Answers to today's medical questions through blogs and articles

Back Health

What is Scoliosis?

ScoliosisSpinal curvature is a sign of a disease by the name of scoliosis. Infantile scoliosis is diagnosed for children under three years old and juvenile scoliosis is reserved for those from four to ten. Everyone’s spine has a slight natural curve to it, but those with scoliosis have a spine that seems to curve too much. Instead of a nearly straight “l”, the sufferers back looks more like a “C” or an “S”. Here is the run down on the causes, signs and symptoms, tests, treatment options, and a general outlook for those who have Scoliosis in NJ.

What Are Bone Spurs?

Bone Spurs
Bone Spurs

Osteophytes, or bone spurs, are bony projections that tend to develop right along the bones edge. They often form where two bones come together at your joints. Some excruciatingly painful bone spurs can form on your spine. The main cause of these is the damage the comes from excessive wear and tear that comes from osteoarthritis. Most of the time the bone spur will not bother you at all and can go unnoticed for many years. Bone spurs may not require any treatment at all. Treatment all depends on whether or not they are affecting your health.

There are some cases, however, that these bone spurs can limit your range of motion and cause large amounts of pain. Symptoms will all depend on where they are located on the body. Bone spurs in the knee can cause discomfort when extending and bending your leg. These growths get in the way of the tendons that keep your whole leg working correctly.

How to Describe Back Pain

There are many adjectives that can be used to describe a pain. It is important that you are able to convey your message to a spine doctor in Millburn, NJ and tell them exactly what kind of pain you are feeling. The better the description, the more information the doctor has about that symptom. Here are a variety of different ways that you can express your pain to those around you.

Trying to describe how a pain feels can be difficult at first and frustrating. Instead of descriptive hints to explain the extent of what you are feeling you can only come up with “it hurts”. It is challenging for doctors to evaluate pain because it is experienced by everyone differently. It is highly subjective: what hurts for one person may not hurt at all for another. But where doctors generally begin is by asking how much it hurts on a scale of one to ten. The doctor will then describe the possible results. If a pain gets a 0 or a 1 then it is next to nothing. If you pick a ten, it is the worst pain that you have ever felt in your life. Again, the subjective change seems to limit the accuracy of this scale for each individual.

Common Back Pain Questions

Here are ten important questions about common back pain that are asked often and answers to each.

The first question that most people ask about common back pains is what exactly is causing the pain. Strained and stretched muscles is one of the most common causes of back pain. Past injuries that may have damaged the tissue, muscle, or bones of the back is another culprit. A herniated or slipped disc can cause pain. Osteoporosis, obesity, long-term poor posture, and pregnancy are some other things that can cause back pain.

What is Cervical Spine Surgery?

Allograft Cancellous Sponge Material
Allograft Cancellous Sponge

The spinal cord is surrounded and protected by the spinal column which is made up of 24 bones called vertebrae. It also consists of the sacrum and the coccyx or tail bone. Between the vertebra there are discs which are designed to absorb shock so the spinal cord will not have to. The spine’s flexibility and ability to move and bend are due to the proper position of these discs. Nerves that reach all the other sections of the body branch out from the spinal cord by passing through the openings provided by the vertebrae.

Where is the cervical spine?

The part of the spine which runs through the area of the neck is called the cervical spine. In this piece of the spine there are seven vertebrae as well as eight pairs of spinal nerves. There are two very common problems that most people who have trouble with the cervical spine experience: stenosis and herniation. When a spine surgeon in New Jersey schedules a cervical spine surgery, the type of procedure will largely depend on what is causing the spine’s problem.

What is a CranioSacral Massage?

Massage therepy
Woman getting a CranioSacral Massage

Craniosacral massage is very different from some of the more traditional types of massage therapies. It uses a very subtle approach and instead of applying force, the massage therapist will apply light palpations to help track the movements of the craniosacral system. The craniosacral system is comprised of the cranial bones which provide protection or the brain, the sacrum and the spinal cord. The cranial bones are flexible since they are connected by sutures that allow for minimal movement of the cranium. Craniosacral therapy and massage uses this ability to move to create a sort of ebb and flow of pressure so that the cerebral-spinal fluid can pass through the brain and down into the spinal cord. From there it can carry out communication with the rest of the body. Many people experience pain and other types of discomfort that are a result of a disruption of the communication between the spinal fluid and the rest of the body. There are many qualified craniosacral massage therapists in the Madison NJ area which are reputable and effective.

What is a Swedish Massage?

Massage
Swedish Massage

All types of massage are not created equal even though they can be somewhat similar in technique and in benefit. The Swedish massage is one of the most effective types of massages. It sort of combines a deep tissue massage with a gentle massage, a combination which can help promote tension release and relaxation for the muscles. It is important that you use a licensed massage therapist, and there are several qualified therapists in the Chatham NJ area. The Swedish massage is one of the most popular types of massages since because it helps an individual relax. It is often called the “relaxation massage” and sometimes is referred to as a classic or traditional massage. Just what distinguishes the Swedish massage from other types? There are 5 basic movements which are characteristic of a Swedish massage.

What is a Deep Tissue Massage?

Massage
Massage Therapy

There are many different types of massages which one can find in the Madison, NJ area. Many individuals are wondering if one is better than another, and the various advantages one method might have over another. Some people have been afraid to get a deep tissue massage for fear of pain or discomfort. This is a misconception as the deep tissue massage is intended to relieve pain that is commonly associated with whiplash, different sports injuries, muscle strain or debilitating health conditions such as osteoarthritis.

What is a deep tissue massage like?

As the name suggests, a deep tissue massage goes much deeper than a traditional massage. The massage therapist will likely make long, slow strokes that typically go against the muscle grain. Moving too quickly can cause the muscle to tense up rather than relax. The therapist may use several different techniques to penetrate the fascia and muscles so that they can be properly loosened. One of the major differences in this type of massage is that the therapist may use more than just their hands. They may use their elbows, forearms or fingers to penetrate deep into muscles to bring relief. Individuals receiving the massage may be asked to breathe deeply while the therapist works on particularly tense areas.

Exercise Tips for Back Health

Exercise
Exercise ball

Recent research has indicated that inactivity is much harder on the back than participating in a reasonable and active lifestyle. Physical conditioning is one of the essential keys to preventing lower back injuries. Exercises which strengthen the core along with aerobic exercises cane help stabilize and strengthen the spine which can be critical in maintaining good spinal health as well as keeping the back pain free. At the same time, back injuries are some of the most commonly reported types of sports related injuries that athletes suffer from. There are several types of exercises which can help strengthen the back as well as help maintain good spinal health. Remember that it is always advisable to discuss any new exercise regimen with a physician before beginning.

How to Reduce Back Injury When Playing Sports

Stretching
Pre-exercise Warm-ups

Exercise is a very important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. One of the most common ways to achieve high levels of exercise is to engage in various sports and competitive activities. Always discuss any exercise regimen with a physician before beginning participation, especially before engaging in any sports related activity. It is possible for people who have back pain to participate in some sports as long as they pay attention to their backs and get an okay from their physician. For many individuals sports can offer a way to prevent back injuries. There are ways to reduce the chances that the back will sustain injury while participating in sports.