Sunday, December 31, 2017

Weather Change Make Your Bones and Joints Ache?

Raining cats and dogs 
In the past when I was still a very junior physiotherapist, I'll often have patients (in the hospital) who tell me when it gets cold, their joints and/ or bones will ache or hurt. Not that I don't believe them but I'll often think to myself, hmmmm really, how cold can it get in Singapore?

Later while treating patients overseas (where it can get much colder than Singapore), the patients there tell me the same thing. They say right before the weather turns cold, their previously injured or arthritic bones/ joints will hurt.

So is that true or just an old wives' tale? Can the ache in your bones and joints predict the change in weather?
Raining all the time here at Sports Solutions the past week
A recently published study looked at medical records of 11,673,392 outpatient visits, dwarfing other studies that previously looked at whether an increase in humidity, rainfall or barometric pressure can bring on pain.

The researchers matched the dates of the visits to local weather reports and found that 2,095,761 of the cases occurred on rainy days. After controls applied for age, sex, race, various chronic medical conditions including rheumatic arthritis, they found more visits for bone and joint pain during dry days than wet days.

The authors concluded that the weather does not cause joint pain but that patients attribute joint pain to the weather when it's raining.

I can hear those of you reading this protesting already. Yes, I personally agree there are flaws in the way this study is conducted. In the real world, many patients complain that they can't get a same day appointment with the doctor when they feel pain in their joints. Even if they did get a same day appointment, the doctor will tell them it's the "weather causing their pain".

Personally I don't get any pain in my back or skull (fortunately) after my accident, before the weather changes or in cold weather.

BUT, I've definitely noticed that if I'm coming down with a fever and especially if my stomach is feeling uncomfortable either from indigestion or feeling bloated, my previously fractured L1 lumbar spine will definitely ache. Visceral manipulation (mobilization of the organs) helps that. This is covered in another post.


Jena AB, Olenski AR et al (2017). Association Between Rainfall And Diagnoses Of Joint Or Back Pain: Retrospective Claims Analysis. BMJ. 359:j5326. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j5326.

Friday, December 15, 2017

This Is No Bull .....

Energy drinks from Cold Storage
When I was doing my National Service in the army, some of my platoon mates who were having issues with their fitness would frequently load up with "energy drinks" such as Red Bull. Especially in the morning before physical training and/ or Standard Obstacle Course (SOC) training sessions. They definitely did before the SOC tests too.

I'll ask them why and they'll say that it gives them a "boost" to be able to finish the training strongly or pass the test. Some of them will also mix Red Bull with alcohol when they book out on Fridays so they can party the rest of the night away.

Later while studying in university, I found out some of my classmates did the same when cramming for an exam or writing a paper. A published paper found that 51 percent of college students consumed at least a bottle of energy drink a month.

So I'm sure you would have seen, heard or perhaps even tried some of the above. Well, if energy drinks such as Red Bull is your drink then you may want to read on.

Sure, the energy drinks may give you a temporary boost, but it can also give you a whole lot of other problems. Previous studies show that they can mess with your sleep, make you gain weight and increase your blood pressure. They can also lead to substance abuse, mental health problems, higher risk of developing diabetesdental problems and even kidney damage.

Energy drinks are advertised to boost/ improve energy, stamina, athletic performance and even your concentration. Similar to sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, 100 Plus etc), the target consumer market for energy drinks are adolescents and young adults.

Energy drinks typically contain lots of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, certain vitamins, minerals and non nutritive stimulants (such as guarana, ginseng, taurine, L-carnitine, inositol, yerba mate and D-glucuronolactone).

An average 500 ml can of energy drink contains about 54 grams of sugar, way above the recommended 36 grams for men. You've read here that it is through consuming excessive sugar that causes you to get diabetes.

According to the article referenced below, some energy drinks reviewed contained as much as 207 mg of caffeine (recommended daily allowance for adults is 400 mg/ day, 100 mg/day for adolescents). When you consume more, you may feel anxious, depressed or even harbor suicidal thoughts.

Excessive caffeine along with other stimulants such as taurine, guarana and ginseng can also affect your blood pressure.

The authors concluded that current evidence suggest that health risks outweigh any short term perks or benefits you may experience from energy drinks.

Now you know.


Al-Sharr L, Vercammen K et al (2017). Health Effects And Public Health Concerns Of Energy Drink Consumption In The United States: A Mini-Review. Frontiers in Public Health. 31 August 2017. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00225.

Heckman MA, Sherry K et al (2010). Energy Drinks. An Assessment Of Their Market Size, Consumer Demographics, Ingredient Profile, Functionality, And Regulations In The United States. Comp Reviews in Food Sci Food Safety.  29 April 2010. DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-4337.2010.00111.x

Now, that's a lot of Red Bull in there
I took the picture above and below while riding to my previous clinic a few years ago thinking I may one day use the pictures. Glad I can use the pictures now.

A closer look

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Early Christmas Present From Oakley

Oakley Jawbreaker
Here's my early Christmas present from Oakley. A pair of Jawbreaker sunglasses. It does seem a little big as you can see from the picture above, but then it also means you get more protection.

Vented lenses means it won't fog up so easily. I really like the fact that peripheral vision is great too.

Many thanks to Joey from Oakley.

Here's another look
Please also see this post on the Jawbreaker.