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Figure Skater Peggy Fleming, HealthSaver Says: Take Pains For Back Strains, 2nd Most Common Doctor Complaint
Date:9/5/2007

p>Lifestyle Choices

-- Eat right and exercise for 30 minutes on most, preferably all, days of

the week. Excessive pounds strain back muscles.

-- Take time for yourself. Stress causes your back muscles to become

tense and can further increase existing pain.

-- Smoking not only doubles the risk of heart attack, but also reduces

blood flow to the lower spine, weakens bones and hinders the healing

process.

-- Back pain becomes more common with age, due in part to loss of bone

strength. Make sure your diet includes the calcium your bones need to

prevent osteoporosis, which can lead to fractures.

Treatment Options

-- As soon as possible after a back injury or the onset of pain, apply a

cold compress to numb the affected area several times a day for up to

20 minutes. After two to three days, switch to heat to relax tight

muscles and increase blood flow. The combination of hot and cold may

help reduce inflammation and pain.

-- Too much bed rest can actually slow the healing process. Go about your

normal activities, but avoid anything that aggravates the pain.

-- If back pain persists after several days, see your physician. If the

pain is due to an injury, or if you experience numbness in your legs or

simply can't move, see a doctor as soon as possible. A physical exam

and a review of your medical history will help your healthcare provider

diagnose the problem. Additional tests may be necessary. Fortunately,

fewer than five percent of back pain sufferers require surgery to heal.

Though a common health problem, back pain can be avoided. Take proper care to ensure your back stays healthy, because the back serves an essential role in mobility and protects the spine, nerves, muscles and ligaments. If you experience back problems, be careful not to overexert yourself.
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SOURCE HealthSaver
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