Orthopedic Associates' Blog

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Orthopedic Associates' Blog


4 methods Santa’s elves use to protect their backs from injury
4 methods Santa’s elves use to protect their backs from injury
By: Dr. Mohammed Paracha With less than two weeks until Christmas Eve, you know that Santa’s little helpers are hustling to load the sleigh for the busiest man on earth. All of that building, packing, wrapping, and loading is back-breaking work! How do the elves protect their backs through the Christmas season? Since we don’t have an insider at the biggest operation center in the world (i.e., the North Pole), we can only guess how the elves stay ache-free. Here are four methods we believe Santa’s elves use to keep their backs healthy. First, teamwork: As we all know, Santa’s elves are smaller in stature than most humans. Preparing enough presents for all the children of the world would be tough enough for anyone, but Santa’s secret is that he has an army of elves. There are enough elves to team up and tackle heavy objects together. Nowhere is the saying “Many hands make light work,” a truer statement than above the frozen tundra. Work smarter, not harder. This isn’t the elves’ first Christmas; they’ve been doing this work for thousands of years. ...

Should I be worried if my child has back pain?
Should I be worried if my child has back pain?
By: Dr. Paracha Children are incredibly resilient and fragile, all at the same time. What may sound like a horrific tumble can sometimes result in a child hopping right back up and continuing on their way. What may be of greater concern to parents is when their child complains of back pain, especially if they’re younger than high school age. Should you be worried if your child says that their back hurts? Children typically have the discomfort of growing pains, but any complaints by your child about having back pain should be taken seriously. It may be a sore muscle from sleeping in an awkward position, which some children tend to do, or from sleeping in a new bed. Temporary aches may be the result of taking a tumble while playing with their friends. If your child continues to experience pain over the course of a day or two, you may want to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician. Older children, specifically high school age, may be experiencing back pain due to athletics and everyday activities. Their bodies are closer to adult ...

Do I need Physical Therapy for my back pain?
Do I need Physical Therapy for my back pain?
Dr. Mohammed Paracha Your back hurts… a lot. An ice pack, two pain relievers, and massaging your lower back for a few minutes helps take the edge off. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to deal with the same ache and stiffness? Your back may not be injured to the point of needing surgery, but there’s no question you’re in pain. Your doctor recommends physical therapy to help alleviate your discomfort. Do you really need physical therapy for your back pain, even if you’ve never needed back surgery? You may be surprised! According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, physical therapy can be as effective as surgery and less risky for at least one lower back condition (lumbar spinal stenosis). Surgery brings a series of additional risks, some life-threatening, but it can be extremely effective. Whether it’s a new injury or an old nagging one, you may want to consider physical therapy for your back pain. Physical therapy can help stretch and reposition your back muscles and musculoskeletal structure. Active stretching combined with regular exercise ...

Improving your posture when sitting at your desk
Improving your posture when sitting at your desk
By: Dr. Cynthia Byler Most people have terrible posture when sitting at a desk. What’s worse is that many of us know this truth. In fact, you may have already straightened your back and squared your shoulders while reading this article. People are sitting more than ever before, a staggering 9.3 hours of sitting every day. The saying is true, “Sitting is the new smoking!” According to the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, people who sit for extended periods of time are 24% more likely to die from health conditions. A sedentary workspace also contributes to chronic back pain, heart disease, colon and breast cancer, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. Together, these diseases are responsible for 63% of deaths each year. (PGDA) Switching to a standing desk alternative for at least part of your work day and being mobile between meetings and projects can be excellent ways to limit the effects of sitting. Changing how you sit can also ensure your body stays healthy and strong. Here are a few simple changes you can implement at your desk to improve your ...

Am I suffering from a herniated disc?
Am I suffering from a herniated disc?
Herniated discs most commonly occur in the lower back region (lumbar spine herniations) or neck region (cervical spine herniations), but they are far less common in the upper back region (thoracic spine herniations). (Mayo Clinic) Herniated discs can be very painful, but often times, patients with herniated discs are unaware of their condition. There are certain symptoms to be aware of that may indicate whether you’re suffering from a herniated disc. Weakness or pain in your toes Herniated discs in your fourth and fifth lumbar segments (L4 and L5) can cause nerve impingement that may make it difficult to raise your big toe. If the herniation occurs between your fifth lumbar segment and first sacral segments (L5 and S1, respectively), you may experience difficulty or even pain standing on your toes. Leg Pain Leg pain, or “sciatica” as it’s sometimes called, can be the leading sign of a herniated disc. Research shows that “approximately 90% of herniated discs occur at L4-L5 and L5-S1, causing pain in the L5 or S1 nerve that radiates down the sciatic nerve.” (Spine Health) If you have a ...

Getting your Christmas tree up without throwing your back out
Getting your Christmas tree up without throwing your back out
By: Dr. Keith Wilkey The holiday season is here! It’s time to deck the halls, wrap presents, and put up the Christmas tree. Before you wrestle your favorite Douglas fir into place, there are a few tips to keep in mind to keep your back and knees on the “feeling nice” list this year. First, you may be thinking, “It’s a Christmas tree! How much could it possibly weigh?” The average 6-7 ft. Fraser fir tree weighs around fifty pounds. (North Carolina Christmas Trees) When it comes time to swing that piney bundle on top of your luggage rack, you want to be careful with how your back, knees, and shoulders are positioned for the safest lifting possible. It never hurts to use a second person’s assistance when loading or unloading a Christmas tree. As with all heavy lifting, lift with your legs, not with your back. Always do a few stretches before lifting heavy objects, keep your back straight, and position your legs shoulder-width apart for maximum lifting power. If you have a taller car, like an SUV or a minivan, ...

How bad posture affects your spine (and exercises to correct it!)
How bad posture affects your spine (and exercises to correct it!) Did you know that lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability around the world? A recent study shows that over 31 million Americans currently suffer from lower back pain. (ACA) Although sitting at a desk all day may be a known cause of back pain, having poor posture causes more musculoskeletal disorders than we might realize. Warning signs of poor posture As our bodies age, it’s easy to let our spine contract with pain points, such as rounding the upper back and arching the lower back to accentuate the spine’s natural S-curve. There are several known signs of poor posture, including: Rounded shoulders Back pain Uneven wear patterns on the soles of your shoes (ex: your left shoe’s sole is significantly more worn-out than your right shoe’s sole) Head leans to either side or forward Bent knees when standing or walking Potbelly  Slouching, sleeping on your stomach, leaning too far to ...

Is Running Actually Good For You?
There’s a long standing debate between runners and non-runners: Is running actually good for you? It’s time to find an official answer. Let’s examine the facts: The benefits of aerobic exercise (cardio) are undeniable. It’s widely known that those who regularly engage in cardio experience decreased stress, healthy weight loss, increased heart and lung strength, greater bone density, improved mood, and boosted energy. If we look at the definition of cardio, it is any use of oxygen to meet the demands created by movement via aerobic metabolism. Basically, anything that has your body intaking more air than usual and converting it to energy can be considered aerobic exercise. The question then becomes: Is running, a specific TYPE of cardio, beneficial to the body? To answer, we’ll have to look at the mechanics of the act of running. You’re breathing heavier and your heart is pumping more, but what about all those joints and muscles moving around to facilitate your aerobic experience? Running, by definition, requires that both of your feet be off of the ground simultaneously at some point in your cycle of movement ...