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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

Physical and mental fitness help prevent back pain, from the March 2014 Harvard Men's Health Watch

A man's spine can take a beating over the years. The occasional backache can blossom into chronic and potentially disabling low-back pain. But it doesn't have to be that way. Paying attention to the body and the mind can keep the back healthy, according to the March 2014 Harvard Men's Health Watch.

"Cardiovascular and strength training are good basic prevention to keep your back healthy," says Harvard back pain expert Dr. Zacharia Isaac. "Because of the brain's involvement with back pain, maintaining a good sleep cycle and good emotional state are also very important."

Important steps to better back health include:

  • When backaches strike, stay as active as possible; inactivity can make things worse.
  • Shrinking from physical activity for fear of back injury can start a downward spiral leading to more backaches.
  • Get enough sleep; lack of restorative slumber can make back pain worse.
  • Stay positive and relax; people who are depressed and anxious have more back problems.

Read the full-length article: "Physical and mental fitness are essential for maintaining back health"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Men's Health Watch

  • Walk more to slash your stroke risk
  • On call: Do any memory supplements work?
  • On call: How urinary drugs affect blood pressure
  • Physical and mental fitness are essential for maintaining back health
  • If you want to avoid colonoscopy, you still have effective options
  • New recommendations relax the trigger point for taking medication
  • Optimal muscle health takes more than strength training
  • In the journals: High-dose vitamin E may slow Alzheimer's decline
  • In the journals: Diverticulitis is less common than we thought
  • In the journals: Mediterranean eating linked to lower diabetes risk

More Harvard Health News »

About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.