How To Choose The Best Spine Specialist




spine surgeryIn recent years, Rutgers University defensive tackle, Eric LeGrand, received a severe neck injury that effectively ended his college football career and changed his life forever. The resilience of this young man has impressed many college sports fans in New Jersey. He has received national media attention as well, not so much for his injury, but for his ability to persevere through the recovery process. What made the difference in Eric’s life is that he had the good fortune of being young and having a good spine specialist in New Jersey. The quality of care you receive after any serious injury such as Eric’s can make a world of difference in your quality of life. Here are some tips that will help you to choose a quality spine specialist.

Tip #1 Gather information about the spine specialist

Choosing a spine specialist inNew Jersey is a critical first step in getting on the road to healing after a spinal injury. You want to know the level of success your specialist has had in your area of need. How long has they been practicing? What do their other patients have to say about them? How well do they communicate with their patients? Do they take the time to explain what you don’t understand, or do they assume that you know what they’re talking about? You want a physician that honors the fact that you know your body better than anyone. They have to listen keenly to your descriptions of how you are feeling in order to create a plan of action. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and acknowledge that you are well aware of the changes that are happening in your own body.

Tip #2 Find a specialist who will encourage you

Look for someone who has an honest, but encouraging personality. Being told you will never walk again is sometimes more painful than the injury itself. If you have no hope for your future, you are not likely; to put in the extra effort needed to recover to your maximum potential. Hearing a spine specialist say, “Anything can happen,” is a more encouraging and prognosis, than hearing the words, “You will never walk again.” The fact is that many people have recovered way beyond what medical science could have predicted. This does not suggest that you divorce reality and ignore the gravity of the injury, but rather that you keep an open mind.

Tip #3 Where is the specialist’s office located?

The location of your spine specialist’s office is an important factor in choosing the doctor that works for you. If you are unable to get to the office when you have an appointment, then it makes no sense to bother with making the appointment in the first place. Choosing a specialist that is close to home may be ideal for most patients. However, you may also want to take into consideration that someone else may have to pick you up and take you to your appointment. If transportation is a problem, you may be able to arrange transportation through your insurance carrier or even the public bus system.

Author: Tony F. is a medical assistant that likes to share tips with readers who are looking to learn more about the healthcare industry

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Sitting From 9-5: How To Avoid Stiff Muscles Throughout The Day



office exercises for the backThe importance of maintaining a good posture cannot be stressed enough. However, bad posture is something many people have and slowly, it becomes a habit. This habit can be bad for anyone but for people with 9-5 desk jobs, it can spell doom for their back. Back pain becomes a regular thing for them and this increases the chances of getting strokes, heart diseases and certain metabolic syndromes. But, there are many back pain solutions to this problem that don’t even involve that much hard work. Keeping your posture a priority is not only great for your fitness level but for your overall health. It should be important to us everyday and for that here are some great tips and ideas to help keep your body and mind strong throughout your 9-5 workday.

Posture Exercises

When you wait for your coffee or for your printouts, you can perform 5 sets of planks with 30 seconds for each set. You will be working out your core muscles and would burn some fat in the process too say the experts from Healthy Back. Also, you can do tricep dips, wall push-ups, squats and desk push-ups in your own office space when you take a break from work. Perform 5 sets of 30 seconds each. These are all great options to keep not only your back, but your whole body stretched out and limber.

Hydrate Well

Most people are in the habit of chugging down cups after cups of coffee when they are working but coffee dehydrates the body. Instead, you should drink loads of water. Make it a habit to drink a glass of water at the end of every hour to keep your body hydrated. This would be necessary for you to do those exercises. Not only will this help keep your body hydrated, but it is a great way to break up your day and keep you more health minded. Once you start working on these small and simple things you will be ready and motivated to tackle larger health problems.

Walk Every Now and Then

Walking would allow your back muscles to relax and would also be a good way to take a break from work. You could set up targets for yourself. Decide to walk 5,000 or 10,000 steps a day and count your steps when you walk. This can help keep you focused on what you are doing and gives you the opportunity to stretch at the same time. But if you are looking to talk with others while getting this exercise there are always pedometers you can buy, you simply attach them to your pocket and they will count your steps for you. This is a great way to be more aware of what your body is actually doing. Doctors suggest that you should get up to stretch or walk every 20 minutes or so to keep your muscles from getting too stiff.

Use A Resistance Band

You should keep a resistance band in your drawer at your desk. Then, when you take a break, you can stand up and perform some chest pulls to improve blood circulation in your body and remain active. If you cannot find enough time to go to the gym, this could be a good alternative.

Don’t feel conscious about exercising or stretching in front of your colleagues. They are all sitting as long as you are and most likely experiencing the same aches and pains. It could actually be a great conversation starter that could get your whole office on a healthier track.

Author: Brionna Kennedy is native to the Pacific Northwest, growing up in Washington, then moving down to Oregon for college. She enjoys writing on fashion and business, but any subject will do, she loves to learn about new topics. When she isn’t writing, she lives for the outdoors. Oregon has been the perfect setting to indulge her love of kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking.

 

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Low Back Pain – Fix The Cause, Not Just The Symptoms



ease your low back with chiropractor treatmentThe lower back is a part of the body which is subject to many stresses and strains simply as a result of daily activities. Simple things like gardening or bending and lifting heavy objects can put a strain on the lower back, often without one realizing it.

Even if some discomfort is noticed many people will carry on with their work, thinking that it is nothing more than a small catch in the back, or a slight strain. Often they may be right and the body will heal itself, but it is unwise to ignore the discomfort since the problem may be worse than anticipated.

The Two Types of Pain

Before we move on, it is good to keep in mind that there are two different types of back pain- acute and chronic. An acute back pain is a temporary problem with duration of less than a few weeks and will generally clear up by itself. If the pain persists for longer, then that it is a chronic condition. Furthermore, it could be a much severe problem than you originally thought- A slip disc, sciatica or even arthritis.

As with many ailments the most important thing is to deal with the cause and not just the symptoms. Many physicians may not have the knowledge to understand the underlying cause of a particular problem and will simply prescribe medication to ease the pain. While this may indeed lessen the discomfort all it is doing is masking the problem. If the underlying cause is not treated the pain will simply return.

Causes of Low Back Pain

Back pain – and especially low back pain – is one of the most common problems that can occur. This is because there are a lot of things that can cause the issue to begin with. People who have never had any trouble with their lower back will find it difficult to understand just how much it can affect an individual. In some cases the pain is only temporary and will disappear in a few days or weeks. For others it is an ongoing problem that can severely interrupt their lives.

Sitting in a chair in your office all day long, with little to no physical exercise is one of the most common causes today. That coupled with improper posture, A bad fall, an accident, or a physical trauma coming back to haunt you because you didn’t get it treated then, are some of the other causes.

Chiropractic as a Solution

There are various treatments available for low back pain. Drugs may help in some instances but often will not be beneficial. They offer quick, but temporary relief. Other options may at times include surgery, but most people would treat that as a last resort, and in any case surgery on the lower back does not have a 100% success rate.

This is why non-invasive techniques such as chiropractic treatment are gaining so much ground. It involves no shots, no drugs and no cutting into you- unless your condition is far too severe. In that case, the chiropractor, after a thorough check-up, will recommend an orthopaedist.

Chiropractic has a lot of haters. But, it also has a huge number of people who believe in its effectiveness.

Chiropractic Treatments

There are a variety of treatments that a chiropractor may use, one of them being spinal manipulation. The chiropractor will endeavor to realign the spine in order to reduce the pain suffered by the patient. Sometimes this can be achieved with one visit to the chiropractor but in other cases a course of treatment may be required.

Another method of curing the cause of the problem is traction. The chiropractor will use a system of weights which will help to pull the spine back into its correct position thus relieving the pain. Such treatment must only be carried out by an experienced chiropractor who has had the proper training.

Chiropractic techniques will very often be the best way forward for any patient suffering from lower back pain because they address the cause of the problem rather than simply ignoring it and treating the symptoms as many medical professionals will do. This is not to suggest that such professionals are ignoring the problem, rather that they have not been trained in the specialist techniques that a chiropractor uses.

Bed rest for a couple of days may help in some cases. This gives the body a chance to recover from the cause of the pain if, indeed, it is not too severe. However, there are actually some conditions in which bed rest is not recommended. In fact, for some conditions exercise is the way forward. It should be noted that exercise should only be undertaken on the instructions of a specialist or chiropractor. Taking or using the wrong sort of exercise could make the condition much worse. There are some exercises which can help to strengthen the lower back and the abdominal muscles which may be beneficial in certain cases.

It is estimated that eight out of ten people will experience back pain at some time in their lives. The total cost of low back pain in the US – including lost wages and reduced productivity – is put at an astonishing $100 billion.

In many of these cases, treatment by a chiropractor will succeed very quickly where traditional therapies may fail. It goes without saying that if you suffer from low back pain you should seek treatment only from a qualified, registered chiropractor. The initials “DC” identify a trained chiropractor who will usually have a degree and have spent four years in training at a chiropractic college.

Needless to say, plenty of exercise, proper posture and a good diet would keep you from needing a chiropractic’s service in the first place.

This article was written by Peter Oh, who underwent chiropractic therapy for his low back pain, and is very happy with the results of his treatment.

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Can ‘Smart Mattresses’ Tell US More About How We Sleep?



intelligent app for sleep The world is getting smarter these days, and this doesn’t just mean the people in it. Our items are all getting smarter too. So called “smart” phones are getting faster and more clever all the time, but it’s not just the obvious items that are improving in this way. Many items that you wouldn’t normally associate with being “smart” are starting to get computer upgrades that allow them to give us more information than ever before about ourselves and our lives. A good example is the new innovation involving smart mattresses.

Learning How You Sleep

One example of this technology is the “Beddit” product. This gives you a thin sensor that you put under the sheets on your bed. It can then connect to your smart phone. The app associated with the product will help you monitor all sorts of different information about how you’re sleeping. For example, it will give you a way to track your heart rate throughout the night, how you’re breathing and how your breathing rhythm is going, how much you are moving around during sleep cycles, and even noise and light levels in the room. The app can give you a full timeline going from when you first fell asleep, and stretching through the beginning of deep sleep, the “recovery” period, how long you woke up for throughout the night, and so on. There are other similar technological approaches to this as well including entire beds that have it built in. Generally, the applications for this are widespread.

Medical Innovations

Researchers are often saying that sleeping well, and in general the way that you sleep and how you wake up can have a huge impact on how you feel throughout your day, how sharp you are, and so on. Technology like smart mattresses could revolutionize how we sleep in terms of health. It could allow doctors or individuals look for problems in an entirely new way. If you’re not sleeping through the night and feel grumpy the next day, traditionally there wouldn’t be a whole lot you could do about it since you wouldn’t know why it was happening. But with smart mattresses, you can now check to see if any noises or additional light sources occurred throughout the night that could explain why it’s happening. Once you know what occurred right before you woke up at 2 a.m., you may be able to fix it, such as checking to see if there are any motion detection lights shining through your window, and so on.

Waking Up Better

Another possible improvement is in terms of lifestyle. It’s pretty unpleasant to have to wake up to an alarm in the morning if you happen to be in deep sleep, for example. One feature that these smart apps have is the ability to set a special alarm that will monitor when you’re hitting a lighter stage in sleep, and to activate your alarm then, thus giving you a nice introduction to the day instead of grogginess.  Once everyone sees how much more chipper people using this tech are in the morning, bed sales for such innovations will only pick up.

 

This is a guest post by writer and blogger Georgia Webster. In her writing, Georgia currently focuses on tech gadgets that could trigger healthy lifestyle changes.

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Can Music Reduce Chronic Back Pain?



pain relief through musicArguments for and against music therapy vary almost as much as music itself varies. How does one know, skeptics ask, indeed how can one know which type of music is best for a patient? Nevertheless, evidence in favor of music’s therapeutic value is mounting. Patients suffering from chronic pain who were exposed to music for an hour a day reported a significant reduction not only in their pain, but also in their depression and perceived disability.

These findings were reported in the June 2006 issue of the Journal for Advanced Nursing, and came on the heels of a similar study undertaken at a Colombian University. This previous study had concluded that while patients listening to music could expect some benefits, these effects were small, calling into question their clinical importance.

Questioning the root of it

It is simply taken as a given that we respond emotionally to different types of music, otherwise the studies arguably wouldn’t have been initiated in the first place. Yet we know that our brain’s opioid system is linked to emotional triggers, and therefore has a hand in controlling pain that is emotional as well as physical. After all of this, the question remains: Is it actually the music that is responsible?

One may say that the effect is due purely to relaxation. This would be a fair thing to speculate on if it weren’t for the fact that studies on relaxation yielded conflicting results–likely due to the variety of relaxation methods used, which may have fogged the data a bit. Nevertheless, results led experts to conclude that current evidence does not support a predictable effect of relaxation on pain.

What’s on your playlist

Interestingly enough, the type of music used in the therapy sessions seemed to influence results. Music that was chosen by the patients had less of an effect on pain reduction than music chosen by the physicians. This sheds light on an important discussion that remains to be had: If certain types of music do influence the brain’s pain response, which factors contribute to this? For instance, would Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor have the same effect as, say, the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine?” We also know that much of the power in music we love or hate lies in its ability to trigger memories.

Not to mention the plain fact that some pieces of music just sound happier or sadder than others. A scene in Rob Reiner’s 1984 mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap, depicts one character as saying, “It’s in D minor, which is widely known as the saddest of all keys.” It’s an in-joke for musicians, but there is a kernel of truth in it. The aforementioned Bach Toccata is stereotypical haunted house music.

All in the mind

Then there’s the placebo effect. A main tenet of the effect is the foreknowledge a patient has of the treatment’s ostensible efficacy. Furthermore, some hold the theory that the very process of administering the placebo has much to do with its effect. Caring, attention, hopefulness, and encouragement by the physician affect the expectations of the subject, triggering the appropriate neurotransmitter releases.

Conclusion

The recent study holds promise. If nothing else, it demonstrates the significant effect music is capable of having on us. Many patients have reported an improvement in their chronic pain when they listen to music, whether that pain is caused by previous injuries, varicose veins, aging, arthritis, etc. That is enough to place the issue into the hands of serious scientists, and in fact may be the key to understanding the results of future studies. In the meantime, in the eyes of many who suffer from chronic pain, music–what the composer Frederick Delius called “an outburst of the soul”–is a melodious air on which the last hope floats.

The author of this article, Nicole is an expert in the health  industry. She recommends Intermountain Vein Center as a great varicose vein treatment clinic.

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