The most prescribed drug in 2010 was for pain. According to IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, there were 131.2 million prescriptions for Vicodin. Pain affects 20%-30% of American adults and is twice as common in women. The second most prescribed drug was Zocor (94.1 million prescriptions), which is prescribed for high cholesterol. Approximately 36 million Americans have cholesterol high enough to more than double their risk of heart disease and stroke. Finally, the third most prescribed drug was Prinivil (87.4 million prescriptions), which is prescribed for out-of-control stress that contributes to high blood pressure. It seems Americans don’t think “well” of themselves.
Sleeping can cause pain in the neck. Stomach-sleeping – the unhealthiest position – causes neck and back pain, as well as wrinkles and saggy breasts. The fetal position isn’t recommended because of the same 4 reasons. Sleeping on your side is the second healthiest position. It reduces snoring and is also recommended for pregnant women, with the left side being ideal for blood flow. However, side-sleeping also causes wrinkles and saggy breasts. Back-sleeping is the healthiest position for your body and also most reduces acid reflux – but it increases snoring. Before deciding on a position, “sleep on it”.
Surprisingly, swearing reduces pain. Researchers at Keele University in the UK asked students to put their arms in a bucket of icy water while repeatedly saying a swear word. Then the students were asked to redo the experiment repeating a “harmless” word. When they were swearing, the students were able to keeps their arms in the icy water longer. For students who rarely swore, swearing was 4 times likelier to reduce pain. It seems swearing is an act of aggression, which triggers fight-or-flight instincts, which increase tolerance to pain. However, swearing doesn’t reduce “a pain in the neck”.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine linked prayer to pain relief. The study included Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. Those who tended to take brief pauses throughout the day to pray or chant a mantra had lower blood levels of the stress hormones cortisol and noradrenalin, which have a corrosive effect on the body. Dr. Lynda Powell, chairman of preventative medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said she isn’t a religious person; but when it comes to the benefits of prayer, she’s a big believer. Let’s pray she’s right.