Home Relief During Chemo

Chemotherapy is rough and the side effects many people feel during chemo treatment leave them feeling ill and weak – however there are a few home remedies that you can do that will help alleviate a lot of the discomfort you may be feeling. Your oncologist will be dealing with the chemical aspects of your disease and treatment, these are tried and true remedies that many cancer patients use to feel better during chemo.

Tummy trouble is a big one for many chemotherapy patients. Eating foods that don’t have a strong smell or taste will go a long ways towards helping your stomach feel better, Mashed potatoes are a paticular fav for many chemo patients, just trust me when I tell you – skip the gravy.

A natural anti-nausea cure is sitting in your kitchen cupboard, Ginger. Use a fresh root and slice a few thing slices and steep in hot water and sip as a tea. Use as much as you need for taste – store the root in the freezer when you’re not using it. Many chemo patients find it qwells their tummy’s discomfort.

Baldness is a fact that comes with chemo. Your oncologist will usually tell you to cut your hair when you begin chemo and when it starts falling out – just shave your head. Headaches are a fact for many chemo patients and also you may feel hot. Cool packs on the head will really help eliminate the irritating heat feeling and alleviate headaches. Many patients find they initially have headaches for no other reason than the lights around them seem suddenly brighter and it’s due to seeing the world without the benefit of eyelashes.

Exercise as you can. Granted chemo will knock the wind out of your sails and you won’t be up for the Boston Marathon, you will still need to get some exercise – it’s one of the necessary building blocks for your body to help heal itself. A simple walk around the block is very beneficial – don’t overdo it but do what you can.

Home Relief for Metatarsal Pain

Metatarsalgia is a fifty dollar word for a very painful foot. More specifically it’s a range of symptoms that make themselves very evident by pain and the ball of the foot feels touchy and inflamed.

It is caused by too much stress being applied to the metatarsal heads and it quite often due to overuse of repetitive movements. Common sports that see this type of injury are basketball, sprinters, runners, and even soccer players. Burning pain when walking may indicate a severe case of metatarsalia.

If you think you may have metatarsalia, do not attempt to diagnose it yourself, please have your foot checked out by a qualified professional. It’s important to rule out other sources for your pain first and foremost as the pain you’re feeling could be hiding a much larger problem such as inflammatory arthritis or interdigital neuroma. Once you’ve been diagnosed with metatarsalgia, you can begin a home regimen to manage the pain and lessen the discomfort.

If your doctor says it’s fine, use an over the counter pain reliever and use an ice pack treatment for 15-20 minutes per session five to seven times a day. Use a wrap that will hold the cold in place.

Also, be sure to rest your feet. As simple as it sounds, the best treatment for a repetitive nature sports injury is to stop doing the repetitive motion that caused it in the first place. If you wish, continue your fitness regiment (obviously use your common sense and don’t aggravate your foot injury) until your injury is healed.

If you do not see improvement in a week, make an appointment with a physician and in the meantime, keep your foot chilly as needed and feel better soon!

Using Arthritis Therapy to Combat Pain and Discomfort

Just as there are many types of arthritis there are also many treatments. Some doctors will prescribe medications that will lessen the pain that arthritis sufferers are all too familiar with; other treatment regiments include ibuprofen and acetaminophen based medications which basically work by closing off the pain receptor in the brain for a short period time however the pain remains – you just don’t feel it until the medication wears off in a few hours.

There are also rounds of medications that can be taken and some arthritis sufferers find success in cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, steroids, and anti-biologic medications. Some people opt to have surgery as an option and in some cases it is effective – however there is still no sure cure for arthritis – just ways to manage the pain and living with your arthritis is a matter of finding what works best for your individual needs.

More and more doctors are steering patients away from addictive pain killers and instead teaching their patients to be active in their own arthritis pain management and use physical therapy to combat the discomfort that arthritis can cause.

If you suffer discomfort when laying down or sitting, cushion where you lay or sit to give your body a little extra comfort. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.

Most arthritis cases will respond well to heat. Instead of the old hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or shirt, opt for a professional heat wrap that can be placed exactly where you need it and wrapped in place so it’s directly where you’re being affected by arthritis as well as staying comfortably in place. If you need extra support, take advantage of the supports, slings and wraps to cushion common problem areas that arthritis affects such as wrists, hands, shoulders and knees.

Use these tips and lessen your discomfort from arthritis and don’t let pain slow your life down any longer.

Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming’s Injury and What He Can Expect in the Future

The Houston Rockets have been on a 12-game winning streak however they suffered a major blow this week when their NBA All-Star center Yao Ming was ruled out for the season today as he has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Yao has been having a great season and averaged around 22 points and 10 rebounds per game so far in the season. However upon examination by the Rocket’s doctor Tom Clanton, Yao was found to have a stress fracture in his left foot and currently opinions are being sought as to the best method of treatment.

How Did Yao’s Stress Fracture Happen?
Like most sports injuries of this nature, Yao’s injury can’t be linked to a single traumatic event in the recent past. A stress fracture is generally caused by overuse. The muscles become fatigued and they are unable to absorb any further shocks. Eventually the shocks that the muscles should be absorbing are transferred to the bone. Bone was not made to be shock absorbent and eventually a tiny crack will happen and this is a stress fracture. The majority of stress fractures occur on the weight bearing areas of the body such as the lower legs and especially the feet.

What are Yao’s Treatment Options?
Rest and not using the affected body part is the first line of defense in treating a stress fracture, mobility is usually accommodated through the use of a cast on the stress fracture area and crutches to keep the weight off the area. Slowly working the muscles to help them rebuild but not to the point of fatigue through light physical therapy is also recommended in many cases. Surgery is another option Yao may choose. The surgery for his type of sports injury would involve placing screws across the bone to hold it together. Neither option is faster than the other. Resting the stress fracture or surgery both require roughly four months of healing to have the individual back in action. X-ray of a stress fracture and also the common simple surgery to fix the injury.

At this time, Clanton could not comment on when Yao would be on the court again but did say he still expects Yao to be able to play in the Beijing Olympics in August.

What Can Yao Expect?
Yao should be able to return to normal game play, however many physicians advise caution once an athlete has suffered a stress fracture that particular attention needs to be paid to not allowing muscles to over-fatigue and aggravate the injury or cause a new stress fracture in the future.

Which do you think is a better option for a stress fracture? Rest or surgery?

Swelling is not cool…but it should be iced

So you went and injured yourself…is it from the pick-up basketball game the night before or a marathon concert of Guitar Hero? Either way you are in pain and need to know what to do. That’s where I come in.
If you know specifically what happened and/or how it happened, it’s always helpful. But for those of you who don’t have any idea, don’t worry…we can help you too. Here are some things to note: 
1. Does it look deformed? If your foot is facing the opposite direction of what it is supposed to, leave it the way it is, call 911 and wait for the ambulance. If it’s just a dislocated finger, an ambulance probably isn’t necessary. General rule of thumb is to wait for a medical professional to put the joint back into place. It’s never a good idea to do it yourself because you run the risk of more damage. If you can see the bone sticking out of your leg/arm because it’s broken through the skin, also call 911. Excessive swelling can also make an area looked deformed but look closely because a dislocation or severe fracture should be quite obvious.
2. Is it swollen? Swelling always means something is going on inside. Don’t freak out because your right knee is a centimeter bigger than your left. The swelling you need to worry about is when one knee (or ankle, or wrist, or…) is obviously, noticeably larger than the other one.
3. Can you move it? I don’t mean it’s physically possible for you to move a fraction of an inch but you are in excruciating pain the whole time. In this case if you can move it a little but it hurts, that’s a positive sign. If you can’t move it at all whether it’s because of pain or not…GO TO A DOCTOR!
Now we’ve narrowed it down a bit so what do you do? The acronym you need to know is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest seems like commonsense but some people ignore this part. In some cases just taking a few days to rest will do more good than anything else you can do. Ice is always a good choice. There are very few injuries that shouldn’t be iced. If you are suffering from frostbite…don’t take this advice. Otherwise, ice should be your best friend. Compression is really only necessary if there is swelling but it’s not going to hurt either. Remember compression that is TOO TIGHT could cause further injury or delay healing. I usually recommend keeping the ace wrap on at all times except when showering, icing, or sleeping. And finally elevation…also mainly important when there is swelling involved. If there isn’t any swelling or it’s particularly difficult to elevate (like your back), than it’s not necessary. Elevating an injury means above the heart, not just a foot off the floor.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve) will help with the pain but will also help with any inflammation or swelling that you may have. I don’t think overdosing on meds is particularly good advice but if you have swelling, even taking 2 pills (200 mg per pill = 400mg total) 3 times a day for a few days will help with that inflammation.
With any injury severity is the key. If you aren’t sure or you try these things for a couple days and it’s not getting better or it gets worse, go see a doctor. It’s probably not necessary to go to a doctor and pay a $50 co-pay for a minor ankle sprain that you can walk on but with a slight limp. Hopefully these tips will help save you some $$$!
~ Missync MS, ATC, LAT ~