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Back Pain

Back Pain (4)

16 Nov

Are your bad habits the cause of your back pain and neck pain? Oftentimes, reducing back pain and neck pain can be as simple as making a few changes to how you sit, stand and sleep. For instance, maintaining a good posture can help stop back pain by keeping your natural spinal curves in their normal position, taking painful pressure off your spine. Consider implementing these simple solutions to help manage chronic pain and get you back to enjoying work and life.

Back Pain and Sleep

There's no doubt that a good night's sleep is important. But back pain and sleep don't often go well together. While a restful 6- to 9-hour sleep can help your body and muscles recover, upper and lower back pain makes it harder to sleep, reducing your body’s ability to heal. Here are some easy solutions to help you sleep better with back pain. 

  1. Avoid sleeping on your stomach to help reduce back pain. 
  2. The best sleeping position for back pain is on your side. Keep your body straight and resist the urge to curl up into a ball. This position keeps the spine in alignment from the neck down, reducing the chance of pain. 
  3. Lessen the risk of back pain insomnia while sleeping on your side by putting a pillow between your knees, keeping your body in alignment. Pillows can help back sleepers reduce pain, as well. Simply place one or more under your knees to help prevent lower back pain caused by your spine arching too much. 
  4. In addition to altering your sleep position, back pain can be reduced with the help of a firm mattress and a supportive pillow.

Avoid Back Pain While Sitting

Back pain during long periods of sitting is a common phenomenon. Sitting actually puts more stress on your spine than walking or standing. But, thankfully, there are some easy fixes for back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain that occur while sitting.

  1. Poor sitting posture is to blame for a lot of upper back pain and lower back pain while sitting, as well as neck pain and shoulder pain. Good posture means less pain. To reduce pain when sitting, sit up straight, with your ears, shoulders and hips in line. Place both feet flat on the ground, with thighs parallel to the floor.
  2. Avoid back pain while sitting by sitting on your "sitting bones," not your tailbone. This might mean you have to add a blanket or cushion underneath you to ensure your knees aren't higher than your hips.
  3. To maintain proper sitting posture, buy a good chair with a firm, flat seat and plenty of lower back support. A chair with good lumbar support can help you avoid a sore back. If your chair doesn't have lumbar support, avoid back pain by putting a small pillow or rolled up towel between your lower back and the chair. 

Stand Without Back Pain

Do you experience back pain from standing too long? Many people do. Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to help deal with it. 

  1. If you are standing for long periods, be sure to give your back a break. You can manage your back pain at home by bending forward and to the sides to a comfortable stretching position.
  2. Don't forget that supportive shoes reduce the risk of back pain and knee pain
  3. Proper posture can also help limit back pain while standing. Keep your ears, shoulders and hips aligned to help prevent pain. Also try to pull in your stomach and chin, while tilting your pelvis forward.
  4. Change your position often to lessen back pain and knee pain while at work or during long periods of standing in line. If possible, use a stool or block to rest one foot on.
  5. A back brace can help you maintain proper posture, providing back and abdominal support. It provides support for prolonged periods of standing or walking.

Reduce Back Pain When Walking

If you're wondering how to walk with back pain, consider these simple tips.

Walking can be a great form of excercise, but it may be difficult to figure out how to walk with back pain. These tips can help you get started.

  1. Like in every other area, posture matters. You can exercise with back pain by holding your head high, tucking in your chin and pointing your toes straight ahead. 
  2. Comfortable shoes are a must. Pick ones with an arch support to help reduce back soreness and leg soreness the next day. 
  3. To avoid back pain after your workout, stretch when you return home. And don't forget to hydrate. Water can even help keep your spine healthy, since it's an important component of spinal discs. 

Drive Comfortably Without Pain

Driving to work and on errands can be a pain - literally. Back pain while driving can make routine trips unbearable. Consider these tricks to lessen driving back pain.

  1. To reduce back pain while driving, apply the advice for sitting without back pain: Keep your back upright, sit on your "sitting bones" and make sure your knees aren't higher than your hips.
  2. Keep your shoulders back and put both hands on the wheel to reduce the chances of back pain and arm pain.
  3. If you need help to keep your back straight or your arms straight, consider a brack brace or a wrist brace. They reduce pain by providing support and limiting movement, which can be especialy helpful for herniated discschronic lumbar instability, degenerative disc disease, post-operative rehabilitation or severe sprains or strains.

Do you have any other additions to our list? Let us know in the comments!

If you have additional questions about your back pain, consider the benefits of seeing a pain management physician. Click the link below to download our free comprehensive Back Pain Guide, with expert information, facts and advice to help you relieve your back pain. 

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16 Nov

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Did you know that back pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States with more than one-half of all working Americans experiencing symptoms each year? In fact, experts say that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives. The good news is that most causes of back pain are not related to serious conditions or incidents such as infection, sports or accident-related fractures or cancer. Most often, symptoms occur from causes that can be prevented or modified such as arthritis, poor posture, obesity, stress and more. When an individual experiences back pain, any one, if not all of the following factors may come to mind:

What is causing my back pain?

The back may be one of the most complex structures in our body and it sustains a tremendous amount of wear and tear with each of the activities we do everyday. In many instances, back pain is the result of overuse or injury. It is not uncommon for pain to arise from poor posture, standing or sitting for long periods of time, smoking, trauma from a fall and much more.

How do I go about diagnosing and treating my back pain?

Diagnosing the cause of back pain can be complicated and should be conducted by an experienced medical professional. Your medical provider will lead you through a series of important questions related to your pain intensity, lifestyle factors and more. A large variety of interventional treatments and minimally invasive procedures will likely be available for most people experiencing back pain, allowing patients to return to work and to their active lifestyles.

What are some ways to keep my back healthy?

Back pain prevention methods at work and home are important steps to understand and keep top of mind to avoid injury and chronic pain. Exercising, eating healthy, practicing good posture and proper lifting techniques are just a few of the ways you can prevent the onset of back pain.

How do I cope with my back pain?

Unfortunately for some, pain management is a part of day-to-day life for the long-term. However, there are many techniques that can be implemented to eliminate pain or at the very least, keep it at a tolerable level. Proper medication compliance, lifestyle factors, exercise and strength, stress and activity level all play a significant role in pain management.

The expert team at Advanced Pain Management is committed to identifying the source of back pain and finding the right treatment options for each individual patient. Understanding and protecting the spine is important to everyone’s wellbeing.

What steps are you taking to prevent back pain or treat symptoms associated with work and lifestyle factors?

Explore each area of diagnosis, treatment and prevention in much greater detail by downloading our newly expanded Back Pain Guide.

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02 Nov

Many people hear the same thing every time they visit the doctor: Being overweight can have serious effects on your health. But what your doctors may not be telling you is that, in addition to things like high blood pressures, heart disease and high cholesterol, your weight may be causing or increasing your back pain.

Being overweight can increase your risk of developing low back pain. Your weight can also cause spinal disc pain and joint pain, since your body is putting added strain on your spine and joints. Knee pain, hip pain and leg and ankle pain can all result from weight problems.

Taking weight off the spine and the affected joints is one of the best ways to start decreasing your back pain and joint pain – but it’s never an easy process. Weight loss can be a daunting task – especially for those already experiencing pain. But weight loss is a necessary path toward a better, more pain-free life. These tips can get you moving in the right direction.

Get a Doctor’s Advice

Before making any lifestyle or diet changes, always consult your doctor. Your doctor can help you decide which diets or exercise programs can work best for your particular situation, lifestyle and pain level. Exercise and dieting for pain relief are great ideas – just make sure you do them right!

Eat Right to Reduce Pain

Eating a healthy diet is one of the first steps to losing weight and, subsequently, reducing pain. When planning out your meals for the week, try to reduce your sugar intake. That means that to decrease pain, you should eat fewer items containing high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, maltose and sucrose. Unfortunately, these are common additives in everyday foods, such as prepackaged meals, granola bars, juices and crackers. If you’re not already, start checking a product’s ingredient list before purchasing it; you might be surprised how many things labeled as “healthy” are actually filled with sugar.

In addition to helping you lose weight, cutting sugars out of your diet can decrease inflammation in your body. The same can be said for simple carbohydrates, which break down in your body into forms of sugar, causing inflammation and weight gain. Anything made of white flour contains carbs, including pasta, bread and crackers. A good tip for pain relief is to decrease carb intake and increase healthy fats and proteins. This means low-fat or lean meats and poultry, as well as fish, nuts, seeds and beans.

Some healthy foods even have the ability reduce back pain, knee pain and general pain. Cherries are high in antioxidants and anthocyanins, which block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes. Fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids can help relieve back pain. And hot peppers like jalapenos and habaneros can help with arthritis and muscle pain, due to their high levels of capsaicin.

Supportive Equipment to Reduce Pain

There are many items to help reduce back pain and assist you in staying active. Many times, supportive equipment can make all the difference.

One of the first things to help you lose weight and exercise with less pain is getting the right shoes for back pain. This means shoes that are lightweight and support your arch and foot. The best shoes help your body maintain proper alignment when walking or jogging. Many good shoe stores have employees trained to help you find the best shoes for your feet.

Beyond shoes, finding a supportive mattress can help you sleep better with pain. Since sleep is one of the ways your body renews itself, it’s crucial to get a good night’s sleep to help with pain. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours on average.

A back brace, knee brace, wrist brace or cervical brace can also provide the support you need to get out there and start an exercise routine. Back braces, for instance, provide back and abdominal support for weak muscles, allowing you to get out there and do the things you normally wouldn’t be able to, like prolonged walking, gardening or participating in sports. Braces help your body build muscle strength while still providing the support you need.

Interventional Pain Procedures

Sometimes, losing weight through exercise and diet isn’t enough to completely rid your body of pain. When that’s the case, it may be time to consider interventional pain procedures, which can be administered by pain management doctors. Interventional pain procedures can help restore function, giving you the ability to make lifestyle changes that may have been previously impossible due to your pain. These minimally invasive procedures can include epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks and radiofrequency ablation. All of these procedures have the ability to significantly reduce pain. Without high levels of pain, people can often return to exercising and physical therapy.

Request an Appointment

Although the concept is simple, losing weight and reducing pain can be a complicated process. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your pain, consider scheduling an appointment with one of Advanced Pain Management’s specially trained providers. They can help you reduce your pain and get back on your feet, helping you return to a healthy, fulfilling life.

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02 Nov

The national numbers on opioids are clear: Opioids are a dangerous drug with concerning risks and side effects. But what’s going on beneath those numbers, among the individuals currently taking opioids for chronic pain, is equally important. Specifically, how helpful do they find opioids in treating their pain – and what drawbacks are they seeing from prolonged use? A new study presented at the America Society of Anesthesiologists’ annual meeting sought the answers to these crucial questions.

Study Overview

The study, titled “Do Patients Perceive Opioid Treatment as an Effective Way to Mange Chronic Low Back Pain?,”[1] was one of the research projects presented as part of the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2016 annual meeting.

The authors utilized data from a January 2016 survey of more 2,000 low back pain patients. They chose low back pain, in part, because these patients are more likely than patients with other types of pain to be treated with opioids. In fact, 46% of the survey respondents were currently utilizing opioids for pain.

The respondents were divided into three categories based on their opioid usage: those currently on opioids, those who were not currently on opioids but had been in the past year (28%) and those who had never been on opioid therapy (26%).

Key Findings

As part of the survey, patients were asked how successful they felt opioids were at relieving their pain levels. When taken together, only 13% of all respondents selected “very successful.” The most highly selected answer was “somewhat successful,” which was selected by 44% of people. Of the others, 31% said “moderately successful” and 12% said “not successful.” When the results were divided by opioid usage status, “somewhat successful” was still the most common answer for those currently on opioids, while those previously on opioids most commonly selected “not successful.”

The study also examined side effects and stigmas associated with opioid use. The researchers found that the vast majority – 75% – experienced side effects due to their opioid treatment. The most common of these side effects were constipation, sleepiness, cognitive issues and dependence.

On top of that, 41% of people reported feeling judged based on their usage of opioids. And, as it turns out, this feeling of being judged was unique to opioids; despite 68% of respondents also taking antidepressants, only 19% felt judged for using those.

Implications for the Future

These results put further emphasis on the dangers and inefficacy of long-term opioid treatment for chronic pain. Not only does their use create additional physical and social problems, but for most people they don’t even effectively address the pain.

Lead author Dr. Asokumar Buvanendra of Rush University in Chicago sees this as yet another reason pain patients should seek care from a multidisciplinary pain management specialist.[2] Whether it’s interventional procedures, physical therapy, alternative medications or complementary therapies, pain management providers are able to offer and coordinate a variety of services that oftentimes not only work better than opioids, but also pose far fewer side effects.

“Patients are increasingly aware that opioids are problematic, but don’t know there are alternative treatment options,” said Dr. Buvanendra in a press release regarding the research. If you want to learn more about what treatment options are available for your condition, call (888) 901-PAIN to speak to a member of our care team staff.

Download your free opioids and pain in-depth guide

[1] Buvanendran, Asokuma, Rae M. Gleason, Mario Moric, Sherry J. Robison, Jeffrey S. Kroin. “Do Patients Perceive Opioid Treatment as an Effective Way to Manage Chronic Low Back Pain? A Survey of Opioid Treatment Perception and Satisfaction.” ANESTHESIOOGY 2016 Annual Meeting (October 23, 2016). Accessed January 3, 2017, http://www.asaabstracts.com/strands/asaabstracts/abstract.htm;jsessionid=431585AA0967E7E27C850BD8C99D1E06?year=2016&index=3&absnum=4614

[2] AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS, Many Back Pain Patients Get Limited Relief From Opioids And Worry About Taking Them. 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

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