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Slouching Could Be Better Than Sitting Up Straight
Everyone at some time early in life has been scolded for slouching and told to "sit up straight". Now researchers are saying that slouching may well be better for your spine. This new research was reported to the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in a paper presented by lead researcher Dr. Waseem Bashir.
Dr. Bashir, of the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital, Canada, who led the study conducted at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland, stated, "A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal." He continued with recommendations from the research, "Sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness."
In this research, positional MRI studies were performed on 22 volunteers in three different sitting positions. The MRIs were examined to measure spinal angles and spinal disk height and movement across the different positions. Excessive disk movement indicates the potential for problems. The results show that the slouched or relaxed position of 135 degrees was best and created the least amount of movement or stress. The worst position was the straight up position at 90 degrees.
In response to the study, Dr. Rishi Loatey of the British Chiropractic Association commented, "One in three people suffer from lower back pain and to sit for long periods of time certainly contributes to this, as our bodies are not designed to be so sedentary." The British Chiropractic Association (which provided the graphic above) stresses the importance of these findings and notes that 32% of the population spends more than 10 hours a day seated.
Dr. Bashir summed up his findings by saying, ''We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position. This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.''
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Pain Pills Can Kill
The above headline comes from a December 20, 2006 story in the Chicago Sun-Times and reports on stronger proposed warnings that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling for on common pain medication. The Sun-Times story starts on an ominous note, "WARNING: Over-the-counter pain-killers such Tylenol, Advil and aspirin can cause potentially fatal liver damage or stomach bleeding."
The new proposed FDA warnings include acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, including aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. This includes some of the most popular over the counter drugs such as Tylenol, Aleve, Motrin and Advil. According to the story, the FDA warnings would, "include important safety information regarding the potential for stomach bleeding and liver damage and when to consult a doctor."
A Washington-based consumer advocacy group, the Public Citizen, claims that the warnings have come decades later than they should have. In 2002 federal advisers to the FDA had called for similar label changes. Dr. Paul Watkins, a professor of medicine at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the 2002 advisory panel commented, "It`s a step that`s overdue and really reflects the consensus that came out of the meeting four years ago, which is helping the consumer know what they are taking."
The news stories on this issue report on the scale of this problem noting that 48 million Americans take an acetaminophen product weekly. Some 56,000 people wind up in the emergency room yearly from problems related to this drug, and about 100 people die yearly after unintentionally overdosing. The recommended FDA labels would warn of the risk of severe liver damage for patients taking more than the recommended dose or who consume three or more drinks a day while on the drugs. The FDA would also warn patients not to take multiple medicines that contain acetaminophen.
As far as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the additional FDA warnings would stress the risk of stomach bleeding. According to the article, 17 million Americans take an NSAID daily. These drugs, sold as aspirin, Advil and Motrin and Aleve as well as in generic forms, send more than 200,000 Americans to the hospital yearly, and are linked to 16,000 deaths.
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Healthy Action Steps for 2007
A January 10, 2007 Business Wire release from the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has introduced an online "Health Seekers Calendar" designed to give those who use it, easy to follow health steps in 2007. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of the benefits of chiropractic.
Dr. Gerard W. Clum, president of Life Chiropractic College West, Hayward, California, and spokesperson for the Foundation starts off by suggesting, “Health and fitness related resolutions are common for many people, but these goals often are side-tracked by unnecessary and painful injury.” He goes on to note that many injuries are often totally avoidable, as they are in most instances the result of good intentions but poor planning.
“After a long period of inactivity, many people are too aggressive with an exercise regimen and should take their time in getting back to an exercise routine, otherwise, a routine-stopping injury is likely, making it even harder to get back on the right track down the road,” Dr. Clum insists. He continued, "One’s resolution and enthusiasm to initiate change are certainly the first step, but if these changes are derailed before results are seen or before they become permanent lifestyle changes, the likelihood of getting back on track is more remote.”
To help people get started on the road to being healthier, and to help them stay on track, the Foundation has introduced an online calendar, that they note is, "filled with simple, fun and enjoyable action steps to help individuals bring these four healthy living pillars into greater focus." The calendar can be found on the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress website at www.foundation4cp.org
. To see the calendar simply go to the site and click on "Health Seekers Calendar" link on the right of the home page.
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Cold Medicines Ineffective and Even Dangerous for Infants
A report released in the January 12, 2007 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC), and reported by numerous news outlets, reports that over-the-counter cough and cold medications can be harmful or even deadly to infants. According to the report, in 2004 and 2005 1,500 children under the age of 2 were treated in emergency rooms for problems related to taking such medications, and three died.
Dr. Adam Cohen, an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated, "Cough and cold medicines can be harmful, and even fatal, and should be used with caution in children under 2 years of age." The articles note that The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children over the age of 2. In spite of this the usage under that age is wide spread.
According to the articles, studies have concluded that such medications are no more effective on infants than a placebo. Dr. Michael Marcus, director of pediatric pulmonology, allergy and immunology at the Maimonides Infants & Children`s Hospital in New York City stated, "Cold and cough medications, especially medications containing pseudoephedrine [a nasal decongestant], have never been shown to have any beneficial effect on children less than 2 years of age, yet they clearly can have significant harmful effects."
Dr. Cohen of the CDC summed up his recomendations by saying, "Parents should never give medicine without consulting a health-care provider, even over-the-counter," Cohen added. "Many over-the-counter medicines may be marketed for infants, and there are no approved dosing recommendations from the FDA for this age group. There`s very little evidence that they help in children under 2."
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Chiropractic Resolutions For A Healthy, Pain-Free Year
The above is a December 24, 2006 headline of an article that appeared in an unlikely source, the Medical News Today. The article contains recommendations from a release from the American Chiropractic Association, (ACA). The Medical News Today article begins with great words to enter 2007, "Start the new year off right by committing to a healthier lifestyle."
This ACA release urges Americans to adopt the following 10 healthy New Years resolutions. They are:
- I will limit my intake of caffeinated coffee, sodas and teas. The caffeine in these drinks can cause dehydration and can rob the body of essential nutrients. Stick to water, natural juices and other decaffeinated beverages.
- I will avoid over medicating myself and my family. Many over-the- counter and prescription medications have unknown side effects. Discuss alternative remedies with a doctor of chiropractic.
- I will not carry a heavy purse or briefcase with its strap over my shoulder, unless I place the strap over my head on the side opposite the bag. Wearing a shoulder strap over one shoulder unevenly places the weight of the bag on one side of the body, potentially causing shoulder and back pain.
- I will not allow my children to carry backpacks that weigh more than 10 percent of their body weight. Beyond that weight, the backpack can cause the wearer to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, instead of the shoulders.
- I will not lift heavy objects over my head. These types of movements can strain muscles and affect nerves, causing severe neck, shoulder and arm problems.
- I will not turn my torso while lifting relatively heavy objects. This rotates the spine and can bring on a "back attack."
- I will avoid the habit of consistently crossing the same knee over the other. Such a habit can also eventually cause misalignment of the spine.
- I will try to keep moving while I`m at work. If sedentary for the majority of the work day, it is very important to take periodic stretch breaks. Get up from the desk and take a brief walk, and stretch arms and legs as frequently as possible to avoid postural and spinal stress.
- I will, when using a shovel - in winter or summer - remember to push rather than lift, whenever possible.
- I will use luggage with wheels whenever possible. Carrying, lifting and moving a heavy suitcase can ruin a vacation.
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