Health & Wellness

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Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Healthy Spine Tips to Prevent Back and Neck Pain

Lower back pain is responsible for more global disabilities than any other problem. It affects 80% of people at some point in their lives. Up to 90% will also suffer from tension headaches at least once, and posture, neck spasms, and stress can all contribute. The evolution of the human spine has been slow and, at times, painful. It’s simply not ideal for upright walking, so getting your pain under control requires a little effort and support. Causes include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle strain from overstretching or carrying heavy objects incorrectly
  • Poor posture and badly designed work stations
  • Sports injuries
  • Herniated discs
  • Curvature

A typical strain creates swelling, sets your posture off balance, and causes spasms that create even more pronounced posture problems and swelling. Sports injuries, curvature, and even herniation can create a similar cycle, so two of the most important ways to bring healing are through stretching and spasm release. Physiotherapy, yoga, and stretching achieve this.

You can prevent back pain by

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Lifting with your knees bent and your back upright
  • Taking walking or stretching breaks when you do desk work
  • Using ergonomic furniture
  • Sleeping on your side
  • Quitting smoking. Smokers have more spine problems than nonsmokers and recover from surgery more slowly.

Back Pain Associated with Aging

Osteoporosis, disk degeneration, and spinal arthritis often require more invasive solutions, but your lifestyle can greatly improve your symptoms. Solutions include:

  • Keeping calcium and magnesium levels optimal
  • Strengthening core muscles to support your spine better
  • Stretching and loosening your back muscles
  • Treating strains with ice and compression

The health of your spine is a core contributor to quality of life, and a little loving care can have powerful effects. Want to learn more about ways to relieve back pain? Ready for personalized care? Find a Pain Stop Clinic near you.

How Heavy Bags Cause Back Pain

The average sixth grader carries 18.4 pounds in his backpack, and the average handbag carries 6.27 pounds’ worth of lipstick and keys. Nobody seems to have done any research about the weight of the average briefcase, but man bags have done more than merely embarrass the fashion police—they’ve caused an increase in back and shoulder pain. That’s apart from the luggage you carry to the airport and the heavy lifting you do during your work day.

Back pain has become the norm rather than the exception throughout the world, and luggage is adding to the burden. It’s children’s spinal health that’s most at risk because bad back habits are easily entrenched, and young shoulders are prone to neurological damage, which can eventually affect finger dexterity.

Studies on Heavy Bags and Spine Health

A 2014 Spine study found that heavy backpacks cause disc compression that can have repercussions in adulthood. Pre-adolescents often carry as much as 30% of their body weight. The suggested upper limit is 10%, and this should be carried in a way that distributes weight evenly across both sides of the body. The core muscles should be doing most of that work, and for those with spinal curvature, even perfect carrying technique cannot prevent spasms and pain.

Offloading school backpacks can certainly help, but the problem has less to do with weight as it does off-axis loading. Ergonomic backpacks help children to carry their weight on their vertical axis while encouraging better posture. High seated, close fitting backpacks prevent the slouching traditional backpacks cause.

Adults can prevent baggage woes by developing core muscle strength, but the best solution is a simple one: carry less. Choose small briefcases and purses to remove the temptation of carrying too much weight. Make a habit of clearing your bags of clutter. As any backpacker can tell you, every little bit of weight removed helps.

 

Depression and Chronic Pain

Your frame of mind is inextricably linked to how well you cope with illness. Depression is not just chronic pain’s intolerable result, but its catalyst as well. The two are so commonly connected that 65% of depression patients suffer from pain. In the past, this link was poorly understood, and people with a desperate medical need were labelled malingerers. Researchers are still struggling with a chicken-or-egg riddle of which comes first. Does depression cause pain, or does pain precede depression? The answer seems to be both.

Research Findings on Depression’s Effect on Pain, and Vice Versa

To establish causation, researchers must find an unbiased way to assess these patients from the moment of their first psychiatric and physiological symptoms—and that’s a challenge that’s not been overcome yet. Researchers do, at least, know that physiological pain feels more intolerable when depression exists. The human body is remarkably reactive to feelings of optimism, as Amy Donaldson et al. discovered when they measured the pain intensity of coronary artery bypass surgery patients. The more optimistic they were prior to their procedures, the less pain they reported afterwards.

A sense of hopelessness and confusion can make symptoms more unbearable. Investigators have found that the more precise the diagnosis is, the less pain depression patients experience. Those with more than one symptom were also three times as likely to become depressed. Similarly, depression is linked to poorer outcomes.

Depression cannot simply be fixed overnight. If people with depression could simply decide to be more optimistic, there would be no depression. Understanding the link between depression and pain is not meant to discourage patients with both, but to examine ways that both can be treated to break the depression-pain cycle.

The studies of the last decade have led to a better understanding of how to care for people who have comorbid depression and pain. Specialists with a comprehensive understanding of these two conditions can mean all the difference for the prognosis of both. Pain Stop Clinics employ clinical staff from a range of different disciplines. This way, each unique case is treated from all angles by a clinical team.

Does Pilates Improve Posture?

You’d be hard pressed to find a fitness guru more obsessed with posture than your average Pilates instructor (perhaps a classical ballet instructor? We digress). Both forms of exercise focus on moving efficiently, and that requires core strength. If you’re relying on your superficial muscles to support you, you probably suffer from at least a little pain. Headaches, pinched nerves, and hip pain can all happen as the result of slouching, and Pilates will address the problem from a few different angles.

Why is Good Posture Important?

If your spine is poorly aligned as you work and play, some muscles must compensate while others become knotted and contracted. Your range of motion will be limited and some of your organs will be compressed. Inflammation can result from nerve compression, too.

Pilates teaches balance, which requires you to rely on core strength while teaching you to balance your weight onto the middle of your foot. You’ll learn a neutral spine position, which keeps your curvature relaxed and natural. If you overcompensate by opening your chest too widely and pushing your shoulders too far back, you will lose your balance, so the process teaches you good habits intuitively.

Pilates for Back Pain

Core strength is an obvious support for back pain, but flexibility has a role, too. By stretching out the muscles around the spine, it releases contractions while reinforcing a healthy curvature. Pilates is so effective at its job that trials have demonstrated improved endurance, flexibility, and posture within only 12 weeks. You needn’t turn your exercise into an obsession to enjoy results. Even mild Pilates routines, when performed twice weekly, have an impact.

Pilates specifically targets the hunched kyphotic lordotic posture, which brings hip spasms, neck tension, and weak abs. Your back pain deserves a proactive solution, and Pain Stop Clinics can help you design a treatment plan.

7 Bad Back Habits to Avoid

Back pain may result from a recent or past injury. It can develop gradually over time from repetitive motion, or from lack thereof. While seeking out assistance in diagnosing and treating your back can help clear up the problem, you can help yourself by avoiding these seven bad habits that cause back pain.

Not Exercising

Exercise prevents injury throughout your body by strengthening the muscles. Yoga, pilates and other core workouts strengthen the back and ease strain by also strengthening the abdominal muscles.

Poor Posture

Bad posture causes muscle strain and increases the level of stress on your spine. To improve posture, keep your shoulders back (to avoid slouching), sit against the back of your chair, and stand with a slight bend in your knees.

Improper Lifting

When lifting heavy items, bend your knees and use your leg strength to reduce strain on your back. Make sure you don’t curve your back over the object you’re lifting.

Baggage

As Erykah Badu soulfully reminds us, “Bag lady/ You gon’ hurt your back.” Remember that bags, briefcases and purses count as lifting. If you regularly carry a lot of stuff, consider a wheeled briefcase, a properly adjusted backpack or a downsized purse.

Smoking

There isn’t much good that comes out of smoking, and you can add back pain to your list of reasons to quit. Smoking cuts down blood flow to your disks, increasing back pain.

Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency

These nutrients develop and strengthen your bones. Discuss increasing your daily intake with your doctor, because there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much calcium, for example, could result in kidney stones, which entirely defeats the purpose of reducing back pain.

Weight

The more weight you carry, the more your muscles and joints strain to support you. Of course, pain makes exercise more challenging. Set realistic exercise goals, eat a balanced diet, and discuss any issues you are having with your physician or professional.

Not Moving

If your back hurts, you might want to settle into the couch, but unless you have a serious injury, rest may be counterproductive. Stretch out and get the blood flowing instead.

Back pain can make everyday tasks difficult to perform. Although there may be deeper causes or complicated symptoms, improving your habits can reduce pain and improve your quality of life.

Protecting your Knees When Lifting

As you get older, your number one goal will be to stay just as healthy and active as ever. One of the critical ways to maintain good health is by protecting your joints, including your knees.

Knees can be tight or achy, and they can occasionally pop. Knee pain is one of the most common reasons people reach out for pain relief. Even just a slight misalignment in your knee joint can lead to a major misalignment in your lifestyle.

Caring for your knees is something you can easily do at home. It’s great to be involved in a healthy, active exercise regimen, but there are other things you can do to ensure proper joint care.

Give Your Joints a Little TLC

Lifting from the knees will surely help your lower back, but it puts the extra strain on your knee joints. At work or when you exercise using therapeutic heat to boost circulation is something to consider. A thermal wrap for up to 30 minutes will loosen up your knee joints and give you that increased mobility you’ve been looking for.

Put the Freeze On

Applying ice is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation, and to help with chronic knee pain. You can always place a towel in between your skin and the ice if your skin is too sensitive. If you do a lot of knee lifts during exercising, then ice applied for 20 minutes or more will help your knees immensely.

Exercise Designed For You

Know your limits, especially if you are older or just getting started with toning your body. There’s a reason athletes warm up before starting an exercise regimen and the same goes for anyone doing knee lifts. In fact, the best way to protect your knees is with daily stretching and strengthening exercises. You don’t even need special equipment for stretching, so it’s easily attainable at home. Hamstring stretches can go a long way to protecting and strengthening your knees.

Lift and Bend the Right Way

It’s so easy to wrench your lower back when lifting something too heavy. You always want to have your feet spread apart, and stand as close to whatever you’re lifting as you can. Bend your knees, not your back. Tighten stomach muscles as you lift, and go slowly. Don’t twist your back once you raise up, but place the object where it needs to be.

There are ways to cut the pain out of your life. If you have questions about pain management in Phoenix, call today to make your knee pain a thing of the past.

The Worst Suggestions For Pain Relief

Sometimes, pain just feels like it’s too much to bear. You need instant relief. When that fails to materialize, you might find yourself turning to remedies that are quick fixes and may even be dangerous to your health.

Pain can range from slight to disabling, and it can last for a day, a month, or longer. Some pain can be managed through a pain treatment program. Other times, the pain feels as if it will never go away.

Pain relief management plans are put in place to help you address the pain that you are personally experiencing. It’s not a good idea to expect that another’s pain management technique will stop your pain, although sometimes a quick fix may look awfully appealing.

Self-Medication and Chronic Pain Elimination

Self-medicating can be very dangerous. Treatments you should not be engaging in for pain relief include alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and food. All these do for you is to give you a false sense of comfort and control, nothing more. The use of illegal drugs is not only dangerous, but risky the longer you take them. The ability to become addicted can very high. Overeating is just as addictive, and just as unhealthful for your well-being. Instead of losing weight to help with your chronic pain, you’re putting on the pounds, which can only lead to feeling more pain.

Each of these substances feeds your body’s toxic responses. They don’t get to the root of the problem and they don’t solve the problem. Instead of working to attain a healthy state so that you can address the source of the pain, when you self-medicate, you are doing the opposite. Through self-medication, you seek a short-term solution that can aggravate and delay long-term healing.

Pain Management Plans to Address Root Causes of Pain

Any time you suffer with pain, it is caused by something that has gone wrong in your body, which is usually muscular or skeletal in nature. With your pain management doctors in Mesa, you can put into place a pain treatment plan that is a lot more effective over the long-term compared with self-medicating. Your doctors will offer emotional support as part of your treatment plan. Combined with a variety of medical and non-invasive treatments, these approaches should go a long way to alleviating your pain.

Talk with your pain management doctors in Mesa and let them assist you in coming up with the right pain relief plan for you.

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