massage therapy

  1. Move your back, ease the pain

    The last thing anyone with a sore back wants to do is move it around.

    I know -- I've been there myself, and the natural reaction is to find a spot where you can sit as stiff as a board and move as little as possible.

    The other natural reaction, of course, is a fistful of painkillers.

    Don't give in to either reaction: There isn't a bad back on the planet that's been cured by painkillers, and a new study confirms that sitting tight can actually make the pain worse -- and even boost your risk of depression, too.

    Researchers randomly assigned 109 back patients to either stay active through the pain or limit their activities as much as possible -- and if you're suffering from back pain you might want to get up for this one: Those who moved had quicker recoveries, less pain and less depression than those who limited their activity.

    The researchers say a person who goes into statue mode when they feel back pain could be setting themselves up for the classic downward spiral: Since they're not moving, they feel more pain. When they feel more pain, they get depressed -- and since depressed people feel pain more, it can feel even worse than it really is.

    Of course, anyone who's battled back pain -- and that's nearly everyone at some point -- knows there's no one-size-fits-all formula for treatment, but too many doctors stubbornly insist on giving everyone the same advice.

    Along with a big jar of painkillers.

    Now, another new study confirms that docs have it all wrong -- because patients given a more customized treatment plan get better results at a lower cost.

    Researchers divided back pain patients into three categories based on their risk of long-term pain and disability, and assigned them to different levels of advice and/or therapy based on that risk.

    A year later, these patients all had less pain and more improvements than a group that got the standard one-size-fits-all advice.

    Sounds good -- but make sure your customized treatment plan isn't a choice between one bad mainstream option and another.

    Despite what you've heard, you can beat the pain -- even extreme pain -- without meds or surgery. Acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care and more have all shown to help put back pain on the back burner.

    And in many cases, time alone can heal those invisible wounds.

    For more on natural back pain options, visit the Web site of the Health Sciences Institute and enter "back pain" into the "Find a Cure" box.

    And don't forget to keep moving.

  2. Painkillers up miscarriage risk

    You wouldn't dream of pumping a newborn full of powerful painkillers like ibuprofen -- yet nearly a fifth of all pregnant women take these meds during pregnancy... and it's killing their unborn children.

    Some of the most common painkillers of all -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen -- can dramatically boost the risk of miscarriage.

    Canadian researchers compared data on 4,705 women who suffered a miscarriage during the first five months of pregnancy to 45,050 women who did not, and found that those who took the painkillers had 2.4 times the risk.

    Putting that into stark real terms, a woman has a 15 percent risk of miscarriage right off the bat -- but if she's been popping these painkillers, that risk shoots up to 35 percent.

    And believe it or not, those numbers might be on the low side: The researchers used prescription drug records, not self-reported use, to figure out who had taken the painkillers.

    That leaves out the scores of women who take over-the-counter drugs -- because in Canada, as in the United States, both ibuprofen and naproxen are widely available.

    Other NSAIDs include rofecoxib, diclofenac and celecoxib -- but don't put too much effort into memorizing those names. Most of the drugs that have become a common part of the household medicine chest aren't nearly as safe as you've been led to believe, and that's especially true during pregnancy.

    On the other hand, you never needed those drugs in the first place -- and pregnancy is a great opportunity to wean yourself off them for good as you explore the safe and effective nondrug alternatives that have helped millions beat pain, even during pregnancy.

    One study a couple years back found that 81 percent of pregnant women who suffered from back pain got at least some relief from acupuncture -- versus 59 percent of women who got a sham treatment.

    The needles don't hurt -- in fact, you'll barely feel them.

    But if acupuncture's not for you, try a good rub: Not only is massage therapy proven to bring pain relief to pregnant women, but it also can have a powerful stimulating effect on the immune system.

    And that's something that can benefit mom and baby alike.

  3. Mental problems cause physical pain

    We already know how low moods can lead to high pain... and now, a new study shows how it happens.
  4. Beating anxiety without meds

    If you're suffering from anxiety problems, just relax.

4 Item(s)