Back Pain: Causes and Treatment

The Human Back

Muscular System of the Human Back

The human back is made up of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. These parts make up the spinal column. The spinal column consists of 30 bones called the vertebrae. The spinal column helps hold up the upper part of the body. The back is an integral part of the human body (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases [NIAMS], 2013.


Back Pain

back pain personBack pain can affect people of all ages and ethnicities. Back pain can be acute or chronic. Acute back pain usually lasts a couple of days and can be relieved by an ibuprofen. Chronic back pain normally occurs for more than three months. Older people are more susceptible to back pain because as they age, their bone strength decreases and muscles become less elastic and flexible. People who are overweight have more back pain due to the excess amount of weight the back has to support. Children who carry heavy backpacks for hours during the school day may experience back pain. Back pain can also affect people who live sedentary lifestyles, smoke often and have unhealthy diets (NIAMS, 2013).


Spine Disorders

Causes of Back Pain

back pain- woman

Mayo Clinic (2014) provides a list of possible reasons for the cause or causes of back pain:

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis
  2. Fibromyalgia
  3. Herniated Disk
  4. Kidney Infection
  5. Obesity
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Osteomyelitis
  8. Osteoporosis
  9. Paget’s Disease of Bones
  10. Poor Posture
  11. Pregnancy
  12. Sacroiliitis
  13. Sciatica
  14. Scoliosis
  15. Spinal Fractures
  16. Spinal Stenosis
  17. Sprains and strains

Diagnosis

Acute back pain can be traced back to an injury or trauma. Chronic back pain is usually a symptom of an underlying disorder or illness. To receive an accurate diagnosis for the back pain, visiting a family physician may be the wisest decision.

Back Xray
The physician may take a look at your medical history along with your family history to rule out any genetic predispositions to back disorders. A thorough physical exam will be conducted. In addition, a few other tests may be performed. These tests include, but are not limited, to the following (NIAMS, 2013):

  1. Ultrasound imaging
  2. Bone Scans
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  4. Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  5. X-ray


Treatment

Cancer Exercise Treadmill To relieve acute and chronic back pain, a number of methods are available:

  1. Hot and cold compresses are used to decrease swelling and pain.
  2. Medications such as Advil, Ibuprofen and muscle relaxants are helpful for pain.
  3. Low impact exercises such as walking, climbing and swimming have been proven to increase muscle tone and decrease tension in the back.
  4. Physical Therapy

 

Alternative treatments

Other non-traditional ways to ease back pain are provided in the following
(Mayo Clinic, 2014):

  1. Chiropractic care. Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people see a chiropractor.
  2. Acupuncture. A practitioner of acupuncture inserts sterilized stainless steel needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Some people with low back pain report that acupuncture helps relieve their symptoms.Back Massage
  3. Massage. If your back is caused by tense or overworked muscles, massage therapy may help.
  4. Yoga. There are several types of yoga, a board discipline that involves practicing specific postures or poses, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.

 

References

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skins Diseases. (2013). Handout on Health: Back Pain. Back Pain. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Back_Pain/default.asp#3

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Definition. Back Pain: Symptom. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/back-pain/basics/definition/sym-20050878

 

 

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This articleHang Pham, MBHA Health Educator is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:  
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Hemp Seed Oil – Why Should We Use It?

Hemp Seed OilWhat is Hemp?
Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) seed oil is a complete nutritional source.
It contains all of the essential amino and fatty acids. Additionally, a number of compounds within the oil may exhibit desirable pharmacological activity. Hemp seeds are not actually seeds, but “achenes,” which are tiny nuts covered by hard shells.

Whole hemp seeds are composed of 20-25% protein, 20-30% carbohydrates and 10-15% insoluble fiber. (Theimer 1995). They are also an excellent source of minerals including phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and calcium, as well as a fair source of iron and zinc. 

Why is Omega-3 Important?
Omega-3 benefitsIt’s important to have an optimal ratio of omega (Ω)6: omega Ω3 in the diet. Most commonly consumed oils in the Westernized diet are high in Ω6. The average American diet contains somewhere around a 10:1 ratio of Ω6: Ω3, while the desired ratio is closer to 3:1.

Fatty Acid Comparison
Hemp seed oil contains this desirable ration with its composition of LA (Linolenic acid, Ω6) and ALA (α-linolenic acid, Ω3) being roughly 3:1. It also contains some GLA (γ-linolenic acid, Ω6) in smaller amounts. Since its composition matches the body’s optimal fatty acid requirements, it can be consumed and supplemented with indefinitely without the development of any imbalances.

Flax vs Hemp

The same is not always true for other fatty acids like those from flax seeds. The ratios are so important because the fatty acids are metabolized into eicosanoids, which ultimately become prostaglandins, which affect a number of important functions like clotting, inflammation response and immune function. When the ratio is undesirable then certain metabolic intermediates will build up and efficient fatty acid metabolism, as well as these important functions, can be compromised.

 

What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?Hemp VS Marijuana
While both compounds are found in little more than trace amounts, hemp seed oil’s composition is higher in cannabidiol (CBD) and lower in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis plants have been shown to have higher THC concentrations in tropical latitudes, likely because the THC may provide some evolutionary advantage in being protective against UV light (Pate, 1994).  Conversely, cannabis plants grown in more Northern and temperate climates, as many modern day hemp crops are grown in places like Canada, will yield concentrations of CBD that are much higher than THC. This is good news for the nutrition of hemp seeds because CBD may possess a number of pharmacological benefits, without the psychoactive effects of THC. It is well-documented to be anti-convulsant and anti-epileptic (Karler et al., 1973; Karler &Turkanis, 1981).  CBD may also possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory (Formukong et al., 1988) and antimicrobial activity (Ferenczy et al. 1958).

Protein comparsion

Hemp powder, oil, and seed are very high in protein.

Other chemical compounds and benefits found in Hemp Seed Oil
Aside from CBD, hemp seed oil contains a variety of other compounds that may provide health benefits:

  • Beta β-Sitosterol- Phytosterols like β-sitosterol may be efficacious in lowering cholesterol by blocking its absorption.
  • Tocopherols-Tocopherols are often touted for their capacity as antioxidants, as in vitamin E supplements.Hemp seed oil contains both α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol. The former tends to have high bioactivity by virtue of its interaction with the liver, yet the latter may be overall more effective in helping to prevent coronary heart disease in comparison (Wolf, 1997). γ-tocopherol may also show some ability to eliminate harmful products in the bowel, thereby helping to prevent colon cancer (Stone & Papas, 1997). γ-tocopherol is present in significantly higher amounts in hemp seed oil than α-tocopherol (Leizer 2000).
  • Terpenes -Another group of compounds that exhibit antioxidant activity.
  • Methyl Salicylate -Present in trace quantities in hemp seed oil, methyl salicylate is closely related to aspirin and possesses its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits Hemp

How do you use hemp seed oil?
An ideal fatty acid composition complemented by an amalgam of minerals and phytochemicals make hemp seeds and hemp seed oil incredibly rich, complete and well-rounded, nutritional food sources.

hemp seed fruit saladCold-pressed, unrefined products are best, and should be kept refrigerated after opening. Compared with some other cooking oils such as coconut, hemp seed oil is low in saturated fat. Hemp seed oil has a low smoke point so it isn’t conducive to frying, however it makes a perfect base for salad dressings and dips, and may be added to soups. Adding a tablespoon of whole seeds or oil to a smoothie is also a great way to enjoy some extra EFA’s, protein and fiber.

References
Benhaim, Paul; A Modern Introduction to HEMP – From Food To Fibre: Past, Present And Future, Australia (2003).

Erasmus, U., 1999. Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. Alive. Books, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Fan, Y.Y, K.S. Ramos and R.S. Chapkin, 1999.

Hansen, Ray, Industrial Hemp Profile, AgMRC, Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Economic Report No.(AGES-OO1E) 43 pp, January 2000

Johnson, Renee, Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, (RL34725) July 24, 2013, 7-5700

Leizer, C; Ribnicky, D; et al. (2000). The composition of Hemp Seed Oil and its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods Vol. 2(4).

Pate, D. (1994). Chemical ecology of Cannabis. Journal of the International Hemp Association 1(2): 29, 32-37.

Stone W, Papas A (1997). Tocopherols and the etiology of colon cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 89(14): 1006-1014.

Theimer, R. R. and H. M–lleken, 1995. Analysis of the oil from different hemp cultivars – perspectives for economical utilization. Pages 536-543 in Bioresource Hemp, 2nd edition. nova-Institute,Rosenstr. 53, 50678 Cologne, Germany.

Turner, C; ElSohly, M; Boeren, E. (1980). Constituents of Cannabis sativa L. XVII: A review of the natural constituents. Journal of Natural Products 43(2): 169-234. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ‘White Paper’ on Hemp:What Do the USDA and the DEA Have to Say About Hemp?  NORML Foundation, 1100 H Street, NW, Suite 830, Washington, DC 20005

Weil, A. (1993). Therapeutic hemp oil. Natural Health. March/April, pp. 10-12.

Wolf, G. (1997). y-tocopherol: an efficient protector of lipids against nitric oxide- initiated peroxidative damage. Nutrition Reviews 55(10): 376-378.
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Kevin McMahan3This article is written by Kevin McMahan, a Health and Wellness Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. Kevin has had a lifelong interest in health and wellness. After graduating from Carmel High School he went on to get an associates degree in social sciences from Monterey Peninsula College, and a bachelors in kinesiology from California State University Monterey Bay. He is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. “Your health is your wealth”, is something that he always likes to say. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:  
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Sugar – What are the Negative Side Effects?

Sugar SucroseWhat is sugar?
Sugar is a kind of carbohydrate. There are two main types of simple sugars: glucose and fructose. The two main types of sugar are white and brown sugar. White sugar is commonly known as “table sugar,” which is used in most households to make food.Brown sugar has some surface molasses syrup.

Sugar

Types of sugar:   raw sugar, brown sugar, refined sugar (castor sugar), white sugar,  liquid sugar, glucose syrup, treacle (unprocessed sugar), sugar crystals and powdered sugar

Brown sugar is used for foods that are thicker and denser such as cookies, cakes and pies.

Sugar in all foods

Sugar is often added to sauces, casseroles, salad dressings, gravies, fruit glazes, and in  many baked foods

Sugar is also used to enhance the taste of food and is found as an ingredient in an abundance of foods. These foods include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Breakfast  – waffles, pancakes, cereal, pastries, scones, granola
  • Lunch - soups, juices, sodas, bread, and yogurt
  • Dinnerdinner rolls,  mashed potatoes, stews, pastas, casseroles

 

What is glucose and why do we need it?

Blood glucose levelsThe human body breaks down the carbohydrates we eat to create glucose. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy. Sugar can be quickly absorbed into the blood stream.

Glucose processThe quick absorption of sugar creates energy boosts. Glucose is turned into glycogen and stored in the liver. The liver has the capacity to store only 100 grams of glucose in the form of glycogen. Excess glycogen will be stored as fat in the adipose tissues of the body.


How much sugar do we need?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently drafted new guidelines on sugar intake. The World Health Organization states that “sugars should be less than 10% of the total energy intake per day….Five percent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI).” These new guidelines were based on results from numerous scientific studies on sugar.


Sugar in DrinksHow much sugar do we consume?
Sugar and foods with sugar are made readily available for purchase in grocery stores, local businesses and schools. Fast food restaurants sell many food items that contain white and brown sugar. Public schools have vending machines that dispense snacks and carbonated beverages. The Western diet is composed of countless low-cost, high processed foods containing high-fructose corn syrup. Many of these carbonated beverages contain more than 40 grams of sugar in one serving, which is more than the recommended daily intake of sugar.

Child eating Frosted FlakesOne serving of frosted flakes cereal has roughly 38.7 grams of sugar, and one box of 8 chocolate chip cookies has over 39 grams of sugar. An article written by Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt, and Claire Brindis from the University of California, San Francisco titled The Toxic Truth about Sugar states that “Currently, each US citizen consumes an average of 216 liters of soda per year, of which 58% contains sugar…” Excessive amounts of sugar will lead to weight gain, and an increase in the likelihood of acquiring diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.


Sugar AddictionWhat are the negative side effects of sugar?
Consuming white sugar has its benefits such as giving your body the energy it needs and maintaining a healthy look for the skin. However, consuming sugar has its negative side effects. Sugar, not derived from natural sources, has no nutritional value or healthy fats. The consequences of eating too much white sugar are provided, but are not limited, in the following:

  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Hepatic Dysfunction
  • Type 2 Diabetes

What are Diabetes Symptoms?

What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetis a metabolic illness. With Type 2 Diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin isn’t being used properly in the body. Johns Hopkins Medicine: Health Library writes that over 23 million people in the United States have Type 2 Diabetes. The illness can cause nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage, eye damage and many other life threatening complications.

 

What can you do to reduce your sugar intake?
Sugar has many dangerous consequences. It’s important to understand the risks associated with the consumption of sugar and make positive lifestyle changes to reduce the chances of acquiring a metabolic illness. The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute provides tips for reducing excess sugar intake in the following:-Read food labels and choose less sweet alternatives.

  • Reduce the amount of sugar added to drinks, porridges, cakes, puddings, desserts, etc…
  • Spice up dishes with ginger, pimento, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and other spices.
  • Use more fruits and less sugar in cakes. Dried fruits such as raisins and prunes give a sweet “bite”.
  • Use dried or fresh fruits in cereals and porridges e.g, raisins or ripe banana
  • Don’t over-do your intake of sweet fruit juices. Use smaller amounts and dilute the water or vegetable juice.

 

Sources:
World Health Organization
University of California, San Francisco
Johns Hopkins Medicine: Health Library
Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute 

 

 

 

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Hang Pham, MBHA Health EducatorThis article is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website atwww.montereybayholistic.com.


Disclaimer:  
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.