Millions of informal caregivers at risk for chronic pain, injury trying to help disabled family members

Date: July 8, 2014

Source: Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science


Informal caregivers provide almost half a trillion dollars’ worth of support to individuals with disabilities each year. These caregivers - usually family members - often perform physically-demanding tasks with little or no training, which can result in muscle strains and chronic pain. With very little data on the physical impact of informal caregiving, new research is identifying which tasks caregivers say are the most physically demanding and where they experience the most body pain.

More than ten times a day, 67 year-old Margie helps her husband get up to use the bathroom, eat a meal or get in and out of bed, and struggles to push his wheelchair up the ramp that provides access to their home.

Margie is one of the estimated 42.1 million unpaid, informal caregivers who each year, provide support valued at more than $450 billion to adults, usually family members, with physical disabilities and other conditions that impose limitations on daily activities. And like many informal caregivers, she suffers from chronic back, shoulder and knee pain from the physically demanding work -- pain that sometimes prevents her from caring for her husband.

According to a new study from researchers at The Ohio State University, Margie's experience is common, particularly among the estimated 14 million "high burden" caregivers (defined by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP as people who spend more than 21 hours a week assisting care recipients with activities of daily living).

"Almost all of the caregivers who participated in our study said they experience significant musculoskeletal discomfort related to caregiving activities, and that this discomfort can interfere with their ability to provide care, work and participate in life activities," said Amy Darragh, PhD, an occupational therapist at Ohio State's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences who won a pilot grant from the Ohio State Center for Clinical and Translational Science to study caregiver injuries.

The research, based on questionnaires and interviews with 46 informal caregivers, showed that across four weeks, 94% reported experiencing musculoskeletal pain in at least one body part, with the lower back (76%), knees, shoulder and wrist (43% each) being the most common sites for discomfort. More than 78% of caregivers said that the pain impacted their ability to provide care, and 66% said the pain impacted their overall quality of life.

My comments:

Get training to help reduce the risk of strain and injury on yourself.  Learn life skills that will help with any and every other task.  Even the professionals have pain.  But they are not trained in self awareness, soma education, and safe power techniques

Low back pain? Don't blame the weather

July 10, 2014

Source:  Wiley


Sudden, acute episodes of low back pain are not linked to weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation, researchers have determined. These findings indicate that the risk of low back pain slightly increases with higher wind speed or wind gusts, but was not clinically significant.


Australian researchers reveal that sudden, acute episodes of low back pain are not linked to weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation. Findings published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), indicate that the risk of low back pain slightly increases with higher wind speed or wind gusts, but was not clinically significant.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) nearly everyone experiences low back pain at some point in their life, making it the most prevalent musculoskeletal condition and affecting up to 33% of the world population at any given time. Those with musculoskeletal (bone, muscle, ligament, tendon, and nerve) pain report that their symptoms are influenced by the weather. Previous studies have shown that cold or humid weather, and changes in the weather increase symptoms in patients with chronic pain conditions.

My comments:

How cold does it get in Australia? Lol.  I believe a lot of it is the increase in pressure and tension with the changes in weather and temperature. 

Alcohol makes smiles more 'contagious,' but only for men

Date: September 30, 2014


Association for Psychological Science


Consuming an alcoholic beverage may make men more responsive to the smiles of others in their social group, according to new research. The findings suggest that, for men, alcohol increases sensitivity to rewarding social behaviors like smiling, and may shed light on risk factors that contribute to problem drinking among men.


My comments:  Duh, They really have to do a study to figure out this? 

Whether alcohol is involved or not A smile is friendlier.


Neurons in human muscles emphasize impact of outside world


October 8, 2014


Umea University


Stretch sensors in our muscles participate in reflexes that serve the subconscious control of posture and movement. According to a new study, these sensors respond weakly to muscle stretch caused by one's voluntary action, and most strongly to stretch that is imposed by external forces. The ability to reflect causality in this manner can facilitate appropriate reflex control and accurate self-perception.

"The results of the study show that stretch receptors in our muscles indicate more than which limb is moving or how fast; these sensors also adjust their signals according to who caused the movement," says Michael Dimitriou, who conducted this study and is currently a post doc at the Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Umeå University, Sweden.

Normally, we can easily distinguish between movements we make ourselves and movements that are imposed on our body by external forces. The ability to discriminate between self-generated and externally generated sensory events is crucial for accurate perception and the control of posture and movement. This ability is also believed to form the foundation on which conscious self-awareness is built.

Such discrimination between self and other has previously been thought to arise as a result of complex computations performed in the brain, that use prior knowledge or memories of the consequences of own actions. But the study by Michael Dimitriou shows that information on the cause of a sensory effect can be provided in real-time by so-called 'muscle spindles', a class of stretch receptors found in most of our skeletal muscles.

Muscle spindles differ from other sensory receptors, such as stretch receptors in the skin, because their sensitivity can be controlled by the nervous system via specialized motor neurons. The purpose of this control has been unclear. The neural data presented by Michael Dimitriou indicates that these specialized motor neurons increase the sensitivity of stretch receptors when the body is exposed to an externally imposed stretch stimulus, such as when a falling ball is caught in the hand. Because amplified spindle responses mean stronger stretch reflexes, the resulting muscle activity instantly counteracts movement of the hand. When making a voluntary movement, however, the nervous system 'automatically' reduces the sensitivity of spindles in the stretching muscles, thereby making it possible for us to move without setting off strong stretch reflexes that would otherwise counteract movement. Uncontrollably strong stretch reflexes are commonly referred to as 'spasticity'.

"These results provide an explanation of how reflexes can be functionally adjusted to help us achieve our everyday tasks, without requiring conscious control of reflex sensitivity or complex computations in the brain for predicting the sensory consequences of our actions," says Michael Dimitriou.

He believes that these new findings are important both for understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie movement control and self-perception, but also for understanding pathological states where these mechanisms are disturbed.

"With these findings, we also get new insights into mechanisms whose malfunction may contribute to neuromuscular problems such as spasticity or alien hand syndrome (also known as 'Dr. Strangelove syndrome'), and help identify potential treatment targets for these conditions," says Michael Dimitriou.

My comments:

This is what Soma is all about.  What they are referring to as the nervous system reduces its sensitivity of the stretch reflex and muscle spindles when an external force is applied is really reciprocal inhibition.  Using these sensory receptors to help regain a more accurate self perception.  This relates to posture and movement. It is instant an unconscious.  We want our unconscious sensors and receptors providing accurate, instant feedback and our reflexes to be helping us not hindering us. 



How a Warm-Up Routine Can Save Your Knees

March 2014

Instead, Dr. Swart said, universal neuromuscular training for athletes involved in high-risk sports seemed to be cost-effective and to significantly reduce the chance that you will be visiting his office this season.


My Comments:

There is a video at the end with numerous exercises: It is good information.  Very similar to what I've been doing for years. Basically go through the movements that you are going to be using and going through the game.  Do them before with awareness, control and attention.  Do them in slow motion or different speeds. 

1st - slow run 

2nd - slow run stopping and hip flexed, knee up and out to side, run, repeat

3rd- Knee out to side and then to front with hip flexed and knee up

4th- side shuffle

5th- soft landing

th- jump up and shoulder touch

7th- Bridge or Bench static

8th Sideways bench static- on elbow R hand on R hip lift R leg and hip into hand. 

9th Hamstring simple- partner kneeling behind and holding your feet down.  #1 falls forward to ground and puts hands out and then lifts back up.  Start slower and then get quicker.  1 set 3-5 reps

0th- one leg balance holding ball > progression circle ball around lifted knee in front of you and then around mid section 2 sets. 30 seconds each leg

11th- deep knee squat up into heel raise when legs straighten. 2 sets- 30 seconds

12th- squat to jump. squat for 1 second and then release, hands on hips

13th- Run across the pitch- run 40 yards at 70-80% intensity and the jog.  Jog back at an easy pace and do it 2x

14th- Run and Bound- take a few steps in place and then run for a few steps and then bound, bringing front knee up high and swinging op. arm forward. Land on ball of foot and then spring again. 4-5 bounds

15th- Running Plant and Cut 4-5 steps straight then run to right 80-90%, then plant and cut back out. Jog back- Do it twice


Coffee in the genes? New genetic variants associated with coffee drinking

Date: October 7, 2014

Source: Harvard School of Public Health


A new, large-scale study has identified six new genetic variants associated with habitual coffee drinking. "Coffee and caffeine have been linked to beneficial and adverse health effects. Our findings may allow us to identify subgroups of people most likely to benefit from increasing or decreasing coffee consumption for optimal health," said the lead author of the study.

The findings suggest that people naturally modulate their coffee intake to experience the optimal effects exerted by caffeine and that the strongest genetic factors linked to increased coffee intake likely work by directly increasing caffeine metabolism.

My comments:

Naturally modulate - find out for yourself.  Pay attention. don't be a sleep in your own life, your own body.  Even coffee and caffeine can't help with that.  Genetics are important but don't get carried away we can effect our genetics.  Link to Biology of Belief. 

New technology may identify tiny strains in body tissues before injuries occur

August 26, 2014, Washington University in St. Louis


Algorithms to identify weak spots in tendons, muscles and bones prone to tearing or breaking have been developed by researchers. The technology, which needs to be refined before it is used in patients, one day may help pinpoint minor strains and tiny injuries in the body’s tissues long before bigger problems occur.

My comments:

Technology is not available yet.  Present imagery is not detail enough.  They are relating it to plastic and while it is an easy image to help people understand what they are doing, We are not a chunk of plastic.  We are moving/sensing intelligent being. Important part is that you can get micro strains and sprains that you don't realize.  Soma awareness is key to preventing it yourself. 

Talking while driving safest with someone who can see what you see

October 8, 2014  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Back pain killing your sex life? Study reveals best positions to save your spine

September 10, 2014, University of Waterloo


Contrary to popular belief, spooning is not always the best sex position for those with a bad back, according to new research. For the first time ever, scientists have successfully documented the way the spine moves during sex and discovered exactly why certain positions are better than others when it comes to avoiding back pain.

"Any family doctor will tell you that couples often ask them how to manage their back pain during and after sex. Many couples will remain celibate because one night of love-making can lead to months of back agony," said Professor Stuart McGill, of Waterloo's Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. "Until now, doctors have never had any hard science to base their recommendations upon."

The pioneering study combined infrared and electromagnetic motion capture systems -- like those used in the creation of video games -- to track how 10 couples' spines moved when attempting five common sex positions. The findings were used to create an atlas, or set of guidelines, that recommends different sex positions and thrusting techniques based on what movements trigger a patient's pain.

The atlas recommends that men who are flexion-intolerant -- meaning those whose back pain is made worse by touching their toes or sitting for long periods of time, for example -- replace spooning with doggy-style sex. The guide recommends that these men use a hip-hinging motion rather than thrusting with their spines.

According to Statistics Canada, four of every five people will experience at least one episode of disabling low back pain in their lifetime. Up to 84 per cent of men with low back pain and 73 per cent of women report a significant decrease in the frequency of intercourse when suffering back pain.

Managers can boost creativity by 'empowering leadership' and earning employees' trust

Oct 2014  Rice University


Managers can promote creativity in employees by 'empowering leadership' and earning employees' trust, according to a new study.

Conscious and Unconscious

Judgment and decision-making: Brain activity indicates there is more than meets the eye

October 2, 2014 University of Melbourne


People make immediate judgments about images they are shown, which could impact on their decisions, even before their brains have had time to consciously process the information, a study of brainwaves has found.

People make immediate judgments about images they are shown, which could impact on their decisions, even before their brains have had time to consciously process the information, a study of brainwaves led by The University Of Melbourne has found.

Published in PLOS ONE, the study is the first in the world to show that it is possible to predict abstract judgments from brain waves, even though people were not conscious of making such judgments. The study also increases our understanding of impulsive behaviors and how to regulate it.

It found that researchers could predict from participants' brain activity how exciting they found a particular image to be, and whether a particular image made them think more about the future or the present. This is true even though the brain activity was recorded before participants knew they were going to be asked to make these judgments.

Lead authors Dr Stefan Bode from the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and Dr Carsten Murawski from the University of Melbourne Department of Finance said these findings illustrated there was more information encoded in brain activity than previously assumed.

"We have found that brain activity when looking at images can encode judgments such as time reference, even when the viewer is not aware of making such judgments. Moreover, our results suggest that certain images can prompt a person to think about the present or the future," they said.

How curiosity changes the brain to enhance learning

October 2, 2014

Source: Cell Press


The more curious we are about a topic, the easier it is to learn information about that topic. New research provides insights into what happens in our brains when curiosity is piqued. The findings could help scientists find ways to enhance overall learning and memory in both healthy individuals and those with neurological conditions.

The study revealed three major findings.

First, as expected, when people were highly curious to find out the answer to a question, they were better at learning that information. More surprising, however, was that once their curiosity was aroused, they showed better learning of entirely unrelated information (face recognition) that they encountered but were not necessarily curious about. People were also better able to retain the information learned during a curious state across a 24-hour delay. "Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it," explains Dr. Gruber.

Second, the investigators found that when curiosity is stimulated, there is increased activity in the brain circuit related to reward. "We showed that intrinsic motivation actually recruits the very same brain areas that are heavily involved in tangible, extrinsic motivation," says Dr. Gruber. This reward circuit relies on dopamine, a chemical messenger that relays messages between neurons.

Third, the team discovered that when curiosity motivated learning, there was increased activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that is important for forming new memories, as well as increased interactions between the hippocampus and the reward circuit. "So curiosity recruits the reward system, and interactions between the reward system and the hippocampus seem to put the brain in a state in which you are more likely to learn and retain information, even if that information is not of particular interest or importance," explains principal investigator Dr. Charan Ranganath, also of UC Davis

Toddlers regulate behavior to avoid making adults angry

October 7, 2014, University of Washington


Children as young as 15 months can detect anger when watching other people's social interactions and then use that emotional information to guide their own behavior. The study is the first evidence that younger toddlers are capable of using multiple cues from emotions and vision to understand the motivations of the people around them.