Expert calls for strong, sustainable action to make world roadways safer

roadway

According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report on road safety, more than 1.3 million people die on the world’s roadways each year—and millions more are injured or disabled. Yet despite the huge cost to families from New York to Mumbai, that death toll has not changed much in the last decade.

A commentary published today in The Lancet Public Health says that these reports, while extremely valuable, have not brought about the needed change, and it is time to start holding policymakers accountable for making roads safer.

“More than a million people are dying from traffic crashes on roadways around the world—and that death toll has not declined since 2009,” said Adnan Hyder, MD, MPH, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research and professor of global health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), who authored the commentary. “While we see bright spots where road injuries have been reduced, the widespread change needed to prevent these deaths across the world has not happened so far.”

Hyder goes on to say that the new 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety serves as a valuable tool for monitoring the risks, outcomes and progress related to road safety but such measurements alone do not bring down the death toll.

What needs to happen?

First, Hyder says that governments must commit to reducing traffic deaths by delegating both authority and financial resources to make roadways safer.

Second, WHO and partners must support a truly multi-sectoral approach to road safety and make it a priority not only for health and transportation officials but also for those in the environment, justice, education and economic sectors.

Third, WHO needs to provide support, operational assistance and implementation guidance so that member countries can actually put in place effective interventions on the ground to make roads safer.

Fourth, WHO and partners must help develop the relatively weak non-governmental sector around this issue. Expansion of non-governmental organizations that take an interest in road safety will help promote social and political change on a broad scale, he says.

Finally, the commentary says WHO and partners must acknowledge threats to road safety, including those posed by industry. For example, Hyder says the alcohol industry “openly engages and promotes action that at best have little or no evidence of impact.” He calls on the United Nations to adopt a policy of non-engagement with industries where there is such potential for conflict of interest.

“Safe roads are of critical importance for people around the world,” Hyder said. “Accepting our lack of progress is the first step to developing a strong and sustainable set of actions for changing the status quo on global road safety.”

[“source=moneycontrol].

Pune woman fired for being HIV+ve gets her job back after 3 years

Pune woman job ordeal

A Pune-based woman, who was sacked by her employer almost three years ago for being HIV +ve, finally got her job back after the labour court ordered the company to reinstate her and provide her wages for the absentee period.

In an order passed on Monday (December 3), the court ordered the company to restore her in the same designation and provide the wages, news agency ANI reported.

The episode dates back to 2015 when the concerned pharma company had terminated her after she submitted medical documents to the company for claiming benefits. The report revealed to her employer that she was diagnosed with HIV, following which the company asked her to resign within 30 minutes.

“I was asked to submit a document for the medical claim and when I did that, they asked me about it [HIV]. I told them I got it from my husband and within 30 minutes, they forced me to resign. I had been working there as a trainee operator for five years,” she said.

Her husband died of the disease. She was also boycotted by her in-laws for having this infection.

The woman further claimed that the company officials had verbally informed her that the reason for her removal was the HIV infection; the documents (relieving letter/experience letter) handed over to her by the company clear mentioned absenteeism as the reason.

Advocate Vishal Jadhav, who appeared for woman, said, “An employee was terminated on the basis of being tested positive for HIV, however, the company claims that the employee resigned herself.”

The Pune court, on Monday, declared that no employee can be terminated on being tested positive for HIV.

“The company was asked to reinstate her in the same post she was in, along with providing all the back wages,” the lawyer added.

[“source=indiatoday]

Immunotherapy keeps some advanced head and neck cancer patients alive for over three years

Image result for Immunotherapy keeps some advanced head and neck cancer patients alive for over three years

A new immunotherapy can greatly extend the lives of a proportion of people with advanced head and neck cancer, with some living for three years or more, a major new clinical trial reports.

Overall, the drug pembrolizumab had significant benefits for patients, with 37 per cent of patients who received it surviving for a year or more, compared with only 26.5 per cent of those on standard care.

But the results were particularly exciting among the group of people who did respond to pembrolizumab – with a median length of response of 18.4 months, compared with five months for standard care.

The large international clinical trial was led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and involved 97 medical centres in 20 countries.

The trial was sponsored and funded by Merck & Co., Inc., known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and the results are published in The Lancet today (Friday).

The drug was evaluated in a trial of nearly 500 patients with very advanced head and neck cancer that had spread around the body and had already become resistant to platinum chemotherapy, the first-line treatment for the disease. Some 247 patients were randomised to pembrolizumab and 248 to standard of care – chemotherapy or the targeted agent cetuximab.

When chemotherapy or targeted therapies stop working, treatment options for people with advanced head and neck cancer are limited, and they are normally expected to survive for less than six months.

Patients on the trial who received pembrolizumab survived for a median of 8.4 months with pembrolizumab, and 6.9 months with standard treatment.

But a minority of patients responded extremely well to pembrolizumab – 36 patients saw their cancer partially or completely disappear, and some are still cancer free three years after first receiving the drug.

Pembrolizumab also caused fewer serious side-effects than currently approved drugs – 13 per cent of people who received the immunotherapy experienced serious side-effects, compared with 36 per cent of people given standard treatment.

Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden hope pembrolizumab could be a much needed smarter, kinder treatment option for people with advanced head and neck cancer.

Pembrolizumab works by taking the brakes off the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells, and is already approved for use in some people with lung cancer, skin cancer and lymphoma.

Professor Kevin Harrington, Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Head and neck cancer is extremely hard to treat once it comes back or spreads, and the outlook for patients once other therapies have stopped working is very poor.

“Our findings show that the immunotherapy pembrolizumab extends the life of people with advanced head and neck cancer overall, and in a group of patients has really dramatic benefits. It is also a much kinder treatment than those currently approved.

“I would like to see pembrolizumab approved for use in the clinic, so that people with advanced head and neck cancer can be offered the chance of a longer life and improved quality of life. There is also an urgent need to work out how we can identify in advance which patients are likely to benefit, given that some of these people may do much better than they do on standard treatment.”

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“Immunotherapies are already revolutionising treatment for several cancer types, and I am excited to see the new drug pembrolizumab now showing benefit in advanced head and neck cancer.

“The next big challenge is to design immunotherapies that can work for many more people, so that more patients can benefit from the kinds of dramatic responses that we saw in some patients in this trial.”

Derek Kitcherside, 69, is alive and well after two years of treatment on the pembrolizumab trial at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London. He said:

“I was first diagnosed with cancer of the larynx back in 2011 but quickly went into remission after having standard treatments. I went back to enjoying my retirement, until I started having symptoms again, like coughing up blood, in January 2014. I thought it was the reoccurrence of the same cancer, but it turned out three or four tumours had spread to my right lung. I was told I had squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, which was inoperable and probably incurable.

“The standard treatments of radiotherapy and chemotherapy weren’t really doing much for me this time around. My tumours were still getting larger and I was told there wasn’t much more the doctors could do.

“I was really lucky to get a place on The Royal Marsden’s pembrolizumab trial and started treatment in May 2015. I travelled down from Leicester every three weeks for two years. My tumour was shrinking all the time and I felt a bit better every time I went – it made a huge difference to my life and I was able to return to normality.

“Now I have CT scans every nine weeks, which are still showing stable disease and slight tumour shrinkage each time. It’s remarkable how I’ve responded to the drug and I don’t think I’d be here without it.”

[“source=medicalnewstoday]

Wellness Warrior and Eating for Cancer

Image result for Wellness Warrior and Eating for CancerTamera Anderson-Hanna is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addiction Professional, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and became a Registered Yoga Teacher while coping with breast cancer in 2015. She owns Wellness, Therapy, & Yoga in Florida where she provides personal wellness services and coaching and she is a public speaker on wellness-related topics. You can connect with her at www.wellnesstherapyyoga.com.

Being a wellness warrior has become way of living rather than a quick fad to temporarily manage health or weight loss. However, this has not always been a habit. While I was a long-distance runner in my early 20s, I found that I could eat pretty much anything I wanted to and still maintain my weight. My diet improved slightly in graduate school, but still was not one I would go back knowing what I know now.

About 10 years before my breast cancer diagnosis, I made it a priority to learn more about nutritious foods I could eat to support my overall health, and not to just eat to satiate hunger. That was the first time I requested to see a registered dietician. The year I was diagnosed with cancer, I went back to meeting with a dietician and made that and exercise a regular habit. On average, I try to check in with my dietician about two to three times a year. It helps me stay on track and to reinforce healthy eating habits not just for myself, but for other members of my family.

I enjoy meeting with a registered dietician and recommend it to others because it allows you to customize wellness and dietary needs for what works best for your body. It also helps you to learn and incorporate healthy and potentially cancer-fighting foods. There are a few superfoods we can incorporate into our diet to help nourish our body and support remission. I have worked with my dietician to add some to my life. My dietician recommends a diet consisting of two-thirds plant-based foods and only one-third animal protein. Some of the recommendations include incorporating vegetables and fruits with dark rich colors. According to my dietician, fresh is best, but frozen for some varieties is also good. Examples of fresh vegetables include squash, bell peppers added to salads, radishes, celery, broccoli, and artichokes.

Due to their higher sugar content, I avoid dried fruits. For fruits, I use frozen wild blueberries for the increased anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, and still enjoy an array of other fruits. Living in South Florida, I enjoy throwing in red dragon fruit, mangos and strawberries. For fun and the health benefits, I have also started growing my own pineapple plants to go with my mango and avocado trees. It is fun to harvest some of my own fruits, and using some organic fertilizer has led me to harvest very delicious mangos and pineapples.

Fiber is important, and I enjoy starting the day with steel-cut oatmeal mixed with some ground flax seed and wild blueberries for taste. I have also been told to increase my folate-rich foods and for me, this includes beans. I enjoy adding chickpeas to my spinach salads along with fresh avocado and other fun items. I also sometimes add spinach to a kale and pineapple smoothie I enjoy making. Whatever you do, make it fun and tasty for yourself. The kale smoothie is healthy, and I enjoy the taste with a bit of plain Greek yogurt, almond milk and the fresh pineapple. I am also making a switch to limit my coffee intake and drink green tea or just stick to water.

With thanks to my efforts and supportive dietician, I have been maintaining a healthy weight and according to my blood tests, my sugar levels are within normal range, my HDL levels have improved since last year, and I am consciously working to keep my overall cholesterol levels down. In addition to benefits regarding my cancer, this lifestyle is also helping me to live a healthier life in general. Can you find your taste for wellness by seeing a dietician? Inquire with your insurance plan or ask at your local cancer support community for resources you can benefit from.

[“source=medicalnewstoday]

Refreshing, Energising And Meditative: Alia Bhatt Gives Reasons For Her Love For Pilates

Refreshing, Energising And Meditative: Alia Bhatt Gives Reasons For Her Love For Pilates

Well, well, well… seems like Pilates can do much more than helping some of the top celebrities of Bollywood get in the perfect shape. As Alia Bhatt puts it, Pilates can be like “meditation” which can “shot up” your energy levels even on days when you are extremely exhausted. Exercise can be quite refreshing and relieving for people. Some of the top fitness experts of the country are of the opinion that regular exercise can provide great physical and mental health benefits. In one of her recent posts on Instagram, Alia Bhatt illustrates a few lower body stretching Pilates exercises.

In the caption of her post, she mentions how shooting nights can be very tiring for actors. Late night or full day or early morning shoots can mess with the body’s natural clock. Alia mentions that because of regular shoots, she woke up exhausted. But after a little “monkeying around” and intense Pilates, her energy levels were revived again.

Also read: Side Bends On Stability Chair: Watch Celebrity Pilates Trainer Namrata Purohit Trying This Interesting Move On The Wunda Chair

As an exercise regime, Pilates involve coordination of mind and the body, which works like “meditation” for Alia. In the video shared below, celebrity fitness trainer Yasmin Karachiwala can be heard instructing Alia how to perform the exercise.

Also read: Kareena Kapoor Khan Has Definitely Come A Long Way! Master The Art Of Pilates By These Simple Hacks

Here’s what Alia wrote on the caption of her post, “Shooting nights can be very tiring for the body cause of the way it messes with your natural body clock.. I woke up today feeling so so exhausted.. But after monkeying around and doing some intense pilates, my energy level just shot up. The mind and body coordination during a pilates workout is like meditation for me.. If you miss even one beat of focus everything can go totally off.. And ofcourse don’t miss my beautiful trainer @yasminkarachiwala in the background with her soft but strict instructions (sic)”

[“source=ndtv”]

PSG Optimistic Over Fitness Of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar For Liverpool Showdown

PSG Optimistic Over Fitness Of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar For Liverpool Showdown

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar both suffered injuries playing in international friendly matches last week. © AFP

It has been a month marred by off-field controversies for Paris Saint-Germain, but it is the fitness of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar that casts the longest shadow over the French club ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League crunch clash against Liverpool. PSG go into the game at the Parc des Princes in third place in Group C, and a defeat against last season’s runners-up, coupled with a win for Napoli at home to Red Star Belgrade, would condemn the Qatar-owned side to an early elimination.

Such a prospect is unthinkable for a club with the ambitions of PSG, who are desperate to improve on consecutive exits from the Champions League in the last 16.

Thomas Tuchel has won every domestic game since his appointment as coach in the summer, but PSG’s results in Europe have been underwhelming, with a 2-3 defeat at Liverpool in September being followed by two draws against Napoli.

Indeed, a 6-1 win over Red Star last month is the French side’s only victory in their last seven Champions League matches — not exactly the form of potential winners.

“We have to play very well to beat Liverpool. An average performance won’t be enough against a team like that. We are talking top level and we need to be perfectly prepared. It’s a decisive match,” club captain Thiago Silva told PSG’s official website.

But would they really be so well-prepared if the two most expensive players in the world were both absent against Jurgen Klopp’s team?

[“source=ndtv”]

For a healthy heart, add fatty fish, olive oil to your diet

Fatty fish increases the size and lipid composition of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles, also known as good cholesterol.

Good news if you love eating fish. According to a new study, consuming fatty fish up to four times a week may help increase the amount of good cholesterol and prevent risk of heart disease. To keep your heart healthy, you need to be very careful about your diet.

The findings showed that fatty fish increases the size and lipid composition of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles, also known as good cholesterol, in people with impaired glucose metabolism. Moreover, using daily 30 ml of camelina oil — rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid — was also found to decrease the number of harmful Intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL) particles.

The IDL lipoprotein is the precursor of (low-density lipoprotein) LDL, which is also known as bad cholesterol. Previous studies have shown that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have a beneficial effect on lipoprotein size and composition. Both of these changes can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, said researchers from the University of Eastern Finland.

For the study, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the team involved nearly 100 Finnish men and women aged between 40 and 72, with impaired glucose metabolism. Study participants were randomly divided into four groups for a 12-week intervention: the camelina oil group, the fatty fish group, the lean fish group, and the control group.

While people in the camelina oil group, fatty fish group, showed potentially higher HDL and lower IDL cholesterol level, eating lean fish, was not associated with changes in the number, size or composition of lipoprotein particles, the researchers said.

Some of the other healthy foods that increase good cholesterol include olive oil, whole grains, legumes, flaxseeds, nuts and avocado.

[“source=hindustantimes”]

Watch IPL, get fit. Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar has a diet plan for you

Yogurt contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which are great for the body and skin.

Yogurt contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which are great for the body and skin.(Shutterstock)

Your grandmom was right. Yogurt, the versatile dairy product, is filled with nutrition and should be part of your daily diet. Moreover, it’s equally useful for the skin and hair. Treat sunburns, acne and improve your immunity with yogurt. Himanshu Chadha, Founder, APS Cosmetoofood, and Nmami Agarwal, Nutritionist and Dietician, tell you how:

* Treat sunburn: Spread yogurt on the affected area, leave it for 20-25 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Yogurt is rich in zinc and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains probiotics that will help restore your skin’s natural barrier.

Yogurt is full of nutrients that are good for your hair. (Images Bazaar)

* Treat acne with yogurt as it contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Rub a dab of the creamy yogurt onto acne-prone areas. Rinse it off after 30 minutes. A regular beauty regime with a yogurt facial mask will help keep skin cleansed, which will also reduce irritating breakouts.

* Yogurt is a great ingredient for a hair conditioner. It has moisturising properties which helps repair dry and damaged hair. Take a cup of yogurt and whip it. Apply it on your scalp, hair and hair ends by massaging it well. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it rest for 20 minutes, then wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

* Yogurt is full of nutrients that are good for your hair, and so, can help in stopping hair fall. Due to the presence of vitamin B5 and D, yogurt helps nourish the hair follicles. A mixture of pepper and curd used daily for washing the hair helps in reducing hair fall. Curd and amla powder can be mixed together to make a paste that can be applied on the scalp and hair to reduce hair loss.

* Since it is a well-known probiotic food, it helps to flourish the healthy bacteria in your gut which can improve the gastro immune system. Along with this, it aids in digestion by reducing the side effects of the irritant stomach such as diarrhoea, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.

* Strengthen your bones by adding yogurt to your everyday diet. It will add that daily dose of calcium which your body requires for stronger bones as well as for regulating the bone mineral density. By having a diet in a combination with calcium and vitamin D, it can work as a treatment for osteoporosis.

* Yogurt works perfectly for women. It is often advised for women to consume freshly prepared yogurt in their diet considering they are powerful for fighting against the yeast infections such as Candida which can be a cause of trouble to a lot of women. The bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus found in yogurt, kills the yeast infections and improves health in the longer run.

* Consuming probiotic yogurt helps reduce inflammation and improve the overall body immune response to counter with several viral or gut related infections and illness. Moreover, yogurt also helps in increasing the absorption of trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

[“Source-hindustantimes”]

Best oils for smooth skin and hair, their properties and how to use them

Regular use of essential oils ensure that you have a healthy hair and smooth skin.

While spa experiences are unique, you can also recreate the magic at home. If you know the right way of using essential oils, you can save a lot of time and money. All essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic liquids that are purely extracted from the fruits, seeds, flowers, barks, stems, roots, leaves or other parts of a plant. Amit Sarda, Managing Director, Soulflower, and Reena Chhabra, CEO, Nykaa Beauty (FSN E Commerce Ventures Pvt Ltd), have listed some popular essential oils and the ways to use them:

Lavender essential oil

Well-known for its soothing, calming properties, lavender is wonderful for accelerating healing time for burns, cuts, stings, and other wounds. Its specific properties include being an analgesic, antifungal, antiseptic, sleep inducing and disinfectant.

Well-known for its soothing, calming properties, lavender is wonderful for accelerating healing time for burns, cuts, stings, and other wounds. (Shutterstock)

Put a few drops on your pillow just before going to bed for a clam and sound sleep. Mix 1 or 2 drops with coconut oil to soothe occasional skin irritations. Add 2-3 drops with olive oil for nail care.

Rosemary essential oil

This oil is colourless to pale yellow oil with a herby aroma. Astringent properties of this oil cleanse, hydrate and rejuvenate skin, making it firm and gorgeous. It helps with wrinkles and under-eye bags as well as conditions damaged skin and lighten scars. Its anti-inflammatory properties are useful in reducing swelling and puffiness of skin as well as in healing burns.

Mix rosemary essential oil with any carrier oil before applying on hair and skin and massage gently. For hair growth, add 4-5 drops of the oil in 1 tsp of coconut oil. Mix this until it reaches a smooth consistency and evenly apply onto your hair and scalp. Leave it overnight. Wash off with lukewarm water and pat dry your hair without using heat.

Astringent properties of rosemary oil cleanse, hydrate and rejuvenate skin, making it firm and gorgeous. (Shutterstock)

Ylang Ylang

Known for its unique floral aroma, ylang ylang essential oil was used as a natural hair growth remedy in Victorian England and has continued to be used to treat fine and limp hair.

Add 2-3 drops of the oil to coconut oil for a deep hair conditioner. Put it into an Epsom Salts bath for relaxation.

Known for its unique floral aroma, ylang ylang essential oil was used as a natural hair growth remedy in Victorian England. (iStock)

Tea tree

Antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiseptic, expectorant and antiviral, its often used to inhibit viral and bacterial infections. It can even be used to kill insects, protect a wound and expedite the healing of a scar.

Mix it with any carrier oil before applying on hair and skin. Massage gently. Do not apply directly on hair or skin. Add 2-3 drops to olive oil for lip care. Diffuse to get clean and refreshed surrounding aromatically. For acne, mix a few drops of the essential oil and 2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel. Apply to the affected area. Leave for 3 to 4 hours or overnight for better result. Rinse with water and pat dry. Repeat regularly for effective results.

Peppermint

The invigorating and fresh mint aroma of the peppermint essential oil works to stimulates the mind and clear the sinuses. Use a drop of it with lemon in water for a healthy, refreshing mouth rinse. Rub one drop of the oil on the temples, forehead, over the sinuses (careful to avoid contact with your eyes), and on the back of the neck to relieve head pressure. Mix it with any carrier oil before applying on hair and skin. Massage gently. Diffuse to get energised and increase alertness.

For clear skin, add 4-5 drops of peppermint oil in two tablespoons of grated cucumber and two tablespoons of green clay. Whisk the ingredients and apply the paste as a face mask. Let it dry and wash with lukewarm water. Repeat this twice or thrice a week.

The invigorating and fresh mint aroma of the peppermint essential oil works to stimulates the mind and clear the sinuses. (iStock)

Rose

This oil can be used to achieve young, healthy and moisturised skin. The delicate aroma of the oil is useful for relieving anxiety and stress.

For glowing skin, add to any skin cream/lotion to enhance its effect by increasing its absorption by the skin. To treat acne, add 4-5 drops in 1 tsp coconut oil and apply thrice a day.

Eucalyptus

This oil helps to improve respiratory issues such as sinusitis, bronchitis and allergies. It has the ability to reduce congestion and improve mental clarity as well. Eucalyptus contains a number of important properties, including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antispasmodic, and serves as a decongestant.

Mix it with any carrier oil before applying on hair and skin. Massage gently. Do not apply directly on hair or skin. You can add a few drops to a hot bath. The steam and the aroma will relax the mind and body. As eucalyptus oil isn’t water soluble, mix it with half teaspoon bath salt of choice before adding it to water.

[“source=hindustantimes”]

The safe way to do yoga for back pain

Image: © FatCamera/Getty Images

Yoga is a gentle practice that is ideal for maintaining back strength and flexibility. It’s also one of the more effective tools for helping reduce low back pain, the most common source of pain and disability among older adults.

“Yoga helps strengthen and stretch back muscles that might be tight, which improves mobility,” says Dr. Lauren Elson, medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report AnIntroduction to Yoga (www.health.harvard.edu/yo).

Unfortunately, yoga injuries among older adults are on the rise. A study published in the November 2016 Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine found that between 2001 and 2014, yoga injury rates increased eightfold among people ages 65 and older, with the most common injuries affecting the back, such as strains and sprains.

So, the question is this: how can you protect your already-aching back from a therapy that has the power to soothe it?

The benefits of yoga

Yoga involves a series of poses, also called postures, and emphasizes breathing techniques. The postures teach you to stretch and strengthen your muscles, which helps reduce muscular tension, build flexibility and strength, and improve balance and bone strength.

For low back pain, yoga can be especially helpful to the muscles that support the back and spine, such as the paraspinal muscles that help you bend your spine, the multifidus muscles that stabilize your vertebrae, and the transverse abdominis in the abdomen, which also helps stabilize your spine.

The benefits of yoga go beyond muscles. The slow movements and the continuous focus on proper breathing can improve the emotional aspect of back pain by helping to lower stress and alleviate anxiety and depression.

What goes wrong

At its core, yoga is still a form of physical movement, and as with any other type of exercise, injuries can occur, especially involving the back. The main problems often happen when people don’t follow proper form and speed, and they quickly “drop” into a yoga pose without gradually “lengthening” into it, according to Dr. Elson.

This is similar to jerking your body while lifting a dumbbell and doing fast reps instead of making a slow, controlled movement, or running on a treadmill at top speed without steadily increasing the tempo. The result is a greater chance of injury.

In yoga, you should use your muscles to first create a solid foundation for movement and then follow proper form that slowly lengthens and stretches your body. For example, when you perform a seated spinal twist, which can be quite therapeutic for low back pain, the point is not to rotate as fast and far as possible.

“Instead, you should first activate your core muscles and feel as though the spine is lengthening. Then twist slowly until you feel resistance, and hold for as long as it’s comfortable,” says Dr. Elson.

Tips to protect your back on the mat

  • Avoid twisting and extending at the same time. This can compress intervertebral joints.
  • Rely on props like blocks and bolsters for additional support when you need them.
  • If you can’t reach your toes, hold a yoga belt in your hands and loop it around your feet.
  • Do forward bends while sitting rather than standing, and brace your belly as you return upright.
  • Always ask for help modifying a pose, and stop any move that is uncomfortable.

Make the right moves

Talk to your doctor about whether it’s okay to begin a yoga program if you suffer from low back pain. Dr. Elson suggests avoiding yoga if you have certain back problems, such as a spinal fracture or a herniated (slipped) disc.

Once you have the green light, you can protect your back by telling your yoga instructor beforehand about specific pain and limitations. He or she can give you protective modifications for certain poses or help guide you through a pose to ensure you do it correctly without stressing your back. Another option is to look for yoga studios or community centers that offer classes specifically designed for back pain relief.

Remember that the bends and twists and stretches of yoga are often what your low back needs to get healthier, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. “By mindfully practicing yoga, people can safely stretch and strengthen tight and aching back muscles,” says Dr. Elson.

[“Source-health.harvard”]