3 Ways Students Can Combat Racism

Nearly 60 years after the passage of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, black Americans are still battling racial injustice. Perhaps it was foolish for people to believe that legislation alone would remedy hundreds of years worth of discrimination, disenfranchisement and abuse. Indeed, more than half a century has done little to educate white Americans regarding our own privilege. But it seems the tide is finally turning. Over the past four months, tragedies such as the ones befalling Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have stoked anger and resentment at the marginalization and dehumanization of black Americans, rallying white Americans in ways previous examples of oppression never have. Whether due to the time we’ve had to reflect as a result of social distancing protocols following the arrival of COVID-19 or we’re just weary of reading the same headlines over and over, it seems that we are finally ready to acknowledge and combat our own prejudices in an effort to afford true equality for all. Here are three ways we — students in particular — can work to end racism:

Become Self-Aware

Self-awareness is the ability to see ourselves clearly; by thoughtfully exploring our own thoughts and beliefs, we can come to understand our values and biases. Such self-awareness necessarily enables us to see more clearly the values and biases of those around us, as well. Indeed, self awareness is thought to boost our confidence and increase our capacity for empathy, helping us accept and tolerate differences of opinion, circumstance and culture/race. With this in mind, all of us can and should take the time to consider the systems of thought that shape our perspectives so that we are able to label and reject discriminatory attitudes when we encounter them in ourselves and others.

Educate

As students, we need to continue to educate ourselves fully on a variety of subjects. We should read books and watch movies and enter discussions that challenge our minds, opening ourselves up to the exploration of topics and positions we might never have otherwise considered. According to the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a well-rounded “education is the best tool for tackling racism and discrimination and building inclusive societies.”

Advocate

Some of us have extra money and can donate to organizations with the capacity to transform race relations policy (such as the BLM movement, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund or the ACLU). Others can sign petitions or write letters to the editor of newspapers to advocate for change. Some can use yards signs like businesses that advertise using vehicle graphics and billboards. We can patronize black-owned businesses; volunteer as tutors and mentors; or join a peaceful protest. The key is to not stay silent, to use our voices in support of racial equality whenever and wherever we can.

Treatments for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 70% of people in industrialized countries will experience it at some point in their lives. Whether caused by spinal problems, nerve irritation or muscle strains, back pain can be debilitating and often very hard to treat. Here’s the best options for tackling and conquering an aching back when it hinders you from living your best life:

Medication

One of the first lines of defense against troublesome back pain is medication. Several different kinds of medication exist, from over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen to muscle relaxants, topical creams, narcotics and more. OTC drugs help inhibit the pain response (acetaminophen) and fight inflammation (NSAIDS), but for more severe pain, doctors can prescribe medication to relieve muscle spasms (muscle relaxant) or provide more powerful pain relief (opioids/narcotics). Other types of drugs are usually reserved for chronic pain relief, including antidepressants and steroidal injections.

Rest

Of course, sometimes rest is necessary. Clinical research, however, warns against too much rest, instead suggesting that a speedier return to activities helps prevent muscle loss, constipation and depression in those with moderate back pain, all of which can impede recovery. Ideally, patients should rest no more than one or two days in bed (and only for a few hours at a time) as a way to reduce strain to the spine and its surrounding ligaments and muscles.

Exercise and Physical Therapy

While it might should counterintuitive, moving the body can actually help to relieve some types of back pain by strengthening core muscles and increasing flexibility, thereby training your body to improve posture and avoid aggravating positions/situations. Movement also stimulates blood flow, making it easier for tissues to heal, and helps reduce weight, alleviating additional stress to the spine.

Regenerative Therapy

A newer treatment approach for back pain involves regenerative medicine. With science now more fully understanding stem cell therapy, doctors have begun using stem cells to possibly repair and regenerate damaged, decaying and diseased tissue. This is especially promising for back pain resulting from damaged discs. By applying stem cells to deteriorating spinal discs, doctors believe there is potential for new spinal disc tissue to grow.

Surgery

As a last resort, there is always surgery. Although the most invasive option, surgery is nevertheless a good option for some people with unrelenting pain stemming from structural issues (like arthritis, scoliosis and sciatica) that other therapies haven’t been able to successfully treat. With surgical intervention, the spine is either fused to provide stability, one or more discs artificially replaced to restore function and/or a source of pressure removed from a nerve root to alleviate leg pain or weakness.

Indeed, today’s options for treating back pain continue to expand, making it easier than ever before to alleviate one of the most crippling — pun intended! — issues for people around the world!

5 Helpful Health & Wellness Tips for Women

Living a healthy life is a consistent challenge that many women struggle with from time to time. After all, it only takes a few bad choices to fall into bad habits. And it can take months, or even years, to counterbalance the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, or neglected health issues. Thankfully, today we’re going to provide five helpful health and wellness tips for women of all ages. Keeping these things in mind will help you avoid some major missteps and ensure that you do everything in your power to maintain good health:

Look After Your Heart

Believe it or not, heart disease is the number one cause of death of women in the United States. This means that girls and women of all ages should be conscious about their heart health from an early age. Consider reducing your sodium intake and make it a point to engage in cardio exercises on a regular basis.

Know Your Risk Factors

Sadly, women are affected by certain cancers that rarely threaten the male population. As such, it’s important for women to understand their risk factors for diseases like breast and cervical cancer. And it’s just as crucial to speak to medical professionals and undergo tests for these types of diseases too.

Research Fertility Complications

A woman’s potential to conceive and give birth can be damaged by a number of different factors –– including STDs. Yet, many women don’t know much about their own fertility –– or even the risks involved with certain fertility treatments. If, for instance, you’ve received an essure implant, you could be at risk for experiencing a number of frightening side effects. (Check out this article for more information about where and how you can get an essure reversal procedure.)

Manage Your Stress

One surprising medical fact that relatively few people know is that your mood can have a big impact on your well-being. Indeed, there are a number of serious conditions linked to high stress, such as heart disease, depression/anxiety, obesity, diabetes, and alzheimer’s. While some women may feel stressed out by their career, familial life, or social obligations, it’s crucial for everyone to know how to manage their stress in a healthy way. 

Stay Positive

Committing to a healthy lifestyle isn’t something that can be accomplished over a few days or even a few weeks. Rather, it takes years of hard work and dedication. That’s why it’s so important to stay positive whenever you begin a fitness journey. Progress may be slow at first and you might not see results like you always want, but if you stick to a proven wellness routine, you’ll reap many significant benefits in the long run.