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Healthier Potato Salad

June 16th, 2019

Spring and warm weather means cookouts on the beach or in the backyard. Hamburgers and hot dogs are standard fare, along with sides like potato salad, coleslaw, and other mayonnaise-laden dishes that don't help our diet.

This healther option to potato salad uses greek yogurt with just a little bit of mayonnaise to keep the calories way down and flavor way up.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon salt, for cooking potatoes
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain, non-fat
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, light
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons red onions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 2 eggs, hard-cooked, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add 1-tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer. Stir a few times, until potatoes are fork tender, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and onion powder. Add to potatoes and gently stir to combine. Add celery, pickles, red onions, parsley and chopped eggs to potato mixture, stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour before serving. Potato salad can be made up to one day ahead.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Epidural Blood Patch for Spinal Headaches

June 11th, 2019
Epidural Blood Patch for Spinal Headaches

Headaches can occur due a variety of reasons. One of them is leakage of spinal fluid. This is called the spinal headache. Epidural blood patches are a treatment option for managing spinal headaches.

What is an Epidural Blood Patch?

When headache occurs due to leakage of spinal fluid, is essential that this process be stopped in order to relieve the headache.An epidural blood patch involves injection of blood into the spinal space (epidural space) which then closes the opening through which the leakage is occurring. This is a surgical procedure and can provide fast and effective relief.

When is an Epidural Blood Patch Offered to the Patient?

Spinal headaches can occur after procedures such as a lumbar puncture where a small hole is made in the lining of the spinal-cord with a fine needle in order to obtain a small amount of fluid that circulates around the spinal-cord (cerebrospinal fluid) for analysis. Normally, after the lumbar puncture procedure is complete, the hole that is created by a needle automatically closes.However, in certain cases small amounts of fluid may continue to leak out of this hole causing spinal headache. In such a situation an epidural blood patch may be offered to the patient.

How is an Epidural Blood Patch Procedure Performed?

The process involves autologous blood injection. This means that a small amount of blood is taken out of the veins of the patient and is then injected into the epidural space in close proximity to the site of lumbar puncture or where the hole is present. The blood that is injected clots and causes an increase in pressure which compresses and seals the hole shut. Further leakage of spinal fluid is this prevented and the headache is relieved.

The entire procedure does not take long to perform and patients can be discharged home the same day after a short period of observation. Patients may be requested to lie flat on their back for up to 4 hours following the procedure to allow for healing to begin.

How Safe is a Procedure?

The procedure is relatively safe. However it must be borne in mind that blood injected into a space where it does not belong can be an irritant. As a result, patients may experience mild back pain of leg pain. The chances of any infections occurring as a result the procedure are low as it is performed in sterile conditions.

Is it Effective?

Patient reports have varied but in most of the cases spinal headaches seem to resolve effectively following an epidural blood patch. In fact, in many cases this treatment can help avoid the requirement for surgery.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Running Posture Do’s And Don’ts

June 11th, 2019

Running Posture

Recently we discussed how important posture is for your spine. This is true no matter what you're doing, whether you're sitting in front of a computer, standing in line, or running in a marathon. How you hold yourself affects your body. Did you know you increase the amount of pressure on your spine when you run? This means you put yourself at an increased risk of injury when running, so maintaining proper running posture is important.

To review, a healthy spine should make a slight S-shape when viewed from the side. The bottom curve inward of the S would be the slight curve inward at your lower back, which gradually becomes a curve outward at your upper back. This leads up to another slight curve inward at the top of your spine. Good posture helps retain these natural curves, but bad posture warps them, putting your joints and bones in the wrong alignment and causing your body to work harder. This can cause fatigue, muscle strain, headaches, and back pain, but it can also weaken your spine, causing an increased risk of injury. Below are some tips to ensure you maintain good posture while running or walking.

How are you leaning?

Are you leaning too far forward or too far back? You want to keep your torso upright, straight but relaxed. Resist bending too far forward at the waist, as it puts pressure on your lower back knees. Bending too far back is usually a sign of upper body and arm fatigue, but it can make breathing difficult by preventing you from fully filling your diaphragm. It can be beneficial to incorporate more exercises to strengthen your core and upper body to make it easier to keep the right posture.

Where are your shoulders?

Are your shoulders scrunched up near your ears? It's best for them to actually be relaxed and back, just as you would keep them in any other activity. Keep them level while running, but relaxed enough to avoid tension that might strain the muscles in your back.

Where's your head at?

If you find yourself tilting your head far back, it's a sign you need to relax. Shake your muscles out. Tensing up only puts you in a position to hurt your muscles, making it harder to run. Keep your gaze ahead, scanning the horizon, not at your feet or above you.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Benefit Your Back – Low Impact Aerobic Exercise

June 6th, 2019

Benefit Your Back: Low-impact Aerobic Exercise

The term 'aerobic exercise' might make you think of a room full of sweaty people led by a shouting instructor, all stepping, kicking, and punching the air to a thumping soundtrack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the real definition is "activity in which the body's large muscles move in a rhythmic manner for a sustained period of time. Aerobic activity, also called endurance activity, improves cardiorespiratory fitness."

So, it's not about high kicks, loud music, sweatbands or spandex – it's about moving your muscles to improve your health. If you're one of the many people who suffer from back pain, take heart. It is possible to get the aerobic exercise you need without risking more pain or injury.

As always, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program; if you can make a habit of low-impact exercise activity, the potential benefits are significant. Here are some low-impact exercise ideas that are typically easy on the back.

Walking. Walking two to three miles three times per week is gentle on the back, and doesn't require special equipment beyond an appropriate pair of shoes. Walk indoors or out, or even on a treadmill.

Bicycling. Whether on the road (with a properly fitted safety helmet), at home on a stationary bike, or at the gym in a 'spin' class, cycling is a proven way of moving the muscles and improving cardiovascular health.

Elliptical trainer or stair machine. The smooth step or elliptical gliding motion of these machines will give you the aerobic workout of jogging without the pavement-pounding stress that can set off back, knee, or foot pain. Most machines have variable resistance, and pre-programmed workouts that alternate higher and lower levels of activity. Elliptical trainers add moving handles for upper body exercise.

Water aerobics. OK, you can have your music and your spandex in the pool, without the jumping around that can cause or aggravate back pain! The buoyance and resistance offered by water aerobics routines is a plus.

Meet your target heart rate

Work with your doctor or your trainer to set a target heart rate1, and make sure your exercise activity stays in the target zone. Elevating the heart rate for at least 20 minutes is the way to build cardiovascular strength, burn calories, and make real progress in fitness.

1Target heart rate depends on your individual health and level of conditioning, but a general range would be your age subtracted from 220. For example, a 45 year-old in good health should aim for a target pulse rate of 170-175 (220-45=175).


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Preventing Lower Back Pain Injuries when Shovelling Snow

June 1st, 2019
Preventing Lower Back Injuries When Shoveling Snow

Snow shoveling is one of the most common causes of lower back pain and injuries. This occurs frequently during the winter months, but can persist throughout the year if left untreated. However, there are certain ways in which one can shovel snow safely, preventing injuries to the back. In this article, we will briefly review these methods.

  1. Choosing the Appropriate Snow Shovel
  2. Snow shovels come in many different shapes and sizes, but the best way to prevent lower back injuries when shoveling snow is to use a shovel that is ergonomically designed. By placing minimal stress on the back, these shovels can help users to avoid injury. Using a shovel that is the right length and has a curved or adjustable handle can be extremely beneficial. These types of shovels allow the person to shovel snow without having to bend down too much. The best type of snow shovels tend to be lightweight (ideally made of plastic) so that they are easy to lift.

  3. Warming Up Before Shoveling Snow
  4. One of the common reasons for any form of injury is a lack of sufficient warm-up before performing the activity. This is especially true in the case of snow shoveling. In the winter months, back muscles tend to be stiff, requiring loosening up through simple exercise. Doing a simple warm-up can prevent injuries from shoveling snow.

  5. Performing Regular Exercise
  6. Regular exercise keeps the muscles firm, allowing them to maintain adequate strength and tone. This is extremely beneficial in preventing injury, as the muscles will be primed for any form of strenuous activity.

  7. Using Appropriate Lifting Techniques
  8. There are certain shoveling techniques that are useful in preventing back injuries. For example, rather than lifting the snow, it is better to just push it to one side. If the snow has to be lifted, specifically designed movements — placing the lowest amount of stress on the back — must be made. It is important to face towards the snow when trying to lift it, keeping the shoulders and the hips in a direct line with it. When bending down, bend at the hips rather than at the back. Then, bend at the knee so that most of the stress is placed on the quadriceps muscles rather than the back. Grip the shovel with both hands in a comfortable position. When shoveling the snow, avoid twisting the back in order to throw the snow away. Some claim that keeping the hands about one foot away from the handle of the shovel can help to ward off back injuries also.

  9. Start Small
  10. Initially, it is important that individuals start to shovel snow in small quantities. Once they have become accustomed to these safer techniques, larger amounts of snow can be shoveled. In the event that there is a huge layer of snow to shovel, it is recommended that the top layer be removed first. This layering process should be continued until the entire pile is removed. It is not recommended that individuals attempt to take the whole block of snow out in one attempt, as this can place a great deal of stress on the back.

  11. Taking Breaks
  12. Shoveling snow is not a commonly performed activity, and therefore can result in injury if too much is done in one session. Taking breaks between shoveling sessions or asking a friend to help can be a crucial decision.

  13. Wear the Right Footwear
  14. Snow can be slippery, so wearing the right footwear will provide a solid foundation on which a person can firmly stand on the ground and avoid slipping when shoveling snow. The examples listed above are just some of the ways in which a person can prevent lower back injuries when shoveling snow. Of course, if snow shoveling is not an option, then using a simple snowblower can be of great assistance. Also, these can be easier to use. In conclusion, keeping the above guidelines in mind can prevent a lifetime of lower back pain and injury.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Balloon Kyphoplasty

May 26th, 2019
Balloon Kyphoplasty

What is Balloon Kyphoplasty?

If a patient has vertebral compression fractures or scoliosis, a physician may recommend balloon kyphoplasty. This procedure is minimally invasive, and takes 30 minutes to an hour for each vertebra. Balloon kyphoplasty can help to relieve back pain and to properly align the spine.

Who needs Balloon Kyphoplasty?

If a patient has been diagnosed with a vertebral compression fracture due to osteoporosis, spinal trauma, or tumors, a physician may recommend balloon kyphoplasty. Symptoms of vertebral compression fracture can include height loss, weakness, numbness, and problems with mobility.

What are the steps in Balloon Kyphoplasty?

Insertion of Instruments

After a half-inch incision has been made, the surgeon uses special instruments to create a working channel in the damaged vertebral body.

Restoration of Vertebral Height

An inflatable bone tamp is inserted.

Inflating the Tamp

A cavity is created in the vertebral body by inflating the tamp.

Deflating the Tamp

The device is deflated. This leaves the cavity open.

End of Procedure

The cavity is then filled with bone cement to return stability to the damaged area. Tools are removed, and the incisions are closed.

After Surgery

Balloon kyphoplasty takes only half an hour to a hour per vertebrae. Most patients are released from the hospital within 24 hours. With this procedure, bracing isn't needed, and patients can return to their normal activities. Heavy lifting should be avoided for six weeks at the least.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Non-Surgical Options for Back Pain Relief

May 22nd, 2019

Nonsurgical Options for Back Pain Relief

Avoid Back Pain

The spine is one of the body’s most important musculoskeletal structures. It maintains posture and provides support while sitting, standing, walking, and running. An injury or medical condition that affects the spine may cause back pain. When left untreated, pain usually increases in severity—potentially reaching the point where a patient is no longer able to do the things they love or perform movements required for daily living.

Advancements in spine surgery have shed public light on the effectiveness of new minimally invasive spine procedures; however, surgery is not the only treatment option used to treat back pain. In fact, the majority of cases of back pain are effectively treated when patients adhere to the nonsurgical treatment plan prescribed by their orthopedic specialist. In most cases, a treatment plan will include a combination of medicine, physical therapy, and activity modification.

Medications

Commonly prescribed medications include the following:

  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Oral and topical medications that decrease inflammation and pain. Common over-the-counter NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. When over-the-counter NSAIDs provide little to no pain relief, a higher dose of the medication is available in prescription form.
  2. Corticosteroids. Powerful oral or injectable medications. By quickly decreasing swelling, inflammation, and pain, corticosteroids offer patients short-term relief from back pain while the injury or condition that is causing the pain is resolved.
  3. Antidepressants. Medications that decrease pain by improving mood and well being. Usually, antidepressants are used to treat unresolved chronic pain that does not respond to other treatment options.

For many patients, medications are used to control their symptoms so they can participate in a physical therapy program.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist is a trained medical professional who creates a treatment program with the goals of decreasing pain, improving strength and preventing future injuries/conditions. Treatment options a physical therapist may include in a treatment plan include the following:

  1. Passive therapy treatments. Treatments that are performed on the patient. Heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation are all examples.
  2. Active therapy treatments. Stretching and strengthening exercises. An active therapy plan is always tailored to the patient’s condition and activity level.


While continuously monitoring patients’ condition and progress, a physical therapist provides patients with individual attention and is able to make activity medication recommendations that will help speed up recovery.

Activity Modification

Slowing down, stopping, or altering activities that cause pain is called activity modification. Some of the most common activities that cause back pain include the following:

  • Working on a computer or using a mobile phone for a prolonged period of time
  • Walking or hiking with an overloaded backpack
  • Lifting heavy objects improperly
  • Impact sports
  • Running or walking with improper footwear
  • Over exercising

Simple changes in the frequency of these activities and/or the technique with which these activities are performed ensure that healing will occur and pain will not return.

Seeking Treatment

Back pain that does not go away on its own should always be treated by an orthopedic spine specialist. Their knowledge, skills, and experience allow them to determine exactly what is causing the pain and come up with a treatment plan to address it. In most cases, back pain goes away using nonsurgical treatment options such as the ones mentioned in this post. If you or someone you know is looking for a back pain relief solution, please contact our office to make an appointment.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


How to Make a Healthier Smoothie

May 22nd, 2019
Healthy Smoothie

Make-it-yourself smoothies are a wildly popular way to work more fruits and veggies into your diet. However, if you chase sweetness and flavor without making sure to include healthy ingredients, you could accidentally veer away from optimal dietary benefits.

Avoid fruit juices containing High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is implicated in the national obesity epidemic. To keep calories in line, add a little extra water or ice, and a little less juice. Other liquid ingredients that boast health benefits:

  • Green Tea, rich in anti-oxidants
  • Coconut Water, fresh from the shell or in powdered form
  • Non-dairy Milk, including soy, almond and even hemp milk

Sweeten naturally, minimize fat

Don't settle for artificial sweeteners – choose natural alternatives. Honey has been a part of human diets much longer than refined sugars, and agave is popular with many healthy food fans. Choose reduced-fat and lower-calorie versions of sorbet, yogurt, cottage cheese or sherbet. Summer is prime time for fresh fruits and vegetables, of course, and you can balance calories with other beneficial properties by knowing the nutritional value of the ingredients you choose.

Healthy add-ins

  • Kale or spinach, for vitamins and minerals, including healthy polyphenols
  • Ground flax seed, for omega-3 fats
  • Chia seeds, rich in omega-3 fats and a good source of fiber

Multi-Fruit Smoothie with Kale and Chia Seed

Makes: 3 to 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups washed and drained baby kale, thick stems removed
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (0% fat)
1 to 1 1/2 cups low fat or skim milk (more as desired)
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit - banana, blueberries, mango slices - whatever
favorite is on hand
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp honey (more as desired)

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor thoroughly blend kale, yogurt, milk and chia seeds. Add fruit and honey and continue blending until completely smooth with no chunks remaining. Add more milk to thin the smoothie if you desire.
  2. Pour in a glass and garnish with a few more blueberries and (if you wish) a sprig of mint.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Herniated Disc

May 21st, 2019

Condition and Causes

Herniated DiscIn between the vertebrae of the spine are cushions called discs. Theses discs contain an inner core, called the nucleus pulposus, and an outer wall, called the annulus fibrosis. If the annulus degenerates or tears, the nucleus can seep into the annulus and cause the disc to bulge and protrude. This bulging disc may press against nerves and cause pain. When the inner core pushes through the annulus fibrosis, it's called a herniated disc. The tear in the annulus fibrosis created by this bulging of the inner core causes back pain. That pain may spread to a different area of the body if the now protruding disc is putting pressure on a spinal nerve.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The main symptom of a herniated disc is sharp and acute pain, often described as a "deep pain," which increases in severity as it moves down the affected leg. Pain onset may occur suddenly, or be preceded by a snapping or tearing sensation in the spine. This sensation may be attributed to the annulus fibrosis suddenly tearing.

There is often a limited range of motion present in patients with herniated discs, and patients will often lean to one side when bending over. Walking will often be painful, with patients attempting to alter their gait by straightening the affected leg to avoid putting too much weight on it.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is often used to diagnose a herniated disc. CT scans are also helpful for providing better images of the source of pressure if a nerve root is being pressed upon by the herniated disc.

Treatment

Rest, medication and physical therapy are usually successful when treating a herniated disc. Medications like anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to help with pressure and pain.

Surgery is not often needed for a herniated disc, but if a patient doesn't respond to rest, physical therapy and medications over a long period of time, surgery may be recommended.

Risks and Benefits

Failure to take preventive measures for any spinal condition may result in a further aggravated condition. Surgical measures for advanced cases may give relief from extremity pain. The risks involved with surgery are common - infection, blood loss, damage to nerves and spine - and some specific to your treatment. This material is intended to give the patient an overview of surgical procedures and treatments and is not intended to replace the advice and guidance of a physician. Always consult with your doctor about the particular risks and benefits of your treatment.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.


Summer Red Snapper With Tomato and Fennel

May 16th, 2019

Summer Red Snapper With Tomato and Fennel

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 – Red Snapper Filets (6 – 8 oz.)
1/2 Bulb Fennel, Sliced Thin
1 Medium/Large Tomato, Sliced
1/2 Medium Vidalia Onion, Sliced Thin
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme or 1/4 Teaspoon Whole Thyme
1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Lemon, Sliced

  1. Preheat over 350 degree.
  2. In a 9 x 13 baking pan scatter half of the sliced onion and fennel.
  3. Top vegetables with the snapper filets.
  4. Scatter the remaining onion and fennel on top of the fish. Top with sliced tomato.
  5. Season with Thyme, Parsley, Salt and Pepper to Taste.
  6. Drizzle Olive Oil over everything.
  7. Bake 350 Degree 15 to 20 minutes, then broil 3 minutes.
  8. Serve with vegetable, crusty bread and lemon slices.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.