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  • Your Body Needs More Calcium As You Age

     

    As a person ages, bones become frailer, and you may often hear of elderly relatives and friends who get fractures from simple stumbles and falls. You don't want this for yourself, so you're trying to educate yourself on how and why bones become less resilient and more brittle over the years. A lack of calcium can be the culprit and a detriment of this substance can also affect your dental health.

    Much of the calcium can be derived from the foods we eat. These items may include milk and milk products, soy products, dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, enriched breads, and sardines. If a body doesn't get enough of this mineral as it ages, either in foods or in vitamin form, it'll start to pull the necessary calcium from the bones and teeth themselves, making them brittle and fragile. Osteoporosis is the condition of having extremely thin and brittle bones and is much more common in men than women.

    The body needs more calcium as it grows. As individuals reaches their upper years, (for women, it's after menopause) the amount of calcium supplements needed increases to up to about 1,200 milligrams a day. Many vitamins will come with added magnesium and potassium, and it is suggested that the calcium also be taken with vitamin D and vitamin C to assist in the absorption of the supplement. There are many studies now that confirm that it's the appropriate balance of these essentials that will help a body and slow the aging process the most.

    As most individuals age, a bone density scan becomes part of a yearly physical. This scan uses x-rays to determine how dense the minerals in your bones are. Patients are sent to a lab where tests are performed to determine this bone density just as regularly as mammograms, and sometimes for many women the tests are performed during the same appointment. The more dense the minerals, the stronger the bones will be.

    Making a point to consume milk and dairy products, engage in strength training, take calcium and complementing supplements, and get annual bone density scans are all proactive means of combating calcium deficiencies. Ask your doctor what the appropriate dosages of this important mineral should be for you. Also, taking all of the necessary precautions as you get older will help you prevent bone fractures and other issues.

  • How's Your Balance?

     

    Balance declines as people age, unless they regularly do balance exercises. There are several reasons a person's balance worsens with age.

    One reason are cells in the vestibular system die as you get older. The vestibular system pinpoints where your body is and recognizes when you're about to fall over, so that it can signal the brain to adjust your body in a way that restores balance before falling. When cells in the vestibular system die, the vestibular system loses accuracy. As a result, your ability to correct your body when it's off balance declines, too.

    Muscle mass and strength deteriorate as a person ages. What does this have to do with balance? Power is a factor in maintaining balance. If you trip, power helps you react quickly. The greater your power, the more quickly your body acts to prevent a fall.

    Certain medications and health problems impair balance. Dizziness, lightheadedness, and other symptoms of poor balance are often side effects of medication. In fact, several medications have been known to cause damage to the inner ear, resulting in a balance disorder. Some health problems that negatively impact balance include arthritis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson's disease.

    The good news is that it's possible to counter the decline of balance that comes with age by regularly performing balance exercises and sticking to a workout routine. The following exercises will help you improve your balance and protect it from deteriorating:

    Standing Side Leg Lift: Stand behind a chair with your spine straight and hold the back of the chair with both hands. Bring your feet together, and then slowly lift your right leg to the side without bending it. Your foot should leave the floor as well. Hold it in the air for a moment, and then return to the starting position. Do 10 reps on each leg and 1-3 sets.

    A set is the number of reps. For example, in this case, one set is 10 times. Two sets are 20 times total. Three sets are 30 times total. Always take a short break after each set. When this balance exercise becomes too easy for you, start doing it with your eyes closed.

    Back Leg Raises: This exercise will strengthen your lower back and glute muscles as well as improve balance. Remember that increasing strength is important for balance. Stand behind a chair holding onto it and slowly lift your right leg behind you keeping it straight. Don't lean forward while doing this exercise. Hold your leg out for a second, and then carefully return to the starting position. Do 10-15 reps on each leg and 1-3 sets.

    Standing On One Foot: Stand behind a chair holding onto it with one hand and lift your foot in the air. Stand on one leg for 10 seconds. Do 10-15 reps on each leg and 1-3 sets. As your balance improves, you can do this exercise without holding onto the chair, but keep it nearby in case you lose balance.

    How often should you do balance exercises? Schedule a 15-minute session three times per week to improve and maintain balance.

    Nobody needs to succumb to loss of balance as they get older. Get into the habit of performing balance exercises three times a week even if you haven't experienced balance-related problems yet. You don't want to discover your balance has declined via a nasty fall.

  • A Few Common Signs You Might Have Suffered A Hip Fracture

     

    As people begin to get older, they may not realize that some difficulty walking or some pain in the hips, points to a serious injury. Many who feel some discomfort may simply assume that it's a side effect of aging, or that a muscle might have been pulled during daily activities. But sometimes, just suffering through the pain isn't the best choice. Some signs point to a fractured hip, and that mean that its time to go see a doctor about the next steps.

    Some of the more obvious signs that there has been a hip fracture is difficulty walking right after a fall. Anybody who has seriously fallen should see a doctor to eliminate the chance that something has been broken. Additionally, a hip fracture can cause severe pain around the hips and groin. For some who haven't necessarily fallen, it can be cause for alarm, but they need to pay attention to their body and see a doctor when they're experiencing pain.

    Being unable to put on the leg of the hip that has been fractured is another sign. Never ignore pain that causes it to be difficult to walk. Additionally, fractures often cause swelling and bruising. It is painful to deal with, so go see a professional if these symptoms are showing. There are some more subtle signs of a fracture as well. Those who're watching loved ones should pay attention and notice if one leg starts to look shorter than another, or if one leg begins to look like it's turning out.

    To treat a hip fracture, surgery is the most common remedy. Sometimes the hip can be repaired and held in place with screws. However, many people end up needing to have a partial or total hip replacement. This procedure involves removing the damaged part of the hip and replacing it with a prosthetic. Additionally, many people are given medications to help prevent another fracture such as bisphosphonate. This can help to ensure that the bones are strengthened enough to help prevent another fracture.

    As we cannot stress this enough, it's important to go to see a doctor after a fall, because hip fractures often require medical attention. Those who have pain in this area should not ignore it. Those who're most likely to fracture their hip often have low bone density, and those with poor vision who might have a fall because they were unable to see an obstacle in their way even.

  • Different Types of Shoulder Injuries

     

    A shoulder injury can wreak havoc on a person's life. Sustaining such an injury can cause an individual a great deal of physical and mental pain. However, appropriate treatment of the shoulder injury will usually alleviate the pain. In order to successfully treat the injury, the type of shoulder injury must first be determined. There are several different types of shoulder injuries. Today, we will discuss the following three types: rotator cuff, dislocated shoulder, and osteoarthritis.

    The shoulder consists of two main bones: the humerus (arm bone) and the scapula (shoulder blade). It is considered to be a ball and socket joint because the end of the humerus, which is round, fits into the socket of the scapula. This type of joint has a wide range of motion. The shoulder is surrounded by a combination of ligaments and muscles. Bones are connected by the ligaments. And, muscles are connected to the bones by the tendons.

    With that being said, a rotator cuff involves a small collection of four muscles in the upper arm. Movement of the arm occurs because the tendons of the rotator cuff enable the muscles to move the arm. So, when one of the main tendons becomes inflamed or tears, movement of the arm becomes very difficult. This type of injury usually results from repetitive overhead lifting. Such repetitive movement or strain to the tendons could possibly result in impingement, which is friction between the tendon and the scapula. Rotator cuff injuries generally occur when very heavy objects are being lifted. Most injuries are sustained by middle-aged or older people, who are prone to shoulder injuries. However, younger people are also susceptible to this type of injury. If a rotator cuff injury is not treated, then a full tear can occur. Treatment for an incomplete tear generally involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, such treatment should occur under a physician's care. Also, although resting the shoulder is the most important part of the healing process, physical therapy also plays a major role. Plus, the pain is usually treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which is prescribed by the doctor.

    Shoulder instability can lead to dislocated shoulder injuries. Many young people and athletes tend to suffer from shoulder instability because the ligaments and muscles in their shoulders are always being overstretched. Activities such as pitching and tackling constantly require a great deal of exertion. Such extreme pulling and pushing can often cause the shoulder to pop out of its socket; thus, causing a tear. Dislocated shoulder injuries are quite painful and require immediate medical care. Up on dislocation, ice should be immediately applied in an effort to decrease the pain, swelling, and bleeding around the joint. Then, a physician should be consulted immediately so that he can force the shoulder back into its socket. In the future, if the shoulder repeatedly dislocates, then surgery will be warranted.

    Osteoarthritis generally occurs in the elderly. It occurs when the cartilage around the shoulder bones begin to wear away; thus, causing the joints to wear out. Osteoarthritis typically is treated with rest, NSAIDs, and cortisone shots. In severe cases, the shoulder joint may need to be replaced. Also, osteoarthritis may cause the elderly to fall and injure themselves.

    Shoulder injuries can be quite scary. Careful thought and attention should be given to our daily routines. Sometimes, shoulder injuries can be prevented if time is taken to perform an activity correctly.

  • Aquatic Therapy for Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation

     

    Any patient who has experienced an injury is often most eager to determine how long of a recovery period they should expect. Many people who experience chronic pain from their injuries, as is often seen with neck, back or knee trauma, find that aquatic therapy can be an invaluable tool for aiding in the regeneration of strength, mobility and range of motion.

    Who Can Benefit Most from Aquatic Therapy?

    Although the low-impact nature of aquatic exercise can benefit nearly anybody, this form of physical therapy is often most used for:

    - Bone injurie

    - Severe muscle strains or tear

    - Any patient suffering from intense pai

    - People suffering from bone loss

    Water is an ideal medium in which to perform physical therapy because of its inherent properties of buoyancy, gentle resistance pressure. These qualities all combine to render the following healthful benefits:

    - Counteracting gravity to support patients gently as they rehab

    - Providing gentle friction that builds muscles

    - Improving circulation and pulmonary conditioning

    Water reduces the weight load that's placed upon the skeletal and musculature systems in the body, allowing an injured patient to move safely in ways that might be painful out of the pool.

    Aquatic Therapy Techniques

    The primary goal of aquatic rehab is to get the patient moving in ways that they're having difficulty managing on dry land. Common types of rehab exercises include:

    - Standing exercises

    - Floating

    - Swimming for conditioning

    - Spa therapies

    - Weight and resistance exercises

    - Aquatic running or walking exercises

    The frequency and duration of aquatic rehab varies from person to person and is usually determined by a trained physical therapist. A patient is never pushed beyond his or her threshold for comfort and endurance, but is encouraged to gradually increase the level of difficulty.

    Aquatic rehab can be used as a stepping stone to moving on to dry land exercises, or it can be considered an ongoing component of physical therapy. This form of rehab is very agreeable with a number of other treatment approaches, making it an important component of a complete pain and injury rehabilitation therapy program. Aquatic rehab has safely helped thousands of people to regain their former quality of life with easy, comfortable and enjoyable exercise techniques.

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