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How to Relieve Your Lower Back Pain after Sitting Too Much

Most people will experience back pain at least once in their life, and it’s essentially a guarantee since almost everyone will find themselves working long hours at a desk job at some point.

Back pain often triggers because of a lot of daily tasks accumulating pressure on your back. Because sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spine, nutrition and toxins don’t get transported properly because of this, which leads to the joints being damaged in the long run.

Here are a few, easy steps you can take to relieve your back pain, especially when you’re at work:

1. Understand the basics of posture.
Posture is how you hold your body, whether you’re standing up, sitting down, or performing different tasks. Correct alignment of vertebra, or spine, means that your posture is good, while a poor alignment of your spine means that your posture is bad.

This poor alignment can either be the result of a poor cervical and lumbar curve (which you get when you slouch), or a sharp and exaggerated spinal curve (which you get when you stand too stiffly).

Ideally, you want to sit straight on a chair with good lumbar (lower back) support, as this will take a lot of the weight and pressure off of your spinal column and vertebral bones.

2. Stand up every now and then.
If your work involves you sitting down for long periods of time, standing up every now and then can work wonders in reducing any discomfort you feel, especially if that pain is in your lower back.

Taking a short walk can also do a lot to not just get your mind off your back pain, but also to improve your mood with fresh air and a change of scenery for a few minutes.

This serves as a way for you to “reboot” your mind before going back to your tasks, even if it’s just going to the water cooler for a drink, or having a cup of coffee at work.

3. Do stretch exercises.
Stretching should also help you a lot, along with a few easy exercises you can do while you’re at your desk:

• Shoulder-blade squeeze – Start by sitting up straight in your chair with your hands rested on your thighs. From a resting position, with your shoulders down and your chin on level with the ground, slowly draw them back.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold while counting slowly to five. Relax and repeat.

• Arm-across-chest stretch – Raise either your right or left arm to shoulder level in front of you, and bend towards you while still staying level to the floor. Use the opposite hand and pull across your chest. Hold for twenty seconds. Do this to each arm in sets of three.

What the Heck are Boils?

You may have noticed a skin growth that looks similar to a pimple, but then it starts to grow bigger and feel more painful. Maybe that growth is a boil, or in medical terms, a furuncle. It’s a bacterial infection of the skin, specifically the hair follicles (hence, folliculitis), that can grow up to the size of a golf ball and looks like an oversized pimple.

How Boils Form
The boil is a deep infection that will look like it has several heads or it could also be a huge pimple with an abscess, which contains pus. They form when the naturally-occurring bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (other bacteria and fungi can also cause boils) enters a hair follicle wall or oil gland when there is an injury to the skin. This bacterium populates the armpits, between the legs, the area between the buttocks, and the nostrils, that’s why most boils also form in these areas. The bacteria will thrive in the hair follicle and that’s when the pus starts to accumulate, and the boil grows bigger within 10 days.

Sometimes a person with boils might experience fever due to the infection of the surrounding tissue called cellulitis. It’s also possible to have more than one boil or to have boils that appear as a group with several heads called carbuncle. These are symptoms of a more serious infection that needs immediate attention.

The boils are not caused by poor hygiene, but boils are also related to other medical conditions such as iron deficiency, anemia, diabetes, eczema, obesity, and immune deficiency. Athletes who share equipment and people who also live in poorly ventilated and tightly-packed areas (such as prisons) are also prone to having boils.

How to Get Rid of Boils
They look disgusting, alright, but before you laugh, you should get them treated to avoid complications such as blood or tissue sepsis, bone/heart/brain/spinal cord infection, abscesses in other organs, and scarring.

Boils are usually treated by drainage or incision and do not need oral medication. But for recurring boils and serious infections, the doctor might prescribe an antibiotic that you need to take for several weeks and an ointment or antiseptic that should be applied on the boils. You will also be advised to observe proper hygiene by using antibacterial or antiseptic soap for a week and to clean the skin with 70% isopropyl alcohol everyday for a week.

If you live with your family, they will also be advised to follow the same cleaning routine to stop the spread of the infection.

Some people will also need special antibiotics such as rifampicin and clindamycin. In severe cases like antibiotic resistance, a culture is recommended.

To prevent the recurrence of the infection, you will need to observe the following practices:

• Reduce weight if you are obese
• Quit or avoid smoking
• Wash your hands thoroughly several times a day
• Bathe everyday
• Avoid sharing of personal items such as towels
• Change your clothes everyday
• Taking iron supplements (if you’re iron-deficient)
• Decrease the sugar in your diet
• Practice proper wound care

Colour of Our Eyes Determine Alcoholism Risk  


They say that eyes are the windows of one soul. In the recent studies, it does not only tell one’s soul but possibly one’s diseases or risk. Let it be known that the colour of our eyes may determine alcoholism risk. This study is intriguing but it can be useful in alcohol dependency diagnosis not only here in Singapore but the whole world.


According to the researchers of University of Vermont’s Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, people with light colour eyes (that is, blue, gray, green and light brown) may have higher risk of alcoholism than those with dark brown eyes.

Many Singaporeans are kind of skeptical about this but the researchers revealed their method. The study included 1, 263 respondents (Americans with European ancestry); the group is composed of 992 people identified with alcohol dependence and 271 who are not alcoholics. At the end of the study, researchers established that the degree of alcohol dependence is 54% higher among people with light coloured eyes than those with dark brown eyes.


Their study further revealed that the occurrence of alcoholism is the highest for people with blue eyes – the rate is about 80%. Despite the discovery, the researchers still do not know the reasons about the link but they continue to examine it.

Aside from revealing alcohol dependency, the colour of the eyes can also reveal people’s risk of addiction, psychiatric illness and other behavioural problems. For a detailed discussion of the study, it can be read at the July issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Generics (Part B).


Gym Etiquette: 5 Hygiene Habits to Live By

Although fitness centres keep you healthy and fit by helping you shed off extra pounds, it’s also a place full of germs and bacteria that could make you sick. So, prevent acquiring infections, skin problems, and contagious diseases by practising these five gym hygiene habits.


  1. Keep Your Hands Off Your Face. Imagine the number of grimy and bacteria-laden hands that have held each dumbbell and other fitness equipment in the gym. Gross, right? This is why it’s important to avoid touching your face during the entire duration of your workout. Once you’re done, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or some hand sanitizer to get rid of the bacteria.


  1. Wipe Fitness Equipment Before and After Use. As you head to the gym, ensure that you bring packs of wipes and a separate hand towel to clean the equipment you’ll be using. If you want, you can also add a few drops of sanitizer as you wipe. Be responsible and don’t be like other people who leave a puddle of sweat on workout mats and benches.


  1. Bring Your Own Fitness Materials. If you’re prone to getting sick, then your best option would be to bring your own fitness equipment such as exercise mats and bath towels. While water dispensers are okay, experts recommend staying away from water fountains. Just imagine all the careless mouths that have touched the water valve, as well as the bacteria breeding around that valve. To be safer, bring your own water bottle to the gym.


  1. Shower After Exercising. While it may be tempting to immediately crash on your couch after a tiring day at the gym, experts strongly suggest taking a quick shower first. Doing so won’t just get rid of the dirt and sweat you’ve accumulated during your workout, it also washes away bacteria that may lead to acne breakout. If you don’t feel like using the gym shower, the least you could do is to wash your hands and face, and wipe with clean, damp cloth your neck, chest, arms, and back.


  1. Keep Your Fitness Gears Clean. Another good way to keep yourself germ-free while working out is by ensuring that all your fitness gear is clean. Immediately remove your damp towels and sweaty gym clothes from your bag once you get home. Don’t keep your shoes in the plastic bag and have them aired out to dry them from sweat residue.

Practising good hygiene habits at the gym—and after hitting the gym—is a good way to ensure you stay healthy and fit. So, start shedding off those unsightly flabs and extra pounds while staying healthy and away from disease-causing germs and bacteria.


5 Cures for Hangover  

Do you repeatedly find yourself in bed on Sundays (even until Mondays) due to overindulging yourself with alcohol on Saturdays? Well, don’t let hangover ruin you the next day by taking this matter into your own hands.


You may have heard of some popular cures for hangover, such as not mixing drinks, drinking milk beforehand, and drinking juice afterwards, but which of these are really effective? Here are our recommended remedies to make sure you’ll not be suffering from headache in the morning.

1. Have a Cup of Coffee: Some say that coffee only aggravates dehydration, but a recent study shows that caffeine counteracts the chemical compounds of pure alcohol and thus help relieve main hangover symptom—a headache.

2. Eat Bananas: Along with draining fluids out of your system, alcohol also reduces the potassium level of the body. Since banana is the most potassium-rich food we know, go grab some after night of heavy drinking.

3. Load Up on Fruits: Freshly squeezed fruit juice is full of vitamins that can instantly boost your dipping energy level. If a fresh orange juice is just too acidic for you, dilute it with water or make an orange smoothie with yoghurt and banana instead.

Cropped image of a girl eating fruits

4. Hydrate Yourself: Drink water or fruit juice for every shot or glass of alcohol you take to balance the alcohol’s dehydrating effect. However, avoid fizzy drinks (particularly soda) as these are usually sugary and can speed up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Before going to bed, drink a pint of water and one for each hour the next day to replenish the lost fluid in your system.

5. Get Plenty of Seep: Your best defence to combat hangover is to get plenty of sleep. While it’s easier said than done, getting more sleep means lesser symptoms of hangover as it is the best way for the body to concentrate on recovery.

When you don’t want to take medicines and want to go more natural in curing hangovers, these suggestions are effective solutions. Drinking is fun but hangovers are not, so take these cures and give each of them a try.


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