Pain Free Gardening

Multiple Sclerosis Hearing Loss Affordable Aid

Metastatic Melanoma

Weight Matters How to Exercise Shape Up Slim Down Chronic Pain Treat Children

Toward Pain-Free Gardening

(NAPSI)—You can lessen the aches and pains that can come from growing a beautiful garden if you heed the advice of gardening expert and author Melinda Myers:

Smart Gardening

• Vertical Gardening—Garden up. Grow plants on a blank wall, fence or post. Height makes gardening easier and creates visual interest.

• Choose Your Tools Wisely—Look for ergonomic grips, long handles and ratcheted tools to keep your posture upright, give you more power and make the grip easier.

• Leverage Heavy Loads—Split up large loads into smaller increments. Use everyday items such as a wagon or winter sled to help you move supplies around.

• Take Breaks-Work five—minute breaks into your gardening schedule to lower your likelihood of injury. Try easy back bends from the waist and don't work for more than 20 to 30 minutes straight. Stay attentive to weather and flexibility: Do additional stretches or warm-ups if you feel stiff or cold.

• Keep Tools Sharp—File trowels, shears and shovels. Dull tools mean more strain.

After Gardening

If you follow all these tips and still wind up with back pain or you already have joint or low back pain, here are a few tips to alleviate acute pain:

• Heat and/or ice treatments

• Exercise, stretching techniques

• Visit a health care provider, such as a physical therapist or chiropractor, if after four weeks the pain has not lessened.

• Try over-the-counter medications such as Omron's 100 percent drug-free, nonprescription, electrotherapy pain relief unit. It can begin managing lower back pain, muscle and joint pain in about 15 minutes.

"As an avid gardener with two knee replacements, I'm always in search of alternative tactics to combat joint pain," said Myers. "Electrotherapy treatment lets me garden without needing to stop due to the joint pain that often comes with kneeling, reaching and lifting."

Electrotherapy Treatment

The unit uses Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) technology to deliver gentle, massagelike pulses for on-the-spot pain relief. Electrotherapy is commonly used by physical therapists to treat muscle and joint pain.

"Electrotherapy has proven effective in physical therapy for more than 30 years," said Dr. Jeffery Mannheimer, a physical therapist on the forefront of electrotherapy research. "The effect of such therapy is immediate, repeatable and drug-free, making it an alternative choice for chronic and acute pain relief."

The unit is the first over-the-counter TENS product available nationally at major retail stores, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and other retailers in the pain products area, as well as online retailers such as,, and

The Great Garden Makeover Sweepstakes

To further help people reach their lifestyle goals, including enjoying gardening more, the company created the Great Garden Makeover Sweepstakes. Visit before June 22 and enter for a chance to win $5,000 toward your dream garden, plus a one-hour free garden consultation with Myers. Additional prize packs, which will be given away weekly, include a pain relief unit, replacement pads and "Melinda's Garden Moments" DVD.

Learn More

For additional tips on gardening and managing lower back and joint pain, visit For further information, visit

  Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

It Takes A Global Village To End Multiple Sclerosis

(NAPSI)—Creating a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS) requires an international collaborative effort. Every May, MS Societies around the world unite on World MS Day, this year on May 29, to raise awareness about MS.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system.

MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, slurred speech, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory, paralysis, blindness and more. These may be permanent or may come and go. Most people are diagnosed between ages 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men having the disease. MS affects more than 2.1 million worldwide.

Advances in research are moving people closer to stopping the disease, restoring function and ending MS forever. In less than two decades, MS has moved from being an untreatable disease to one where there are now treatment options for those with relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease. More new therapies are in the pipeline offering hope to people with all forms of MS, but so far there is still no way to stop MS or to restore lost function.

The National MS Society is supporting 350 research projects around the world, including the initial launch of the first International Progressive MS Collaborative, the largest effort to date to speed research to stop progressive forms of MS.

These efforts to connect those who want to stop MS, restore nerve function damaged by MS and end the disease for all time are already leading to a growing number of victories:

• The International MS Genetics Consortium has discovered new MS risk genes.

• New and creative platforms to bring together top scientists are advancing research in the link between vitamin D and MS, pediatric MS, and quality-of-life strategies to improve long-term disease management outcomes.

• There is better understanding of the scientific mechanisms that lead to disease progression and to accelerating the development of new therapies.

But there is still much to do before the world is free of MS:

• Whether you volunteer, bike, walk, advocate, educate, support—every connection counts and moves us closer to a world without MS.

• Learn more about the World MS Day campaign at national and explore the personal mottos of young people affected by MS, including Breea, who was diagnosed with MS at age 18 and is studying to become a nurse.

Find out how you can become a part of the global movement and what mottos help guide people living with MS. Visit

 Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Aiding Communication—Baby Boomers' Key To A Healthy Marriage

(NAPSI)—What did you say? Can you repeat that, please? Hearing loss makes communication a challenge, which unfortunately may put relationships—in particular, a marriage—in peril. Feelings of anger, frustration and resentment are often experienced by those suffering from hearing loss, as well as by spouses who are constantly barraged with having to repeat themselves or talk louder.

With 36 million people affected by hearing loss, according to the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), there are, no doubt, a significant number of marriages suffering from a lack of communication. In fact, in a U.S. survey of baby boomers conducted by Energizer Battery, Inc., nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed said their marriages have suffered because of their spouse's hearing loss. While the best way to treat hearing loss is with a hearing aid, the AAA also cites that only one out of every five adults who needs a hearing aid actually wears one. What is it about hearing aids that people avoid? For some, perhaps it is vanity or denial, but for most it is the cost factor, as hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or most insurance plans and can cost up to $3,000 per ear.

The good news is that thanks to Dr. Sreek Cherukuri, M.D., Board-Certified Ear, Nose & Throat Physician from Chicago, Ill., those who can't afford hearing aids no longer have to suffer through silent marriages. In 2009, Dr. Cherukuri pioneered the affordable hearing aid by creating MDHearingAid®, a line of aesthetically discreet, behind-the-ear-design hearing aids.

Recently, the brand launched its newest innovation, the physician-created, FDA-registered and audiologist-tested MDHearingAid AIR, one of the smallest, digital and affordable hearing aids-just $350 per ear-featuring telecoil technology integration (or t-coil), typically reserved for expensive hearing aids. T-coil in the AIR functions as a wireless antenna that links to sound systems found in smartphones, landline telephones and loop-equipped public spaces, such as many churches and movie theaters, to deliver customized sound and seamless transitions between listening environments.

If you or your spouse experiences any of the signs below, Dr. Cherukuri urges you to see an otolaryngologist or physician to be examined and counseled on purchasing the best hearing aid within budget.

Muffled hearing and asking your spouse to repeat constantly.

• If your other half is covering his or her ears because the TV is too loud and you still can't hear it, it's time for a hearing test.

Difficulty understanding what your partner is saying in public spaces.

• When there are competing voices or background noise and you cannot distinguish the specific words, it can be a sign of hearing loss.

Avoiding conversation and social interaction.

• If you've always loved going out but suddenly it is "too much," once again being able to hear those you love will make conversation more fun.


• All of the above situations can cause depression and isolation. A good course of action to pursue is a hearing test and trying a hearing aid to be sure the depression is not hearing related.

For more information on hearing loss, visit

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Advancements In Metastatic Melanoma

(NAPSI)—Cancer is one of the most widespread diseases and the leading cause of death worldwide. Nearly one in 24 Americans are living with some form of cancer, so chances are you know someone with the disease.

While the rates of certain cancers have declined due to increased screening tests, other cancers continue to grow in numbers. This includes melanoma, a form of skin cancer in which cells that produce the skin's pigment—called melanocytes—grow out of control.

Melanoma accounts for about 5 percent of all skin cancers, yet it is the cause of the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. Metastatic melanoma is the deadliest form of the disease. It occurs when cancer spreads beyond the surface of the skin to other organs such as the lymph nodes, lungs, brain or other areas of the body. For the past 30 years, the number of people diagnosed with this cancer has been rising.

"Historically, treating metastatic melanoma has been a challenge due to limited treatment options, resulting in an average survival rate of just six months and 75 percent of patients dying within a year of diagnosis. However, we now have additional treatment options that are helping us fight metastatic melanoma," said Asim Amin, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the immunotherapy program at the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, N.C. "One of these treatment options is Yervoy, also known as ipilimumab. Upon its approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2011, it became the first treatment for metastatic melanoma to significantly extend survival for patients in a phase III study, which was a pivotal moment in the treatment of this disease."

Yervoy® (ipilimumab) can cause serious side effects in many parts of the body, which can lead to death. These serious side effects may include: inflammation of the intestines (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines; inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) that can lead to liver failure; inflammation of the skin that can lead to severe skin reaction (toxic epidermal necrolysis); inflammation of the nerves that can lead to paralysis; inflammation of hormone glands (especially the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands) that may affect how these glands work; and inflammation of the eyes.

These side effects are most likely to begin during treatment; however, side effects can show up months after the last infusion. Healthcare providers should perform blood tests, such as liver and thyroid function tests, before starting and during treatment with Yervoy. The oncologist may decide to delay or stop Yervoy (ipilimumab).

Patients should call their healthcare provider if they have any signs or symptoms or they get worse. Even seemingly mild symptoms can lead to severe or even life-threatening conditions if not addressed. Patients should not try to treat symptoms themselves.

Rick is a patient who was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. "I was frightened when I was diagnosed with this disease. I had been through multiple treatments, but it kept coming back. After much discussion with my physician, we decided Yervoy may be the best option for me." Throughout the course of his treatment, Rick had strong support from his family and friends. "Having that support helped me greatly and gave me renewed hope."

Extending Survival for Some Patients

Yervoy is approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma or melanoma that cannot be removed through surgery (unresectable), and works through the immune system. Yervoy may not work in all patients and may affect healthy cells, too, which could result in serious side effects in many parts of the body. Some of these side effects may lead to death.

In a phase III clinical study, some Yervoy patients lived much longer than patients who did not receive it. People treated with Yervoy lived a median of 10 months, compared to a median of six months for those who were treated with an experimental drug alone. Of the 676 patients in this trial, 137 patients (20 percent) received Yervoy (ipilimumab) alone, 136 patients (20 percent) received another experimental drug alone, and 403 patients (60 percent) received both treatments. In the trial, patients were previously treated with one or more of the following: aldesleukin, dacarbazine, temozolomide, fotemustine or carboplatin. The primary goal was to measure how long patients lived with Yervoy in combination with the experimental drug compared to the experimental drug alone. Over the course of the study, treatment with Yervoy decreased the risk of death by about one-third compared to patients who received the experimental drug. Individual results will vary. It is important for patients to ask their doctors if Yervoy is right for them.

As follow-up of these patients continued, it was estimated that 46 percent of patients taking Yervoy alone were alive at one year and 24 percent were alive at two years. By comparison, 25 percent of patients taking the experimental drug alone were alive at one year and 14 percent at two years.

In addition to the serious side effects, the most common side effects of Yervoy are tiredness, diarrhea, itching and rash. These are not all of the possible side effects of Yervoy. Please see the Important Safety Information below for additional information.

Talk to your healthcare provider about any questions you may have about your health or Yervoy. To learn more, visit

Important Safety Information

Yervoy (ipilimumab) can cause serious side effects in many parts of your body, which can lead to death. These serious side effects may include inflammation of the intestines (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines; inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) that can lead to liver failure; inflammation of the skin that can lead to severe skin reaction (toxic epidermal necrolysis); inflammation of the nerves that can lead to paralysis; inflammation of hormone glands (especially the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands) that may affect how these glands work; and inflammation of the eyes.

These side effects are most likely to begin during treatment; however, side effects can show up months after your last infusion. Your healthcare provider should perform blood tests, such as liver and thyroid function tests, before starting and during treatment with Yervoy. Your oncologist may decide to delay or stop Yervoy.

Call your healthcare provider if you have any signs or symptoms or they get worse. Even seemingly mild symptoms can lead to severe or even life-threatening conditions if not addressed. Do not try to treat symptoms yourself.

Serious side effects may include:

• Inflammation of the intestines (colitis) that can cause tears or holes (perforation) in the intestines. Signs and symptoms of colitis may include:

o diarrhea (loose stools) or more bowel movements than usual

o blood in your stools or dark, tarry, sticky stools

o stomach pain (abdominal pain) or tenderness

• Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) that can lead to liver failure. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis may include:

o yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

o dark urine (tea colored)

o nausea or vomiting

o pain on the right side of your stomach

o bleeding or bruising more easily than normal

• Inflammation of the skin that can lead to severe skin reaction (toxic epidermal necrolysis). Signs and symptoms of severe skin reactions may include:

o skin rash with or without itching

o sores in your mouth

o your skin blisters and/or peels

• Inflammation of the nerves that can lead to paralysis. Symptoms of nerve problems may include:

o unusual weakness of legs, arms or face

o numbness or tingling in hands or feet

• Inflammation of hormone glands (especially the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands) that may affect how these glands work. Signs and symptoms that your glands are not working properly may include:

o persistent or unusual headaches

o unusual sluggishness, feeling cold all the time, or weight gain

o changes in mood or behavior such as decreased sex drive, irritability or forgetfulness

o dizziness or fainting

• Inflammation of the eyes. Symptoms may include:

o blurry vision, double vision or other vision problems

o eye pain or redness

Pregnancy and Nursing:

• Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Yervoy (ipilimumab) may cause stillbirth, premature delivery and/or death of your unborn baby. Before starting Yervoy, tell your healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding. It is advised that nursing mothers do not breast-feed while taking Yervoy.

Tell your healthcare provider about:

• Your health problems if you:

o have an active condition where your immune system attacks your body (autoimmune disease), such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, lupus or sarcoidosis.

o had an organ transplant, such as a kidney transplant

o have liver damage from diseases or drugs

o have any other medical conditions

• All the medicines you take including:

o all prescription and nonprescription medicines

o steroids or other medicines that lower your immune response

o vitamins

o herbal supplements

You should not start a new medicine before you talk with your healthcare provider who prescribes you Yervoy.

Most Common Side Effects:

The most common side effects of Yervoy (ipilimumab) include tiredness, diarrhea, itching and rash.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Yervoy. If you have any questions about your health or medicines, talk to your healthcare provider.

Please visit for U.S. Full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING regarding immune-mediated side effects, and Medication Guide, for Yervoy.

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

A New Campaign Weighs In On Your Weight And Health

(NAPSI)—An estimated 72 million Americans are affected by obesity, with nearly one out of three affected by excess weight. Yet, according to some experts, a weight loss of even 5 percent may improve health and reduce risks of some diseases.

That is the word from a new campaign called Your Weight Matters. It's designed to draw attention to the fact that there are many health implications that accompany excess weight and obesity. For example, diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea are some of the many health conditions related to the issue of weight and obesity.

The campaign-developed by the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)-encourages people to measure their weight and discuss it with their healthcare provider. To prepare themselves for that discussion, individuals can take the Campaign Challenge and receive the Your Weight Matters Toolkit for free, which is designed to help them talk to their healthcare provider.

Measuring Your Weight

You may not be aware of how your weight is impacting your health. The Your Weight Matters Campaign will help you measure your weight and prepare you for your talk with your healthcare provider. One simple way to measure your weight is to calculate your body mass index, or BMI, which is a number calculated by dividing a person's weight by his/her height squared. The result will fall into one of four main weight categories that healthcare professionals use when assessing weight. They are "normal," "overweight," "obesity" and "severe obesity." The campaign's website has a calculator that makes it easy to get your BMI and a more detailed description of how to understand the results.

Taking the Challenge

The OAC encourages you to take the Campaign Challenge by making an online pledge to talk to your healthcare provider about your weight.

By taking the Challenge, you will receive the free Campaign Toolkit, which covers a wide variety of valuable information on weight, health, nutrition, exercise, emotional issues, weight-loss options, benefits of weight-loss and more.

Most importantly, the Campaign Toolkit will prepare you for your first appointment with your healthcare provider by providing you with sample questions for your provider, a food journal, wellness tips and more.

To measure your weight, learn more and take the Challenge, visit

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]


Have More Get-Up-And-Go As Time Goes By

(NAPSI)—For optimal health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week. In addition, muscle-strengthening activities should be conducted two or more days a week.

Why Exercise

Exercise can help prevent many physical problems and chronic conditions that come with aging, including weight gain, back pain and heart disease. Plus, it keeps the mind sharp and can help you feel happier, improving symptoms of depression and even dementia.

To gain these benefits, however, you need to find a fitness program that provides the physical results desired and is enjoyable, too, so you'll stick to it. That's where the nation's leading exercise program for older adults comes in. Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program offers physical and group activities in a comprehensive program that provides full access to a health club, senior fitness classes, online resources, and social experiences.

"SilverSneakers incorporates a number of interactive and educational events into our programs because improving overall well-being includes focusing on both physical and emotional well-being," said certified personal trainer Sims McMahon. "These events help to create a sense of community and increase the feeling of belonging many of our members hoped to find when joining the program."

Research shows that participants enrolled in SilverSneakers for two years have fewer hospital admissions and significantly lower overall health care costs.

How To Exercise

Before you begin any exercise program, McMahon has the following tips:

1. See your doctor, especially if you have a chronic condition.

2. Start slowly. Begin by walking, say, for 10 minutes or so a day. As you gain energy and your body builds stamina, increase your activity levels and make it more challenging.

3. Stay motivated. Have realistic short-term goals you can easily meet.

4. Don't be intimidated. Remember that everyone had to walk in the door for the first time. Don't let the thought of starting hold you back. You can do it.

Where To Exercise

To make it all easier, Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program is available in 11,000 fitness centers nationwide. It's free in most cases because it's covered through many Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and group retiree plans.

The classes are taught by credentialed instructors and focus on older adult-specific programming. An online program provides a number of resources, including healthy-living articles and recipes.

Members can also get exercise and nutrition plans and expert advice.

How To Learn More

To find out more information, including nearby locations, visit or call (888) 423-4632.

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Shaping Up For Swimsuit Season-And Beyond

(NAPSI)—There could be good news for all those who think they have a fat chance of getting and staying slim: a surprising diet, exercise and nutritional supplements can help.

According to pharmacist, author and lecturer Sherry Torkos, a potent tool against weight gain is the Glycemic Index (GI).

The diet ranks carbohydrates based on how they affect blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods that are broken down into sugar more slowly-fruits, vegetables, whole grains, yogurt and dark chocolate—are low on the GI and provide sustained energy. Foods that are rapidly broken down into blood sugar—refined white flour products, baked and fried potatoes, white rice, candy and soda—causing sudden blood sugar spikes, are high on the GI and provide bursts of energy followed by periods of fatigue. Getting off this blood sugar roller coaster can help you feel more energized, promote the use of fat for energy, and decrease your appetite and food cravings.

For long-term weight loss, Torkos adds, try these tips:

1. Avoid refined and processed foods. To satisfy a sweet craving, go for fresh fruit or dark chocolate.

2. Add cinnamon to your cereal or coffee to improve the insulin action.

3. Include a lean protein and healthy fat in every meal-that also helps lower the glycemic impact.

4. Eat small meals throughout the day.

5. Be aware of portion size.

6. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour a day of moderate-intensity activity, such as walking, playing tennis, biking or dancing. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk or bike to your destinations.

7. Consider nutritional supplements backed by clinical studies.

• Phase 2, an extract of white kidney beans, improves glycemic control by reducing the digestion of starches. Total Lean Phase 2 Carb Controller from GNC has been clinically studied and shown to decrease the caloric impact of carbs.

• Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a derivative of a fatty acid found naturally in certain foods, such as meat and dairy. Supplements of CLA are made from sunflower oil and can improve fat metabolism and maintain or improve lean muscle mass.

• Fish oil supplements are good for heart health and emotional well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids can increase fat oxidation.

• Chromium can improve glucose tolerance by increasing insulin sensitivity.

Learn More

You can find further facts and tips online at


Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

A New Way To Treat Children With Chronic Pain

(NAPSI)—There's good news for children who experience chronic pain. A new approach to pain care will finally offer relief for young patients and their families.

It's estimated that 25 to 46 percent of children and teens experience chronic pain: serious pain on a daily basis over the course of three months or more. Most children and teens who seek help see, on average, four to five medical specialists—or even more—plus have multiple, expensive tests without answers for why they hurt, before they find the care they need. All of this adds up to lost school days and lost workdays for their parents, which can create significant financial burdens on families.

A New Approach

To help ease pain for children, the Pain Medicine Care Complex at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has developed an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to addressing pain that is helping patients achieve a higher quality of life.

The pain medicine team has incorporated new interactive video games that distract patients from their pain, while also collecting important data about their movements and response to treatment. According to Sarah Rebstock, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Director of the Pain Medicine Program and a Principal Investigator of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, these "medically meaningful" video games provide digital medical data collection for the first time ever, which enables better short-term pain management and long-term research. The games are based on proven physical therapy activities and help patients build their range of motion. Additionally, when it comes to treating pain, the Pain Medicine Care Complex tailors treatments based on the unique needs of each patient. These treatments can include traditional pain medicines when appropriate or complementary therapies including psychological support, acupuncture, massage and biofeedback.

Medically meaningful video games

The video games were developed jointly between Interface Media Group and the Pain Medicine Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National. The games take patients through a series of exercises and activities based on current physical therapy techniques. Some of the games create the feeling of being in a futuristic Olympic sports event. Others, designed for very young children, create the feeling of painting large pictures. The interactive aspect of the games includes proprietary software that gathers patient data to track improved range of motion.

The Pain Medicine Care Complex also includes a high-tech, interactive POD bed designed by interior designer Alberto Frias, which serves as a biofeedback environment for the patient. The POD bed reduces anxiety and tension for patients, a common symptom of children with chronic pain.

Finally, state-of-the-art teleconference and telemedicine technology allows the pain medicine experts at Children's National to help diagnose and treat patients beyond Washington, D.C., and around the world.

Innovation in Research

The Pain Medicine Care Complex is part of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National in Washington, D.C. The Institute was launched in 2009 with a gift from the government of Abu Dhabi on behalf of the people. This was the largest gift ever given for innovation in pediatric surgery. The Institute conducts research that will help children all over the world, and is specifically dedicated to making surgery more precise, less invasive and pain free.

To learn more, visit

  Download article content                                                                                          [Top]


Bookmark and Share LIST OF SUBJECTS LEAVE A MESSAGE  Follow Me on Pinterest