No pain, no gain.

That's the message from Aaron Task, who put a recent bout of back distress aside Monday to fill in for Jim Cramer on his

"RealMoney" radio show. Task, the co-executive editor of

TheStreet.com

, reviewed health-care companies that deal with pain during the opening portion of his show.

He started with drugmaker

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, which makes a muscle relaxant Task is currently using. Unfortunately, Merck is having a super headache over its super-aspirin Vioxx. The company is taking some hard knocks in court, and Task said it's probably worth avoiding the stock. A better choice might be

Novartis

(NVS) - Get Report

, which is holding up well on a technical basis.

Task also said that

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

might be ripe for profit-taking.

Disc replacement is another way to treat (and play) back pain. The market for lumbar fusion surgery is growing, which means medical devices. Task pointed out that

Nuvasive

(NUVA) - Get Report

may be the purest play for back injury surgery, although it's speculative.

A few other names in the medical device group worth checking out if you want to play in this arena are

Medtronic

(MDT) - Get Report

,

Stryker

(SYK) - Get Report

and

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

.

Another way to get health-care exposure is through exchange traded funds like the

Health Care Select SPDR

(XLV) - Get Report

or the

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare

(IYH) - Get Report

.

Oil at a Boil

Chris Edmonds, oil expert for

RealMoney.com

, was Task's guest Monday, a day in which September crude vaulted to a new all-time high of $63.85 a barrel. He said the embassy closing in Saudi Arabia due to terrorist threats "is just another geopolitical risk that adds to supply fears."

More importantly, Edmonds said, "you are getting refineries going off line in Texas and elsewhere due to fires and other problems. That's the real problem."

When it comes to Saudi Arabia, Edmonds said the next several weeks and months are critical because we need to see "if the changing of the guard will hold." The nation's longtime titular ruler, King Fahd, died last week.

There would have to be a major supply disruption for oil to hit super-spike levels, according to Edmonds. The U.S. uses 85 million barrels a day, roughly equal to the nation's supply. So things are definitely tight and oil could go as high as $100 a barrel, but it's impossible to predict major supply disruptions.

In the short run, energy stocks look ready to take a breath. In the long run, however, these stocks still look good. All these companies are minting cash right now. They can offer dividends and buy back shares.

Edmonds says

Kerr McGee's

(KMG)

sale of its North Sea assets makes sense since the company did not have scale there. It rationalizes the portfolio at a time when it could get a good price for it.

Callers Chime In

Task told a caller that

Nortel Networks

( NT) is more of a trading stock despite Monday's earnings-related run-up. It may be a better acquisition target.

Able Energy

(ABLE)

is a small-cap stock that is fairly speculative. "It's a great energy market, so you don't have to step down in quality to get energy exposure."

Edmonds said the seismic business is doing well so companies like

Dawson Geophysical

(DWSN) - Get Report

will do well. However, he suggests rolling it up in a basket with other seismic stocks to protect yourself.

Edmonds said energy stocks worth buying in a pullback include

Nabors Industries

(NBR) - Get Report

,

Grey Wolf

( GW) and

Todco

( THE).

Another caller asked about

Sears Holdings

(SHLD)

. Task said he would advise waiting for a pullback before getting into the stock, which has been wilting as of late.

"A rising tide lifts all boats" said Edmonds, so if you own

EnCana

(ECA) - Get Report

, you are fine.

Finally, "If you want a stable, stodgy oil company,

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

is the one to own," said Edmonds.