The Importance of Magnesium in Your Diet

Do you suffer from migraines, high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, muscle spasms/cramps, cardiovascular disease or diabetes? Try boosting your Magnesium levels.

Not only is Magnesium important for all of the above conditions, it is also important for muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm and bone formation.

To boost Magnesium levels in your system include the following in your diet: rice, wheat, bran, coriander, pumpkin and watermelon seeds, cocoa powder (yeah!!) flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, cashew nuts. 100gms of any combination of the above will equal 80-100% of your daily need.

Enjoy snacking on Magnesium rich foods to improve your health and well-being.

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The Effects of Stress on Your Body

We all suffer from Stress at some time in our lives.  Stress= Pain.

Consider these Stress triggers:

  • Smart Phones.    Surfing the net, texting, games = stress on the thumbs.  This can cause arthritis at the base of the thumb in younger people.     Solution:  When your thumb aches, give it a rest.  Try using the landline more often.  See your Doctorr for effective treatment.
  • Your wallet.  Pain in your buttocks (gluteal muscles)?  Shooting pain down one leg?  A wallet kept in back pocket can lead to compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve.  A fat wallet may also put the spine out of alignment, leading to muscle tension.  Solution:  Remove wallet before sitting, driving your car or find a new safe place to carry it.
  • Driving:  You may be sitting with the seat at the wrong height and angle.  This can cause neck pain leading to headaches, back pain, leg pain, aching elbows.  Solution:  Put car seat back in the upright position, supporting head and lower back.  Your arms should be slightly flexed and relaxed.  Your head sitting upright on your neck and shoulders, your eyes focussed through the centre of the windscreen.
  • Active video games:  These can result in sports injuries – Strains, sprains, torn ligaments, even broken bones.  Solution:   Stretching exercises before starting active video games sessions.  Give yourself plenty of space to avoid crashing into things and don’t play for longer than you would a real sport.   
  • Cheese:  Your favourite food might be a headache/migraine trigger.  Aged cheeses such as blue cheese, Stilton, Cheddar, Parmesan and Swiss cheeses, also some processed meats and beverages contain a headache trigger called Tyramine.  Solution:  Keep a food diary so that you can identify food triggers and avoid them.
  • Couch potato syndrome:    Lying in a twisted position watching the TV = sore and stiff neck and back, even worse if you fall asleep.   Solution:  Maintain a good posture when relaxing, sit up straight and ensure the TV is not too high.
  • Your baby:  Lifting baby out of cot every day can lead to de Quervain’s tenosynovitis.  Repetitive strain injury in wrist and thumb causing pain and swelling.  Solution:  Learn to lift differently.  Place hands under baby’s back and bottom and lift using your arm muscles.
  • Laptop case:   Handheld cases can cause forearm stress leading to tennis elbow and if case is heavy it can also cause stress in the shoulder joint.  If carried using the strap over your shoulder, this can lead to back and shoulder pain.  Solution:  Rolling laptop case or switch to a lighter model.
  • Your hairstyle:    Tight pony tail, tight hat or headband, bun and braids all can cause tension through the scalp leading to headache/migraine.  Solution:  Vary your hairstyle or try wearing a size larger hat.
  • Strong smells:  Paints, disinfectants, smoke, obnoxious odours, perfumes, fresh flowers can all trigger a headache/migraine.  Solution:  Identify and avoid.
  • Sleep habits:   If you wake sore and stiff most mornings look at your sleep posture.  Stomach sleepers twist their necks to the point of hyperextension.  Side sleepers with one arm over head can suffer shoulder strain. Solution: Try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with arm below shoulder level.
  • Alcohol:  Red wine, whisky, beers, champagne, King of pain!    Solution:  Limit intake.
  • Skipping meals:  This causes a sugar dip which in turn can cause a migraine.   Solution:  Regular, nutritious, balanced food intake.  Snack on foods containing protein and wholegrain ie peanut butter on whole wheat crackers and fruit, maintain adequate water intake.
  • Lifting with back:  Curving back forward, lifting object then straightening back as you lift making back muscles do all the work.  Solution:  Bend knees and hips to a squat, keeping back upright, grab object and lift using leg muscles by straightening knees and hips.
  • Workstation:   A poorly positioned chair can cause a forward slouch, straining neck, shoulders and back.  A poorly positioned monitor ie too low can cause strain on the neck.  Solution:  Place monitor with top of screen at eye level.  Position chair so that you are sitting straight facing the monitor and with feet flat on floor.  Support lower back with cushion if needed.
  • Eye strain:  A headache behind eyebrows may be due to eye strain which can occur when you have unconnected vision problems ie near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism.  Solution:   Visit optician for an eye test.  You may need glasses or your present glasses may need changing.
  • Weather changes:  Thunder storms, onset of snow, increase in temperature or severe cold and wind can all cause a headache/migraine.  Solution:  We can’t change the weather but we can keep out of the sun or cover our heads.
  • Weekend warrior syndrome:  If you lead a sedentary lifestyle during the week then participate in sport and exercise at the weekend it will catch your muscles unprepared and therefore vulnerable to sprains and strains.  Solution:  Start with a 5-10 min walk or gentle warm up before exercise and do stretching exercises after exercise when the muscles are warm.  During the week take a few minutes each day to train the muscles you will be using at the weekend.
  • Shoulder rides:  Classic family fun for the children – enjoying a shoulder ride.  But lifting child overhead is a common cause of neck and shoulder pain and strained arm muscles.  Solution:  Instead of lifting child from the ground, sit on the couch or bench and encourage child to climb carefully onto your shoulders.
  • Gringing your teeth:  A sore jaw and dull headache means you are grinding your teeth in your sleep.  If you are a chronic tooth grinder pain will not be the only cause for concern – you could also be damaging your teeth, jaw and hearing.  Solution:  See a dentist for mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep.  See your Bowen Practitioner for TMJ (temperomandibular jaw) treatment.
  • Sex:   Sex can increase blood pressure and muscle tension in the head and neck, causing a pounding headache.  Men suffer more than women.  Solution:  Pain relievers, but check with Dr that it is nothing more serious.
  • Stress:  This contributes to a vast array of aches, pains and illnesses.  Tight back muscles leading to chronic back pain.  Most tension headaches are caused by stress.  Stress may play a role in teeth grinding leading to jaw pain.  Solution:  Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, Bowen Technique.

When to see your Doctor about pain:  Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Pain related to an injury
  • Pain accompanied by weakness/numbness

Any chronic pain should be evaluated by a Doctor, especially if it interferes with work, hobbies or sleep.  Following that treatment from a Bowen Technique practitioner can help your body through pain and stress control and general well-being.