Shoulder Pain and Its Possible Causes

Do you know that playing certain musical instruments can sometimes cause shoulder pain? In fact, I know of some guitarists and violinists who have suffered from shoulder pain after hours of continuously playing. But other people also suffer from shoulder pain for various reasons. For instance, football players, boxers and other athletes experience shoulder pain as a symptom of shoulder subluxation because of a hard blow on their shoulders, while ordinary people can suffer from shoulder pain due to poor posture. Regardless of the cause, however, shoulder pain including pain between shoulder blades is not something that you could easily neglect. The longer you delay to address the pain, the more it can linger and aggravate.

The key to treating shoulder pain is addressing its cause:

  • Poor Posture – Many people are not concerned about their posture when sitting down or doing their regular routine. However, poor posture is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. In particular, sitting down for a long period of time with the wrong posture can lead to muscle imbalances, causing some of the back muscles to work harder. This in turn can have an effect on some parts of your back, particularly the shoulder area. This is very common among office employees who are used to sitting down for several hours straight with poor posture and without stretching activities in between.
  • Strenuous Exercise or Activity – Engaging in a new and strenuous activity or an exercise involving twisting the trunk or spine such as when lifting heavy objects, doing heavy manual labor, or playing tennis or golf can put strain in the back muscles. This in turn can cause pain in the shoulder blades.
  • Cervical Spine Problems – A more serious cause of shoulder pain is cervical spine problem. People who experience accidents that affect the cervical spine may suffer from pain as a consequential effect. This pain may linger until the problem with the cervical spine is solved.
  • Visceral Pain – There are times when shoulder pain can also be caused by problems in other organs of the body such as the gall bladder, stomach, liver, lungs, spleen or pericardial sac. This is more often referred to as referred pain. In this case, a doctor must be consulted for proper diagnosis of the real cause of shoulder pain.
  • Incoming Heart Attack – Aside from chest pain, another notable symptom of an incoming heart attack is pain around the shoulder blades, which comes with sweating, nausea and pain in the left arm. If these symptoms are observed, immediate medical attention is needed.

Some of the causes of shoulder pain are easy to address by your own, while other causes such as visceral pain and possible heart attack need intervention from your health care provider or doctor. It is important that you or your doctor is able to identify and treat the real or underlying cause of your shoulder pain rather than just addressing the pain itself. Don’t let the pain linger. Address it as soon as possible.

Dog Food: Vital Facts You Should Know

Before buying or owning a musical instrument, there are some important details that you should know about to help you choose your instrument, to maintain it and on how to use it properly. The same is true with owning a pet, more particularly dogs. Many music enthusiasts who come to me to learn playing the piano or other musical instruments are dog owners. Sometimes, they will share stories about their challenges of having a dog. Perhaps one of the most common challenges they encounter is choosing the right food for their pet.

Factors to consider when choosing dog food

When deciding on what type of food is suitable for your dog, consider its age, gender, body composition and activity level. In general, dogs need the a balanced diet composed of the six nutrient groups which include fats, oils, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and water. Some good quality commercial dog food should be able to have this nutritional balance.

Food options available for dogs:

  • Kibble (dry food) – It is considered to be the most economical and convenient as it does not need refrigeration. It is normally classified into ordinary and hypoallergenic dog food.
  • Canned (wet food) – It has the advantage of long shelf life and is easy to find in many supermarkets. It can be expensive though.
  • Semi-moist – This kind of dog food is normally shaped into burgers, pork chops and other meaty products. It is generally high in sugar and is known to cause dental disease in the long run. Additionally, many brands contain preservatives and artificial coloring which are not good for dogs. It contains less nutritional value but they are best as occasional treat.
  • Home cooked – Although time-consuming to prepare, one of the advantages of a home-cooked diet is you know what you put in it. Of course, that is if you know what type of ingredients should be added in your dog’s food.
  • Raw – Normally, this kind of diet includes raw meat, including bones and organs. This type of food is okay for many dogs as they generally have strong stomach acids to digest it.

Economy versus premium commercial dog food brands

Just like in most commercial products, you get what you pay for when buying dog foods. Most economy brands are made from cheap ingredients and contain less nutritional value. They generally contain filler ingredients which can be harmful to your dog. On the other hand, premium brands generally use high quality ingredients, with higher nutritional value and with less filler. You will know this by reading the label before purchasing.

Dry food versus wet food

Both types of food have advantages and drawbacks. Dry foods are easier to store and serve and they are also normally more affordable than wet foods. Dry foods also help reduce tartar buildup when chewing. However, if your dog needs more water intake, this type of food may not be as beneficial as wet foods.

Mixing dry food with wet food

Generally, it is okay to mix dry and wet foods to feed your dog unless your dog is on a special diet requiring a specific type of food. For instance, dogs on a dental diet need to be on dry food while dogs on urinary diet should take wet foods with high water content.

These facts are intended to be used as guidelines only. If you often ask yourself, can dogs eat bananas and other fruits? Maybe yes, or may be not depending on the condition of your dog. It is safer to ask your veterinarian for advice on the best food for your dog.

Salicylic Acid Peel and Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin problems that affect people, regardless of gender. While I was still teaching piano, some of my students who were just in their teens already had acne. I used to think that it only affected older people. Acne may not be as serious as cancer or heart problems, but people should really put much attention to it especially since the affected area is highly visible like the face. Acne is a troublesome skin problem because it can cause a noticeable blemish on the skin aside from the fact that it can be painful especially for the nodular acne.

While there are creams that claim to be effective in acne removal, some cases go out of hand, such that a more aggressive treatment would be necessary. One treatment I know of is the salicylic acid peel. But many people may not be familiar about this form of treatment.

Salicylic acid peels are categorized under beta hydroxyl peel which is considered to be stronger and more penetrating peels. This form of acne treatment is suitable for most types of skin but it is said to be more effective in people with oily skin. It can also treat a wide range of skin problems including clogged pores, blackheads, acne and congested skin. However, if you have aspirin allergy, this treatment is not suitable for you.

Most salicylic acid peels are just 15 percent in strength. And before it is applied, a primer should first be applied on the skin to remove any residual oil. When the prep solution dries, it is followed by the application of salicylic acid. The peel will remain on the skin for a preset time before it will be gently removed with water or cleanser. The peel normally feels prickly and warm on the skin. Sometimes, it may even cause redness and discomfort. It is important to remove the peel even before the preset time is finished if you can no longer tolerate the pain.

After the peel is removed, post-peel redness may still linger for several hours or days for some people. You may also notice your skin to become flaky and dry. Some light peeling may also occur. But unlike other acne treatments such as laser treatment and TCA peels, the use of salicylic acid has no significant downtime. The skin normally heals and returns to normal after three days. Also, it has no major side effects except for flaking and redness. But this is important to keep in mind to avoid direct exposure to sunlight especially during the first two days after undergoing the peel, since the skin is more sensitive to the sun during these days.

The acid peel using salicylic acid may have varying effects on different people. Some people will take more than 6 peels before they would see results while others need less. But generally, if the acne is moderate to severe, it will take 5-6 peels to see results.

I have not personally undergone any type of acid peel for acne problem. But based on what I heard from friends, it is one of the effective remedies for acne.