Don’t Let Summer Strain Your Back

Don’t Let Summer Strain Your Back

Summer is the time when everyone dives into yard work and takes family vacations. But all that time spent bending, lifting and traveling can strain your back, spine experts say.

An estimated 3.7 million Americans sought care for back pain and injuries at doctors’ offices in the summer of 2014, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

“Many back injuries occur from sudden movements during daily activities such as bending, lifting and twisting,” said Dr. Afshin Razi, a spokesperson for the academy.

“Always be mindful of the way you’re positioning your body and practice safe lifting techniques during these motions. Keep the core muscles in your back and abdomen strong and flexible. Strengthening your core muscles will help to support your spine,” Razi said in an AAOS news release.

The academy offers these tips for protecting yourself from back injuries during the summer:

  • Lift heavy items with your legs instead of your back, and don’t bend over. Bend your knees instead and keep your back straight.
  • Get someone to help you lift heavy objects. Turn to your friends or family or hire someone to assist.
  • Pack as lightly as possible when traveling, and try to spread heavier items among several boxes or bags.
  • Take breaks, regardless of whether you’re sitting or working, and stretch between tasks.
  • Watch your posture and sit with your back in a slightly arched position. Your chair should support your lower back and your head and shoulders should be upright.
  • Be careful about your footwear. Your shoes should fit properly and have rubber non-skid soles to protect you from falling, especially when you’re traveling or working outdoors.
  • If you’re outside, make sure hoses, rakes and garden tools are out of your path so you don’t trip over them.
  • Pets like to be underfoot and can pose a tripping hazard. Consider putting a bell on your pet so you know its location when it’s moving around.
Whiplash Injury

Whiplash Injury

What is a whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to your neck. It is caused by your neck bending forcibly forward and then backward, or vice versa. The injury, which is poorly understood, usually involves the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in your neck.

What causes a whiplash?

Most whiplash injuries result from a collision that includes sudden acceleration or deceleration. Many whiplash injuries occur when you are involved in a rear-end automobile collision. They also happen as a result of a sports injury, particularly during contact sports.

What are the symptoms of a whiplash?

These are the most common symptoms of whiplash:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Low back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Pain in your arm or hand
  • Numbness in your arm or hand
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Tiredness

The symptoms of whiplash may look like other conditions and medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is a whiplash diagnosed?

Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, tests  for whiplash may include the following. Many whiplash injuries include damage to soft tissue that can’t be seen on X-rays:

  • X-ray. Electromagnetic energy beams produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Large magnets and a computer make detailed images of organs and soft tissue structures in your body.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan.  X-rays and computer technology make horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of your body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of your body, including your bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

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How is a whiplash treated?

Your healthcare provider will determine specific treatment for whiplash, based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of your injury
  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of your injury
  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Ice applications for the first 24 hours
  • Cervical (neck) collar
  • Gentle, active movement after 24 hours
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen)
  • Muscle relaxing medicines
  • Physical therapy
  • Osteopathic manipulation

What are the complications of a whiplash injury?

While most people who have a whiplash injury recover within a few weeks to a few months, some have persistent pain for several months or longer.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

If your symptoms have not improved within the time frame your healthcare provider suggested, let him or her know. Also, if your symptoms get worse or you get new symptoms, tell your provider.

Key points about whiplash

  • Whiplash injury is poorly understood, but usually involves the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in your neck.
  • It is caused by the neck bending forcibly forward and then backward, or vice versa.
  • Many whiplash injuries occur if you are involved in a rear-end automobile collision.
  • Your healthcare provider will determine specific treatment for your whiplash.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
Lordosis

Lordosis

What is lordosis?

A normal spine, when viewed from behind appears straight. However, a spine affected by lordosis shows evidence of a curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the lower back area. This gives the child a “swayback” appearance.

Illustration of a child with lordosis
Click Image to Enlarge

What causes lordosis?

The cause of lordosis has been linked to achondroplasia and spondylolisthesis buy generic propranolol 40 mg. However, lordosis may be associated with poor posture, a congenital (present at birth) problem with the vertebrae, neuromuscular problems, back surgery, pelvis problem, or a hip problem.

What are the symptoms of lordosis?

Each child may experience symptoms differently. The major clinical feature of lordosis is a prominence of the buttocks. Symptoms will vary depending if lordosis happens with other defects. These include muscular dystrophy, developmental dysplasia of the hip, or neuromuscular disorders.

Back pain, pain down the legs, and changes in bowel and bladder habits are not commonly associated with lordosis. A child experiencing these types of symptoms needs immediate medical evaluation by a healthcare provider.

The symptoms of lordosis may resemble other spinal conditions or deformities, or may be a result of an injury or infection. Always talk with your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is lordosis diagnosed?

The healthcare provider makes the diagnosis of lordosis with a complete medical history of the child, physical exam, and diagnostic tests. Your child’s healthcare provider obtains a complete prenatal and birth history of the child and asks if other family members are known to have lordosis.

Diagnostic procedures may include:

  • X-rays. This diagnostic test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film. This test is used to measure and evaluate the curve. With the use of a full-spine X-ray, the healthcare provider or radiologist measures the angle of the spinal curve. A determination for treatment can often be made based on this measurement.
  • Bone scans. Bone scans are a nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation. This test is to rule out any infection or fractures.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This diagnostic procedure uses a combination of large magnets and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. This test is done to rule out any associated abnormalities of the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan. This is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. A CT scan shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
  • Blood tests

Early detection of lordosis is important for successful treatment. Pediatricians or family healthcare providers, and even some school programs, routinely look for signs that lordosis may be present.

What is the treatment for lordosis?

Specific treatment for lordosis will be discussed with you by your child’s healthcare provider based on:

  • Your child’s age, overall health, and medical history
  • The underlying cause of the lordosis
  • The extent of the condition
  • Your child’s tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the curve and minimize deformity. Management of lordosis will depend on the cause of the lordosis. Simple exercises may be sufficient if lordosis is associated with poor posture. However, lordosis occurring as a result of a hip problem may be treated as a part of the hip problem.

What is the long-term outlook for a child with lordosis?

The management of lordosis is individualized for each child depending on his or her age, amount of curvature, and amount of skeletal growth remaining. Lordosis may need frequent exams by your child’s healthcare provider to monitor the curve as your child grows and develops. Finding the condition early is important.

Help Your Back Work for You

Your back is important to almost every move you make, but you probably won’t realize that until you hurt it. Then you may wish you could return to the days when you took your back for granted and didn’t have any pain. Even though you can’t turn back time, you can recover from most back injuries. You can also learn how to protect your back so you’ll keep moving and stay comfortable in the future.

For people younger than 45, back pain is the most common cause of disability. A variety of factors can bring on this pain, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Poor muscle tone and being overweight strain your back. Improper twisting or lifting can send your back into spasms. Aging can make your back more at risk for injury. And sometimes, back pain happens for no known obvious reason.

Man leans against wall and presses lower back with expression of pain on his face.
Strong abdominal and back muscles can reduce your risk for injury. You can strengthen your back muscles by getting regular exercise.

At home

Simple home remedies can relieve most back pain. It will take some patience, but if you care for your back correctly, you should feel better within 6 weeks after the injury.

Rest in bed as little as possible—a few days at most, says the NINDS. Too much bed rest weakens your muscles and could slow your recovery. Get up and move around as soon as you can.

For the first 2 days, use ice or cold compresses. It may help to ease your back pain. Wrap a towel around a bag of ice and place it against the painful area for up to 20 minutes. You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables. This will change to fit the shape of your body. If you still have pain after 2 days, soothe your muscles with heat. Try a heating pad on its lowest setting, take a warm shower, or soak in a warm bath.

Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines may also help. Either of these can reduce muscle and joint inflammation and relieve pain. Talk with your healthcare provider about the right medicine for you.

When to call your healthcare provider

Your back pain may require medical attention. Call your healthcare provider if any of these statements apply:

  • Your back pain started after you fell or were struck.
  • Your leg feels weak or numb.
  • You have bladder or bowel problems.
  • Your pain doesn’t go away after a few weeks of home care.

Your healthcare provider will probably ask you when the pain started. It will help if you can tell your healthcare provider what makes the pain worse and what makes it better, like a specific activity or treatment.

Make it strong

Even if you’ve had back trouble, you can have a strong back. If you take care of your back, it’s more likely to carry you through the day with few complaints. Here are some guidelines for strengthening this important part of your body:

  • Maintain good posture.
  • Sit in a chair that supports your lower back. If you don’t have a supportive chair, place a small pillow or rolled-up towel against the curve in your lower back.
  • Exercise. Strong back muscles can reduce your risk for injury. Strong arms, legs, and belly muscles can reduce the work your back has to do. Aerobic exercise, like walking or biking, increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your back muscles. Choose your exercises carefully. For example, running may not be good for a weak back. Swimming and water aerobics support your back while you exercise. Walking is also a good choice. If you’ve had a serious back injury, you should talk with your healthcare provider before you start exercising regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. This will lessen the strain on your back. Your healthcare provider can tell you if you need to lose weight.
  • Learn how to lift properly. When you bend to pick something up—even a child—bend at your knees and keep your back straight. You may have to squat or kneel. This puts the stress on your legs. They are stronger than your back. When you pick up an object and carry it, hold it close to your body. The farther it is from the middle of your body, the more it strains your back.
  • Pay attention to pain or twinges. If you feel back pain during an activity, stop and rest. Your body may be trying to prevent you from harming your back.

Spinal cord stimulator

SPINAL CORD STIMULATION:
Constant agonizing pain is hard to imagine for most. It consumes you, confines you, and can destroy your family and work life. Spinal cord stimulation is a path you can take to move beyond the pain, to step back into the life you once new. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is the most commonly used implantable neurostimulation modality for management of pain syndromes. It is a pain treatment modality predicated on reducing the intensity, duration, and frequency in which pain is felt. Dr. Vashi uses the first and only system of its kind to allow for MRI’s to be performed with a stimulator in place!
Dr. Vashi mainly uses them to help control radicular pain, otherwise known as sciatica. It is not solely used postoperatively. At times, it can be used to control/manage your pain without having back surgery. It starts with a trial. This is important for a variety of reasons, but mainly it serves as an evaluation period for you and Dr. Vashi to determine if spinal cord stimulation is the right course of action for you. Before committing to long-term therapy, you will have 7-10 days with the trial to gauge its effectiveness. Call us today to schedule an appointment to see if you may be a candidate! 262-764-5595.