has written more than twenty computer
software manuals, numerous newspaper
articles, including a
monthly health column
for The Sarasota
She's the author of two books
Living With Big Cats:
The Story of
Jungle Larry, Safari
For ordering information, click here.
To read more about these books,
participate in an ongoing
joke contest, surf on over to
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.
Shara signed with a New York Literary agency in December.
"Back" to Health
Looking After Your Back
- (Part 1 of 5)
According to the
American Medical Association, Americans' spend $20-50
billion per year on health insurance, medical care, and lost wages. A
large part of this is for back pain and injuries. For the under-45 age
group, the most frequent cause of disability is back disorders.
Four out of five people will have back trouble at some time.
Fortunately, only a small fraction of these are serious. However, once a
back injury does occur, it is four times more likely to recur than if
you had kept your back active to begin with.
Some health professionals tell patients that as they age they can expect
more pain. But many experts say this is not true: Most people who have
back pain do not have to live with it.
Mom was Right
"Stand up straight." Can't you just hear her? The number one cause of
back pain comes down to POSTURE. Relief can be as simple as learning to
line up our ear lobes with our shoulders.
Lifting, Sitting, Sleeping
Dan Kline, President of Clear Sky Products which specializes in injury
prevention products says that the most important objective about back
pain is to try to avoid it. Avoiding it is easy if you employ a little
bit of common sense and preventive maintenance. Important subjects are
posture, correct movement patterns (i.e. lifting and forceful motions),
body weight, and exercise.
Be aware of body mechanics when lifting. If we are conscious of the
natural, gentle curve in the neck and the one in the lower back, and
keep these curves intact while lifting, we will not get an injured back.
The purpose of a back support belt is only to remind the wearer to use
proper posture when lifting. Some health professionals report that this
kind of belt, in fact, can be detrimental. Just like when you wear a
cast and muscles become weakened over time, the abdominal muscles will
weaken if you rely on the belt.
Prolonged sitting is stressful. If you sit at a desk for hours, or have
to drive a long distance on a trip, support your lower back with a
cushion. You can buy one at any medical supply store. Or simply roll up
a beach towel and place it in the chair behind your lower back.
A mattress should support a person properly, conforming to the curve in
the low back. In a recent column I wrote about overcoming sleep problems, I
relayed a simple test to determine if your mattress is too soft or too
Ergonomic advisor Dr. Brad R. Lustick give us his bottom line, "The
aches and pains that the majority of folks suffer can almost always be
related to what they do everyday. This may be working postures or
conditions, lifestyle and hygiene habits, driving in traffic or in seats
that fail to fit an individual's body type, sleeping in bad postures or
with improper support in from a pillow or a mattress.
"We need to learn to perform in a way consistent with low postural
stress, one that adapts our environment to us, rather than us adapting
to the environment. In other words, what we do repetitively, unless done
with proper tools and in an ergonomic way causes the body to ultimately
succumb to poor postures or unsatisfactory surroundings.
Dr. Brad sells many innovative ergonomic products online to help the
back, as well as the entire body. His site, Back Be Nimble--One-stop
Back Shop, may be found at http://www.backbenimble.com.
More information about the causes (and avoidance of)
Do you ever suffer from back pain? If so, I'd like to hear about your experiences, treatments and tips. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to the top / The New Sideroad / Go to the latest column
Issue # 14
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 1998
Humour and Health
Part 1 of 5
- "Think You're Funny?" (A look at laughter.)
Part 2 of 5
- What the Experts Say. . .
Part 3 of 5
- A Matter of Perspective
Part 4 of 5
- Humour as a Coping Mechanism
Part 5 of 5
- Wooten on Humour and Coping
Overcoming Sleep Disorders
Part 1 of 4
- how your mattress can make all the difference.
Part 2 of 4
- strategies to help you sleep.
Part 3 of 4
- more strategies to help you sleep.
Part 4 of 4
- what is a sleep log and how does it work?
Stats indicate that for those over the age of 50, one of every two women
and one in eight men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. Our
sedentary lifestyle puts us at risk for this disease. Yet osteoporosis
is not inevitable. Here's some information on
this disease and how we can prevent it.
Part 1 of 4 -
- details the likelihood of developing this disease, and its dangers and consequences.
Part 2 of 4 -
- presents the risk factors of osteoporosis and some of our
misconceptions about the disease.
Part 3 of 4 -
- insights into diagnosis, and basic management techniques.
Part 4 of 4 -
- new medical treatments to stop osteoporosis, and safety in the home of osteoporosis sufferers.