"On the Street" profiles a WebMD the Magazine reader and his or her personal health challenges. We then tap top medical and healthy lifestyle experts for answers and solutions. In the October 2012 issue, Tay Person, 35, an implementation consultant from Somers Point, N.J., seeks help with increasing his flexibility, reducing his stress, preventing back pain, and coping with excessive perspiration.
By Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.
Because your body thinks you're about to starve. Thousands of years ago,
hunger was a caveman's primary source of anxiety. When food became scarce, his
body coped with the resultant stress by releasing steroids, which were absorbed
by his omentum — a fat reservoir that hangs like an apron over the stomach —
and promoting fat storage. And since your body doesn't know the difference
between a demanding boss and a depleted herd of mastodons, your omentum will do
Working with kids and raising your own isn't exactly child's play. Tay Person, a former teacher, knows that all too well. He and his wife, Jen, a teacher, are parents to Bella, 6, Lilli, 3, and Nola, 18 months. Person travels frequently for his job with Scholastic. 'My daughters don't like when I'm gone, and I don't like to be away from them. It's definitely a source of anxiety," he says, citing recent skin breakouts he thinks were stress-related.
Person, a one-time bodybuilding champ, regularly carves out time for cardio and strength training, but he wants to spend more time -- which is hard to come by -- increasing his flexibility. 'Over the past two years, I've injured my lower back twice.” And with his frequent trips to the gym, athlete's foot is top of mind, too. Person tries not to sweat the small stuff, but he's bothered by excessive perspiration. 'I have tried Certain Dri and just about every clinical-strength deodorant on the market,” he says. But no matter the season, his dress shirts still tell the story.
Cope with Separation Anxiety
If anxiety increases when you're on the road and miss your girls, it might help the whole family to track your schedule, carry family photos, call or video chat often, and maybe try meditation (check out The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson, MD, for simple techniques).
Jeffrey P. Kahn, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City
Break the Excessive Sweat
Use an antiperspirant at bedtime and a deodorant in the morning. Sweat production is lowest at night, giving active ingredients a better chance to get into your pores. Glide, stick, spray, or roll on wherever sweating is a problem -- hands, feet, face, back, chest, and even groin. If this doesn't help within a month, you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis, which can be treated with prescription-strength antiperspirants or Botox injections.
David M. Pariser, MD, dermatologist, dermatology professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va., and founding board member, International Hyperhidrosis Society
Prevent Back Pain
I recommend at least 10 minutes of stretching a day to start. To help keep the spine flexible, when sitting at your desk, imagine ice water being poured down your back. The thought will have you sitting tall -- and reducing neck and back stress.