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dreamstime_m_79703241The holidays are a time for merriment and celebration, but preparing for the festivities can cause a good amount of stress. For those prone to back discomfort, added holiday tension may lead to pain. If someone on your holiday shopping can benefit from a little relief, why not consider one of these 3 stress-relieving gifts or even one of these more practical gifts to help ease back pain for sufferers.

Wishing you a happy, stress-free holiday!

With the holiday season getting into full swing, it’s time to start tackling that shopping. For those who suffer from back pain, shopping can become more of a chore than a pleasurable day out. This December there is no reason to be deterred, particularly if you use some basic shopping strategies to help keep your back pain at bay. Check out these fantastic tips from Consumer Reports to make your trip to the mall more enjoyable and pain free.

Let the holiday shopping begin!

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The start of the holiday season kicks off next Thursday with Thanksgiving! It’s the perfect holiday to spend with family and friends, but let’s face it – Turkey Day is a great deal of work. From lifting heavy birds to standing for hours to getting the house ready for out-of-town guests, the likelihood of triggering back pain can be fairly high. Whether you’re cooking, eating, or even relaxing, here are suggestions to help avoid pain and make your holiday more enjoyable. Happy Thanksgiving!

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For most, raking leaves is a once-a-year activity. The chore requires many out-of-the-ordinary movements like bending, reaching, twisting, and lifting. So it should come as no surprise the most common injuries associated with raking are back related. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, herniated discs in the neck or low back are especially common. Lesson Learned: Take caution before picking up that rake – most injuries are a result of poor technique or overload. Check out these tips to help avoid injury.

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Every year thousands of young athletes report injuries, but today’s trend of single sport specialization may lead to a spike in these injuries. This trend can be dangerous as it sets kids up for over training, which is known to cause serious conditions like spinal stress fractures. While experts recommend against early sports specialization, some parents and coaches are urging kids to chose a single sport with hopes of becoming elite athletes or securing a college scholarship. BEWARE. Recent research has found that specialization leads to overuse injuries and is not proven to provide a competitive advantage over athletes who participate in multiple sports. For the good of our children, read more news on this topic.

When it comes to a healthy spine, prevention is the key.

We all depend on a healthy back in order to stay active — pain in this area can have a profound effect on our overall health, sometimes preventing us from working or even performing simple daily activities. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health, about 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime. In some cases determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, but preventing it is actually quite simple.

Consider these 10 tips to help maintain a pain-free back and keep active:

Maintain A Healthy Weight: Additional weight puts a strain on your back. Maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and frame.

Stay Active: An exercise routine that combines stretching, strengthening, and aerobic activity will keep your back healthy.

Avoid Smoking (Nicotine): Smokers experience more spine pain and heal more slowly.

Maintain a Balanced Diet: Proper nutrition is key. Include foods with Vitamin B12 (functioning), Vitamin C (healing) and Iron (oxygen) in your diet. Avoid consuming excessive carbs.

Lift Using Proper Body Mechanics: Bend your hips and knees to squat down to lift your load, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift. While lifting, avoid turning or twisting your body and avoid reaching or bending forward.

Get Proper Rest: A good night’s sleep is important to overall health as it allows your body to repair itself. The optimal sleeping position is on your side – on a firm mattress. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Warm Up Prior to Exercise: Proper warm-ups should include more than just stretching the upper and lower back, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Before you stretch, it is important to get your blood circulating and raise your muscles’ temperature. Try a 10-minute low-impact aerobic exercise like: walking, jogging in place, jumping jacks or even jumping rope.

Practice Good Posture: Keep the body in alignment while sitting or standing
 for long periods of time. When standing, distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet. When sitting, knees should be at 90 degrees and feet should rest comfortably on the floor.

Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated helps maintain soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in joints.

If It Hurts Don’t Do It: Pay attention to pain and seek medical advice early. Over-training can lead to strained muscles and overuse injuries.

Physically Demanding WorkFor young adults, a recent study links jobs that require physically demanding tasks to back pain later in life. No need to rush to a career change just yet. But do heed experts, who suggest that your best form of prevention is learning proper body mechanics and staying in top physical form. Young employees should consider training for work as an athlete would train for their sport. Read more about the study here.

 

It’s back-to-school time, and though it may seem simple, this message is too important not to repeat: Make selecting the correct backpack for your child a priority! According to the National Safety Council, backpacks that are too heavy can cause back pain, shoulder pain,Heavy Backpacks and poor posture. The American Chiropractic Association recommends a backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of a child’s body weight? Do you check?

Click here for 6 helpful tips to keep in mind when selecting a backpack. And good luck to all of the new students and relieved parents!

 

Walking For Back HealthMany patients with low back pain have the inclination to go on bed rest. But staying active is key to reduced pain and faster recovery. Walking is a simple exercise that can have both physical and mental health benefits. Studies have shown that walking can decrease pain, improve strength, increase flexibility, and help prevent recurrences down the road. Read more to find out why we have long recommended walking to patients with low back pain.

 

 

 

Back Tips for Summer TravelAugust is a great time of the year to take that well-deserved break, but traveling with back pain can sometimes be a challenge. Prolonged sitting that comes with getting to your destination can aggravate back problems. The great news is whether you are traveling by plane, train or automobile you can help make your trip considerably more enjoyable by practicing these simple tips. Happy travels!