5 Reasons To Avoid Back Surgery

HEALTH BLOG

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Rush Into Back Surgery

 

In the world today, we’ve grown accustomed to getting everything we want right now.  Whether we’re ordering breakfast or texting a family member, a quick response is valued.

However the human body is not quite as responsive.  We discuss the nature of injuries with our patients and clients. Especially chronic injuries like back sprains, strains and disc herniation and how long they take to develop.  An issue like back pain can take some time to develop. So it is reasonable to be a little patient with our body when it is hurting.  The body is amazing if we just give it the proper care, patience, and attention it needs.  Trying to find a quick fix through surgery is shown to not be the best option for most back pain sufferers.  Back surgery is not the best option when it comes to treating back pain, and there are several reasons why it’s something you should not rush into.

Other Treatments Are Usually Effective

Mayo Clinic points out that “most back pain resolves on its own within two months.” Conservative treatments like massage, exercise, acupuncture, physical therapy, and manual physical therapy can often relieve your pain in a safer, less invasive, and less expensive manner.

Recovery From Back Surgery Can Take Weeks or Months

If you’re looking for a quick fix, back surgery is not what you think. Depending upon your overall health and the type of surgery performed, recovery can take between days and for months. A minor laminectomy, for example, usually allows you to return to light activity after a few days. A spinal fusion could require months.

Depending on the scope of the surgery, you might need help getting in and out of bed and going to the bathroom for a few days. You will have to care for the incision. You will likely be on some serious pain medication that prevents you from driving. Your life and your full range of movements and activities probably won’t return to normal for several months.

Back Surgery Doesn’t Address the Cause of Your Back Pain

Was your back pain a result of poor posture? Muscular imbalances in your body? Overall weakness of your core muscles? Using poor form to lift heavy objects at work or in the home? If you have surgery and return to the same habits, your back pain will likely return, as well. Addressing the cause of your back pain is key to solving the real issue at hand.

All Surgery Comes With Risks

Although all precautions are taken during a surgical procedure, any surgery carries risks to be aware of. This can include bleeding, infection, reaction to the anesthesia, blood clots, nerve damage, and even stroke or heart attack. Of course, most people come out of surgery with no complications, but there are inherent risks to surgery.  Your surgeon should make you aware of all the risks before you make the decision for this option.  If your doctor has not suggested a conservative options first they may just not be aware of what is available. Make sure you are consulting conservative care health care providers as well to see if you can heal without aggressive course of care like surgery.

Back Surgery Doesn’t Always Solve the Problem

WebMD says it best: “The biggest risk of back surgery: Not knowing for sure if it’s going to help with your pain.” Back pain is a complicated issue with a variety of contributing factors. You don’t want to go through the expense and the recovery associated with back surgery only to find out you’re still in pain.

This is the main reason back surgery should be a last resort. It should be reserved for only the most severe chronic cases of back pain or specific injuries.

Learn Natural Healing Techniques and Avoid Surgery At My Upcoming

Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.

Here’s what you will learn:

  • Strengthening exercises for 2 of your core muscles of your spine
  • The Single Biggest #1 Mistake back pain and sciatica sufferers make which actually stops them from healing…
  • The 3 Most Common Causes of Lower Back Pain and Sciatica…
  • A Sure-Fire Way to Pick the Right Treatment for the Cause of Your Pain (and save you a ton of time and money)
  • How a problem in your back can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your leg…
  • What successful treatment and permanent relief looks like without the side effects of medications, injections or surgery.

To attend the SALISBURY Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop, click here.

Click here to attend the LEXINGTON Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop.

Sincerely,

Delaine Fowler, PT DPT

10 Tips For Back Pain Free Travel

HEALTH BLOG

11 Tips For Back Pain-Free Travel This Season

As you hit the road for your upcoming vacation or holiday family get together avoid the low back pain that can come with the change in your routine.  Low back pain can put a damper on any vacation.  So here are 11 tips to avoid having back pain as you travel.

  1. Pack light. Packing 2 or 3 smaller bags instead of one large bag reduces the load you carry at one time. Remember that you will be lifting these bags in and out of your car, off airport baggage lines, into and out of overhead bins, up and down stairs at Aunt Edna’s house…..
  2. Lift with your legs. Bend your knees and lift using your legs. Try not to bend at your hips to lift luggage. Also avoid twisting while lifting.  Many times this is what increases back pain or causes an injury in the first place.  Using the foot pivot with your feet so that your whole body moves instead of just twisting your back will help.
  3. Ask for help from airline staff and your Uber driver. If you explain you have a back condition, most people are eager to help. You’d be surprised how other airline passengers are also more than willing to help as well. If your bags are light, it’s even less of a burden to ask.
  4. Aisle seat is best. Choosing the Aisle seat allows you to get up and down in the cabin more frequently. Changing positions every 30 minutes to an hour even just standing up for a minute or two can help keep your back pain from flaring up.
  5. Sit with support.Whether traveling by plane or going on a road trip, maintaining proper good spine alignment when seated is key. To maintain the natural curve in your lower back, use a folded towel or blanket or a lumbar roll.  Most people thing their car’s support is enough however adding a lumbar roll or rolled up towel will help even more.
  6. Get up and move.Sitting for long periods of time can stiffen our back muscles and put a strain on our spine. Getting out of your seat or your car at least once every hour can help. Once every 30 minutes is even better. Movement improves whole body circulation and blood flow is key to avoiding aching muscles and joints.  It helps prevent blood clots too!
  7. Stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors.If you cannot move out of your seat due to turbulence or any other issues stretch and move in your seat. This also improves circulations and can help reduce pain and pressure from your back.
  8. Bring cold and hot packs for quick pain relief. Despite taking the necessary precautions, your back pain may still because you issues while traveling just from the change in your routine. Ice and hot packs should be easily accessible while traveling. Disposable hot and cold packs are great for travel. Plus our homemade ice/cold pack is easily transportable and light weight.  See our blog about 4 tips to reduce back arthritis to make your own today!
  9. Get comfortable before your leave or take off. Take the time to make sure you’re comfortable with the proper adjustments or added equipment (like a lumbar roll) to your seat can make a huge difference.  The smallest irritant in the beginning of your trip can turn into raging pain later. Take your wallet, cell phone, or anything else in out of your back pocket. Sitting uneven is one easy way to avoid back pain flare ups.  Make sure your steering wheel and seat are set perfect for you if you are the driver.  Also sit as close to the steering wheel as possible without compromising your safety.
  10. Drink plenty of water.The low pressure and humidity conditions on planes tend to dehydrate the body. Drinking water and avoiding drinks that dehydrate will help your body, back, and spine stay in a happy state.
  11. Consult with your physical therapist about a month before your trip. When you are having pain or problems preparing for travel by learning about your body and how you need to manage or eliminate our issues is super important to having a great time! Your therapist will get all the details of your history of back pain, what increases and eases your pain, and he or she will give you movements you can do to keep your back loose, relaxed, and pain-free. Call Accelerate Therapy and Performance at 704-754-8300 to arrange for your consultation today!

4 Tips To Relieve Back Arthritis

Four Tips To Relieve Back Arthritis

 

Is your lower back arthritis messing with your life?  Do you feel like you’re doint everything you can to manage your pain but not find relief?  Lower back arthritis can make some days harder than others.  Plus who wants to take a bunch of medication that zonks you out. If you’re an active person having lower back arthritis can really slow you down from doing what you love.  You need a simple fix. Try these tips for managing your back pain, and get back to normal:

Tip #1: Improve your posture 

This is key! Before you start rolling your eyes and click on another page, hear me out.  It will take less effort than you think.  Roll up a regular size bath towel and after sitting down place it in the small of your lower back.  This will instantly improve your posture.  It will also be an easy way to “practice” good posture to get relief from your symptoms. Sitting tall is a way to strengthen muscles in your back and core that help support your spine. Sitting up helps your spine stay in its most natural position. When we slouch while sitting this can make the pain worse. By having the towel roll in your back you can create a natural curve in your spine and take the load off the discs. Try it and see how you do.

Tip #2 Hot and Cold

A hot shower to get loosened up in the morning can help muscles and other soft tissues relax along with reducing arthritis symptoms.  No time for a shower.  Get a microwavable hot pack and warm up your back for 10 to 20 minutes before you plan to head out for your workout or work.  When you are done with our physical activity apply a cold pack to reduce any inflammation. Inflammation is what causes arthritis to hurt. By applying a cold pack for 10 minutes to your back you can prevent, any arthritic pain caused by exercise or work without having to taking extra medication.

Want to know how to make a DYI hot pack/cold pack?  Take a gym sock or dress sock you no longer like, fill it with dry rice, then tie it off; simply throw it in the microwave for no more than 10-30 seconds at a time for heat.  All microwaves are different so you will have to test out what is the best time to heat up your hot pack.  You can also put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes for icy cold relief.

Tip #3:  Get some rest 

It’s good to take some time for yourself, especially if you’re a busy person.  For busy people stopping and taking a little time for numero uno is hard.  Resting lets your body recharge to avoid overdoing it.  I am not talking about lying around and just be lazy.  That is not you or me.  I am talking about giving your body and sometimes your mind a break can do a lot for healing and pain control.  Take an hour out of each day to rest.  You can read books, talk on the phone, mediate, talk to your family members, or just watch a little TV.  Being sedentary for too long will make arthritis pain worse. So finding a balance between rest and activity is important.

Tip #4  A little movement and exercise is needed

You might feel like your lower back arthritis makes it hard to be more active and exercise.  However you have lots of options.  Improving your flexibility through stretching and light exercise like walking or water aerobics actually work to improve the symptoms of lower back arthritis by helping you lose weight, and strengthening your muscles.  

Hope this helps! 

Delaine Fowler, PT DPT

Three Tips For Faster Recovery From Rotator Cuff Injuries

Tips to Recover from Rotator Cuff Injuries

By Dr. Delaine Fowler, PT DPT

Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

Rotator cuff injuries and shoulder pain can cause us to avoid doing the normal activities like putting on a seat belt or reaching to get a coffee mug.  Even worse this pain and possible weakness can affect the activities we love doing like golf or playing with our kids.  This can truly affect not only our physical life but our mind, spirit, and attitude as well.

Since the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body we use it for so many of our normal tasks.  When a rotator cuff injury slows us down it has a huge effect on our life.  However with the right help, tools, and recovery treatment plan recovery from a rotator cuff injury

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles that help the ball and socket how the arm bone (humerus) interacts with the shoulder blade (scapula). When healthy they allow for smooth movement in all directions without pain.

Depending on whether traumatic event like a fall or lifting overhead caused the tear or through degenerative changes and the wearing down of the tendon will guide what treatment plan is the best for you.

                                                         Rotator Cuff Pain Recovery Tip 1: No sleeping on your painful shoulder. 

Circulation counts. The shoulder joint and the structures that attach to it do not have great blood flow.  When we lie on the affected side for long periods of time the blood flow, or circulation, reduces even further.  Our suggestion is to bolster yourself with pillows so you do not roll onto your affected side as much as possible.

                                                                                   Rotator Cuff Recovery Tip 2: Get Hands On Care.

The rotator cuff is the most mobile joint in the body. This means it is made up of lots of soft tissue.  What is soft tissue?  It’s your muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments.  People do not give these tissues enough credit.  If they are not working right, the movement patterns can get thrown off enough to cause a lot of problems in your shoulder movement.  Plus it can cause a lot of pain.  Finding a trusted professional like a hands on manual physical therapist is super important.  At Accelerate Therapy and Performance we have seen through years of practice and research our patients getting this type of care at our office do better than people not getting hands on care.

                                                                Rotator Cuff Recovery Tip 3:  Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles. 

Finding the right stretches can made a huge difference in improving circulation and restoring normal range of motion.  This is why finding the right professional advice to help you restore pain free range of motion is one of the most important steps to take.  At Accelerate Therapy and Performance our scientifically designed treatment programs can help you find the specific exercises you need to recover faster and not waste time doing things that could do no good or make you worse. 

                                                                           Rotator Cuff Recovery Tip 4: Stop pushing through the pain

For people that are proactively seeking recovery in a conservative and natural way, one of the most difficult parts may be resting enough.  Remember pain is an indicator.  Now I’m not talking about the muscle burn you get from doing multiple repetitions of an exercise. More like every time you reach overhead it hurts.  Resting and moving gently in pain free ranges can help in the recovery process.  I want to stress the less movement the shoulder joint gets the stiffer it may become.  If you have been avoiding doing the things you love for three to four weeks. It is time to get some help.

If you want a more conservative approach that does not involve medication injections or surgeries feel free to reach out to my practice at Accelerate Therapy and Performance or your trusted physical therapy provider who provides hands on manual care.

6 Easy Steps Get Your Energy Back

Six Easy Steps Get Your Energy Back

By Dr. Delaine Fowler, PT DPT


Photo by Oliver Sjöström from Pexels

Are there times where you feel like you can’t even get out of bed you are so tired, sore, or stiff?  These could be warning signs that your current routine of sitting too much in your car, or at work or even at home is wearing out your body.  Believe it or not bodies were built to move.  Sitting to too long has harmful effects on our body including slowing circulation, keeping your heart and lungs from maintaining your optimal state, and can add it chronic back, shoulder, neck, hip pain and headaches.

There is hope.  Your body is on your side.  You can start right now and your body systems will start to respond to give you more energy every day. So let’s take the plunge and get your energy back together.

Set Your Goal And Your Why

So what do you want to achieve. Write that down on a note card and make it specific. But most importantly write why.  My mom in law got in the best shape of her life after my oldest nephew turned three years old. Why? Because she could not keep up with him.  She realized if she did not get in shape this was only going to get worse.  I am so happy she did because she can run after and care for my kids like no other grandmother can! You go Mimi!

Break It Down

Does your goal seem overwhelming?  Well, things worth doing are not easy.  So break it down into the task you can do every day that are not too far away from your current norm that get you there. For instance.  If you want to wake up feeling refreshed. Maybe you give up your night time coffee and switch to decaf or tea or something that won’t keep you up late. Or you shut your screens off 30 minutes before you go to bed.  Set that as your first step for the first week or two.  After that goes well then adjust to the next step.  It’s funny how your habits change when you are focused on taking them one step at a time. You will be at your goal before you know it.

 

Move A Little More

The most optimal time to move at least every 20 to 30 minutes. If you have a desk job. Maybe look into an adjustable desk or modify your workspace to be able to have a sitting area and a standing area.

 

Drink More Water

 

Most of us do not get enough water.  There are so many great thermos like water bottles on the market how.  I have this 1 liter insulated water bottle that makes it easy to have cold refreshing water with me all day long.  I shoot to get 2 of these in a day.  Notice what happens when you drink more.  Energy rise? Maybe you need to go to the bathroom more.  This is not a bad thing.  You need to move and a bathroom break may just be what you need!

 

Daily Stretch Time

Stretching your body doesn’t just help you touch your toes better it helps you establish and maintain natural, healthy movement patterns. Taking 10 minutes once or twice a day to stretch is a great way to tell your body you love it!  At the injury prevention programs we provide for corporations the employees are encourage to stretch for 5-7 minutes at twice during their shifts and on their breaks. I have had so many employees tell me they couldn’t believe it made them feel that much better.  How simple. Just stretch!

 

Check Your Ergonomics

 

Is your workstation set up perfectly for your body? If your desk isn’t set up specifically for you it can decrease your energy and productivity.   Poor workstation setup can cause postural imbalances that might require professional help later on. If you want more information on this email me at delainePT@accelerate-pt.com.  I’ll send you a great graphic that will help you set up your workstation just right.

 

Just Walk

So every day taking even just a 10 minute gentle walk break with no cell phone or distraction can be the one thing to boost your energy today. Bodies were meant to move.  We just have to listen to them a little more and more energy will flow our way!

Are you still in pain or not moving pain-free? Give us a call. Our expert physical therapists can help identify the problem and put together a plan to get you moving and pain-free again.

Top 5 Ways To Be A Better, Stronger, Healthier You

Top 5 Ways To Be A Better, Stronger, Healthier You

Written by Dr. Delaine Fowler, PT DPT

Human optimization is the newest catch phrase among the professional health coaches and advisors these days.  But what does that really mean?  Well the good news is that optimized or healthy as I like to call it is closer than you think!  Healthy is just about having all your systems in a good shape and communicating to make you a healthier you.  The best part about it is there are simple things you can do every day that help make you better, stronger healthier you!  Check out these 5 key steps.

  1. Walking

According to health.harvard.edu walking just 21 minutes a day or 2.5 hours a week can reduce your risk of heart disease by 30%.  Walking has also shown to lower your blood pressure and your risk of diabetes and cancer.   It also has mind and brain benefits as well.  People who walk have seen improvements in mental clarity and improved mood.  Walking has even been shown to have benefits rivalling drugs taken to decrease depression.  Now that’s a magic pill I want!

 

  1. Better Sleep

Getting enough sleep is not only key to health but also happiness according to Moran Cerf.  The neuroscientist from the Kellogg School of Management explains according to research sleep is the thing that happier people do better than anyone.  Not that they sleep more but they just sleep better.  They get the key types of sleep to help the brain recharge.  How does one do this?  Setting a routine for sleep as well as doing things to calm your mind. For instance cutting out screen time two hours before bed and not consuming products that could keep you awake or wake you up at night could help you be more rested and happier.

  1. Breathing

There are so many benefits to doing what keeps us alive.  Deep breathing can calm the mind reduces stress and energize the body.  Taking just a few minutes in the morning, and every few hours thereafter to breathe fully as if you are trying to fill your body all the way to your toes with fresh oxygen can really recharge your body and your mind.  Think about it. Without the breath there is no life.

 

  1. Hydrate

The human adult body is water is made up of 60% water.  The brain and heart are made up of 83% water according to HH Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158.  Most men need about 3 liters of water per day and most women need about 2.2 liters of water per day to carry out our vital functions and remain hydrated.   Water does so many important things. It helps build cells, regulates our internal temperature through sweating and respiration, transports nutrients throughout our system and so many more important tasks.  Just a two to five percent loss in water can put us in a dehydrated state enough to affect our mental clarity and bodily functions. You likely end up in the hospital with a loss of 11% or more of you water content.

 

  1. Fueling with Real Food.

Food is what we fuel our system with.  I think of it like fuel in my car.  When I put the premium stuff in my car it does run just a little different.  The cleaner fuel helps my car run better.  Same with food.  Good health food in results in an optimized system.  Junk food in and you can feel sluggish and fatigued before you should.  Substituting just a few junk food items for healthy food could help optimize your system even more.

There are so many ways to be a healthier person.  The five items above are not an exhaustive list but in my book super important to living a more optimal human experience every day.

I would love to hear from you.  What other things do you do every day to keep yourself healthy?  Email me at delainePT@accelerate-pt.com or add a comment onto our Facebook Page @AccelerateTherapyandPerformance

 

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/walking-for-health

https://www.inc.com/chris-denson/a-neuroscientist-reveals-5-things-you-need-to-know-about-your-brain.html

https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html

http://www.system-safety.com/articles/Dehydration.htm