Alleviate Anxiety During Menstrual Cycles
(BlackDoctor.org) — Not only do menstrual cycles bring on unwanted symptoms such as cramps and bloating, they can also bring on anxiety. Some women who have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, like obsessive-compulsive disorder, may notice even more severe anxiety during their periods than at any other time during the month. Other women may only experience anxiety symptoms when they get their periods.
Menstruation leads to a number of hormonal changes that can cause physical and emotional effects that may contribute to anxiety. There is no single reason for this anxiety, but multiple factors probably are at work.
Fluctuations in powerful hormones that regulate menstruation, such as estrogen and progesterone, can affect a woman’s appetite, digestion and energy levels, all of which can, in turn, affect her mood. This may have an impact on psychological functioning. Additionally, women who have had difficult periods in the past, due to intense cramping or heavy bleeding, may worry about recurrent pain and discomfort prior to menstruation, and this can also cause added anxiety.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help alleviate menstruation-related anxiety. If you suffer from stress or anxiety during your period, try the following:
• Exercise on a regular basis.
• Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
• Be sure to get enough sleep; seven to eight hours a night is optimal for most people.
• Minimize your alcohol and caffeine intake.
• Avoid tobacco.
• Spend time relaxing with friends and family.
• Express your thoughts and emotions by writing in a journal.
• Consider meditation and deep-breathing exercises.
• For women who continue to experience significant anxiety symptoms, medication is also an option.
Anxiety is a common PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptom for many women, but just like cramps and bloating, anxiety can and should be managed. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Medication can help control severe anxiety, but there are also plenty of things you can do to help yourself. Minimizing stress, exercising regularly, and eating well can help alleviate many PMS symptoms, including anxiety.
Back Pain Prevention: 5 Harmful Habits
(BlackDoctor.org) — We all have bad habits some of the time. But now is a good time to fix the bad habits that can be harmful to your spine and cause back pain. Here are the top 5 bad habits that can be harmful to your spine:
1 – Twisting when Lifting
So many people make this mistake! We forget to check our body mechanics while lifting, yet too much of this type of movement can be very damaging to your back. When lifting, follow these steps:
• Get close to the object
• Bend your knees and grasp the object firmly
• Lift straight up (don’t twist!) in one fluid motion
• Hold the object close to your body
• Move close to where you want to place the object
• Bend your knees when lowering the object
2 – Bad Posture
How often to you think about your posture? If you’re like most people, not often enough. But bad posture — slouched shoulders, head down, knees locked — places an enormous amount of stress on the spine. Good posture keeps your body in balance and helps avoid that stress. Here’s what good posture looks like when standing:
• Feet slightly apart
• Knees straight
• Chin slightly tucked in
• Shoulders back
Be sure to check and correct your posture during your everyday activities. Soon you will find that you are actually more comfortable when your spine is in balance!
3 – Too Little Exercise, Too Much Weight
A sedentary lifestyle has become all too common in our society today. Eventually our spines will pay the price. In fact, research shows that people who do not exercise regularly and are overweight are more likely to suffer from back injures and pain. To keep that from happening to you, get up and get moving! Find a way to put exercise into your daily activities. Not only will it help keep your spine healthy, it will help you to shed those unwanted pounds and feel great, too!
4 – Ignoring the Pain
None of us like going to the doctor, but persistent back pain should not be ignored. If you suffer from persistent, chronic, or recurring back pain, see your doctor. In most cases there is an easy, non-surgical treatment that can return you to a pain free life. However, if left untreated or allowed to progress, back pain can lead to serious and severe disability.
5 – Smoking Tobacco
Among the many harmful effects of cigarette smoking on the body, early and more severe degeneration of the back is getting more and more attention. Nicotine — in any form — blocks the transport of oxygen and important nutrients to the spine’s discs. Starved of oxygen, the discs are much less able to repair themselves and tend to collapse at a much earlier age than is seen in non-smokers. This painful collapse — degenerative disc disease — can lead to chronic back pain. Moreover, should any surgery be needed, smokers have been found to have much slower healing times and a high rate of failure to heal.