Tension headaches affect the overall well-being of a person. The provision of interventions that relieve them advances the quality of life. One common way to relieve tension headaches is by using painkillers. (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). Medication is the first choice since it relieves pain. Physical exercises, such as yoga, provide leverage for the relaxation of the body, which can help to relieve tension headaches (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). Massages are also used to loosen tension in the head and neck muscles. This intervention is necessary because it stretches tight and shortened muscles, which aids in releasing tension in the head.
Other intervention measures that can be used to advance the relief of tension headaches include getting adequate sleep, using cold ice packs, etc. Changing sleep habits can help limit the experience of sleep apnea or insomnia. Cold packs can also be placed on the head to reduce tension headaches (Hassan & Asaad, 2020). The cooling effect reduces pain and minimizes headaches. If an individual has a tension headache, they are encouraged to stay at home and avoid taxing activities. They would also provide leverage for long-term quality health since they limit the experience of pain.
The application of non-evidence-based intervention measures may also relieve tension headaches. One relevant suggestion is to avoid stressful situations. The probability of having tension headaches are higher when we are stressed, or in noisy environments. That risk decreases when surroundings are conductive. In turn, calm environments are guaranteed to relieve tension headaches.
Hassan, M., & Asaad, T. (2020). Tension-type headache, its relation to stress, and how to relieve it by cryotherapy among academic students. Middle East Current Psychiatry, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43045-020-00030-3
Damar Hamlin is a name that might not have been known to many before January 02, 2023. However, now, Hamlin’s name is associated with one of the biggest news stories of 2023 when the nation waited on a health update and prayed for a positive outcome given his health condition. According to Devon Markham of News Nation, Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills collapsed on the field mid-game after a defensive tackle. Following the play, Hamlin lost consciousness and received CPR from medical personnel for nine minutes. Most notably, Journalist Devon Markham shares assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington used a defibrillator during the process and successfully resuscitated Hamlin as he lay lifeless on the field. He was immediately put into an ambulance and taken to a local hospital for treatment.
For days afterwards, fans held vigils waiting for updates. Hamlin transitioned from relying on a breathing tube to 100% breathing on his own and showing significant neurological recovery. He also began speaking and acknowledging teammates, family, and friends. Hamlin was eventually released from the hospital in Cincinnati, OH and transported to his home in Buffalo, NY.
As many were relieved to hear of Mr. Hamlin’s progress, the circumstances of his history raised questions about the severity of hits taken by NFL players. A review of history shows there have been numerous players to experience similar life-threatening injuries. Markham recorded the experience of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier in December of 2017, when he suffered a spinal contusion that left him temporarily paralyzed. In December of 2011, Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox took a major hit that ended his career. Also, September 2007, Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was temporarily paralyzed after a hit which also ended his career.
Conversations have taken place about the disability pay received by players. Several people feel more of their contract should be paid out if they experience a life-threatening encounter. Fans may empathize with the players’ expending health and money, far exceeding the contributions made by the league to the players. As such, it is important for the public to advocate for change. NFL policies and perhaps federal legislations may be necessary to hold the NFL more responsible for the health problems of the current and former players. Specifically, the government should introduce a health policy to the NFL that regulates their assessment and treatment of player injuries. Also, part of the millions made by the league should be used to advocate for a health fund used for players with a diversity of NFL related injuries.
Furthermore, steps should be taken to reduce the power the league has over medical professionals, determinations, and overall outcomes. While fans enjoy the fun and excitement players provide, they must also fight to protect their favorite players from various health implications and unfair outcomes. Lastly, fans of the league can flood the #NFL on all social media platforms to express their grievances, concerns, and suggestions. This would increase awareness that the public has expectations that should be addressed along with the players.
Hamlin, Damar. (2023). Damar Hamlin 3 on Instagram “GAMETIME @buffalobills
By Angela Wilson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
Page pals is a reading initiative created in a partnership between the City of Birmingham and Birmingham City Schools (BCS) with the purpose of improving student’s reading ability, specifically third graders. This initiative is in response to the Alabama Literacy Act, a law that when fully implemented, will prevent a third grade student who is not reading on grade level from moving up to the fourth grade, essentially being “held back” in third grade. Although parents and students will have the ability to go through a remediation process to improve student reading ability, the law is of great concern as only 56% of 3rd grade students in Birmingham City Schools are effectively achieving grade level reading as measured by the 2021 State of Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP).
The City of Birmingham is supporting BCS on-going efforts to improve student reading ability by asking members from the local community, non-profit groups, and corporations to volunteer some of their time to read with the BCS students. Reading to children improves their opportunity to hear others read outside of their normal classroom setting. These efforts have proven to be very beneficial to the students and may boost their interest and proficiency in reading.
Are you interested in volunteering? Page Pals volunteers go into one of the BCS elementary schools during the students’ library times, spending about thirty minutes of reading time with the students. Volunteers may choose from a list of schools, dates, and times that work best with their schedule. During their selected time, volunteers will read a book to the students that follows a curriculum created by BCS to help them build the background knowledge in science and social studies and to better prepare them for their standardized testing that occurs in April. Volunteers are encouraged to engage with the students by asking them questions periodically, reiterating comprehension and understanding about the book being read, and help grow their love for reading; thereby making a strong connection impact so that they perform better on their Alabama Comprehensive Assessment.
Our local children need our help to ensure their future remains bright, so let’s help to light their path to a brighter future. Sign up to become a Page Pal volunteer. It is easy and free! Simply visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/springpagepals#/ and select your school choice, date and time. Now you’re all set! If you ‘d like more information about the Page Pals program, you can follow this link at https://www.bhamyouthfirst.org/page-pals/.
Acknowledgement: PHAME-US.com would like to thank you to Mr. Marquise Hollingsworth for your time in support of this blogpost.
By Terrie Johnson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
Plastic surgery, also commonly referred to as cosmetic surgery, is increasing in popularity throughout the United States. This practice can be defined as trying to uniquely enhance one’s physical appearance by undergoing surgical or medical procedures. According to Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of Baton Rouge, some of the most frequently received plastic surgery requests are for nose enhancements, breast augmentations, and butt enlargements. Additionally, people often make surgical changes to their cheekbones, stomach area, and arms. Individuals are spending thousands, and sometimes having multiple surgeries, to look younger, more attractive, and socially appealing, often at great risk. The prevalence of butt injections has resulted in numerous deaths with several individuals being incarcerated for illegally providing them. For example, journalist Adriana Diaz of the Daily Mail wrote about the case of Maxine Messam of Bridgeport, New York, who died after receiving botched injections and being driven to the hospital unconscious.
Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery warns there are repercussions people far too often overlook. While the obvious benefits of altering one’s individual look can be achieved, undergoing plastic surgery procedures can lead to major health issues. This may include developing bacterial infections, having surgical complications, and/or experiencing unforeseen illnesses. Also, some candidates for surgery may be high risk for problems due to their current health state while others may encounter lasting scars, viruses, and/or a diversity of other lifetime consequences.
As such, it is highly suggested people explore healthier alternatives before seeking plastic surgery. If not, there can be significant psychological issues that accompany any operations. Specifically, Michael Reilly and Karen Parsa of Psychology Today warn people that they may develop body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This is a mental illness individuals develop after becoming addicted to plastic surgery. People with this issue are obsessive in their thinking or compulsive in their actions. Additionally, researchers Randy and Lori Sansone of Psychiatry (Edgmont) found there is a stark rise in patients of primary care physicians and mental health professionals that have undergone cosmetic surgery. These individuals are often at a higher risk for suicide, BDD, and other psychiatric comorbidities. However, there are healthy ways of preventing these mental illnesses. The most beneficial steps individuals can take is to work on their self-esteem and level of confidence.
Comprehensively, Melissa Dittmann from the American Psychological Association (APA) states, it is imperative more psychologists start to evaluate issues related to cosmetic surgery. The importance arises from a major increase in popularity of cosmetic surgery and a rise in the number of people dissatisfied with their appearance and body image.” As such, it is not advantageous to try to keep up with societal norms and magazine standards for beauty. These industries use manipulation tactics to alter the appearance of models, actors, and tv personalities in a way that does not align with their natural state. This makes it important for people to know what they see is not real. Instead, we should embrace our own beauty and not allow society to make them feel less than. Still, for people that choose to pursue plastic surgery for other reasons, it is important to do research on the procedure and the professionals performing it. Per, Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery following all post-op care orders to prevent complications, infections, or life-long difficulties is imperative.
So what about you? Have you considered cosmetic surgery? Are you working to improve your appearance? Leave a comment on this blog and/or join us on Facebook.
Dittmann, Melissa. (2005). Plastic surgery: Beauty or beast? American Psychological
By Jaelyn Copeland|UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and has been used as medicine for thousands of years in China and Japan. Although many varieties of tea come from this plant, green tea is considered the healthiest because of how it is processed (Curtis, 2023). Green tea is also promoted as a beverage or nutritional supplement for improving mental clarity, reducing headaches and gastrointestinal issues, and it is awesome for promoting weight loss. Thanks to its many benefits, it has become more popular and is consumed worldwide.
Green tea contains caffeine, a stimulant that boosts mood, energy levels, reaction time, and memory. Along with caffeine, green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that positively affects mood, lowers stress, and boosts dopamine and serotonin production. Caffeine and L-theanine work together to improve mood, reaction time, attention, and memory (Curtis, 2023)
Many components of Green Tea, particularly EGCG, gets a lot of attention for its potential positive impact on health. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a unique plant compound that is known to help reduce inflammation, aid in weight loss, prevent heart disease, brain disease, and even cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved a topical ointment, sinecatechins (brand name Veregen), which includes extracted components of green tea leaves and is used for the treatment of genital warts.
Green tea has many health benefits and is generally safe in moderation. Most side effects are related to its caffeine content, and consumers are encouraged to not drink more than 8 cups a day.
By Jaelyn Copeland | UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern
Depression and Anxiety are fairly common mental health issues among individuals across the world. According to the CDC, depression occurs when a sad mood lasts for a long time, and interferes with normal, everyday functioning (CDC, 2022). Symptoms of Depression include:
Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Waking up too early or sleeping too much
Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself
Fortunately there are existing supplements that can help treat symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is part of an evergreen plant that grows in both Asia and Africa. The plant is known to have health benefits when ingested as teas, powders, tinctures and supplements, or in raw form (Chandrasekhar et al., 2012). Ashwagandha is a classic example of a adaptogen, a plant or mushroom used for a variety of stress-related ailments such as anxiety, sleeplessness, aging and well-being. Ashwagandha also aids the body’s ability to withstand both physical and mental stress (Kumar et al., 2021).
Here are 7 benefits of using Ashwaganda:
Relieves stress and anxiety
Lowers blood sugar and fat
Increases muscular strength
Improves sexual function in women
Boosts fertility and testosterone levels in men
Sharpens focus and memory
Supports heart health
Ashwagandha is usually consumed by using supplement capsules or in tablet, powder, tincture and tea form (Forbes, 2023). For more creativity, you can add the raw form of Ashwagandha into nut butters, granola, smoothies and overnight oats with low exposure to high heat. Have you tried Ashwagandha? What has been your experience? Feel free to leave a comment and join us on Facebook.
Kumar S, Bouic PJ, Rosenkranz B. Investigation of CYP2B6, 3A4 and ß-esterase interactions of Withania somnifera (L.) dunal in human liver microsomes and HepG2 cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021;270:113766.
Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255–262. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
By Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
R&B singer, Donell Jones, considers himself a lucky man after he fell asleep behind the wheel of his Mercedes Benz and crashed into a ditch. The shocking incident took place on January 9th of 2023.
Fortunately, the 49 year old did not suffer any major injuries, but he stated that this scary experience “taught him a valuable lesson” about driving while tired. Jones made an Instagram post that reads: “I fell asleep while driving yesterday and ended up in a ditch. I walk away with no injuries but I learned a valuable lesson, that if you’re tired just park the car cause this could’ve been bad.”
He also added that he was truly protected and continuously thanks God for wrapping his arms around him during the crash. He states “My love and loyalty is to you.”
Along with this gracious caption, Donell Jones shared a series of photos showing the aftermath of the accident. His silver Mercedes Benz was barricaded in a ditch by the side of the road.
Driving while tired or sleepy is just as dangerous as drunk driving. It decreases your attentiveness and alertness while on the road, it slows down your reaction time, and it affects your ability to make good decisions. In 2017, drowsy driving was involved in 91,000 crashes, resulting in 50,000 injuries and nearly 800 deaths (CDC, 2023).
Warning signs of drowsy driving include:
Yawning or blinking frequently.
Trouble remembering the past few miles driven.
Missing your exit.
Drifting from your lane.
Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road.
Have you experienced negative impacts of driving while tired? Share with us in the comments or on social media. Likewise, share any positive or healthy tips that you do to drive responsibly. Remember to always get enough sleep before taking the wheel, and drive alert to stay unhurt!
By Terrie Johnson | Community Health & Human Services Intern
Everyone desires the delicacies of life. Eating unlimited sweets, salt, and fatty foods and lounging around without consequences seems to be the American dream! However, in reality, the lack of physical activity and healthy foods intake hardly worth the effort. That desire will slowly deteriorate once people begin to understand that the unhealthy habits they love the most, don’t really love them back.
Major components such as fat, salt, and sugar can lead to health complications. The most common health complications are diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Diabetes, specifically Type 2, is a rapidly growing global health issue. The augmented prevalence of diabetes mellitus vis-à-vis the increased obesity incidence mirrors the greater interconnectedness between diabetes and weight gain. Emphatically, obesity is associated with increased susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases (Halali et al., 2022). In 2014, more than 422 million people globally tested positive for diabetes (Halali et al., 2022). Untreated diabetes can potentially cause severe harm to an individual’s health, including the risk of kidney failure, heart attack, lower limb amputation, or death at advanced stages.
Although these are some of the most common complications, they are highly preventable. Diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure can be treated through simple lifestyle modifications that discourage sedentariness. Understanding that these health issues are manageable through simple routine adjustments is very powerful. Implementing physical activity, healthy eating habits and behavioral change can help reduce the risk of diabetes and other health issues, ultimately guaranteeing long-term positive health outcomes for everyone.
Here are more quick tips to help prevent diabetes:
Stock up on healthy foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are high i. Try to minimize processed foods high in sugar, salt, and fat.
Minimize consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (sodas, juice, etc.) and increase your water intake.
Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Lose extra weight. Losing weight reduces the risk for diabetes
Quit smoking. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Halali, F., Lapveteläinen, A., Aittola, K., Männikkö, R., Tilles-Tirkkonen, T., Järvelä-Reijonen, E., … & Karhunen, L. (2022). Associations between weight loss history and factors related to type 2 diabetes risk in the Stop Diabetes study. International Journal of Obesity, 46(5), 935-942. https://doi.org/s41366-021-01061-4
Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services
You may know the artist, Al B. Sure from his hits “Nite & Day”, “Off On Your Own Girl”, or as one of the collaborators in the song “U Will Know” by Black Men United. Today, Al B. is a 54-year-old award winning R&B singer who recently awoke from a 2-month coma. He explained to his fans that he lost feeling in the left side of his body while sitting in front of a computer screen and then fell over. However, he was able to call for help since his phone was in reach at the time of the incident. He then expressed that he encountered multiple surgeries, blood transfusions, and an organ transplant during his hospital stay. He also had pneumonia, became septic, and had his lymph nodes removed (Daniels, 2022). Despite all of the health challenges that he went through, he is extremely thankful to be “alive, alert, and gradually healing.” He also says that is “maintaining a positive mindset throughout this healing process” (Daniels, 2022).
Al B. has overcome many obstacles in his life in such a short time, yet he still remains positive through the storm. It can sometimes be hard for people to become bigger than their circumstances and exercise the strength, courage, and faith to make it through the challenging times. This is what is meant by being resilient.
Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands (APA, 2022). Part of being resilient is remaining positive and optimistic when experiencing challenges.
Here are a few tips to stay positive during hard times:
Acknowledge all of the good things in your life
Look at your situation from a different perspective
Focus on the things you can control
Spend time with positive people
Ask for help when you need it
No matter how hard a situation may be, it is important to stay positive and not let your circumstances define you!
By Jaelyn Copeland|UAB CommunityHealth and Human Services Intern
Apple Cider vinegar (ACV) is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It is a very versatile product that is commonly used in cooking, or to make dressings, sauces, and marinades.
ACV can also be used as a home remedy for many health ailments, and is available in forms such as tablets, capsules, powder, liquid drops, gummies and topical prescriptions.
The production of apple cider vinegar involves two steps. Crushed apples are first exposed to yeast, which causes the carbohydrates to ferment and transform into alcohol. The alcohol is then further fermented by the addition of bacteria, creating acetic acid, which is the primary active ingredient in vinegar. Vinegar gets its potently sour flavor and smell from acetic acid. Although potential claims are not backed by scientific evidence, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are thought to be caused by acetic acid. This acid makes up 5-6% of cider vinegars.
Benefits of ACV may include:
May lower blood sugar levels
May reduce cholesterol
May offer antimicrobial benefits
May help increase weight loss
BuBu Banini, M.D. suggests that individuals should consume no more than one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar per day. “When used in small amounts, the risk of apple cider vinegar is generally low,” she says. As long as you are tolerating it, diluting it and don’t have esophageal issues, there is no reason not to try it!