Monday, June 27, 2011

Avoiding Back Pain This Summer

It’s a disturbing estimate that somewhere between 60% and 90% of people will suffer some sort of back injury during their lifetime. It’s perhaps equally disturbing that many of these are somewhat preventable by simply making a few lifestyle changes and changes around the house. After all, it’s the summer time and you want to relax and enjoy the weather and the sun as much as possible; being trapped in bed because of pain is the last place you want to be (even if the A/C is your best friend at this point in the year!). So here I’ll being going over a couple of ways you can avoid back pain and keep your summer discomforts to sunburns.

1. Sleep Right!

It might sound silly, but getting the right sleeping position and making sure your bed offers enough support are important for proper spinal alignment and avoiding back pain. Essentially, what you need to know about a mattress is whether it is too soft to support you. Find yourself waking with a stiff back and some aches? Consider investing in a new one.

Another important thing to do is stretch when you wake. Moving blood back into the extremities and spine helps prevent injury. Stretching is always a good idea to prevent injury.

2. Good Desk Habits

You spend a good amount of your time at work, and if you sit at a desk all day, your lower back muscles can atrophy from the lack of use. That calls for a simple solution: ergonomics. If you sit properly, (knees at 90 degrees, feet on floor, spine supported, arms supported and monitor in normal field of vision) you can avoid stressing out your back.

It’s just as important to get up and move around occasionally - take a short break every hour or so to stretch and move your back a little. Lack of exercise and motion can be real problems, especially for an already vulnerable lower back.

3. Exercise & Stretch

It goes without saying that your back muscles need to be exercised for proper health. Undersized or underused muscles can only lead to problems. Moderate exercise 3-4 times a week can make a great difference to a happy back and spine. Be sure to add in some light weight training, too. Be sure and stretch, of course.

Between these three sections, we cover a good amount of the time you will spend each day. Take care of your body, and it will reward you with pain-free living. If you are in pain, give Living Well Medical in NYC a call today @ 212-645-8151.

- Dr. Shoshany, NYC Chiropractor

Monday, June 20, 2011

Opening a Window on Back Pain

Opening a Window on Back Pain

As an all encompassing pain treatment center in the heart of New York City we see a lot of patients who are hurting from injuries they sustained from performing every day tasks.

This week alone we have seen three patients that have hurt their backs while opening windows. Most people would laugh if one of their friends walked up and told them that they got hurt and are in a lot of pain after trying to open a window. When you think about it, its not that surprising that someone can hurt their back opening a window. A window can become stuck, be sitting off track, or just be plain old, which would of course make opening a window like trying to lift a car. In our area, right around SOHO, and Tribeca, there are a lot of old lofts, with huge, heavy, old windows, some of them with cast iron parts, and old mechanisms that can become jammed and obstructed. Forget lifting a car, opening an old heavy window in a loft can require a team of professional Strongmen.

Since most of us in NYC do not have the benefit of central air, we have to shove a big heavy air conditioner in a window to stay cool during the summer months. Some people don't even make it to that step before they are in too much pain to continue. Forget staying cool, now you have to grit your teeth just to stay upright and on your feet.

Back injuries are the most common cause of missed work days in the U.S. Most people will suffer from at least one form of back pain through the course of their lives. The older you are, the more deconditioned you are, the more sedentary your lifestyle, the more at risk you become from back pain.

We see people with muscular injuries, hamstring weakness, and other physiological deviations that can pull the pelvis out of proper alignment which makes it easier for injuries to occur with every day tasks. We also see a lot of people suffering from herniated or bulging discs, who are also suffering from sciatica, which can be very painful.

Lets talk about the back and what exactly is at risk, in terms of physiology.
The human body, its system of muscles and bones are comprised in to one working unit, there aren't very many movements that are truly isolating a muscle or part of the body. The human movement system is interlinked in to a kinetic chain, and every link of that chain is connected to your spine, the "core" of all movement if you will. If your back is weak you have no "core", no base from which to administer your strength, you are bound to get hurt. Yes, even if you are doing something as simple and routine as opening a window.

Muscles involved:
Spinal Erectors
This one is simple; these muscles run the length of the spine and help flex the spine, and are heavily involved in posture and lifting and bending. There isn't a movement that these muscles aren't involved in.
These small muscles between each joint of the spine help stabilize the back.
Tranversus Abdominis
Responsible to the "transversal" or twisting motions involving the abdominals and back.
If you have ever taken a deep breath and lifted something heavy off the ground and felt the muscles on either sides of your abs tighten, those are the obliques and they help stabilize and assist your spine derange squatting movements
Most people have tight or under developed hamstrings that often lead to back injuries. The hamstrings are heavily involved in squatting and lifting movements, and are a major factor in running.

Don't just walk up and attempt to power through a stuck or jammed window. Instead try and jiggle the window a bit, and start pulling slowly, don't pull with everything you have form the start, especially if you have had back injuries in the past. Keep your body in a slight squat and keep your back straight. Bend down slightly grip the base of the window firmly, now begin the pull with your legs, and keep your glutes and abdominals tight. Pull the window up slowly and keep your back straight, use your biceps, shoulders and legs. At no point should you be rounding or moving your back. After the widow is past half way up. Squat down a bit more, bring your chest to the window, place your hands at the base, keeping your palms facing out, away from you. Make sure your elbows are under your hands and not back, push up with your legs and press the window up like a shoulder press if there is any more room left to open it. Sounds like a tough workout? It could be.
Also, if you are of a smaller stature, or have had previous back injuries, or simply unsure about yourself and what you are doing, please enlist the help of someone who is strong enough to help you get the job done, or even do it for you. Pride heals faster than a ruptured disc.

We have a vast array of proven, safe, and non invasive treatment methods. We have a team of experts that work together, under the same roof to develop individualized treatment plans to help heal you and get you out of pain as fast as possible, and then work to make sure that you don't re-injure yourself.

We offer:
Physical Therapy
Spinal Decompression
The Graston Technique
The Cox Technique
Cold Laser Therapy
Electronic STIM
Cold/ Heat Therapy
Kinesio Taping
The SpineForce
GaitScan and Custom Orthotics
Active Release Technique

We combine these treatments to develop a treatment plan specifically for you, without the use of drugs or surgery. However we do have an MD on site to help you with drug therapy if you really need it. We have been treating patients suffering from pain for years, and have been producing unparalleled results.