Leg cramps are sudden and painful. They often occur when the body is at rest, typically during sleep. The muscle cramps can last for a few seconds or up to several minutes. Leg cramps, commonly referred to as charley horses, occur when muscles in the legs contract involuntarily. Muscle groups that mostly involved in leg cramps are calf (back of the lower leg), hamstrings (back of the thigh) and quadriceps (front of the thigh). Some people experience cramps even in their feet, sometimes on their toes.
What Causes Leg Cramps
Leg cramps are common, many people experience it occasionally, elderly people and pregnant women have a higher risk to develop the problem. The cause of leg cramps is not well understood, it may be associated with following factors:
Exercising, injury and overuse of muscles
Exposure to cold weather, especially to cold water
Improper posture of standing or sitting for long periods
Dehydration of the body, especially in hot weather
Poor blood flow in the legs (blood vessels narrowing in the legs)
Electrolyte imbalance or mineral deficiencies, particularly calcium and magnesium
Medications such as diuretics, statins, lithium, prednisone and nicotinic acid
Health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disorder, liver cirrhosis, alcoholism, and/or hypothyroidism.
Personally, I experience leg cramps after I dance in 3-inch spikes for many hours. Obviously, I should refrain from wearing those highheels or dancing too much. At this point, I can’t give up either. Here are a few things I do to prevent and/or deal with leg cramps.
A study appeared in “The Clinical Journal of Pain” in May, 2009, revealed the efficacy of using acupuncture and Chinese medicine. This study compared two groups of patients with mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. One group received eight sessions of acupuncture treatments over the course of eight weeks. The other group received daily doses of a drug called prednisolone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
Evaluations at the end of the second and fourth week revealed that both groups enjoyed a significant reduction in symptoms. However, the acupuncture group received an exceptional benefit that the steroid group did not. At the conclusion of the trial, the patients receiving acupuncture treatments showed a statistically significant drop in their nocturnal awakenings.
From an Oriental medicine perspective, CTS is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi and Blood within the area and associated with Cold, Dampness or Wind penetrating the muscles and sinews of the wrist. Acupuncture points, stretching exercises, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are chosen to treat accordingly.
Acupuncture is extremely effective at treating carpal tunnel syndrome; eliminating the need for surgery or the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. In fact, one of the most common reasons that people get acupuncture is for repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Not only reducing the swelling, inflammation and pain in the wrist, acupuncture addresses any headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and sleeping problems that often accompany this condition.
Your treatment may also take into account any underlying conditions that contribute to the development of CTS including obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, diabetes, hormonal changes of pregnancy and menopause.
If you or someone you know suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, please call our office at 201.760.8811 to find out more about how acupuncture, Chinese medicine and nutritional supplements can help.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel such as numbness, tingling, pain, burning, and weakness in the arms and hands often, but not always, result from inflammation due to frequent, repetitive physical movements.
There are a number of things that can cause or put you at risk for developing CTS. These include:
Genetic predisposition: Small bones or a small carpal canal increases the risk.
Hormonal changes: For women, hormonal fluctuations increase the chances of the syndrome; pregnancy and menopause can be particularly problematic.
Diseases: Conditions like arthritis, lupus, diabetes and obesity can lead to narrowing of the canal.
Repetitive motions: Excessively doing activities like typing, using hand tools, gardening, golfing, sewing and massaging can repeatedly strain the area, causing localized inflammation and trauma.
The onset of symptoms may start gradually and become worse over time, especially if the same motions are repeated on a near daily basis. Even though some repetitive motions such as typing on the computer or using the phone are not strenuous activities in and of themselves, if performed often enough, the cumulative effect builds up. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to what is known as nocturnal awakenings, which refers to waking up in the middle of the night from pain and discomfort.
Interestingly, the main causes of the overgrowth of candida albicans are presumed to be MEDICATIONS and MEDICAL THERAPIES. These include: antibiotics, hormone replacement, corticosteroids, birth control pills, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and multiple surgeries. These medications and therapies tend to kill beneficial bacteria and interfere with normal hormone functions. Improper diet, such as over-consumption of yeast products, sugar, or alcohol, also can promote yeast growth.
Those with immune or endocrine disorders such as patients with AIDS, cancer, or diabetes are more prone to candidiasis. Due to the hormonal involvement and the reproductive tract, women tend to present with more symptoms than men.
The effects of anti-fungal medicines are highly questionable. The protocols recommended by alternative health practitioners are extremely difficult to follow. Mostly, the protocols focus on “candida cleanse” that helps to rid the body of excess candida through the flushing of the digestive tract, and the introduction of healthy candida fighters found in fermented foods or probiotics.
Some suggest liquid-only cleanse for an extended period of time; some recommend a thorough gut reboot along with a drastic diet change.
February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Health Awareness Month. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and blood vessels, and is responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other waste from them.
Diseases affecting the cardiovascular system include arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, and congenital heart disease..
Cardiovascular disease is the leading health threat, with heart disease and stroke topping the list of leading causes of death worldwide. One out of every two men and one out of every three women will develop heart disease sometime in their life.
By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent. Let’s take a look at how acupuncture can assist your cardiovascular health.
1. Manage High Blood Pressure
Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, were able to stimulate the release of opioids, which decreases the heart’s activity and thus its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease–all of which increase the risk of developing heart disease. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an excellent adjunctive tool when it comes to losing weight. They can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety.
3. Reduce Stress
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart is the King of all of our physiological, emotional, and spiritual health. Excessive stress can easily damage the heart so that people with a high degree of stress often suffer from high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heartbeats. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health.
4. Improve Sleep Quality
Poor sleep has been linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Acupuncture has shown great success treating a wide array of sleep problems without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. The acupuncture treatments for problems sleeping focus on the root disharmony within the body that is causing the insomnia. Therefore, those who use acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only better sleep, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.
5. If You Smoke, Quit
Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer. But did you know that smoking is also a major cause of coronary artery disease? In fact, about 20 percent of all deaths from heart disease are directly related to cigarette smoking.
Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment for smoking. Acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness–symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.
What is cholesterol and how is it bad? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally and makes all that you need. Too much cholesterol can sometimes build up in your arteries. After a while, these deposits narrow your arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
Cholesterol has been a fixture in dietary warnings in the U.S. at least since 1961, when it appeared in guidelines developed by the American Heart Association. Later adopted by the federal government, such warnings helped shift eating habits — per capita egg consumption dropped about 30 percent. In the mean time, tens of millions of people were advised to take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to prevent heart attacks or strokes. Statin drugs work by blocking the action of the liver enzyme that is responsible for producing cholesterol.
However, the side-effects of statin drugs are enormous. More than 900 studies have been published illustrating the side-effects of statin drugs, most notable of which are the risk of developing diabetes, liver failure, memory loss and lower sexual functions.
I personally believe that unless someone’s overall cholesterol level is higher than 300, no oneshould take statin drugs. The fact is that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin levels, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol.
Nutrition response testing can determine the root causes of cholesterol issues. For some individual, unregulated sugar metabolism caused by weak pancreas may be the most important issue; for others, metal or chemical toxicity in their kidneys may cause an elevated cholesterol level. Once the root cause is determined, cholesterol level can effectively be managed by real-food-based nutrition protocols..
In managing diabetes, are there any other issues we need to be concerned about in addition to “too-well-known” factors such as diet changes and healthy life-style?
Instead of just controlling one’s sugar metabolic rates, what if the most deep-rooted cause of diabetes is parasites lodged in one’s liver or intestines?
What if someone has too much metal toxicity(from their tooth fillings) which affected his or her pancreas, as a result, this person ended up being a diabetic?
What if too much estrogen due to a hormonal therapy has caused disruption in one’s pituitary glands so that production and distribution of insulin in one’s body has been compromised?
Although diet changes and exercises will bring immeasurable benefits in managing one’s diabetic conditions, there are ways to determine precisely the real causes of diabetes(or any disease for that matter). Our bodies are intricate and complex beyond measure.
Nutrition Response Testing is designed to address the most fundamental health issues at cellular level. Based on an assumption that “anything can cause anything,” Nutrition Response Testing can decipher whether one’s diabetes is caused by:
Food allergies(most common issues are sugar and wheat)
Pathogen embedded in organs and tissues(such as bacteria, virus, fungus/yeast, or parasites)
Scar tissues (that disrupt the flow of energies in one’s body).
Typically, a complex condition like diabetes is caused by multiple causes, all of which affect each other at many different levels.
In Nutrition Response Testing, the most fundamental causes of diabetes are determined through a series of applied kinesiology techniques.
After the No. 1 causes are determined, most appropriate nutrition support system (based on Real Food Based Supplements) such as virus removal protocols, metal toxicity removal system are introduced.
Patients are expected to be tested on a weekly basis to gauge improvement as well as to find out whether there is a need for further analysis.
In the majority of cases, diabetic conditions can improve dramatically only after 5 or 6 sessions.
Do you or someone you know suffer from diabetes and/or peripheral neuropathy?
Call Allendale Acupuncture today at 201.760.8811 to find out how acupuncture and nutritional response testing can help!
It is estimated that 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.
Untreated diabetes affects the whole body and can lead to other medical problems, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, digestive disorders and periodontal disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 people remain unaware that they live with diabetes. Sometimes the body will give warning signs that a person’s sugar metabolism is out of whack. Common signs of Type II(adult-onset) diabetes include:
Increased hunger (especially after eating)
Frequent urination or urinary infections
Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
Diabetes is Called “A Wasting Disease” in Oriental Medicine
Acupuncture and Oriental medicines have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years.
According to Oriental medicine, diabetes is called “a wasting disease” caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems.
This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi, causing symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lethargy, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive urination, excessive eating, slow healing of cuts and wounds, infections, irritability, tingling or numbness in the extremities, and blurry vision—all of which are signs of a person being “wasted.”
The treatment for diabetes will focus on regulating the circulation of blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and address internal heat and the depletion of fluids.
In addition, acupuncture can treat peripheral neuropathy, one of the most devastating symptoms of diabetes.
Common signs of peripheral neuropathy include tingling, numbness, loss of sensation, muscle weakness and pain. For some people, it is experienced as the uncomfortable sensation of “pins and needles”, or burning pain (especially at night) of their hands or feet. Others may suffer even more extreme symptoms such as muscle atrophy, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction.
Oriental medicine teaches that peripheral neuropathy is due to dampness moving to the limbs, where it obstructs the flow of Qi (energy) and blood within them.
The treatment is twofold: to treat the underlying factor that is causing this dampness to accumulate, and to directly facilitate the circulation of Qi and blood in the affected area.
By improving circulation, the nerve tissues of the affected area can be nourished to repair function and reduce pain.
Well-Known Procedures in Managing Diabetes
There are a number of well-publicized recommendations in managing diabetes.
1. Diet Changes
Anything too sweet must go. While a sweet taste delights our taste buds, overindulgence can cause or worsen digestive problems and upset our metabolic and emotional balance. In Oriental medicine, meats such as pork and chicken are considered sweet.
Vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, corn, snow peas, squash and even turnips are also considered sweet.
Anything heavily processed or too greasy must be abstained. Too much dairy, deep-fried foods or canned foods must be avoided. Even fruits are recommended only in moderate amounts due to their relatively high sugar content.
2. Adopt Healthy Life Habits
Healthy habits such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, following a well-supervised exercise program, and limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption can reduce the physical and emotional effects of diabetes.
3. Boost Circulation with Massage (for neuropathy patients)
Massage can help boost circulation, which is generally poor and leaves these areas vulnerable to trauma. You can stimulate your feet, lower legs, hands and arms with gentle massage using light pressure.
4. Relax to Reduce External Triggers
Consider relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis or biofeedback.
5. Soak for Pain Relief
A warm foot bath with Epsom salt may also help relieve pain. If there is loss of sensation in the hands or feet, you should avoid extreme temperatures, as you may not feel the damaging effects.