Friday, January 23, 2009

Health Tips for January 23

Health Tip: Save Your Back at Work

After a long day at work, your back may be chock full of aches and pains from standing on your feet or sitting at a desk.

The University of Maryland Medical Center offers these suggestions to help alleviate back pain while you're at work:

  • Pay attention to your posture, whether you're standing or sitting. Make sure your ears, shoulders and hips all line up.
  • Avoid standing for long periods. If you must stand, use a stool and alternate resting each foot on it.
  • Wear comfortable, cushioned shoes without heels if you walk a lot.
  • Choose a straight-backed, adjustable chair with armrests and a swivel seat for your desk chair.
  • Prop your feet up below your desk, so your knees are elevated above your hips.
  • Roll up a towel or place a pillow at your lower back while sitting at your desk.

Health Tip: Help Manage Back Pain

When you begin to feel back pain, resist the urge to stay in bed for a prolonged period. It's better to remain active, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

As long as you don't have a serious underlying medical problem that's causing your pain, the UMMC offers these suggestions for how to tame it:

  • For the first few days, take it easier, but only for a few days. After that, gradually become more active until you're back to your regular routine.
  • Apply either heat or ice to your sore back -- whichever feels better. You can also alternate between the two, starting with ice for the first two or three days, followed by muscle-relaxing heat beginning the next day.
  • If it's OK with your doctor, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Take a warm bath before bed to soothe your back and help you sleep.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your legs (if on your side), or under your knees (if on your back).

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