Avoid Certain Foods To Minimize Pain

avoid-certainHere’s something that most people don’t realize. Most illnesses and most chronic pain have some type of inflammation at their core. The secret to keeping inflammation at bay is to keep your body’s acidity level down, and the secret to doing that is knowing what foods to avoid.

What foods are those, exactly? We’ll give you a short list now:

• Refined Sugars – We might as well get the worst of the bunch out of the way first. Most sugars are extremely bad for you, including the stuff you add to your coffee every morning, confectioner’s sugar, and brown sugar. That’s bad, because a) almost everyone loves sugar, and b) because it’s in just about every food item you buy that comes out of a box or jar. The only way to avoid, or at least minimize your sugar intake is to start reading labels. It’s annoying and can be frustrating, but it’s the only way to be sure.
• HFCS – This stands for “High Fructose Corn Syrup” and if you can believe it, this stuff is even worse than the sugars we mentioned just above. Not only does it have absolutely no nutritional value, but it’s essentially a slow-acting poison. Do you want to know why such a high percentage of Americans are overweight and saddled with a whole raft of health problems? HFCS is at the root of that. Unfortunately, like sugar, it’s in a lot of the processed foods we eat on a regular basis, so avoiding it altogether is extremely difficult. Read labels and keep your consumption to a minimum.
• Gluten – It’s a little known fact, but almost everyone has some level of gluten intolerance. Some people just have a more severe reaction to it than others. Gluten is found in most grains, and the people with the highest gluten sensitivity develop Celiac disease. However, long before you show symptoms of that condition, your body is suffering from varying degrees of inflammation, all courtesy of gluten.

Avoiding those three things can be a real challenge, but if you are successful, your pain level will decrease right along with the inflammation.

How To Avoid Winter Depression

how-toIt can happen to the best of us. Studies have shown that as many as one person in five suffers from seasonal depression. Even if you don’t have full-blown depression, a mild touch of the wintertime blues is no fun to deal with.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to shake off the blues and get out of the doldrums! Below are some helpful tips and recommendations.

Treat The Cold As An Opportunity!

When the weather turns cold and the streets and sidewalks get icy, even simple tasks like checking the mail can turn into daunting challenges. The best way to deal with those challenges is one bite at a time. Turn them into a game, and when you’re done, since they are games after all, treat yourself!

Indulge in a Netflix binge, or a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate by the fire. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for the last several weeks and lose yourself for a while. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

Group Therapy

One of the catalysts of seasonal depression is isolation. It’s easy to become isolated when the weather turns cold, because everybody just wants to stay inside, so why not stay inside together?

Turn it into a party! Catch up with friends. Have dinners, or maybe a game night. Use the time as an opportunity to reconnect and deepen the bonds of friendship you have, rather than drawing away from people.

Get Up And Move

And finally, take the fun outdoors. When you were a kid, you probably built magnificent snow forts and had epic snowball fights, so why not relive those memories with your adult friends. Then, after the winter fun, head back inside for some hot soup and great conversation.

The bottom line is that wintertime doesn’t have to be a misery. You can make it fun!

Do High Heels Cause Back Pain?

do-highIt’s something that “everyone” knows. High heels are bad for your back. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the thing that everyone knows may not be completely true. In some cases, high heels may actually help back pain.

If that sounds counter intuitive to you, you’re not alone. After all, you’ve probably heard just the opposite at least a thousand times. The reality is a bit more complex. In some cases, high heels can actually put your spine into better alignment, which takes pressure off of the nerves, reducing pain.

This does not, however, mean that you should rush out tomorrow to buy several pairs of heels. While it’s true that it might help in some cases, those are pretty strong qualifiers. Further, wearing heels can cause other types of pain, or make them worse. Generally, this pain starts in your feet, and can spread to your calves, thighs, and hips. In addition to that, wearing heels for an extended period of time can cause “hammer toe,” which can be intensely painful.

If you suffer from back pain, chronic or otherwise, the best choice in terms of footwear is a flat shoe, unless there’s a specific need for a shoe with additional support. If you like high heels, consider them like your favorite dessert item. It’s okay to wear them once in a while, but consider it to be something of a “cheat day,” and not something you should wear all the time.

The other big thing to consider where shoes are concerned making sure they’re properly sized. Studies show that a shocking 88% of women knowingly wear a shoe that is too small, which can cause or worsen pain, and increase the likelihood of injury long term.

The bottom line is that high heels seldom directly cause or worsen back pain, despite what you may have heard. In some specific cases, they can actually be good for your spinal alignment, but because of the other problems they cause, they’re not recommended.

Does Your Back Hurt While Driving? Try These Helpful Tips

back-hurtsIf you suffer from chronic back pain, driving is probably something you try to minimize, if not avoid altogether. It’s just not comfortable.

Sometimes, though, you can’t avoid it. It’s just something you’ve got to do. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help minimize the pain that is so often associated with the simple act of driving. While the tips below certainly can’t be seen as a cure-all or a magic bullet, they’ll go a long way toward reducing your pain.

First, posture matters. When sitting behind the wheel, you want to adjust your seat such that your knees are at least slightly above your hips. Doing this will help take pressure off of your lower back, which will reduce the pain and discomfort.

Second, and this also has to do with posture, don’t recline the seat too much. You want it reclined some, but only just enough so that you can grip the steering wheel comfortably. More than that, and your sitting position is awkward, which will, in short order, increase your pain level.

Third, let’s talk about your wallet. Whenever possible, you should avoid sitting on your wallet, because it will cause you to sit unevenly, increasing pressure on your spin, and adding to your pain and discomfort. This is true when sitting behind the wheel as well. If nothing else, just place your wallet on the seat next to you when driving.

Fourth, consider lumbar support. This makes a huge difference. If your vehicle comes with lumbar support built into the seats, by all means use it. If it does not, then use a pillow or a folded towel at the small of your back. Use something to give you more support.

Finally, if you have to drive for an extended period, be sure to stop at frequent intervals to take stretch breaks, and be sure to move and keep your limbs and joints loosened up.

Taken together, these strategies will make a big difference in your pain levels, and at least make driving bearable.