Back pain or other chronic aches? Here’s how to garden safely to avoid pain : Shots

To garden without triggering chronic pain like back pain, choose careful positions recommended by a physical therapist.
To garden without triggering chronic pain like back pain, choose careful positions recommended by a physical therapist.

When I look at the economic news: the housing crunch, the high cost of groceries, or the possibility that AI will render my professional skills obsolete – I often come back to the same thought: I should start growing my own vegetables.

Financial savings and fresh produce aside, research shows gardening and spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. For people like me who live in cities where community gardens are popular, there’s evidence that gardening helps build a sense of community with neighbors.

And of course, the regular, moderate-intensity exercise of planting, weeding, and pruning can supports general health.

This story was adapted from an edition of NPR Health, a newsletter covering the science of healthy living. To get more stories like this delivered to your in-box, click here to subscribe.

Sounds like a win all around. But there’s a problem. Like about 20% of adults in the U.S., I live with chronic pain, including many with back pain. Mine is in my pelvis and legs, and it can make repetitive bending or crouching very uncomfortable.

Fortunately for me, this spring I’ve been seeing Rebecca Stephenson, a clinical specialist in physical therapy at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts. She has a passion for plants — in her own garden she grows flowers like sedum, coleus, peonies, as well as herbs — and has a lot of ideas about how to modify gardening activities to prevent pain.

She says gardening can benefit people with chronic pain. “You’re exercising, breathing outside in nature and getting good lung expansion. You’re also using your arms and legs in a coordinated way.” Luckily she says, “there is a way to garden so that you don’t hurt yourself and end up in pain afterwards.”

Here are some of Stephenson’s tips for getting your hands in the dirt, without the hurt.

Try sitting with your legs spread out and your back supported with a stadium chair.

Leif Parsons

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Leif Parsons

Pace yourself

Like any physical activity, Stephenson says you can build endurance for gardening, step by step. Don’t overdo it. “It’s happened to me where I’ve gone out for four or five hours, and it’s going to cost me for two weeks.” But her professional training helps her stay grounded. “I come at it from underneath. Instead of going over your limit, I try to come under,” she says.

“What I really recommend is to take your garden project and see how you could split it up into smaller pieces and be very reasonable about the amount of time that you’re physically able to do it. So it might be a half an hour, it might be 15 minutes, it might be an hour, and then take a break, change your body position, do some stretches,” she says.

Embrace ‘functional bracing’

“Sometimes people wear a back brace just for gardening, and that gives them a little bit more of a reminder to be

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How to avoid the daylight saving time hangover : Shots

The Conversation

Early mornings may still feel dark and wintry, but the season is about to change. This weekend most of the U.S. will “spring forward” — setting clocks forward one hour — as daylight saving time begins.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images

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Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Early mornings may still feel dark and wintry, but the season is about to change. This weekend most of the U.S. will “spring forward” — setting clocks forward one hour — as daylight saving time begins.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images

As clocks march ahead and daylight saving time begins this weekend, you may be anxious about losing an hour of sleep and how to adjust to this change.

Even though it’s technically just one hour lost due to the time change, the amount of sleep deprivation due to disrupted sleep rhythm lasts for many days and often throws people off schedule, leading to cumulative sleep loss.

Many studies have demonstrated that there is an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure associated with sleep deprivation. Workplace injuries increase and so do automobile accidents. Adolescents often find it harder to wake up in time to get to school and may have difficulties with attention and school performance or worsening of mental health problems.

Is there something to be done to help to deal with this loss of sleep and change of body clock timing?

Of course.

We lead a sleep evaluation center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and regularly see patients who are dealing with sleep loss and whose internal clocks are not synchronized with external time. Our experience has shown us that it’s important to prepare, as much as possible, for the time shift that occurs every spring.

Here are some quick tips to prepare yourself for the time shift.

Don’t start with a “sleep debt”

Ensure that you and, if you’re a parent, your child get adequate sleep regularly, especially leading up to the time change each year. Most adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep daily to perform adequately. Children have varying requirements for sleep depending on their age.

Earlier to bed — and to rise

Going to bed — and for parents, putting your kids to bed — 15 to 20 minutes earlier each night in the week before the time change is ideal. Having an earlier wake time can help you get to sleep earlier.

Try to wake up an hour earlier than is customary on Saturday, the day before the time change. If you aren’t able to make changes to your sleep schedule in advance, then keep a very consistent wake time on weekdays as well as weekends to adjust to the time change more easily.

Use light to your advantage

Light is the strongest cue for adjusting the internal body clock. Expose yourself to bright light upon waking as you start getting up earlier in the week before daylight saving time starts. This resets your

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How to avoid costly medical bills and get out of medical debt : Shots

How to get rid of medical debt — or avoid it in the first place

Patients and the consumer advocates say there are things people should do to try to avoid, or navigate, the medical debt trap. Financial assistance is available, but it all requires self-advocacy.
Patients and the consumer advocates say there are things people should do to try to avoid, or navigate, the medical debt trap. Financial assistance is available, but it all requires self-advocacy.

Lori Mangum was 32 when apple-sized tumors sprouted on her head. Now — six years and 10 surgeries later — the skin cancer is gone. But her pain lives on, in the form of medical debt.

Even with insurance, Mangum paid $36,000 out-of-pocket, charges that stemmed from the hospital, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the pharmacy, and follow-up care. And she still has about $7,000 more to pay.

While she was trying to manage her treatment and medical costs, Mangum remembers thinking, “I should be able to figure this out. I should be able to do this for myself.”

But medical billing and health insurance systems in the U.S. are complex, and many patients have difficulty navigating them.

“It’s incredibly humbling — and sometimes even to the point of humiliating — to feel like you have no idea what to do,” Mangum said.

If you’re worried about incurring debt during a health crisis or are struggling to deal with bills you already have, you’re not alone. Some 100 million people — including 41% of U.S. adults — have health care debt, according to a recent survey by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation).

But you can inform and protect yourself. NPR and KHN spoke with patients, consumer advocates, and researchers to glean their hard-won insights on how to avoid or manage medical debt.

“It shouldn’t be on the patients who are experiencing the medical issues to navigate this complicated system,” said Nicolas Cordova, a health care lawyer with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. But consumers who inform themselves have a better chance of avoiding debt traps.

That means knowing the ins and outs of various policies — whether it’s your insurance coverage, or a hospital’s financial assistance program, or a state’s consumer protection laws. Ask a lot of questions and persist. “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Cordova, “because sometimes you might get a ‘yes’.”

Even people with health insurance can land in debt; indeed, one of the biggest problems, consumer advocates said, is that so many people are underinsured, which means they can get hit with huge out-of-pocket costs from coinsurance and high deductibles.

Here is some practical advice about facing down medical debt, at every stage of care and after.

Before You Get Care

Get familiar with your insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs

Get the best insurance coverage you can afford — even when you’re healthy. Make sure you know what the copays, coinsurance, and deductibles will be. Don’t hesitate to call the insurer and ask someone to walk you through all the potential out-of-pocket costs. Keep in mind that you cannot make changes to your policy except during certain windows of time, such as open enrollment (typically in the fall or early winter) or after a major life event.

Sign up for public insurance if you qualify

If you’re uninsured but need health care, you might qualify for

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Special-WHO Claims It Encouraged Ukraine to Destroy Pathogens in Wellness Labs to Avoid Disorder Distribute | World Information

By Jennifer Rigby and Jonathan Landay

(Reuters) -The Planet Overall health Business recommended Ukraine to damage superior-danger pathogens housed in the country’s public wellbeing laboratories to prevent “any likely spills” that would unfold illness amongst the inhabitants, the company instructed Reuters.

Like many other nations around the world, Ukraine has general public health laboratories studying how to mitigate the threats of risky diseases impacting both of those animals and people such as, most a short while ago, COVID-19. Its labs have obtained guidance from the United States, the European Union and the WHO.

Biosecurity specialists say Russia’s motion of troops into Ukraine and bombardment of its metropolitan areas have raised the hazard of an escape of ailment-creating pathogens, should really any of these facilities be harmed.

In response to queries from Reuters about its perform with Ukraine forward of and through Russia’s invasion, the WHO reported in an email on Thursday that it has collaborated with Ukrainian public health and fitness labs for quite a few several years to advertise stability methods that aid reduce “accidental or deliberate release of pathogens.”

Political Cartoons on World Leaders

“As part of this get the job done, WHO has strongly suggested to the Ministry of Health and fitness in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to ruin superior-danger pathogens to avert any opportunity spills,” the WHO, a United Nations agency, explained.

The WHO would not say when it had built the advice nor did it present particulars about the sorts of pathogens or toxins housed in Ukraine’s laboratories. The company also did not answer thoughts about regardless of whether its suggestions were followed.

Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and at their embassy in Washington did not react to requests for comment.

Ukraine’s laboratory capabilities have been at the middle of a rising details war due to the fact Russia started going troops into Ukraine two weeks ago.

On Friday, Russia identified as a assembly of the 15-member U.N. Safety Council to reassert, without having providing evidence, a longstanding claim that Ukraine ran biological weapons laboratories with U.S. Defense Department aid.

The accusation has been consistently denied by Ukraine and the United States, wherever federal government officers warn Russia might use it as a pretext to deploy its personal chemical or biological weapons.

Izumi Nakamitsu, the U.N. Superior Agent for Disarmament Affairs, explained to the Safety Council on Friday that the United Nations is “not knowledgeable” of any organic weapons application in Ukraine, which joined an intercontinental ban on such arms, as has Russia and the United States along with 180 other international locations.

U.N. officers have also explained the WHO, in its do the job with Ukraine, is not conscious of any action in the region that would violate worldwide treaties “such as on chemical weapons or biological weapons.”

The WHO assertion to Reuters referred entirely to public wellness laboratories. The agency said it encourages all get-togethers to cooperate in “the risk-free and safe disposal of any pathogens they arrive throughout, and to arrive at

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How to avoid packing on the holiday pounds | Health & Fitness

With the holiday season already in full swing, temptations are aplenty in the form of good food and bad weather keeping people from being active outdoors.


Linda Blount-Jacobs works out at Powerhouse Gym Columbus in Columbus, Ohio.

The fear of holiday weight gain fueled by more food and less activity is one that has persisted for years, experts say.

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