Health Zone

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Make the grade THIS year!

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Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. And when used properly, they’re incredibly handy. Many packs feature multiple compartments that help students stay organized while they tote their books and papers from home to school and back again. Compared with shoulder bags, messenger bags, or purses, backpacks are better because the strongest muscles in the body — the back and the abdominal muscles — support the weight of the packs.

When worn correctly, the weight in a backpack is evenly distributed across the body, and shoulder and neck injuries are less common than if someone carried a briefcase or purse.

As practical as backpacks are, though, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they’re too heavy or are used incorrectly. Here’s how to help kids find the right backpack.

Problems Backpacks Can Pose Although many factors can lead to back pain — increased participation in sports or exercise, poor posture while sitting, and long periods of inactivity — some kids have backaches because they’re lugging around their entire locker’s worth of books, school supplies, and assorted personal items all day long. But most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.

To know how heavy backpacks can affect a kid’s body, it helps to understand how the back works. The spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae, and between the vertebrae are discs that act as natural shock absorbers.

When a heavy weight, such as a backpack filled with books, is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight’s force can pull a child backward. To compensate, a child may bend forward at the hips or arch the back, which can cause the spine to compress unnaturally. The heavy weight might cause some kids to develop shoulder, neck, and back pain.

Kids who wear their backpacks over just one shoulder — as many do, because they think it looks better or just feels easier — may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. They might develop lower and upper back pain and strain their shoulders and neck.

Improper backpack use can also lead to poor posture. Girls and younger kids may be especially at risk for backpack-related injuries because they’re smaller and may carry loads that are heavier in proportion to their body weight.

Also, backpacks with tight, narrow straps that dig into the shoulders can interfere with circulation and nerves. These types of straps can contribute to tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands.

And bulky or heavy backpacks don’t just cause back injuries. Other safety issues to consider:

  • Kids who carry large packs often aren’t aware of how much space the packs take up and can hit others with their packs when turning around or moving through tight spaces, such as the aisles of the school bus.
  • Students are often injured when they trip over large packs or the packs fall on them.
  • Carrying a heavy pack changes the way kids walk and increases the risk of falling, particularly on stairs or other places where the backpack puts the student off balance.

Thank you to
http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/backpack.html for all of the wonderful information.


What are your daily activities for this week?

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Check out community activity schedule in Baltimore County.

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Lower Back Pain Tops List of Reasons Why People Seek Medical Attention (PR Newswire)

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Tidewater Physical Therapy was founded in 1986 and has clinics throughout southeastern and centra Virginia.

Ultimately, it’s how you fit the environment. If it doesn’t fit you, it’s not the right size.
Newport News, Va. (PRWEB) July 07, 2013

There’s the common cold, and then there’s lower back pain. The two ailments top the list, in that order, of the most common reasons people seek medical attention, said Wayne MacMasters, president ofTidewater Physical Therapy.

Lower back pain will afflict an estimated 80 percent of adults at some point in their lives, with many adults suffering from chronic back pain, according to Tidewater Physical Therapy.

The good news is that cures to lower back pain can be in reach for a large segment of the population. MacMasters said weight loss or management, regular exercise, smoking cessation, strengthening the core of the body and trauma prevention are all steps to reducing and even halting back pain.

Other tools are consulting with experts to make work stations and businesses kinder and gentler on backs. MacMasters launched Tidewater Physical Therapy in 1986 and has shepherded the business through the opening of 31 clinics.

“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” MacMasters said.

To help businesses create healthy work environments, Tidewater Physical Therapy employs industry experts in ergonomics in the work place – essentially the science of optimizing the interactions between the person, the job and the environment. Not only does it help employees stay on the job, but it also helps businesses lower health care costs.

For every dollar spent by a business in wellness promotion and injury prevention, $3 to $5 is returned on that investment in the form of lower insurance premiums and claims, reduced worker’s compensation costs and increased productivity, MacMasters said.

Whether it’s talking to a Rotary Club or meeting on site with employees, Tidewater Physical Therapy is trying to teach the principles of healthier lifestyles, even in office settings where workers are hunched over computers all day.

Donna Abbott, a clinical director and ergonomics expert at Tidewater Physical Therapy, recently spent an hour with Jennifer Daknis and Ashley Gorse at Sigmon Daknis in Newport News. Daknis, a partner in the firm, and Gorse, client relationship manager at Sigmon Daknis, are at their desks all day.

It wasn’t long before Abbott was diagnosing problems at their desks that could lead to strains and pain in their necks, backs and elsewhere. Before observing and analyzing their office spaces, Abbott walked the two women through an introduction of personal ergonomics.

It doesn’t work to just to fix the work station because it’s a work in progress, Abbott said.

“Ultimately, it’s how you fit the environment,” Abbott said. “If it doesn’t fit you, it’s not the right size.”

It’s not just in the office that the principles of ergonomics are beneficial, Abbott said. They cross over into home offices, kitchens, in the yard and elsewhere in life, she said.

Ergonomics boils down to position, position, position, Abbott said. Blood flow is vital because blood carries the nutrients and oxygen around in the body.

Some easy steps to protecting yourself at work or home include keeping wrists straight when working at a keyboard, using your whole hand to grab objects, minimizing repetitive activites and giving your hands frequent rests to recover from repetitive exertions.

Taking time for brief stretches is vital to improving blood flow and giving the body breaks.

These stretches can be as simple as wrist extensions and flexions. This is where the wrist is held at shoulder level and using the other hand the wrist is first gently held up for a few seconds for five times and then held down for a few seconds, again for five times.

Shoulder shrugs, in which the shoulders are gently shrugged upward, are also important, as well as shoulder rolls.

Another stretch is the trunk extension in which you place the hands on the small of your back and slowly bend backwards, holding for three seconds before relaxing. This stretch can be repeated. Other stretches highlighted by Abbott included stretching your arms over your head and looking right and then left.

Daknis asked Abbott how often stretching breaks should occur.

“Frequently,” Abbott said. “Anything you can do on the hour is going to benefit you.”

Abbott also reviewed the workspaces for Daknis and Gorse. Pencils, the phone and other things frequently used should be in easy reach, Abbott said. Having the phone a long reach away is problematic.

Simulating the strain of a long reach, Abbott pointed out that “every time you reach for the phone, that’s what you’re doing.”

Even the use of a mouse was subject to Abbott’s scrutiny.

“You don’t have to sit there and hold onto it,” Abbott said. “Even though we call it a mouse, it’s dead.”

Daknis’ desk is set up so that she’s looking to her right to see her computer monitor.

Abbott didn’t like that. It’s easier on the body for the computer screen to be in front of you at eye level.

“What we’ve really got to eliminate is your neck rotation,” Abbott said.

The office chair is another potential strain on the body. The chair used by Daknis has long arms and doesn’t allow her to scoot close to her desk.

“You have to have one where your back is supported,” Abbott said. “You let the chair work for you.”

Something to remember for chairs is the simpler is better, she said. It doesn’t need to have a lot of gadgets to it.

“The biggest thing is size to you and size to space,” Abbott said.

For workers engaged in physical activities, proper lifting techniques that simulate Olympic weightlifters who use their legs and keep their trunks in neutral positions are a key to healthy backs, MacMasters said. And know your limits of weight you can lift, whether at work or home.

“There’s a lot of people who can’t pick up an 80-lb. bag of sand,” MacMasters said. “They shouldn’t be doing it.”

For MacMasters, there’s one important ingredient in healthy backs.

“If you do have a back issue,” he said, “exercise is the key.”


2013 Continence Week (information by http://www.continence.org.au/events.php/128/world-continence-week-2013)

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World Continence Week 2013

World Continence Week is an initiative of the International Continence Society and is coordinated in Australia by the Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA).

The theme is Talk about incontinence.

The slogan is A problem in anyone’s language.

We rely on members and other individuals and organisations to assist with the promotion of World Continence Week and its theme to local communities and media networks. Every year individuals and organisations have contributed in reaching out to its local networks, including those who are, or are at risk of becoming, incontinent.

Please forward the World Continence Week media release to your local media outlet.

The Continence Foundation’s information kit is full of tips and suggestions to help promote World Continence Week and any associated events.

Order promotional resources online, including an A3 gloss poster and brochures, ordownload the resource order form and fax or mail back.

Remember to order your resources early to ensure you receive them in time for your World Continence Week promotional activities.


Good Toilet Habits.

Practice good toilet habits

  • go to the toilet when you get the urge to open your bowels, as this is the most effective time to completely empty your bowels.  Most people get the urge first thing in the morning or following a meal when eating has stimulated the bowel.
  • get into the correct sitting position on the toilet. Sit on the toilet, elbows on knees, lean forward and support feet with a footstool. This helps to fully relax your pelvic floor and sphincter muscles. Bulge out your tummy, relax your back passage and let go (don’t hold your breath or strain). When you have finished firmly draw up your back passage
  • avoid constipation as this affects bladder and bowel function. If you often strain to move your bowels, the pelvic floor stretches and weakens over time
  • don’t get into the habit of going to the toilet ‘just in case’ – only go when you need to, and
  • visit your doctor as soon as you suspect a urinary tract infection.

http://www.continence.org.au/pages/can-incontinence-be-prevented.html

Cool off by stretching in the pool

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Swim On! Courtesy of about.com 

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Open Water Swimming Tips

With summer almost here, we decided to do some research on how you get exercise off land! 

  • There are no lines on the bottom. Look forward and sideways for landmarks to aid navigation, but find the balance between looking too often and not looking enough.
  • Put on your sunscreen – and don’t forget your lips.
  • Drink plenty of fluids before you begin.
  • Make sure you follow the buddy system – if you are at a guarded beach, tell the lifeguards what you are doing.
  • You can do any type of open water swimming workout – long straight swims, intervals where you vary the intensity level, even short sprints then tread or float in place.
  • It will be easier to count strokes compared to doing efforts for time or distance; 50 strokes at a high effort, 50 strokes easy, etc.
  • Base your open water swimming workout on time spent swimming, not how far you think you have gone.
  • Stay on the safe side of distance from shore – DON’T GO OUT TOO FAR.
  • If you are in a race, watch out for the flailing arms and legs of those around you – getting hit or scratched hurts, and can knock off your goggles.
  • Learn to use the waves to help you ride up and slide down.
  • Time your stroke so you can breath without getting splashed in the face.
  • Make sure you teach yourself how to breath to either side, left or right. If the waves are coming for the right, breathing to the left is much, much easier.
  • If they are allowed, wet suits designed for open water swimming will help – you will be amazed at the extra warmth and the additional speed with no additional effort.
  • Overcoming a fear of open water swimming is worth it; it may take time and effort, but you can do it.

If you choose do open water swimming events or open water swimming workouts just to add variety to your workout, to practice for a triathlon, or to get ready for an open water race, have fun and enjoy the freedom of swimming without the walls.


15 New Muscle Builders:  Want a physique that’s better than the body you have now?

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We tell the patient that we cannot cure your arthritis, but what we can do is retard the progression of it, says Hector Mayo, clinical director of Grand Central Physical and Hand Therapy in New York City. In this video, Mayo explains how physical therapy can help strengthen arthritic joints.

For ways to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches, visit the Migraine Prevention section.
–Courtesy of Yahoo! Health

The ultimate purpose of physical therapy is to restore normal function to the patient
–Courtesy of Yahoo! Health