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

The Kashmir Monitor

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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

5 natural ways to fight non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

The Kashmir Monitor

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According to the WHO, liver disease is the 10th most common cause of deaths in India. Gone are the days when liver disease was only associated with the consumption of alcohol. With the increased prevalence of obesity and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, which leads to hepatitis and eventually cirrhosis, is an emerging problem. More than a million new patients are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis every year globally, and the major causes for it are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and hepatitis B and C. Epidemiologic studies suggest the prevalence of NAFLD in nine per cent to 32 per cent of the general population in India. Dr Palaniyamma D., Medical Advisor, The Himalaya Drug Company, says people who are overweight or obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle are at risk of NAFLD. The prevalence is especially common in those who eat highly processed food. The five best foods to be included in the diet to regulate this condition are:

Greens: Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and sprouts help in general weight loss by preventing fat build-up in the liver.

Oatmeal: Oats are packed with dietary fibre and help a person feel full for a longer period, thus serving as a filling breakfast or snack and increasing the body’s energy levels.

 

Sunflower Seeds: These seeds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps protect the liver from further damage, and are a healthy snack for munching in between meals.

Garlic: This popular flavour-enhancing ingredient helps burn extra fat, which in turn helps in reducing weight.

Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acid, fish is an excellent food that improves liver function and reduces inflammation.

If NAFLD is detected and managed at an early stage, it is possible to reduce the amount of fat in the liver and prevent the condition from worsening.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the first step towards managing NAFLD. Reducing weight, eating healthy, exercising moderately, and avoiding alcohol can reduce the risk of NAFLD. Consuming alcohol does not cause NAFLD, but it can worsen the condition.

Medicines can be useful in managing the symptoms associated with this condition. Using medications that have natural ingredients can restore the functional efficiency of the liver. Formulations containing natural ingredients such as The Caper Bush (Himsra) and Chicory (Kasani) improve the functional efficiency of the liver, protect the liver structure, boost liver health, and remove toxins from the body.

The liver carries out various functions that are critical for good health. It helps break down food, purify blood, build proteins, remove harmful substances, balance hormones, and store energy. Hence, it is advisable to consume a healthy diet and supplements containing herbal ingredients that help the liver metabolise foods, eliminate waste, and balance hormones.

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Health

Diet to help you fight symptoms of skin allergies

The Kashmir Monitor

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Adopt these guidelines manage your allergies: From consuming at least two tablespoons of flaxseeds daily to practising stress relaxation techniques or meditating.

Skin allergies are common and are characterised by red skin rashes or bumps. Some are caused by allergens induced by exposure to foods, medications, and insect stings, but the large majority of cases are not specific to any cause. Adopt these guidelines to fight symptoms and manage your allergies.

  1. Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes, which act as barriers to harmful things, as the passageway for nutrients to cross in and out, and for waste products to get in and out of the cell. The best-known essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6, which must be in balance for good health (and good skin). Though we all seem to get enough omega-6, most of us lack omega-3s. Some good sources are fish, walnut, and flaxseed oil. Consume at least two tablespoons of flaxseeds daily. You could sprinkle it on your salad after roasting it.
  2. Vitamin C has been shown to decrease production of histamine, reducing immediate allergy potential. Vitamin C helps relieve allergic symptoms and prevent inflammatory reactions by providing an anti-histamine-like effect.
  3. As tension and stress usually make allergies worse, practice stress relaxation techniques or meditate.
  4. People who are prone to allergies must look carefully at their intake of foods such as berries, raisins, prunes, nuts, seeds, shellfish, soybean and gluten. The right detoxification programme and correction of any liver problems can be extremely helpful for such individuals.
  5. It is important to remember that what you eat reflects on your skin. Your skin requires the right kind of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. When we improve our diet, these nutrients take time to reach the skin.
  6. So, once you bring about the required alterations in your diet or go on a restricted elimination diet, don’t expect a miracle. In addition to the diet and vitamins, you may need your physician’s help, to check if you have any severe infection or a specific allergy.

 
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Health

4 Surprising Pre-Workout Foods

The Kashmir Monitor

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We all have our go-to pre-race foods, from a simple bowl of oatmeal to a peanut butter and banana sandwich. But those meals can be a little too filling right before boot camp. That’s where these surprising foods and drinks can help when you’re pressed for time. Read on to find out which foods you should eat to ensure an all-star workout at the gym.

Watermelon Juice

Forget Gatorade—researchers suspect that an amino acid called L-citrulline found in watermelon can provide relief to sore muscles after an intense workout. A study published earlier this year found that athletes reported less muscle soreness on days they drank watermelon juice. The same has been found of drinking cherry juice, which contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Some runners take salt tabs when running in the heat to prevent muscle cramping, but salty food works too, according to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Researchers found that men who ate chicken noodle soup containing 1,362 milligrams of sodium before cycling in the heat retained more water and thus stayed hydrated during their workout. But note: The average recommended sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams per day.

Coffee

That afternoon cup of joe may not be such a bad idea, especially if you plan on hitting the gym after work. A 1992 study published in the British Journal of Sports Science found that runners who drank a small amount of coffee before running 1,500 meters on the treadmill ran 4.2 seconds faster than those who took a placebo. The coffee drinkers also experienced enhanced oxygen intake.

Watercress

The leafy green that’s often just used as a garnish has some surprising muscle relief powers, too. The antioxidant-rich watercress has been proven to prevent DNA damage caused by high-intensity exercise. A British Journal of Nutrition study also found that eating watercress two hours before a workout provides the same benefits as consuming it for eight weeks.

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