BACK PAIN CAUSES

Back breaker: You're a screen queen.

Nine hours — that's how long the average person spends hunched over or slouched in front of a screen each day. A Temple University study suggested that increased texting on our latest tech obsessions — smartphones and tablets — is creating more aches and pains in our shoulders, necks, and backs. "It's important to take breaks, do neck exercises, and occasionally hold your phone or tablet out in front of you," says Deborah Venesy, MD, a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Spine Health. For a simple neck reliever, hold your head for 10 seconds in each of the following positions: forward, back, left, and right. Repeat this five times a day.

Sitting all day is hazardous, too. "It puts more pressure on disks and vertebrae than standing or walking," Dr. Katz says. Alleviate the tension with an office makeover. Start with a lumbar-support cushion, such as the Original McKenzie SlimLine ($19, isokineticsinc.com). Then adjust your seat so your computer monitor is at eye level, your arms and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and your feet rest on the floor. Finally, go to workrave.org to download a free program that flashes screen reminders to take computer breaks as often as you schedule them.


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Back breaker: You ignore your core.

When you hear the word core, you picture six-pack abs. But your core is composed of much more: Back, side, pelvic, and buttock muscles all work together, along with your abs, to allow you to bend, twist, rotate, and stand upright. "Your core is like a crane that supports all of your movements," Dr. Moyad says. Unlike crunches, which focus solely on abdominal muscles, core exercises — lunges, squats, planks, and others — strengthen several spine-supporting muscle groups at once.

END THE OPIATE DEPENDENCY

The opioid epidemic has been called the worst drug crisis in American history. Death rates now rival those of AIDS during the 1990s, and with overdoses from heroin and other opioids now killing more than 27,000 people a year, the crisis has led to urgent calls for action. The epidemic didn’t happen overnight. Over the course of more than a decade, it has grown into a problem destroying lives across the nation, regardless of age, race, wealth or location. Here’s a look at how it happened and who is most affected.

Drugs now kill more Americans than cars

In 1999, there were more than twice as many motor vehicle deaths as fatal drug overdoses. By 2014, those numbers had flipped, with almost 40 percent more deaths from overdoses than car crashes. In all, 29,230 people died in car accidents in 2014, while 47,055 died from a drug overdose.
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ALLEVIATE BACK PAIN!

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