9 Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Spine

Lifestyle choices play an important role in the health of your spine. When we are young, the bones in our spine are strong, our muscles are limber and our discs are at a healthy height, allowing us to move effortlessly. Participation in athletic activities coupled with poor body mechanics can mark the beginning of disc damage because excessive flexion and rotation of the spine can lead to annular tears in our discs. In our adult years, life gets busy with careers, families and hobbies, and it becomes easier to make poor lifestyle choices that unknowingly put extra force on our spine, leading

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Resolution of Lumbar Disc Herniation Without Surgery

Every day we see patients with disc bulges or lumbar disc herniation like the patient below who were told to have steroid injections, physical therapy but eventually, they are pointed to surgery. This landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine proves many discs improve on their own without surgery. What motivates doctors and PAs to not share this type of information with patients allowing truly informed consent? As you can see below, her herniation healed on its own without surgery, likely through time. A true indication for surgery is incontinence and/ or rapidly progressing paralysis of the extremities

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Landmark Study on Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion rates continue to increase dramatically in the United States. Oddly enough, this landmark study shows the rise is related financial incentives and other variables not associated with the patient’s well being. This respected journal states that the annual number of spinal fusions rose by 77% within 5 years. This is confirmed in this publication: NEJM Spinal- Fusion Surgery-The Case for Restraint Why do you think so many unnecessary spinal fusions are happening?  

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How Backpacks Affect the Adolescent Spine

Back pain that affects the adolescent spine is considered to be a precursor to adult chronic low back pain.  Over 90% of children in the United States carry backpacks, therefore, it is imperative, that they are instructed on proper backpack use, as carrying backpacks incorrectly at a young age could lead to long term back pain issues. More than 60% of adolescents ages six to nineteen, reported back pain associated with backpack use according to a clinical study printed in The Spine Journal Volume 16 (2016)1.  This particular study found the amount of time students spent carrying backpacks and the

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Why “Useless’’ Spine Fusion Surgery is Still Popular

A New York Times article stated, “Spine fusion surgery is no better than alternative non-surgical treatments.” Unlike most operations, spinal fusion was tested in four clinical trials. The conclusion was that “surgery was no better than alternative non-surgical treatments, like supervised exercise and therapy to help patients deal with their fear of back pain”. The studies were completed by the early 2000s and should have been enough to greatly limit or stop spinal fusions, according to Dr. Richard Deyo, professor of evidence-based medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. But that has not happened, according to a recent report printed

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Discography May Accelerate Disc Degeneration

It’s no secret that low back pain is a leading cause of “unwanted” lost workdays. Low back pain is not a disease, but instead may be caused by several problems, the most common being degenerative discs.1  Degenerative discs may also lead to facet joint arthritis pain and “sciatica” nerve pain. To help pinpoint pain sources, discography was historically offered because MRIs couldn’t reliably identify pain. Discography was used to plan spine surgery, however, today spine fusions themselves are being questioned because of long-term fusion concerns. Discography was introduced in the 1940s. During discography, x-ray contrast is injected into the center

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Spine Fusions Stopped in North Carolina

Spine Surgeons voiced fear nationwide that one of their highest paid spine procedures, spine fusions, attempting to treat degenerative disc pain, won’t be paid for by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Because spine surgery lobbyists have no evidence to justify fusions, they are now being denied. Poor outcomes are causing fusions to fall under scrutiny worldwide. (Reference) Many scientific articles, including the New England Journal of Medicine, and a European Spine treatment Guideline referenced an article stating: “The tide of scientific evidence seems to go against the spinal fusions in degenerative disc disease. After decades of advances in this field, the

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The Domino Effect – Facts Reported After Spinal Fusions

The Domino Effect – Facts Reported After Spinal Fusion Whether you believe in a creator or evolution, your spine’s design is perfect for moving and bending. Unfortunately, spinal fusions unnaturally connect spaces meant to move freely using metal rods, screws, or cages. Because fusions permanently immobilize spines, they eventually damage discs above and below fusions by overloading them with mechanical forces1. Thus, fusions accelerate degeneration of adjacent discs, causing the damaging domino effect 2. Research demonstrates the domino effect is caused by cervical and lumbar spinal fusions and may cause patients to need additional spine surgery3,4,5, and unfortunately, repeat surgery increases

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Yoga and What the Spine Experts Say

Spine experts Kevin Pauza, MD and Richard Deyo, MD recently weighed in on an often asked question, “Is yoga good for my back pain?”.  In a recent Consumer Reports article, Richard Deyo, MD, Professor of Evidence-Based Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, and author of the guidelines released by the American College of Physicians (ACP), recommended non-drug remedies, including yoga first, for patients struggling with back pain. Kevin Pauza, MD, Founding Partner of Texas Spine and Joint Hospital and Manhattan Spine and Joint Institute, said he directs his patients towards facts when answering this question. “What does the scientific research

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Avoid Bending and Twisting

Did you know that every day activities involving bending forward and twisting may cause back pain? Bending forward (flexion) and twisting (rotation) are shear and compressive forces on the disc that lead to torn, herniated discs causing low back and leg pain. These movements done repetitively cause wear and tear on the discs, which lead towards tears and herniations. Once the disc tears, its inner jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus, leaks through those tears, causing chemical inflammation of the spinal nerves leading to back and leg pain (Sciatica) In order to have proper body mechanics one must avoid bending

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Avoid Bending and Twisting

Did you know that every day activities involving bending forward and twisting may cause back pain? Bending forward (flexion) and twisting (rotation) are shear and

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