5 Tips for a Healthy Back

5 Tips for a Healthy Back

Treatment of low back pain has undergone a recent sea change. Experts now appreciate the central role of exercise and the importance of maintaining a healthy back. They also better understand which conditions surgery will help and which patients are good surgical candidates. Back pain has many different causes, including the normal wear and tear that comes with aging. While you can’t turn back the clock or prevent every type of back disorder, in most cases there are things you can do to help keep your back healthy. Number One – Stay Fit Weak back and abdominal muscles – due to deconditioning or age – cause or exacerbate many cases of low back pain. That’s why stretching and strengthening both your back and abdominal muscles is important not only for treating low back pain, but also for helping prevent a recurrence of the problem. Exercise strengthens and stretches the muscles that support the spine. A stretching and strengthening regimen should target the back, abdominal and buttock muscles. Strong abdominal or flexor muscles, for example, help people maintain an upright posture, as do strong extensor muscles, which run the full length of the back and maintain alignment of the vertebrae. Stretching is a valuable component of any treatment plan for a person plagued by back problems. Most experts believe that supple, well-stretched muscles are less prone to injury. Indeed, shorter, less flexible muscle and connective tissues restrict joint mobility, which increases the likelihood of sprains and strains. Certain aerobic activities are safer for your back than others. For instance, cycling (either stationary or regular), swimming and walking lead the list...
Proper Sunglasses can offer Safety and Style

Proper Sunglasses can offer Safety and Style

Sunglasses are a must-have fashion accessory for many during the summer, but having the right ones can be beneficial to your health. Sunglasses are crucial to protecting the health of one’s eyes and the delicate, surrounding tissue from damage due to the same harmful UV rays that also can cause skin cancer. “Because in the summertime people are typically more active and outside – walking, hiking, biking and all that – they are more exposed to UV radiation,” said Dr. Bennett Nelson of Insight Eye Care in Waite Park. UV radiation raises the risk of developing cataracts. It also is linked to macular degeneration, “a treatable, but incurable disease of the macula, a part of the retina that is essential for sharp vision,” according to WebMD.com. “You can still develop UV radiation damage on a cloudy day as you can on a sunny day,” said Nelson, an optometrist. “That’s why you can still get tan when it’s cloudy out. It’s the UV radiation that causes the damage, not the sunlight.” Pingueculum is another eye problem that can develop due to UV radiation exposure; a pingueculum is a yellowish bump of tissue on the white of the eye, according to Nelson. “Many skin cancers can occur on the eyelids themselves, too, because the skin tissue is very thin, and being that it’s thin, it can be penetrated by that UV radiation, so wearing sunglasses not only protects the inside parts of the eye, it also protects the health of the tissue surrounding the eyes,” he said. Larger sunglasses, particularly ones with wraparound lenses and frames, will block more UV rays...
Sugary Drinks can Change Muscles in a Month!

Sugary Drinks can Change Muscles in a Month!

Sugary drinks lead to alterations in muscles similar to those in people with obesity problems and type 2 diabetes, researchers in Britain said. Dr. Hans-Peter Kubis of Bangor University in England said the research showed regularly drinking soft drinks changed the way muscles use food as fuel, making them prefer to burn sugars over fats. “This will lead a reduced ability to burn fat and to fat gain. Moreover, it will make it more difficult for our body to cope with rises in blood sugar. What is clear here is that our body adjusts to regular soft drink consumption and prepares itself for the future diet by changing muscle metabolism via altered gene activity — encouraging unhealthy adaptations similar to those seen in people with obesity problems and type 2 diabetes.” The study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, found the switch to an inefficient metabolism was seen in the participants who were lightly active, lean male and females drinking soft drinks for only four weeks. “Together with our findings about how drinking soft drinks dulls the perception of sweetness, our new results give a stark warning against regularly drinking sugar sweetened drinks,” Kubis concluded. [Source: United Press...
Vitamin C – RDA increase proposed

Vitamin C – RDA increase proposed

Researchers Recommend Increase in Vitamin C Dietary Allowance Scientists at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute are proposing an increase in the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C from the current level of 90 milligrams per day for men and 75 milligrams for women, to a modest intake of 200 milligrams. Writing in a recent issue of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Professor Balz Frei and colleagues observe that the current RDA is based on the amount necessary to prevent scurvy and that present methods of evaluating nutrients such as vitamin C have often failed to find further disease-preventive benefits due to faulty methodology. “Phase III randomised controlled trials—designed principally to test the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs—are ill suited to assess the health benefits of essential nutrients; and the currently available scientific evidence is sufficient to determine the optimum intake of vitamin C in humans,” they write. “It’s time to bring some common sense to this issue, look at the totality of the scientific evidence, and go beyond some clinical trials that are inherently flawed,” commented Dr Frei, who is the director of the Linus Pauling Institute. “Significant numbers of people in the U.S. and around the world are deficient in vitamin C, and there’s growing evidence that more of this vitamin could help prevent chronic disease. The way clinical researchers study micronutrients right now, with the same type of so-called ‘phase three randomised placebo-controlled trials’ used to test pharmaceutical drugs, almost ensures they will find no beneficial effect. We need to get past that.” Dr Frei and his coauthors argue that these trials...
Olivia Newton-John Wholistic Cancer Centre

Olivia Newton-John Wholistic Cancer Centre

Olivia Newton-John had to travel far and wide for acupuncture and massages to complement her chemotherapy and radiology in her battle with breast cancer – a burden she hopes others, particularly those in the public hospital system, won’t have to endure after the opening of a treatment centre bearing her name at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital. The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre will combine research laboratories, clinical treatment and complementary therapies in a one stop shop aimed at attacking cancer from all angles. Patients will be able to join singalongs in a dedicated music room, take a yoga class or enjoy a massage in combination with their chemotherapy. Cutting the ribbon on the centre on Friday, Newton-John said complementary therapies were an underrated component in the fight against cancer, which began for her with a diagnosis in 1992. “I had to find it myself and go to different places or have them come to me,” she said. “I was lucky I could do that but most people can’t so that’s why this is wonderful. It’s actually more than I ever could have pictured or dreamed of.” The Australian entertainment icon said she was inspired to join the project after experiencing limitations in her own treatment regime. “I knew what a gap there was in the delivery of truly wholistic cancer care and how much there was a need for a cancer centre and a philosophy that gives equal support to patient wellbeing as it does to surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and research,” she said. The $180 million centre began as a $50 million project in 2002. Newton-John has spent the best part...