NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. 10 Unknown Myths and Truths About Joint Replacement Surgery

    surgery joint replacement When it comes to joint replacement surgery, there’s so much misinformation out there.

    It’s hard to tell what’s myth and what’s true.

    In this article, we’ll tackle some of those myths, differentiate between the myths that have arisen based on legitimate concerns and those based in fear or resignation, and finally weed out the fact from fiction of replacing joints.

    Concerns Surrounding Joint Replacement Surgery

    Many of the myths surrounding joint replacement stem from legitimate concerns about the safety and efficacy of major surgery.

    That doesn’t mean they should hold you back, though. It just means these first five myths are worth investigating.

    Myth #1: Artificial joints are dangerous and may be recalled.

    Truth: As with any piece of technology, occasionally there might be equipment recalls. However, in the overall scheme of things, recalls don’t affect very many patients. Also, while it may be labelled a “recall”, often all that needs to happen is closer monitoring. Talk to your doctor about the true chances of a recall.

    Myth #2: Surgery means complications.

    Truth: Joint replacement surgery is major surgery. That means that there are risks involved. But it doesn’t guarantee that there will be complications. In fact, there are significantly fewer complications the more joint replacement surgeries performed in a facility. So, find a doctor and a hospital that performs the procedure you need on a regular basis and you can reduce your risk of complications substantially.

    Myth #3: Recovery is hard work – and full recovery is impossible.

    Truth: Recovering from this surgery will take some effort on your part. After the procedure, you’ll probably be assigned a physical therapist, and it’s essential that you follow their instructions and routines. If you do so, the odds are good that you’ll be one of the people back at work and living life again in three months – and fully recovered in a year. Yes, it will take some time, but how fully your recover is almost entirely in your own hands.

    Myth #4: Replacement joints have a limited life and are only short-term, so this surgery isn’t worth it.

    Truth: This may have been true in the past, but it isn’t any longer. While the older technology used in joint replacement surgeries was only expected to last for about ten years, the more modern equipment is fully expected to last twenty-five to thirty years. Making replacement surgery a viable option, no matter how old you are.

    Myth #5: Having a joint replaced will slow you down.

    Truth: The exact opposite is true. The whole point of replacing a joint is to help bring you back up to speed again. Walking on a new hip or knee, swimming again thanks to a new shoulder – whatever you miss doing, the goal of the procedure is to give you back your life and your mobility.

    Fear and Resignation Myths

    When you’ve been in pain a long time, it’s easy to believe there’s just nothing that can be done. These five myths built up around the fear of disappointment and resignation. Luckily, they’re just myths – and the truths are very different.

    Myth #6: Joint pain is a part of aging, and you just have to live with it.

    Truth: You don’t have to simply live with debilitating pain. More people are candidates for this surgery than realize it. If your joint pain has started affecting your daily life and impacting your mobility, it’s okay to talk to your doctor about replacements.

    Myth #7: Replacing a joint didn’t work for someone you know, so it won’t work for you.

    Truth: While the rates of success do vary, only about 10% of hip and knee replacements needed to be removed in a follow-up surgery. If that still sounds too high for you, be sure to find a doctor who performs joint replacement surgeries on a regular basis. As we’ve already mentioned, the odds of success increase the more often your doctor performs them.

    Myth #8: You can only replace the large joints.

    Truth: Knee and hip replacements are the most common joint replacement surgeries – but that doesn’t make them the only joint replacement surgeries. If necessary, you can also replace shoulder, ankle, and even finger joints. Doing so can restore movement and eliminate pain. Find the right specialist for the job, though, because different procedures require different skills.

    Myth #9: You should put off replacing a joint for as long as possible.

    Truth: No, you probably don’t want to resort to this surgery at the very first twinge of pain, but that doesn’t mean it should be a last resort, either. It’s the 21st century and you don’t have to live in constant pain. Plus, living in pain can actually increase the pain. Pain tends to make people lethargic and less mobile – which can lead to weight gain and a decreased level of activity – which just leads to more pain. So talk to your doctor about surgery once your pain begins to affect your quality of life.

    Myth #10: It’s stupid not to replace your joints.

    Truth: Only you and your doctor can decide if it’s time for a joint replacement surgery. It’s okay to be afraid. To ask questions. To want surgery to be a last resort. There are ways you can avoid this surgery – tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, topical pain relievers… The list goes on. The point isn’t to rush into surgery. The point is to sift through the myth from the reality and make the decision that’s right for you.

    So take your time. Talk to your doctor. Evaluate your quality of life.

    And when the time comes to consider joint replacement surgery, do so – with all the facts in front of you.

  2. Stress and Pain: Is Stress the Cause of Your Pain [take this quiz]

    pain and stressDoes your pain cause your stress?

    Or does your stress cause your pain?

    We’ve known for a long time that stress and pain are connected.

    But how do you know which came first?

    This quiz may give you an indication of which came first, and if stress is actually causing your pain.

    The Quiz

    1. Is your pain – especially migraine pain – worse on weekends?

    2. Is your pain in your head, stomach, back, or jaw?

    3. Do you suffer from insomnia, or sleeplessness?

    4. Do you feel stressed, but nothing you do seems to be helping?

    5. Is your doctor stumped by your pain?

    If you answered “yes” to any of these five questions, the odds are good that your pain is caused by stress.

    Here’s how it works –

    Decoding the Quiz

    Question 1: Migraines and more pain over the weekend.
    You stay stressed all week, then relax over the weekend. This should be good for you except that when stress and pain are severe, that drop in stress triggers migraines and pain rather than eliminating it. Weekend migraines are a strong sign you’re too stressed during the week. Relaxing shouldn’t make you hurt worse.

    Question 2: Head, stomach, back, or jaw pain.
    Stress can cause you to grind your teeth and clench your jaw. Do either of those things long enough and you will experience jaw pain. Since stress also causes tense muscles, lower and upper back pain are common stress symptoms. And according to one study, people who were more stressed also experienced higher numbers of stomach aches than people who were less stressed.

    Question 3: Insomnia and sleeplessness. While this may not seem related to pain specifically, it could be related to stress. One of the earliest symptoms of stress is struggling to get to sleep, or stay asleep. And when you can sleep, if you’re dealing with unusual or unpleasant dreams that disturb your sleep, well, that’s a sign of stress – that could be causing pain – too.

    Question 4: Feeling stressed. If you find yourself saying that you’re stressed, but you’re managing it – you may not be managing it at all. Or if you are able to relax for a moment or two but find yourself stressed again quickly, that momentary relaxation isn’t enough for your body to stabilize. Whatever brave face you put out to the world, be honest with yourself. If you feel stressed – if you want to or not – your body is feeling the stress, too.

    Question 5: Stumped doctors. There’s no injury. There’s no underlying health concern. There’s no disease. Yet you’re still in pain, no matter how many tests the doctors run. It’s time to pay closer attention to the stress and pain connection in your body.

    The Stress and Pain Cycle

    When you get stressed, your entire body responds. Your heart races and your breathing speeds up, sure, but those are only the symptoms you can immediately identify.

    The truth is that the stress is affecting every system in your body. Hormones get released. Adrenaline starts pumping. Blood pressure increases.

    Your body simply isn’t designed to stay under stress for extended periods of time. The longer you’re stressed, the greater the impact on your body.

    There comes a time when the constant onslaught of pain starts taking a physical toll – and the result is pain.

    The problem is that pain itself can be stressful. Pain can cause you to stop exercising, stop going out, and stop taking care of yourself physically and emotionally.

    Because everything hurts. Except that the very things you’ve stopped doing because of pain are the very things that can help you reduce your stress levels – which will help reduce your pain.

    Pain and stress are actually working together to keep you in pain and stressed.

    What You Can Do About Pain and Stress

    So you took the quiz and answered yes to more than one of the questions. All that does is give you something else to be stressed about!

    But it doesn’t have to. There are steps you can take to reduce your stress, and therefore your pain.

    1. Make an appointment with your doctor to talk about pain and stress. You should have already eliminated all the physical reasons for your pain by now. This time, go and talk to your doctor about the possibility of it being stress. Be honest and willing to listen. Your doctor will be able to make suggestions targeted specifically for you and your fitness level that can help you reduce stress.

    2. If you’ve changed behaviors, change them back. Whatever the pain has made you stop doing, ease your way back into it. No, you probably shouldn’t go from your couch to a marathon, but going from your couch to walking around the block is a good start. Get back to doing the things you love.

    3. Join a club or find an organization that needs volunteers. Schedule a time to meet up with friends for coffee or lunch. When someone asks how you are, be honest. Talk about the good things in your life and the bad. That’s what friends are for – and have a strong social network goes a long way to reducing stress.

    4. Watch your diet. This doesn’t mean lose weight – it does mean make sure you’re eating a healthy diet. When you’re in pain and stressed, it’s easy to slack off on the nutrition. Make sure you’re getting plenty of lean proteins, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Try to cut out the heavily processed stuff. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you start to feel better.

    5. Make time for relaxation. If you’ve gotten into the pain and stress cycle, it means that relaxing isn’t coming naturally. So schedule it. Even relaxation time can go on your calendar. Try meditation, yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing. All of them have been shown to help reduce stress.

    6. Get some rest. Everything is easier to handle when you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, including pain and stress. And hopefully, the more sleep you get, the more you’ll reduce your pain and stress anyway.

    We know that stress causes pain. But we also know that you don’t have to live with stress and pain.

    Some of these suggestions may feel awkward or uncomfortable at first, but they’re worth it.

    Because in the end, they feel so much better than living with pain caused by stress.

  3. 10 Unbelievable Food and Diet Myths Debunked

    myths dietWhen it comes to eating for weight loss and better health, it’s easy to think you know all there is to know. Unfortunately, sometimes what you think is true is actually myth. Persistent myth, but myth nonetheless. Like these ten diet myths that seem to stick around, no matter how often they’re debunked! Continue reading →
  4. Beware of These 10 Eczema Triggers

    triggers eczemaIt’s more than just dry skin – it’s eczema. The dry, scaly, cracking skin. It itches. It hurts. And honestly, sometimes it’s embarrassing. It’s also not your fault. There are eczema triggers that you may not even be aware of – but once you know them, you can avoid them. And maybe you can even stop eczema flare ups before they begin. Continue reading →
  5. How to Get Beautiful Feet in 3 Minutes

    Beautiful feet how to getTo be fair, in the larger scheme of your health, how to get beautiful feet isn’t all that important. But beautiful feet can make you feel better. And anything that boosts your confidence, makes you feel better, or lets you feel pretty even on a bad day is worth thinking about. Plus, you can get beautiful feet in a matter of minutes, which makes how to get beautiful feet an even more worthwhile confidence booster. Follow these five steps to get beautiful feet in no time. Continue reading →
  6. Colorful Food: What Does the Color of Your Food Say About You?

    food colorfulYou use the color of your clothes, your home, even your car to say something about yourself. We all do. But did you know that the color of your foods can say just as much? It’s true. Next time you want to know something about someone, look in their refrigerator or at their plate. Do you see colorful food of bright, vibrant colors? Or Browns, tans, and beiges? Never mind their plates – what do you see when you look at your plate? And what does it all mean? Continue reading →
  7. Too Many Vitamins? The Hidden Dangers of These 3 Common Vitamins

    vitamins too manyThe formula for good health has been around for a long time – exercise, eat well, and take your vitamins. But what if that’s not necessarily a formula for good health after all? What if there are hidden dangers in some of your favorite vitamins and supplements? What if you could actually take too many  vitamins? Would you want to know? We certainly would – which is why we’re looking at the hidden dangers of three of the most common vitamins and minerals. Continue reading →
  8. 10 Surprising Remedies That Heal Cracked Feet

    feet crackedJust because sandal season is winding down doesn’t mean you should ignore your feet. The pain, itching, and discomfort of cracked feet is uncomfortable year-round, even when others can’t see it. So don’t resign yourself to it just because summer’s over – heal cracked feet. And heal them in the privacy of your own home, without the expense or embarrassment of a spa pedicure. Also, avoid the risks associated with running a blade across your heels! These ten remedies that heal cracked feet will get you through the fall and winter staying perfectly smooth. No snagging on your wool socks or snuggly blankets. Just soft, smooth feet year-round. Continue reading →
  9. How to Treat Shingles Naturally: 5 Surprising Tips

    how to naturally treat shingles It’s disconcerting to think that a disease you may have had as a child can be lurking in your system, waiting to cause problems as an adult – but that’s exactly how shingles works. The red, painful rash and blisters that are indicative of shingles are caused by a virus that has been in your body since your childhood bout of chicken pox. So what exactly is shingles? And can I be taught how to treat shingles naturally? Of course you can. Let’s find out more – Continue reading →
  10. Is Your Daily Morning Routine Helping You or Harming You?

    daily routine morningLet’s be honest – your morning routine sets the tone for your whole day. You can pretty much know if you’re going to spend your day peaceful and productive or frantic and trying to catch up before you ever leave the house. Now, if you’re happy with your daily morning routine – have enough time, and feel ready to face the day – then feel free to stop reading. But if you are looking for a different daily morning routine that can help you have a happier, healthier day, read on! Continue reading →
  11. Living With Vertigo – More Than Just A Little Dizzy

    vertigo livingYou’re sitting perfectly still, but the room feels like it’s moving around you. And you’d love to lie down, but rolling over only makes it worse. Maybe you were even perfectly fine yesterday, and now you feel like this. You could be dealing with vertigo – and it’s more than just a fear of heights. So just what is vertigo? What should you do about it? And what’s the easiest way to live with vertigo? Continue reading →
  12. 6 Unusual Ways to Stop Overeating

    overeating stopIn theory, it’s easy to stop overeating. You tell yourself to stop eating when you’re full, and not to eat after nine in the evening. You might even tell the server not to bring the complementary chips and salsa or warm bread. But if it really was that easy to eat less, we’d all have done it by now. And in reality, it’s just plain hard. Which is why these six unusual ways to end overeating may be just what you’re looking for – Continue reading →
  13. Your Brain on Music: How Music Affects Your Mind

    music your brainHave you ever felt better because you turned on some music? Are you someone who becomes laser-focused with music playing in the background? Well, if you’ve ever turned on gentle music while relaxing… or while working in the office… or maybe even if you have a headache, I’ve got news for you: it actually helped. Want to see your brain on music? It affects your brain in ways we’re just beginning to understand. Ways like – Continue reading →
  14. 10 Surprising Foods for Heart Health

    heart health foodsYou know all of the standard foods for heart health out there. Whole grains. Fruits. Vegetables. Olive oil. And you try to eat with heart health in mind. But sometimes, you’d like to mix it up a bit. Sometimes, it would be nice to be surprised when it comes to heart healthy foods. Well guess what? You’re in luck. Because here are ten foods that help with heart health and they might just surprise you – Continue reading →
  15. The Causes of Severe Headaches

    severe headache causesA perfect day, missed…a special event, cancelled…a good night’s sleep, ruined. Severe headaches can change the entire course of your day, your night, and even your week. But knowing the possible triggers and causes of severe headaches may help minimize those missed days and get you back to your life. Continue reading →
  16. 7 Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Gout

    gout treatIf you have gout, you know it’s a pain like no other, which means you’re always looking for natural ways to prevent flair-ups and symptoms once they hit. Because the debilitating pain of gout is not something you just roll the dice with. A natural lifestyle is important, too. You don’t want gout to tie you to a doctor’s office – or even a prescription pad. Instead, you want to be proactive. You want to take matters into your own hands and prevent gout symptoms from developing as much as possible. You want to treat gout pain quickly when it hits and do it naturally. In this article, we’ll look at what gout is, what makes it different from other forms of arthritis, ways to prevent gout, and ways to treat gout when it does flair up. Continue reading →
  17. Sleep and Memory: Can Sleep Help Improve Your Memory?

    memory and sleepMaybe you’re starting to have the occasional “senior moment.” Maybe you’re not there yet – but regardless, you don’t want them. Or maybe you just love learning and want to make sure you can keep doing it. For whatever reason, you’re looking to improve your memory. So you’ve started doing crossword puzzles and those brain games they advertise on television. But have you looked at how well you’re sleeping? Have you even considered how sleep and memory might be related and how it may even improve your memory? Because if you haven’t, you may want to – and you may find yourself surprised at how sleep can improve your memory. Continue reading →
  18. 5 Ways to Prevent Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

    lyme disease and tick bitesIt’s that time of year again where you hear about Lyme disease. You might hear about someone dealing with the consequences of Lyme disease. Or you might hear about an outbreak of Lyme disease. But it seems like no one ever explains what Lyme disease is. Or how to prevent it. Which is why this article will move beyond the commercial sound bites and explain what tick bites and Lyme disease are, who is most likely to contract them, and how you can avoid them. Continue reading →
  19. Healthy Snacking: How to Lose Weight Eating What You Want

    snacking healthyWe’ve all heard it: to lose weight, cut out snacking. The only problem is that sometimes, when you don’t have a snack, you end up too hungry and overeat at mealtimes. Or your blood sugar gets out of whack. Or you just get grumpy and end up reaching for whatever is close by, even if it’s sugary and bad for you. So I’m just going to come out and say it – you shouldn’t give up snacking. You should give up unhealthy snacking. Because healthy snacking may be exactly what you need to actually lose the weight you’ve been trying to drop. Continue reading →
  20. What Midnight Hunger Has to Do With Your Blood Sugar

    hunger midnightIt’s the middle of the night, and instead of being sound asleep, you’re standing in front of the refrigerator consumed by midnight hunger pangs. If it only happens once in a while, that could be about a particularly active day or a smaller dinner than usual. But if it’s happening several times a week, midnight hunger may have something to do with low blood sugar. Continue reading →