Posts made in February, 2015

Game-boy back

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in Health Topics | 0 comments

Game-boy back

The long hours spent gaming are taking their toll on children’s bodies Wherever you go, you see them – restaurants, the doctor’s rooms, even on the couch at home. Children sitting hunched over some new gadget, or the latest console, pounding away as they fire little birds at laughing piggies. But the time children spend playing computer games is putting their bodies under strain. Liska Thom, a physiotherapist in Durban, says that children spend long hours in a stationary position, often with poor posture. This causes an imbalance between muscles, which can’t hold the joints in place. The soft tissue and joints strain, become inflamed and start to hurt. Over time, bones may also fuse in the incorrect position, causing curvature of the spine. Repeating actions when playing games doesn’t help either. Repetitive use of the same body part can result in an overuse or repetitive strain injury, says Joburg-based paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Dr Greg Firth. The resulting injuries have taken on names like “Gameboy back”, “Nintendonitis” and “Playstation thumb”. Damage done Repetitive strain injuries are a group of injuries caused by prolonged repetitive movement and are often found in fingers, hands, arms, shoulders and necks, says Cape Town chiropractor Dr Per Rehn. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common example, where pressure on a nerve in the wrist causes numbness, pain or even loss of movement in the hand. Arm muscles can also be strained from using a computer mouse, thumbs from using Game Boys or phones, and upper and lower back muscles from poor posture. Look out for tenderness, pain or throbbing in muscles or joints. Other symptoms could include tingling, numbness, stiffness or weakness in the affected area. “The repetitive strain on the joints over time can be quite substantial,” notes Thom, adding that children are likely to carry these injuries with them into adulthood, when they will experience more chronic back, neck and shoulder problems. These problems are also becoming more common. The technology is readily available, and with cellphones and tablets, increasingly mobile. While more research needs to be done in South Africa, Rehn believes that these injuries will become more of a problem in the future. Time out You can’t pretend the technology isn’t there, says Rehn, but you can limit children’s gaming time and encourage them to sit properly, and play outside. If children are experiencing pain or discomfort, have them take a break, as problems should resolve if they stop playing, says Firth. If the pain doesn’t clear up, see a physiotherapist or doctor. Game plan Encourage good posture when sitting at tables, desks or on the couch, ensuring backs are supported. Get children to lie on their tummies and prop themselves up on their elbows while playing games. Encourage regular breaks, exercise and stretching. Stretch hands and fingers: Make a fist, hold and release, pushing your fingers out; Grip and release a soft ball several times with each hand; Place your hand, palm down, on a table. Lift and drop fingers one at a time. Stretch shoulders, neck and back: Roll shoulders forwards, then backwards; Standing straight with legs slightly apart, stretch one arm up and overhead, while bending the spine sideways. Repeat with the other arm; Slowly roll the neck from side to side, first with your neck tilted forward and then backward. Source:...

Read More

World Cancer Day | 04 Feb 2015

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Health Topics | 0 comments

World Cancer Day  |  04 Feb 2015

The 4th of February marks the International World Cancer Day and the International Childhood Cancer Day follows on the 15th of February. Cancer is the leading cause of death globally and the top killer among the non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) which are the major focus of the WHO and UN. Over 100 000 South Africans are being diagnosed with cancer annually, and more people around the world are dying from this illness than TB, Aids and malaria combined. Statistics also show that one in four people in South Africa is impacted by this illness, either as a cancer patient themselves or because they are close to someone who has cancer. The World Economic Forum held in Davos from the 21-24 January had two sessions dedicated to the role of political, civic and business leaders role in turning the tide on cancer. The 2015 global campaign for World Cancer Day 2015 is themed: ‘Not Beyond Us’. With the focus on: •   Choosing healthy lives •   Delivering early detection •   Achieving cancer treatment for all •   Maximising quality of life Test yourself: Am I at risk of cancer? For South Africa this would mean: •  A National Cancer Control Plan that makes provision for vaccination for HPV and HBV against cervical and liver cancers, early detection and screening for breast, cervical, oral and colorectal cancers; •  effective cancer surveillance; •  equitable access to essential medicines and technologies; •  and  effective implementation of palliative care policies.  Thus far, South Africa has succeeded to make progress on: •  The HPV Vaccination programme for girls for between nine and twelve years since Mach 2014 although this does not form part of the national cervical cancer policy. •   HBV Vaccination as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme since 1995 •   The Cancer Registration Regulation of 2011 makes provision for the compulsory registration of all cancer cases The Cancer Alliance is working closely with the DoH and other role players to address the following priorities for effective cancer control in SA: – The National Cancer Control Plan of 1998 is outdated and has been in process of updating since 2009. – The cervical cancer screening policy has been in process of updating since 2009. – For breast cancer, the highest cancer killer of South African women a breast health policy is urgently required to ensure equitable service delivery for all women. –  Despite the cancer registration regulation the completeness of the National Cancer Registry remains a challenge evident by the last available report of 2008. The National Cancer Registry falls under the jurisdiction of the NHLS that is currently experiencing huge financial and management challenges. – Equitable access to essential medicines and technologies as well as palliative care for cancer patients across the nine provinces is not in place and often leads to patients not receiving treatment of palliation timeously leading to unnecessary suffering of unrelieved pain and symptoms. Cancer stigma is well documented and a reality on our South African communities impacting negatively of the disease even further. People Living With Cancer a member organisation of Cancer Alliance have launched a compelling video “Unsilenced” for World Cancer Day on their website: www.plwc.org.za Source:...

Read More