5 Commonly Neglected Body Parts And How To Take Care Of Them
You might be able to afford the world’s best doctor, but you bear the ultimate responsibility for taking care of your health. The trouble is that few people think about how vital self-care is until something goes wrong. It’s much easier to avoid many problems than to correct them once they arise. What should you look for? Here are five of the most neglected body parts and how to care for them.
Your spine is your lifeline, but many people don’t treat it that way. Every day, they carry a heavy purse or briefcase on the same side, leading to an unnatural curvature, and slouch at their desks. Many people don’t twist, shout and move as often as they should to keep their discs from narrowing, causing extreme pain, even disability.
One immediate improvement to help your spine is to make your workspace more ergonomic. Repetitive motion injuries don’t only affect warehouse workers — they can impact cubicle dwellers fitted with improper monitors and chairs. Your screen should sit at eye level, and you shouldn’t have to lean forward to read it. Your knees should bend at a 90-degree angle while your feet rest fully on the floor. If your current setup fails these minimum qualifications, consider talking with your HR department to request better equipment.
Other options to consider are variable-height desks and fitness balls as chair alternatives. Both provide greater freedom of movement throughout the day. Stretching is critical for easing back pain. A quick inversion into a forward fold releases your posterior chain and makes you say “aah” if your lower backaches. Your spine is meant to move in nearly all directions, so perform seated twists in your chair to ease pressure and do a few cat-cows to work flexion and extension.
One frustrating aspect of the American healthcare system is how your teeth and eyes need separate health coverage. The rise of the gig economy combined with stagnant wages means many citizens simply can’t afford health insurance or even a separate policy for one body part. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic led many people to opt-out of appointments that they didn’t deem necessary. In one recent survey, a little over half of the respondents reported postponing at least one eye appointment in 2021 due to COVID-19.
Low-cost options for taking care of your eyes do exist, though. Nowadays, you can get a glasses prescription online without even visiting a doctor. Virtual medicine is a lifesaver for many people who struggle to get by — even eliminating the gas needed to travel from rural areas is a boon. Please note that some such services require you to have a current prescription to qualify for a renewal. Others evaluate areas of concern that you can then discuss with an in-person specialist if necessary.
Your knees take a beating, supporting most of your body’s weight. Carrying extra pounds increases the pressure on these joints. One way to love them is through a healthy diet and exercise to maintain weight as you age. Another way to maintain your knee health is by engaging in regular flexibility training. These joints are prone to arthritis, but building up the muscles and connective tissues surrounding them and keeping them pliable provides you with the assistance you need when your cartilage starts wearing thin.
Should you wear a brace? It depends on your condition. Braces come in four basic types:
- Rehabilitative: These come in handy after surgery or injury and can fully immobilize your knee joint. Some have locking mechanisms that allow a greater range of motion as you heal.
- Functional: These provide support if you run a high risk of injury. Patellar braces keep dislocated kneecaps in place and motion-control versions support lateral and twisting movements in those with weak ligaments.
- Unloader: These devices come in handy if you have an inflammatory condition like arthritis or iliotibial band syndrome. They compress and relieve inflammation.
- Prophylactic: These protect your knees during impact sports like skateboarding or football.
Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of men and women worldwide. However, many people actively engage in behaviors that tax this vital organ.
If you want to do a better job of protecting your heart, follow these tips:
- Don’t smoke: Smoking hardens arteries and contributes to plaque buildup, which can cause heart attacks.
- Don’t drink: Please forget that red wine advice. It’s safer to drink grape juice, and you’ll get the same benefits. Even one drink elevates your blood pressure. Long-term heavy drinking can keep your numbers sky-high.
- Reduce stress: Stress elevates your blood pressure, increasing your heart attack and stroke risk. Chronic pressure could even cause chemical changes in the brain that prompt high numbers.
- Exercise: Cardiovascular activity like walking tones your heart muscle, helping it perform its job more effectively.
Your mind runs every other organ in your body. However, it often goes neglected, especially if you don’t have the money for costly therapist copays. You can substitute for professional help by participating in DIY activities that keep your mind healthy. Engaging in a regular meditation practice helps you become mindful of your thought processes and how they impact your overall well-being. Journaling can help you work through tough problems without resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol.
The company you keep also matters. Beware of the negative Nancies of the world. They may validate your perception that everything is a mess, but they won’t help you solve the problem. Deal with such folks in small doses if you must, but reserve your inner circle for upbeat people who look at problems as opportunities, not endless excuses to complain.
Caring for Oft-Neglected Body Parts
You’re ultimately your best physician. Even the world’s most well-trained surgeon doesn’t walk around inside your body — you’re the expert on what you need to stay healthy.
Take good care of the five most neglected body parts. Although they’re often overlooked, they’re crucial to your overall vitality.
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