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6 Tips to Reduce Back Pain at Home

According to National Institute of Health, back pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lifetime. No matter when it appears or what may have caused it, back pain can be a real burden. Here are 6 simple tips you can use at home to relieve troublesome back pain quickly and effectively.

1. Work It Out

Often, when your back is in pain, the last thing you want to do is exercise. But certain exercises can actually reduce back pain. Adding yoga, pilates and core strengthening exercises to your workout routine will increase flexibility, balance and strength which, in turn will reduce back pain.

2. Use a Heating Pad or Ice Pack

Applying heat to your back can reduce pain, stiffness, cramping and muscle spasms, as warm temperatures loosen up the back muscles and relieve tension. Administer heat to your aching back with a hot compress, a dry or moist heating pad or with a hot bath. Ice tends to work better to reduce inflammation and swelling. A cold pack, iced towel/compress, or cool bath are all great ways to reduce back pain. But be sure to always wrap heating pads or ice compacts in a towel before use, as these treatments should never be applied directly to the skin.

3. Sleep With a Pillow Under Your Knees

Place a small pillow under the back of your knees to reduce stress on your spine and support the natural curve in your lower back while you sleep. By slightly elevating your legs as you sleep, you can greatly reduce pressure on your back.

4. Lose the Heels

Sorry, ladies. If you suffer from back pain, it’s time to say goodbye to your favorite pair of pumps. Comfortable, low-heeled shoes are your best bet for back pain prevention, as they reduce the strain on the back while standing. If you must wear heels to an event, consider swapping them with a non-heeled shoe on your way to and from the location.

5. Straighten Up

Good posture is key to both preventing and relieving back pain. Perform posture checks throughout the day and avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways while standing.

6. Increase Your Vitamin D and Calcium Intake

Vitamin D and Calcium are essential for bone strength. Studies indicate that deficiencies of Vitamin D and Calcium lead to chronic pain in the lower back. So be sure to load up on plenty of  orange juice, dairy products, leafy greens, eggs and fish throughout the day to help reduce symptoms of back pain.

If you suffer from back pain, give us a call at 301-710-9777 to schedule an appointment today.

4 Tips for Protecting Your Joints This Winter

It’s that time of year again, winter weather is back bringing holiday greetings and frosty temperatures. But cooler months can also bring achy, swelling pain that takes a toll on your joints.

According to The National Institute of Health, change in weather has a direct impact on the pressure in your joints. When barometric pressure drops, the tissues around your joints expand, putting more pressure on your joints, which triggers swelling and stiffness. That’s why many people say they can predict the weather just by the pain in their joints.

Don’t let the winter weather stop you from staying active this season. Follow these 4 tips  to stay active and pain free this winter:

START SMALL

If you’re going to exercise, start with small warm-ups to reduce the pressure put on joints before you head out. Low impact warm-ups such as yoga or walking are not only easier on joints, but they also enhance your mobility and range of motion.

BUNDLE UP

If running is your go-to outdoor exercise, staying layered is crucial to protecting yourself from hypothermia and troublesome joint pain.

  • Start by choosing a base layer that is soft, comfortable and tight fitting. This will help regulate your body temperature by moving sweat away from your skin.
  • The second layer helps insulate the body in order to trap and retain heat. Be sure to find a layer that maximizes warmth and comfort, without unnecessary bulk.
  • Consider the final layer a shield against harsh winds, rain, and snow. Don’t rely on this layer for warmth, as the base layer is what secures body heat.

STAY HYDRATED

According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, dehydration can make the body more sensitive to pain. Keep in mind that you must match your hydration with the amount of exercise you are doing. After more than an hour, add electrolytes and carbohydrates to increase your fluid intake.

Doctors also recommend drinking warm or room temperature liquids, as the body absorbs them more quickly than cold drinks. When exercising in frigid temperatures, warmer liquids are also essential to optimizing internal temperatures.

EAT SMARTER

If you’re exercising outside, it is important to load up on foods full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. The Omega-3 acids in foods such as salmon and nuts are known to curb inflammation and stop joint pain in its tracks. To up your Vitamin K intake, think green. Foods like spinach, kale, cabbage and more are crucial to soothing pain. Don’t be afraid to add color with Vitamin C rich foods such as red peppers, oranges, papayas, and broccoli. These foods are known to reduce cartilage loss that causes joint pain and stiffness.

GMW: Dr. Brian Paris Shows How to Wear a Backpack

Imagine hauling around a microwave. It’s no different than what students carry in their backpacks every day, according to Dr. Brian Paris. Backpacks filled with textbooks, gadgets and supplies are literally weighing students down. Nearly 22,000 U.S. students are treated for backpack strains, sprains, dislocations and fractures every year. Dr. Paris demonstrates the right way to wear a backpack on NewsChannel 8’s Good Morning Washington.

Dr. Paris says students shouldn’t carry more than 10 percent of their body weight. However, elementary and middle schoolers are carrying as much as 30 pounds every day. Dr. Paris sees more backpack-related injuries than hockey injuries at his office, Advanced Wellness Systems in Rockville and Columbia.

At the top of Dr. Paris’ list of recommendations for avoiding backpack injuries is better organization and strategy. Only bring the books and materials you need and take advantage of assignments available online. In addition to packing light and distributing weight evenly, lift with your knees and carry backpacks above the hips. If your backpack has a sternum strap and hip belt, use them!

Watch Dr. Paris’ backpack tips live on NewsChannel 8 above just in time for Backpack Safety Day on September 16.

In the Media: Dr. Paris discusses Debilitating Headaches; WUSA 9

Americans spend nearly $4 billion on over-the-counter medications to merely mask the pain caused by their debilitating headaches and migraines. A new study shows placing an anesthetic directly to the root of pain can offer long-term relief. Dr. Brian Paris of HeadachesGoAway.com demonstrates how a breakthrough medical device and physical therapy can eliminate the pulsating pain for good on WUSA 9.

For some, chronic migraines and headaches are not only painful but life-altering too. Patient Brandon Riedenhower tells WUSA9 the pain was so debilitating, he was willing to try anything. That’s when he turned to Dr. Paris and HeadachesGoAway.com for permanent relief.

The new treatment places a small catheter, called the TX360®, inside the nasal passage and directly onto the Sphenopalatine Ganglion, the source headaches and migraines. TX360® sounds uncomfortable for most people, but it tackles the pain at the source. “Boom, we drip it on and it’s done,” says Dr. Paris.

TX360® can treat cluster headaches, tension headaches and other types of chronic head pain, and is covered by most insurance.

Watch Dr. Paris on WUSA9 above and visit headachesgoaway.com if you’re ready to start your journey toward headache relief.

10 Tips for Better Sleep

Sound and steady sleep is essential for healthy functioning. However, over a third of adults do not get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and an environment that is not conducive to sleep doesn’t help. Creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere is essential to maximizing your comfort and achieving sleep satisfaction.

These 10 tips will help you build the bedroom of your dreams and leave you counting down the hours until it’s time to hit the sheets.

1. Cool Down

Cool bedroom temperatures make for the most comfortable sleep. If the air in your room is too hot, it could interfere with your body’s natural nightly temperature dip and make you more restless through the night. Keep the temperature around 65 degrees.

2. Maximize Mattress & Pillow Comfort

Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive to avoid feeling stiff or achy. It doesn’t matter whether you like your pillows soft and fluffy or firm and supportive, be sure to replace pillows that have lost their shape.

3. Limit Light

Artificial light after dark sends stimulating wake-up messages to the brain, suppressing the production of the sleep-inducing hormone–making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. Limit lamp light or use low-wattage, incandescent lamps as you prepare for bed.

4. Tuck Technology In For the Night

Our world revolves around technology, and unfortunately so do many people’s bedtime rituals. Keep electronics out of the bedroom or turn them off at least an hour before bed. Research shows that light from electronics disrupts sleep, as it sends alerting signals to the brain and delays the release of melatonin.

5. Declutter to Defeat Restlessness

A messy, cluttered room is likely to increase anxiety and restlessness, and consequently disrupt sleep. Create a clean space that promotes relaxation and peace by organizing your room and keeping it clean.

6. Design for Comfort

Arrange your furniture in a way that feels natural and visually pleasing to you. Choose wall colors that elicit a warm, calm aura. When decorating, choose artwork and decor that relaxes and soothes you.

7. Nix Night Noise

“Peak” sounds, like the slamming of a door or the honking of a horn, are likely to wake you up and interrupt your sleep cycle. White noise offers a solution to night noise by reducing the effect of sudden peak sounds. A sound conditioner, fan, or air purifier can be used to create a soothing auditory backdrop throughout the night.

8. Fresh Sheets for Better Sleep

Wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week with a fresh-scented detergent. Clean and pleasant-smelling sleep surfaces will make your bedroom more inviting.

9. Limit Food & Drink Before Bed

Never go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Avoid eating fried, fatty or spicy foods before bed as they often upset the stomach and are likely to disrupt sound sleep. Avoid alcohol several hours before bed too. Most importantly, stay away from caffeine after 2 p.m.

10. Don’t Exercise Before Bed

Though exercise during the day promotes a better night’s sleep, exercising in the three hours before you hit the sheets will keep you up for hours. Try to schedule your workouts earlier in the day for better sleep.

 

No Sleep? Big Problem.

Everyone needs sleep, as it’s just as important to your survival as food and water. But according to the National Sleep Foundation, few Americans are able to get the necessary amount of sleep.

People can be so busy that sleeping doesn’t even make it on their list of priorities. But whether you’re a college student, new mom or anything in between, getting enough sleep will make you a better you.

Sleep deprivation has a myriad of negative effects. It causes moodiness and sleepiness. Feeling sleepy during your day can lead to less productivity, because your attention, concentration and problem-solving skills are impaired. A lack of sleep also causes major health problems including weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, an overall weakened immune system and increased mortality.

Sleep needs depend on both a person’s lifestyle and health, so it’s important to figure out what factors are affecting your sleep when determining the amount of sleep necessary for you to function well. But for added help, just this year the National Sleep Foundation released an updated version of their recommended hours of sleep for every age group:

  • Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours each day
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours each day
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours each day
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours each day
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours each day
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours each day
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours each day
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours each day

Good night!