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Healthline

By Wire services
Published September 27, 2005


ONE OF THE most common maladies in the modern world, lower back pain, is also one of the trickiest to treat. The problem is not a lack of treatments: There are dozens ranging in strength from aspirin to narcotics. Large numbers of chronic back pain sufferers try many of these treatments and still fail to find relief. Whether you are young or old, you need to pay attention to what you are doing when you lift things. Learn proper lifting techniques, such as bending the knees while lifting and avoiding twisting the torso when you pick up objects. Stretching, particularly the hamstrings, is important, as is building up abdominal strength. But the key to long-term back health is exercise. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are two of the major causes of lower back pain, experts say.

EVERYONE WANTS TO look younger, but a new health program proposes that we can actually feel younger, too. The RealAge Makeover HarperCollins; $16.95, written by professor of medicine Michael Rosen, offers a customizable program of age-reduction habits that Rosen says are designed to take off up to 25 years. The program focuses on three areas - the arteries, the immune system and social and environmental factors - and features diet tips, workout choices and up-to-date health information and advice. Web users can also subscribe to free daily tips online. Available at www.RealAge.com

IN A SURVEY of nearly 15,000 new parents, Babytalk magazine asked moms and dads to weigh in on how having a new baby affected their relationship with their spouses. What emerged was a Mom-Dad-baby love triangle. Some findings:

- More than two-thirds of the men said their wives don't pay as much attention to them as they did before the baby.

- Since having a child, the majority of women feel more connected to their babies than to their husbands. In contrast, the majority of men feel more connected to their wives than to their kids.

- Half of the men polled feel sexually neglected by their wives, and 19 percent feel emotionally neglected.

- Three-quarters of women report that they're too tired for sex now that they have a baby. Only 28 percent of new dads feel the same.

THAT GLASS OF orange juice or snack of carrot sticks may actually help stave off inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. That is the finding of a recent British study at the University of Manchester Medical School. The study showed for the first time that subjects who ate a diet high in dietary carotenoids dramatically reduced their risk of inflammatory arthritis. Dr. Rex McCallum, rheumatologist at Duke University Medical Center, said the study's findings are significant. In addition to diet, McCallum says it's important to talk with your physician if you feel you may be at risk for inflammatory arthritis. "If you believe you've developed an inflammatory type of arthritis, see your physician as early as possible. We treat rheumatoid arthritis very aggressively nowadays, and we believe we get much better results when we begin treatment early."