ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
CAREGIVING
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
The Food Irradiation Story
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
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Tips to Ease an Aching Back

THURSDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The holidays can be a real pain in the back.

To ease the backaches that may have come from such seasonal duties as lugging heavy luggage, toting bags of gifts and stretching and straining to put up holiday decorations -- and that can return any time of the year -- the National Athletic Trainers' Association offers a 10-step guide:

* Zero in on the causes. Do you have poor posture or weak, loose muscle tone? Use poor mechanics when lifting heavy items or just tend to lift too much at once? Learning good technique and strengthening your back can help. Use carts or lighten your load when lifting heavy items.
* Get moving. Poor posture and muscle stiffness make it harder to move, which can lead to injury or pain. Add daily stretches or activities that increase flexibility and get the body moving in different directions -- yoga, tai chi, swimming or pilates, for example.
* Increase strength. Building overall muscle helps balance and flexibility, which in turn reduces stress on the back. Focus on the core muscles of the stomach, back, hips and pelvis, but work out the legs and shoulders to help with squatting, lifting and carrying.
* Add aerobic exercise. Walking, swimming and running for at least 20 minutes three times a week adds to muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness while improving blood flow to the spine and decreasing stress.
* Pay attention to posture. Avoid sitting or driving for long periods of time. Get up, move around and stretch every 15 to 30 minutes. When seated, keep your hips and knees at right angles to one another and use a chair with adequate lumbar (lower back) support.
* Stand straight. Keep your head up, shoulders straight, chest forward and stomach tight. Avoid standing in the same position for too long, though.
* Use proper lifting mechanics. When lifting objects from a position below the waist, start with a wide stance, bending slightly at the hips and knees. Tighten your stomach as you lift and keep your back straight; do not arch or bend. Carry heavy objects close to your body and avoid carrying objects on only one side of your body.
* Get a good night's sleep. Pick a firm mattress and box spring that does not sag. Try to sleep in a position that maintains the natural curve of your back.
* Warm-up. Before you exercise, engage in a low-impact activity to increase muscle temperature and mobility. This decreases your chance of injury.
* Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Obesity and smoking increase the incidence of back pain. Improving your health will decrease the chance of back pain and improve your quality of life.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about back pain.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: National Athletic Trainers' Association, news release, December 2008

Last Updated: Dec. 25, 2008

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