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Oakland Spine News

Weekly Health Update — How Does Obesity Increase the Risk of Low Back Pain?

Chiropractic: How Does Obesity Increase the Risk of Low Back Pain?
Obesity is known to be an independent risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders; however, the mechanism behind the association between obesity and lower back pain is not yet fully understood. In an effort to add to the available research, Nigerian scientists investigated the spinal curvature of 300 individuals of varying body shapes/sizes and found those with both an above-normal body mass index and waist-hip ratio were more likely to have greater curvature in the lumbar spine. This suggests the spines of those who are overweight or obese have an increased curve (“sway back”) to accommodate a greater load which the researchers speculate may increase their risk for developing lower back pain.
Patient Preference and Adherence, March 2016

Mental Attitude: Depression Treatment May Reduce Heart Disease Risks.
A study that involved 7,550 people has found that effectively treating depression can lower a patient’s risks for cardiovascular disease to the level of those who never had depression, reducing their chances of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and early death. Study author Dr. Heidi May notes, "Our study shows that prompt, effective treatment of depression appears to improve the risk of poor heart health."
American College of Cardiology Meeting in Chicago, April 2016

Health Alert: Bedbugs Too Common in Low-Income Housing.
Among a sample of nearly 2,400 individual low-income apartments in the state of New Jersey, researchers found about 12% of the households in their study had a bedbug infestation and half of those with bedbugs weren’t even aware of it. The researchers add that buildings with high tenant turnover are more likely to have issues with bedbugs. Study author Dr. Changlu Wang hopes the finding will be used to target education and bedbug prevention efforts in vulnerable communities.
Journal of Medical Entomology, April 2016

Diet: The Good & Bad News About Higher Calcium Intake.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), men aged 51-70 should consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily, increasing to 1,200 mg at age 71. NIH experts also recommend that women take in 1,200 mg of calcium daily starting at age 51. In a new study, a research team analyzed the calcium intake as well as the heart disease, stroke, and fracture risk of 2,199 men and 2,704 women over 50 years of age. The team found that participants who had a higher calcium intake had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those with a lower calcium intake; however, the analysis found the risk of fracture or stroke did not significantly decrease among those with a higher calcium intake.
The Endocrine Society, April 2016

Exercise: Just 75 Minutes of Exercise Per Week Has Benefits!
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, accounting for approximately 3.2 million deaths annually. Past evidence suggests that regular physical activity can lead to risk reductions of at least 20-30% for more than 25 chronic health conditions and premature mortality. However, the ideal amount and intensity of exercise to recommend to the general public is still a topic that’s hotly debated among the experts. Current physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise per week, but a new review of the published literature indicates that just half this level of activity may still lead to noticeable health benefits. The authors of the review write, "There is compelling evidence that health benefits can be accrued at a lower volume and/or intensity of physical activity. These health benefits are seen in both healthy and clinical populations."
Canadian Journal of Cardiology, April 2016

Wellness/Prevention: Drinking’s Effect on Smoking.
Researchers followed 22 men for seven weeks in which they abstained from drinking alcohol but continued to smoke cigarettes. Though the total amount of cigarettes they smoked remained fairly constant during the study, the amount of nicotine their bodies metabolized dropped as time went on. This suggests those looking to quit smoking may have a greater chance of success if they also stopped drinking alcohol at the same time.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, April 2016

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