Pain Relief

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Many people regularly use anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for the relief of headaches, joint and muscle pain, inflammation, injuries, and other types of chronic pain. However, a recent study has linked the drug to a reduction in the male hormone, testosterone, even after relativey short-term use, leading to symptoms such as reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, and infertility.

 

A study published last year also linked the drug to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and damage to the small intestine, and previous studies have linked ibuprofen to an increased risk of stomach ulcers and reduced fertility. Therefore, it is more important than ever to find an alternative method of pain relief.

 

Herbal Medicine & Nutrition

Herbal medicine is a safe and effective form of treatment for reducing inflammation and pain. Most of the pharmaceutical drugs used today are based on plant constituents, which have been extracted or synthesised in a laboratory. Medical Herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic techniques as orthodox doctors but also incorporate a more traditional approach to healthcare.  This means identifying the cause of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. Medical herbalists prescribe a blend of herbs, which are uniquely tailored to the individual, using high quality extracts at effective dosages.  You will also receive individually tailored dietary advice, about which foods to avoid, and which foods and nutritional supplements may be helpful for reducing inflammation and pain, and advice about other helpful measures.

 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine, pre-sterilized, disposable needles to acupuncture points on the body surface. In the hands of a fully qualified professional practitioner, the use of acupuncture is entirely safe and free of any harmful side-effects. It can be very safely combined with other therapies and with orthodox medical treatment. Acupuncture is a highly effective for relieving many types of pain (including neck, back, hip and knee pain, arthritis, injuries and fibromyalgia).

 

McTimony Chiropractic

Like osteopathy and other forms of chiropractic, McTimony Chiropractic helps to relieve pain due to injuries, strenuous exercise, overuse of certain joints or muscles, poor posture, or degenerative diseases such as arthritis.  However, there is no violent manipulation involved and the treatment is very safe and suitable for people of all ages, including the elderly and young children. Unlike anti-inflammatory and pain-killing drugs, which may simply mask pain, chiropractic can help to correct misalignment of the joints, which is often the underlying cause of the pain.

 

Remedial Massage and Sports Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy can aid relaxation, reduce stress and tension, and relieve muscle pain, which may be due to stress and tension. Sports massage therapy uses deep tissue massage techniques to improve the condition of the muscles and other soft tissues, in order to enhance athletic performance and to prevent and treat injuries. Sports massage therapy is not just for serious or professional athletes. Anyone who practices sports or other physical activities, from the occasional athlete to those engaging in physical work can benefit from sports massage

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Aussie Flu

Monday, January 1st, 2018

It is unfortunate that the timing of Christmas in the middle of winter means that many people spend their favorite holiday in bed with the flu! This winter there is a lot of media hype about so-called “Aussie flu”, which is caused by the A(H3N2) virus, and is reported to have caused a small number of deaths. However, the reality is that flu viruses always pose a risk to elderly people and others with weakened imune systems, and are responsible for an average of about 500 deaths in Ireland every year. Although it is always important to take influenza seriously, this particular virus has actually been circulating for many years, and was one of the main strains of flu circulating in Ireland last winter.

 

The flu virus spread by small droplets of fluid, coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. These droplets can travel through the air for up to a meter, and infect anyone who breathes them in.  The flu virus can also be spread if an infected person touches his or her nose or mouth, and then touches someone else. Likewise, if an infected person touches a surface such as a door handle with unwashed hands, the virus may be transmitted to another person touches the same surface.

 

The flu virus generally starts with chills, followed by a high fever, extreme fatigue, and aches and pains. These symptoms may be accompanied by a sore throat, cough, and nausea. Most people who get a genuine flu feel very ill indeed, and are generally unable to get out of bed for several days. The symptoms usually appear two to three days after exposure to the virus, and subside after a week or so, although the cough and feeling of tiredness may persist for much longer. In elderly people, pregnant women, and individuals with lung problems or weakened immune systems, catching the flu can be much more serious due to the increased likelihood of developing complications such as pneumonia.

 

Unfortunately, antibiotics are not effective in the treatment of flu, since it is caused by a virus rather than by bacteria. Antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu may be prescribed for people at high risk of becoming severely ill, such as elderly people or those with weakened immune systems, but they generally need to be taken within the first 48 hours after symptoms appear. They may also cause side effects, and are of no real benefit to otherwise healthy people who are unlikely to develop complications from the flu. Paracetamol and ibuprofen are widely used to reduce fever and treat the aches and pains that accompany the flu, but they tend to reduce the immune response to the virus and may therefore prolong the illness.

 

As usual therefore, prevention is better than cure. Wash your hands frequently with ordinary soap and water, and keep surfaces such as door handles, telephones and computer keyboards clean to help minimize exposure to the virus. Always use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and put it in the bin straight away.

 

There is a vaccine available, which usually helps to reduce the risk of developing flu. However, recent research has found that the flu vaccination is not anywhere near as effective as has been claimed, and that the reduction in cases of flu is more likely to be due to prior exposure to the virus during flu epidemics.

 

The flu vaccine is recommended for older people and those with weakened immune systems. However, elderly people often do not produce sufficient antibodies to produce immunity after vaccination, due to a weaker immune response. In recent years the flu vaccine has also been marketed towards healthy people who are at low risk of complications. However research has shown that in lower risk groups, getting the flu jab every year may actually reduce the ability of the immune system to fight off new strains of the flu virus after 2-3 years of repeated vaccination.

 

Fortunately however, there are many safe and effective ways to boost your immune system, to help to minimize the risk of catching the flu, and to improve vaccine efficiency in people who still wish to get their flu jab.

 

One of the best herbs for enhancing immune function is Echinacea. It has an excellent reputation for helping to resist infection. Astragalus is another immune tonic, which has been shown to help prevent infection, and improve the response to vaccination in elderly people and those with weakened immune systems. Elderberries contain immune boosting vitamins A, C and bioflavonoids, and a number of scientific studies have shown that elderberries are active against various different strains of the flu virus. In controlled clinical trials that compared elderberry extract with placebo in the treatment of influenza, patients taking the elderberry extract had significant improvements in their symptoms within two-three days. On average, the flu symptoms lasted about half as long in those taking elderberry extract compared with those taking the placebo.

 

If you are unfortunate enough to catch the flu, make sure you keep warm, get plenty of rest, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Your local medical herbalist can provide an individually tailored blend of herbs to improve immune function, help fight the infection, and provide relief rom symptoms.

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