Gentle Yoga Eases Back Pain
People can suffer from
many degrees of lower back pain. It can be a temporary problem that can
disappear after days or weeks, or it can be a chronic condition lasting for
months or even years.
According to the Annals of Internal
Medicine, there are usually three different treatments for back
pain: 1. educating sufferers on back injury prevention and dealing with pain, 2.
drugs, which usually include painkillers, anti-inflammatories and muscle
relaxants and 3. exercise.
the past, healthcare providers did not what type of exercise would improve their
patients’ conditions. A new study compared the effectiveness of yoga to
traditional exercise and education only. Previously, little was known about the
effect of yoga, which combines physical exercise with relaxation techniques, on
lower back pain.
The study involved 101 patients between the ages of 20 and 64 who had visited a
doctor in the past three to 15 months for chronic lower back pain. Patients who
had major illnesses or conditions that explained the back pain could not
participate in the study.
Researchers then randomly assigned patients to three different groups. One
received 12 weekly, 75-minute yoga classes specifically for patients with
low-back pain. They also received instructions to practice daily. One group
received 12 weekly, 75-minute sessions of aerobic strengthening and stretching
exercises, which had been developed by a physical therapist. They were also
instructed to practice daily. The third group was given a copy of
The Back Pain Help Book by Jim Moore
and colleagues. Patients were given permission to use drugs as needed.
Interviewers then called
patients after six, 12 and 26 weeks. The interviewers used standard questions
and did not know which treatments patients had received.
The interviewers reported that the yoga practitioners had better back function
after 12 weeks than either the exercise or education groups. Reports of pain
were similar in all groups at 12 weeks. At 26 weeks, yoga practitioners had
better back function and less pain.
The study found that over a period of three to six months, yoga seems to be more
effective than traditional exercise regimens or education-only tactics.
Any Time Is the Right Time to Stop Smoking
you’ve been thinking about quitting smoking, but you think the damage has
already been done, take a look at the quick and astonishing progress your body
can make when you finally stop. According to the Quit Smoking page on the
• Twenty minutes after you quit, your blood pressure decreases, your pulse rate
drops and the temperature of your hands and feet go up.
• Eight hours after you quit, oxygen levels increase to normal and carbon
monoxide levels drop to normal.
• Twenty-four hours after you quit, your risk of heart attack goes down.
• After one-to-nine months, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of
• After a few weeks, circulation and lung function improve.
• A year after you quit, your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
• Five to 15 years after you stop smoking, your risk of stroke has been reduced
to that of those who never smoked.
• After 10 years, your risk of ulcers lowers, your risk of lung cancer is cut in
half and your risk for other cancers also decreases.
• After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of
people who have never smoked. Your risk of death is now almost the same as
someone who has never smoked.
Look at Things In a New Way
you’re feeling at loose ends, it could be a good idea to participate in some
type of meditation. According to the website
Learningtomeditate.com, you don’t
have to think of meditation as an complicated Eastern art where an old man under
a tree comes up with all the answers to the mysteries of life. It can be a lot
more practical than that.
Meditation often is no more than seeking out peacefulness and calmness during
the stress and struggle of everyday living. Simple practices can work well. Find
a quiet place, focus on your breathing and grow quiet. Eventually you will grow
calm. If you practice on a daily basis and learn how to empty your mind, you may
find that you gain new insights.