Monthly Archives: December 2010

“stress”; a diagnosis so common its needs its own medical code

There is no shortage of news stories reporting on how increased emotional stress during the holiday season can cause physical maladies from muscle ailments to back pain, but venture to any mall and you will see the physical causes are everywhere.   Add a pair of heels to the mix and you are just itching to donate to a chiropractor or podiatrist. Carrying bags filled with presents can put significant strain on your shoulders, back and posture, since it is very difficult to keep one’s spine in alignment when one shoulder is bearing weight.   This ain’t rocket science; it was precisely this reason  briefcase manufacturers added cross body messenger bags to their product line, and why backpacks are manufactured with padded laptop sleeves.   Just last week, I  suffered a pinched nerve in my neck;  not from “stress”, but from keeping the phone cradled between my ear and shoulder while waiting on hold at length to reach the doctor, or to get additional information on gifts I am ordering on-line.   After Thanksgiving, ‘wait’ time quadruples.   Taking greater care in performing the simplest tasks can bring relief.

Last year, a couple hours of shopping at my local mall had taken its toll on my hips, back and knees.  This  year however, was far different, thanks to my new “shape ups”.   My first pair of these new-agey sneakers, New Balance toners, left me in discomfort after a 3 mile walk and convinced me, there are considerations for those of us that are flat footed that’s not covered in any review I read.      Glad I didn’t give up there, because my next pair, Skechers Resistance Runners have less of an oval/”rocking horse” bottom and are more like cross trainers allowing me to run, walk, and shop for hours.    Joe Montana gets paid the big bucks for his testimonials, but those of you who have read my blog know we receive no compensation in any form for our comments.    My only complaint is that they’re not insulated with fur, or I’d never take them off.

Whether you favor a walking, cross training or any other foot pampering shoe, this time of year, don’t leave home without ’em.     If you don’t own a pair, this is the best investment you’ll make and they can be costly;  mine cost me upwards of $100, but I just noted them on-line at for $97.  While I can’t attest that it will shape your butt to someone half your age, I can testify it will decrease your aches and pains, not to mention those pesky co-pays to your doctor, so savings in the long run-pun intended!

Headaches are an exception where I do agree with the network anchors; I get massive ones the third week of every January when those credit card billls come due.

Eat to your heart’s discontent ; Weight loss surgery for all!

A federal advisory panel recently voted to lower the threshold of exess weight necessary for medical coverage  for weight loss (lap band) sugery to increase eligibility.  Not sure who served on this panel but I’d bet not an accountant among them.  This decision is being hailed as a step towards to reducing the number of overweight Americans and the costly illnesses that result from obesity.  However,  it contradicts the message coming from the CDC and Department of Diabetes Prevention and Control which state that health is achieved by better dietary choices and habits adopted for life, not some quick fix, or pill and both of these organizations have invested considerable amounts of money [your money] to promote this message.

Approval of such surgery means that these patients, whose weight loss is due to decreased apetite, cannot provide an example of appropriate portion control to their children.   Additionally, they rely on pills and supplements for the necessary vitamins and minerals required for their balanced diet, rather than organic means, e.g., fruit and vegetables, so they can’t provide an example of healthy and nutritional food choices to their children either.   And how likely are they to plan, purchase and prepare such meals for their family when they derive their nutrition elsewhere?   Studies show that poor nutrition is passed from generation to generation, not genetically, but in practices, and a woman’s, or man’s, artificially shrunken appetite, does not translate to their offspring.

In my own informal poll of patients who have had this surgery, I inquired how many of their physicians sat down with them and stressed the need for adopting better eating habits for their family.  Result? 0/4, admittedly, not a random or significant sample, but telling nonetheless.  Each reported that the focus is to reduce their consumptive ‘quantity’.   Thus, the perpetual cycle of poor dietary habits and poor nutrition continues.

More troubling however, is the message that irresponsible habits, whether they be the credit card debt, mortgage default, or any other failure to regulate one’s indulgences, will be met with a collective bailout, where the responsible and disciplined bailout those that refuse to reign themselves in.   As evident in the mid-term elections, the public is tiring of bearing the burden of those that refuse to exercise control, and projected healthcare costs could make AIG’s debt restructuring seem like that of a community bank.    Moderation is universal to the health of all things, physical and fiscal.   Let’s hope our newly elected officials get it.

Why low slung pants are hazardous to your health

I find the habit of males wearing pants below their butt objectionable and was pleased to hear this was taken with some seriousness when youths were arrested and charged with Indecency  a couple months ago.   However my good karma was short lived as a NY judge dismissed the charges.

From a judge’s perspective it may seem frivolous  when more harmful criminals exist, and are in need of  jail space, but it would appropriately define stages of undress, as exactly that, instead of  ‘fashion’.   All the reverence for negative role models aside, after all this ‘style’ was adopted from prison inmates, lets look at the physical realities and unsanitary repurcussions of  this trend.

Our children are sitting on chairs where the only barrier between the hand they may place on their chair, and another boy’s  rear,  is a thin film of cotton,  permitting all things to pass.   In our world of ever increasing and mutating viruses and bacteria, on top of a widespread bed bug epidemic,  this is an invitation to spread illness and icky little critters. So, I appeal to a chemistry or biology teacher to swab his seats in a petri dish and contact me with his findings; I’m sure it would also make for riveting classroom discussion.  That would give schools the ammunition to enforce their dress code, since this cleary falls outside appropriate school wardrobe.

But all is not hopeless, women did eventually revolt in Victoria’s Secret claim that thongs were “sooo sexy” even though it was akin to dental floss stuck up your butt crack, and I have faith the baggy ass exposure will meet the same demise.   Unitl then, I fear we may see  the  launch of  “Victor’s Secret”; stay tuned for the prime-time holiday special of male runway models, sporting underwire boxers with butt-cleavage revealing styles, just in time for Christmas!   I can already see the Saturday Night Live skit headlined by Sandberg & Timberlake, wait- that’s Lorne Michaels now,  asking for the script rights!