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If you feel a terrible pain tear through your heel when you place your foot on the floor and begin to walk around, you may have developed a bone spur in your heel. This is a medical condition that can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort if left untreated. Let’s talk about it.

What is a Bone Spur?

A bone spur, also known as an osteophyte, is a bony projection that develops around the joints. It is a calcium growth on a bone that causes pressure on the tissue that surrounds it, as well as on the skin that is found beneath the tissue. Bone spurs are most often found on the feet, such as heel bone spurs, but bone spurs in the neck region are also common, as are those that form along the spine.

A Look at Bone Spurs:

Bone spurs form where they do as a result of the increase of pressure on the surface area of a joint. A bone spur, whether it be a foot spur or whether it be elsewhere on the body, can cause a great deal of pain to the person who suffers from it. Joint movement may be limited in some individuals who suffer from this condition.

Bone spurs are very common and affect a tremendous amount of people across the globe on an annual basis. The heel spur is the most common of all bone spurs and is associated with a great deal of pain. The reason for this is because you must walk on your feet and therefore the entire weight of your body comes down on your heels. The heel bone will be very sore and uncomfortable every time you put pressure on it.

Heel spurs are most often found in heavier people, including women who are pregnant.

However, anyone regardless of their weight can develop a bone spur. Athletes are also very prone to spurs, due to the nature of their work.

Bone Spur Treatment:

The best thing to do about a spur is to find effective means of treating it and ways to alleviate the pain of having it. While corrective surgery may be performed in extreme cases, most of the time this is not necessary.

The best temporary treatment for a bone spur in the foot is to stay off of it as much as you can. You will only irritate it further by continuing to exert pressure on it. Rest your foot as much as you can.

Applying an ice pack to the affected area can also provide relief. Ice can be used for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first 48 hours. After that you should turn to heat. Apply warm moist towels or a heating pad to the affected area. This helps to increase blood flow and also encourages the drainage of the lymphatic system. Both will help to facilitate the healing process.

If the pain is too much to bear, an over-the-counter painkiller and anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen should bring you some much needed relief. Buy a felt or foam heel pad to place inside your shoe to absorb the shock when you are walking.  Insoles can help to cushion the foot and make walking less uncomfortable.

Your physician may recommend injections for you, special orthotics or physiotherapy sessions. He might also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication for you and suggest that you lose weight. Talk with him about the treatments that are best for the spur (or spurs) that you have.

Becca

If you have been to your doctor and received a diagnosis of an infection called thrush, you want to learn as much as you can about this medical problem. Don’t worry; it is easy to get rid of. Here we cover the most important aspects of what you need to know about thrush.

What is Thrush?

Thrush is an infection that develops in the mouth. It is caused by a fungus called Candida Albicans. Thrush is a type of yeast infection. This infection can appear in other places on the human body besides the mouth. For instance, it is responsible for causing vaginal yeast infections in women and it can also bring about diaper rash in infants.

Thrush can affect people of all ages and is not limited to just one age group. It is also common in those who have compromised immune systems.

The Causes of Thrush:

Yeast is naturally occurring throughout the human body and it has its advantages. There are small amounts of Candida Albicans yeast to be found on the skin, in the mouth, in the vagina and in the digestive tract of healthy individuals. The yeast is kept in check by good bacteria and microorganisms in the body. There are times however when there is an imbalance of yeast, which can lead to the development of an infection. Too much of it can cause the level of bad bacteria to increase and to overwhelm the level of good bacteria.

Medications, certain kinds of illnesses and stress have the potential to upset the balance of yeast and can cause this fungus to start to grow. If left to its own devices, Candida can start to wreak havoc on the part of the body where it is growing. Thrush will be the result.

There are several types of medications that have the potential to upset the balance of healthy bacteria that live in the mouth and may give way to thrush. These include birth control pills, antibiotics and corticosteroids. There are some illnesses and health conditions that can also increase a person’s chances of developing it. Examples of these include cancer, dry mouth, HIV infection and diabetes that are not under control.

Pregnant women are also at a greater risk because of the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy. Smokers are at a higher risk as are people who wear poor fitting dentures. If an infant has developed the infection, it is very possible for him or her to transfer it to the mother as a result of breast feeding.

The symptoms of thrush tend to vary from person to person. They can range from mild to moderate to severe. The symptoms may be worse for those with weakened immune systems. Treatment generally consists of anti-fungal medications that are most often taken for 10 to 14 days. Your doctor will help you to decide which medication is best for you.

Medication can kill off the bad bacteria, but also some of the good bacteria as well. To rebuild your arsenal of good bacteria (your protectors), take a probiotic supplement. It would also be a good idea to consume more yogurt because it contains live bacterial cultures. Stay away from the brands of yogurt that are high in sugar or are sweeten with sucralose.

Samantha

Do you think you could be pregnant? Excited at the thought?! If you already have a child, you know what to expect in terms of the early signs. However, if this is your first time, you may not know what to look for. Here we look at those early signs and symptoms.

If you want to have a baby and are trying to make that happen, you need to pay attention to your body. There are a number of early pregnancy signs that will signal that a baby is on the way for you!

Early Signs:

Some women experience some of the early signs of pregnancy while others may experience one or two, or in some instances, none at all. If you come to the time in the month when your period usually starts and it doesn’t, this is an early sign. If a few days go by and then a week and still nothing, you can officially say that you have missed a period and it could be pregnancy-related.

Be aware that some women experience vaginal spotting, known as implantation bleeding, when the embryo is in the process of attaching itself to the wall of the uterus. New blood vessels are forming at this time to provide the baby with what it will require during the gestation period.

Some women find themselves having to urinate more frequently once they become pregnant. This occurs as a result of the change in hormone levels. The uterus also gets bigger at this time and it can push against the bladder causing you to have to make more trips to the washroom!

More Early Signs:

The breasts sometimes offer early signs that pregnancy has occurred. They can be swollen and tender to the touch. They may throb or tingle and can be painful for some women. Both the nipples and the area around them, known as the areola, can become darker in color and can take on a broader appearance. This is happening because the milk glands are beginning to form in preparation for feeding the infant.

If you notice that the blood vessels in your breasts are becoming more obvious to the eye, this is a good sign that you are indeed pregnant. This takes place because there is increased blood supply as the body is readying you, an expectant mother, for the ability to breastfeed your newborn once he or she comes into the world.

Unexplained fatigue can also be an early sign of pregnancy as can having an upset or queasy stomach. Your body is changing and it is preparing you for what is to come over the next nine months.

If you sense that you may be pregnant, you should go to the store and purchase a home pregnancy test as soon as possible. If the result is positive, make an appointment with your doctor right away. There is a new life inside of you to prepare for!

Samantha

Losing hair can be upsetting to a man or a woman. Whether it is a little or a lot, hair loss is no laughing matter. Here we look at some of the possible causes of why your crowning glory is not what it once was.

Hair loss and hair thinning can be caused by any number of factors. Medical reasons can be to blame, as can genetic or chemical reasons. Stress can also play a role in the loss of hair for both men and women.

Causes of Hair Loss:

There are a variety of medical problems that can give rise to hair loss in both genders. Disease can disrupt and damage the roots of the hair. For instance having an under-active thyroid (known as hypothyroidism) can affect how the hair grows.

Nutritional deficiencies in the body such as a serious deficiency of the minerals iron or zinc can also lead to hair loss or thinning hair in women. The same can be said for men.

Cancer patients who are taking chemotherapy treatments may experience hair loss due to the fact that the therapy affects the roots of the hair. For women this hair loss can be particularly distressing during a time when stress is very high.

There are also instances where balding and male hair loss as well as hair loss in women is connected to a specific kind of medication that a person is taking. For instance, medications that contain high quantities of vitamin A can contribute to thinning hair in women or men.

Other Causes:

It is believed that male pattern baldness is an inherited form of hair loss. An estimated 15 percent of men experience baldness at some point in their lives. It is referred to as male pattern baldness because it follows a distinct pattern in families. To put it another way, young men who come from families where male balding is common are also likely to develop baldness.

This pattern hair loss can also affect women but is less common than it is in men. However there are plenty of young women who experience thinning hair, especially along the part in their hair and this can be traced back further in their families. If a woman’s mother or grandmother had thinning hair, she is likely to as well. There is a genetic link to hair thinning in women.

Stress can also affect hair loss and the regrowth of hair. Hair goes through a growth cycle that is broken down into three stages – anagen, catagen and telogen. When this normal cycle is adversely affected because of emotional or physical stress, it can alter the cycle and can lead to telogen effluvium (a condition that results in hair shedding and hair thinning).

A trauma to the body can also affect the rate at which the hair grows and falls out.

Becca

In the field of chiropractic, vertebral subluxation complexes are described by the practitioners as “a set of signs and symptoms of the spinal column.” In other words, they are signs that point to a problem with the spine. The three causes of them are chemical, emotional and physical.

These vertebral subluxations are believed to cause neurological compromise along the spine. An issue that is encountered with the spinal columns can lead to a nervous system dysfunction.

Chemical Stresses that Compromise:

There are numerous types of chemical stresses that can affect your health, without you even being aware of it, until a more serious problem has arisen. Let us look at some of those chemical stresses now.

We all need to clean our homes right? Many of the cleaners we use all of the time may be toxic and very unsafe for your body. Think about the chemicals that are used in these products – the ones that make your sink and bathtub shine and make your wood sparkle. Whether it is dish detergent, window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner or some other types of cleansers, many of these commercial products are bad news.

Personal care products may make your hair bouncy, your skin brighter and your teeth whiter but do you really know what all of the ingredients on the product labels can do to your health? Many people do not even know what many of the ingredients are. There are dozens of chemicals in hair care products, skincare products and the cosmetics that you use on your face every day. The more products you use on a daily basis, the more chemicals you are being exposed to.

Antiperspirants and deodorants keep you dry and odor-free. You need them when the pressure’s on, right? While these products do serve a purpose, they have a negative side to them. They contain aluminum and a number of other ingredients that are not found anywhere in nature. That makes them chemicals that the body is unfamiliar with.

Aspartame is found in numerous products you consume, everything from soda pop to baked goods to candy. Researchers blame this substance and other artificial sweeteners for playing a role in the onset of several autoimmune diseases. For this reason, you should avoid this these additives at all costs.

Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives are bad for you. Practically every processed food imaginable contains one or more of these chemicals. They are added to foods to extend the shelf life of them. While it is very hard to avoid these harmful substances all together, always read product labels before you buy boxed and pre-packaged foods.

You like the smell of the laundry detergent you use and the fabric softener really makes your clothes feel great, but what ingredients make up these products? Bear in mind that your clothing, as well as your bedding and your towels come in direct contact with your skin. You want as few chemicals near your skin as possible.

Reducing chemical exposure from the everyday products you use can take some effort on your part but it is worth it because you will enjoy better health. All of the chemicals described here put an extra burden upon your immune and nervous systems.

Do what you can to remove some of the burdens that they shoulder.

Becca

Are you the type of person who enjoys bending the rules to the point where they break? Yes? No? Perhaps, sometimes?

The person who routinely breaks the rules may think that they are super cool in doing that but when it comes to your health, following this pattern can do more harm than good.

The truth of the matter is that the quality of your health is the result of a set of very basic rules. They are not hard to follow once you get into the habit of following them. When you choose to play by the rules, your chances for achieving optimum health go up exponentially.

Those who break the rules will pay for it. They may not pay right away, but eventually their ways will catch up with them. Let us look at some of the most obvious ways in which people break the rules of health and wellness.

Rules NOT to be Broken:

Breathing is so basic yet it is something that we so often do not give any thought to. But it is an essential of life! If you stop breathing or breathe in a shallow manner, a price will be paid for that. The same can be said if you are constantly breathing in pollutants. Practice deep breathing that comes from your diaphragm. It is the healthiest manner of breathing and does your whole body a world of good.

Nutrition is simple yet so many people eat junk or eat for speed or convenience, and not for the good health of their bodies. You need to consume quality food to grow and repair your body. Food is also your source of fuel.

Hydration is a necessity of life. Drink enough water every day so you never become thirsty. The state of thirst equals dehydration which is not good for you. Be careful though- do not confuse the signals for thirst with the pangs for hunger. Sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. Know the difference.

The body was meant to move. A life lived in a sedentary manner can lead to poor circulation, stagnation, weight gain, stiff muscles and joints. It can also hamper the function of the immune system and the lymphatic system. The body is not picky about the type of exercise you do, just make sure that you do indeed exercise!

Rest is needed for the proper functioning of the brain and the body.  Get your rest because it is while you are sleeping that your body renews and repairs itself. There is no substitute for restful sleep.

Show love and kindness. Love with all of your heart those who are closest to you. Show caring and concern for everyone in your life. That includes your work colleagues, your neighbors and the people that serve you at the grocery store and the dry cleaner’s. Be good to everyone who crosses your path. You are included in this too!  Don’t forget to show love to yourself!

Forgive others and forgive yourself. The power of forgiveness is very strong. When you refuse to forgive, it hurts you more than the other person. To value yourself and others and to have a purposeful life, you must learn how to forgive.

Samantha

When you hear about a person who is celebrating their 100th  birthday do you think to yourself – congratulations to them, quickly followed by, how did they do it?  It is not as difficult as you might think. For those of you wishing to live to see your 100th birthday or beyond, we have some tips to help you in your pursuit of lengthened longevity.

People who were born 100 years ago would typically live to 50 years of age (which was considered a ripe old age back then). Oh how things have changed! Our expected life span has grown tremendously over the past century. Babies who entered the world this year are expected to live to the age of 80 and beyond.

A study of centenarians has revealed some general guidelines that can be followed by anyone to extend their life expectancy. These guidelines can be put to use, regardless of how old you are at present.

1. Enter the world as a female. Sorry, guys this one is not your fault! For centuries women have been outliving men. Just look at how many more elderly ladies there are in society as opposed to elderly gentlemen! Why this is the case is something that researchers have theorized about but nothing conclusively has ever been proven. But there is still hope for you guys, read on.

2.. Get married and stay that way. Studies have shown that marriage positively correlates with a longer life span. Perhaps it has to do with forging a connection with a lifelong partner and knowing that there is always someone in your corner. Married people live longer than their single counterparts. This is particularly true for men. Men live an estimated 10 years longer while for women it is four years.

3. Eat less food. Research has shown that consuming less food on a regular basis can extend your life expectancy. By how much is not known.

4. Ease up on refined sugar. Eating excessive amounts of refined sugar can speed up the aging process. Pay attention to what you eat and read product labels carefully. If it says “refined” on the label, pass on it.

5. Reduce your salt intake. Too much salt can overtax the heart and the kidneys. The body must work harder to filter it through your system. Do not add salt to food for flavoring, experiment with herbs and spices instead. Steer clear of food items that are high in salt content.

6. Eat protein in moderation. Your body needs protein every day but ingesting too much of it will overstress your body and reduce your ability to fend off illnesses and various diseases. Be cognizant of how much protein you take in.

7. Be physically active. Get your body moving on a regular basis! Your body was not meant to take on the couch potato status. Exercise often. You do not need to put down a lot of money on a gym membership. Taking a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes a day will improve your circulation, metabolism and emotional well-being. It will improve your mood, allow for restful sleep and has the ability to add years to your life.

8. Have sex. Having sex on a regular basis increases endorphin production in your brain. It can make you feel better, look better and live longer! It also can help to keep the bond with your significant other strong. Go ahead – indulge!

Living to see the number “100” on your birthday cake can happen if you do the simple things needed to increase your life span. Take it from those who have lived to see it come true!

Becca