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Is Your Swollen Stomach Belly Fat Or Bloating? 4 Questions To Find The Answer

Is Your Swollen Stomach Belly Fat Or Bloating? 4 Questions To Find The Answer

For those of you who have ever suffered from a swollen stomach, you will be aware that this can be an uncomfortable and emotionally distressing experience. What you may not know is the root cause of this. While many believe that it occurs as the result of excess belly fat, it may actually be the manifestation of bloating.

It is important to distinguish between these two issues, as both have entirely different triggers and are indicative of potentially diverse health problems. A lack of knowledge and understanding may also cause you to use the wrong approach to deal with the problem, which could exacerbate the issue and the symptoms you are forced to manage.

How Can you Tell the Difference Between Belly Fat and Bloating?

When presented with a swollen stomach, the first step is to monitor your symptoms to determine what is the most likely cause. This can enable you to make an informed decision on how you deal with the problem, ensuring that you pursue suitable courses of treatment that deliver the desired result.

With this in mind, here are four important considerations when attempting to distinguish between belly fat and bloating:

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1. Is the Swelling Localized or Widespread?

To begin with, examine your stomach visually. Is the swelling localised, or can you identify bulges in other places on your body? If you answer yes to the former, you are most likely suffering from bloating that has targeted the stomach and the abdominal regions. If you notice additional bulges elsewhere and particularly on the thighs, hips and buttocks, however, you are probably carrying excess fat.

2. Is Your Swollen Stomach Firm or Spongy?

At this point, take the time to press your stomach and focus specifically on the most pronounced areas of swelling. As a general rule, stomach fat will feel spongy and malleable when pressure is applied, whereas bloating usually makes your abdomen appear tight and noticeably firm. As a result of this, anyone who can grasp more than an inch of your stomach, it is probably carrying excess fat.

3. Is the Swelling Constant or Intermittent?

The duration of your swelling is also a key indicator of the root cause, as fat cells build up over time and are likely to remain constantly. In contrast, bloating occurs in intermittent periods, meaning that the shape of your stomach may fluctuate throughout the course of each day.

4. Is the Swelling Painful?

On a final note, it is important to check whether or not the swelling is accompanied by pain. After all, bloating is almost always a painful experience to some degree or another, whereas excess fat is not known to cause any physical discomfort. The presence of excess gas is also a symptom of bloating, particularly if it coincides with the expansion of your stomach.

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How Can you Deal with a Bloated Stomach?

Establishing your precise symptoms should offer a clear indication into the root cause of your swollen stomach, and at this stage, you can begin to plot a clear course of action. This is crucial, as the failure to distinguish between fat and a bloated stomach causes many to categorise swelling as a trivial and unimportant problem that only impacts on their physical appearance.

This is a significant oversight, as a bloated stomach may also be indicative of a serious health concern known as dysbiosis. This refers to an imbalance that exists between good and bad bacteria within your stomach, where unhealthy and unnatural organisms such as yeast and protozoa become prominent in the intestines and alter the bodies fundamental nutrition patterns.

This imbalance, which hinders the growth of the 400 organisms that are naturally found in the stomach, can cause a multitude of health complaints in addition to bloating (including indigestion, diarrhoea, nausea, iron deficiency, stomach infestations, fatigue and even skin conditions).

So if you have determined that your stomach is bloated rather than covered in excess fat, here are some initial steps you can take to manage this problem:

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1. Stay Hydrated At All Times

Let’s start with the basics, as when you are not drinking enough fluids, your body automatically retains water to prevent dehydration. So, by maximising your fluid intake and drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of liquid each day, you can remain hydrated and prevent the retention of water. Just be selective about the drinks that you consume, with the best bet being to focus on water and avoid sugary or artificially flavoured drinks.

2. Consume Largely High-Protein Meals

Similarly, high-protein meals can also reduce water retention and alleviate the symptoms of bloating. This is because such diets promote the elimination of fluids through urine, helping tissues to dry out over time. This is particularly effective for women, who are most likely to suffer from water retention and subsequent bloating.

3. Reduce your Carbohydrate Intake

In case you weren’t aware, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) remains the most common digestive disorder in the world, affecting an estimated 14% of the global population (most of whom are undiagnosed). Bloating is a common symptom of this ailment, but even if you are not suffering from IBS, this conditions may offer an insight into the root cause of your problem.

More specifically, indigestible carbohydrates known as FODMAPS are known to drastically increase stomach bloating and exacerbate the symptoms of IBS, so reducing or at least modifying your carb intake can lead to a dramatic improvement in your condition over time.

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What if You are Suffering from Belly Fat?

For those of you who find that they are simply carrying excess belly fat, here are some tips and techniques that can help you to trim this and restore a healthier physical form:

1. Avoid Refined Sugar and Simple Carbs

Interestingly, those carrying excess belly fat should also look to manage their carbohydrate intake carefully. Avoiding ‘simple’ carbs that are loaded with fat is a good starting point, as it eliminating the type of refined sugar found in chocolate, sweets and so-called energy drinks.

2. Create a Protein and Fibre Rich Body

The cultivation of a protein and fibre rich body can also help to reduce stomach fat over time. Protein is known to reduce unhealthy food cravings by 60%, for example, while also boosting metabolism by between 80 and 100 calories. A diet containing soluble and viscous fibres also triggers a slower and more effective digestion process, making you feel fuller for longer and maintaining a reduced, natural appetite.

Just remember that fibres are similar to carbohydrates in terms of their complexity, so you will need to determine which ingredients are the most conducive to fat and weight loss.

3. Combine Diet with Exercise

When looking to trim body fat, exercise is a key consideration. This should be aligned with diet to achieve the optimal results, although it is important to strike the ideal balance between cardiovascular and muscle work-outs. Performing abdominal exercises alone is not enough to reduce belly fat, as you must engage in high-intensity activity to burn the fat and reduce the circumference of your weight.

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Last Updated on July 2, 2020

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

There is very little in life as annoying or distracting as neck pain. Most people find that neck pain is temporary. What can you do if your neck pain seems chronic or if it comes and goes with no obvious source?

Whether you have simply slept on your neck wrong or you are working late, hunched over a keyboard half the night, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck!

What most people are unaware of is that there are little known hacks that can help you find relief from neck pain fast and naturally. This means no pills or expensive exercise equipment to buy.

How can you get relief from neck pain?

There are several easy steps to follow to find the perfect hack for solving your neck pain fast and easy.

How Did I End Up With This Pain in the Neck?

Neck pain often has an I-was-looking-right-at-it source that we don’t recognize at first glance. Once you identify the source of the pain, you can take the best corrective measure, or several measures if need be!

Ask yourself these questions to find a possible source:

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  • Do you spend much of the day sitting (desk job, typing, etc.)?
  • How old are your mattress and pillow?
  • How much exercise do you work into an average day?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • Have you been injured or in an accident (no matter how small) lately?

Perhaps one last question to ask yourself might be, “Is my pain a regular occurrence, or is my neck pain something that has just cropped up?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start searching for answers.

Remedies for Neck Pain

Once you know the source, try tapping into one (or several) of these solutions to start healing your neck pain now.

1. Everyday Activities

One of the important factors with neck pain will be your everyday activities. Other than an injury or accident, one of the largest factors for neck pain includes working overtime in an office and the stress that work entails[1].

Due to the coronavirus, many people find themselves working from home, in kitchens, basements, using a barstool, and/or other equipment that was not designed for humans to spend hours on end, typing and looking at a computer screen.

If you find that your neck pain has occurred during the past few months due to a job change, or if you suddenly began working from home, your issue may be due to ergonomics. Invest in an adjustable office chair to help make your workspace more neck-friendly.

2. Age of Mattress and Pillow

The age of your mattress and pillow should also be considered. Pillows, on average, should be changed every 3 years, and a mattress every 7-10 years. No matter how good or comfortable you think these items are, the truth is that they are hurting your neck and back with a lack of support.

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A good mattress is well worth the investment, and pillows are always on sale, as well as wallet-friendly. If you haven’t tried them, a water-filled pillow can be comfortable for many people.

3. Exercise/Movement/Stretching

It’s that old exercise question that no one wants to hear. This time around, it has been difficult for many people to get in good exercise since they have been housebound due to the quarantine. There are plenty of ways to get in some good, old-fashioned exercise.

Stretching exercises are even more important than before since many people do not get enough movement while sitting at home. There are hundreds of at-home exercise, dance, and yoga videos that require little to no equipment, so even if you’re a beginner, give it a go.

4. Stress and Stress Management

Stress is a hidden danger that robs more people of health than even most doctors realize. While everyone has stress, not everyone recognizes it, nor do they have a means of managing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress, with meditation and yoga being the best ways to manage and relieve stress. All of these will remove tightness in the muscles and relieve neck pain.

5. Accident or Injury

If you have been involved in an accident or injured yourself lately (falling down, or having something fall on you, for example) and your neck pain began after this incident, you should speak with your doctor about this as soon as possible.

6. On-Going Problem or Sudden Occurrence

Finally, if your neck pain is something that has occurred recently, it could simply be that you slept on it wrong or turned your neck too hard. That will make this a very temporary condition. You can try some easy stretches for pain relief .

An on-going problem, however, might respond better to some other alternative methods, including:

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  • Slowly moving and stretching your neck. Do not move too quickly or too far. Roll your head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, to the front and to the back.
  • Ice packs work well for some people, while heat works best for others.
  • Be aware of how you use your cell phone or tablet. If you keep your neck bent downward for too long to look at it, you can develop an annoying pain called text-neck or tech-neck. Take breaks and look up to stretch those neck muscles.
  • Long hours driving can also be hard on the neck. Look from side to side as far as you can, as well as up and down to prevent a stiff neck.

 

Still Have Tight Neck Muscles? 3 Tips for Finding Relief

When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:

1. Gua Sha

This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.

Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not[2].

2. Swimming

You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.

3. Chiropractic Massage

Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.

The Best Treatment for Neck Pain

When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesn’t often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

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I’m certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises you’ve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard[3]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, don’t let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.

What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?

Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.

A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:

  • Cervical Manual Traction
  • Flexion-Distraction
  • Cervical Mobilization
  • Ultrasound
  • Cervical Drop Technique
  • Trigger Point Therapy

There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why[4]

The Bottom Line

If neck pain wreaks havoc in your life regularly, the best way to stop it is to identify the source and attack it from that angle.

Getting plenty of exercises, having a proper posture, and buying an office chair that provides plenty of support, as well as a regular stretching program, will keep your neck strong and flexible for many years to come.

More Tips on Healing Neck Pain

Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

Reference

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