Tag Archives: Muscle Tension

Long Term Anxiety Characterized as Generalized Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by long-term anxiety, excessive worry, and tension, even though there appears to be no reason to feel this way. This disorder affects about 6.8 million American adults (and twice as many women as men). The disorder usually develops gradually. It can start at any age but the highest-risk years are between childhood and middle age, a rather large time span. Evidence shows that genes play a modest role in GAD.
Those who suffer from GAD will go through the day feeling worried and aprehensive. They often anticipate disaster in even minor situations and are usually overly concerned about various issues such as health, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. It may even be hard getting started in the morning because of the thought of what lies ahead of them for the day.

If you find you have been over-worrying about many every-day problems for at least 6 months, you may be diagnosed with GAD. Although you may realize that your concerns are exaggerated, the problem still persists. Not being able to relaxe, startling easily, having difficulty concentrating are all symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Other problems include having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes.

The level of severity of your GAD can vary greatly. If you are diagnozed with a mild case, you can function socially for the most part and hold down a job with little difficulty. If your GAD is severe, you can find it difficult even to complete what may seem like the simplest activities.

GAD is usually treated with medications and/or psychotherapy. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover exactly what treatments work best for you.

Medications include antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro), sertaline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effexor) and imipramine (Tofranil); Buspirone (BuSpar); and Benzodiazepines like clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and alprazolam (Xanax). Benzodiazepines are for the most part only used for relieving acute anxiety on a short-term basis (for example, when you are having an attack). However, they have a tendency to be addictive and some pretty serious side effects like drowsiness, reduced muscle coordination and impaired balance and memory.

Psychotherapy, often referred to as talk therapy and psychological counseling, deals with trying to work out the underlying life stresses and concerns that may cause your GAD. Once these have been identified, it is possible to and make behavior changes that can reduce your anxiety. One of the most recognized types of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Basically, short-term cognitive behavioral therapy aims to teach you specific skills that you can then use to identify negative thoughts and behaviors and substitute them with positive ones.

The above information about generalized anxiety disorder does not substitute medical advice given by a health professional.

Advanced Medications for Back Pain Treatment

Fortunately for most patients, the present medicines, option treatments and therapies available work well. But just as each person has individual sets of symptoms and conditions, not all treatment options may be appropriate. Now if you are a back pain patient, it is best to seek medical help to customize a treatment plan that would work best for your case.

Discussed in the following section of this article are the available back pain treatment medications. Though it must be understood that they apply differently and may have varying effects.

Drug therapies
Today’s patients have a wide spectrum of medication choices to treat their persisting back pains. Some drugs are especially designed to treat certain conditions only but many are rather so versatile that their use may apply even for releasing muscle tension, inflammation and treat spasm. Yet, as unfortunate as any treatments may be, there are medications that may have extreme side effects. It is wise that you first discuss with your doctors the medications you will take and the plans to conquer or even minimize the side effects.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
This type of medications often consist of aspirin, Naproxen, ibuprofen, Ketoprofen and a lot more others. These anti-inflammatory drugs often induce healing from back pain and reduce inflammation and swelling. When used on minimal doses, NSAIDs may act as mild analgesics but larger doses may bring the effects of genuine anti-inflammatory drugs. The most common side effects of conventional Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are gastrointestinal conditions. However with the newer released items for NSAIDs (e.g. COX-2 Inhibitors), patients may be allowed to take higher doses without the accompanying risks of side effects.

Acetaminophen such as Anacin-3, Valadol, Phenaphen, and Tylenol, are commonly known to have the effects of ordinary analgesics- the typical alternatives to NSAIDs. Analgesics medications are employed for acute pain treatment. However, on some special instances these may also be used as treatments for chronic pains.

Because of their addictive nature, Opiods are rarely used as treatment for back pain but if so, only for the most severe cases that needs immediate, quick pain relief. These medications are generally not prescribed and many physicians refute that they may do more harm than good. Opiods include codeine and morphine, meperidine (Demerol), Oxycontin.

Muscle Relaxants
Muscle Relaxants are known to induce the efficiency created in most Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and are often prescribed only for severe back pains. These include medications such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), methocarbamol (Robaxin), carisoprodol (Soma), and diazepam (Valium).

In order for these medications to work at their optimum, guidelines for using them must be followed and the doctor’s advises are the only things that may help you best aside from other medical assistance.

Help Someone Having a Panic Attack

Panic attacks often occur to anyone without warning. So whenever someone had an attack, it is important that you know what to do.

Understand what a panic attack is. A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming fear or anxiety. It is manifested by several signs and symptoms. During an attack, a person experiences increased heartbeat or palpitation, chest pain, hyperventilation or shortness of breath, stomach churning, upset stomach, trembling and shaking, muscle tension, sweating, dizziness and light-headedness, hot or cold flashes, tingling sensation or numbness, fear of dying, going crazy or losing control and feeling detached from the surroundings.

Seek for emergency medical help. It is important to call for a health professional especially if a person experiences an attack for the first time.

Identify the cause of the symptoms. The signs and symptoms of panic attack are similar to medical conditions. Hyperventilation or shortness of breath can be a sign of asthma. Chest pain, increased heartbeat or palpitation and sweating can be a heart attack. Talk to the person and determine if the symptoms are caused by other medical conditions. When in doubt, a health professional will be a great help.

While waiting for help, find the cause of attack. Once it is established that the cause of the symptoms is really a panic attack, find the source of the panic and take the person away from it. Do not make an assumption about what the person needs. A person who is suffering from the attack may know exactly what to do or has medications which will get him through the attack, so it is best to ask.

Don’t surprise the patient. Be predictable with your movements. Do not grab, hold or restrain. Keep him calm and stay calm yourself. Reassure the person that everything is going to be fine but do not dismiss his fear by saying “it’s all in your mind” or “don’t worry about it” or “you are overreacting.” Take note that the fear is very real to the victim so it dismissing the fear has no effect or can even make the matter worse.

Help the patient to control his breathing. Many patients breathe heavily during an attack; others hold their breath. Using deep breathing technique is a very effective way to purge the symptoms of a panic attack as well as calm the patient down. Guide the person and tell him to breathe in for 3 slow counts. Then ask him to hold his breath for 3 slow counts and breathe out for another 3 slow counts. Do this several times until the person is calm. You can also advice him to breathe into a paper bag. This way, he will re-breathe his carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide helps correct the blood acid level that had been disturbed by excessive breathing. But be careful when using paper bags since they may trigger another fear.

Stay with the person throughout his ordeal. Never leave a person especially if he is having difficulty in breathing. Be patient. They may act rude or unfriendly but remember that it is temporary and will go back to normal as soon as the attack is over.

Do not forget that for the patient, the thoughts are real. Reassure him the help is on the way. Never allow the patient to do things that will put his life at risk.

Understanding Panic Attacks

What is a panic attack?

A panic attack is a sudden attack of exaggerated anxiety and fear. Often, attacks happen without warning and without any apparent reason. Some people may experience just one episode of panic attack, while others can have recurring episodes. Recurring episodes usually happen after a person is exposed to various events or situations that may “trigger” panic. While it is generally harmless, panic attacks can severely disable a person physically, emotionally and psychologically. In extreme cases, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder.

Who gets panic attacks?

The condition affects many people. It is believed that 10% of the total population is suffering from panic attacks, yet many are still undiagnosed or under-diagnosed. They tend to occur more on young adults. Female are twice as prone to have an attack as male. It is also said that the condition is genetically inherited so panic attacks may run in the family.

How do I know if I am having an attack?

A panic attack can be identified with different signs and symptoms. They include increased heartbeat or palpitation, chest pain, hyperventilation or shortness of breath, stomach churning, upset stomach, trembling and shaking, muscle tension, sweating, dizziness and light-headedness, hot or cold flashes, tingling sensation or numbness, fear of dying, going crazy or losing control and feeling detached from the surroundings.

The signs and symptoms of panic attacks are similar to a heart attack. The former is not dangerous, the latter can be deadly. It is best therefore to seek for emergency medical help, especially if the patient experiences it for the first time.

What cause an attack?

Many panic attacks happen without any apparent reason; they just come out of the blue. However, attacks may be caused by past traumatic experiences such as death of a loved one, family conflicts, bad relationships, divorce of parents, car accident, public humiliation, etc. An attack may occur when a person is exposed to various events or situations almost similar to the past that may “trigger” panic.

Stress is closely linked to panic attacks. Triggers include stressful life event as well as stressful working and living environment. Genetics is also believed to cause an attack.

What should I do during an attack?

Panic attacks peak from 5 to 10 minutes; it rarely lasts for more than half an hour. But during this time, you can experience discomfort such as those signs and symptoms mentioned above. Since the increased in heart rate is the main reason for experiencing other symptoms, it is important to take control of your breathing during an attack. Breathe slowly and deeply as you can. Breathe in slowly for 3 counts then hold your breath for the next 3 slow counts. Then, exhale for 3 slow counts.

Do this until you are calm. If you are able to stand, get up slowly and walk around. It is also helpful to breathe into a plastic or a paper bag. This allows you to re-breathe your carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide helps correct the blood acid level that had been disturbed by excessive breathing.

While practicing deep breathing, try to focus your attention away from the cause of panic. Replace your anxious thoughts with happy ones. If available, do something that will occupy your mind such as solving puzzles and playing word games.