Monday, December 31, 2012

Pain Culprits in Wintertime

The changing of seasons brings with it new weather, holidays, sports and scenery. Unfortunately, it also brings new sources of pain.

Certain pain culprits seem to align with the changing of fall into winter. While some seem to be out of our control, many wintertime pain culprits are avoidable. Although you can’t change the weather, you can change how you deal with the situations it brings.

Pain Culprit #1: Pain from Holiday Traveling

During this time of year, more and more families are piling into cars to make the long trips to see loved ones for the holidays. Being cramped in a small car for hours can have negative effects on the body, particularly the spine. When your body is in a sitting position for a long time, it can lead to increased stress on the tissues that support your spine, along with muscle tension and fatigue, pressure among the discs in your vertebrae and joint strain.

Pain Culprit #2: Headaches Triggered by Weather Changes

Recently when the National Headache Foundation conducted a survey among headache sufferers, 75 percent reported that weather triggered their headache pain. These weather triggers include:

  • Humidity changes
  • Temperature changes
  • Storms
  • Extremely dry conditions
  • Dusty environments

Winter season brings with it drastic temperature changes, varying humidity levels and extremely dry air. For some people, this means more headaches.

Pain Culprit #3: Shoveling Snow

For those who live in areas impacted by snow in the winter, shoveling can often lead to soreness or injuries resulting in severe back pain. Lifting heavy snow in a shovel, bending over for extended periods of time and using so many muscles can put stress on the body, making it more susceptible to muscle tension, aches, pains, fatigue and injury. Shoveling snow can even lead to serious conditions, like herniated discs or disc degeneration.

How to Avoid Wintertime Pain

Although there’s nothing you can do about the weather changes, there are ways you can proactively work to prevent pain this winter. While traveling, make frequent stops to get out of the car, stretch and walk around. Try not to sit in one position for too long. While shoveling snow, make sure you’re taking breaks, staying hydrated and pacing yourself to avoid any injury from pushing yourself too far.

Wintertime is here and you can’t avoid it. You can, however, avoid experiencing pain this season. For more information on avoiding pain, explore the pain treatments offered by the spine pain specialists at Capstone Pain & Spine Center today.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What You Should Eat to Prevent Inflammation Pain

What You Should Eat to Prevent Inflammation Pain

Are you plagued with pain from inflammation? Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury, illness or allergy; it’s a defense mechanism that allows the immune system to self-protect against damaged cells, irritants, pathogens and more. Most of the time, inflammation is a normal part of the body’s healing process, especially after injury to a muscle, joint or tissue.

When inflammation occurs, pain usually accompanies it. This is because when the area becomes inflamed, pressure is exerted on sensitive nerves that send pain signals throughout the body. Other symptoms of inflammation include:

  • Redness
  • Immobility
  • Swelling
  • Heat

Inflammation may also occur with certain autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and Grave’s disease.

How to Prevent Inflammation

Consuming a healthy diet is one way you can fight off the painful effects of inflammation. In fact, eating too many unhealthy foods can signal inflammation and cause you pain. By sticking to these go-to anti-inflammatory foods, you can help lower the amount of pain, redness, and overall discomfort you feel from inflammation.

  • Fish, lean meat, skinless chicken and omega-3 eggs.
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Raw nuts
  • Dark chocolate (with at least 75% cocoa)
  • Red wine or stout beer
  • Coffee and tea
  • Ginger, garlic and other spices
  • Olive oil, coconut oil and butter

The ingredients in the above foods help ward off the inflammatory response from that body that can cause debilitating pain. For those especially prone to inflammation, making some of the above foods a part of your daily diet can help lower the amount of inflammation pain felt.

Want to learn more about ways to ease pain and discomfort? Explore the different areas of pain treated by the experts at Capstone Pain & Spine Center today.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Want to Live Longer with Less Pain? Turn off the TV

Want to Live Longer with Less Pain? Turn off the TV

It’s been a long day of work. You’re mentally and physically exhausted. After leaving work, you go home and plop down on the couch where you rarely move for the rest of the night.

You’re not alone. Many Americans, especially during the winter months, are spending more time sitting on the couch watching television. There’s nothing wrong with giving your body the relaxation it deserves after working a long, hard day. The downside, however, lies in the fact that prolonged sitting can stress your body further and shorten your life span.

The human body isn’t made for sitting for extended periods of time (3 or more hours at a time). Prolonged sitting can be stressful to the tissues that support your spinal column, which can lead to muscle tension and fatigue, pressure among the discs in your vertebrae and joint strain. In fact, sitting for hours while watching television can cause:

  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Severe headaches

The Downside to a Sedentary Lifestyle

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) studied the impact sitting and watching television has on life expectancy among Americans. Results showed that risk of dying from any cause was 18 to 45 percent higher among people who sat for 3 to 5 hours daily compared to those who sat for less than 3 hours daily.

Watching television for more than 4 hours per day increased the mortality risk similarly to the percentages listed above when compared to watching TV for less than 2 hours per day. Overall results showed that sitting for less than 3 hours per day and watching TV for less than 2 hours per day extended life expectancy by 1 to 2 years.

Not only is prolonged sitting and watching television for hours on end causing you lower back pain, neck pain or headache pain, it may also be shortening your life. Spending less time sitting and more time standing, walking or being active can easily lengthen your life and take away the majority of the aches and pains you feel every day.

Do you have severe pain in your back, neck, shoulders, arms or legs that’s lasted for weeks? You may have chronic pain. Explore the treatments offered by Capstone’s spine pain specialists that can give you the pain-relief you need today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Steer Clear of Back Pain from Holiday Shopping

Steer Clear of Back Pain from Holiday Shopping

The busiest shopping season is fast approaching and even though your wallet will probably get lighter, it’s not always easy on your spine. Being on your feet for extending periods of time can cause irritating back pain and muscle aches. This is especially true if you’re spending a whole day on your feet carrying heavy bags.

If you want to avoid dealing with back pain this holiday season, here’s some information that might help.

Back Pain from Prolonged Standing

Whether you’re walking through the mall all day, or standing around as your wife browses for what seems like hours in the shoe department, it can strain your back. Prolonged standing and shifting your weight from one leg to the other can irritate the joints and muscles in your spine. When one of your legs supports more weight than the other, the vertebrae in your spine shift and can sometimes get stuck in that flexed position. This can create spine pain that’s usually felt near the hip or lower back.

If this tends to happen to you, avoid shifting your weight from one leg to the other. Instead, stand straight with weight equally divided amongst both legs. If you can, find a chair or bench to sit on. This will give your spine a break and relieve some of the pressure standing induces on your back muscles and joints.

Back Pain from Heavy Bags

Another culprit of back pain while shopping is carrying heavy bags. Never carry more than 10 percent of your total body weight on your shoulders or back, as anything more is too much weight for your spine, muscles and joints to handle.

If you’re carrying a bag or purse with you all day, try to keep it as light as possible. Also, switch sides for single-strap bags. Regularly move it from one side to the other so the weight remains equal. The muscles in your neck and shoulders can become tense and ache if they’re bearing the weight of a bag for hours on end.

For most people, there’s no escaping holiday shopping. The good news is there is an escape from back pain. If you have severe back pain that just won’t go away, consider contacting a spine pain specialist at Capstone Pain & Spine Center. They can provide the noninvasive or minimally invasive treatments that get rid of your spine pain for good.

Do you have any tips for avoiding back pain while shopping? We’d love to hear. Share them with us below.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Feeling Stressed? It Could Lead to Back Pain

Do you get stressed every year around this time? It’s November, which means the holiday season is fast approaching. If your head spins just thinking about hosting the entire family for Thanksgiving dinner, you probably tend to stress out. But did you know stress can lead to back pain?

Stress is a psychological and emotional pressure exerted on the body and can cause serious physical consequences, like back pain. Aches and pains are frequently the result of stress-induced situations. Other stress-related back pain symptoms may include:
  • Back and/or neck pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle tenderness/tension
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • And more

How is such a psychological response connected to a physical pain felt by the body? Researchers point to the chemical release of cortisol and its effect on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation.

The more inflamed areas of the body (like the muscles near the spine) become, the higher the likelihood of chronic back pain, neck pain and extremity pain. Even worse, stress and back pain can be a vicious cycle. Stress can lead to back pain, but back pain can also lead to more stress.

If you find yourself worrying about how clean your house is for your holiday guests, that long car ride you have to sit through with your fidgety kids, or all those recipes you need to perfect, find a way to de-stress. The last thing you need to deal with is irritating back pain the next few months.

Do you find yourself dealing with unbearable back pain every year around this time? It could be linked to stress. Learn about spine pain treatments that can get rid of your discomfort for good.

Read more on the link between stress and physical pain from the Huffington Post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Osteoporosis Causes Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for doctors’ visits in the United States. In fact, it’s estimated that 80 percent of all adults will experience back or spine pain at some point in their life.

Certain health conditions like arthritis, degenerative disc disease and osteoporosis can cause painful, chronic back pain that can make even the simplest task impossible. When a person has osteoporosis, for example, they’re more prone to bone fractures in areas all over the body, including the spine.

Spine Pain from Osteoporosis

When a person with osteoporosis experiences back pain, it can be a sign that a compression fracture has occurred in the vertebrae of the spine. When bones become weak, brittle and less dense from osteoporosis, a higher likelihood of fractures exists.

These types of compression fractures in the back can cause severe pain or disability for women and even some men. According to WebMD, compression fractures in the back are the most common type of fractures associated with osteoporosis.

Depending on the severity of the osteoporosis, compression fractures in the back can happen from many different activities, including:
  • Picking up an object
  • Slipping and falling
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Bending
  • Twisting

Spine Pain Treatment

WebMD also states that two-thirds of all spinal compression fractures have no symptoms and are therefore never diagnosed. Often when these types of fractures are diagnosed, individuals link them to aging and never seek proper treatment for a full recovery.

The first step in healing compression fractures in people with osteoporosis is seeking osteoporosis treatment to help strengthen bones and boost bone mass. Without this treatment, more fractures are likely to occur. Another important step is seeking treatment from an experienced spine pain specialist who can locate the source of the pain and suggest proper methods to cure the pain.

Explore more information on the types of pain treated by the spine pain specialists at Capstone Pain & Spine Center today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tips to Avoid Weekend Warrior Injuries

You work hard all week long. At the end of the week, all you want is a little fun and games, like some trips to the golf course or a round of touch football in the backyard with friends. But are you pushing yourself too far?

Weekend warrior syndrome happens to many people, primarily men who have sedentary lives during the workweek but become extremely active on the weekends. It's great to get out there and exercise, but going from being completely inactive to huge amounts of vigorous activity can make your body, especially your spine, more prone to injury.

Common injuries resulting from weekend warrior syndrome include:
  • Sprained ankles
  • Knee pain
  • Shin splints
  • Lower back pain
  • Groin strain
  • And more

Weekend Warrior Must-Do's

So what can you do to enjoy your weekend sports without finding yourself with irritating pain come Monday? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
  1. Warm Up.
  2. Okay, we know it's kind of annoying to have to warm up before playing a sport, but the benefits of warming up are worth it. By giving yourself some time to prepare for what's to come, you’re lowering your risk of straining your body. A good warm up should include about five minutes of walking or running to get your heart rate up, along with basic stretches related to the sport you’re about to play.
  3. Add Intensity Gradually.
  4. If you tend to get pretty intense while playing any sport, remind yourself not to get too worked up right away. Take it easy at first, adding intensity like faster running or jumping after your body has plenty of time to loosen up.
  5. Drink Enough Fluids.
  6. Muscles rely on good hydration to function properly. You're more prone to muscle cramps and strains if you aren't drinking enough fluids. Take time to stop what you’re doing and drink something so your muscles can keep up.
  7. If You Feel Pain—Stop!
  8. Even the slightest pain can lead to something bigger if you don’t stop whatever it is that's causing the pain. Is your knee starting to bother you? Call it quits for a while. Pain sensations are warning signs from your body telling you that something's wrong, and not stopping is definitely going to make it worse.

Spine Pain Treatment

Weekend warrior pain is not uncommon. If Monday morning rolls around and you find yourself with debilitating pain, whether it’s in your spine or extremities, and that pain doesn't go away, you may need to seek spine pain treatment.

Don’t let weekend warrior injuries hold you back. Learn more about the noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures from Capstone’s spine pain specialists today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

4 Surprising Back Pain Statistics

Back pain is very common in the United States, along with other types of chronic pain that affect the neck, shoulders, arms or legs. These types of pain can completely alter a person’s life and make it impossible to take part in everyday, once-loved activities.

Brought to you by the American Chiropractor’s Association, we found these surprising back pain statistics to show just how common it is.

  1. 31 million Americans experience random, lower back pain.
    The number of people lower back pain impacts is startling. If you’re among the 31 million Americans who suffer from this debilitating pain, don’t just “get through it”. Pain relief can be sought and achieved so you can get on with your life.

  2. 50 percent of working Americans have back pain symptoms every year.
    A lot of jobs Americans take part in every day can cause severe stress on the neck, back or other areas of the body and lead to chronic back pain. Among all working Americans, back pain symptoms are not uncommon.

  3. Back pain is the second most common reason for doctor’s visits.
    The most common reason is upper-respiratory infections, but back pain is close behind. Doing something about your back pain by seeing your doctor is definitely a good idea. Another good idea is seeing a back pain specialist like those at Capstone Pain and Spine Center, because they specialize in providing back pain relief.

  4. As many as 80 percent of Americans will be faced with a back problem at some point in time.
    This surprising statistic shows that back pain, unfortunately, is highly likely. However there are things you can do to prevent back pain or ways you can get pain relief from the back problems you’re already experiencing. Don’t force yourself to suffer through it. Get the help you need now.

Back Pain Treatment

Many factors can increase your likelihood of experiencing back pain, like physical activity such as sports or strenuous exercise, bending the wrong way, lifting something too heavy, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, or psychological stress.

Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t avoid it. If you’re tired of dealing with exhausting back pain, consider contacting the back pain specialists at Capstone Pain and Spine Center. They can help provide the noninvasive or minimally invasive treatments you need for pain relief today.

Do you have chronic back pain? If so, what caused it? We’d love to hear. Comment below.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

5 Tips for Preventing Back Pain from Yard Work

Last year, I dreaded fall time because I knew I’d have to get outside and rake leaves. But it wasn’t just the raking that I dreaded—it was the back pain I knew would accompany the work. This year, I plan to use these tips to prevent back pain so I don’t have to experience that agony again.

Here’s a roundup of some helpful yard work tips that can prevent annoying and debilitating back pain.

Tip #1: Switch it Up

Do you rake with your dominant hand only? That might be what’s causing pain because it overuses one side of your body. Switch hands every five minutes or so. Feel weird? Stick with it and it’ll start to feel more normal, plus your body will thank you.

Tip #2: Take Breaks

One of the easiest ways to cause muscle, back or neck pain is to work too hard for too long. If you’re raking a big area, take frequent breaks to give your body a rest. Also, take your time while raking and use good posture and lifting techniques.

Tip #3: Hydrate

During your frequent breaks, make sure you’re drinking enough water. Muscles need plenty of water to function properly. Drinking enough water can also prevent muscle cramps, spasms and dehydration.

Tip #4: Wear Supportive Shoes

Raking works your legs and feet pretty hard, but wearing supportive and comfortable shoes can prevent pain in your feet, legs and back. Pain that starts in your feet arches or other parts of your feet can travel up to your back, so avoid flat shoes like sandals and instead wear supportive shoes like tennis shoes.

Tip #5: Get Help

If raking always causes you pain, whether it’s in your neck, back, legs, arms or feet, consider having someone help you or take over the raking altogether. Many young people are looking for side jobs like yard work, so hiring someone young can be a huge weight off your shoulders (literally).
Fall is a beautiful season; don’t let back pain ruin it for you. Follow these five tips above and you’ll be able to better enjoy the changing leaves with a healthy, pain-free body. If you, however, are already experiencing back, neck or leg pain, contact Capstone Pain and Spine Center today.

Do you have any tips for preventing back pain while doing yard work? We’d love to hear. Share them with us below.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Difference Between Common Pain and Chronic Pain

We all know what pain is: physical suffering or irritating sensation due to injury or illness. But how do you know if that pain you’re feeling is normal, everyday pain or if it’s something worse, like chronic pain?
The Difference Between Common Pain and Chronic Pain 
There is one main factor that differentiates common pain from chronic pain: how long it lasts. Common pain comes and goes and eventually disappears completely. Chronic pain tends to last longer than six months and is experienced by millions of Americans.

Types of chronic pain vary, but may include:
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Pain from injury
  • Backaches
  • Tendinitis
  • Sinus pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Pain in the shoulders, neck, pelvis, arms and legs

 

Do You Have Chronic Pain?

Symptoms of chronic pain can include more than just pain itself. One of the reasons chronic pain is so debilitating and life-altering is because it can impact multiple areas of health and wellness, like sleeping, once-loved activities, your mood and your body’s ability to fight off illnesses.

So how can you tell if you have chronic pain, and what do you do to get rid of it? Some symptoms are:
  • Shooting, burning, aching or electrical pains
  • Discomfort, soreness, stiffness, muscle tightness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakened immune system
  • Withdrawal from normal activities
  • Increased need to rest
  • Disability
  • Mood changes like depression, fear, anxiety, irritability and stress

 

Chronic Pain Treatment

If you experience any of the above symptoms for long periods of time, you may have chronic pain. Don’t feel like you need to suffer through or get by on mediocre pain medications. There are other options.

At Capstone Pain and Spine Center, our goal is to ease your constant pain and get you back to a comfortable state. Our minimally invasive or noninvasive treatments are sought before even considering any type of major surgery, because we view surgery as a last resort.

Please tell us: are you suffering from chronic pain or have you ever been treated for chronic pain? We’d love to hear about it. Leave us a comment below.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Scary Truth About Your Backpack

Do you ever use a backpack for activities such as hiking? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced back pain. Sometimes that back pain can have lasting effects if not properly treated.

In a news release by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the issue of back pain caused by backpacks is heavily examined. When we think of backpacks we usually think of kids in school, but it’s not uncommon for adults, especially hikers, to feel the effects of a heavy backpack, too.

The news release emphasizes the rising number of hikers who experience back pain from heaving overweight backpacks while trekking up steep hills, across slippery rocks or through overgrown landscapes. The negative consequences your body endures from lugging these too-heavy bags can even be longstanding and require medical treatment for relief.

Some of the ways overweight backpacks can affect your body include straining the back, neck or shoulders, distorting the natural curves of the spine and spine joints, promoting bad posture with rounded, hunched shoulders and distorting balance, making it easier to fall.

How to Avoid Pain from Backpacks

The conveniences of backpacks for hikers are too numerous to avoid backpacks altogether, but there are ways to prevent back pain. If you’re a hiker and you use backpacks, consider making these changes to spare yourself some pain:
  • Find a backpack that fits your proportions. It should accommodate your length from the upper back area to the bottom of your ribs.
  • Always keep the shoulder straps on the center of your collarbones while hiking.
  • Don't keep the shoulder straps too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers between the shoulder straps and your body.
  • Be sure to purchase a backpack with a hip belt, and use it. The belt should fall right around your hips above the pelvic bone.
  • Always place the heaviest items in the bottom of the backpack and the lightest items toward the top or in the pockets.

Back Pain Treatment

Don't let backpack pain keep you from getting out there and enjoying nature with a good hike. However if you're already feeling the effects of heavy backpacks, consider contacting the back pain specialists at Capstone Pain and Spine Center. With the use of noninvasive or minimally invasive treatment, you can be free of that obnoxious back pain and happily return to scenic, adventurous hiking you enjoy.

How do you keep your hiking backpack from weighing you down? We'd love to hear. Share with us below.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

5 Steps to a Successful Workout

5 Steps to a Successful Workout
  1. Perform a Warm-up for at Least 10 Minutes
    Prior to starting any physical exercise a total body warm-up should be implemented. The warm-up should consist of large muscle dynamic type movements such as jumping jacks, jumping rope, brisk walking or riding a bike.
  2. Do Light Stretching Prior to Exercising
    By stretching for a few moments before your actual workout, this may reduce the possibility of injury(strains/sprains), as well as, ready the muscles for any load bearing exercises they encounter. Remember your goal is not to obtain flexibility, but injury prevention. Stretch major muscles for approx 30 seconds.
  3. Have a Great Workout
    Regardless of your type of workout(cardiovascular/weight training), it should be safe, challenging and fun. Please contact Capstone Pain for additional information regarding a specific exercise program custom fit to your needs.
  4. Cool down is a must
    It is always a good idea to perform a 5-10 minute cool down. This will again serve as injury prevention, as well as, help alleviate muscle soreness.
  5. Moderate Stretching for Flexibility
    This portion of flexibility should be a little more strenuous that the previous stretching but it should never feel difficult. Proper stretching can help prevent major muscle and back injuries. Stretch all major muscle groups for a minimum of 1 minute for 2 sets. Remember don’t bounce, stretch and hold, and don’t forget to relax.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Choose the Right Mattress for Back Support & Sleep Comfort

I am often asked by patients what mattress is best for their back or neck pain. The answer is it depends on what works for you. There are many brands of high end mattresses using foam, air and springs for support. They vary in thickness and density. As we sleep, pressure points occur on the back of the head, shoulders, hips, knees and ribs. The mattress and pillow that reduce the most pressure on these sites in whatever your favorite position to sleep in will reduce joint and back pain and is the best one for you. The key is to get uninterrupted sleep that allows you to get into a restful REM sleep state.

Some tips:
  1. Keep your neck (cervical spine) in line with your upper back (thoracic spine). Try different pillows to get the proper alignment. You will likely need a thinner pillow for back sleepers vs. a thicker pillow or a specialized neck pillow for side sleepers.
  2. If you are a side sleeper keep your knees apart with pillows to reduce pressure on hips, knees and ankles.
  3. If your mattress sags in the middle, but you can't afford a new firmer mattress, try placing a flat pillow under the ribs or flank for side sleepers to keep your spine straighter.
  4. When buying a new mattress think about the temperature of the mattress material. Foam mattresses tend to retain heat from our bodies and can become uncomfortable during the night. If you are warm natured this may significantly affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: FOR ANY PURCHASE OF A NEW MATTRESS, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A TRIAL PERIOD OF AT LEAST THREE MONTHS PREFERABLY SIX MONTHS DURING WHICH YOU CAN RETURN THE MATTRESS. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT WHEN CHANGING FROM ONE MATERIAL TO ANOTHER.