Back pain affects up to 8 in 10 people at some point during their lifetime. Back pain is common in part because the spine is central to many of our daily activities, whether strenuous or not. The spine consists of 24 interlocking vertebrae, which are divided into three types: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. Fibrous ligaments, discs, and muscles connect these bones, allowing for a combination of stability and flexibility to allow us to perform a variety of daily activities.
While we typically think of sitting as a restful activity, prolonged periods of sitting can lead to chronic back pain. Today’s lifestyles often involve significantly more time spent sitting than in previous decades. We all can enjoy the modern luxuries of being able to watch TV, browse the Internet, or order in a precooked meal at the end of a long day of work. However, for many of us, that long day of work involves sitting at a desk, so we go from sitting at work to sitting at home. It has become increasingly recognized that spending many hours planted in a seat is actually detrimental to one’s health. While a brief period of sitting is natural, long periods of sitting typically place the spine and pelvis in an unnatural position for an extended time, leading to low back pain among other issues.
Mild back pain can be a nuisance. It turns everyday tasks into painful challenges. Walking, exercising, working and even sitting in a chair can cause unfathomable levels of discomfort. While seemingly counterintuitive, stretching actually plays a vital role in healing and alleviating back pain. During a period of chronic back pain, exercise is the last thing anyone wants to think about; but spine doctors indicate straightening and extending one’s body to its full length is exactly what the spine needs. It’s common knowledge that regular exercise is an essential component to the body’s overall health, yet many people seem to overlook stretching during their workout routine. But for individuals suffering from chronic back pain, stretching muscles can help alleviate discomfort in the spine, and even help prevent future occurrences of pain.
Individuals suffering from chronic back pain may begin to wonder if their outdated mattress contributes to their discomfort. The average human spends one-third of his or her life sleeping on a mattress; thus, one can safely assume that resting on the wrong mattress attributes to back pain to some extent. The only time muscles and ligaments in the spine can completely relax occurs during periods of slumber. So individuals with chronic back pain will greatly benefit from a good night’s sleep on an adequate mattress.
Nobody likes to be in pain especially when every move you make aggravates a sensitive lower back. With up to 80% of the community expected to experience back pain throughout their life, we should be thinking about back pain as more of a modern day health epidemic than just that old ‘pain in the back’. Supporting this line of argument are recent studies and reports that make the case for problems caused by back pain and the need for better pain management solutions.
‘The Global Burden of Disease Study’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO) labelled back pain a major cause of disability, affecting performance at work as well as overall levels of health and well being. The study also placed back pain amongst the top 10 conditions that contributed to ill health, disability or early death. Continue reading
The news media is bursting at the seams with stories of the incidence of people addicted to pain medications. Every year prescription painkillers cause more than 16,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits. Now admittedly, some of those people just take the meds for the “high”, but, the majority of folks began taking prescription painkillers to help alleviate chronic pain, and now cannot live without that medication. While Grandpa might have rubbed liniment on his joints to help the pain subside a little, people today feel the need to be as pain-free as possible, even if it means popping pills on a regular basis.
One of the best choices for getting your daily exercise is walking. When Michelle Obama promoted a campaign to walk 10,000 steps daily (the equivalent of five miles), many people began to take notice that walking was easy and fun. As a nation, we also began to understand what doctors have been preaching for years – you need to get up and move, especially if you have a job where you spend the majority of your day sitting.
You can combat a sedentary lifestyle in several ways. Carry those loafers or pretty pumps in a tote bag and lace up your walking shoes before you leave the house. Park as far away as possible and take the stairs if you are able to do so. Once at the workplace, get up out of the chair to stretch several times a day or take a stroll down the hall. If you are not one to hit the gym at the end of the work day, why not erase those dinner calories by grabbing your partner, or your pooch, or both, and walking in the neighborhood?
Office furniture was staid and boring for decades. Except for the big boss in the corner office, everyone else had a metal desk and a small upholstered chair that rolled on four casters on a plastic mat.
Then came cubicles a/k/a “cubes”, the workstations that became the bane of many office worker’s existence because they could hear the conversations of co-workers yet all they could see were high metal enclosures.
The office furniture manufacturers have incessantly tweaked their products to accommodate employee’s various needs. Office chairs and desks were designed to be aesthetically pleasing, but ergonomically correct. In some workplaces a whole-office ergonomic analysis was done on individual employee work stations to ensure that employees were working comfortably and without restrictions. Continue reading
Way back in the 10th century, during the Tang Dynasty, a rather barbaric practice of Chinese foot binding of young girls, aged six years or younger, began. The feet of these poor children were wrapped in tight bandages and broken so they couldn’t grow any bigger. Why would such an atrocity be done you may ask? Well, binding the feet to make them appear tiny and delicate was practiced by wealthy families, as only wealthy families could afford to have the women of the house stay at home and not work. When you saw a Chinese woman with very tiny feet, you instantly recognized that as a status symbol representing prestige, beauty and wealth.
If you scoff at the above idea, consider this – the people of Western civilization, all these years later, think nothing of a woman teetering on heels so spindly that she can barely walk and with only a prayer she will not topple over and break a bone, or two, or three.
Women even joke about their infatuation with high heels – they don’t care how much pain and suffering they have to endure, because, after all, stilettos transcend them into a femme fatale. Even if women are short in stature, heels give them a commanding presence. Heels are a boost to any woman’s ego because suddenly their legs look long and shapely as opposed to short-heeled, sensible shoes which make them feel short and dowdy.
Unless you live in a warm-weather state where you can enjoy (or merely tolerate) doing yard work all year around, once the last of the snow has disappeared, it is time to start thinking about yard work once again. Even if you’ve been shoveling snow all Winter, you’re likely to use different muscles, plus you will be squatting and bending, as opposed to lifting and throwing the snow. If you have a snow blower, or your spouse or a service takes care of the snow, you might be out of shape somewhat, so, before you plan on doing yard work, you might want to begin by doing stretches, squats and lunges a few weeks before you tackle the raking/thatching and bagging up of debris, or tending to the yard in general. It really will help to be more flexible for the job at hand, and, you sure don’t want to overdo your unused muscles just because you insist on doing all the work in one weekend. That’s the way to likely incur pain in the back, or aching shoulders.
Probably the best and most-important advice from a top spine doctor in Summit, New Jersey would be to bend your knees. Those 40-pound bags of topsoil are a challenge for a lot of people once gardening begins in earnest. First you must heft them out of the back of your car and that can strain your back, especially if you twist and turn your torso the wrong way. Why not have a four-wheeled dolly at the ready to move those heavy bags from the car to where they will be used? Also, getting up and down from a kneeling or squatting position may be awkward or difficult for some. Don’t risk damaging your back – why not treat yourself to a rolling garden seat to make gardening easier and more enjoyable?
There are several causes of sciatica, which is identified as a painful condition which occurs from soreness or pain that travels from your lumbar or lower spine, to your buttock and all the way down your leg. Sciatica only affects one side of your body, but that one side might as well be both sides for all the pain you will experience. Sciatic pain does not discriminate where it chooses to wreak havoc – it might be a tolerable ache, or an excruciating pain. There are ways to try to thwart sciatica and stop it in its tracks, but many times, other medical issues are the underlying cause of the sciatic problems, thus, the malady is not strictly your own doing. For example, although sciatica is believed to originate from prolonged sitting, even the simple act of coughing or sneezing can cause a sciatica sufferer great discomfort. Sometimes (but rarely), the sciatic nerve can be compressed by a tumor, or damaged by a disease such as diabetes, or, it could become pinched, usually by a herniated disc in your spine, or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on your vertebrae.
While the consequences sound dire for a person that suffers from sciatica, the good news is that, for most cases, 90% of sciatica sufferers have a full recovery from a bout of sciatica without the need for surgery.
Some of the triggers for sciatica are listed below. Remember: if pain persists, you should contact a specialist who will evaluate you to determine the appropriate measures to get you feeling more like yourself again a spine specialist in NJ is the answer to your sciatica woes.