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Suffering From Back Pain Again? These Two Tips May Help You

Suffering From Back Pain Again? These Two Tips May Help You

Back pain can be one of the most debilitating and frustrating ailments. When acute, back pain can stop us from walking, exercising – and even enjoying life.

If you work in an office, you may have noticed some people choose to work while standing at height-adjustable desks. While this is shown to be a good thing in general,[1] talk to the people standing, and often they will tell you that due to back pain, sitting for prolonged periods is just too painful for them.

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Fortunately, recent research has revealed two things that you can do to help ensure your back remains pain free. (Or if you’re already suffering back pain, the tips will prevent you from causing further damage and pain to your back.)

1. There’s a perfect angle for leaning back

Were you aware that leaning back on a chair can be a cause of back strain? It’s true. Helpfully, however, a study in 1999[2]determined that sitting at an angle of 110-130 degrees was optimal for spine comfort. A further study in 2007,[3]showed that leaning back at 135 degrees was the ideal angle for preventing back strain.

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You may be asking yourself: “What angle am I currently sitting at?” It’s a fair question, as it’s probably not something you’ve considered before.

While you could manually check the angle you’re sitting at, an innovative consumer device developed by Lumo Bodytech can make this process easy and automatic. The company offers a product called Lumo Lift that uses angle displacement to track and alert you to times when you are slouching or have poor body posture. The company claims that by improving your posture, you’ll reduce back pain, lower your stress levels – and become more productive. Positive benefits that we’d all welcome in our lives.

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2. Doing sit-ups badly is a surefire route to back pain

While we all want to be as fit as possible, some basic exercises (when done wrongly) can be detrimental to our spine. A common cause of back problems is sit-ups.[4]The issue is not with the exercise itself, but by the mistakes most people do when performing sit-ups. Frequently, people use their hands behind their head as leverage. As we’ll see, this can be a recipe for disaster.

By using the hands as leverage while performing sit-ups, unnecessary strain is placed on the sensitive vertebrae in the neck and all the way down the spine. Furthermore, by performing sit-ups in this way, the abdominal muscles aren’t exercised as thoroughly as they should be. In other words, you think you’re building up your fitness, when, in reality, you may be contributing to its demise.

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Here’s how to perform sit-ups correctly:[5]

  1. Lie on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Put your finger tips behind your ears (but don’t use your hands as leverage).
  3. Put your elbows to your side, with shoulder blades back.
  4. Using your abdominal muscles, raise your body towards your knees (head should always be looking straight).
  5. Gently roll back down, and commence the exercise.

As you may know, back pain is notoriously difficult to eliminate. It has a tendency to flare up at unexpected times, causing misery to sufferers. As a consequence, many people spend thousands of dollars on expensive pharmaceutical pain treatment, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and specialized massages. While these treatments can certainly help, avoiding back injury in the first place is ideal.

By following the two tips above, you can help to reduce your risk of back injuries. This could free you from unnecessary pain, discomfort and immobility. By looking after your spine, your body can be flexible, healthy and pain free.

Reference

[1] Smithsonian.com: Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks
[2] Wall Street Journal: Burning Question: Why Sit Up Straight?
[3] Wall Street Journal: Burning Question: Why Sit Up Straight?
[4] LIVESTRONG: Do Sit-Ups Cause Back Pain?
[5] 30 Day Fitness Challenges: How To Do A Sit Up

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Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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