Poor back posture can not only cause back pain, but also numbness in the arms and the legs, a group that promotes spinal health is warning the slumped and the slouched among us.
A severe hunch from curled-up sitting or standing for long periods leads in time to a deformation in the thoracic vertebrae. If that affects nerves in the area, the affected person may feel tingling or numbness in their extremities, says the German Spinal League.
In such cases, the doctor will not send you home to rest on the couch to cure the numbness. Instead, patients will be prescribed physiotherapy or urged to do healthy core-strength sports, like swimming, Nordic walking or pilates.
Skin care reduces pregnancy stretch marks; fading later is slow
Stretch marks annoy many pregnant women: they are often hard to avoid, even if you moisturise the skin every day, and whether or not a particular woman gets them will depend on her individual body.
“They appear on about 70 per cent of all pregnant women,” says Stefanie Montag, a member of the Association of German Dermatologists.
“Stretch marks happen when the deep layer of skin, the so-called dermis, tears,” says Sven von Saldern, a doctor who specialises in cosmetic and plastic surgery.
“They are a sign that the skin’s connective tissue is under too much stress and superficial skin cells can no longer keep up,” adds gynaecologist Christian Albring. Stretch marks are most frequent in the lower abdomen and the breasts.
“We also often see them on the hips, the backside and the thighs,” Montag says. The larger the woman’s belly, the more likely it is that she will get stretch marks.
“Cosmetic care can counter their effects, but they can still emerge,” von Saldern says. Still, you should apply oil to moisturise the skin and keep it elastic.
Albring recommends doing that before the stretching gets so bad that the skin cannot keep up.
You do not need special oils, but Montag suggests properly moisturising the skin once or twice a day.
The best preventive care is gaining weight at a gentle pace.
“Pregnant women who were very thin at the beginning of their pregnancy may put on 10 to 15 kilograms,” Albring says. Women who already had more rounded figures when they started the process should not gain more than 6 to 10 kilograms, the expert says.
Albring also recommends moving.
“Taking a half-an-hour walk every day is the minimum. Doing a little bit of sport besides that would be advisable,” he says. Having a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and drinking lots of water and no coffee should also help prevent stretch marks.
“These are all just assumptions, however,” Albring stresses. “Although all these tips make sense and are healthy, there is no proof of their effects on the firmness or the elasticity of connective tissue,” he admits.
So what can you do about stretch marks once you get them?
“At first, the layer of fat below the dermis, which has a good supply of blood, appears reddish under the skin,” says Montag. Those are the marks, but they fade over time. “The body’s repair mechanisms make stretch marks turn white.” However, that process can last a year.
Stretch marks will not go away completely, but with the right care you can make them less evident, says von |Saldern.
“With laser treatment, you can punch many little holes in the tissue, which will heal and tighten the skin so the stretch marks are less visible.” Such procedures are expensive, however.
So-called micro-needling is based on the same principle. “It employs a device that contains little needles. These are used to cause tiny injuries in the skin, which causes regeneration,” Montag explains.