Category Archives: back pain

What about pain and exercise?

I have a bad case of arthritis in both my hands. I use exercise balls, ice packs and CBD oil for temporary pain relief. That is pretty much the only pain I deal with regularly. So, I guess I have a lot to be thankful for as a guy who turns 79 in January. I do realize, however, that many seniors are not so lucky. For them, I recommend these tips from the National Institute on Aging.

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Exercising when you’re in pain can be hard. You might think that you should rest until your pain disappears. But depending on the type of pain you’re experiencing, exercise can help reduce your pain and improve your mood.
Most people living with chronic pain can exercise safely. In fact, research has shown that exercise combined with education can reduce one’s risk of lower back pain.

Follow these tips for exercising with pain:

  • Pace yourself. Begin your program slowly with low-intensity exercises and work up from there.
  • Talk to your doctor. Pain usually doesn’t go away overnight, so talk with your health care provider about how long it may take before you feel better and about what exercises you can do safely.
  • Know which exercises to do. Endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises all have their own benefits, so doing a combination of exercises may be best.
  • Don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. Avoid overexerting yourself when you feel good. If you have pain or swelling in a specific area, switch your focus to another area for a couple of days.

Learn more about exercising with pain from Go4Life.

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Filed under back pain, chronic pain, Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise frequency, joint pain, pain, Pain relief, Uncategorized

6 Tips to avoid back injuries – AAOS

Some 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Here are a few interesting facts about back pain:

  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
  • One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.2
  • Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.

 

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People are constantly on the move during the warm summer months. It’s a popular time for family vacations, moving to a new home, or catching up on outdoor yard chores.

Unfortunately, many of these common activities lead to painful back injuries. In 2014, roughly 3.7 million people visited doctors’ offices for back symptoms related to pain and/or injuries during the summer months (June through August).

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7 questions to ask when you’re given a prescription for an opioid – Harvard

I really have to confess ignorance on the subject of opioids. I make it a point to keep my drug use at a bare minimum. Naturally, I have heard of opioid abuse. Who didn’t see those shocking pictures of golf great Tiger Woods the night he tried driving under the influence of opioids?

I recently suffered some severe back pain from hanging my bike on the rack carelessly. I went to the hospital for rehab work, but didn’t take any drugs.

I wanted to report what Harvard has to say on the subject because it offers a lot of information on asking questions of your doctor.

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Opioid misuse is now one of most important health problems in the United States, rivaling smoking as a cause of death. Although news reports tend to focus on an opioid crisis among the young, the opioid epidemic is increasingly affecting older people as well. In fact, the rates of hospitalization for opioid overdoses among Medicare recipients quintupled from 1993 through 2012. Although older people are still less likely than younger ones to become addicted or succumb to opioid overdoses, they are more likely to suffer side effects from extended opioid use, including memory and cognition problems and falls.

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Filed under aging, back pain, Harvard, lower back pain, opioids, pain, Pain relief

Sore back? Try yoga

I have written about yoga a number of times here. About a month ago I posted on a yoga study – yoga and back pain.

For the record, I dated a yoga teacher some years ago and practiced it religiously for the two years we were together and for several years afterward. So I am very familiar with its practice and results. I have certainly used the relaxation techniques available from yoga breathing virtually every day of my life.

I recently had some problems with my lower back. It was stiff and painful. It also felt like I was aggravating it riding the bike. So I went to the doctor. Upon examination, she told me that at my age, 77, I may have lost some of my flexibility, particularly in my spine. She recommended doing some yoga to see if it gave me relief.

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First, some back pain facts.

WebMD says, “Back pain includes lower back pain, middle back pain, upper back pain or low back pain with sciatica. Nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis can result in back pain.”

More than three million cases per  year are reported in the U.S. alone. Continue reading

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Yoga helps low back pain – Study

I was lucky enough to encounter yoga over 30 years ago. While I still practice it for flexibility and strength training, I think the greatest benefit I got from it was the ability to relax myself through deep breathing.Over the course of their lives, about 80 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at one time or another. A recent study found that more than a third of adults say that low back pain has affected their ability to perform the tasks of daily living, exercise, or sleep. Treating this pain remains a difficult problem, and for millions of people the pain is chronic.

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Now, a new study by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has concluded that yoga may be helpful for low back pain. The study appeared earlier this month in the online journal Cochrane Library.

“We found that the practice of yoga was linked to pain relief and improvement in function,” said the study’s lead author, L. Susan Wieland, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Family & Community Medicine at UM SOM, and Coordinator of the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field at the Center for Integrative Medicine at UM SOM – an NIH grant-funded project that performs systematic reviews of various integrative medicine topics. “For some patients suffering from chronic non-specific low back pain, yoga may be worth considering as a form of treatment.”

Wieland and her co-authors reviewed 12 separate studies looking at yoga for low back pain. The trials, which included more than 1,000 participants, compared yoga to a non-exercise intervention, such as educational material given to a patient, or to an exercise intervention such as physical therapy. The researchers found that there was low to moderate certainty evidence that at three and six months, patients using yoga had small to moderate improvements in back-related function, as well as small improvements in pain.

Yoga performed about the same as non-yoga exercise in terms of improving back function at three and six months, although the researchers found few studies comparing yoga to other exercise and therefore considered the evidence to be very low certainty.

Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice that originated more than 2,000 years ago in India. Over the past several decades, it has become increasingly popular in the U.S. and other western countries. It typically involves a combination of physical movements, controlled breathing, and relaxation or meditation.

Most of the trials used Iyengar, Hatha, or Viniyoga forms of the practice. Because all study participants knew whether or not they were practicing yoga, and their reporting of changes in pain and functioning could have been affected by this knowledge, the study outcomes could only be graded with “moderate” certainty at best. The study also found that patients using yoga had more adverse effects than patients who did not use exercise, but had similar rates of adverse effects as patients who used non-yoga exercise. The adverse effects were mostly increases in back pain. Yoga was not associated with serious side effects.

The research team also included scientists from the University of Portsmouth in the UK and the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany.

Here are some further posts I have done on yoga;

Why should I do yoga?

Are there immediate benefits to doing yoga?

Yoga stretches for cyclists

If you want to read more type Y O G A into the search box at the right.

Tony

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What About Back Pain?

Most people have back pain at some time or another in their lives. WebMD says, “Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their lives. The causes of back pain are numerous; some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.”

Back pain is one of the most common complaints that show up in the Emergency Room, according to Alan G. Shepard, M.D., Neurologist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, speaking to the Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program®.

“Some 60 to 90 percent of the population will experience back pain in their lifetime.

“Back pain is second only to upper respiratory infection as a cause for lost work time.

“Over 5 million people are disabled with low back pain which makes it the number one disability for workers less than 45 years old.

“The bad news is that no definitive diagnosis will be found in over 80 percent of the back pain cases.

“The good news is that over 90 percent of patients, even those with sciatica, will be better in two months regardless of the type of therapy given.

“Determining which patient with back pain is the ‘true emergency’ is one of the biggest diagnostic challenges that an emergency medicine physician can face. ”

WEbMD says to call your doctor if:

  • You feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your groin, arms or legs; this may signal damage to the spinal cord. Seek immediate medical help.
  • The pain in your back extends downward along the back of the leg; you may be suffering from sciatica.
  • The pain increases when you cough or bend forward at the waist; this can be the sign of a herniated disc.
  • The pain is accompanied by fever, burning during urination, or frequent and/or urgent urination. You may have an infection.
  • You begin to have problems controlling your bowels or bladder; seek immediate medical help.

Tony

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Back Pain Directly Connected to Foot Problems

When foot pain or a foot deformity causes you to change the way you walk, it changes the way the bones of all those other joints move with each other. Cartilage in the joints can wear down, ligaments and tendons can be stressed beyond their normal range, and arthritis can set in.

Dr. Anthony Weinert's Blog - Stop Feet Pain Fast

“The leg bone’s connected to the thigh bone…The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone…,” that old song is telling you more than you back pain connected to foot pain michigan foot doctormay realize. Our body parts are chained together, with one link–or bone–connecting at the joint to another link. And just like a chain, if one link is out of position, the next link will be as well- eventually, all the parts are overstressed and disjointed, and the entire system is adversely affected.

So, likewise, if your lower back has been hurting, and you don’t remember doing anything to injure it, it stands to reason that you should consider the health of your overall body to help you determine the source of your pain.  Shockingly, this often leads back to your feet. Foot pain is something that many people try to ignore, or dismiss as a simple fact of life or temporary nuisance. After all, doesn’t everyone’s…

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How to Improve Posture and Reduce Low Back Pain – Harvard

Is there anyone who hasn‘t suffered from, or isn’t suffering form low back pain? I remember years ago when I was working in an office and they passed out little lumbar pillows to use while seated at our desks. I thought it was funny, but did it anyway. A week later, my low back pain had evaporated and my mocking laugh had morphed into a smile of pain-free comfort. Little things mean a lot.

Harvard’s HEALTHbeat addresses lower back pain in their latest missive. “Repetitive activities at work or home, such as sitting at a computer or lifting and carrying, may produce tension and muscle tightness that result in a backache.
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Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to prevent this sort of problem. General physical fitness and a healthy weight are important. But one surprisingly simple strategy can go a long way: Paying attention to your posture.

“Posture is the way you hold your body while standing, sitting, or performing tasks like lifting, bending, pulling, or reaching. If your posture is good, the bones of the spine — the vertebrae — are correctly aligned. Continue reading

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Yoga for Arthritis; Yoga for Seniors

I have resumed doing yoga recently. I practiced it for about 10 years when I was younger, then relaxed my pursuit of it.

I have started doing yoga again for several reasons, some of which may be relevant to you. First, I wanted to get some weight-bearing exercise into my daily regimen since I do very little. Bike riding is great cardio activity, but it isn’t enough on its own. Second, practicing yoga puts you in touch with your body in a way I have never experienced with any other activity. I consider it very positive. Lastly, I have always found that the relaxation period afterwards was very effective. I come out of it feeling almost euphoric every time.

Because I dated a yoga teacher for several years, I had a lot of private instruction. However, I am now a senior citizen and have different needs than I did 30 years ago. For that reason, I am using a DVD by Peggy Cappy that I got for donating to Public Television. The title is Yoga for the Rest of Us – Back Care Basics.

Thread the needle pose. Excellent after riding my bike.

As an old man who rides a bike a lot, the ‘Back Care Basics‘ looked especially appealing. Indeed, there are a number of very worthwhile positions, one called Thread the Needle, gives my legs a magnificent stretch.

You lie on your back with knees bent. Then lift one leg and put it across the other knee. Lift that knee and hold it up by locking your hands behind the leg. This stretches out all the quad and upper leg muscles. It is incredible after a bike ride. I may do it on ride breaks when I take breaks.

I liked the DVD so much that I checked out other Peggy Cappy ones on the web. Sure enough there was Easy Yoga for Arthritis. As I suffer from severe arthritis in both hands, I was very interested so I ordered it.

Of course, I realized afterward that there are a lot of other places besides the hands that arthritis strikes in the body that can also benefit from yoga.
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Are There Immediate Benefits to Doing Yoga?

Judging from my own experience I would have to say the answer is yes to that question. Not long ago I started doing yoga and wrote about it for the blog. It has probably been 10 years since I have done any yoga seriously; I didn’t have any grandiose expectations. I am a senior citizen now, so my yoga experiences from my 30s and 40s might have little bearing on my present aging body. Also, I started with long range goals. I wanted to build up my strength and flexibility while keeping my ligaments and joints fresh through the various stretches and deep breathing.

The Sun Salutation postures

For the past three days I have done about an hour of yoga and relaxation every evening. In addition to that I do several sun salutations when I get up in the morning. The sun salutation is more functional than anything yogic. As you can see from the illustration, it includes a series of full body stretches. I think it is a way to get my body jump started after a night of sleep. I don’t follow it with a relaxation period, either.
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Filed under aging, back pain, biking, calories, seniors falling, stretching, Weight, yoga

Why Should I Do Yoga?

Almost 15 million Americans practice yoga. Yoga Journal

When I was in my 30’s I dated a woman who taught yoga and for two years I practiced it religiously with her. After we split up I continued my daily yoga for a long time. Somehow, in the midst of the trials and tribulations of my life, I scaled back on it and stopped practicing regularly. Nonetheless I continued to benefit from things I had learned from it, like diaphragmatic breathing. This wonderful tool has helped me to deal with stress all my life. Even now in retirement, I still use it although I feel far less stress than I did when I was a worker bee.

When I first started doing yoga, I was still a runner and one immediate benefit was that I didn’t turn my ankles as often, or at all. I don’t know if assuming the poses strengthened my ankles and legs or I simply achieved a better sense of balance, but I went from turning my ankles about once a week, to maybe twice a year. Also, in the years I did yoga, I had a really heightened awareness of my body that was very gratifying, hard to explain, but gratifying.

I find that now as a senior citizen, there are good reasons for me to resume my yoga practice. First, while I ride a bike daily and enjoy superb cardiovascular health, I don’t enjoy doing weight-bearing exercise very much. And, everyone needs to do that, too. It turns out yoga is weight-bearing exercise, but much more enjoyable (to me) than pumping iron. Second, I recently heard a talk on seniors falling which I wrote up here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, said, “Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.”

Frankly, that scared me. People die in hospitals. I want to steer clear of them. So, increasing my strength and balance through yoga has become very much more appealing.

I also remember that wonderful feeling of exhilaration doing yoga. The release of each posture always made those particular muscles feel alive with energy. The controlled relaxation at the end of every session never failed to boost my spirits. I would like to return to those sensations. So, I have started doing yoga again.

But, what about you? Maybe you aren’t an old man who doesn’t want to fall and go to the hospital. Why should you do yoga?

Here is what the yogasite says about why you should do yoga.
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Filed under aging, back pain, Exercise, relaxation, stress, stretching, Weight, yoga

What About Back Pain?

What About Back Pain?

Most people have back pain at some time or another in their lives. WebMD says, “Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their lives. The causes of back pain are numerous; some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.”

Back pain is one of the most common complaints that show up in the Emergency Room, according to Alan G. Shepard, M.D., Neurologist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, speaking to the Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program®.

“Some 60 to 90 percent of the population will experience back pain in their lifetime.

“Back pain is second only to upper respiratory infection as a cause for lost work time.

“Over 5 million people are disabled with low back pain which makes it the number one disability for workers less than 45 years old.

“The bad news is that no definitive diagnosis will be found in over 80 percent of the back pain cases.

“The good news is that over 90 percent of patients, even those with sciatica, will be better in two months regardless of the type of therapy given.

“Determining which patient with back pain is the ‘true emergency’ is one of the biggest diagnostic challenges that an emergency medicine physician can face. ”

WEbMD says to call your doctor if:

  • You feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your groin, arms or legs; this may signal damage to the spinal cord. Seek immediate medical help.
  • The pain in your back extends downward along the back of the leg; you may be suffering from sciatica.
  • The pain increases when you cough or bend forward at the waist; this can be the sign of a herniated disc.
  • The pain is accompanied by fever, burning during urination, or frequent and/or urgent urination. You may have an infection.
  • You begin to have problems controlling your bowels or bladder; seek immediate medical help.

Tony

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Filed under aging, back pain, stress, Uncategorized