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Can Back Pain Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Men suffering from both back pain and erectile dysfunction may be surprised to find out that the back pain could be CAUSING the erectile dysfunction.  Our bodies are a complex infrastructure of connected parts that can either work fluidly together or cease to function properly when one area is affected.  Erectile dysfunction is often a symptom of other areas of concern and we’ll touch upon the effect that back pain and medications can have in causing this problem.

The process of getting an erection begins when something sexually stimulating impacts the senses, making the muscles of the penis relax and blood flow increase to the area which then pushes against the veins carrying blood out so that they are blocked and thus an erection is created.  Erectile dysfunction is then usually caused by blood flow being disrupted, slowed, or hindered through out the body.

Back issues can cause erectile dysfunction when nerves or veins are pinched, leading to lessened blood flow to the pelvic area.  Many men who have had a car accident or work injury affecting the back or pelvis region then found themselves facing erectile dysfunction.  When this correlation was first discovered, treating the back injuries was found to cure the erectile dysfunction at the same time.

Exercises that are meant to strengthen weakened muscles and increase blood flow will also help overall health as well as erectile health, so a regimen that includes yoga, therapeutic massage, and normal gym cardio workouts will help.  So, if you have back pain and are experiencing erectile issues at the same time, talk with your doctor (or if you live in Chicago, contact our Chicago physical therapy clinic), so that you can be properly diagnosed and appropriate treatment can be administered.

Impotence is needn’t be a hindrance to a full and happy sex life.  Treating the cause for the problem will lead to a cure for the symptom, so have your back checked and work on leading a healthy lifestyle full of nutritious foods and exercise.

6 (non-creepy) Types of Self-Massage To Do at Work

Work can often be a stressful activity and lessen our productivity throughout the day. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a personal masseuse to knead the kinks and help us relax? Well we do, ourselves! There are a number of tricks for stress relief that we can execute with our own two hands right in the office. Here are six amazing tips that will not only boost your mental energy but will leave your body in utter peace.

Pitter Patter

Ball up your hands into fists and gently bump your arms and legs. Work from the top of the limb to the bottom. When you’re done, move on to the torso. Repeat the same bumping action, only this time, go from bottom to top. Pitter-pattering the body will increase blood flow and help you to relax. This is a great massage to do when you wake up in the morning because it will energize you and kick start your day.

Belly Rub

Most of us do this anyway, but when you have finished your meal, give yourself a belly rub. Open your palms wide and rub in a clockwise motion. This will help you to digest your food and save energy.

Hand Massage

Massage your hands with lotion. Begin by kneading the muscles at the bottom of your palm with your opposite thumb. Then move to the big muscle where your thumb connects, but be gentle here (this area should be particularly satisfying to massage). After that target the middle of your palm. And to finish it off, give a gentle pinch to all the webbings in your fingers.


Another great way to relieve stress is to target your feet. All you need for this massage is a tennis ball. Take your shoe off and place the ball under the arch of your foot. Apply pressure and roll it around to help stretch out those muscles. Then, move the ball to your heels continuing that circular motion. Last but not least, place the ball under your toes and roll the ball side to side.

Neck Knead

Use your hands to massage the back of your neck. Gently knead those muscles on either side of the spinal column with the heels of your hands. One at a time, rub the muscles on both sides of the neck just below the skull (just in back of your jaw) with your fingers. When massaging the left side, use your right hand and visa versa. This should feel like you are on cloud nine.

Face Time

Another way to relieve stress is to concentrate on certain areas of the face. Start at the bridge of your nose. Use your index fingers to press slowly across your brow line. Repeat this step about ten times. Then, move to you temples. With both your index and middle finger, execute a clockwise circular motion (this one is great for head aches too). Lastly, find the muscles at the corners of your jaw and give them a firm rub down.

Practice these non-creepy self-massage techniques and you will see your energy levels rise (along with your productivity).

Best Sports for Your Child: By Age

Athletic prowess knows no age limit and some children are born athletes, full of energy and practically running a mile with ease barely after learning how to walk.  For those children, parents may become excited at the prospect of having their kids involved in sports, but there are certain age-related factors to consider and different types of activities that will be appropriate according to what age the child is.

Toddlers (1-5)

Energy seems boundless for little ones in this age group!  Jumping, playing, dancing are all fun activities that they enjoy and can’t seem to get enough of.  Actual organized sports at this age can be impractical because the mental attention span simply isn’t always there, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t do athletic activities and put all of that energy to good use!  The best things to get them involved in at this period would be dancing, tumbling, running/racing, climbing on things, and well supervised water fun.

Kids and Preteens (6-12)

Now they can understand the tenets of teamwork and more easily get the concept of structured play and cooperation.  Most sports, done safely and with proper equipment, are an option for kids to play.  Great team games like soccer, basketball, softball are fun to learn how to be a part of a team and cooperate with others, while sports like martial arts, tennis, gymnastics, and golf can teach coordination and discipline.


Teenagers and up of course can participate in all sports if it appeals to them.  There are now even video games such as the Wii Fitness System that will let them combine their love of video games with getting healthy and playing sports!  Biking, hiking, jogging, team sports, and swimming are worthy ideas to get your teenager out of the house and onto being active!  Join them in a game of touch football or ride bikes together to have a great time of family fun.

How to Control Weight During Pregnancy

Gaining weight is completely normal for women during a healthy pregnancy, however excessive weight gain may not be healthy for either you or your little one. This article will focus on ways how to control your weight during pregnancy in a healthy way.

It has been estimated that the average woman gains 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy (this number varies for women who were over or under weight before pregnancy). While nutritional intake naturally increases during pregnancy, women shouldn’t be taking in more calories; 1,800 calories a day is sufficient. Rather, they should be consuming more nutrients. For a healthy baby and a healthy mother, implement this list of food groups and recommended examples into your diet.


Is vital for a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women are recommended to eat four servings of protein a day. Recommended sources of protein include, 1 egg white, or a 4 oz. piece of chicken or lean steak. Eating high protein foods will not only regulate blood sugar but it will curb your appetite.


Is also a necessary nutrient for pregnant women. Milk, cheese and yogurt are all excellent sources of calcium. If for any reason you don’t eat milk products, then soy and rice milks may be suitable substitutes.

Fruits and Vegetables…

Are absolutely essential as well. It is recommended that carrying women eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day and 3 servings of fruit a day. Broccoli, spinach and other green vegetables are especially good. Also, citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits and are healthy for the baby and the mother.


Is an excellent addition to an expectant mother’s diet. Pregnant women often suffer from slow digestion, which allows fats to be absorbed more easily. Consuming high fiber foods will help you digest your foods more rapidly.


About eight glasses a day will make you feel better by giving you more energy and depleting your appetite. Try not to drink water out of plastic bottles, but at least for the duration of the pregnancy make it a habit to buy spring water in glass bottles.

Food cravings are completely normal during pregnancy and sometimes it’s completely fine to indulge. However, needless to say, the baby is the priority, so you owe it to her or him to eat healthy because what you eat, they eat. So, eat right and you will not only have a healthy, happy baby but you will have a healthy, happy self.

A Secret to Burning Calories You Will Love

Humans are social beings who enjoy the love and affection of one another.  Part of this socialization includes the act of having sex, which not only feels great but also has the added benefits of being healthy for you and a bit of a workout.  It is an activity that fully engages all of the muscle groups as well as inner workings such as breathing and endorphins; find out below how weekly sexual activity can prolong your health for a better life.

An interesting fact is that around 300 calories an hour can be burned while having sex, sure beats a lot of other workout activities!  While not a complete substitute for other types of fitness, it helps to get the heart going and the breathing heavy for more oxygen flow and great circulation.  The endorphins released carry tides of well-being throughout your system and can help keep you well or heal a headache/migraine.  Doing the deed three times a week could ward off strokes later in life and heart attacks as well!  For men, the chances of prostate cancer goes down with ample activity so that is something to keep in mind.

Studies have shown that sex with a loved partner multiple times a week benefits both mental and physical health while adulterous sex can up the chances for a stroke, perhaps because of the added stress of being caught.  The close connection of stable lovers feeds into the social nature of human beings and the desire to feel connected and close.

New lovers often have intense passion for one another and the increase in sexual activity can help to shed pounds.  Rigorous love-making can burn upwards of 150 calories plus every half hour so making time in the schedule for a passionate coupling can have more benefits than cons.  Switching up positions engages different muscle groups and keeps the magic alive, making sex the exercise that you don’t have to become bored with and therefore will do often enough for it to count as a great form of exercise.  Be creative with your lover and not only will they stay interested, you can prolong your good health.

Secrets to Great Abs

What many don’t know about great abs is that each and every one of us already has a six-pack. The secret is uncovering your abdominal muscle from a blanket of fat. One thousand crunches a day will not get you the results that you want if you have high body fat. Toned abdominal muscles are a product of balanced nutrition and a strict workout regiment. This analysis will provide both nutrition and exercise tips so that you can kick start a healthier, happier, more confident lifestyle.


The first key to a tight abdominal region is a healthy diet. For men, it’s especially hard to achieve abs definition because the belly area is the first place that fat gets stored and the last place that fat gets burned. However, if you change your diet, wonderful things can happen. The key here is a combination of healthy foods and caloric deficit. A caloric deficit, in basic terms, is when you are burning more calories than you are taking in. When that happens, your body starts utilizing energy storage that is already available in your body, that energy storage is fat. Of course, you need to consult your physician before taking any drastic measures, but carefully reducing your calorie intake for a limited amount of time can work wonders.

How to Change Your Diet

Remember to spread your caloric intake to 4 to 6 meals a day rather than 2 to 3. Spacing out meals in smaller portions regulates blood sugar. Large meals cause blood sugar to spike which leads to more fat storage. With an elongated meal schedule you should be eating small portions. For example healthy daily diet could include oatmeal in the morning, 2 pieces of fruit at mid morning, a salad with tuna at lunch, a salad with chicken and a piece of fruit at mid afternoon, and chicken breast and potatoes for dinner. A diet like this ensures the necessities - a lean protein source like egg whites and chicken breast and natural carbohydrates such as vegetables, potatoes and brown rice. It’s important to remember to avoid refined carbohydrates like white flour and white sugar. And lastly, about a gallon of water daily is necessary for any active person.


The second key to toned abs is exercise. Maximum fat burning is achieved when you combine cardio training with weight training. It is recommended that you engage in 20 to 45 minutes of cardio 4 to 7 days a week. Effective cardio workouts include, running, biking, rowing, stair climbing or aerobics. In fact almost any exercise that raises your heartbeat and makes you sweat will burn carbohydrates and diminish fat. Also, like all muscles in the body, there are methods of targeting your abdominals to strengthen and tone the area. A few recommended exercises include hanging leg raises, hanging knee ups, weighted Swiss ball crunches and incline bench reverse crunches. All of these exercises should be done in 3 sets, 15-20 repetitions, 2 days a week.

Increasing the number of daily meals, eating healthy foods in small portions, and engaging in exercise through cardio and abdominal work outs will lead to reductuilow body fat.  So all you non-believers out there, I’m here to tell you the research doesn’t lie. Everyone has a set of chiseled abs in them somewhere. Just remember to stick to the regiment and you too will achieve your goal.

Workouts for Great Abs

Abs Exercises

Superset A:

A1 Hanging leg raises - 3 sets, 15-20 reps

A2 Hanging knee ups (bent-knee leg raises) - 3 sets, 15-20 reps

(no rest between exercises within supersets A1 & A2, 60 sec between supersets)

Superset B:

B1 Weighted swiss ball crunches (or weighted cable crunches) - 3 sets, 15-20 reps

B2 Incline Bench Reverse crunches - 3 sets, 15-20 reps

(no rest between exercises within supersets B1 & B2, 60 sec between supersets)

Calorie-Burning Exercises

Monday: back & chest - wide grip pull downs 4 sets of 6 - flat bench press 4 sets of 6 - low cable rows 4 sets of 6 - inclined bench press 4 sets of 6

Tuesday: shoulders and arms - military press 4 sets of 6 - dips 4 sets of failure - barbells 4 sets of 6

Wednesday: legs - squats 4 sets of 6 - leg curls 4 sets of 6 - leg extensions 4 sets of 6 - Repeat cycle with Sunday rest day


Cardio 4 to 7 days per week for about 30 to 45 minutes a day.

Pros and Cons of Sugar in Your Diet

Have you ever heard the saying, “Too much of anything isn’t good for you”? Well when it comes to sugar, too much is really not good for you. Studies have shown the extremely dangerous effects of high intakes of sugar. Below is a list of some of these effects you should worry about.

Note: When considering a healthy amount of calories one should consume daily, measure your carbohydrate intake. When carbohydrates travel the bloodstream, they turn directly into sugar. As a result, your carbohydrate levels are your sugar levels.

1. Tooth Decay

Perhaps we should begin with the most typical issue regarding the intake of sugar. Tooth decay begins with the consumption of sugar. Bacteria living in plaque thrive on the sugar that we eat. The waste that they produce is released in the form of acid that destroys enamel and dentin forming cavities.

2. Diabetes

Studies have shown that sugar causes an increase of insulin in the bloodstream. Because insulin is the hormone that enables us to use glucose for energy, one might view this as a benefit. However, this is when the “too much is not good” concept comes into play: when too much sugar is imbibed, the blood cells’ sensitivity to insulin depletes. Consequently, blood cells are unable to effectively utilize glucose resulting in the accumulation of blood in those cells. This condition is referred to as Type 2 Diabetes. This is why it is so important to be weary of sugar over-consumption.

3. Triglycerides (aka getting fat)

It is commonly discussed that sugar has one of the most substantial effects on people leading to access weight and obese. Triglycerides are fat materials that emerge in the body when one eats more than what is necessary to fuel the body. These particles are often stored in the waist area and cling to your artery walls. The connection between Triglycerides and sugar is not undeniably proven, but major studies have shown that sugar boosts blood triglycerides higher than other carbohydrates.

4. Weakened Immune System

We all know that Vitamin C fights off harmful bacteria, but what you might not know is that glucose and Vitamin C compete for the occupation of your white blood cells. So, the more glucose in your system, the harder it will be Vitamin C to do its job and the weaker your immune system will be.

But sugar should not be avoided altogether, since it’s crucial in generating energy in human body. With the help of oxygen, sugar is converted into energy during digestion. Many healthy foods naturally contain the substance. Take an apple for example. A 125-gram apple contains 13 grams of sugar. The main difference between apple sugar and cookie sugar is that one is naturally occurring, and the other is refined and processes, so as a rule of thumb, if you have a sweet tooth, forget cookies and opt for a delicious fruit instead.

It’s no mystery: the key to good physical health is a balanced diet and exercise. But as long as you consistently eat healthy, you are free to feast on a banana split from time to time.

Good Fat vs. Evil Fat

Food that is readily available in our society is, more often than not, high in calories and low in nutrients. Portions are larger than ever and eating quickly typically translates to eating poorly. Even if you are keeping a look out for dangerous saturated fats in your diet, you might still be consuming them from food you didn’t know hid high fat content. Here are a few foods to watch out for:

Avocados - good

As one of the fattiest fruits that exists in nature, avocados can be confusing. They have about 30 grams of monounsaturated fat in them, totaling 80 percent of their total calories. It is a healthier fat than that from red meat, but avocados should still be consumed sparsely.

Mayonnaise - evil

Did you know that mayo is actually made of 80 percent fat? It has about 12 grams of fat in each tablespoon, so do your best to avoid it altogether.

Ice Cream - evil

There are a ton of calories from fat and sugar in ice cream, and if you add toppings, you add even more. For two scoops, you can expect to eat about 650 calories and around 40 grams of fat.

Meat - good and evil

Eating meat is a great way to max out your consumption of saturated fat. Things like ribeye steaks, hot dogs, pork and beef ribs all have a heavy dose of fat. Deli meat is often high in saturated fat and sodium, so watch out for the leanest cuts of meat. Of course, opt for baking or broiling meat instead of frying to lower calories even further.

Salads - good and evil

Many dieters think that any salad is a healthy salad, but this is not the case at all. Plenty of salads can have a heavy-dressing that adds up to 300 calories and 30 grams of fat in four teaspoons. Toppings like cheese, avocado, meat and nuts also bring a large amount of calories to a previously low-cal meal.

By staying aware of what you eat and what nutrients you are actually getting, you will be taking a big step towards improving your health.

3 Stories of Miraculous Recovery from Paralysis

A paralysis diagnosis is many people’s worst nightmare because the thought of not being able to control your body can be a mind boggling idea.  If presented with this life-changing diagnosis, there still remains hope of regaining movement function; some people have gone on to beat the odds and move again!  Though these cases can be rare, the possibility remains.  Read on for some extraordinary tales of three people who overcome paralysis:

-Wesley Battles was just a normal 16 year old kid hanging with his girlfriend at her home one evening.  Needing to get to his own home, he hopped into his car and proceeded on his way, not knowing that his life was about to completely change.  In route to his house, Wesley collided with a tree and sustained brain and  neck injuries that should have killed him but instead left him in a coma for two days with many broken bones as well as damaged pancreas and liver.  When he woke back up, it was realized that his right side was paralyzed as a result of his injuries.  Luckily for him, his father was a brain injury rehabilitation expert and had the innovative idea of using the Wii gaming console because of the motor skills that the game hones.  After a couple of weeks, Wesley was playing Wii bowling and by using the game throughout the day, he recovered the full range of movement in his right side.

Motor skills returned to his son with the help of an unlikely method, his father has gone on to develop a rehabilitation program for other patients, using the Wii gaming console.

-College sophomore track star Adrian Gordon was doing the one thing that you’d figure there’s no way to sustain an injury from when he became paralyzed: sleeping.  Adrian was asleep in the backseat of a friend’s car on a drive along the Long Island Expressway when a back tire blow out ejected the sleeping occupant through the back window, breaking his spine and causing total paralysis. The once agile athlete could then only move his eyelids for two weeks until he noticed that he could wiggle his toes as well.  Adrian was walking on crutches within seven weeks because he willed himself and worked hard at regaining movement.

-In 1988 Chris Waddell was living out his dreams as a sophomore at Middlebury College, skiing on their competitive Division I skiing team. In a routine warming up session a ski came off, causing him to careen into a tree.  The impact severed his spinal cord and crushed some vertebrae, destroying his ability to walk.

Determined to return to school, Chris made a comeback after two months and in a wheelchair.  The school and his coach fitted the chair with a sit-ski and Chris was able to return to his true passion.  Upon graduating from Middlebury, he joined the United States Disabled Ski team and went on to win 12 medals in the paralympics. On top of those accomplishments, he also was the first paraplegic to try climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in a hand-controlled, modified bike.

In life you never know what hand you will be dealt, but aiming to make the best of the situation is always a great outlook.  Let these people be a reason to keep hope alive or at least to relish what you take for granted.

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