Lifestyle & Habits

Last week we looked at a recent JAMA article that showed an unnecessary, costlier, and riskier trend in spine surgery; namely a steep rise in the use of complex fusion surgeries for spinal stenosis. I brought up the point that nobody in our health care system really has the role of regulating this trend. It is really up to doctors and insurers to look at this type of information and choose to ignore it or incorporate it into what they do.
The theme of love surrounding Valentine’s Day offers us a great opportunity-to eat more chocolate! Showing affection and an appreciation for loved ones in our lives is often manifested by indulging them with gifts of chocolate during this time of year. For the record, I approve of this great tradition. Nothing can perk up a day quicker than a few bites of smooth, intensely flavored chocolate.
One of the best tools each and every one of us has for managing pain is the breath. The simple yet powerful act of breathing, which we typically perform more than seventeen hundred times a day without even thinking about it, can be a potent weapon for working past the pain and regaining control of your life.
The anti-aging industry is a large and growing segment of our economy. But the majority of the treatments offered, from skin creams to plastic surgery, are designed simply to make you look younger. Although some anti-aging treatments also stress the importance of what goes into the body, the promised results—characterized by words like rejuvenate, lift, and revitalize—are mostly cosmetic.
Sleep problems are the second-most common complaint (after pain) that I hear from my patients. That’s no surprise, for we treasure those hours of sleep. From the moment we enter the world, sleep is a source of comfort and relief from the trials and tribulations of wet, smelly diapers and suction bulbs shoved up our noses. As infants, sleeping in our mothers’ arms was pure bliss. As we get older, sleep offers both a respite from the world and...
Food, diets, and eating get more attention in popular culture today than just about any topic imaginable. Bookstores and magazine racks are crowded with publications hawking “magical” foods that can make us look and feel better. Diets, eating plans, and weight-loss strategies abound, but which ones really work? Atkins? South Beach? Why French Women Don’t Get Fat? Skinny Bitch? And what about eating to ease chronic pain? Is such a thing even...
An addiction is an uncontrolled obsession that is in some way harmful. Smoking (which is actually nicotine addiction) can easily become a dangerous obsession that can damage the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Compulsive gambling can cause financial ruin. Alcoholism and drug dependency can destroy relationships, careers, and life itself.