If your fingers are frequently stiff and un¬comfortable, especially in the morning, you may be developing stenosing tenosynovitis, better known as trigger finger. This common condition causes discomfort when flexing or extending the affected finger, which is often the thumb or ring finger. Bending or straitening it may result in a palpable snap. In severe cases, the finger may get stuck in a bent position.
Trigger finger is the result of inflammation in the flexor tendon sheath (the protective covering that surrounds the tendons in your fingers). This causes the affected finger to become partially or fully immobilized. Prolonged inflammation may result in nodules forming in the tendon, thereby restricting the finger’s movements even further.
Typically, trigger finger caused by unusual and forceful hand activity will respond well to rest, a splint, and anti-inflammatory medication. However, severe cases and those caused by a chronic health condition such as arthritis may require a corticosteroid injection to be resolved. Should this treatment fail to produce results, surgery will likely be necessary.
If you think you may be suffering from trigger finger, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.
The four-second workout
Short, intense workouts aren’t a new fitness trend — high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been performed and studied for decades, while the Tabata Protocol, a form of HIIT that alternates 20 seconds of all-out work with 10 seconds of rest, was developed in Japan in 1996. And according to CNET, the workouts can be very effective, too, burning more calories in less time while still providing all the great health benefits of exercise, including lower blood pressure and body fat.
But one researcher at the University of Texas has found that even tiny bursts of activity — as short as four seconds — can be beneficial. Edward F. Coyle, Ph.D., a professor in the kinesiology and health education department at the University of Texas at Austin, found that four-second sprints performed five times per hour helped burn fat and lower blood triglycerides, according to Healthline.
Study participants were asked to sit for eight hours. Five times per hour, they performed four-second sprints on a specialized exercise bike, which added up to a little under three minutes of physical activity for the entire eight hours.
Coyle’s study supports a simple idea that researchers and physicians have promoted for decades: Too much sitting is bad for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who sit for eight hours a day with no physical activity face an elevated risk of dying similar to the risks posed by smoking or obesity.
For people who sit at desks all day, physicians and researchers have a clear message: Get up and move around every so often, whether that’s four-second bursts or a long walk or run after you clock out. Your heart and body will thank you.
October is National Liver Awareness Month
Guard your liver: It’s big, but not very tough
It’s the largest organ you have. The liver is about the size of a football, but not nearly as tough. There’s another big difference: You can live without a football, but you’ll die without a liver.
Weighing three or more pounds and located behind your lower ribs on the right side, it’s the body’s refinery, says the American Liver Foundation. It filters out and disposes of harmful substances, and it converts nutrients into building blocks that the body can use.
The liver quietly goes about its many jobs with little attention from you. All it needs is your protection. Here are some ways to guard your liver.
* Don’t overwork it. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight and obese can increase your risk of fatty liver disease.
* Be careful with chemicals, including pesticides, aerosol cleaners, and paint sprays. Avoid inhaling chemicals or letting them come into contact with your skin. Skin absorbs chemicals.
* Prevent liver diseases hepatitis A, B, and C. They can be spread through contaminated tattoos and other needles and shared razors, toothbrushes, or nail clippers.
* Practice safe sex. Unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners increases the risk for hepatitis B and C.
* Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B if you are at risk.
* Stay away from street drugs such as heroin and cocaine, which seriously damage the liver.
* Use alcohol responsibly. Too much too often can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which causes irreversible scarring and can be fatal.
7 nutritious treats for Halloween
Along with carving a pumpkin and wearing a costume, eating candy is an integral part of celebrating Halloween. However, it’s a good idea to consume sweets in moderation to avoid getting stomach aches and cavities. Additionally, you might want to consider stocking up on treats for October 31 that provides a bit of nutrition without ruining the spirit of Halloween.
Here are a few tasty choices:
1. Dark chocolate
2. Flavored popcorn
3. Nutrition bars
4. Oatmeal cookies
5. Dried fruit
6. Salted seeds
7. Chocolate-covered nuts
These treats are a good source of nutrients, minerals, and fiber, and they’re sure to delight your family members and neighborhood trick-or-treaters.
Minimum age for prediabetes screening drops
The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated its recommendations for when physicians should start to screen patients for diabetes and prediabetes. According to a statement published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, USPSTF now recommends that physicians start to screen overweight and obese patients at age 35 instead of the previous recommendation of 40.
According to Medical Economics, earlier screening can help delay or prevent diabetes in adults whose screenings indicate prediabetes. Lifestyle changes like diet modification and increased physical activity have been shown to be effective in reversing prediabetes.
Are your thumbs killing you?
You might not think that you’re getting a workout when you flop down on the couch to text with a friend or scroll aimlessly through your social media accounts, but at least one part of your body might disagree.
“Texting thumb,” often formally diagnosed as de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, is a repetitive stress injury that results in inflammation in the tendons of your thumb, according to Houston Methodist.
When angry tendons rub in their narrow channel, the result is pain that begins at the base of the thumb, and in severe cases, can radiate up through the side of the wrist and to the lower arm. The pain usually occurs in the dominant hand.
The thumb is the most likely culprit, but other fingers aren’t safe from mobile device overuse — according to Healthline, “smartphone finger” might cause pain or stiffness at the base of the affected finger, clicking sounds when you move your pinky, stiff fingers in the morning and numbness at in your fingertips. Smartphone pinky or smartphone finger is often more common with larger devices, like our beloved iPads and Kindles.
If you’re experiencing texting thumb or smartphone finger, you can try a few things to see if the pain subsides.
* Take a break from your devices to see if your pain subsides.
* Hot and cold therapy can help. Try ice for inflammation or heat for stiffness.
* Over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil can relieve discomfort.
If your pain is especially persistent, you can try a splint or brace to keep those joints stable. But if the pain continues despite rest and remedies or if you experience recurring numbness, it’s time to call the doctor.
Try resistance bands for strength
Stronger, leaner, and healthier — according to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, regular strength training can provide all of those benefits. And if heading to the gym to hit the weights isn’t your speed, resistance bands and body weight exercises offer a portable, affordable option that you can do almost anywhere.
According to Harvard Medical School, resistance bands are a great addition to body weight exercises that can help you preserve and build lean muscle. Resistance band training can also help improve your balance, gait, and flexibility, and they’re user-friendly for even fitness novices, according to NBC News.
Resistance bands are available in various styles, including single lengths of stretchy elastic, closed loops, or rubber tubes with handles. You may want to invest in a few types of bands with varying levels of resistance — don’t worry, their compact size means that even several bands are easy to stow away.
Place a loop or mini-loop resistance band (a length tied in a circle also works) around your thighs just above your knees, and stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Slowly push your hips back into a seated position while bending your knees. When you reach a seated position and your knees are at a 90-degree angle, hold the position for a few seconds and then slowly move back into a standing position. Make sure to squeeze your glutes — these strong muscles provide the bulk of the power for this movement. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
With the band around your mid-to-lower thighs, just above your knees, take a big step forward and lower down until your back knee hovers just above the ground. Lift yourself back into a standing position by driving through the heel of your front leg. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps on each side.
Banded chest punch
Loop the exercise band around your back and under your armpits. Hold an end or a handle in each hand by your shoulders. Slowly and deliberately, punch your right arm out on a slight diagonal in front of your body, before repeating with the other side. This counts as a single rep — perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
Seated resistance band row
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, feet more than shoulder-width apart. Loop your resistance band (a band with handles is best for this exercise) and cross the handles in front of you to make an X shape. Pull the handles slowly and carefully into your ribs, making sure to sit up straight and let your back muscles do the work.