Choosing a Health Care Provider Who Matches Your Parenting Philosophies

4 Useful Hand Exercises to Aid Stroke Recovery

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Date: August 27th 2015


If you’ve recently suffered a stroke or care for someone that has, you’ll know all too well that regaining strength in your hand and arm muscles is of the utmost importance. After a stroke, the brain’s primary learning centre is damaged and consequently, new neural patterns are created to help the patient relearn basic movement in their hands and fingers. Performing daily hand exercises can help restore this lost function, assisting the brain in its mission to rewire the circuits responsible for movement and flexibility. The following hand exercises can be done in your own time at home — it’s important to note, however, that some exercises may be too hard or too easy depending on your level of impairment, so consult with a physiotherapist to ensure you are taking things at your own pace. Here are 4 hand exercises to encourage a quick recovery. Hand manipulation To regain dexterity, hands must play with and manipulate objects using a combination of rotation and translation skills, For example, translation can involve moving buttons or coins from the fingertips to the palm and back. Rotation typically involves using a pen or similar object and rolling it between your fingers as well as practicing your grip to improve hand strength. Depending on your stage of recovery, these exercises can vary in difficulty. Simple hand manipulation can include stacking pennies or picking up cups and placing them down in different spots, whilst more advanced techniques can involve typing, buttoning up a shirt or assembling toy bricks. Find out which exercises feel comfortable for you and practice them for 2-3 minutes each day. Theraputty ‘Theraputty’ refers to manipulating a soft ball of putty or play-doh in your hand. This is very effective for increasing everything from finger strength and dexterity to hand and wrist flexibility. These are a number of Theraputty exercises you can try: Using your affected hand, knead the putty with all four fingers, gradually making a fist as your press the putty into your palm. Then rotate the putty and shape it back into a ball. Repeat this 10 times, once every day. Roll the putty into a long cylinder. Bend one finger down towards your palm and wrap the putty over your fingertip. Slowly, straighten your finger completely. Reform the putty and try this on each finger. Try this once a day. Place the ball of putty on a table top. […]

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Three Common Causes of Neck Pain

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Date: August 21st 2015


Neck pain is a common problem and it can adversely affect your lifestyle due to limited mobility, discomfort and even inability to perform normal tasks. This condition can be manifested as sharp pain or dull muscular aches. In some cases, you may not be able to move the head fully, which can be very frustrating. There are different causes of neck pain in most people but it is rarely a symptom of a serious, underlying medical condition. In simple terms, the neck is not very stable because it is a very mobile body structure. This makes it susceptible to diverse types of trauma that result in aching. It is crucial for you to understand the source of your neck pain to avoid repeat or chronic conditions. Here are the common causes of neck problems and some tips on easing the pain. Whiplash Injury Whiplash injuries occur when the neck is jerked suddenly backward and forward. This type of trauma can occur in different situations but typically, most people suffer from whiplash after being in rear-end car accidents. Whiplash can stretch the neck and the upper back which results in a lot of discomfort. In serious cases, the supporting ligaments and muscles in the neck may be torn or strained. Moreover, there are other symptoms experienced, including headache, dizziness and muscle stiffness. Whiplash injuries and subsequent pain can be eased by mobilisation exercises and gentle massage of the soft tissues and muscles. Wry Neck Wry neck, which is also known as torticollis, is a common condition where the neck becomes suddenly stiff and painful. If you have this type of neck problem, you will feel acute and catching pain when you turn your head. Generally, the pain is more pronounced on one side of the neck than the other. The pain may sometimes be felt as a spasm and it may spread to the shoulders and the shoulder blades. Wry neck is caused by caring unbalanced loads or even an abrupt turn of the head. In some rare cases, this pain could indicate a neurological problem so you should consult a healthcare specialist. Most cases can be treated with heat packs, massage and mobilisation. Poor Posture Poor posture when sleeping, sitting or standing can contribute to neck pain and aches. For instance, sleeping facedown or slumping can cause neck strain. You can resolve these problems by exercising regularly and supporting your neck properly […]

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2 Ways Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Impact Your Hearing

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Date: July 31st 2015


As an inflammatory autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis can affect several parts of your body, not just your joints. In addition to having an increased risk of developing heart disease, dental problems and osteoporosis, those with rheumatoid arthritis are also at risk of developing sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is linked to autoimmune diseases and can occur when the cochlea or auditory nerve is damaged. Here’s an overview of two ways rheumatoid arthritis can impact on your hearing and the treatment options available: How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Impact Your Hearing Ototoxic Medication Some medications used to manage the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and salicylates, are considered ototoxic. This means they can damage your inner ear, but there may not be a safer alternative for you to try that would suitably manage the pain and stiffness associated with your arthritis. Ototoxic medication can cause sudden or gradual hearing loss, so discuss the risks versus the benefits of your medication with your rheumatologist.   Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease When you’re experiencing a flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis, your body’s immune system attacks itself, and this creates inflammation. Your immune system can attack any part of your body during a flare-up, including your inner ear. The immunosuppressant medication used to dampen down your immune system can prevent inflammation from reaching the point where permanent damage can be done to your hearing, but if your current dose is no longer effective, permanent damage can occur. Treatment Options Symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss include dizziness, ringing in your ears, difficulty hearing conversations clearly in noisy environments, and needing to continuously ask people to speak up or speak clearly. Although you can’t recover lost hearing, you can prevent further hearing loss with the use of medication such as steroids to reduce inflammation. Your audiologist will also work with your rheumatologist to ensure you’re taking the optimum dose of immunosuppressant medication. In addition to medication, hearing aids or a cochlear implant can be used to improve your hearing. Hearing aids are recommended if only certain areas of the tiny cells in your cochlea are damaged. For example, if the cells at the bottom of your cochlea, which are responsible for receiving and transporting high-frequency sounds, are damaged, you would benefit from hearing aids that are programmed to alter high-frequency sounds as they enter your ear. By altering these sounds, other parts of […]

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Know What You’re Looking For: Skin Cancer Prevention & Identification

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Date: May 13th 2015


Australia holds the dubious title of having the highest rate of skin cancer in the world—something that is shared with neighbouring New Zealand. There’s a certain unhappy logic to this, largely due to the large Caucasian population in both countries since fair skinned people are more likely to be affected by skin cancer, and all that glorious sunshine. Fortunately, increased knowledge about the dangers of skin cancer has led to more and more people are being checked. This also means that already high survival rates are becoming even higher. But what are some of the ways you can detect skin cancer? And better yet, how do you minimise your chances of being affected? Prevention It’s important to be vigilant about skin cancer, and a large part of this involves wearing sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF), every day. You should also wear a wide-brimmed hats, and wear light clothing that covers exposed skin wherever possible. You don’t need to be covered from head to toe, but maybe a lightweight long sleeved shirt is a better choice than a singlet. Protecting your skin should be a habit that everyone gets into, since prevention is always better than cure. Know Your Body Perhaps the most important tool you have when it comes to skin cancer prevention is to know your body. Once a month, check your skin by standing naked in front a of a mirror. Do this in a well-lit room, and you can use a small handheld mirror to check your back. Carefully check your entire body for new or changing moles, even on parts of your body that are not ordinarily exposed to the sun, since a mole can form anywhere. For a more involved examination, you could also visit a skin cancer clinic. The staff know exactly what to look for, and might catch something you could have easily missed. Visiting a skin cancer clinic once or twice a year can be an excellent idea for added protection. Know What You’re Looking For Moles are common. Most people have them, and the vast majority of them are harmless. What you need to look out for when you examine your skin are new moles, or existing moles that have begun to change in size and shape. Of course, you don’t want to be paranoid about it, but it’s really important to know what you’re looking for. Should […]

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Dietary Tips for Children with Learning Difficulties

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Date: April 21st 2015


No matter whether a child has a global or specific learning difficulty, it is important to ensure they are provided with every opportunity to do their best. Physical health and wellbeing can put a child in an excellent position for enhancing comprehension, memory and minimising weight gain. Let’s look at some helpful dietary tips for children with learning difficulties. Avoid Processed Foods Many modern day pre-packaged and processed foods are laden with hidden nasties. Unfortunately, it’s harder than ever to know what is in the packaged foods we buy, with food labels full of numbers, codes and euphemisms that can be difficult to decipher.  Minimising your child’s exposure to additives, toxins or allergens is easier when you take greater control of the food preparation. Using whole foods, and opting for fresh organic produce when it is available and affordable, is the best way to avoid unknowingly feeding your child ingredients that may exacerbate allergies and intolerances. Minimise Inflammatory Foods Children with a sensitivity to gluten or dairy may suffer from digestive discomfort and inflammation in the digestive system. This occurs when the body has difficulties breaking down the lactose in dairy or proteins in gluten, causing stomach pains, excessive flatulence, bloating, and even irritable bowel syndrome. Excessive consumption of gluten or dairy could also leave your child feeling sluggish, which is not going to help with memory or comprehension. Try introducing your child to broccoli and leafy greens, as they are excellent substitute sources of calcium and magnesium. If you suspect that your child could be gluten or lactose intolerant, consider eliminating those foods from their diet for a few weeks and see if there is an improvement in well-being. Eliminate Artificial Ingredients Aim to provide your child with a diet of predominantly, if not exclusively whole foods, free from artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives. Many of these artificial ingredients are derived from petrochemicals, and some preservatives have demonstrable effects on learning and behaviour. Some people  are more sensitive than others to certain preservatives, so it is important to be aware of sensitivities in your child and provide a healthful diet in this context. Develop Customised, Nutritional Diet Each child has their own unique combination of dietary requirements and intolerances, your child needs a diet customised to their own nutritional needs. Having a comprehensive food allergy test conducted at a natural health care clinic will empower you to understand what […]

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About Me

Hi, my name is Katlyn. As a mum of four kids, I take their health very seriously. However, I also take my own parenting philosophies seriously. Because of that, I have always attempted to find doctors and health care providers who resonate with my style. That includes everything from their thoughts on how often to prescribe medication to how they speak to my children. If you want tips on finding the perfect healthcare provider, please explore these posts. They contain everything I have learned over the years, and I hope my experiences can really help other mums and families! Take Care, Katlyn.

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