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Is Pain Between Shoulder Blades Dangerous?

You might be wondering why we are addressing this topic today, that pain between shoulder blades is nothing serious. And in most cases I would agree with you, but sometimes this pain can be an indication of something far more severe than a simple muscle strain.

I don’t want to cause you worry and add to your stress level, but if you notice that the pain is not going away even after several days of inactivity and rest, you should contact your doctor, since shoulder blade pain may be linked to heart, gallbladder problems and even some types of cancer.

Most Common Symptoms

Of course, most common symptom of pain between shoulder blades pain is PAIN, bet you didn’t know that :D

But seriously, some of the most common complaints people have are:

  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Pain when stretching back muscles in this area
  • Pain when bending your head forward
  • Presence of muscle knots
  • Or the sensation of sharp, stabbing, burning pain


Neck muscle illustration
Photo (c) rpm-therapy.com

As I`ve stated earlier, the pain can be short-lasting, benign and posing no threat to your overall health. People usually experience this sort of pain after working out, when sitting for long periods of time, after waking up (poor mattress or poor sleeping posture) etc.

This pain usually doesn’t last long and you can relieve yourself by applying ice or simply resting in a comfortable position.

Pain between should blades can, however, be caused by more severe health problems.

Heart Problems – this type of pain can, in some cases, be caused by a heart attack. It is very intense and can last up to 2 hours. This is why you need to be aware of your body at all times. If you notice the pain is not going away, call your doctor.

Gallbladder Problems – since the gallbladder is located in the upper section of the abdomen, passing a stone or some other problem affecting it may translate into this pain.

Cancer – yes, the dreaded C word. Of course, cancer is not the most common cause of this pain, but some patients complain that pain, in combination with shortness of breath and a chronic, long-lasting cough.

Spinal And Muscle Pain

Before we proceed, I would like to make a distinction between muscle and spinal pain since I don’t see many posts addressing it. Spinal pain tends to me more sudden, sharp in nature and can indicate that there is something wrong with your cervical spine, most often it will be a herniated disc.

Muscle pain is perceived more as a dull, annoying ache, lasting for long periods of time.

                Dull Ache

A Dull ache is usually felt in the muscles and it can last for long periods of time. Any number of things can cause this specific type of pain. Most often, it will be the result of our poor sitting habits and poor posture.

People with poor posture place more pressure and strain onto the muscles in this area, forcing them to do more than they should. And you don’t need a Ph.D. to figure out that overused muscles will start to get sore, hurt and actually limit the range of motion in your upper back. A common way of dealing with it is stretching and working out.

                Spinal/Neural Pain

This type of pain is a bit nastier and patients usually describe it as sudden and very intense, it feels as if somebody is stabbing them in the back.

Conditions which might cause it are:

How Can You Treat It

As much as I hate talking about treatment online and recommending exercises without accessing individual condition, I feel obligated to leave you with some common practices which will make the pain a little less intense and more bearable.

Keep in mind that these exercises might not be able to help you if you have any of the more severe conditions, we discussed earlier.

  1. Proper Posture. We could be so much healthier if people became just a bit more aware of their body and the condition their spine is. I realize that you might get so caught up in your work sometimes that you simply forget about your posture, but in the future try to pay more attention to it
  2. Stretching Exercises. Stretching exercises and exercises in general, are our road to not just a healthy back, but a healthy overall body as well. If you are looking for some stretching, and exercises in general you might be interested in reading this article: Morning Workout Routine, and if you are looking for back pain relief, you can check out our Back Pain Exercises
  3. Direction stretching. Try pulling your head from side to side, then from front to back. Make sure you pull your head gently and make no sudden movements.
  4. Medication. You can take medication if you simply can`t deal with pain any longer, but keep in mind that medication will only address the symptoms, not the underlying problem.
  5. Seek help. Why risk it? Visit your doctor and see what is causing your back problems.

Brown Particles In Urine – What Does It Mean?

are brown particles in urine dangerous
You just woke up, went to the toilet and after you peed you saw a distinct brown sediment in your urine. Should you be worried, what are those brown particles and how did they get there?

These are just some of the questions we will address in this article, so read on if you want to hear some answers.

Sediments and Particles In Your Urine

You should know that some particles exist even in healthy individuals. They are made up of dead cells, bacteria, proteins, leukocytes, and other structures commonly produced in your urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys.

So some degree of sediment is natural and expected to see in the urine, but the problem may occur when there is too much of it, especially if there is a change in color. You might be surprised to hear this, but this color change can vary from green, red, white and, of course, brown.

These are the cases where you should consider making a doctor’s appointment. The doctor might ask you if you’ve experienced any pain or a burning sensation when you urinate so if you do, it is important to note it.

Kids often have this problem (pain during urination), usually because they are not taught to use the potty properly. They often engage in long sitting sessions and might notice a certain degree of discomfort.

These are the situations where you should look for more clues that something is wrong with your child – check the skin around the baby’s legs, the diaper, or look for any other indications that something is out of the ordinary.

What Causes Brown Particles In Your Urine?

In most cases, the causes are benign, for example, it could be something you ate, just a temporary thing that does not pose any health risks. But this sediment can also be caused by problems with your kidney, liver, or metabolism.

For these reasons, it is always advised to consult your doctor if you notice the problem does not go away after a few days, or you notice some other symptoms appearing.

Urinary Tract Infections

The main role the urinary tract plays in our body is drainage – it helps removes waste, toxins, and excess water out of our body.

UTI1 is the second most common infection in our body, and it usually happens when:

  • We wait too long to pass the urine
  • We have unprotected sex with questionable partners
  • Our immune system is weakened and can’t fight the bacteria
  • We suffer from some other, health-related problem
  • A catheter is placed

The most common signs of Urinary tract infection are:

  • Pain during urination
  • An urge to ruinate more often than normal
  • Pressure in the lower belly
  • Cloudy, smelly urine
  • Urine that has changed color

This type of an infection is easily diagnosed by testing your urine in a lab. Most common tests used to confirm it are urinalysis and urine culture.

The Presence Of Red Blood Cells

The presence of blood cells in a person’s urine, or hematuria2, is not a normal occurrence in our body and should be checked out as soon as it appears.

What causes it? Some of the most common causes for the presence of blood in the urine are:

  • UTI infection
  • Trauma
  • Intense exercise
  • Sexual activity
  • Blood clotting disorder
  • A more severe kidney or bladder disease

Hematuria can be easily spotted and diagnosed visually. People with this condition will have urine that has changed color – it can be pink, reddish, or even brown. Unfortunately, this is often the only symptom of this condition, so close attention is required.


Simply put, diabetes3 is a chronic disease that affects the way your body uses food for energy. The food we eat is mostly broken down into sugar (glucose) which is then distributed to the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin.

When our body doesn’t produce enough insulin (or does not use correctly), too much sugar remains in the bloodstream, which eventually leads to health problems.

The problem with a person with diabetes is that their body has to produce additional energy for the body to function properly, and it does so by burning fat. You might think this is a good thing, but this is not entirely true.

Though burning fat for energy (or ketosis) is a natural process, it produces ketones. And when the number of ketones becomes too high, our body tries to get rid of it by expelling it through urine in the form of sediment of small particles.

If you want to read more about diabetes and ketones, you can read one of our previous articles titled “Sweet Taste In Mouth“.

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are tiny lumps of mineral that can form inside our bladder when it is not entirely empty.

These stones are sometimes tiny and may slip unnoticed, but most of the time they will cause a lot of trouble before we get rid of them entirely.

Most common symptoms of stones present in the bladder are:

  • Intense lower abdominal pain
  • Pain when peeing
  • Frequent urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Dark, brown urine particles

Who is at risk? Generally speaking, we are all at risk of developing a stone somewhere along our urinary tract, but it is more prevalent in older individuals (older men) and women that have given birth.

A Damaged Liver And Bilirubin

Bilirubin4 is a yellowish substance created when hemoglobin from the red blood cells gets destroyed.

Once created, bilirubin passes on to the liver which then excretes it in the form of fluid called bile. Bilirubin is typically passed in the stool, but if the liver is not functioning correctly, some of it might also be excreted in the urine.

For this reason, our urine might change color, and you might spot some dark, brown particles in your urine.


Proteinuria5 is a medical term for abnormally large amounts of protein present in our urine.

This condition is often a sign that something is wrong with your kidneys, as they usually do not allow a significant amount of proteins to pass through.

The condition itself may cause cloudy urine and a colored sediment.

Metabolism And Metabolic Problems

Our body is usually quite good when it comes to removing toxins and harmful chemicals out of our body.

Depending on what you are taking at the moment (medication), you might spot specific changes in our urine – see it becoming cloudy, change color, or present with some sort of sediment or particles.

Symptoms Which Should Concern You

These brown particles are probably not a cause for any major concern (though you should consult a doctor), but if you experience any combined symptoms, chances are something is wrong.

The very first, and the most common, symptoms that should concern you is pain and burning during urination. The second one is a change in color – a darker colored urine more so that bright one.

Some other symptoms you might notice are:

  • Frequent urination – a healthy individual should feel an urge to pee once every couple hours. Anything more could be a sing of a problem
  • Lower back pain – this may indicate a stone, kidney or a bladder problem so it is worth checking it out

Treatment – Dealing With The Brown Particles In Your Urine

Of course, treatment will depend mostly on the underlying cause of increased quantities of sediment and particles in your urine. For this reason, your doctor will probably order urine test, along with a blood test and sensitivity testing.

There is no need to worry as these tests will not hurt, they will just make it a lot easier to pinpoint the exact cause of your condition and prescribe appropriate treatment.

From this point on, the treatment will follow one of the following courses:

Hydration – this is the best case scenario where these particles are appearing due to natural metabolic processes in our body.
Medication – if there is something wrong, an infection, for example, your doctor might prescribe some antibiotics to address it.
A biopsy – a chance for this is tiny, but sometimes additional analysis is needed to evaluate the condition your body, and its organs, are in and figure out what to do next.


Of course, after you’ve noticed these changes in your urine, particles of sediments, it is too late to talk about prevention. But, prevention becomes relevant after you’ve been treated, to make sure the condition does not come back.

The simplest (and at the same time the hardest) change you can make is altering your lifestyle. Some of these changes are:

  • Exercise
  • Avoid eating in late hours
  • Avoid junk food and foods with high sugar content
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol as it can lead to a lot of other, more severe problems than brown particles in your urine
  • Try to eat more fruits and vegetables and ensure your metabolism is working correctly

Last updated: August 3, 2018 at 23:23 pm

Swollen Taste Buds On Back Of Tongue? Here’s Why! (2018)

Taste buds are the very thing you can thank for allowing you to appreciate the sweetness of your ice cream or the savoriness of your teriyaki chicken.

But one day, you notice small raised areas that become swollen and painful – a swollen taste bud on the back of your tongue. Most people have had these annoying bumps at some point in their lives, and fortunately, in most cases, it is not a serious problem. There are many ways to make them disappear or at least significantly reduce the level of discomfort they cause.

What You Should Know About Your Taste Buds

There are five basic tastes identified so far – sweet, salty, bitter, sour and savory (also called umami). Contrary to a popular taste-map, all of them can be perceived, more or less equally, in all areas of the tongue.

To understand how taste buds work, let’s find out more about their anatomy. First of all, those reddish bumps you see on your tongue are not your taste buds. Those round projections are called lingual papillae – many of them have taste buds buried in their surface tissues.

There are four different types of papillae:

  • Filiform papillae are the most numerous ones, fine, long and V-shaped. Unlike the other types of papillae, filiform papillae do not have taste buds which makes their purpose strictly mechanical. They give your tongue its texture and touch sensitivity.
  • Fungiform papillae are, as the name suggests, slightly mushroom shaped. They are located mainly at the tip and along the edges of your tongue’s upper surface, with filiform papillae scattered around them. Each of these papillae contains three to five taste buds which enables them to distinguish the five basic tastes.
  • Circumvallate papillae are very large and dome-shaped, easily seen at the base of the tongue. There are only about a dozen of these on most people.
  • Foliate papillae look like vertical folds clustered on the sides of your tongue. An average person has around 20 of them.

You might not know that taste buds are not located on the tongue only – there are taste-detecting cells in many different areas of your oral cavity. Those cells can be found everywhere from your hard palate to your throat and even in your stomach.

If you take a peek inside the taste buds themselves you will find sensory cells (also called taste receptor cells). Various nerve fibers connected to these sensory cells are enabling you to register different tastes by sending a message to your brain.

Not everyone has the same number of taste buds. You can have between 2,000 and 10,000 of them, anything above 10,000 makes you a “supertaster.”

Bearing the above in mind, it’s not hard to see that swollen-taste-bud is a swollen papilla. But since the first expression has become commonly accepted – we decided to put it in the article title and will continue using it in the following text.

Typical Symptoms You May Experience

  • Painful bumps on your tongue which may appear red
  • Pain, discomfort or burning sensation, especially when eating hot, acidic or spicy foods
  • Uneven texture of the tongue
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Tongue discoloration

Causes and Additional Symptoms Of Swollen Papillae On Back Of Your Tongue

The reasons why you may get – inflamed, irritated or swollen bumps on your tongue – are numerous. Read on to learn more but don’t use this to self-diagnose, that is something you should always leave to your doctor.

1. Foods and Drinks

Spicy foods like chili peppers, highly acidic foods such as citruses, pineapples, kiwis and sugary foods can all be very irritating to your taste buds and leave them sore, swollen or inflamed.

Foods and beverages that are too hot can burn your taste buds or even cause your entire tongue to swell up.

2. Injuries, Traumas, and Irritations

Tongue biting, rubbing, scraping, cuts, burns, tongue piercings and other traumas can cause your taste buds to swell up, some of them can even lead to tongue infections.

Aggressive astringents, found in some mouthwashes, can irritate your tongue and your taste buds.

3. Allergic Reactions

You may be allergic to certain chemicals from your food, which may cause your taste buds to swell up. You can even be allergic to some particles in the air which can irritate your taste buds once they make their way into your mouth.

Allergic reaction to some medications can cause this issue as well.

4. Oral Infections and STDs

Presence of infection in your mouth can irritate your taste buds and predispose them to bacteria causing the infection.

  • Oral thrush (oral yeast infection) – is a mouth or throat infection caused by Candida yeasts.
    Oral thrush is a common cause of enlarged taste buds, during which small white spots may appear on your tongue. Imbalance of the good bacteria (often caused by antibiotics), reduced immunity, dry mouth and smoking are some of the factors that can lead to oral thrush.
  • A sore throat caused by enterovirus – this virus, also known as hand-foot-mouth virus or coxsackievirus, has painful blisters (sores) and red sore throat as classic symptoms. What you may not know is that in some cases it can cause blisters on your tongue, throat or even lips.
  • Scarlet fever– this bacterial illness, mostly occurring in children, may cause red bumps and a white coating on the tongue.
  • HIV – oral problems are not a rare occurrence for those living with HIV. More than a third of the people affected by this virus have oral conditions resulting from their weakened immune system.

5. Nutritional deficiencies

Malnutrition and some vitamin deficiencies can affect your oral structure.

Among other symptoms, vitamin B (complex) deficiency, can lead to the burning sensation on your tongue, oral ulcers, and sore throat.

Vitamin B-12 (riboflavin) causes ariboflavinosis the symptoms of which are tongue inflammation and dryness, cracked lips and burning sensation in your oral cavity.

Iron deficiency symptoms can be very similar to those of the vitamin B.

6. Canker sores

These little, shallow ulcers usually appear in the mouth. They can make simple activities such as eating or talking extremely uncomfortable. Many people will eventually develop painful sores on their tongues.

You probably experienced burning or tingling sensation on the exact spot where they would later develop.

The exact cause of most canker sores has not yet been identified. Some factors that can trigger or worsen them include stress, tissue injury, citrus fruits, sharp tooth, braces and ill-fitting dentures.

7. Stress or depression

Research shows that there is almost no system in your body that cannot be affected by stress. If chronic stress goes unreleased it will suppress your body’s immunity and, manifest itself as a health problem at some point.

Stress, depression, and anxiety are all accompanied by hormonal disbalances that can have swollen taste buds among their symptoms.

8. Diseases such as Transient Lingual Papillitis (TLP) and Sjörgen’s Syndrome (SS)

Transient Lingual Papillitis

This condition is a common type of inflammatory hyperplasia of one or multiple of your taste buds.

The localized variant of TLP manifests itself with swelling of one to several of your taste buds, on an isolated area of the tongue – especially the tip, side borders and dorsal surface.

The generalized variant of TLP involves a large number of swollen taste buds. During its course a child usually gets infected first, transmitting the disease to the rest of the family members.

Both variants have an acute onset and in both cases – enlarged taste buds may vary in color from normal to whitish or yellow. Some of the symptoms include burning, pain, sensitivity to hot foods, tingling or itching and eating difficulties. In the case of TLP with the familial transmission, fever, hypersalivation, and enlargement of your lymph nodes may happen.

Sjögren’s syndrome (SS)

Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease that targets salivary and lacrimal glands, which makes dry mouth and eyes this syndrome’s most common symptoms. Your saliva has many antibacterial and antifungal properties. The loss of it due to SS causes harmful effects to your oral health, such as tooth decay and oral fungal infections. Be aware of any red or discolored lesions, bumps, and spots.


If you decide to see a doctor, s/he will in most cases just visually inspect your tongue paying attention to the changes in color, size or texture. Or, if the reason behind you swollen taste buds is an allergy, your doctor will perform necessary allergy tests.

If your doctor suspects of some disease, you might need additional examinations – oral thrush, for example, is usually diagnosed by observing the lesions but in some cases, microscopic examination or tongue scraping may be needed. If the infection spreads to the throat area a throat swab or biopsy (if candida leukoplakia is suspected) may be taken.


Foods and drinks – Most swollen taste buds heal naturally within a week without any treatment. Avoiding foods that usually cause this problem can help you with the pain.

Injuries, traumas and irritations – small tongue injuries usually heal on their own. Your doctor can recommend you antiseptic cleanser or hydrogen peroxide rinses.

Allergies – It is recommended to avoid additional contact with whatever you think is causing the problem.

Oral Thrush – Your doctor may prescribe some antifungal medications which may come in different forms – tablets, lozenges, or a liquid that you swallow after thoroughly swishing it in your mouth.

A sore throat – When it comes to treatment, you may be glad to hear that primary focus is on your comfort. Ice cream and other cold foods can be very effective in relieving your symptoms. Just avoid overly sweet foods and acidic foods such as cranberry juice.

HIV – Most oral problems, linked to HIV, are in fact treatable. It would be best to talk to your doctor about possible treatments that may work for you.

Nutritional deficiencies – Treatment of malnutrition will vary from person to person depending on how malnourished s/he is. You should make dietary changes that will ensure you get enough nutrients. A nutritionist can help you with that. If these changes are not enough – your doctor may advise you to take additional nutrients, usually in the form of supplements.

Canker sores – Canker sores usually heal by themselves within 1-2 weeks. If you have already run out of patience and want to get rid of your canker sores ASAP, then dental laser may be an option. Patients treated with dental laser reported almost complete and immediate relief of their symptoms.

Stress or depression – Some lifestyle modifications, like more physical activity, getting enough sleep, healthy diet and even changing the way of thinking are natural ways of fighting stress and depression. You can also consult your doctor about medical options to treat your state.

Transient lingual papillitis – People with TLP are usually advised to avoid tongue friction and irritation as well as irritating foods. If your pain or feeding difficulties are persistent, an oral rinsing solution may be prescribed by your doctor. Or if your mouth is too dry your doctor may prescribe you an oral moisturizer.

Sjörgen’s syndrome – SS is unfortunately not curable, but many people manage their dry mouth symptoms just by sipping water on a more regular basis. Some saliva stimulators are sugar-free gum or a sucking candy. But other people need prescription medications, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac) which increase the production of saliva.

Other things you can do to relieve the symptoms of swollen taste buds on back on your tongue:

  • You can apply a little bit of plain cold yogurt to your affected tongue area. Yogurt will basically act as a probiotic for the outside part of your tongue by establishing a better balance of the bacteria that are already present. And because of its soothing properties, it can neutralize some of the spicy foods.
  • Ice cubes – the cold will help with numbing your tongue and easing the discomfort.
  • Warm water and salt mixture – half a teaspoon of salt mixed with a cup of warm water used three to four times a day can soothe and even heal your swollen taste buds or other mouth sores.
  • Try brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled brush and don’t forget to floss daily. Good dental hygiene is highly important in the prevention of oral cavity diseases and infections.
  • You can apply a bit of honey directly on your swollen taste bud, using a cotton swab. You can also make a mouth rinse using honey and warm water.
  • Discontinue further consumption of foods and drinks that irritate your tongue while your problem lasts. Some things to exclude are alcohol, highly acidic, hot and spicy foods and drinks. But, if swollen taste buds a recurring problem in your life, it is best to avoid these irritants in the long run.

Things NOT to do:

  • Please do not try to “scratch” your tongue no matter how intense your itch might be – this will only make things worse by further irritating your taste buds.
  • Some people may feel an urge to pop or cut the bumps on their tongue, by doing that you will cause additional trauma to your tongue.
  • No antibiotic will cure an infection caused by a virus. Do not take antibiotics or any other medications without a consultation with your doctor.
  • Do not smoke or at least try to reduce it.

Last updated: August 3, 2018 at 23:23 pm

What Is A Winged Scapula And Best Exercises To Fix It

Chris Perrin image (c) http://www.perrinpt.com/
Chris Perrin image (c) http://www.perrinpt.com/

A winged scapula is a common, yet debilitating condition which can lead to the limited functionality of the upper extremities!

Scapular winging in itself is not classified as a medical injury, it is just a symptom of another condition (we will discuss these conditions down below). Though this condition is relatively common, it can still go undetected and unattended.

If left unattended, it can further limit your shoulder mobility and worsen your posture. This is why today we will be discussing most common causes, symptoms and ways you can treat and fix your winged scapula!

Most Common Causes Of Scapular Winging

The most common cause of a winged scapula is serratus anterior muscle dysfunction. Serratus anterior is a muscle located on the side of the chest – originating on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs and inserting along the medial border of the scapula (inner border which is parallel to the spine).serratus-anterior-muscle

Serratus anterior dysfunction is generally caused by long thoracic nerve injuries. Due to its location, this nerve is prone to injuries.

As you can see, serratus anterior holds your scapula against your rib cage and, if for some reason the muscle fails to do its job properly, your scapula will stick out.

Another back muscle group we need to pay attention to are rhomboid major and minor muscles. Rhomboid muscles arise from the spinous processes of the spine (spinous processes are bony projections on the vertebrae you can feel under your skin) and attach to the medial surface of the scapula.

The main function of these muscles is to stabilise the scapula and hold it against your rib cage.

The third most common cause of scapular winging is tight pectoralis muscle. This tightness can often be overlooked but is very common, especially among younger individuals, and its due to our poor posture. When sitting in a slouched position, we are effectively tightening and shortening tendons of the pectoralis minor muscle.

Since the main function of this muscle is to pull the scapula towards the thorax, tightening can lead to various problems with the scapula including winging.

Common Symptoms

The condition itself is often asymptomatic, meaning the patient will feel no pain and often not know he has winged scapula until someone else points it out to him.

In addition to changes in physical appearance, patients may also experience:

  • Pain when scapula is pressed
  • Limited shoulder mobility – especially when attempting to raise their arm above their head
  • Difficulty when performing (more challenging) daily activities

Diagnostic Tests

Using visual inspection we can, of course, diagnose and confirm this condition but we won’t be sure about its underlying cause. This is where electromyographic testing comes into play – this is the only sure and accurate way to determine which muscle is responsible and to which degree.

X-ray cannot be used to confirm or diagnose this condition, but it can be helpful in ruling out structural abnormalities in the neck and upper back.

Best Exercises For Fixing Scapular Winging

Treatment will, of course, largely depend on its underlying cause.

If you experience pain and swelling, as the first line of defence you can apply cold pack along this area (along the medial surface of the scapula).

For those of you who don’t experience pain, but want to “get rid” of a winged scapula, we have few exercises you should do daily in order to strengthen your back muscles.

Scapular Protraction For A Winged Scapula

Scapular protraction the best exercise specifically targeting serratus muscle. Check out the video below for the full exercise routine:

Pectoralis Muscle Stretch

Stretching the pectoralis minor muscle will not only help with winged scapula, it will also open up your chest and stretch all the muscles of the anterior torso, open up your airways and allow deeper breathing, and increase your shoulder mobility.

So, how do you stretch it? Stretching your pectoralis muscle is really simple:

  • Stand in a corner of your room
  • Raise your arms sideways, above shoulders
  • Leen your arms against the wall and feel that deep stretching sensation spreading across your entire torso
  • Hold the stretch for around 40 seconds and repeat 5,6 times

Check out the video demonstration below:


Surgery is generally recommended as a last resort but it is highly effective in fixing scapular winging, improving function and making you look good!

For more rhomboid exercises, you can check out one of your previous articles – Simple Rhomboid Stretches

Hungry But Can’t Eat? Here Is Why! (2018 Updated)

Food is, of course, a necessity and we require it on a daily basis just to stay alive. Our body breaks down proteins, lipids, and carb and produces the energy we need to function properly, breath, walk, move, etc.

But, from time to time everyone gets this strange feeling, mostly when you are sick, have a stomach virus, or just hungover. You know that you are hungry but can’t eat.

You take one bite and are struck by that feeling of nausea and pain in your stomach.

It is important to note that you are not alone, there are millions of individuals all around the world facing this problem, and the number is on the rise. Especially in our modern society where we encounter an enormous amount of stress on a daily basis.

Hungry But Can’t Eat – A Quick Overview

Here is a list of the most common causes which may lead to the loss of appetite (feeling hungry but can’t eat):

  • Depression – if you are suffering from depression, food can become tasteless. There are times when you can’t get yourself to eat anything, no matter how hard you try it. Depression is a serious condition, and should you suspect if, seek medical help. Finding a local support group might also be a good idea, see National Alliance On Mental Illness
  • Anxiety
  • Giardia
  • Pregnancy
  • Liver Disease
  • Medication and Poor Nutrition

Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety is tightly linked to the appetite loss; we’ve all experienced it.

Actually, anxiety can affect our digestive system and force it into one of two directions – we can either overeat or lose our appetite and don’t eat enough.

Though overeating is not the topic of today’s article, it is important to note that it’s also an unhealthy habit. Eating to the point of feeling sick is not the healthiest thing you can do for your body.

On the other hand, being anxious to the point of not eating much, or at all, is a sign of a severe problem.

So, why does it happen?

Serotonin Levels

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for various processes in the brain such as mood, emotions, aggression, sleeping, anxiety, and appetite.

As you can see, disbalance in the levels of serotonin can cause the patients to feel full, even though they haven’t had anything to eat! So you will often feel hungry but you can’t eat anything.

Of course, this imbalance may affect people differently – sometimes it may speed up your metabolism and put your digestive system into overdrive.

Stress and Everyday Obligations

Stress is our body’s physical response to a certain stimulus. When we are under stress, our body switches to a “fight” or “flight” mode and releases a mix of hormones and various other chemcals.

This is a complex mix and causes a number of different reactions within the body – from redirecting the blood to shutting down our digestive system.

Shutting down, or just disrupting, the digestive system may make you feel full even though you haven’t eaten in a while. You can also feel hungry, but since your digestive system is not working correctly, you just can’t eat.

Another common cause of stress nowadays is daily obligations. We are working more and more; our workload is increasing, the time we spend in the office as well; all this is adding to the already high levels of stress we encounter daily.

Having too much work to do might even make you suppress hunger. You might start thinking less and less about food, and your body might also trick you into not feeling hungry at all. And before you know it, you will start to feel hungry but can’t eat.

The good thing about this type of stress and daily obligations is that they will eventually go away. And as they go away, you will slowly start regaining your appetite.

And as for anxiety, it does require professional help.


Giardia is an intestinal parasite which causes a diarrheal disease known as giardiasis.

The parasite lives in the intestines, and it passes in feces. Once it gets out of the body, it can survive for weeks, even months. This is due to its powerful protective shell that also makes it tolerant to chlorine disinfection.

For this reason, giardia is most commonly spread through the drinking water and is present in every region of the US, as well as the world.

The disease hits your stomach, so the most common symptoms are:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Greasy stool
  • Fatigue

Patients also report feeling tired and losing their appetite, so it is also common to experience a slight weight loss.

These symptoms will usually last between 2 and 6 weeks.

But rather than letting the disease take its course, you should see a doctor, especially if you haven’t had a bowel movement for more than a week, or feel dehydrated(frequent headaches and nausea).

The good thing about this disease is that it’s easily preventable. In fact, the only thing that stands between it’s, and your intestines is proper personal hygiene.

You should ALWAYS wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before a meal. You can also use antibacterial creams, and you should be all set.

Liver diseases

Pretty much every disease affecting the liver will have an impact on your digestion. Diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis, fatty liver, Jaundice, and some types of stomach cancer will cause a chronic, long-term appetite loss.

Of course, it is in our nature to always suspect the worse when something is wrong, but know that more severe diseases(such as the ones we mentioned above) are incredibly rare, most often your lack of appetite is caused by something more benign.


Though it is wonderful, pregnancy is a difficult time for a woman and her body.

Most women suffer from morning sickness, especially during the first trimester. Constant vomiting and nausea can hurt your appetite and the desire to eat anything.

You will often feel you are hungry, but you can’t eat. Fortunately, this is entirely normal, and there is no need to panic. Over time, your appetite will come back, and things will go back to normal.

Medication And Poor Nutrition

Medication can affect your digestion, though these instances are rare.

Different drugs may affect your digestion differently. Here is a quick rundown common types of medication and how they affect your appetite:

Antibiotics: some antibiotics can alter the way you perceive smell or taste. Not only that, but this medication can also slow down the movement of the food through your intestines. Since the food is passing through your intestines slower, you will feel full longer. You might even feel hungry but can’t eat without making yourself sick.

Chemotherapy: chemo uses powerful medication that often causes nausea, stomach problems and may make you not want to eat even if your body craves food.

Pain medication: pain medication irritate the lining of your stomach and may alter the way the food tastes.

Heart medication: some heart medication can suppress your appetite and interfere with your desire to eat.

What To Do If You’ve Lost Your Appetite?

In most cases losing your appetite is not a cause for major concern(if it does not last too long). We’ve all had this happen to us and there is no need to panic.

But if you want to make a difference and “force” yourself to eat when you don’t have the appetite, this is what you should do:

  • Nap more often
  • Exercise daily
  • Reduce stress
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stop with TV dinners and eat smaller meals

Regular Naps

An increased workload in combination with tidying up your home may take a toll on you and exhaust you completely.

Being exhausted all the time is, of course, not healthy; it may make you lose your appetite and stop you from eating even if you are hungry.

This is why you should take a moment to rest, relax and charge your batteries. It doesn’t have to be a long nap, 30min to an hour is just the right amount to get you back on track and restore your energy.

Daily Exercise

We, as humans, are not meant to remain stationary – sit around all day. Our body craves movement! Moving is healthy and positively affects every system of our body.

If you find yourself feeling hungry but can’t eat, losing your appetite and feeling nauseated when you do eat something, know that it is time to do something.

As for the exercise itself, it doesn’t have to be vigorous, intense, or require weights; something as simple as a 30minute walk can be more than enough.

Ideally, you should engage in some sports activity or at least jog for a few miles each day. It will stimulate your body, make you feel good, boost your appetite and even burn off some excess calories.

When the winter comes, you have two options really – either hit the gym or buy yourself a treadmill and run at home. Whatever you decide, make sure you remain active.

Reduce stress

We’ve already said that stress is probably the main reason people lose their appetite and feel nauseated when they even think about food. But the problem with stress is you just can’t cut the stress out of your life.

We all have problems fueling our stress on a daily basis – work, relationships, or as something as simple as not having your morning coffee in time.

But, we are here to give you a little secret. Stress is actually a good thing, which is why (in addition to finding solutions to the problems causing it) you should try just to accept it. Accept the fact you are going to have some stressful situations through the day.

Stress is there to help you grow by allowing you to focus on what is currently wrong in your life. So, the next time you feel stressed out by a particular situation, stop to ask yourself why you are stressed? What is it about that situation that is causing the stress, and what could you do to make it better.

Of course, there are times when something hits you out of the blue, something like losing a loved one. Those are the times you should reach out and try to get some professional help.

Drinking Plenty Of Water

It is a well-known fact that most of us don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. The general recommendation is to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses each day (roughly 1.5 to 2l).

Drinking enough water will stimulate your digestion and may help you regain your lost appetite.

Small Meals And TV Dinners

When I was growing up, we would always have large, heavy meals and we would not get up until we ate everything our mother cooked for the day.

These large meals are heavy on the stomach and might even make you feel nauseated through the day. You then start associating nausea with food and you quickly find yourself feeling hungry but can’t eat.

Eating smaller meals more frequently through the day will keep your digestion in check and help with your appetite.

And as for TV dinners, you should avoid them as much as possible. I say to avoid because they are usually unhealthy, it’s something you make in a hurry just to be able to watch your favorite show.

But even if you cook a healthy meal, you might focus on the show rather than on the food and become too distracted to eat. By making this a habit, you will become less and less focused on food, might lose your appetite and stop eating even though you feel hungry.

What Do You Eat When You Have No Appetite?

Should you experience loss of appetite spanning across several days, you should consult a doctor. Before you do, here are a few tips to help boost your desire to eat.

Mixing It Up

Eating the same food day after day will have a negative effect on your appetite. You will become bored and fed up with the same food and might even hate the idea of eating even though you are feeling hungry.

This is why you should mix things up! Go to your neighbor, get some new recipes, swap recipes with your friends or just go online and look for something new.

There are 1000’s of different websites with all kinds of simple, easy-to-make dishes that will blow your mind.

If you are looking for a lifelong dedication to cooking, you might even join a local cooking class. You can learn to make remarkable new meals and spend some time meeting new people!

Boosting The Flavor Of The Food

If you’ve been on a certain medication for a long time, chances are your taste buds are damaged, and the food begins to lose it’s taste even before it hits your palate.

If this is the case with you, you should try to boost the flavors that are already there. You can do this by adding spices and herbs you don’t normally use (ginger and turmeric), adding garlic or onions, or using virgin olive oil.

Possibilities are endless!

Foods That Increase Your Appetite

Unfortunately for us, there are no magic foods that will make you want to eat more and boost your appetite to such extent.

So what can you do? Well, your best bet would be to try and eat foods that pack the most calories per serving, so that even if you eat just a little bit, your body is getting enough fuel to get through the day.

Some of you might think the answer is fast food. Though it may seem like a convenient option, this is not the right road to take since most fast foods are unhealthy.

What you need are foods that are rich in nutrients and packed full of calories. Some of these foods are:

  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Eggs
  • Whole-grain breads
  • Dried fruit
  • Peas and corn

Also, make sure you don’t skip breakfast. You will most often feel hungry in the morning, right after you wake up. If you ignore this urge and desire to eat, you might not feel like eating later in the day.

Last updated: August 3, 2018 at 23:22 pm

Is Coughing Up Brown Mucus Harmful? Yes and No, Find Out

We all have mucus in the morning; it’s normal even in healthy individuals. But, what does it mean when a mucus changes color… and becomes brown? This is why we are here today, to tell you bit more about the mucus itself, why does it build up and how dangerous it is for you if it changes color.

The color of the mucus mostly depends on the condition your lugs are in at the moment. Many people think that poor habits, such as smoking, can lead to this change in color. Though this does happen, it’s rare; if you are coughing up brown mucus, it usually means you have some other underlying health issue.

In addition to this brown mucus, you might experience other symptoms such as shortness of breath, sore throat, and nose bleeding.

Mucus- General Information

As we already said before, everyone has mucus; it’s perfectly normal. Some people produce less of it, some more but we produce between 1 and 1.5l per day! I know that this number seems like a lot, but you should note that you just swallow most of it without even knowing.

The best way to define mucus would be to say it’s a body secretion consisted of salt, enzymes, immunoglobulin, and few other components.

As disgusting as it may seem, mucus plays a significant role in our body as it guards us against certain harmful microorganisms, moisturizes our nose, sinuses, and mouth. Mucus helps us get rid of dirt, dust, bacteria and keep our organism cleaner.

Types Of Brown Mucus

We know that it seems disgusting, but the next time you start coughing out brown mucus, you should take a closer look and try to figure out the exact hue.

We say this because sometimes patients have a brown mucus with a hint of green. The green color is a sign of inflammation, due to the green cells being produced by our white blood cells, leukocytes.

Now, this infection can have numerous causes from some benign ones such as allergies and irritation, to asthma and even cystic fibrosis.

Though cystic fibrosis is not as common as other causes we’ve listed, it can happen. One of the characteristics of this disease is a thick mucus that almost feels like glue.

Another common “color combination” is brown and yellow, and this can be a sign of pneumonia.

Dark brown mucus

We can say that the dark brown mucus is the most common one. It can be caused by something entirely benign, but it can also be an indicator of a serious health condition. For this reason, it would be best to consult with your doctor first.

Of course, we can’t leave you at that; we are going to go over some of the most common causes of brown mucus you are coughing up.


Obviously, this is a bad habit. Smoking will not negatively affect your body; it can also have an adverse effect on your environment, people you hang out with and places you go to.

Prolonged, active consumption will lead to some different health problems:

  • Damaged lungs with reduced capacity
  • Brown nails and fingertips
  • Greater risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Bronchitis and asthma
  • Yellow teeth and changes in your lips and
  • In some cases even lung cancer

According to the latest research, patients who smoke are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) when compared to non-smokers. We are not here to judge you, but it is our obligation to advise you to cut back and eventually quit this nasty habit.

As you smoke, the nicotine resin and tar start to deposit in your bronchi and cause mucus and phlegm. The mucus density may vary, but patients reported it is often dark brown.

Nasal polyps

Polyps are abnormal tissue growths that are usually benign, small and can develop in some places:

  • Throat
  • Nose
  • Stomach
  • Ear canal
  • Uterus and others

Though most polyps are benign (noncancerous), the cell growth here is still abnormal, and they can eventually become malignant. This is why it is always a good idea to get regular checkups, monitor its growth and take appropriate action if necessary.

Though polyps can be found in many different areas around the body, we are most interested in nasal ones.

Nasal polyps are associated with the inflammation of the lining of our nasal passages. The good (and the bad) thing about these polyps is they are usually small, soft and you might not even notice you got them.

But, as they begin to grow, they may cause problems and even block the air passages through your nose. Other symptoms worth noting are a running nose, headaches, pain, nasal bleeding, decreased sense of smell and taste and, of course, mucus that can sometimes turn brown.


Another bad habit, in addition to smoking. Some researchers even consider it to be worse than smoking since it can lead to the inflammation in our upper respiratory tract quicker (Main structure of our upper respiratory tract are the nose, nasal cavity, mouth, throat and voice box – Source: Medlineplus).

Chronic alcohol drinking can also lead to pneumonia and other related health issues. Some of the main symptoms worth mentioning here are nasal discharge, fever, scratchy throat and brown mucus. The alcohol itself will affect the color of the mucus you are coughing up and make it a dark brown.

Irritable bowel syndrome

We already have a couple of articles addressing this condition so that we won’t go into too many details. All we wanted to say here was that sometimes a brown mucus might appear due to the changes that are going on in your intestines.

If you want to read more about this condition, you can read our article on Irritable Bowel Syndrome Here.

Acid reflux And The Food We Eat

The acid reflux disease happens due to the weakened esophageal sphincter. Esophageal sphincter is a band of muscles located at the entrance of our stomach, which closes as the food passes it.

When these muscles get weaker, the sphincter does not close all the way, so the acid produced by our stomach moves up into the esophagus and causes the following symptoms – burning chest pain, bloating, burping, and nausea.

You might also notice an increase in mucus production. Depending on the food we eat (chocolate, coffee, wine, etc.) the mucus might turn brown.

Lung infection

Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world. This is mostly due to our poor lifestyle habits (smoking or drinking), genetic predispositions or the environment we live in.

Each breath of air we draw is a chance for bacteria to penetrate into our breathing apparatus and cause an infection. Luckily for us, our immune system does its job incredibly well, so we are safe… most of the time.

When we do get sick, and the infection affects our respiratory tract, one of the symptoms will most likely be thick mucus, sometimes dark in color, or even brown.


Pollution is becoming a bigger and bigger issue at an alarming rate. Especially in large, industrial cities, the air is so polluted we sometimes can’t breathe without a protective mask. The number of cars on our streets is also increasing daily, so the future is not looking too bright.

The combination of polluted air and smog will most likely affect your airwaves and can sometimes lead to heavy breathing, increased mucus production and cough up brown, thick mucus.

Of course, the ideal thing to do here would be to change your environment, but if you can’t do that, at least try to “escape” to the countryside during the weekends.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer can sometimes cause thick brown mucus to build up in your respiratory system. Some other symptoms are:

  • An intense cough that does not go away
  • Severe weight loss
  • Lack of energy etc.

That being said, lung cancer is least likely to cause that brown mucus you are coughing up. It is usually something benign, we already mentioned previously. But it is important to look at all the possible causes and get yourself checked out if you suspect something more serious.

Helping Yourself – Home Remedies

Now that we’ve covered all the symptoms of this condition, we are going to offer you some quick, easy-to-follow tips and tricks you can try in the comfort of your own home. If you try any of these, please let us know if it worked for you, or suggest some other method you used that we haven’t covered here.

Lemon and onion

Sounds unpleasant but if it helps, why not give it a go. What you need to do is peel the onion, squeeze the lemon juice and blend these for a couple of minutes.

Next, put this mix on the stove and let it boil for a minute. After it cools down, drink a few sips, 2-3 times per day.

Ginger and honey

This is something I consume on a daily basis, not just for the mucus problems but the health and immune system boost. I love honey, but ginger does require some getting used to.

Ginger is easy to deal with due to its firm texture. What you can do is peel it and use a grater to grate it as fine as possible. Then just put it in your jar of honey and let it sit for a few weeks. After that, it’s ready for use.

Chicken soup

Chicken soup for the soul… not quite but close. This is also one of my favorite tips for fighting, not just phlegm, but cold in general. Just make sure it’s a homemade soup, don’t buy those from the supermarket.

As for condiments, I like to grind pepper into it; it clears my nostrils and throat right up. You can also add ginger and garlic.

Grape juice

Once again, homemade grape juice, not the one you buy at the store. If possible, buy fresh, organic grapes (without pesticides) and make it into juice. It is also a good idea to add honey to it.

You can drink it 3 to 4 times per day, and you will quickly notice a huge difference and clear your throat of mucus.

Lemon Tea

No, not lemon juice, lemon tea. There has been a craze over lemon tea in the last couple years, and for a good reason.

Lemon tea is a green or black tea with added lemon juice. The lemon juice will complement the taste of the tea and make it much more pleasant to drink.

Some people like to add sugar to this tea, to help with the flavor, we would advise you against it, make it as healthy as possible. You could add honey, but it would be best just to leave it as is.

Lemon tea is an excellent antiseptic which will moisturize your throat nice and clear the mucus buildup in your throat.

Coughing Up Brown Mucus – Treatment

Curing your mucus problem will, of course, depend on the underlying cause of this increased secretion. The best thing you can do to “get the ball rolling” is to try and quit (or at least) minimize smoking and drinking. This is a sound advice even if you don’t have problems with your throat.

After that, we advise you to give these natural remedies a go. You really can’t lose much since all these mixtures can only benefit you, your organism as a whole and your immune system. They will also help you break up that thick mucus, but might not cure you entirely, depending on the cause.

NOTE: when coughing up your phlegm and mucus, don’t just swallow it. Coughing is your body’s way of getting rid of it, so by swallowing it, you are just making things worse. Please, walk up to your bathroom and spit it out.

As for the medication, you should consult your doctor to get the treatment right. If you have a nasal infection that is causing this brown mucus build up, you will most likely get a nasal spray. The doctor will probably give you some antibiotics to help speed things along.

As for a cough, you will also give some medication to soothe it and reduce the inflammation.


We are a big fan of prevention, here at Helpyourback.org, so we are going to give you some of the best preventive measures you can put in place as soon as you feel your throat closing up:

  1. Environment change – the best possible environment for your airwaves is the sea. Breathing in that fresh, salty air for a week or two will clear up your nostrils and throat and boost your overall health
  2. Water – drinking plenty of water will not only make us healthier, but it will also increase our body’s capabilities to get rid of toxins and other harmful compounds
  3. Hot liquids – drinking hot tea and hot soup is a quick, cheap way to help yourself and your throat
  4. Humidifiers – using humidifiers may seem like a luxury to some, but it’s a necessity. Especially if you are living in an apartment building, where the air is dry
  5. Chemical exposure – you should try to limit your exposure to harmful household chemicals and store them properly
  6. Inhalation – you can inhale hot steam by placing your head over a pot of boiling water to loosen up the brown mucus that’s just starting to form in your throat

  7. Last updated: August 3, 2018 at 23:24 pm

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