#backpainblog, #BACKPAINBLOGUK, #fibromyalgia, #health, BACK PAIN, CHRONIC PAIN, FIBROMYALGIA, HEALTH, lower back pain, NECK PAIN, pain, sleep, sleep deprivation, sleep positions, sleep sunday

IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT MELATONIN AND HOW IT AFFECTS OUR SLEEP…

Melatonin is a hormone which plays an important part in our sleep regime. It’s production is controlled by exposure to light so with the darker nights now upon us the melatonin secretion rises to help us feel tired. It’s produced by the pineal gland in the brain, but it’s also found in other areas, such as the eyes, bone marrow, and gut.

In the morning when we wake up the light shuts melatonin production down so that we can stop feeling sleepy but there are other ways to regulate our melatonin levels to help us sleep better. There are many things to avoid which will help your melatonin levels which include stress, smoking, exposure to too much light at night (including blue light), not getting enough natural light during the day, shift work, and aging all affect melatonin production.

To help improve your melatonin levels try and get to sleep before midnight and up your natural light exposure if you can by going outside for a regular walk preferably when the sun is out. Healthline say that taking a melatonin supplement may help counter low levels and normalize your internal clock. Healthline go on to say that if you want to try melatonin, start with 0.5 mg (500 micrograms) or 1 mg 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t work, try increasing it to 3–5 mg or follow the instructions on the supplement.

You can buy Neuro Rest Sleeping Tablets, Natural Melatonin Sources from Amazon for £16.97 which supports the full sleep cycle and supports the sound, restorative rest you need to get to sleep and for the entire night. They are –

  • Holistic, Multi-Ingredient Blend: Unlike melatonin that is only designed to help you fall asleep, or just 5-HTP that helps once you’re asleep, Neuro Rest has a unique blend of ingredients that combine to deliver a time-released formula all night long
  • A Supplement, Not a Sedative: Use our sleep aid tablets with peace of mind, knowing you won’t struggle to wake up the next morning or feel drowsy all day. It’s non-habit forming even when taken daily so you can use it only when you need it, without concern
  • Naturally Formulated: While some sleep aid tablets are made from synthetic sources, Neuro Rest is produced from natural food sources. They are suitable for vegetarians & vegans, are free of GMOs & are made in the UK according to strict quality standards
  • Works Better the Longer You Use It: Neuro Rest is formulated to help you achieve rejuvenating, high-quality sleep night after night. Most see noticeable benefits within the first 5-10 days, but after 2-3 weeks experience the maximum benefits of regularly good sleep

There is also a great book on Melatonin, ‘The Magic of Melatonin: How This Amazing Hormone Will Help You Sleep, Reduce Pain, Relieve Anxiety, Slow Aging, and Much More’ by Dr Jan-Dirk Fauteck.

Dr. Fauteck addresses the impact of proper supplemental melatonin and various studies and research done on the topic. Melatonin has been widely used to correct problems of sleep disorders, and while this book looks into that research further and breaks down the impact of melatonin and sleep, it also addresses research that addresses melatonin use for its ability to regulate the circadian clock in general and impact other areas of health such oxidative stress, neuropsychiatric disorders, headaches, chronic pain, digestion, diabetes, fertility, pregnancy, cancer, and many age-related diseases.

In this book, Dr. Fauteck summarizes critical information related to the necessity of maintaining regular biological rhythms and describes the pathological consequences of circadian rhythm disturbances. He provides a clear description of how melatonin is produced and secreted, how the prevailing artificially imposed light/dark cycle can disturb its rhythm, and how this translates into other potential pathologies.

#backpainblog, #BACKPAINBLOGUK, #covid-19 App, #covid-19, #COVID-19, #fibromyalgia, #health, #pain, BACK PAIN, CHRONIC PAIN, FIBROMYALGIA, HEALTH, low back pain, lower back pain, LUMBER PAIN, NECK PAIN

STEROID INJECTIONS AND HOW THEY COULD AFFECT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM…

Your immune system is a very important part of your health especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic. At this time of year many of us are having our flu vaccines but it can take up to 14 days for the immune system to mount an immune response so your are not immune to the flu the minute you have the injection.

They talk about supplements in the winter to improve your immune system as while a healthy diet containing an abundance of nutrients can help fend off illness, there is also a number of supplements that will boost your immunity and keep you fit. These include Vitamin C, and D, Zinc, Pelargonium (herbal remedy for bronchitis, Echinacea, Elderberry, Black Garlic, Iron and Omega 3’s but none of these should be taken until you have checked with your GP first.

But, what about our immune system and Covid-19? Well, according to the British Nutrition Foundation and written in Woman & Home, there is no individual food or supplement that will stop us contracting highly infectious viruses such as Covid-19, but it is important to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to support your immune system. The NHS recommends taking vitamin D supplements if you are self-isolating or spending the majority of your time indoors.

And, what about steroid injections and the immune system? Well, as some of my readers will have read I have been suffering lately with awful low back and hip pain and after an MRI showed arthritis in my sacroiliac joints as well as in multi levels of my low back I was offered a steroid injection to help with the pain.

Before signing the consent form I was briefly informed that having this injection could ‘suppress my immune system’. On the site Ultrasound Guided Injections, which is what I had states that ‘since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, we are making patients aware of the specific implications to be considered in relation to corticosteroid injections and COVID-19’.

It goes on to explain in full about why you should really think about having a steroid injection or not.

Corticosteroids are an immuno-suppressant (they inhibit our immune system) which is one of the main ways in which they work and are clinically useful – they are powerful anti-inflammatory medication (they reduce inflammation and swelling) and therefore pain. However this means corticosteroids will also have a inhibitory impact on our general immune system and our ability to fight infections.

The immuno-suppressant effect to believed to last up to several weeks after the injection although this is believed to vary from person to person (Hackett et al 2020).  Although there is a lack of clear evidence to act as guidance on this matter in terms of the exact size of increase in risk there might be.

It is important that any patients considering a corticosteroid injection are aware of the fact that corticosteroids could theoretically i) increase the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 due to its immuno-suppressant effect ii) inhibit their body’s ability to fight the COVID-19 virus if contracted and iii) could potentially make the patients more contagious to people around them, following a corticosteroid injection. One study published in 2018 showed patients who had received a corticosteroid injection were more likely to develop seasonal flu. Because the size of risk is unknown it is recommended that patients and clinicians should reach a shared decision (Morgan and Dattani 2020)  on a case by case basis weighing up the risks and benefits of proceeding with steroid injection treatment (Amani et al 2020)

Now had I read this or realised this I probably would not have had the injection until Covid-19 is out of the way but I didn’t really understand this much about it until I came home and looked on the internet. I actually have another one booked into the other sacroiliac joint next week but I have already decided to cancel this injection. It’s actually not totally because of what I have read about but also because I don’t feel it’s been as successful as I had hoped and so why have another one unless it works for your problem.

I do take a few supplements and I am on a very high dose of Vitamin D for my Osteopenia but with this disease spreading so quickly throughout the world at the moment you would think that any treatments that suppress your immune system should not be used at the moment unless its a medical emergency.

I think if you follow these 8 steps from Web MD it will definitely help to keep your immune system up to scratch.

  1. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  2. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  3. Get enough sleep.
  4. Wash your hands.
  5. Keep up with your vaccinations. Almost everyone who’s at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccine every year.
  6. Keep your weight healthy.
  7. Don’t drink too much alcohol.
  8. Don’t smoke.