7 Surprising Causes of Back Pain

If you have back pain, you know that it affects every area of your life. No matter what you do, you cannot get rid of this pain. However, sometimes the answer is right in front of your face. Many people find that simply changing their mattress is enough to alleviate their back pain so that they wake up every day feeling refreshed and pain-free.

There are many mattress options and the type you need ultimately depends on you and the type of back pain that you experience. However, a memory foam mattress is typically ideal for all causes.

Look at the following infographic to learn more about what may be causing your back pain so that you can make changes and start feeling better.

surprising causes of back pain

Courtesy of: MemoryFoamMattressGuide.org

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Multiple Studies Conclude Hobbies Enrich Your Life, Improve Productivity, and Improve Your Brainpower

Adults need hobbies which allow them to disconnect from their daily job, and experience things they wouldn’t otherwise experience. Hobbies offer adults an opportunity to meet new people, avoid boredom, and learn something new. More importantly, hobbies build character, relieve stress, and encourage a higher self-esteem.
Two Types of Hobbies: Active and Stationary
Active hobbies require you to move (or go somewhere); while, stationary hobbies require that you sit or stand for a period of time.   Active hobbies include physical activities, such as tennis, rowing, and travel. Active hobbies also include less physical activities, such as gardening, photography, and art.   To a hobby to be considered active, your body should be in motion for a period of time.
Stationary hobbies require little movement, and that you sit or stand for a period of time. Most people enjoy a few different stationary hobbies, such as word games and crossword puzzles. There’s also a social aspect to stationary hobbies, such as playing card games (pinochle, bridge, hearts, etc.) with friends.   Word games, such as Scrabble and Words with Friends, stimulate your brain and broaden your vocabulary. Author Marcel Danesi, Ph.D. is of the opinion that puzzle games are “beneficial to brain activity,” according to a piece he wrote for Psychology Today. Crossword puzzles offer similar benefits.

Creative Hobbies Enrich Your Life
According to a study titled “Benefiting from Creative Activity: The positive relationships between creative activity, recovery experiences, and performance-related outcomes,” conducted by The British Psychological Society, people who pursue hobbies (particularly creative hobbies) are more productive at work.
If you’re looking to improve your life, try one of these ultra-creative hobbies on for size:
Learn to Play Music
Learning to play an instrument is fun, exciting, and you’ll improve yourself in so many ways. Some benefits include: improved cognitive performance, increased memory capacity, enhanced coordination, and stress relief. Plus, this hobby helps you relax. Playing music can be as calming and soothing as listening to music.
The Internet is incredibly useful to burgeoning musicians. If you’re just starting out with a new guitar (or any instrument really), or you want to take some vocal lessons, you can do so online. Online tutorial sites, such as www.lessonrating.com, offer the one-on-one experience of working with a teacher, but the classroom is virtual, so you never have to leave home.
Capture Your Point of View
Photography is an amazing hobby, where your lens captures the world in new and interesting ways. Moreover, photographers are stimulated by learning the technical aspects, including the different styles and uses of cameras.
Editing photos takes creativity to the next level, and once edited photographers are welcome to share their photographs online. Who knows? One or more of your pictures may earn you some extra money.
Dance Your Way to Happiness
Multiple studies have concluded that dancing improves a dancer’s brainpower. “Few activities stimulate as wide a variety of brain systems as dancing does,” Daniel Amen, MD told Women’s Health Magazine. “Dancing requires everything from coordination and organization to planning and judgement.”
“Art Makes You Smart”
According to a NY Times piece, titled “Art Makes You Smart,” it’s reported that an artistic hobby can increase test scores and generate social responsibility. A study was conducted, and some students were chosen “by lottery” to visit a museum. Those students “demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills, displayed higher levels of social tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy, and developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions.”
So, paint, travel, learn music, or do any of the artistic things you’ve considered doing over the years. These hobbies can only benefit you, so they’re worthy endeavors.

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Spring Cleaning

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Medicine Cabinet:

· DISPOSE OF THE DUDS: Check the dates on your medications and dispose of any that have expired, as well as any leftover medications for which the cycle was not completed (i.e. antibiotics). Don’t just toss old meds in the trash, though – talk to your pharmacist about safe disposal or check with your local fire and police stations, as they often have medication drives.

· MONITOR YOUR LIQUIDS: Children’s medications in liquid form and some cough syrups that are sugar-based tend to expire more quickly than other medications once they’re opened – often before the package expiration date. If you notice that the liquid has started to separate, it’s a good idea to go ahead and replace it with a new bottle.

· EPI CHECK: If you have any Epi Pens, make sure they are up to date as they also tend to expire more quickly than other medications.

· KEEP IT DRY: Humidity and moisture can cause medicine to deteriorate, which can alter the efficacy of certain drugs. Instead of the bathroom cabinet, consider storing your medicine someplace that is cool and dry.

· WATCH THE KIDS: Wherever you store your medicine, make sure that it is safely out of reach of children.

 

 

****DISCLAIMER:  These tips were provided by Sam’s Club pharmacists.

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Boost Energy and Trim Your Waist With These Simple At-Home Exercises

Woman doing abs exercise at home

Less than five percent of adults meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and more than 80 percent of youth don’t meet the physical activity guidelines, according to President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Oftentimes people don’t want to pay for expensive gym memberships, but they also don’t realize they can perform simple exercise routines at home.

A good place to start is Pinterest. Search “home workouts” and you’ll find a wide range of exercise routines to fit your comfort and interests. Here are a few of our favorites.

Morning Workout

If you don’t have much time in the day for working out, carve out 20 minutes in the morning to stretch and do the following six moves to tone your waist, and boost energy and confidence.

  • 80 jumping jacks
  • 20 pushups
  • 40 sit ups
  • 20 lunges (per leg)
  • 60 seconds wall sit

If you’re a beginner or haven’t worked out in awhile, cut reps by half. Also, allow 90 seconds between each set of exercises if you decide to do several sets.

Daily Yoga Poses

Relax your mind, build core strength and find your center with an easy seven-pose yoga routine. Yoga lengthens and strengthens your body giving you flat abs and toned muscles. If you’re new to yoga, visit allwomenstalk.com for complete instructions and images for the following poses.

First, find a quiet place in your home that is disturbance-free to roll out your mat and find your breath. Perform the routine three times.

  • Boat Pose
  • Downward Facing Dog with knee to nose
  • Plank Pose
  • Side Plank (each side)
  • Scale Pose
  • Crow Pose
  • Handstand

These poses require strong abs so you might have to work your way up to Crow Pose and handstand.

If you prefer easier poses, try these:

  • Table Pose
  • Downward Dog
  • Crescent Pose
  • Chair Pose
  • Upward Dog
  • Happy Baby
  • Child’s Pose

Water Routine

Water provides continuous gentle resistance for people who must avoid high impact exercise. Try these moves recommended by Livestrong.com for better flexibility, increased strength and fat loss.

  • Jog or march for 3 minutes
  • 10-15 jumping jacks
  • 10 reps of wall lunges (each side)
  • 10-15 reps wall leg to arm raises
  • 5-15 reps wall knee lifts and abdominal twists

Don’t forget to warm up by stretching before you begin your water routine. When you get comfortable working out in the water, incorporate Aquajogger kits to enhance strength training.

Kettlebell Workout

Working out with a kettlebell offers more fat fighting and body toning benefits than you might think. A 20-minute kettlebell routine can beat 30 minutes on the treadmill due to the cardio and strength training benefits, according to The American Council on Exercise (ACE). Do this workout routine three times a week with 8-15 pound weights (women) or 15-25 pound weights (men).

  • Kettlebell deadlifts
  • Kettlebell single-arm swings
  • Turkish half get-ups
  • Kettlebell push-ups
  • Kettlebell single arm rows
  • Kettlebell walking lunges
  • Kettlebell shoulder presses
  • Kettlebell halos

For complete instructions, check out this guide from ACE.

A mix of cardio and strength training will have you looking swimsuit ready in no time. Pair a daily workout with healthy eating to maximize results. Be true to yourself and set a good example for your kids by getting active today.

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April is National Stress Awareness Month

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I am no stranger to stress. In fact, stress is a part of my daily life.  I know when I am stressed when I feel my body tense up, I am irritable and unable to sleep.  In order to de-stress, I have a list of things I like to do.

1.)  Pamper myself by getting a massage/facial or both. Massage eases away all of my muscle tension.

2.)  Get a haircut or new haircolor.  Sometimes change is good and makes you feel good about yourself.

3.)  Exercise. Keeping the body moving decreases tension.

4.)  Yoga. The meditative effects of yoga will combat stress.  There are many options for guided yoga available online, or you can attend a class at a local gym or studio.  Some health insurance companies, like Oscar Insurance in New York and New Jersey, even offer reimbursements for gym and yoga studio memberships.

5.)  Meditation in the morning and night.  Clearing out your thoughts and quieting the mind will help your body relax.

6.)  Journal. Sometimes I find journaling effective if I am angry or hurt by someone. Journaling decreases your stress by putting all of your thoughts on paper and not your body. Also, writing in my gratitude journal helps me focus the positives in my life.

7.)  Breathe. Oxygen to your body – muscles and cells will decrease tension.

8.)  Prayer. Surrender to a higher power to what is beyond your control.

9.)  Cultivate solitude. Sometimes being alone and away from all of the daily noise is what your body needs to recover from the stress.

10.)  Eat.  Its also called stress eating. I stress eat but I make sure the food is healthy. I personally stress eat on veggies sticks, snap crisps or popcorn.

This is my personal list on how I manage stress. I recommend trying out a few in the first few weeks to see what feels good to you.  What are the ways you de-stress?

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Pain

Pain. Everyone experiences pain:   physical and emotional. I am referring to emotional pain which is hard to treat. You can’t take drugs for it. No one will ask what your pain rating is. And if you try to cover emotional pain with alcohol or drugs, you are technically just masking the pain, but it is still there. Its best if you feel the emotional pain, sadness and depression that comes along with it. Its not an experience everyone would like to have but they say pain will make you a stronger person. But, I am not so sure. I think it will make you bitter and cynical as one experiences more and more pain.

Here is one of my favorite poems about emotional pain.

A young lady was singing opera one day and her instructor watched and listened with excitement as she hit every note perfectly. Sitting next to the music instructor was the gentleman who wrote the opera and so she decided to share her enthusiasm with him. “She’s great, isn’t she?” She whispered. He replied, “She’ll be even better when someone comes along and breaks her heart.

” Pain is one of the inevitable experiences of human existence. Our pain is the most effective tool that God uses for growing us up spiritually. Let’s face it, we do not grow or mature unless we are being hurt. The deeper God hurts us, the more effectively He can use us. It seems unfair and unjust, but it is reality. Let me give three reasons for us to rejoice when we are hurting. First, when we hurt, God is getting our attention for our own benefit. He is trying to communicate with us. Second, when we hurt, God is preparing us for a special purpose. He is getting us ready for something that will give us fulfillment, bring goodness to someone else, and bring glory to God. Third, God has a special blessing waiting for us at the end of our hurt. Remember, nothing happens to us unless God allows it with a good purpose in mind so “…count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (Jas 1:2). Think about it.

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4 Healthy Habits That Aren’t Just for New Years

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Getting healthy isn’t just a notion reserved for New Year’s resolutions. And there’s more to good health than dieting and exercise. Getting healthy is a lifestyle change, and it’s easier than you might think.

Daily Meditation

If you find that you’re anxious, tense, worried or stressed, spend a few minutes each day to restore your inner peace. The ancient practice of mediation can enhance your emotional and physical well-being. Emotional benefits include gaining a newfound perspective on life’s stressful situations, building new skills to cope with stress, increasing your self-awareness, focusing more on the present and reducing negative emotions. According to the Mayo Clinic, some research suggests that meditation can help manage symptoms of asthma, anxiety disorders, depression, pain and sleep problems. Popular forms of meditation include yoga, tai chi, mantra meditation, guided meditation and mindfulness meditation.

Meditation can be as formal or as informal as you choose, making it a realistic and healthy habit for anyone wishing to eliminate stress.

Annual Checkups

When’s the last time you had an appointment with your eye doctor? How about a visit with your dentist? Regular health exams and screenings help doctors find problems before they start or become problematic. Annual eye exams are especially important for contact lens wearers. Unfortunately, people sometimes delay their eye exams or order more contacts than they need to take them beyond their prescription expiration date. Don’t avoid an annual exam, even through you may avoid a visit to the doctor’s office by ordering online from a discount retailer like Vision Direct. If the problems are found early, the chances of treating and curing the illness is far greater.

Use a service like Zoc Doc to schedule and keep track of your appointments. The Zoc Doc app can be accessed with a mobile device or from a desktop, and you’ll receive notifications when it’s time for your visit.

Walking More

If you want to achieve better health, start walking. All you need to start is a pair of sturdy walking shoes and a pedometer if you plan to keep track of your steps. According to the American Heart Association, people who walk for 30 minutes a day can enhance their mental wellbeing while also reducing the risk of osteoporosis, colon and breast cancers, diabetes and coronary heart disease. Walking also helps improve blood sugar and blood pressure levels and lowers the risk of obesity.

Walking can be done alone or with a group and this activity costs next-to-nothing, making it a great way to get in shape and decompress from the day.

Eliminating Toxic Foods

Eating organically has been popular for nearly a decade; however, many people still purchase and consume non-organic foods that contain pesticides and harmful chemicals. Live a healthier lifestyle by making small modifications to your grocery list and eat a littler healthier with organic foods.

According to the Environmental Working Group, 99 percent of apples and 98 percent of peaches that were tested for pesticide residues in 2015 tested positive. These fruits are part of the “dirty dozen,” a list that also includes nectarines, grapes, strawberries, spinach, celery, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and imported snap peas. EWG reports that avocados were the cleanest food tested. Avoid the consumption of pesticides and shop organic at local farmer’s markets or retail chains like Whole Foods.

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