You notice some pain in your jaw when chewing, which progressively worsens over several weeks. Occasionally you feel a clicking or catching in your jaw when opening and closing your mouth. Eventually you are unable to fully open your mouth and experience pain even when you speak. If you have never experienced this, count yourself very lucky. If you have, you are already familiar with the relatively common condition known as TMD.

TMD, short for temperomandibular disorder, is estimated to affect as much as 40{a6a9f0639b93470e5bcd7bedcd80e51041e9bf8010b205eca589e62c8f52e875} of the population at some point in their lifetimes, and is especially prevalent in the young. Initial diagnosis is typically made through a visit to the dentist, and the eventual treatment multidisciplinary with various management techniques. One of the lesser known treatment techniques, but something that is gaining in popularity, is soft-tissue therapy of the masticatory muscles the muscles used to move the jaw.

As a sports chiropractor using manual soft-tissue therapy on a daily basis, I have treated TMD on many occasions with success, however good research on the subject has been lacking. Recently however, this type of myofascial therapy for TMD was tested for efficacy in a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia examined the clinical effectiveness of manual therapy in the treatment TMD. Specifically, they compared myofascial therapy to myofascial therapy plus self-care and education and no care (the control group in the study).

This was a private clinic-based study, with eligible participants ranging from age 18-50 presenting with jaw pain with or without joint sounds of at least 3 months and a willingness to participate in the study. Patients with physical or psychological contraindications were excluded. The outcome measures were jaw pain at rest, jaw pain upon maximal active opening, and jaw pain upon clenching.

The primary therapy consisted of myofascial release of the masticatory muscles, including the temporalis, medial and lateral pterygoid, and masseter. The subjects were treated twice per week over a period of 6 weeks for a total of 12 therapy sessions. Additionally, one group was given additional education and self-care consisting of self-mobilization, exercises and stretching, as well as general education on TML anatomy, biomechanics, disc displacement and dysfunction, and the role of psychoemotional factors contributing to TMD.

The results showed a statistically significant positive efficacy for both the myofascial therapy only, and the myofascial therapy plus education and self-care groups. Not surprisingly, the therapy plus self-care group showed a better 1 year outcome than the therapy alone group a trend that has been supported for the care of most musculoskeletal conditions.

Although the results of this study are no surprise to those practicing manual therapy, it serves to reinforce what we already know anecdotally. For patients suffering from TMD there is now evidence for another great intervention, and for manual therapists not currently treating TMD, there is a great opportunity to expand your skillset and serve those in need.

Muscle Building Supplements for Seniors

Very few muscle building supplements are developed with seniors in mind. Bodybuilding sites focus on the young and overly muscled. Experts also promote supplements as if they are effective regardless of age. The often ignored issue is the age-related limitations on supplements.

This issue also seems to be the case with the increasingly popular use of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) as muscle building supplements. However, a key metabolite of leucine, which is one of the BCAAs, is turning out to be an exception. This metabolite, beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) does, indeed, have a comparable effect for building muscle mass in older vs. younger adults.

Key Research on HMB

The following key study is one of the very few that entail senior subjects. It addresses the effects of HMB in 70-year old adults. Here are the reference details of the study:

Vukovich MD, Stubbs NB, Bohlken RM. Body composition in 70-year-old adults responds to dietary beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate similarly to that of young adults. J Nutr. 2001 Jul;131(7):2049-52.

Fifteen men and sixteen women, average age 70 years, were randomly assigned in a double-blind study to receive either capsules containing a placebo or HMB at 3 grams per day for 8 weeks. At the end of 8 weeks, HMB supplementation tended to increase fat-free mass gain, increased the percentage of body fat loss. CT scans also indicated a greater decrease in the percentage of body fat with HMB supplementation.

The authors concluded that changes in body composition can be accomplished in 70-y-old adults participating in a strength training program, as previously demonstrated in young adults, when HMB is supplemented daily.

Key Age Comparison for Senior Fitness

The authors of this study provided a comparison that is often missing in published studies. It is one thing to say that results have been comparable across several studies. However, these authors provided an analysis of several other studies and showed that results with 70-year-old adults were comparable to studies of subjects in their 20s.

All of the studies in this comparison showed a net weekly increase in percent Fat Free Mass with HMB supplements. The current study shows that 70-year olds might even expect a little bit better than average increase in comparison with the 20-somethings.

That, dear readers, is a rarity regarding aging. And quite a pleasant one for me as I approach that milestone in the next few years.

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Getting help with childbirth during your pregnancy is vital and this is why prenatal yoga is growing so rapidly as a great form of pregnancy exercise. I bet even your Doctor will agree that this is a great way to exercise. As such, it is not surprising why many physicians nowadays may recommend yoga to their pregnant patients. Prenatal Yoga is just great for you. Getting you through the pregnancy stage is one thing, but it will also add amazing benefits during labour too. Whilst your pregnant, yoga will help you to stretch your muscles as well as the internal tissues. Stretching is great for a stimulating effect of pushing the oxygen and blood around your body.

Let’s face it you are going to have a few problems when your pregnant, nothing serious but maybe a little swelling and inflamation around your joints. This is one of the many benefits of prenatal yoga, as it is designed to alleviate these problems.

You might also get some backache and a little cervical discomfort. As you grow you might also suffer from some fatigue. Don’t start to stress though, this is very common for most women. The good thing is, yoga will help you with all these different types of problems. Pregnancy is a sensitive time but there are lots of asana’s which are specifically designed to help you at each stage.

Indigestion can also be another item you might come across during your pregnancy. This normally happens due to the fact that as the baby grows it can affect the normal placement of your intestinal organs. Yoga does help to alleviate this though by promoting normal digestive flow.

When it comes time to deliver is when the most uncomfortable moments will raise their heads. The delivery really can cause some discomfort and pain. Taking up yoga prior to this stage is therefore essential if you want to reap the rewards before delivery. One particular asana will help you tone your muscles in the pelvic region, which will ultimately provide you with more strength during the delivery. This will also help you when it comes time to push your little one out.

Yoga has also been known to provide a soothing effect during your labour period. The added benefit of yoga is that you will learn to breathe in a more natural and relaxing way. It will also show you how to move your body in a more harmonic way with your breathing. This will help you to learn to manage any pain associated with your labour. So to sum up everything, prenatal yoga will help you heighten your physical and emotional well being during pregnancy.

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