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Myofascial release (MFR) is a hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure to myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. A study recently investigated the effects of MFR on pain and disability in patients suffering from chronic low back pain (CLBP). The study included 54 participants with nonspecific CLBP who either received four sessions of myofascial treatment lasting 40 minutes or a sham treatment (similar to taking a placebo in a drug trial). The researchers found that participants in the myofascial group reported significant improvements in pain and disability compared with those in the sham group. Myofascial release is often utilized by chiropractors to manage many musculoskeletal conditions.Spine, May 2017
Losing a few extra pounds may take a load off your knees. Researchers collected data on 640 obese and overweight people who had mild osteoarthritis or were at risk of it. Investigators found that obese and overweight people who lost 5% or more of their weight over four years experienced less degeneration of their knee cartilage compared with individuals whose weight remained stable. Furthermore, patients who lost 10% of their body weight experienced even slower cartilage degeneration.Radiology, May 2017
Sunscreen is key to protecting our skin from the damaging effects of the sun, but a new study suggests that using sunscreen could lead to vitamin D deficiency. In this study, researchers found that using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher could reduce the body's vitamin D-3 production by 99%. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that individuals should avoid sunscreen use when exposed to midday sun for up to 30 minutes twice weekly in order to increase and maintain normal vitamin D levels. Co-author Dr. Kim Pfotenhauer adds, “People are spending less time outside and, when they do go out, they're typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body's ability to produce vitamin D. While we want people to protect themselves against skin cancer, there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure that can be very helpful in boosting vitamin D.”Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 2017
An analysis of data concerning nearly 900 young children revealed that for each 30-minute increase in time a child spends on a smartphone, tablet, or electronic device at 18 months of age, they have a 49% elevated risk for expressive speech delay. According the American Academy of Pediatrics, expressive language is the ability to convey feelings and information. Of concern to the researchers is that 20% of the children in the study spent an average of 28 minutes per day in front of a screen.Pediatric Academic Society, May 2017
To reach your exercise goals, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends avoiding these seven mistakes: failing to keep a journal to monitor your progress, losing track of your goals, strength-training the same muscles on consecutive days, breathing incorrectly during exercise, not eating enough protein, getting distracted during your workout, and ignoring flexibility and balance training.American College of Sports Medicine, May 2017
The antioxidant called resveratrol—which is found in red wine, peanuts, and berries—may improve the health of blood vessels in people with type 2 diabetes. According to the results of a new study, researchers have found that resveratrol supplements lessened artery stiffness in some diabetic individuals. Among a group of patients who each had an exceptionally stiff aorta at the start of the study, researchers found that 100mg daily doses of resveratrol reduced stiffness nearly 5% in just two weeks. Increasing the dose to 300mg per day for the next two weeks reduced stiffness by 9%.American Heart Association, May 2017
Consuming lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of packing on extra weight by nearly 50%. Researchers followed more than 16,000 healthy, non-obese adults for an average of ten years and found that compared with individuals who ate the fewest servings of fruits and vegetables each day, those who ate the most had a 43% lower risk of obesity.European Congress on Obesity, May 2017
Health experts recommend that children get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Some parents believe that enrolling their children in organized activities or structured sports can help meet this recommendation, but a recent study suggests it won’t. Researchers found that between sitting while listening to instructions, standing in line, and other aspects of practice that require idleness, only about 30% of an hour-long practice session is spent in moderate to vigorous exercise. Because of this, the authors of the study advise parents to make sure their children have at least 40 minutes outside of practice to play freely. Dr. Katie Heinrich, an associate professor at Kansas State University adds, “Organized sports are valuable, but free play activities are needed as well. It's important to provide children with opportunities for both.”Journal of Sports Sciences, March 2017
A recent study set out to investigate if comorbidities and lifestyle factors could predict the course of low back pain in older men. Among a sample of 1,685 older men living in suburban Sydney, Australia, researchers found that the odds of persistent back pain increased with each additional alcoholic drink per week a participant consumed and with each additional unit of their body mass index (BMI). They also found that those with one or more chronic conditions had an elevated risk for developing back pain over the following two years.Pain, May 2017
Here are some recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to make sure children are safe while they spend their summers in or around pools, lakes, and oceans: don’t leave kids alone in the water, and make sure a responsible adult is watching them; even if a lifeguard is nearby, this individual shouldn’t be distracted by a smartphone or other activities; fences around pools should be a least four feet (~1.2 meters) high and protect all sides; keep rescue equipment on hand, such as shepherd’s hook; be aware that suction from drains in a pool or spa can be dangerous, and repair them when needed; if you are boating, make sure children wear properly fitted life jackets at all times; teach your child to never dive into water without getting permission from an adult who has made sure the depth is safe; and never allow swimming in the ocean unless a lifeguard is on duty.American Academy of Pediatrics, May 2017