Wednesday, September 25, 2013

School Backpacks and Back Pain? Here's What To Do...

Day after day, year after year, children trot off to school carrying a significant burden with them: their backpack. Backpack weight is a major health issue, and it's only getting worse. Here's what you can do about it.
Do you know what's in your child's backpack, how much it weighs, or how that weight is affecting their neck, shoulders, back and spine? You need to know, because studies suggest far too many children are carrying far too heavy loads to and from school, and with serious consequences.
For example, a 2003 study in Spine found a significant relationship between the incidence of lower back pain among schoolchildren (ages 12-18) and both the weight of their backpacks and the amount of time the backpacks were used. Some backpacks were inordinately heavy; 18.9 percent of the students surveyed carried backpacks that weighed more than 20 percent of the student's body weight when full.
In another study, published in the same journal a year earlier, four of five children said their backpacks were heavy, and two-thirds said they felt fatigue when carrying theirs. The study also showed that lifetime prevalence of low back pain was related to the amount of time children carried backpacks on their shoulders.
Not very good news, is it? So, what can you do as a parent to help your children in this regard? Here are a few simple suggestions courtesy of National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Ill.:
  • Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10 percent of their body weight.
  • Also ensure that it doesn't hang more than 4 inches below their waistline.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. The straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be easily fitted to your child's body

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Think Before You Drink

 A common source of back pain and pain associated with arthritis is due to excessive weight gain. If you are a soda drinker, just cutting out this beverage (even the "diet" ones too!) can result in quick weight loss and help you gain control over back pain. But if that weren't enough for you to give up sodas, below are even more reasons and health benefits: 

10 Reasons to Stay Away from Sodas and Energy Drinks
  1. The average soda has no nutritional value - only sugar, carbonated water, caramel color, natural flavors, caffeine, phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup.

  2. According to Harvard researchers, the risk of childhood obesity increases 1.6 times with each additional daily serving of soda consumed.

  3. Soda adds more sugar to a typical 2-year-old's diet than cookies, candies and ice cream combined.

  4. Numerous studies indicate that the sugar and acids in soda may cause tooth decay.

  5. According to some household cleaning Web sites, soda can be used as a toilet cleaner and rust and grease remover.

  6. A soda can.
  7. A Harvard study of teenage athletes identified a strong association between soda consumption and bone fractures in 14-year-old girls.

  8. An average can of soda has 35-38 mg of caffeine and as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar.

  9. Most energy drinks contain about 80 mg of caffeine, along with other legal stimulants like guarana and ginseng.

  10. Certain energy drinks contain huge blasts of caffeine (up to 280 mg) - almost triple the caffeine in a cup of coffee.

  11. Energy drinks can boost heart rate and blood pressure, increase anxiety, dehydrate the body and cause insomnia.