It’s not uncommon for low back pain patients to reduce their activities in an effort to avoid their pain. Unfortunately, it’s likely their core muscles—the muscles that help support their midsection—will become deconditioned over time due to inactivity, which may only increase the risk of further injury. Therefore, to effectively improve one’s low back pain status, he or she must first strengthen and keep their core muscles strong! Think in terms of one to three sets of ten reps for ease of application and ALWAYS release the exercise SLOWLY—don’t just drop back from the end-range of the exercise.
Good sleep quality for men may mean the difference between life and death. In this study, researchers analyzed long-term data on more than 823,000 men in the United States and found that men under the age of 65 who slept just three to five hours per night were 55% more likely to develop fatal prostate cancer than those who slept seven hours nightly. Study author Dr. Susan Gapstur adds, “If confirmed in other studies, these findings would contribute to evidence suggesting the importance of obtaining adequate sleep for better health.” American Association for Cancer Research, April 2017
The air in your home can contain allergens that can lead to sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes among allergy sufferers. To clean the air inside your house, the Mayo Clinic suggests the following: close the windows and run the air conditioning on days when there’s a lot of pollen outside; use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on your forced air heating and cooling systems (and remember to change it regularly); run a dehumidifier; and vacuum your floors frequently. Mayo Clinic, April 2017
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is responsible for inhibiting the excitability of brain cells and balancing the neuronal activity required for healthy brain function. A new study finds that individuals who regularly consume vitamin B-12-rich foods may have elevated levels of GABA in their brains. Since previous studies have linked low levels of GABA with a greater risk for numerous neurological and mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, autism, and epilepsy, it’s suspected that consuming a diet with plenty of vitamin B-12 may protect brain function. Journal of Psychopharmacology, April 2017
In a 2010 study, researchers examined MRIs taken from 1,200 patients (600 whiplash and 600 non-whiplash neck pain patients) and noted that those who had sustained whiplash were more likely to have a brain injury than non-whiplash neck pain patients.
The specific type of brain injury found is a form of herniation called Chiari malformation, where the bottom part of the brain (the cerebellum) drops through the opening in the base of the skull called the foramen magnum. Their findings showed an alarming 23% of the whiplash cases studied had this anatomical abnormality.
In 2016, researchers at Curtin University in Perth examined the seated posture and health data of 1,108 17-year olds in an effort to determine if any particular posture increased the risk of headaches/neck pain among late adolescents.
Among four posture subgroups—upright, intermediate, slumped thorax, and forward head—the researchers observed the following: participants who were slumped in their thoracic spine (mid-back region) and had their head forward when they sat were at higher odds of having mild, moderate, or severe depression; participants classified as having a more upright posture exercised more frequently, females were more likely to sit more upright than males; those who were overweight were more likely to sit with a forward neck posture; and taller people were more likely to sit upright.