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Legs Talk About This

Ever wondered what varicose veins are? Well, they’re thrawn and swollen veins in the legs, often black or purple in color.

They’re largely innocuous, but can result in bruising, heavy and/or swollen legs, and itching. Other symptoms include:

  • Skin discoloration around the varicose vein
  • Exacerbated pain after sitting, or standing for extended periods
  • Bleeding veins, chronic inflammation, ulcers (most severe cases)
  • Lipodermatosclerosis – skin shrinking due to fat under the skin above the ankle becoming hard
  • Talengiectasia – spider veins
  • Varicose eczema – skin in affected area becomes red, dry, and itchy
  • Restless sleeping syndrome (large contingent of sufferers)
  • Leg crams while standing up (some sufferers)

Figure 1 -Varicose Veins

Causes

Varicose veins are a common condition. They are a result of damaged, or weak, vein walls and valves. They may also with the increase of blood pressure in the vein walls. You see, veins have “one way” valves to ensure that blood doesn’t flow backwards -proper blood circulation involves arteries carrying the blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and the veins returning the blood from the body back to the heart. When the valves malfunction blood can stop flowing, and subsequently pool in the vein, resulting in damage, twisting, and swelling.

Varicose veins specifically occur in the lower legs as these areas are furthest from the heart. In essence, you veins have to work “double time” in tandem with muscle contractions to pump the blood back to the heart.

other causes include:

  • Pregnancy – to aid the growing fetus, blood volume increases. The side effect comes in the form of enlarged veins
  • Obesity – added weight exacerbates pressure on the veins
  • Family history –  varicose veins can be hereditary
  • Age – old age can take a toll on the valves, progressively leading to malfunction

 

Preventative Measures

Unfortunately, there is no absolute, one-size-fits-all preventative measure, nor a cure, but a few preventative measures can be implemented:

  • Exercise
  • Weight watching
  • Compression socks/stockings
  • Dietary changes – high fiber/low salt diet
  • Regular elevation of the legs
  • Change sitting/standing position regularly

 

Conclusion

Hopefully one has given food for thought instead of nightmares. Remember, varicose veins are not life threatening – they can however get worse, even with the preventative measures, but they are not life threatening, nor do they contribute to any long term medical problems. Naturally, you’re always better off consulting your trusted healthcare professional should you have any symptoms, especially in more severe cases.

 

L. D. Dube

You’re Way Too Forward!! 

Posture: The way our bodies are positioned; the way we hold our bodies.

The human body can assume multiple positions thus making posture both static (still) and dynamic (changing in direction). It is determined by the spine which consists of 3 parts, namely the cervical spine (neck region), thoracic spine (upper-middle back) and lumbar spine (lower spine). There are 4 types of posture – Kyphosis, Flat Back, Lordosis, and Forward Neck/Head. Today, we’ll look at Forward Neck/Head as it affects the greater population.

Figure 1

Cause

As you can see in Figure 1, the head leads the body wherever it goes; the shoulders and back hunch in response to the head moving forward. The neck’s job is to vertically carry the skull’s weight, which is roughly 4.5 kilograms, or 10 pounds, and per a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy science, “for every inch of movement forward, there is an extra 10 pounds of weight placed on your neck”. This could lead to:

  • Pain in the shoulder blades
  • Cervical spine arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Limited range of motion

Forward Neck/Head occurs when the neck and head are in a forward position, extending the head past the shoulders. Fun Fact: it is also called Text Neck, indicating the forward tilt of the neck due to constant hunching over cellphones and computers. This will inevitably lead to pain, stiffness, and tension in the neck, shoulders, and back which, in turn, will lead to:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Poor balance
  • Compromised organs (liver, lungs, heart)

 

Solution

Strengthening and stretching exercises are best for combating Forward Neck/Head, such as “chin tucks” and “chest stretches” respectively. Additionally, one can ergonomically setup one’s work space by elevating the computer screen, or monitor, to a height which doesn’t necessitate neck tilting, as well as use a chair with a good headrest to support the neck. Another solution would be buying an orthopedic pillow for sleep. Such pillows are specifically designed to support the head and cervical spine.

 

Conclusion

As you’ve hopefully been conscientized, bad posture is no joke. It’s a serious threat to one’s overall health and wellbeing. Fortunately, it’s never to late to start righting these wrongs. Even if the D-I-Y route [God forbid] proves a dead end, your qualified and trusted healthcare professionals won’t!

 

L.D. Dube