Will Doing Yoga Hurt My Knees?

May 11th, 2019

Will Doing Yoga Hurt My Knees?

Avoid Back Pain

It is important to understand how your body responds to exercise. Because yoga is typically thought of as being less strenuous than walking, running, or lifting weights, many patients are unaware of the effects yoga can have on their knees.

The knee is a large and complex joint made up of bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Patients who injure their knee typically experience pain that may range from mild to severe. Some of the most common causes of knee injuries include overuse, overtraining, and not performing movements/exercises properly. If you are thinking about starting yoga, here is all of the information you need to help you avoid knee injuries and maximize knee health.

General Yoga Participation Guidelines

In simple, straightforward terms that relate to knee health, yoga can be described as a series of physical poses and meditation activities that promote musculoskeletal health and overall well being. General guidelines to follow while participating in yoga include the following:

  1. Start slowly. Yoga can be challenging. Trying to do too much too soon may cause injuries or pain.
  2. Work with a trained instructor. Instructors who have been properly trained know how to teach clients how to perform poses properly.
  3. Do not do poses that hurt. Some yoga poses may be uncomfortable. When discomfort turns into pain, your body is telling you to stop.

By following these simple guidelines, you will be able to enjoy yoga and have fun. Additionally, you will be able to create a unique yoga program tailored to your wants, desires, and goals. This program can exclude poses that may cause knee pain and include poses that are great for your knees.

Yoga Poses That May Cause Knee Pain

If you are concerned about knee pain while participating in yoga, you should be aware that the following poses have been known to cause pain:

  1. The camel pose. Direct pressure is placed on the knees while they uncomfortably rest on the floor.
  2. The hero pose. The knee ligaments are stretched and pressured.
  3. The lotus pose. May overstretch the knee muscles, ligaments, and tendons if they are not flexible enough for the pose.

These poses should be modified or stopped if they cause pain.

Yoga Poses That Are Great for Your Knees

Poses that can increase your knee strength and flexibility and help prevent knee injuries include the following:

  1. The supported chair pose. Used to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles that support, extend, and flex the knee.
  2. The bridge pose. Primarily used to strengthen the quadriceps and lower back muscles. Also used to strengthen the calves, ankles, and feet.
  3. The mountain pose. Used to improve posture and strengthen the entire lower body.

It is important to realize that the benefits of these poses may only be seen when they are performed properly. As previously mentioned, working with a trained instructor is always recommended.

Seeking Additional Advice

You now know that yoga should not hurt your knees. You also know that it can be tremendously beneficial to your knee health. If you are ready to start yoga, but want more advice or want an orthopedic specialist to evaluate your knees, please do not hesitate to 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, All Rights Reserved.

Gardening, Yard Work and Back Strain

May 6th, 2019

Gardeners, Protect Your Spine!

Digging, weeding, planting, carrying, spading, watering – there’s a lot of potential for back pain in the average flower or vegetable garden. As the Spring and Summer seasons bring in prime gardening weather, how can we protect our spines?

Gardening and Your Back: Preparation

After a long, relatively inactive winter, it’s time to prep your garden beds for the flowers or the vegetables that liven up your meals and brighten up your home. Just as many people use a greenhouse or cold frame to get the jump on spring, the smart gardener can take some steps to make sure that their body is ready for the work ahead. In the months and weeks before you start digging in the dirt, step you exercise routine, add some yoga and gentle stretching and generally tone up. A few sessions a week will improve your general health and disposition, and will likely help you avoid the painful consequences of jumping into the work of gardening before you’re in shape. Before getting down to work, consider taking a brisk walk, and doing some lunges and warmup stretches, so you’re more ready to exert yourself.

Another important prep step: remember to hydrate! Your muscles function better when you combat the effects of sun and exertion by drinking extra water before, during and after working outdoors. Also, when your water intake is sufficient, you might be a little less likely to experience muscle cramps or spasms.

Remember, too, to protect yourself from the sun. A wide brimmed hat and long sleeves might not prevent back spasms, but you’re less likely to incur a painful and potentially dangerous case of sunburn. Sun safety also includes protecting your eyes by wearing sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses.

Gardening and Your Back: Tools

The tools you use can make a significant difference when it comes to protecting your back while gardening. Begin with hand tools: using short-handled tools for digging, weeding and planting can lead you to lean over the work, inviting lower back strain. Using longer handles helps you maintain a more erect posture. Be careful to rely on your legs and spare your back when lifting bags of soil, mulch or fertilizer. Don’t kneel to garden without a pad – you’re likely to feel stiff and sore afterward, from the knees through the hips to the lumbar region. It’s even better to use a stool, or even a rolling seat, to keep pressure off your knees and stress off your spine. Will you be re-potting plants? Set up a table so you can stand up to do this, instead of leaning over the job. A wheeled tool caddy can help you avoid getting up and down all the time to fetch the implement you put down at the far end of the row.

Gardening and Your Back: Mix up the chores, spread out the work

You might be thinking your garden patch needs a full day of spading and fertilizing, but restrain yourself! For the sake of your back, it’s better to vary your yardwork chores throughout the day. Try breaking up the big tasks with some smaller ones, for the mental AND the physical variety. Remember to take breaks at frequent intervals, to avoid fatigue and overexertion. A little planning can keep you from overdoing your garden tending tasks, and your back will thank you for it.

Gardening and Your Back: Posture

Lifting - remember to use your knees, legs and hips when hefting bags of soil or mulch, or shifting a shovel of dirt. If there’s a lot of material, whether pruned branches, grass clippings or landscaping blocks, move a little bit at a time.

Weeding and harvesting - use that wheeled bench when moving about your garden plot. Leaning over or bending at the waist are much more likely to strain your back muscles than a mindful, back-sparing approach to the job.

Raking – switch hands often when using your leaf rake, hoe or garden cultivator, so you don’t overuse your dominant hand. A more balanced approached to those sweeping and pulling tasks will help keep you pain free for the next day’s chores.

Mowing - if you push a mower or wheeled spreader for seed or fertilizer, be careful not to lean forward too far, as this can inflict strain on your spine. Keep your erect posture in mind as you relax your back and push with your arms and legs.

To sum up: With a little advance planning, a careful selection and use of tools, and a little mindfulness while you work, you can enjoy the best parts of gardening. Here’s to your crop of flowers, vegetables, lush grass, herbs or whatever it is that gives you satisfaction. May you enjoy the fruits of your labor pain-free!

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, All Rights Reserved.

My Back Hurts: Is it my posture?

May 1st, 2019

To treat a condition, it helps to identify the cause. If you're experiencing back pain and think it may be due to poor posture, the information in this post may be used to help you identify pain producing posture deviations.

The spine is a very interesting and important musculoskeletal structure. It stabilizes the body, protects the spinal cord, and determines posture. When the muscles, ligaments, and bones of the spine are healthy and anatomical, the spine rests in a neutral position. Patients who have a neutral spine are said to have good posture.

Posture Deviations

Patients who have a spine that deviates from a neutral position are said to have a posture deviation. Initially, a minor posture deviation may cause little to no pain; however, a posture deviation that remains uncorrected for an extended period of time may become worse and produce pain. Usually, a posture deviation puts an excessive amount of stress and strain on the spinal ligaments and tendons, which may lead to any of the following injuries/conditions:

  • A ligament sprain
  • A tendon strain
  • Muscle spasms, fatigue, and/or weakness

Pain that ranges from mild to severe typically accompanies these injuries/conditions. The pain relief provided by rest and medications is usually temporary if a posture deviation is the cause of the pain. To determine if your pain is being caused by a posture deviation, look for the following key signs:

  • Pain that worsens as the day progresses
  • Pain that starts at the neck and moves down the spine
  • Pain that goes away when you change positions
  • Pain that suddenly occurs when you change positions or perform a new task

Once a posture deviation is suspected as the cause of your pain, you can use a mirror to check and see if you have one or more of the common posture deviations listed below.

Common Posture Deviation 1: A Hunchback or Round Back

The thoracic region of the spine consists of twelve vertebrae (T1-T12). An anatomical thoracic spine has an outward curve. Patients who display a greater than normal curve are said to have a hunchback or a round back. The most common cause of this condition is poor posture. Sings that indicate the condition is present include the following:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Mid-back pain
  • Mid-back weakness
  • Back spasms
  • Stiffness
  • A visible hump/hunch

In many cases, a hunchback can be easily corrected by paying close attention to your posture and correcting it when you slouch or lean over. Avoiding activities that require leaning or hunching over for a long period of time is also recommended.

Common Posture Deviation 2: Anterior Pelvic Tilt

The lumbar or lower back region of the spine consists of five vertebrae (L1-L5). The pelvis is a bony structure that rests below the lumbar spine. Anterior pelvic tilt occurs when the pelvis tilts too far forward. The most noticeable sign of anterior pelvic tilt is an arch in the lower back. Lower back pain, weakness, and stiffness are usually associated the condition. Key activities that patients with the condition should avoid include the following:

  • Sitting at a computer or desk for more than 1-2-hours without getting up
  • Spending a prolonged period of time on a mobile or tablet device

To correct the condition, patients are advised to start a physical therapy program geared toward stretching and strengthening the abs, core, hips, glutes, and hamstrings.

Seeking Treatment

Back pain that does not go away after simple postural corrections are made needs to be seen by an orthopedic spine specialist. If a posture deviation is found to be the cause of pain, a specialist can work with you to create the perfect treatment solution. In many cases, a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in posture deviations will be part of the treatment plan. When you are ready to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic spine specialists, please contact our office today.

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, All Rights Reserved.

Lumbar Disc Microsurgery

April 26th, 2019
Lumbar Disc Microsurgery

What is Lumbar Disc Microsurgery?

Lumbar disc microsurgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that is used to treat herniation of the lumbar disc. It utilizes a special microscope that can clearly visualize the lumbar disc and the nerves that are close proximity to it. This microscope enables the surgeon to have a magnified view of the structures, thus helping them get clearer views and better access to the lumbar disc. The advantage of this minimally invasive surgical technique is that the damage to the neighboring structures is minimal.

When is Lumbar Disc Microsurgery Performed?

Lumbar disc microsurgery is performed when the intervertebral discs that lie between the lumbar vertebrae start to protrude out through their designated space and impinge upon the nerve fibres that originate from the spinal-cord. This disc prolapse can cause shooting pains down the leg with associated numbness. Patients may find difficulty walking and mobilizing as a result.

How is Lumbar Disc Microsurgery Performed?

Prior to the procedure, consent is obtained from the patient and the patient is administered a local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. The site of operation is cleaned with antiseptic solution and covered in sterile drapes.

A small incision is made directly over the vertebra where the lumbar disc has prolapsed. Through this incision, instruments are inserted so as to gain access to the herniated lumbar intervertebral disc. When doing so, a small part of the vertebra called the lamina may need removed so as to gain access to the discs. The removal of the lamina is called laminectomy.

Once this aspect has concluded, the nerve fibers are visible and gently moved to the side. This allows clear visualization of the herniated lumbar disc. The part of the disc that is herniated is removed and any fragments are also taken out. The rest of the disc is left in place to carry on functioning as normal.

The instruments are then removed and the wound is closed with a simple bandage. The patient is observed for a short period of time, sometimes overnight, and is then discharged home.

After the Operation

Patients are requested to stay mobile following the surgery. If required, painkillers may be prescribed. It is not uncommon for patients experience mild amount of discomfort but this usually passes in a few minutes. Keeping mobile can help reduce the formation of scar tissue and promotes better healing.


Most patients experience a great deal of relief of their symptoms, which persists for years to come.


It is important to remember that surgery helps most patients, not all of them. There is a small risk of damage to the nerve fibers arising from the spine during manipulation. Infections may occur but again these are rare.

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, All Rights Reserved.


April 21st, 2019

What is Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle due to bone tissue thinning and bone density loss over time. This creates an increased risk of fractures as bones become weak and brittle. The bones can become so fragile that a fall, coughing, or even bending over can cause a fracture.

What causes Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis occurs when the body does not get enough calcium, or if the body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet. Calcium is essential for the normal bone formation. Throughout youth, the body uses calcium to produce bones. Insufficient amounts of calcium can cause osteoporosis.

With the passage of age, calcium and phosphate may be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones. This makes the bone tissues weaker and as a result the bones become fragile. Osteoporosis may also occur if the body fails to form enough new bones, when too much old bones are reabsorbed by the body, or both. Women typically experience an increase in bone density loss during menopause due to an estrogen deficiency.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Osteoporosis does not show any symptoms or pain in the early stages. But once the condition has developed and the bones become weak, several symptoms may be noticed. Symptoms may include neck pain, height loss, back pain, and stooped posture. Bone pain or tenderness and fractures of hip, wrist, vertebrae, and other bones may also occur.

One of the serious risks of osteoporosis is that the bones become so weakened that they begin to compress or collapse. Fractures due to compression can be severely painful and they require a long time for recovery. Multiple fractures due to compression can result in loss of height and stooped posture.

Osteoporosis is usually diagnosed by measuring the bone density. The most commonly used test is Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). DEXA is a quickly and accurately measures the density of bones in areas most likely to be affected by this disorder, like the spine, wrist, and hip. DEXA is used to accurately follow the changes in these bones over time.

X-rays may be used to show fracture or collapse of the spinal bones, but simple X-rays of the bones can not accurately predict whether someone is likely to suffer from osteoporosis. In some rare cases, Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT) or simple CT scanning is also used.

How is Osteoporosis Treated?

Physical therapy programs can be helpful to build bone strength and improve body posture, balance and muscle strength, making falls less likely. Regular exercise reduces the likelihood of bone fractures. Examples of useful exercises are walking, jogging, yoga, stationary bicycling, stretch bands, and dancing.

Osteoporosis can also be treated with medication. Bisphosphonates are the primary drugs used to both prevent and treat osteoporosis. These drugs inhibit bone breakdown, increase bone density, and preserve bone mass. Calcitonin is a drug that slows the rate of bone loss and helps to relieve bone pain. Teriparatide is a powerful drug that treats osteoporosis by stimulating new bone growth.

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, All Rights Reserved.

Pasta Carbonara

April 16th, 2019
Pasta Carbonara

This is comfort food that's quick and easy. The sauce can be ready in less time than it takes to cook the pasta!


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil – use less if adding meat
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 12 ounces spaghetti or fettucine
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Meat option: 1 generous 1/2 cup of lean bacon or pancetta


  1. Cook the pasta al dente
  2. Melt the butter in a pan, add bacon/pancetta (or olive oil) and garlic and cook until the garlic browns. Remove and discard the garlic.
  3. Drain the spaghetti and add to the pan.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, pour in the eggs, add half the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Mix well so that the egg coats the pasta.
  6. Add the remaining cheese, mix again and serve

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, All Rights Reserved.

5 Ways to fight summer weight gain

April 11th, 2019

Sometimes winter isn’t the only season you need to worry about gaining weight. Summer barbeques, picnics, and gatherings typically have lots of irresistible food. Add a vacation where you break your normal diet and exercise routine into the mix and summer becomes a season where the pounds can add up quickly. Luckily, there are five easy things you can do to help keep your weight in check this summer.

1 - Stay hydrated

Summer is hot. There’s no way of getting around it. Regardless of where of where you live, the chances of becoming dehydrated increase in the summer. While most people know of the immediate health consequences that can occur due to dehydration (passing out, headaches, nausea), the association between dehydration and weight gain is often times not as well known. Specifically, the strong correlation between dehydration and a binge eating episode.

A binge eating episode occurs when you eat a large quantity of food over a short period of time. The number one trigger for binge eating is dehydration. Depleting your body of the fluids it needs leads to your body going into starvation mode. When you sit down to eat, your brain will tell your body to devour as much as possible and a binge eating episode that can’t be stopped will begin.

Some specifics rules of thumb to help you stay hydrated and avoid binge eating include the following:

  • Drink at least 2 liters of water every day
  • Drink sports drinks with electrolytes when you are outside for an extended period of time
  • Avoid excessively drinking beverages with caffeine, alcohol, and sugar

Because dehydration can occur quickly, it's recommended that you drink water even when you're not very thirsty. This will help keep your hydration levels steady throughout the day.

2 - Develop an exercise routine

It’s perfectly normal to not like exercising in the heat. Only an exercise routine that you enjoy doing and fits into your schedule will be one that you’ll be able to stick to. Great ways to beat the heat when exercising include the following:

  • Swimming
  • Lifting weights
  • Playing indoor basketball or volleyball
  • Indoor exercise classes

If you have the money, joining a gym is a great idea. Modern gyms are great at accommodating all types of people and making exercise exciting and fun.

3 - Only eat once when you’re at a party

Summer parties typically have tons of unhealthy snack foods like chips, dips, cookies, and candies. If you’re at a party, you obviously want to enjoy yourself and eat some of these foods. To enjoy these foods without gaining weight, avoid consistent snacking. Fix yourself one moderately sized plate of food and sit down and eat it.

4 - Bring snacks with you when you go on a trip

Going on a trip without snacks makes picking up junk food at a gas station or fast food restaurant super easy. Packing healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, sandwiches, and protein bars will help keep you full. The urge to grab junk food will go away and you won’t have to worry about gaining weight because of your trip.

5 - Limit the amount alcohol you drink

In the summer, cold alcoholic beverages like beer, daiquiris, and wine coolers can help you temporarily cool down and feel relaxed. Unfortunately, they can also cause dehydration and weight gain. All alcoholic beverages have empty calories that offer no nutritional benefits. Drinking one or two beverages every week or so may add a few hundred calories to daily caloric intake, which shouldn’t cause you to gain weight. Drinking beverages in excess will cause your intake to go up and eventually lead to weight gain.


A holistic approach to fight summer weight gain is necessary. Use the information in this post to help you make easy changes that will keep you looking and feeling great. If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our experts, please feel free to contact our office.

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, All Rights Reserved.

Spring Spine Maintenance

April 6th, 2019
Spring Spine Maintenance

Spring is in full bloom in the northern hemisphere, with summer right around the corner. People are getting outside, and resuming activities they haven’t done through the winter months. Unfortunately, asking your spine to go ‘from zero to sixty’ is one of the factors that makes spring a peak season for back injuries. Here are a few tips to help folks spend their time golfing, boating or working in the garden instead of sitting in the doctor’s exam room.

Exercises and Spine Health

A popular but misguided belief about exercise and spine health is that exercise should cease when a patient is experiencing back pain. Although some healthcare professionals recommend that exercise should be avoided in such cases, it’s best for everyone to check with their doctor before starting a new exercise routine, and especially if back pain persists. If you’re recovering from an injury, ask your doctor to help set your course for returning to normal activity.

People who have back pain are understandably hesitant, fearing that any type of exercise or activity will make things worse. This could make you rely too much on medicines and other treatment rather than exercise, and could undermine the value of exercise for both recovery and long-term maintenance of spine health.

Moderate exercise plays a dual role: helping you recover from back pain and helping prevent future episodes of pain.

  • By nourishing and repairing spinal structures, exercise helps alleviate existing back problems
  • Movement and exercise help keep the anatomy of the back healthy, flexible, and strong , reducing the chance of further injury and pain

According to healthcare professionals, the muscles of the abdomen and lower back must be sound and healthy to help support your spine and reduce strain in the lower back, which itself carries the upper torso. Because the abdominal and lower back muscles don’t get a lot of strengthening exercise from activities like sports, individuals with no underlying injury or other medical condition can benefit from adding targeted exercises that are simple and straightforward, and can be performed in less than 40 minutes a session.

Recommended Exercises that Help with your Spine

Exercise 1: Neck Press against Resistance

  • Lie on your back with pillow(s) supporting your head in a neutral position.
  • Push your head down firmly to straighten and lengthen the spine.
  • Keep chin tucked and head facing upward.
  • Hold for a slow 5 count.
  • Relax for a count of 10.
  • Repeat 10 times or until neck muscles tire.
  • Do this twice a day—perhaps before getting up and when getting into to bed.

Exercise 2: Strengthening Extensor Muscles

  • Stand straight in good posture against a wall.
  • Place exercise ball, about the size of a basketball, behind upper back.
  • Keep feet apart and away from wall for good balance.
  • Push hard with feet and legs to press back against ball.
  • Keep spine, hips and knees in the same position. Only the ankle joints pivot.
  • Hold for a slow 5 count and follow with a 10-second rest.
  • Repeat until you feel your leg or back muscles tire.
  • Slowly increase up to 15-20 repetitions.
  • Repeat once every day.

Exercise 3: Chest Raises from Prone

  • Lie on your stomach on the bed or floor.
  • Placing a pillow under your stomach may make it easier to get on stomach and lift your head.
  • Pull your shoulder blades back and together, smoothly lift head and chest, while looking straight down.
  • Hold for a slow 5 count.
  • Rest for 10 seconds and repeat until tired.
  • Repeat once every day.

Life-style tips for Spine Health

  1. Reduce stress on your spine (proper ergonomics may help).
  2. Avoid smoking.
  3. Stay hydrated to maintain elasticity in soft tissue and fluidity in joints.
  4. Get regular sleep, ideally 8 hours a day.
  5. Stay active by going to the gym, walking, swimming, or playing with your kids or grandkids.
  6. Pay attention warning signs such as spinal stiffness or pain. See a doctor if pain persists
  7. Stand rather than sit when possible; support your spine when seated – be careful not to slump.
  8. Notice your shoes – proper foot support helps protect your spine.
  9. Enjoy the benefits of massage and hydrotherapy.
  10. Sit up straight.
  11. Use your leg muscles, not your back when lifting heavy items.
  12. Be careful when bending and reaching.
  13. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

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, All Rights Reserved.

Can Summer Weather Make My Back Pain Worse?

April 1st, 2019

Are you one of the people who seem to suffer more from spine-related pain during the Summer months? For people who experience worse pain in warm weather, several factors might be at play.

Barometric Pressure

"My aches and pains predict the weather - I always feel it when a storm is coming." You may hear people say things like that all the time - some of you may actually say things like that!

The Farmer's Almanac, a source of folksy wisdom and weather predictions for almost 200 years, had this to say in a 2010 article:

”No one knows exactly what causes aches and pains to flare up, but the most likely culprit is the drop in atmospheric pressure that occurs right before a storm begins."

As TV meteorologists say, areas of high pressure bring lower humidity and calm weather, and a drop in the barometer signals unsettled weather on the way. Back to the Almanac:

"This shift in air pressure may be enough to dilate the blood vessels in the body, stimulating the nerve endings in sensitive areas..."


Changing humidity is also linked to pain, although research results don't clearly show whether higher or lower humidity is more likely to cause it.

Summer weather systems move across the terrain more slowly, so, theoretically, your Summer weather-related pain could last longer.

Long days and more outdoor activity might also play a role in flare-ups of Summer back pain. Sitting in the bleachers through a double-header, breaking out the golf clubs or water skis, wearing sandals instead of back-supporting shoes, weeding the garden or playing in the company softball game, riding a roller coaster after standing an hour in line - any of these activities could trigger increased lower back pain.

A Summertime Tune-up for Your Back

Take advantage of longer days and warmer weather to add some exercise routines that help you build muscle tone and avoid 'back attack.' Check with your doctor before starting any of these, and then consider:

Water aerobics - an exercise class in the pool is a way to achieve the toning and core-muscle strengthening of conventional aerobics without stressing joints or spine.

Swimming - you can swim to achieve the aerobic benefits of jogging, without risking sore knees, shin splints or skeletal pain.

Cycling - there’s less stress than running, and plenty of cardiovascular exercise, but with some risks. Be sure your bicycle fits your size and skills, be aware of the stresses of seating and leaning on the handlebars, and most important, always wear a properly sized safety helmet.

Remember to hydrate with water breaks at least every hour, and don't skip sunscreen of the right SPF level, or UV-blocking eyewear.

With a little planning, and gradually increasing exercise, you might find that Summertime activity helps reduce spine-related pain.

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, All Rights Reserved.

Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Nerve Root Compression

March 26th, 2019

What is Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Nerve Root Compression?

Nerve compression can occur within the neck (cervical), thoracic and lumbar (chest and lower back) vertebra. Injections that are administered in these areas into the epidural space constitute an epidural injection. If steroids are injected into the space it is called an epidural steroid injection.

Who needs Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Nerve Root Compression?

An epidural injection is a procedure where a drug is injected into the epidural space that is present around the spinal-cord. The procedure is performed primarily to inject local anesthetic or steroids in order to exert an effect on the nerve fibers that are much from the spinal-cord. It is a good way of achieving pain relief in patients who suffer from nerve root compression or in those who are undergoing spinal anesthesia.

The nerve root refers to a nerve fibre that emerges from the spinal-cord through the openings within the vertebra. Sometimes, these openings are narrowed or are obstructed by surrounding structures resulting in compression of the nerve roots as they are much from the spinal-cord. As a result, patients experience is pain along with tingling and numbness and even muscle weakness in the area that is supplied by this nerve fibre. Inflammation accompanies this condition and is the cause for pain.

What are the steps in Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Nerve Root Compression?

Preparing for the Procedure

The procedure is often performed under x-ray guidance using a fluoroscope. The skin over the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

Performing the Injection

The area where the nerve is compressed is identified through fluoroscopy and is injected with a combination of steroids and local anesthetic.

Ending the Procedure

The end result is a reduction in inflammation at the area along with a reduction in pain. The procedure takes up to an hour to perform, and once complete, the patient is observed for a short period of time and discharged home.

After Surgery

Following the procedure, the patient experiences a great deal of relief from the pain. There may be pain at the site of injection along with some tingling and numbness. Some patients may notice the pain returning a few hours after the procedure, but this is common as the local anesthetic wears off and the steroid takes a few days to kick in. It can take between 10 days to 2 weeks for the pain to subside completely.

Patients experience good relief of symptoms following the injections, but reports have suggested that treatment may not be 100% effective. Repeat injections may be required. Patients can resume their normal activities the day after the procedure.

Risks are generally low, and include bleeding and skin bruising at the site of the procedure, infection and puncture of the dura. Nerve damage may occur from trauma from the needle. Allergic reactions may occur. These are all rare.

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, All Rights Reserved.