Picture of woman in mask opening door

Helping Small Businesses in High-Need Neighborhoods Stay Healthy

Ify Azogi’s African and Caribbean Central Market has seen a decline in customers since the pandemic began.

The owner of a small business in one of Monroe County’s poorest neighborhoods, she’s doing her best to keep the doors open.

“People feel afraid. They’re scared of coming out,” she said. “I’ve been here since 10:30 this morning and the store has been mostly empty.”

Hit hard by the pandemic, many small businesses are struggling – especially those in minority neighborhoods with high infection rates.

Business owners like Azogi and their employees put themselves and their families at great risk every day so we have access to the services and goods we need.

“This pandemic has put many local small businesses at risk,” said Jim Reed, president and CEO-elect of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “It is important for our community’s businesses to have the personal protection equipment they need to safely stay open and continue serving their customers.”

Personal Protective Equipment –essential for essential businesses and workers

Personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer have been essential tools throughout the pandemic, protecting businesses, workers and customers from infection and the spread of the virus.

On a Saturday morning in early December, owners of 200 small businesses turned out to receive kits containing personal protective equipment (PPE) to help keep their employees and customers safe. The kits contained a digital thermometer, face masks and shields, disinfectant, hand sanitizer and paper towels.

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Excellus BCBS provided $40,000 to Monroe County to purchase and distribute 400 PPE kits to essential minority and women-owned businesses in the county’s neediest zip codes. Regional Distributors packaged the PPE kits and delivered them to the distribution sight.

Safety…

Azogi said the PPE helps her customers feel safe. “Before, if a customer came to the door without a mask, I couldn’t let them in,” she said. “Now, I can gladly give them one. Customers are grateful. They say, “oh, I can have one?! Thanks! And I don’t have to turn anyone away.”

…and peace of mind

Lorna Underwood is using the PPE at her family-owned Caribbean Heritage Restaurant.

After years in the catering business, she and her husband, Jerome, opened the restaurant in March 2019 and, in March 2020, they had to close. Two weeks later, they reopened for take-out only.

“We’re not as busy. We lost business, but we keep going. We’re doing everything we possibly can,” she said.

She’s been putting the disinfectant to good use, cleaning and wiping down counters and door handles. “And masks, especially,” she said. “If someone doesn’t have one, I can hand them one with a reminder they need to wear a mask. Especially the young people, the invincible ones!”

Receiving the PPE, she said, gives her a great deal of peace of mind, helping with customer and employee safety, as well as some financial relief. “Otherwise we would have had to find money to buy it,” she said.

Picture of Adam Bello

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and volunteers distribute PPE kits.

“We want to ensure that essential retail and other businesses have the tools they need to better serve their customers and keep our neighborhoods safe,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “I am grateful to Excellus BCBS for their generous grant, and to Regional Distributors for stepping up to help us with this important initiative.”

Underwood is optimistic. “We’re not going to close our doors. Customers are glad we’re open and this helps us find a way to stay open. In the meantime, we’ll stay the course. We do what we can to help our customers. Hospitality is who I am – it’s still working out.”

Picture of Adam Bello

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and volunteers distribute PPE kits.

Picture of a pill bottle

Your Questions About Medication Adherence Answered

The following article was written by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield SafetyNet Medical Directors Sudha Bakshi, MD, and Saba Abaci, MD

Often when patients are given a new prescription medication, they wonder why it’s being prescribed, how often they should take it, and what side effects to expect. Taking a medication as prescribed, also known as medication adherence, is especially important for prescription medications designed to treat mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. Questions about these medications are common, and it’s important for you, if you do have questions, to get the answers you need.

 

Start the Conversation

If you have questions about prescription medications for mood disorders, having a conversation with your health care provider is the right place to start. Your provider knows you and your medical history best and can determine if any symptoms you are experiencing are indicative of a mood disorder. Common symptoms of mood disorders include extreme sadness, loss of enjoyment, changes in sleep, changes in appetite, and difficulties with motivation and attention. Often, these symptoms are severe enough that they impact a person’s ability to function effectively in their daily lives. The goal of mood disorder treatment is to help improve those symptoms and, sometimes, that treatment involves prescription medications.

Being on a prescription medication, and for how long, depends on the condition you are experiencing. There are different medications for different diagnoses. Your provider will work with you to develop the course of treatment that is right for you. For example, the typical recommendation for depression is to take the prescription medication for nine months to a year. Some individuals may need to take medication longer.

 

Ask Questions and Speak Up About Side Effects

It is very important to take medications for a mood disorder exactly as prescribed. Before leaving your provider’s office, make sure you know how to take the medication safely, including the correct dosage (how much) and frequency (how often). It is also important to ask about potential side effects you may experience while taking the medication.

Side effects have been cited as a reason people stop taking their prescribed medications. Depending on the medication, side effects may include changes in sleep, appetite, mood, anxiety, energy, and sexual function. Talk with your provider about any changes in behavior or physical symptoms that are new and/or difficult to manage while taking a medication. It is also important to be aware of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning of a new and sudden onset of negative or self-harming thoughts. These can be addressed by your provider and may require changes in the medication or dosage.

 

Keep the Conversation Going

After starting a medication for a mood disorder, you may not feel better right away. Mood disorders impact the neurochemical nature of the brain over time. Therefore, typically, you’ll need to take your medication for four to six weeks before your provider can assess your true response to it. However, for some, there can be a reduction in symptoms within the first two weeks. Taking your medication as prescribed can help you better manage your condition.

As your treatment continues, your provider will continually monitor and evaluate your progress. If you have additional questions or concerns related to prescription medications, talk with your health care provider.

For more help with taking medications, visit ExcellusBCBS.com and click on the “health and wellness” tab in the menu.

gingerbread house

Surviving The Annual Holiday Food Fest

Holidays and food go hand in hand, or more accurately, hand to mouth. This time of year can present a challenge to even the most disciplined among us to stick to a healthy diet and enjoy the treats of the season in moderation.

On average, Americans gain one to two pounds during the holidays, and research shows these pounds tend to stick, accumulating year after year. This year, our new normal of COVID-19, shutdowns, and social distancing, add stress eating to the mix to make keeping to a healthy diet an even greater challenge. Here are some tips to make it through the holiday season with your waistline intact, and to jump start resolutions to eat better in the new year.

 

Tips for the holiday food fest

  1. Focus on portion size and be aware of what you are eating. Stick to healthy eating habits such as filling half your plate with fruits and veggies and making half of the grains you consume whole grains.
  2. Keep to a consistent sleep schedule, and avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed.
  3. Make it a habit to go for an after-dinner walk, whatever the weather. It’ll get you away from the table and the temptation to keep picking at the food.
  4. With social distancing, there’ll likely be fewer mouths to feed, so cook what you need, and nothing more. Sending doggy bags home with guests is not an option this year.
  5. And, when it comes to holiday gift giving, Salzer suggests subscriptions to healthy eating or healthy cooking magazines. They serve as a fun monthly reminder to stay focused on healthy eating and portion control. It’s a gift that’ll be enjoyed throughout the year.

Find information on nutrition, healthy cooking, and more, online at the Health & Wellness page at ExcellusBCBS.com.

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Maintain, Don’t Gain: Take Charge of Your Weight this Holiday Season

Did you know that the average American gains 1-2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? “While this may not sound like a lot, most people never lose it, so that weight accumulates over the years,” said Amanda Shanahan, RD, Employee Wellbeing Manager, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “By controlling holiday weight gain and adopting a healthier lifestyle, risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and lifestyle-related illnesses can be decreased. This holiday season, make a pledge to Maintain, Don’t Gain!”

Amanda suggests these tips to avoid those extra holiday pounds:

Keep Moving

Exercise can help you beat stress, boost energy and burn off all those homemade cookies. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of exercise. If you currently aren’t active, start with 5-10 minutes and build up to 30. Any exercise is better than none. One way to make sure you are getting the exercise you need is to track it. You can use the American Heart Association’s free Activity Tracker to track your activity. Pick an activity that you enjoy, make a plan and stick to it.

Add Lots of Color

Eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables can help with weight management. They are low in calories and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which helps you feel full. Try to make half of each meal vegetables and fruits.

Go Low

Swap low- or nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream in dips, appetizers and casseroles. Instead of full-fat cheese, choose low-fat cheese. For dishes that call for lots of butter, like stuffing or sweet potatoes, use half or two-thirds the butter called for – you will cut calories without affecting the taste.

Know When to Stop

Still hungry? Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’re full. So if you think you want second helpings, take a break for 20 minutes, then ask yourself if you’re still hungry.

Set a Goal and Celebrate Your Successes

Making exercise and healthy eating a regular habit takes commitment and planning. Set an achievable goal and then celebrate your success. Then set a new goal, and soon you will have lots of new healthy habits!

For more information on weight management, check out the CDC’s Healthy Weight website.

Picture of Karen Goossen

Good Health Begins with Good Food

When the pandemic forced Karen Goossen to close the doors of her business this spring, she knew her income was at risk. She didn’t realize the economic fallout would also put her health at risk.

Goossen, of Monroe County, had been following her doctor’s advice to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to her diet to help manage her heart health. However, with her income limited, those healthier choices became luxuries.

“I had to find a way to stretch my dollars,” she said, “so sometimes I had to do without fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Food Insecurity

The ability to earn a paycheck and feed a family are at risk for many people because of the pandemic and this is leading to a growing number of people experiencing food insecurity.

A recent study by Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, showed food insecurity in the 10-county area including Monroe County is expected to rise 45 percent this year due to the pandemic.

Loss of income, poverty, a person’s environment, education levels, and discrimination can all contribute to health risks. Known as social determinants of health, these factors can have significant impact on a person’s quality of life and well-being.

“I had been working hard, trying to eat healthier to improve my health and when I had to close the doors of my business, I had to limit the types of food I could buy,” she said. “I never thought I would be in this position at this point in my life. It’s an unusual and challenging time.”

Healthier Diet = Health Care Goals

This summer, Goossen’s nurse care manager contacted her about a new pilot program designed to help her and others who have health care needs and are at risk of food insecurity. The “Fresh Account at Curbside Market” program provides monthly vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

The program was developed in partnership with her health insurer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and local food bank, Foodlink. The Curbside Market is Foodlink’s mobile farmers market, which provides affordable and convenient access to healthy foods in underserved communities.

Picture of a food market truck

Foodlink Curbside Market Truck

“You need a healthy diet to improve and maintain good health,” said Dr. Brian Steele, vice president medical affairs, clinical services at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. This seemed to be an area where we could intervene.”

“The Fresh Account program helps people access healthier foods and celebrates making the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Julia Tedesco, President & CEO of Foodlink.

Farmers Market on Wheels

Participation in the program helps Goossen extend her food budget and meet her health care goals. “My first visit to Curbside Market I purchased peaches, nectarines, corn, celery, cherry tomatoes, grapes, onions, white and sweet potatoes – they had more than I anticipated!”

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The wide variety gave her the opportunity to try some new foods. “I love to cook, so I’m finding new recipes and making creative meals. It’s been helpful to me. I’m learning more about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables I normally wouldn’t purchase.”

The best part?

“I’ve already lost 20 pounds!” She gained 50 pounds during the pandemic and credits her healthier diet for her weight loss. “Now I’m grabbing more fresh fruits and vegetables for a snack instead of something that will put weight back on and negatively affect my health.”

Staying Positive

Goossen says she’s concentrating on staying positive.

Picture of Karen Goossen

Karen Goossen

“In the early ‘90’s, when my children were little, I benefitted from the WIC program and food pantries. I know what it’s like to have family go without,” she said. “When I was able, I gave back, volunteering to help others and providing Thanksgiving dinners for those in need – it’s nice to give back.”

Although she didn’t expect to be on the receiving end again, she’s grateful to have this resource. “It’s a great idea. There’s a need and people are benefitting and appreciative.”

She calls the program “a blessing. The timing was perfect. I really needed it. And when I’m able, I’ll give back again.”

Woman standing in a forest

Maintain Your Summer Weight into The Fall And Beyond

With lawns to cut, golf to play, decks to stain, and sweat to… be sweated, summertime is when many people are at their most fit and trim.

“Now that we’re into the fall season, commit to building on that momentum,” encourages Nicholas Massa, M.D., senior medical director for clinical services at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “Come up with a plan to keep feeling the burn throughout the fall and winter months when you might easily lapse.”

Physical Activity: More than A Seasonal Activity

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60 percent of adults do not achieve the recommended amount of regular physical activity. The CDC defines a moderate amount of physical activity as using about 150 calories of energy per day, or 1,000 calories per week.

“Being active shouldn’t be a seasonal thing, and activity doesn’t need to be strenuous to achieve health benefits,” says Massa.

Among the CDC’s suggestions for moderate fall fitness activities are raking leaves for 30 minutes, washing windows for 45 minutes, gardening for 30 minutes, and shoveling snow for 15 minutes.

Health Benefits of Physical Activity

According to the CDC.gov, regular physical activity improves health in the following ways:

  • Reduces the risk of dying from heart disease.
  • Reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Helps reduce blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure.
  • Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
  • Helps control weight.
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Helps older adults become stronger and improves balance.
  • Promotes psychological well-being.

As we head into the indoor months, Massa recommends adopting a more structured personal fitness plan that utilizes equipment in your home and virtual classes. “You won’t be cutting the lawn every week, so use that time to take a weekly fitness class,” he said.

Most health insurers have a section on their websites with information about rewards and incentives to join a gym or purchase equipment. Massa advises Excellus BlueCross BlueShield members to visit ExcellusBCBS.com and click on the Health and Wellness tab.

“Whatever the season, always keep your fitness goals S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely,” adds Massa. “And remember to have fun!”

Picture of a physical therapist

Expert Q&A: Physical Therapists – Who They Are and How They Help

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, we sat down with Carly Costanza, physical therapist with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy.

What can you tell us about the history of physical therapy?

(Costanza) Physical therapy has been around since ancient times! Many cultures used exercise, water, movement and massage as therapeutic treatment for a variety of ailments. The earliest documentation of the scientific profession of physiology – or physical therapy – dates back to Per Henrik Ling, the “father of Swedish gymnastics,” who founded Stockholm’s Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in 1813 for manipulation and exercise. His methods of medical gymnastics influenced later institutions and systems.

Reed College in Portland, Oregon was one of the first institutions in the United States to adopt physical therapy as an area of study in 1914. When Walter Reed General Hospital opened in 1909, the Surgeon General of the Army determined physical therapy should be included in patient care. Mary McMillan was appointed to start the United States’ first physical therapy program there, training “reconstruction aides.”

Given that physical therapy was primarily a female profession at that time, McMillian became known as “the mother of physical therapy.” In 1921, she organized the first physical therapy organization in the US, the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association, currently the American Physical Therapy Association.

What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapists play a very important role in providing rehabilitation and habilitation services, as well as prevention and risk reduction training. They are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care and patient education. Physical therapists treat people of all ages and abilities and empower them to actively take part in their own care.

In 2019, it was estimated that 258,200 physical therapists were practicing in the US and that number is expected to grow 18 percent by 2029.   All states require physical therapists to be licensed and new graduates now receive a doctoral (DPT) degree and must pass a national licensing exam before they can practice.

The American Physical Therapy Association classifies 19 distinct specialty sections ranging from Sports Rehabilitation to Cardiovascular/Pulmonary to Research. Physical Therapists may also be involved in other areas of health and wellness.

Physical therapists work closely with a team of other medical professionals, like doctors, nurses, and occupational therapists to support patients, depending on the care setting in which they are working. Physical therapists work in various care settings:

  • Outpatient clinics
  • Private practices
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Patients’ homes
  • Sports and fitness facilities
  • Schools
  • Occupational settings
  • Government agencies
  • Research facilities

Why Physical Therapy?

Depending on the reason for treatment, the benefits of physical therapy include:

  • Improved mobility and maximum movement
  • Recovery from injury or trauma
  • Recovery from stroke or paralysis
  • Fall prevention
  • Improved balance
  • Management of age-related medical problems
  • Personalized care that meets your needs
  • Care where you need it
  • Participation in one’s recovery
  • Pain management with reduced need for opioids
  • Surgery avoidance

To learn more about physical therapy and how it may benefit you visit: Choose PT!

Did you know?

Excellus BCBS has a team of physical therapists that works within the Utilization Management department.

References:

 

Picture of woman holding her head in her hands

Domestic Violence: The Silent Epidemic

Lisa Haskins, of Monroe County, wished she spoken up sooner about how domestic violence impacted her family. She wished more people talked about it so that domestic violence victims don’t feel ashamed or are afraid to speak up.

Growing up, Lisa said domestic violence occurred in her family. Lisa said the cycle of abuse continued over generations. Her sister found herself in an abusive relationship as an adult, she added. After years of verbal and emotional abuse, nearly five years ago Lisa’s sister committed suicide.

Last year, Lisa broke her silence and shared a Facebook post in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

Helping Those Who “Don’t Have a Voice”

“Today I take a stand, as I should every day…for those women who have lost their voice, their self-worth, their self-love, their self-compassion, their confidence, their hope, and for some their lives” she wrote in the post.

 “Domestic violence doesn’t always have visible bruises.  Sometimes there are signs, and sometimes we may see nothing.  For any woman suffering from domestic violence, dig deeper than you ever have in your life and know that you are worth loving.  You deserve joy and kindness and freedom to live.  There is help.  There is safety, even though it may not seem like it. 

 Every day I miss my sister.  She may have committed suicide, but domestic violence is what killed her.  I stand for those who no longer have a voice…like her.  We have to speak up because it might just save a life.  And one life can mean the world to someone.  I know.  I live every day without my sister.”

After speaking up, Lisa said she felt as if a weight was lifted from her shoulders.

“I feel as if we sit here and live in silence and worry that the abuser will come back and threaten us, but all that does is give him control,” she said. “That’s why domestic violence is so persistent. Many people fear taking the risk and speaking up.”

A Perfect Storm for A Domestic Violence Crisis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced violence from a partner in their lifetime — and the risks to victims can be severe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, news outlets across the country have reported a rise in domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence face more social isolation in general, even when there isn’t a widespread pandemic. Abusers have more tactics at their disposal when victims can’t easily get away from home.

“With the numbers of people that continue to get sick, the growing unemployment rate, and an increase in anxiety and financial stress, this pandemic has created the perfect storm for an exacerbated domestic violence crisis,” said Dr. Sudha Bakshi, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield medical director.

Lisa: What Gives Her Hope

Lisa said knowing more about local groups that help domestic violence victims gives her hope. It is important for those in high risk situations to know that courts and many domestic violence organizations, phone hotlines, and shelters are available to help. Domestic violence organizations are also working to develop new strategies to support victims during the pandemic, by offering hotline services through online chats or texting, in case victims cannot call with an abuser at home.

Excellus BCBS is proud to provide support to these domestic violence organizations across upstate New York as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Let Victims Know They’re Not Alone

Lisa said it can be challenging to convince domestic violence victims to speak up and get help.

The victim may fear the abuser, they may have a skewed sense of normal if they grew up in this environment, or after years of abuse start to believe that they’re just not worth it.

One option? Offer to accompany your friend or loved one to check out an organization that supports domestic violence victims. “That may help them consider getting help,” she said.

In the end, Lisa wishes that more people talked about domestic violence.

“Not talking about it adds to the stigma,” she said. “And, how else will victims know they’re not alone?”

If you or anyone else needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The lifeline is open all day, every day.

A caregiver holding someone's hands

Why I Will Be in Line for A Flu Shot This Year

For many years, Ann Himmler of Monroe County, was required to get a flu shot every year because she was a Hospice volunteer. “I was 100 percent on board with the requirement,” said Ann, “because in addition to the patients I would be spending volunteer time with, my family had also been providing care to a senior parent with compromised health issues who lived in our home.”

Ann knew that older adults and people with certain medical conditions, including a weakened immune system, are among those who are at high risk of serious complications from the flu. “It was important that our entire family receive the flu shot as well, not only to protect ourselves from getting sick, but also reduce the risk of transmitting the flu to our relative who depended on us for their care,” said Ann.

How Dangerous A Virus Can Be

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of how dangerous a virus can be and how important it is to have an effective vaccine. “In 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates between 39 million and 56 million people got sick with the flu and between 24,000 and 62,000 people died of flu complications,” said Dr. Stephen Cohen, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield senior vice president and corporate medical director.

For the very young, the very old, women who are pregnant, and individuals with compromised immune systems including many patients on chemotherapy, catching the flu can place them at high risk for serious complications, including death. “Fortunately, we have a flu vaccine in hand for this year’s strains that can provide a level of immunity or reduce the severity if you do get sick,” said Dr. Cohen.

Don’t Wait to Get a Flu Shot

The flu vaccine is now available at most major pharmacies, many physician practices, and other sites in our community. With rare exceptions, the CDC recommends it for everyone ages 6 months and older. Most health insurance plans cover the flu vaccine in full, and you usually don’t need an appointment to receive it at a pharmacy.

“The flu season will last until May, but it is important to get vaccinated sooner than later to help establish a level of immunity in our community,” said Dr. Cohen. “It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection.”

Older adults should consult with their health care provider to see if they recommend the high-dose flu vaccine that is approved for people ages 65 years and older. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that the high-dose vaccine was 24-percent more effective in preventing flu in adults 65 years and older relative to a standard-dose vaccine.

Keeping Our Community Healthy

Because of COVID-19, it’s even more important to do everything that you can to keep yourself and your family healthy this flu season. “That’s why even though it’s not required for me now, I will be in line for a flu shot again this year,” Ann said.

 

To view or download an educational flu poster, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.

Picture of a woman walking her dog

October 16 is World Spine Day: Get Back on Track

When Denise Hull of Genesee County began working from home, she noticed quickly that her body felt different at the end of the workday. “I used to get in so many steps at the office without even noticing. While working from home, I noticed my movement had really decreased. I started to feel much more pain.  It was like the gears in my body seized up just by not being active. I felt like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz,” Denise said.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80 percent of us suffer from lower back pain at some point in our lives, with around 20 percent of us developing chronic back pain (which lasts for 12 weeks or longer). The World Federation of Chiropractic estimates that one billion people worldwide suffer from spinal pain. For some, back and spine pain can become such a problem that it interferes with work and normal daily activities. With the challenges of the pandemic, we may be even more prone to back and spine pain since restrictions have led to a lack of physical activity.

Get Back on Track

Friday, October 16, 2020, marks the 9th annual World Spine Day coordinated by the World Federation of Chiropractic. This year’s theme is “Back on Track” and it’s focused on getting people back on track to revitalize their spines to restore their spinal health and wellbeing.

Get Back on Track

World Spine Day 2020

Moving the Gears Again

Denise recognized that unless she was intentional about moving more at home, she’d continue to be in pain. “I knew I needed to do something to get those gears moving again. If I was the Tin Man, walking was the oil can” Denise said. “When I first started, it was just up and down the driveway and I was in horrible pain. But slowly, day by day, I felt a little better and I walked a little farther. Now I’m out walking several blocks each day.” By taking intentional steps to move more, Denise has reduced her pain.

5 Tips to Prevent Back Pain

If you’re experiencing back or spine pain, here are some tips to help you get back on track. To learn more, click the links for more resources for creating healthy habits no matter where you are working.

  1. Exercise – Ease muscle tension with movement
  2. Reduce stress – stress can cause tension in muscles
  3. Eat right – many foods reduce inflammation, like olive oil, nuts, and leafy greens
  4. Maintain proper posture – avoid rounded shoulders and slouching
  5. Lift safely – Use your legs and spare your back

More About World Spine Day

Learn more about how World Spine Day is being celebrated throughout the world by visiting http://www.worldspineday.org/.