How to Avoid Morning Backache – Waking Up Tired with a Sore Back?

Avoiding Morning BackacheIf you have been waking up with a tired and sore back every morning, know that you are not alone, with there been scores of men and women complaining of the same problem. In this article, we will take through what it’s like to experience morning backache, what the different probable causes are, and what likely remedial measures can be followed.

The first thing you ought to know is that our hectic lifestyle often leaves us with little time to rest, and this is probably one of the biggest contributor to a number of lifestyle related ailments, morning backaches included. There is no dearth of people who feel as fit as a fiddle when they climb into bed, only to wake up with an aching back, with the pain receding as the day progresses. Sounds familiar? Well, like we said, you are not alone.

What is it Like?

Given that different people experience pain in different regions of the back, there is no clear cut answer to this question. While the pain can be limited to a specific area like the lower or upper back, it could be spread through the back, and could also be felt in other regions like the neck, arms, and legs.

A person suffering from morning backaches could complain of feeling tired and drained out in the first few hours of the day. Also seen is that although a number of sufferers wish to climb back in bed to find relief, it is seldom found. The pain does subside as the day passes, only to return the next morning.

In addition, a number of people who complain of everyday morning backaches are ones who lead a fairly active life, with a number of athletes making it to this list as well.

The Causes:

Since different conditions could be the cause of one’s morning backaches, it is only natural that the causes would depend on various factors. Given below are some of the probable causes resulting in ongoing morning backaches.

  • If you’ve suffered trauma in the afflicted region, it should be looked upon as a cause at the very onset.
  • A simple muscle strain could be the cause.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis, characterised by back pain and stiffness in the morning that subsides with some activity, could be a cause.
  • Other existing medical conditions like spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, herniated discs, etc. would be treated as possible causes.
  • With athletes (especially long distance runners, swimmers, etc), the lack of oxygen supply could be a possible reason as their bodies tend to receive lesser oxygen than usual when their back is at rest, all the more so when they’re lying down.
  • If you suffer from morning backache that gets better if you stretch and move a bit, it could indicate a muscle injury.
  • If you spend extended hours sitting at a desk or in front of a computer, your posture could well be the culprit.
  • Extensive physical training can also be a cause, especially if you’re doing something as part of your fitness regimen that’s affecting your back adversely.
  • Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress is also a very likely cause.

What Can You Do?

What you can do to ease the pain and discomfort basically depends on what the root cause of the problem is, and in a number on instances, medical intervention becomes the order of the day. In such instances, a thorough diagnosis is called for and a suitable treatment plan is suggested only in accordance with findings derived through the diagnostic stage.

There are different things that you can do to try and get some relief on your own and here are some of them.

  • If you’ve recently changed the mattress you sleep on, or if the one you’ve been sleeping on has become quite old, you might want to assess this is a probable cause and take effective action (which would be replacing your existing mattress). In doing so, make sure you take the time to go through different alternatives, and trying what you intend to buy is strongly advised.
  • A long hot shower is something that can help soothe your aching back. All you have to do is let the hot water stream down your back for a few minutes and this should help the muscles ease up a bit. That you should be careful not to burn your back goes without saying.
  • Exercising is something that can help, and something as simple as stretching for a few minutes every morning can provide relief. However, make sure you start only after consulting with a medical practitioner, failing which, you could aggravate your problem furthermore.
  • Looking for help through alternative means like yoga, meditation, and tai-chi can also provide relief, but again, make sure you receive guidance from trained therapists. Meditation would address aspects like stress, while yogic asanas and tai-chi movements would help in muscle and bone development.

Seeking Professional Help:

If your pain does not get better in a week or so despite your having tried basic remedial measures, it becomes important that you seek professional help. Whether you choose to see a medical doctor or a chiropractor is something you need to decide, but in either case, know that a licensed professional would carry the required training and knowledge to address the problem at hand. Also, know that there are numerous instances when doctors from the field of general medicine refer patients who suffer from back pain to their chiropractic counterparts.

If you suffer from morning backaches make sure that you do not take it lying down. See if you can connect to this joke from The Three Stooges. Larius goes, “I’ve got a weak back,” and when Moeus asks him, “How long have you had a weak back?” the reply is a cheeky, “Oh, about a week back.” So, if you’ve had a weak back since a week back, seeking professional help is something you should definitely think about.

A Guide to Understanding Prostate Related Problems

prostateThe prostate is a gland found in the body of men which is roughly the size of a chestnut, and is located quite close to the bladder, towards the rectum. Derived from Greek, prostate quite literally stands for ‘guardian’ or ‘protector’ and can also be found in most other mammals. The prostate can be affected by various medical problems, and most of these can be quite discomforting and painful. Cases of prostate cancer can also lead to death.

Although prostate problems are more common in men over 50, they can also be seen before this age, and for men under this age, the most common problem is prostatitis. In men over 50, prostate enlargement accounts for the most common problem, and this condition is also referred to as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia). While the risk of prostate cancer does increase with age, its occurrence is lesser than that of BPH. However, prostate cancer is amongst the leading causes of cancer related deaths in the U.S.

Signs to Watch Out For:

Following is a list of signs that can indicate problems with your prostate, and if you notice any of these signs, seeking medical help should be the next obvious step.

  • Experiencing difficulty in urinating
  • Experiencing pain or a burning sensation while urinating
  • Marked increased in your frequency of urination
  • Presence of blood in your semen or urine
  • Problems in getting erections
  • Pain while ejaculating
  • Persistent pain in your upper thighs, hips, or lower back

 

Common Prostate Problems:

Here are some of the common prostate related problems that men suffer from.

  • Prostate Cancer: Cancer of the prostate progresses quite slowly; and there are numerous instances when the cancer is detected only during autopsies. However, it is important that the condition be identified early, and identifying what stage the cancer is in will help doctors select a suitable therapy. Some common symptoms include a marked increase in the frequency of your urinating, having a problem in starting urinating, blood in the urine and/or semen, etc.
  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): With age, the prostate continues to grow in size, and as it grows, it can apply pressure on your urethra, thereby affecting the normal flow of urine. Benign simply means there is no infection or cancer, and hyperplasia refers to the enlargement. Symptoms for this condition are quite similar to those of prostate cancer, and this makes getting the condition diagnosed correctly all the more important.
  • Prostatitis: Acute prostatitis refers to a prostate infection which is bacterial in nature. Common symptoms include pain while urinating, lower back pain, chills, and fever. Chronic prostatitis refers to a reoccurring infection, and while the symptoms in this case might be milder, the infection would be longer drawn.

 

Effective Help is at Hand:

Early detection of any kind of prostate related problem will definitely save you a lot of strife, and in different ways. The good this is all prostate related disorders are easy to detect, and can also be treated effectively as long as the diagnoses takes place in time. The treatment, of course, will depend on the diagnoses.

Realize that hesitating going to a doctor, for whatever reason, can get your condition to worsen, and if left untreated for long, it can lead to irreversible damage. The need of the moment, therefore, is to get proficient medical advice, and get it soon. Being safe, after all, is way better than being sorry.

Penile and Testicular Problems – An Overview

Medical problems affecting men’s penile and testicular regions are not uncommon and can have quite a damning effect on the sufferer. Not only can these conditions be a source of embarrassment, they can also lead to severe sexual problems, depression, and can even be the cause of relationships breaking up. In extreme cases, amputation of the penis is also a possibility. Therefore, knowing a little about such problems will definitely help.

Some Common Penile and Testicular Problems:

Some common problems men are affected with in the penile/testicular region include balanitis, peyronie’s disease, priapism, penile & testicular cancer, hydrocele, epididymitis, and testicular torsion. The good thing about most of these conditions is that they can be treated quite easily as long as they’re detected in the early stages.

Identifying the Causes:

If you’re hoping to steer clear of the pain and discomfort that is associated with most of these conditions, knowing what to watch out for ahead of time will surely help. However, since there are numerous conditions you can be affected by, the causes to look for also vary. Here are a few examples.

  • Balanitis can be caused owing to different factors, some of which include not being circumcised, poor hygiene, allergies, dermatitis, diabetes, as well as sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Common causes linked to the onset of priapism include overexposure to particular medications, drug & alcohol abuse, blood disorders, injury to the penile region, anaesthesia, etc.
  • While the exact causes for penile cancer haven’t been ascertained, not being circumcised during childhood, smoking, the accumulation of smegma, as well as old age, are regarded as possible causes.
  • While epididymitis is a condition that is commonly seen in children, certain viral and bacterial infections as well as undergoing a vasectomy can lead to adults contracting this condition.

Identifying the Signs:

Again, the symptoms would vary in accordance to the condition. Some common signs to watch out for are as follows.

  • Priapism normally occurs while sleeping, and the erection is not the result of your being sexually aroused. The erection can also be accompanied by extreme pain along the shaft’s base.
  • Symptoms of balanitis include tenderness, swelling and redness of the penis’ head; having trouble in retracting the foreskin; penile discharge; etc.
  • Signs of penile cancer include one or more lumps on the penis as well as irritation, soreness, or redness of the penis.
  • Symptoms of testicular cancer include painless swelling or lumps in the testicles; pain/discomfort in the testicles or the scrotum; unexplained lower back pain or pain in the groin; the sudden accumulation of fluids in the scrotum; etc.

The Treatment:

There are different courses of treatments suggested for different problems, and this makes identifying the problem very important. Some common courses of treatments for different conditions include the following.

  • In cases of balanitis, the underlying cause needs to be identified first, and then a suitable antifungal or antibiotic might be suggested. In cases where the inflammation is persistent, circumcision might be suggested.
  • In case of priapism, treatment can involve blood being drained from the penis by using a needle placed alongside the penis. The use of medication is also possible, and so is the transfusion of blood (after taking into account the patient’s complete medical history).
  • Treatment for penile cancer can include cryosurgery, microsurgery, laser surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, circumcision, or even penectomy which refers to the amputation of the penis.
  • Treatment for testicular cancer includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.

Looking for Help:

As soon as you think that you might have a penile or testicular problem, the first thing you should do is get in touch with a doctor. If you’re not comfortable discussing this matter with your family doctor, consult someone else, but do not postpone looking for treatment. Know that if you address the problem at the onset, there’s a good chance that you’ll be spared a fair amount of pain and discomfort.

So, in case you are someone close to you might suffer from a penile or testicular problem, heading to the doctor becomes crucial. The doctor will then diagnose the condition by running some tests if required, and only after the problem is diagnosed will a further course of action be charted. And yes, take heart in knowing that most of these problems can be treated quite easily.

Male Contraception – An Overview

Men all over the world looking for safe contraception methods, that also don’t take the enjoyment from the experience. Contraception is mainly used to avoid unwanted pregnancies, although some forms can also help in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Without the use of an effective form of contraception, there is a high risk of unwanted pregnancies. Here are your options.

male contraception - condomsCondoms:

Amongst the most commonly used form of contraception in men, condoms work as barrier devices which prevent the semen from entering the vagina. In addition, condoms also provide protection against a range of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhoea. There is a wide variety of condoms to choose from in this day and age, and this choice comes in the form of textured and flavoured condoms. Using condoms does not provide 100% protection.

The Withdrawal Method:

This method is also commonly referred to as the ‘pull out’ method, or ‘coitus interruptus’. This is where you would withdraw your penis just before you ejaculate, thereby ejaculating outside your partner’s body. This method does not offer 100% protection against unwanted pregnancies either.

Vasectomy:

This is looked upon as a permanent male contraception method, as it works in ensuring that no sperms get to the ejaculate. This procedure is generally chosen by men who feel they’ve had their share of children. The procedure does not take very long, and involves the ‘vas deferens’ from both testicles being cut, clamped, or sealed in some other manner.

Natural Solutions:

Men in some cultures use solutions derived from nature to serve as contraceptive measures. Extract from neem (Azadirachta indica) is said to work as an effective contraceptive for men, and its use in Asian cultures is quite common. Lab tests on mice have shown that neem oil can be used as an alternative to vasectomy. Seeds from the papaya fruit (Carica papaya) have also been used by many Asian cultures as a means to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Lab tests with monkeys have shown that papaya seeds work in eliminating sperms from the ejaculate.

Alternatives Being Developed:

Various male contraception methods continue to be developed, and many of these aim to work along the lines of commonly available contraceptives for women. Men, by the looks of it, will soon have the option to avail of alternatives like pills, gels, patches, and injections.  Newer alternatives which are still being tested include the use of calcium channel blockers like nifedipine; adjudin, which is a non-toxic form of ionidamine; as well as phenoxybenzamine.

Realize that what might seem like the best form of male contraception for someone might not necessary find favour with someone else. Besides, the all important factor of whether the solution sought is permanent or temporary will also have a bearing on the method that you choose.

What’s important though is that you use some form of contraception whilst engaging in sex. And when this involves an unknown partner, you should take particular care to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases as well.

Stress & Anxiety

Stress & Anxiety

Dandruff

Dandruff

Hair Loss in Men – An Overview

There are various causes that lead to hair loss in men, and various studies have shown that men are more prone to balding than women. Male pattern baldness (MPB) is the most common hair loss problem in men, and this condition is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia. Other forms of hair loss in men include alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis. In either case, apart from suffering from hair loss, one can also suffer from depression and/or reduced self esteem.

 

The Symptoms:

The onset of MPB generally begins with a receding hairline starting at the forehead, and getting pretty much an ‘M’ shape. Apart from hair loss, the existing hair can also become thinner or finer. This is followed by thinning of hair at the crown, and the receding hairline from the front and the crown then work their way towards each other.

 

With alopecia areata, signs include hair loss in patches on the head as well as other parts of the body. If the condition is allowed to progress, it can also lead to alopecia universalis. Complete loss of hair on the scalp is a sign of alopecia totalis, and hair loss all over the body indicates alopecia universalis.

 

Causes of Hair Loss:

Our hair comes out of follicles found under the skin, and the shrinking of these follicles results in thinning and loss of hair. Also, with men who have a hair fall problem, the follicles fail to grow new hair, which should be a natural progression after hair loss. While genetics are hormonal makeup are believed to be leading causes of hair loss, there are others as well. These include:

  • Medications: There are various medications which result in hair loss as a side effect, although most of these cases are temporary and reversible.
  • Medical Conditions: Hair loss can be a result of an existing medical condition. Some medical conditions that can lead to hair loss include anaemia, thyroid disorders, protein deficiencies, etc.
  • Ringworms: The presence of ringworms in your body can also result in hair loss, and this will be in patches. Hair loss which is a result of ringworm infestation is generally accompanied with itching and reddening of the scalp.
  • Chemicals: Exposing your hair to harmful chemicals in the form of hair care products can also lead to hair loss. This is why you should be very careful in choosing hair care products.
  • Chemotherapy: People who undergo chemotherapy as part of treatment for cancer will, almost definitely, face some degree of hair loss.

 

Help for Hair Loss:

Prevention, in this case, is definitely better than cure, and the best way to beat the odds is to lead a healthy lifestyle which incorporates good eating habits and regular exercise. In case you are predisposed to hair loss owing to your genetic makeup, you might have to think about an alternative like hair transplants. In instances where the hair loss is a result of a deficiency in vitamins or iron, you should incorporate enough iron and vitamins for hair loss in your diet.

 

Understand that there are numerous instances when cases of hair loss in men cannot be reversed, but this does not mean you do not have options. Some good alternatives include hair transplants, wigs, and spray-on hair solutions. Also, before you look for a solution on your own, do get advice from a trained dermatologist or hair expert.

Fitness

Fitness

Diet, Weight & Nutrition

Diet, Weight & Nutrition

Skin Problems in Men – A Guide

While it comes to caring for the skin, men don’t generally pay as much attention to this aspect as required. Fact remains that women do care for their skin way more than men do. Although men’s skin is different from the skin of women, it does require equal care. After all, our skin is subject to a variety of abuse owing to the elements it is exposed to on an ongoing basis. And while minor skin problems can be dealt with easily and effectively, the same cannot be said about conditions like skin cancer.

Consider these statistics about skin cancer. Australia, where skin cancer is amongst the most prevalent in the world, sees more than 400,000 people being treated for this condition every year. Two out of three Australians suffer from this condition by the time they turn 70, and around 80% of all new cancer cases being diagnosed in this country are those of skin cancer. In the U.S, more than a million new cases of skin cancer are detected every year. And of course, the occurrence of conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea is all too common.

 

Skin Types:

The reason we mention skin type is because effective skin care needs to take into account the type of skin. Not all men have the same type of skin, and skin types can be broadly classified into normal, dry, oily, and a even a combination of these. Men with normal skin are quite lucky as they experience the least amount of skin problems. Dry skin is prone to aging more quickly and this can make it vulnerable to wrinkling at a younger age. Oily skin can lead to blackheads and acne. Dealing with a combination skin type can be a challenge because in such a scenario you’d have dry skin in some patches in oily skin in others. 

Common Skin Problems in Men:

Problems like skin rashes, sensitive skin, acne, flaky skin, clogged pores, dark circles, body art infections, etc. are quite common in men, and these are problems that can normally be treated quite easily. However, if you continue to suffer from any of these problems repeatedly, you should definitely see a dermatologist (skin specialist). Some other skin problems you should know of include psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea.

Symptoms:

Symptoms for different skin conditions are different. For example, occasional dryness, the presence of silvery scales, or the inflammation and redness of skin in patches could indicate psoriasis. Symptoms of eczema include inflammation and redness, blisters, itching, flaking, drying and thickening of the skin, as well as flaky, crusty skin around the eyebrows, scalp, etc. For rosacea, symptoms include skin on the face turning red, and this reddening can also occur on the arms, legs, or trunk. The occurrence of pustules and/or spots can also accompany this redness.

Causes:

As with the symptoms, the causes for these conditions are also varied. Psoriasis is regarded as an immunological disorder, wherein the skin cells reproduce way quicker than they die, leading to the accumulation of live and dead cells on the skin’s surface. Eczema can be of different types – atopic eczema is believed to be a hereditary problem; contact eczema occurs owing to contact with chemical irritants; and yeast overgrowth is believed to cause seborrhoeic eczema. The exact causes for rosacea still remain unknown.

 Bear in mind that most skin conditions can be treated quite easily, especially if they’re diagnosed early on. So in case you feel you might suffer from a skin condition, consulting a dermatologist is important. Also, make sure you know just what you’re using on your skin, as the use of certain chemicals can actually do more harm than good.