Better Homes and Gardens (Australia)
What’s your body telling you? Listen to the warning signs to stay in peak condition
telling you? WHEN YOUR CAR PINGS OR WHIRS YOU TAKE A LOOK UNDER THE BONNET THE SAME SHOULD APPLY TO YOUR BODY!
The funny little sounds and moves your body makes might seem random, or of little to no consequence, but they’re actually your system’s way of saying, ‘Hey, a little help here, please!’ So it’s important to pay attention and respond appropriately. Here are common signs and symptoms and how to interpret them.
Cramping muscles THE MESSAGE
More water, please Dehydration is a big cause of cramping. Not getting enough electrolytes (such as calcium, magnesium and potassium) can also cause problems because muscles need these to contract the right way. Sweating causes you to lose electrolytes, so an imbalance and dehydration often go hand-in-hand. Prevent the pain by drinking lots of water – especially after you exercise. Side note, certain asthma and blood pressure meds can cause potassium levels to dip.
YOUR BODY HAS RESTORATIVE POWERS BUT ONLY IF YOU HEED ITS SIGNALS AND HELP IT HEAL
Your knee creaks THE MESSAGE
My cushioning is wearing down
There are many reasons your joints might creak, and it doesn’t always mean arthritis. Your ligaments and tendons might simply be rubbing against each other or your bones as you move. Another possibility is ‘runner’s knee’, or patellofemoral syndrome, which causes aches around kneecaps – and not only runners get it. The key message is, if you’re hearing the creaking and feeling concerning symptoms, it could be many things,
so talk to your doctor.
Twitching eyelid THE MESSAGE
Give me a break
Everyone might think you are winking at them, but you’re not. A twitchy eye is usually caused by stress or fatigue. Get a little R&R, and chances are the twitch will disappear. It might also be a sign of eye strain, which can happen when you spend a lot of time in front of a screen (computer, laptop, even smartphone), so be sure to look away from it every 20 minutes at least. A warm compress can also help as heat relaxes the muscles around the eye. One thing not to do is fuel up with an extra coffee, as it can make things worse!
Hiccups THE MESSAGE
Slow. It. Down Here’s something unexpected: hiccups actually start in your neck. When the phrenic or vagus nerves get irritated, it triggers your diaphragm to contract and push air out quickly. Spicy foods, smoking, dry bread and alcohol can all be irritants, but one of the most common causes is drinking too fast. Overeating exacerbates things since a full stomach can push up on your diaphragm. Hiccups usually resolve on their own, and holding your breath or eating sugar aren’t proven to stop them faster. But, if you find yourself hiccupping for hours or days (it’s rare but can happen), see a doctor. You may need anti-anxiety meds or a muscle relaxant.
Oh, yawn THE MESSAGE
I’m fading We all know the message a yawn sends, but you may be surprised to learn there’s a physiological reason for it. As you start to fade, your brain temperature rises. Inhaling deeply and opening your jaw wide – yawning – is the body’s way of taking in cooler air and increasing blood flow to the brain so you will become more alert.
Snoring like a chain saw THE MESSAGE
I’m not getting enough air! Snoring tells you something very specific about what’s going on with your anatomy. You snore when the walls of your throat narrow and vibrate as you breathe, usually because you’re congested or something’s off physically. People who have large tonsils or a deviated septum are more likely to snore, and extra weight can also be a cause. Ever notice your partner only snores after a night out with red wine or cocktails? Alcohol close to bedtime also makes snoring more likely, as it relaxes your throat muscles.
YOU’RE NOT IMAGINING IT - YAWNS REALLY ARE INCREDIBLY CONTAGIOUS!