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Lower back pain among athletes could be as high as 84%

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Year after year, India’s most promising athletes back out of important sporting events citing back pain. There is now new data intelligence available that slots back pain into 100 different types; and offers a customised treatment plan. Will this change things for Indian sports?

Indian sport is replete with stories of its female warriors who win laurels for the country. Unfortunately, due to lack of facilities and trainers, more often than not, they train under adverse conditions and suffer from injuries during crucial stages of their sporting pursuit.

Case in point being World championship and Commonwealth Games gold medallist weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu who had to pull out of the 2018 Asian Games due to a back injury. In February, she made a comeback after a nine-month injury-layoff and won the gold in the 49-kilogram category at the EGAT Cup in Thailand, a qualifier for quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

 

Interestingly, doctors could not diagnose the cause of Chanu’s back pain. Anuj Arenja of QI Spine, India’s foremost medical centre for the diagnosis and treatment of back and neck pain said, ” WHO states that in 9 out of 10 cases of back pain , the primary cause or pain is not identified, which is what could have happened in Mirabai Chanu’s case. Doctors tend to over prescribe XRays and MRIs that do not pinpoint ’cause’ in over 85% of back pain cases leading to them being classified as non-specific back pain with no clear line of treatment despite the costs and health risks involved with the testing.”

Improper training and poor facilities could also be hampering India’s potential medal winners. “As a competitive athlete you always have the drive to do one more sprint, one more lift, or one more throw. Discomfort during training that does not go away, and often gets worse, means your core muscles are not maintaining your neutral zone in your spine. There is a fine line between safe training and pushing through pain,” adds Dr Garima Anandani, Clinical Director QI Spine Clinic.

Rubina Yadav, Haryana’s national high jump athlete, also made a creditable comeback, during the March 2019 Federation cup. She tied for first place with BS Supriya of Karnataka, clearing an identical height of 1.78m. A year ago however, in February 2018, her life had come to a standstill. During one of her regular training sessions, Yadav suffered a back injury which threatened to end her promising sports career.

“It was the most challenging and difficult phase of my life. I had to stop my training as I started experiencing sharp shooting pain in my lower back while attempting the high jump. I was trying hard but my performance was going down. I had to back out from Commonwealth Games trial and under 20 World Athletic Championship trials,” says Yadav who had broken a national record in high jump just a year earlier.

Rubina credits QI spine Clinic for her recovery. Three computer-controlled medical devices scanned her spine and back muscles in 16 different ways. This spine function test, also called a DSA revealed that Rubina had developed mechanical low back pain. The extensor muscles and flexors muscles in her lower back were weak and there was an imbalance between her left and right rotators which was the initial cause of the back pain.

Rubina underwent three months of intensive spine rehabilitation including core muscle strengthening, stretches and spine muscle strengthening that gradually helped her recover.

Rubina shares, “In those days I was constantly worried about my career. But the doctors at QI Spine have boosted my morale and given me physical, emotional, and psychological support to return back to sports.”

Other small-town heroines of India, such as Patiala’s discus throw champion Kamalpreet Kaur, who overcame back pain to win gold at the Federation cup and heptathlete Swapna Barman from Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district who won gold at the Commonwealth, also overcoming back pain; point to a trend.

Anuj Arenja however, is quick to say that we probably understand back pain better than ever before. “QI’s data intelligence has captured at least 50 to 60 data points for each patient at the diagnostic stage, for over 1 lac patients. Our data reveals that there are more than 100 different causes of back pain, commonly seen in India. And what may not look like back pain, may also be related to muscular complications involving the spine. The highly specialised spine function test we offer can ensure that the benefit of our data intelligence is available to all; and that our award winning athletes don’t bow out of important tournaments.”

According to a study published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, titled ‘Prevalence of low back pain among athletes’ dated 25 October 2018, life-time prevalence of LBP among athletes ranges from 33% to 84%. However, there is a lack of sound data on the prevalence and mechanism of LBP in some popular sports such as volleyball, swimming and track and field.


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Health

Weight Loss Tips Recommended by Personal Trainers

The Kashmir Monitor

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Weight loss is something that we all struggle with. Sometimes we are successful in reducing our weight but more often than not, the number in the weighing scale slowly creeps back up. Most of us have already tried the latest diet trend in the hopes that it will lead us to a better looking us, but then, life happens and we forget that we are on a diet or that we feel frustrated with the lack of results. Still, we keep on finding ways to get rid of the excess pounds that we are carrying. With that being said, it might be a good idea for us to stop for a while and take stock of what personal trainers have got to say about losing weight. Who knows? We might pick up a thing or two about their weight loss tips that we can apply in our day to day lives. Here are some suggestions that you might want to consider.

Stay away from booze and sugar

If you really want to lose weight then ditch the sugar and booze. These two are known to be calorie-laden which is why they contribute to weight gain. If you can’t stay away from drinking alcoholic beverages, you can limit to a glass for girls and two glasses for men. As for the refined sugars, there are natural sweeteners available such as honey and stevia.

 

Don’t go more than 3 hours without eating

Although the exact science for this is still being studied, it appears that eating snacks in between meals can help keep your blood sugar levels steady. This means that your energy level will remain stable throughout the day and less sugar or carb binges which can cause weight gain on your part.

Mix your exercises up

Another tip that personal trainers have given with regards to losing weight is to mix your fitness routine as much as possible. Sticking to the same program for months will cause you to hit a plateau in your progress which can make you feel frustrated with the lack of improvement. A better option would be to mix your exercises so that your muscles will remain guessing as to which muscle group will be tested. The best part is that you are constantly strengthening and conditioning your muscles for a more even looking physique.

Drink plenty of water

Who would have thought that even the simplest act can do your weight loss goal a whole lot of good? Drinking water constantly can help flush the toxins from your body while ensuring that your skin remains properly hydrated. Water can also help improve digestion so that your body will be able to absorb nutrients from the food that you eat better.

These are just a few tips that you might want to consider the next time you are planning on shedding weight. What’s great about these fitness tips is that they are simple enough to follow but will get you amazing results in no time.

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Health

Study: Dietary supplements won’t help you live longer

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Doctors at Tufts University in Massachusetts, the US, say it’s pretty clear that supplement use has no benefit for the general population and is not a substitute for a healthy balanced diet.

Their research found that vitamins A and K, magnesium, zinc and copper were linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke — but only when they came from foods, abc7news.com wrote.

Coauthor Fang Fang Zhang, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, said getting nutrients in the right quantities from food was associated with a longer life.

 

In fact, Zhang said some supplements even appear to have health risks. People who took high doses of calcium supplements had a 53 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than people who were not taking supplements,

However, if you have been diagnosed as deficient in a certain nutrient, don’t stop taking it without talking to your doctor first.

The research team used data from 30,000 US adults who participated in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010.

The research was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Health

Whitening products may damage teeth:Study

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Teeth whitening products – that promise to make your smile brighter – may also be causing tooth damage, a study has found.

Scientists at Stockton University in the US found that hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in over-the-counter whitening strips, can damage the protein-rich dentin tissue found beneath the tooth’s protective enamel.

The tooth is made of three layers: the outer tooth enamel, an underlying dentin layer and connective tissue that binds the roots to the gum.

 

Most studies of whitening strips have focused on tooth enamel, which contains very little protein.

The team focused on dentin, which makes up most of the tooth and has high levels of protein, most of which is collagen.

It is well established that hydrogen peroxide can penetrate the enamel and dentin. Previous work by the researchers showed that collagen in the dentin layer decreased when teeth were treated with whitening strips.

“We sought to further characterise what the hydrogen peroxide was doing to collagen. We used entire teeth for the studies and focused on the impact hydrogen peroxide has on the proteins,” said Kelly Keenan, associate professor at Stockton University.

The researchers demonstrated that the major protein in the dentin is converted to smaller fragments when treated with hydrogen peroxide.

In additional experiments, they treated pure collagen with hydrogen peroxide and then analysed the protein using a gel electrophoresis laboratory technique that allows the protein to be visualised.

“Our results showed that treatment with hydrogen peroxide concentrations similar to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear, which is presumably due to the formation of many smaller fragments,” Keenan said in the statement.

The researchers point out that their experiments did not address whether collagen and other proteins in the teeth can be regenerated, so it is unknown if the tooth damage is permanent.

Next, they plan to further characterise the protein fragments released when collagen is treated with hydrogen peroxide and determine if hydrogen peroxide has the same impact on other proteins in the teeth.

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