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Create a plan to relieve your back pain

Also: Sauna use linked to longer life. Bed rest for back pain?
February 26, 2015
Harvard Medical School

Create a plan to relieve your back pain

If you suffer from back pain, you've probably tried one or two ways to ease it. The range of options — from doing nothing at all to having surgery — is quite large. But the abundance of choices also presents a challenge. How do you know which therapy is right for you?

Product Page - Back Pain
Treatment of back pain has undergone a recent sea change. Experts now appreciate the central role of exercise to build muscles that support the back. This Special Health Report, Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back, helps you understand why back pain occurs and which treatments are most likely to help. This report describes the different types of back problems and the tailored treatments that are more likely to help specific conditions.

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Before you decide on a course of treatment, keep these four things in mind.

  1. Identifying the type of back disorder you suffer from is the first — and most important — step in finding how best to treat it. Although options abound, not all are appropriate for your specific back problem.

  2. Whether you're experiencing back pain for the first time or you've suffered a relapse, seek the advice of an experienced, certified, and well-recommended health specialist. That might be an internist, family practitioner, orthopedist, rheumatologist, neurologist, neurosurgeon, or physiatrist.

  3. Be an active participant in your care. Learn as much as you can about the risks and benefits of the treatments you are considering. Be clear on your treatment goals. Perhaps you don't intend to hike up a mountain, but you do want to go on that long-awaited trip and enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower.

  4. Don't be afraid to question advice. If a health professional recommends an invasive, experimental, or expensive treatment, consider seeking a second opinion from a physician who frequently deals with your specific condition.

How you decide to manage your back pain will ultimately depend on many things. Taking all these factors into account will help you and your physician determine which of the available options are right for you.

For more on healing your aching back, buy Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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News and Views from the Harvard Health Blog

Sauna use linked to longer life, fewer fatal heart problems

If you like to sit in a sauna, here's some news that makes this pastime even more appealing: regularly spending time in a sauna may help keep the heart healthy and extend life.

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Bed rest for back pain? A little bit will do you

Bed rest, once a key part of treating back pain, has a limited role in healing sore backs. In very small doses, bed rest can give you a break when standing or sitting causes severe pain. Too much may make back pain worse. Here is how to do bed rest "right."

To get the most from staying in bed, limit the time you are lying down to a few hours at a stretch, and for no longer than a day or two. You can rest on a bed or sofa, in any comfortable position. To ease the strain on your back, try putting pillows under your head and between your knees when lying on your side, under your knees when lying on your back, or under your hips when lying on your stomach. These positions reduce forces that sitting or standing impose on the back — especially on the discs, ligaments, and muscles.

An extended period of bed rest isn't helpful for moderate back strain at any stage of therapy. While your back may feel a little better in the short term, too much time in bed can trigger other problems. Muscles lose conditioning and tone, you may develop digestive issues such as constipation, and there is some risk of developing blood clots in the veins of your pelvis and legs. And being on prolonged bed rest does nothing for your mental health and sense of well-being. Depression, as well as an increased sense of physical weakness and malaise, is common among people confined to bed.

Is it okay to try to get active as quickly as possible? Well-designed clinical trials suggest that an early return to normal activities — with some rest as needed — is better than staying home from work for an extended period.

For more on healing your aching back, buy Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

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Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back

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Who develops back problems?
The anatomy of your back
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Diagnosing back pain
Assessing your treatment options
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In this issue: Fit in fitness, soothe a sore throat, zap acne, lower high blood pressure and more.

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About the size of apple seeds, bedbugs hide in and around beds. Know how to keep them out of your home and how to avoid them when traveling.
Dental floss vs. water pick: Which is better?
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Energy drinks: Do they really boost energy?
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When To Find A Life Enrichment Coach

By Beryl Dalton

When people have that one enormous weakness, clear as a wart on a nose, it is not difficult to recognize it for what it is. However hard it might be to deal with a drinking problem, wake up soused in enough gutters and it promptly becomes clear that this is just what the problem is. A life enrichment coach is for those whose issues don't quite stand out like a horn the middle of one's forehead, or for whom the issue isn't unhappiness so much as a failure to thrive according to one's dreams.

A person who does this for a living might have a specialty, but should have a good sense of the holistic. Without being a licensed dietitian, there should be an awareness of how diet affects health and mood. Sometimes it will be necessary to shake things up, taking on or even abandoning vegetarianism for instance.

Fitness dovetails with diet, but it can mean different things for different people. Many people looking for a life tune up start with dropping twenty or thirty pounds simply as an exercise in attainable goal setting. Others need to stretch a stiffened body, or just to get some more sunlight during the winter.

It's hard to have a happy life if things aren't right with one's own family, and many people are so deeply nested into habits passed down generation after generation that they could use an informed outsider's advice. First, of course, is our relations with spouses and children, relations which rarely seem perfect. Relations with our own parents, though, can also become a source of tension as they grow older and suffer the strains of old age.

It will surprise few that dating is one area of broadest, but also deepest concern. This is frequently the single most agonizing part of clients' lives, a source of bitterness that can poison success in every other area. Sometimes people need a good coach to inspire them in how to dress better, how to put together an online dating profile, or even to stop worrying when their lack of confidence is out of step with their real attractiveness.

For others, financial counseling is the big necessity, the one thing without which nothing else quite works even though they might be reasonably happy in every other area. When working with a coach, financial counseling is rarely going to be the stuff of number crunching visits to the accountant or financial adviser. More often, the issue is one's general approach to money, the secret ways we repel wealth or invite risk.

Emotional counseling is another important need, and for many, life enrichment verges upon psychotherapy. Many counselors have some form of psychotherapy degree as a basis for their more generalized careers. They have the requisite training in how to deal with grief, with addiction, with all the small specific things that can keep people from rising to their full potentials.

Psychological counseling is typically directed at people who are suffering. Coaching, by contrast, is generally for those who at least do not self-diagnose as troubled, but who want more. It can be the best choice for millions.

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How The Right ACLS Classes Can Be Looked For

By Beryl Dalton

Medical jobs are wanted to be engaged in by lots of people. They typically want to become nurses, doctors, or other medical professionals. Sick patients are wanted to be taken care of by them.

These professionals need to be undergoing trainings for them to be saving lives. For this, they need to be enrolling in the best ACLS classes in Houston first prior to performing their duties. A certain individual needs to be considering several things for him to be finding the best on in Houston, TX.

To start, the enthusiast could be asking other individual, like his relatives or his friends if they could be recommending several good names to him. These individuals might also be involved in the same field and also undergoing the same training programs. These individuals could be providing him with the names as well as the contact information of the institutes which he could be using in making additional queries about his plan.

In most cases, people are recommending one that has a favorable reputation in the industry it belongs to. For this, the individual could be expecting good recommendations from those people he trusts. He should be personally assessing the reputation of each institution. He should not be relying heavily on what their websites are saying about them. The statements must be coming from their previous trainees.

The length of time that these educational services have been rendered by the institutes should also be checked. It will be a good thing if those that already have been serving for long periods of time will be chosen. Lots of related experiences are typically possessed by seasoned institutions that could aid them so that their services can be rendered better.

The locations of the institutions should also be considered by the enthusiasts. Lots of these schools can certainly be found all over the planet. However, it will be a good thing if those close to their homes will be chosen. This way, their lessons can be immediately attended and tardiness will not be an issue. Their transportation or gasoline expenses can also be minimized.

The school is employing instructors who will be teaching the students all about the medical matters. The instructors will be providing encouragements to the students, too. For this, these instructors should be possessing the necessary knowledge and skills for them to be properly doing their tasks. They must also be having nice personalities for them not to be intimidating their students.

The equipments and methods present in the facilities should also be checked by the individuals. These equipments and methods will be utilized by the instructors for their students to be trained. For this, the safety and effectiveness of these methods should be ensured by the trainees. Their completeness and good conditions should also be ensured.

He should also be checking on the fees of varying institutes. He should be comparing the fees and determining the one he can afford. This way, he could be enrolling in the lessons and immediately starting his training. With these, the individual could be equipping himself with the expertise he needs in practicing his profession well.

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Find Out The Importance Of Dentist Lititz, PA

By Beryl Dalton

In our lives, sometimes our bodies fail us and getting by to the daily routine becomes difficult. When any part of the body is in pain, life can lose its meaning especially when it comes to the dental formula. In order to be on the safe side, it is advisable to seek medical assistance from a recognized dentist in your town. With the assistance from the dentist Lititz, PA you will find out why you need these services.

Toothache is very painful and can even drive you insane. The pain will not only affect the teeth but all parts of the body. Toothaches in most instances lead to a severe headache. You should avoid all the effects of a toothache at all costs. If you have problems with colored teeth or even bad breath, it is important that you visit a specialist.

It is always better if you start going for your appointments early enough. To avert the dangers, it is important that you let your kids to start going for the appointments early enough, and these visits should be frequent. As they grow up, they will have healthy teeth. Another advantage of kids starting early is that they will not fear going to a specialist like the way other kids do.

If you have lost your teeth and you are wondering what you should do, you should visit a specialist and he will know what should be done. The dentist may even do a teeth implant for you. You should never sit back at home waiting for a miracle. This is because an implant is also determined by the earlier you visit a specialist.

But again you should not wait until the time that you have lost all your teeth to book an appointment. You are advised not even to wait for any symptoms. If you want a healthy dental formula, it is good that you start the visits early enough. Another reason that you should start early appointments is because it would be uncomfortable for you when you are with your age mates, and you do not have teeth. Your self-esteem will be affected, and you may even stop socializing which is unhealthy.

If you find yourself with bleeding problems, you have to act fast. The common issue arises as you are brushing. If this is the case, you need to pay several visits immediately to have the problem corrected. Many complex issues arise that leads to bleeding of gums. Apart from getting drugs that cure the disease, you also get free advice on brushing after meals because this is when the blood gushes out.

Remember that the earlier the dentist knows about your issues, the earlier he will find a solution to the problem. For example, there are people who notice symptoms of cancer and they just stay at home and eventually the live a terrible life.

It is very important that you have the contacts of the specialist before you settle on signing him as your specialist. When you meet the doctor, you will be able to tell the kind of doctor that he is. You should arrange for a meeting where you can ask all the questions to be sure that you are working with an efficient person.

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Tips For Selecting The Best Shiro Abhyanga Treatment

By Olivia Cross

Getting the right place to access therapy is a difficult challenge. This is because of the presence of many therapists and the sweet advertisements that promise a faster approach to attaining cure. This is mostly a marketing strategy used by the therapists to sell their business. Therefore, you must know the guidelines for choosing the best shiro abhyanga treatment.

Many people nowadays go for this therapy. When you dare to ask you will be amazed at the number of people. This shows the availability of people who can offer reliable information for the process. Their advices and the guidance is sure because they have been part of the process before. With their guidance, you will evade challenges and traps that many fall into during the search.

In order to get the best treatment and service, you will rely on the expertise of the therapists. That makes them be an important aspect to be considered. Since their expertise is required for a successful therapy session, ensure they possess the necessary knowledge to handle your case. Without proper knowledge, you may end up getting poor quality services.

The reputation of the spa is accurate because it is made from the experiences of past clients. If they enjoy the service, they will spread it to any interested party. If they do not enjoy the experience, they will also inform the rest of the public. Therefore, to increase your chance of getting the best treatment choose a spa with the best reputation and evade those with a bad status.

It is imperative to settle for a spa that has a close proximity to your area of residence or office. However, in some cases, the best spa can be located far from your domain. If you are faced with such a challenge, you should consider the availability of transport facilities like buses and taxis. Ensure they are available so that accessing treatment can be convenient.

It is essential to pick a spa that has operated in the market for a long time. This is because the business has been established in the area. This means that it has clients who enjoy its services. The support of the clients is what maintains the operation of the spa. The employees of the spa are also experienced due to rendering their services to many clients for a long time.

The amount of money that you are willing to spend for the service will inspire your choice. When determining the amount suitable for you, ensure you do not push yourself to financial constraints by choosing an expensive package that you cannot afford. Draft a budget that will guide you to the spa that charges a favorable amount to it.

Visiting the referred spas is very significant because it gives an opportunity to prove if the information given by other people is true or not. Apart from that, you can hold a brief interview with the therapists and determine if they are competent in handling the sessions. In the process, you can meet with the current clients and get to know of their experience.

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Qualified Dentist In Portsmouth NH Must Have The Following Qualities

By Olivia Cross

Nowadays, everybody is conscious of the need to do constant body exercises so as to maintain the body fitness. However, a lot of care has not been taken when it comes to dental health. Everybody needs to know that, you cannot achieve overall health if you are experiencing dental complications. Talking about dentists, you need to be very careful whom you engage with. Below are some factors you need to consider so that you settle with the best dentist in Portsmouth NH.

To start with, the dental expert you settle with need to have a core purpose. They need to have clear and articulate goals on what they intend to achieve in their profession. They need to handle this profession as a mission and for this reason, they need to have contingency plans to make their plans a reality. They should focus their minds and attention to what they do best.

Because the patients experience different issues, the expert needs to continue gaining knowledge from research done. It includes studying to use the latest machines and also employ the most recent trend in treatment. For those working with other employees, they have to encourage them to join schools and better their skills. It is not possible for one to know everything in this field. Therefore, one must go out of their way to learning the new trends from other places.

In addition, the expert you settle with need to have joined a team of specialist from the field. This helps to improve and sharpen his skills. That specialist who works in isolation hardly achieves much compared to those who work as a team. For this reason, the dental practitioner needs to have a good relationship with other experts so as to handle every dental health issue.

Their supporting staff also needs to be put on hold. This is because they influence the quality of service that the customer gets. These employees need to have the required quality of education so as to hand the most demanding tasks of the work. They also need to exercise etiquette when dealing with the clients since this improves the business image.

The level of education of the expert also need to be put on hold, this is because, there are many people who claim to be experts in dentistry yet they are not. It is, therefore, important for you be careful so as, not to fall a victim of a scam. You should, therefore, ask for relevant activities that will guarantee the experts capability and competence.

The expert also needs to have the required business permits to operate in that area of jurisdiction. In most state, every business is required to have an operating license. You should therefore not engage with people who have no valid license since they are normally incompetent. When it comes to matters of your health, you need to be very careful about the expert that you engage with.

In conclusion, the experience of the expert also needs to be considered, this is because, and an expert is as good as the experience one has. Those who have been in the business for long are more experienced than those who are joining the profession lately.

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Tips for healthy eating away from home

Tips for healthy eating away from home

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Focus On Nutrition Harvard Medical School
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Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition

In this report, you’ll learn about the components of a healthy diet for people with diabetes, as well as how to work with a dietitian, how to develop a meal plan, and how to fit physical activity into your schedule. You will learn how to recognize portion distortion, make wise choices while dining out, and stay on track with your weight-loss plan. Best of all, we’ve included 40 original recipes so you can put this advice into practice — starting today.

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Tips for healthy eating away from home

With today’s hectic lifestyles, most of us end up eating out at least once a week. That could mean grabbing a sandwich from the supermarket deli counter for lunch, ordering take-out for dinner, or splurging on a special meal at a favorite restaurant.

Meals away from home make it harder to control ingredients, calories, and portions. This can be particularly challenging for people with Type 2 diabetes (and for those of us trying to avoid getting this condition). The following tips can help you enjoy eating out without abandoning your efforts to eat well.

Ask how the food is prepared. Before you order, ask about ingredients and how the menu selections are prepared. Try to choose dishes made with whole grains, healthy oils, vegetables, and lean proteins. Meat that has been broiled, poached, baked, or grilled is a more health-conscious option than fried foods or dishes prepared with heavy sauces.

Look for less. Your eyes are the perfect instrument for sizing up portion sizes. Use your estimating techniques to size up the food on your plate.

1 thumb tip = 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, butter, or sugar

1 finger = 1 oz. of cheese

1 fist = 1 cup cereal, pasta, or vegetables

1 handful = 1 oz. of nuts or pretzels

1 palm = 3 oz. of meat, fish, or poultry

Plan on eating half your meal and take the rest home to enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day.

Order an extra side of veggies. Non-starchy vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, asparagus, or summer squash, will help you fill up with low-calorie choices.

Think ahead. Learn important nutrition information ahead of time. Most fast-food chains provide calories, sodium, and fat content for their menu items. Check out for a listing of over 50,000 foods, including many restaurant items. You can also visit company-specific websites (such as or for nutrition breakdowns, or call and request a pamphlet. Many locations display posters with this type of nutrition information.

For more information on the essentials for a healthy diet and managing Type 2 Diabetes, purchase Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes by Harvard Medical School.

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Healthy Eating for Type II Diabetes
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Healthy Eating for Type II Diabetes

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Understanding diabetes
The first-line treatment: Weight loss
The elements of a healthy diet
Meal-planning basics

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Harvard Medical School offers special reports on over 50 health topics.
Visit our website at to find reports of interest to you and your family.

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Copyright © 2013 by Harvard University.
Harvard Health Publications, 10 Shattuck Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02115, USA

* Please note, we do not provide responses to personal medical concerns, nor can we supply related medical information other than what is available in our print products or website. For specific, personalized medical advice we encourage you to contact your physician.