Exercise to Alleviate Pain

Exercise to Alleviate Pain

If you are living with chronic back and spinal pain, that last thing you’ll probably want to do is exercise. Many people feel that exercise can worsen their pain or injury, or that it may prevent healing. What many chronic pain sufferers don’t realize is that some exercise can actually help reduce certain kinds of back, neck and spinal pain with cardiovascular, flexibility, and strengthening exercise.

Walking for healthy muscles

Walking can be very beneficial for people who are suffering from pain, if they are able to do so. Walking is a simple, light aerobic exercise that almost anyone can do, as it is low-impact and can be done just about anywhere. Walking helps the body to supply more oxygen to the muscles, build stamina, and reduce pain and stiffness. Try walking around a shopping mall, your neighborhood, a park, a local track, or the beach.

Swimming to ease joint pain

One of the best low-impact exercises that’s easy on your joints is swimming. The “low-gravity” effect of water prevents any sudden jolts or pressure from being put on the joints. Your movements and reactions are forced to slow down, helping you to strengthen the muscles around your joints without sustaining any additional injuries. Look for a community or gym pool if you don’t have one at home.

Yoga for increased flexibility and posture

Yoga is perfect for targeting certain muscle groups, as well as adjusting the intensity to your comfort level. Yoga helps to build endurance, increase flexibility and improve posture, poor sleeping habits, and concentration. If you are bedridden, start small with breathing and meditation, concentrating on specific areas of the body.

Stretching for improved mobility

Simple stretching can help to reduce a wide variety of pain problems. Stretching can promote better circulation and blood flow to the muscles for improved functionality. It also helps to loosen tight, stiff muscles while improving your muscles’ range of motion. Like walking, stretching can be done almost anywhere.

For more information on what you can do to ease your back and spinal pain through exercise, stop by the office and ask for a free booklet on any of these:

  • Neck Exercises for a Healthy Neck
  • Back Exercises for a Healthy Back
  • Walking for Fitness

Or, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to schedule an appointment.

How to Keep Your Spine Healthy

How to Keep Your Spine Healthy

A healthy spine is fundamentally important to your overall well-being, which is why it’s important to take an active role in improving and maintaining our spine health. Here are a few ways to get started…

Avoid prolonged sitting

Prolonged sitting can place added pressure on the discs in the lower spine and can aggravate and even create painful back issues. When sitting down for long periods of time, our bodies tend to naturally slouch and lean forward, which strains the lumbar discs further. While at work, make sure your chair supports your back. If you can, get up to move around at least once every hour, or invest in a stand-up desk. In addition, stretching helps relieve pressure on your spine.

Wear supportive shoes

The shoes you wear can have negative or positive effects on your spine health, depending a few factors. Be sure you’re wearing shoes with a supportive base, and use cushioned inserts for extra support. Your shoe should fit the back of the heel snugly, but not too tightly. A good fit in the heel minimizes the risk of the foot rolling too much to the outside or inside, which can negatively affect your spinal alignment.

Treat yourself to a massage

Massage provides numerous therapeutic benefits for the back, neck and spine. Massages can help to produce and deliver endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller) into your bloodstream to help ease your pain. Massage also promotes healthy circulation, which can speed up the healing process after an injury.

Lift properly

It’s easy to twist incorrectly and potentially damage your spine if you aren’t using proper form while lifting heavy objects. To lift properly, stand close to the object and focus on using your legs, rather than your back or upper body, to push up and support the item you’re lifting.

Get regular sleep

Sleep is crucial to your overall health and wellness, as it provides a time for the body to repair itself. Try to adapt to side-sleeping positions, rather than sleeping on your stomach, which can put too much pressure on your spine. Invest in a supportive mattress as well as a pillow that promotes proper alignment of your neck, and turn/flip your mattress regularly so it wears evenly.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise, whether it be visits to the gym or walks through the neighborhood, will help to maintain the health of your spine. The best exercises for your spine are activities that combine stretching, strengthening and aerobic activity. Exercise will help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight to prevent extra strain on your spine.

Pay attention to warning signs

Lastly, pay attention to any warning signs that your spine may be injured or unhealthy. Don’t ignore spinal problems or pain, especially if it goes on for more than a couple weeks. If left untreated, spinal pain can worsen over time and become more serious.

If you’ve been suffering from neck or back pain, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to schedule an appointment.

Back Pain Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Back Pain Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Experiencing back pain is quite common, so much that many have grown accustomed to living in pain with no relief. In fact, eight out of 10 people will experience back pain at least once throughout their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Back pain can come on quickly in sharp, stabbing pains, or it can come on as a gradual, dull ache that lasts for years. Regardless of how your pain begins, it’s important to pay attention to certain pain symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore.

Common symptoms of back pain

In some cases, back pain isn’t serious and will go away within a couple weeks’ time. Common symptoms of back pain may include:

  • Stiff or sore feelings along the spine, from the neck to the tailbone
  • Sudden, localized pain in the neck or back that often occurs after heavy lifting or laborious activity
  • Persistent ache in the mid to low back after prolonged standing or sitting
  • Difficulty standing without pain or muscle spasms in the back

When to see a doctor

Other types of back pain are serious and should be evaluated and treated by a doctor. It’s important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain doesn’t subside after a few days of rest, ice, or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
  • Tingling, numbness or weakness in the groin, arms or legs; which can be a sign of spinal cord damage (seek immediate medical assistance)
  • Radiating back pain that extends down the buttock to the back of the leg and into toes, which is a sign of sciatica
  • Pain is exacerbated by coughing or bending over forward at the waist, which is sign of a herniated disc
  • Pain involves a fever, burning while urinating, or frequent and/or urgent urination, which can be a sign of an infection
  • Difficulty with bowel or bladder control (seek immediate medical assistance)
  • Pain in an area of a previous injury of surgery
  • Relentless pain or pain that worsens over time
  • Pain associated with bruising or pressure
  • Pain is involved with excessive swelling or a deformity
  • Decreased range of motion

Back pain can manifest itself in many forms. But the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho offer advanced diagnostics and state-of-the-art techniques to effectively treat your pain. It’s time you stop living with pain. Call (208) 944-0056 to schedule an appointment today.

Eliminate Back Pain

Eliminate Back Pain

Chronic back pain is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year. If you’re plagued with chronic back pain, you understand the debilitating effects it can have on your life and well-being. But back pain is not something you have to live with forever. There are many treatments available to relieve your pain and get you back to the life you once knew.

What causes and risk factors are associated with back pain?

Back pain will often develop without a clear cause, and will require further tests performed by your physician to locate the source of your pain. Common conditions that can contribute to severe and persistent pain include:

  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • Skeletal irregularities
  • Ruptured or bulging disks
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis

In addition, risk factors that can make you more susceptible to back pain are:

  • Age
  • Weight gain
  • Smoking
  • Health and psychological conditions
  • Lack of exercise
  • Improper lifting

Eliminating back pain

Treating your back pain will depend on the cause and severity of your condition. Some of these treatments may be used simultaneously for effective treatment and optimal lasting results.

Medications

Medications are usually the first course of treatment to relieve your back pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants and topical pain relievers are among the medications that may be utilized.

Injections

Injections can help detect the source of your pain, as well as provide temporary relief. Injections usually consist of a local anesthetic and/or steroid solution.

Physical therapy and massage

Conservative treatment, like physical therapy and massage, can eliminate or lessen pain without requiring surgery. These treatments will help to strengthen and recondition the muscles to allow your body to move more easily without pain.

Surgery

Surgery is typically only used when all other treatment methods have been explored without successful relief. Your surgical treatment will depend on your condition and its severity.

Chiropractic referral

In some cases, you may benefit from chiropractic techniques to treat your back pain. In this case, an experienced chiropractor will be referred to you.

If you are interested in treating your chronic back pain, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to schedule your first appointment.

What to Expect at Your Consultation

What to Expect at Your Consultation

When seeking relief from your chronic back and neck pain, there are many factors to consider. Treating chronic pain requires an individualized approach to find lasting relief, and will depend on the source and location of your pain, and the severity of your symptoms. If you have been suffering from chronic back and neck pain that affects your quality of life, it’s time you schedule a consultation with our spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho.

If you haven’t been to our offices before, or haven’t been in for more than three years, you are considered a new patient and must inform our staff about any changes in your name, address, telephone numbers, or insurance changes that have occurred during that time. In addition, you will need to fill out all necessary paperwork prior to coming to the office for your scheduled appointment. You will have the choice of downloading the paperwork, or the office will send it to you. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time for registration.

What to bring

There are a few important items you should bring with you to your consultation appointment, including:

  • Insurance card(s)
  • Written referral (if required by insurance), or sent by your primary care physician
  • Patient forms you may have downloaded and completed at home
  • A list of current allergies and all medications
  • Co-payment, if necessary

During your consultation

Your comfort and care are our top priorities throughout your experience, starting with your first consultation. At your first consultation we will:

  • Perform a thorough physical examination
  • Evaluate the medical history of your current spine problem
  • Review any previous treatments you’ve had in the past
  • Consider other medical conditions that may need review

After these steps have been taken, advanced diagnostic tests may be ordered to accurately assess the source of your back and neck pain and determine the right treatment plan for you. Some diagnostic tests include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI)
  • Myelography
  • Nerve Blocks
  • Epidural Injection
  • Computerized Tomography (CT)
  • Bone Density Scan
  • Discograms
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Dynamic X-ray

Stop suffering from chronic back and neck pain. Call Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to see how our spine specialists can help relieve your pain and get you back on track.

Get the Facts on Whiplash

Get the Facts on Whiplash

Whiplash is a common neck strain that occurs when the neck is suddenly and forcefully whipped backward and then forward again, causing mild to moderate strain in the neck. The strain is caused by the pulling of the muscles and ligaments in your neck beyond their normal range of motion. Sometimes the pain caused by whiplash is not initially present and can take a couple days to manifest.

Symptoms of whiplash

Symptoms of whiplash can be mild to moderate and can last up to several weeks. Symptoms generally include:

  • Difficulty moving the neck
  • Pain, stiffness or tension in the neck
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulders, upper back or arms
  • Worsening pain with movement
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches at the base of the skull
  • Dizziness

Some less common, but notable symptoms include:

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Irritability
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Impaired memory or concentration

Causes of whiplash

Whiplash can be caused by a variety of events. Although car accidents are the number one culprit and the most well known cause of whiplash, contact sports can also put you at risk for whiplash. Accidents while participating in sports like skiing, cycling or horseback riding can also cause whiplash.

When to see a physician

Though most people wait out the symptoms of whiplash until they go away, it is important to know certain times when seeing a physician is beneficial. If the pain felt from whiplash is severe or if you are experiencing any pain, numbness or tingling in your shoulders, arms or legs that’s affecting your normal routine, it may be time to seek professional treatment.

Treatment options for whiplash

After a discussion of your symptoms and a thorough examination of your neck by your physician, there are a few things he or she may recommend moving forward. Some treatment options to help relieve symptoms include:

  • Ice or heat – Applying ice or heat to the muscle strain for 15-minute increments, several times a day can help relax the muscles.
  • Rest – Rest can help ease future pain, but it’s only helpful in the first 24 hours after the incident.
  • Injections – Sometimes an injection of a numbing agent called lidocaine (Xylocaine) can be beneficial to treatment.
  • OTC pain medications – Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can aid in relieving mild cases of whiplash.
  • Prescription medications – In more severe and rare cases, a prescription pain reliever can help with short-term treatment.
  • Muscle relaxants – In more moderate cases where sleep patterns are affected, sometimes a muscle relaxant can help.

If you have been in a recent accident that is causing muscle strain, call the experts at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 522-6930 to schedule your appointment.