concentrations of manganese in drinking water performed worse on tests of intellectual functioning than children with lower exposures.
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The results were published in an article in Environmental Health Perspectives.

While manganese is naturally occurring in soil and groundwater around the world, some of Canada’s groundwater contains an unusually high amount of it, giving the researchers an opportunity to study whether excessive manganese can adversely affect human health.

“We found significant deficits in the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children exposed to higher concentration of manganese in drinking water,” said lead author Maryse Bouchard.

Yet, some areas where lower IQs were reported also registered concentrations below current guidelines. In response to the study, some of the affected municipalities have already decided to install special filtration systems.

Click to see :
*Manganese in Drinking Water Can Lower Kids’ IQs by 6 Points :

*Assessing Children’s Exposures and Risks to Drinking Water Contaminants: A Manganese Case Study  :

Resources:
Science Daily September 23, 2010
Environmental Health Perspectives September 7, 2010; [Epub ahead of print]

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Dark chocolate ‘not so healthy’

For those of you tucking into dark chocolate this Christmas using the excuse it is good for you, think again.

Studies have suggested dark chocolate is good for the heart

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A top medical journal said any health claims about plain chocolate may be misleading.

Plain chocolate is naturally rich in flavanols, plant chemicals that are believed to protect the heart.

But an editorial in the Lancet points out that many manufacturers remove flavanols because of their bitter taste.

Instead, many products may just be abundant in fat and sugar – both of which are harmful to the heart and arteries, the journal reported.

Previous studies have suggested that plain chocolate can help protect the heart, lower blood pressure and aid tiredness.

But the Lancet said: “Dark chocolate can be deceptive.

When chocolate manufacturers make confectionery, the natural cocoa solids can be darkened and the flavanols, which are bitter, removed, so even a dark-looking chocolate can have no flavanol.

“Consumers are also kept in the dark about the flavanol content of chocolate because manufacturers rarely label their products with this information.”

And the journal also pointed out that even with flavanols present, chocolate-lovers should be mindful of the other contents.

“The devil in the dark chocolate is the fat, sugar and calories it also contains.

“To gain any health benefit, those who eat a moderate amount of flavanol-rich dark chocolate will have to balance the calories by reducing their intake of other foods – a tricky job for even the most ardent calorie counter.

“So, with the holiday season upon us, it might be worth getting familiar with the calories in a bar of dark chocolate versus a mince pie and having a calculator at hand.”

Click to see:-
Chocolate ‘lowers’ blood pressure
03 Jul ’07 |BBC NEWS , Health

Chocolate ‘cuts blood clot risk’
15 Nov ’06 |BBC NEWS , Health

Chocolate trial on heart patients
10 Apr ’06 |BBC NEWS , Health

Chocolate ‘has health benefits’
22 Mar ’05 |BBC NEWS , Health

Chocolate may cut heart disease
20 Dec 05 | BBC NEWS, Health

Dark chocolate may be healthier
27 Aug 03 |BBC NEWS, Health

Chocolate ‘is good for you’
06 Aug 99 |BBC NEWS, Health

Sources: BBC NEWS ,25th. Dec’07