Weekend Warriors: Watch Your Back

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Dr. Brian Bannister with Atlantic Spine Center. Please share your thoughts below…..

newsPain Management Specialist Dr. Brian Bannister with Atlantic Spine Center explains common injuries weekend warriors experience and offers tips for prevention.

Spring’s imminent arrival – despite frigid temperatures over much of the United States – undoubtedly has many “weekend warriors” itching to return to outdoor exercise and activities. But weekend warriors – who take part in strenuous bursts of activity only on weekends or certain times of the year – need to be especially cautious of how an abrupt return to vigorous movement can injure their spine, according to Pain Management Specialist Brian Bannister, MD, with Atlantic Spine Center.

Despite minimal activity during the week, weekend warriors often plunge into recreational sports at week’s end, sometimes with perilous results. A 2014 study in the Canadian Journal of Surgery (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035407/) found that significantly more weekend warriors sustained injuries than everyday athletes during mishaps while hiking or rock-climbing (15.4% of accidents), skateboarding or rollerblading (12.3%), hockey/ice skating (10.3%) and water-related (7.7%) activities. About 35% of the 351 patients analyzed in the research sustained a spinal injury, and more than 8% required spinal surgery.

“Overall, a weekend warrior’s commitment to demanding exercise is a good thing, health-wise,” says Dr. Bannister. “But it can also place their backs, in particular, at risk since their bodies are no longer as flexible or quick to recover as when they were younger.”

Common spine injuries for weekend warriors

What types of back injuries are prevalent among weekend warriors? Depending on how they get hurt, these injuries can run the gamut from mild to severe, Dr. Bannister says, including:

* Muscle strain or sprain: This type of soft tissue damage – whether to muscles, tendons or ligaments – often occurs in the lower spine, known as the lumbar region. Muscle spasms may accompany pain and can be severe, but most strains and sprains just need time and rest to heal.

* Disc herniation: Athletes engaging in activities requiring a lot of spine flexing and rotating – such as weight lifting, collision sports and bowling – have a higher chance of disc herniation, in which the soft center of a vertebral disc pushes through the disc’s outer shell. Pain can be intense and the condition may require surgery.

* Spondylolistheses: When one bone in the back slides forward over the bone beneath it, that’s called spondylolistheses. Some sports, such as weight lifting and gymnastics, confer a higher risk of this problem by causing stress fractures in vertebrae. Pain relievers, physical therapy or surgery may be used to treat spondylolistheses.

* Minor or major fracture: Major spinal fractures are uncommon except in high-speed collision sports such as skiing or motocross and typically require surgery. But small fractures, which can happen during a variety of activities, are usually managed with “conservative” measures such as rest, physical therapy and pain medication.

Tips for back injury prevention

What’s the best way for weekend warriors to prevent back injuries? “That’s easy,” Dr. Bannister says. “Stop exercising only on the weekend! Moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise should be something we take part in at least several times per week, spread throughout the week.”

But for those committed to their weekend warrior ways, Dr. Bannister offers these tips to help prevent spine injury:

* Start slowly: Stretch and walk for 7 to 10 minutes to allow muscles and joints to warm up. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and be sure to stretch the opposing muscle group on the other side of your body.

* Ramp up gradually: Increase the time or intensity of workouts, but not both at the same time.

* Mix it up: Try cross-training, which involves participating in more than one type of sport or activity. Research suggests this approach results in fewer injuries than doing only one specific activity.

* Listen to your body: If you feel pain or soreness, stop what you’re doing and take a rest. If the discomfort doesn’t gradually improve – or gets worse – see your doctor.

* Remember the right gear: Depending on the sport, you may need a helmet, wrist pads or knee pads. Well-fitting athletic shoes that provide sufficient shock absorption are a must.

“Here’s what I propose to weekend warriors: Make physical activity an every-other-day habit instead,” says Dr. Bannister. “Not only will short workouts during the week help you enjoy your weekend workouts even more, but your back will thank you.”

Atlantic Spine Center is a nationally recognized leader for endoscopic spine surgery with three locations in New Jersey in West Orange, Edison and Union. http://www.atlanticspinecenter.com

Brian Bannister, M.D., is an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist. He works with both surgical and chronic care patients, performing evaluations of new patients and implementing follow-up care and continued therapy for patients with acute or chronic pain using effective interventional pain therapy and procedures.

Making Sense Of Drug Side Effects – January 2015 Harvard Women’s Health Watch

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Thank you to PRWeb for sharing this article….please share your comments in the section below…..

doctorThe best way to understand drug side effects is to talk with a doctor or pharmacist. Older drugs generally have better information.

All drugs have effects. Some we want, others we don’t. The unwanted ones are known as side effects. The January 2015 Harvard Women’s Health Watch describes ways to limit or manage side effects.

The package insert that is supposed to give information about the potential side effects of a medication is likely to be more frustrating than helpful. Written in medicalese and printed in microscopic type, these inserts contain way too much information.
“Reading through scores and scores of side effects doesn’t help you sort out what is most likely to happen to you,” says Dr. Gordon Schiff, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He suggests forgetting the inserts and trying the following instead:

1. Ask for a drug that’s been on the market a while. The information on the side effects of a newly approved medication is often based on clinical trials involving, at most, a few thousand people. An older drug is likely to have been used by hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people. That experience can reveal additional side effects and give doctors an idea of which side effects are most common, which are most serious, and which might occur only after months or years of use.

2. Learn what to expect. For example, if nausea is a potential side effect, it’s important to know whether to keep taking the drug because the nausea will eventually go away or to stop taking it. For some drugs, like benzodiazepines or opiates, it’s important to understand the side effects of withdrawal and develop a plan for tapering off.

3. Ask for help. Not sure if a symptom is a drug side effect or something else? Talk with a doctor. Doctors generally know what side effects their patients have experienced, how severe they were, and how they can be managed.

Read other tips in the complete article: “Making sense of side effects”

Also in the January 2015 issue of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch:

* Seven health resolutions for 2015
* Be alert to pneumonia this winter
* Help for the winter blues
* Heel pain explained: What to do for plantar fasciitis

Harvard Women’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/womens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Four Ways To Save On Prescription Drugs From Harvard Women’s Health Watch

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Thank you to PRWeb for supplying this article from last months Harvard Women’s Health Watch, please share your thoughts in the comments section…..

pillsNavigating the annual health plan changes, figuring out insurance copays, and finding the pharmacy with the best buys can be daunting. Dealing with Medicare’s medication coverage gap, the so-called donut hole, adds to the challenge. Four basic strategies can help save money on medications, according to the November 2014 Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

Go for Generics – “Generics are just as good as brand-name drugs,” says Dr. Jerry Avorn, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and they are less expensive than brand-name drugs. Can’t find a generic version of a particular drug? A prescription for a generic in the same class of drugs may do nicely. For example, there isn’t a generic version of Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin. But there are five other generic statins that might work just fine.

Periodically re-evaluate drugs. Every year or so, dump all pill bottles in a paper bag—including over-the-counter medications and supplements. Ask a trusted doctor or pharmacist to review them. Some of the drugs may duplicate the actions of others, have harmful interactions with one another, or aren’t needed any more.

Forget about Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements – These are almost always a waste of money, and can sometimes jeopardize health.

Compare Drug Prices – Different pharmacies pay different prices to manufacturers and wholesalers. They also use different systems to mark up drugs. That can lead to big differences from one pharmacy to another. Several websites make it easy to comparison shop for medications. But trying to get the best deal on each and every drug could mean losing the advantage of having a trusted and knowledgeable pharmacist. A compromise: fill prescriptions at the pharmacy with the best price for the costliest drug.

Read the full-length article: “Four easy ways to save on prescription drugs”

Also in the November 2014 Harvard Women’s Health Watch:

* How to tell if palpitations signal a heart problem

* Tips for exercising in cold weather

* What to do about stiff, painful hands

* Dealing with the holiday blues

Harvard Women’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Parents Should Watch What Their Kids Eat

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saladheartFrom Your Health Journal…..”Everyone who visits here a lot knows how much I love The Times Of India web site and articles. I always try to promote their site, as they have such great health articles. Today’s article discusses how parents should monitor what their children eat. Children often eat what their parents eat. Parental eating behavior has a strong influence on children. So, parents have to eat healthy around their children and set good examples – so their children do not grow up to be overweight of obese. Changes need to be made which include making schools devote more time on physical education and promote walking or cycling to school. Promoting an active school concept by opening up sports and recreational facilities that the community can use is equally important. This was an excellent / helpful article. Please visit The Times Of India web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Children often eat what their parents eat. Parental eating behaviour has a strong influence on children. Experts underlined this during an open forum on childhood obesity on the second day of a conference by the All India Association for Advancing Research in Obesity and Poona Hospital and Research Centre 2013 (AIAAROCON) on Sunday, in which teachers and parents participated in large numbers.

“To prevent obesity in adulthood, it is important to take the necessary precautions from childhood. Parents need to realize that being overweight is not healthy and should do something about it when their child is young, so that they do not face health problems later. Family and school-based approaches can be used to deal with this problem,” said bariatric surgeon Jayshree Todkar, organizing secretary of AIAAROCON. Elaborating on the school-based approach, Todkar said, “Children spend a fair amount of time in school, which makes school-based interventions important. These include making schools devote more time on physical education and promote walking or cycling to school. Promoting an active school concept by opening up sports and recreational facilities that the community can use is equally important.” Outdoor sports should be cultivated from a younger age rather than screen-based video games, she added.

“Family-based interventions, when targeted properly, can prevent the speed of obesity in children from a very young age. The calorie intake of children should be monitored at all times, especially junk food, chocolate and cola intake. They should be taught to eat mindfully, not eat in front of the television or computer as they don’t realize how much they have eaten at one go. Eating out should be discouraged,” Todkar said.

To read the full article…..Click here