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.

Considering Back Surgery, Things to Ask When Selecting a Spinal Surgeon

Considering Back Surgery, Things to Ask When Selecting a Spinal Surgeon

Do you have a history of chronic back pain? Are you considering back surgery? If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that each year approximately 600,000 people in the United States will have back surgery.

Surgery of any type is a major consideration, and selecting the right physician to perform your spine surgery is critical to a successful outcome. General questions you should ask when seeking the right spinal surgeon include:

  1. What treatment options were suggested?
    Back surgery is not the only treatment option available. Were you given a comprehensive evaluation to identify the best plan of action that’s customized for your needs? Were other, noninvasive methods tried before surgery was suggested?
  2. Do you feel informed?
    Your spine surgeon is there to not only perform the surgery but also to explain the process, the risks and potential complications as well as the post-op care and recovery. Were you able to ask questions, and do you feel comfortable with the decision to have surgery?
  3. What type of surgeon should perform your back surgery?
    Neurosurgeons have extensive additional fellowship training in spine surgery beyond that of a general surgeon and perform surgeries that non-neurosurgical spine surgeons can’t perform. Also, spine cases make up 70% of the cases neurosurgeons see in training and practice, a far greater percentage than other types of surgical specialties.
  4. What is the main focus of the surgeon’s medical practice?
    A surgeon whose practice is focused on comprehensive spinal care and spine surgery will be more up-to-date with treatment options and surgical techniques than a physician who performs occasional spinal surgery. Ask how often the surgeon has performed the procedure and his or her success rate.
  5. What can you expect in terms of the healing process and clinical outcomes?
    While every patient is different, an experienced surgeon who performs a procedure on a regular basis can provide general guidelines as to the expected postoperative healing and progress at different milestones.

Dr. Marano has been providing comprehensive spinal care to the people of Eastern Idaho for more than 30 years. He brings a high level of expertise and experience to the care of each and every patient seen at Spine Surgery of Idaho. If you’ve been experiencing back pain and are considering surgery or would like a second opinion, we encourage you to make an appointment today… and to bring this list in along with your own questions. You can call 208-522-6930, or go online to schedule an appointment.