APM Blog

Did you know that eating certain foods increases the inflammatory markers in our bodies, while eating others can decrease signs of inflammation? People with acute and chronic pain often have a high amount of inflammation in their joints, muscles and blood. Changing your eating habits can decrease inflammation in your body, increase your energy, help you maintain a healthy weight and allow you to feel better both physically and emotionally.

There are three important dietary improvements you can make today that can help you reduce pain.

Limit Sugar

Sugar, AKA corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, maltose and sucrose. You know that you can find sugar in cookies and brownies, but did you also know that sugar is hiding in many foods that are advertised as “healthy”? These include granola bars, instant oatmeal, juices, crackers, prepackaged meals and more. Think like a detective, and be sure to carefully read foods labels on everything you eat, paying close attention to grams of sugar.

Limit Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates include “white” foods, like: white pasta, white breads, white crackers and anything made with white flour. Why should you limit these foods? Simple carbs quickly break down into forms of sugar, which we know to be inflammatory and related with weight gain, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Studies have shown that eating a diet lower in carbs and higher in healthy fats and proteins also reduces inflammation in the body.

Limit Food Additives

Try to limit food additives in your meals, particularly MSG and artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These additives are found in several “low fat” and “diet” products, as well as prepackaged foods and processed meats.

What Should You Eat More?

You might be worried that abiding by the above recommendations that you will be limiting your foods choice but that isn’t true! Foods shown to be especially anti-inflammatory and good in all sorts of other ways include: berries, cherries, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, olives and olive oil, fish (especially salmon, halibut, sardines, tuna, trout, whitefish, cod and oysters), avocados, green tea and nuts including walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.

Another Tip: Try seasoning your foods with seasonings that have anti-inflammatory benefits such as with ginger, cinnamon, basil, cloves, mint, turmeric, thyme and chili pepper. Moderation is key in life, but being informed and making changes to help manage your life and your pain is important. What changes can you make today? Do you have pain fighting foods or recipes you might suggest to our readers?

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Published in Acute and Chronic Pain
Thursday, 02 November 2017 13:12

The Benefits of Radiofrequency Neuroablation

Nerves play an important part when it comes to pain. They’re responsible for transmitting pain signals from the painful areas of your body to the central nervous system (i.e. the spinal cord and brain). It makes sense, then, that nerves can also play an important part when it comes to treating that pain. That’s where radiofrequency neuroablation comes in.

Background and Uses

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) – also called radiofrequency rhizotomy and radiofrequency neurotomy – was first used to treat back pain in 1975 by CN Shealy.[1]  In a paper regarding the topic the following year, Shealy concluded that in properly selected patients, 82% experienced partial to total pain relief with no neurologic complications.[2]

 RFA is used to treat pain stemming from the facet joints, both in the spine (lumbar and thoracic) and neck (cervical). Facet joints are where each vertebra connects with the vertebrae above and below it. These joints both stabilize the spine and limit excessive motion.[3]Normal wear and tear, injury and disc degeneration can all cause issues with the joints, resulting in back or neck pain. In a systematic review in the journal Pain Research and Management, five out of six studies found that in cases of chronic back pain resulting from such facet issues, performing RFA resulted in statistically significant reductions in pain.[1]

The procedure is ideal for pain that hasn’t responded to conservative therapies, such as physical therapy or medication. Before the procedure, physicians will typically perform a diagnostic nerve block to ensure that the patient is a good candidate for the procedure.

How it Works

During an RFA procedure, heat from an electrode is used to cauterize one or more nerves, thus disrupting pain signals to the brain.

To begin, after the patient has received medicine to help them relax and the area around the injection site has been numbed, the physician inserts a small tube called a cannula into the spinal area and guides it to the right nerve with the help of an X-ray device. An electrode is inserted through the cannula and its position is tested with a small jolt before the nerve is heated.[3]

To heat the nerve, a high frequency electrical current is administered, which causes molecule movement and produces thermal energy.[1] This, in turn, creases a small lesion within the nerve, disrupting its ability to transmit pain signals. The doctor may treat several nerves, if necessary.

Following the Treatment

After an RFA procedure, pain relief may not be immediate. The injection site will be sore and back or neck pain may still persist, but, if the correct nerves were treated, the pain will gradually decrease over several weeks.

Partial or total pain relief from radiofrequency can last for several months. Nerves do grow back, however, so the procedure may need to be repeated. But, unlike invasive surgeries or long-term medication usage, there are few serious side effects to the procedure, allowing you to get back to a better quality of life.

More Information

To learn more about radiofrequency neuroablation, or to schedule an appointment with a pain specialist to discuss treatment options, click here.

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] Leggett, Laura E., Lesley Jj Soril, Diane L. Lorenzetti, Tom Noseworthy, Rodney Steadman, Simrandeep Tiwana, and Fiona Clement. "Radiofrequency Ablation for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials." Pain Research and Management 19, no. 5 (September/October 2014): 146-E153.

[2] Shealy, C. Norman. "Facet Denervation in the Management of Back and Sciatic Pain." Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, no. 115 (March/April 1976): 157-64.

[3] “ViewMedica Patient Engagement Videos.” Swarm Interactive 2016. Accessed May 5, 2016. http://www.viewmedica.com/.

So your doctor says you need a nerve block, but you’ve never even heard of this type of procedure before. You start thinking: What will this entail? Will it hurt? And, most importantly, will it really help relieve my pain? Let this in-depth look at nerve blocks answer all your most pressing questions.

Definition and Types

Nerve blocks do what the name implies: They block the pain signals traveling along a nerve or a group of nerves before they get to the brain.[1] Nerves work like sensory superhighways, transmitting sensations – like pain – from the source to the brain. Blocks involve injecting various types of medications around the nerve or nerves to stop the transmission of pain.

There are two main types of nerve blocks that may be performed at different points in the body; some nerve blocks will be diagnostic, helping doctors find the source of the pain to better determine future treatment, while other blocks may be therapeutic, providing prolonged pain relief.

  • Diagnostic blocks are utilized to determine if a specific nerve or nerves are the source of the problem. During this procedure, a doctor will inject a temporary numbing agent around the nerves, which – if the right nerves were targeted – will relieve pain for a few hours or days. You will then be told to go about your day, moving around as normal and monitoring your pain levels for signs of improvement. If you and your doctor deem the block successful, you may have another block to verify these results, or just move on to a more lasting treatment option, like radiofrequency neuroablation.
  • Therapeutic blocks aim to relieve pain for a longer period of time. This is due to the type of medication injected around the nerves, which will include an anesthetic for short-term relief and an anti-inflammatory medication for longer relief.

Procedure Overview

To begin, you may be given sedation to help you relax, but you will remain awake during the procedure. Your provider will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the nerves that are being treated. Using a state-of-the-art X-ray device called a fluoroscope, along with contrast dye that’s been injected into the region, your physician will locate the nerve or nerves that may be causing the problem. A mixture of pain-relieving medications will then be injected around the nerves.

Following the procedure, you will usually be able to go home in about 30 minutes. After a nerve block, people may feel soreness at the site of the injection.

Therapeutic Outcomes

The ultimate goals of therapeutic nerve blocks are similar to those of many other procedures: decrease pain, increase function, decrease opioid usage and increase the ability to perform physical therapy. Yet everyone responds differently to different procedures and nerve blocks are no exception.

After the nerve block procedure, it’s possible that the pain may return after the anesthetic wears off but before the anti-inflammatory medication takes effect. This is normal and should decrease within a few days. Usually, more than one injection will be required to provide sustained relief from pain, and relief may last longer after each injection. The amount and frequency of these injections will depend on your specific condition.

Learn More

To learn more about nerve blocks, including if they may be right to help treat or diagnose your condition, please schedule a consultation with one of our experienced pain management providers by calling (888) 901-PAIN. You can also learn more on our treatment pages:

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[1] “ViewMedica Patient Engagement Videos.” Swarm Interactive 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016. http://www.viewmedica.com/.

Published in Pain-Treatment
Thursday, 02 November 2017 12:35

Save your Back from Hunting Pain

 Deer hunting season is finally upon us again. After months of sunshine and fair skies, the weather has at last turned cold, leaves clutter the ground and the deer are out in full force. That can only mean it’s once again time to grab your orange and camo gear, haul out your hunting rifle and take to your tree stand.

But before you hunker down for long days (and nights) in your stand, make sure you’re prepared for all the dangers of hunting. I’m not talking about dangerous animals or other hunters, but a far closer hazard: pain. Sitting in your tree stand, dragging your trophy buck to the car or even walking over uneven terrain can spell disaster for your hunting trip if done improperly. So before embarking on your yearly pilgrimage to the woods, consider these tips for avoiding hunting pain and injuries.

Sit Up Straight

No matter your skill level or stand location, sitting and waiting is nearly always part of a successful hunting trip. But sitting for long periods on a hard surface or improper chair can be detrimental to your body. According to Advanced Pain Management (APM) physical therapist Courtney Wack, “Ideally you want to be sitting in a comfortable chair that’s high enough so that when you sit your hips are higher than your knees. This allows for better posture.”

Unfortunately, low hunting chairs or cushions don’t allow your body to maintain proper posture, causing your back to curve more than it should, which puts more pressure on your spine. This, in turn, can lead to initial or worsening back pain.

If a comfortable chair with proper lumbar support is simply not an option for your hunting space, consider placing a rolled up blanket or sweatshirt behind your lower back to provide additional support.

Keep it Movin’

When you keep your body in the same position for hours, it’s inevitable that your joints will begin to stiffen, often causing joint pain. It’s a simple concept: Joints need movement, since that’s how they get lubricated. Less movement equals less lubrication. And, depending on your position, this could lead to pain in any of your joints. According to Courtney, prolonged time in a single position can actually flare up many chronic pain conditions.

The solution is an easy one: Get up and walk around every 30 minutes. But if walking around isn’t in the cards, you can at least stand up and walk in place for a bit, or do some stretches to loosen up your body. 

Stretch it Out

Just like your joints, your muscles can get tense and painful when you’re stuck in the same position for long periods. Thankfully, there are some simple stretches you can do even in the tiniest of tree stands.

  • Neck stretches: Sit on your right hand and slowly lower your left ear down to your left shoulder until you feel a stretch in your right shoulder. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat two or three times on both sides.

  • Mid-back stretches: Pinch your shoulder blades together for three to five seconds. Repeat five times. This stretch can be done every 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Low back stretches: While in your chair, rock forward on your seat, arching your lower back forward as much as you can. Then rock back and curve your back, with your chest moving toward your knees. Repeat this five times. You can also do a seated turn, where you sit in your chair with your back straight and gently turn your head and shoulders to one side. If available, you can hold onto the chair arm or side of your tree stand to help you stabilize, and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat three times on both sides.

  • Hamstring stretches: While sitting on your hunting chair, extend one leg out straight, bend forward and reach toward your toes until you feel a stretch behind your knee. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.

  • Ankle stretches: While sitting in your chair, bend your ankles up and down, pointing your toes first toward the sky, then down to the ground. This can be repeated 10 times every 15-20 minutes, helping increase blood flow and decrease cramping and leg pain.

The Dangers of Dragging

It’s happened: You’ve finally shot a good-sized buck. Now, all you have to do is get it to your car . . . half a mile away. But dragging it all that way can be damaging to your body. If at all possible, try to use a cart, ATV or some other piece of equipment to help you move the animal.

If you don’t have equipment readily available, try wrapping a rope around the deer before starting to pull it. This will add leverage so you don’t have to bend over. While pulling the deer, try to change your grip and positioning often. If you don’t, you’ll be relying on a single set of muscles, making injury more likely. And, just like every other task, make sure to take a break whenever you feel tired and hydrate well.

Build up your Strength

One of the best ways to protect your body from injury while hunting – and in other parts of your life – is to strengthen it. Specifically, says Courtney, “Strengthening your back and core can be very helpful not only when sitting for long periods of time or dragging deer, but even just walking on uneven terrain.” Your core, she explains, is what helps your back brace for impact if you step into a hole or twist to avoid injury.

Core exercises can help improve both balance and stability, and even help you maintain a proper posture. Plus, they’re easy to do in the comfort of your own home. This list of core-strengthening exercises, including planks, hip lifts and kneeling extensions, can help get your back and core up to snuff to help you avoid serious injury.

Stay Safe!

Taken together, these tips, exercises and stretches can keep you safe and help reduce hunting-related pain and soreness so you can focus on what really matters: your search for your best buck yet. 

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Published in Deer hunting

Injections of pain-relieving medication are common for the treatment of back pain – but, in reality, many more painful sites throughout the body can benefit from an injection. Whether arthritis in the knee is impeding your life, neck pain is stopping you from enjoying activities or hip pain is making moving difficult, a joint injection may be just the thing you need.

How Injections Work

Injections can be utilized on various sites throughout the body to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. While inflammation is a natural part of the body’s immune response – and can therefore help us heal – the prolonged inflammation that occurs as part of many chronic conditions result in long-term pain and sensitivity.[1]

Injections for knee, neck or hip pain may contain various medications; a physician will determine which ones are appropriate based on your particular condition. Typically, a combination of a local anesthetic and steroid medication will be utilized. While the anesthetic works to reduce pain in the short-term, the steroid will work to reduce pain and inflammation in the longer-term, usually up to several months.[1]

A patient may still experience pain after the anesthetic wears off but before the steroid medication takes effect. This is normal and pain relief should occur soon. For some patients, one injection may be enough to provide adequate long-term relief; however, others may require several injections to experience the full benefits. 

The Procedure

Injections are a simple, quick and precise way to treat pain at the source. In preparation for an injection, your physician will clean the area to be treated and then inject a numbing medication. To ensure that the medication is injected at the precise area it’s needed, the physician utilizes an X-ray device called a fluoroscope and a test injection of dye. (If the dye pools around the joint’s tissue, the physician will know that the needle needs adjustment. If it doesn’t pool, that means the medication will reach the desired space inside the joint.)[1]

When the needle’s proper placement is ensured, a syringe filled with medication is attached and the medication is injected. After the needle is removed, the site may be covered with a small bandage.

More than Just Pain Relief

Injections help to both relieve pain and restore function. In doing so, they can also help an individual get more from physical therapy. And therapy, in turn, can actually help prolong and increase the pain-reliving effects gained from injections, in addition to preventing pain recurrence and re-injury.

In addition, the pain relief gained from the combination of injections and therapy can oftentimes help pain sufferers decrease their reliance on opioids. And a lower dose of opioids means a lower chance of dangerous opioid-related side effects.

Injections are a safe, low-risk way to treat pain at the source and get you moving again. To find out more about the injections APM offers, take a look these interactive animations or call (888) 901-PAIN (7246).

Get moving. Call (888) 901-PAIN (7246) or click to schedule a consultation now.

[1] "Patient Engagement Videos." ViewMedica. 2015. Accessed March 08, 2016. https://viewmedica.com/.

Published in Neck-Pain
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 04:13

Don’t Let Motorcycle Pain Slow You Down

Although, for some, riding a motorcycle is the epitome of summer fun (or spring or autumn), for others, it can be a pain – literally. From the muscle cramps and fatigue to the back aches, neck pain and wrist stiffness, pain can oftentimes ruin this quintessential warm-weather activity. But, fortunately, there are some steps you can take that will keep you going strong for the rest of the season.

Sitting Position

Your motorcycle type will go a long way toward helping – or harming – your pain levels. The best motorcycles to help prevent pain are standard ones that allow you to sit with your back straight, your feet directly below your body and your arms and hands straight in front of you.

Cruisers are the second best option for your body. On many of these bikes, your body will still be able to maintain a pretty straight posture, although your legs will be in a less favorable position, putting more of your weight on your butt and back – and therefore on your spine. Also, try to avoid bikes with “extreme ape” handlebars, which can both strain your shoulders and cause hand and arm pain.

In the least favorable category are sport bikes, on which you lean forward and oftentimes curve your back outward, putting your spine in a very unnatural position. These bikes also require you to have your feet behind you and your hands lower than your arms, creating more stress – and pain – in your arms and legs.

Core Strengthening

Even on bikes that allow for straight posture, many – if not most – riders still find themselves slouching. In this position, your shoulders will be arched forward, as will your back, putting increased stress on your spine, causing pain and leaving you more prone to injuries. The goal is to straighten your back and keep it that way throughout the ride. This takes core strength.

To achieve core strength, core strengthening exercises should be included as part of a regular exercise schedule. (Aerobic exercise is a critical element since it will help with weight loss, which will take excess weight off the spine.) A plank and modified plank (where you’re resting on your knees instead of your feet) are two good core exercises, as are lunges and squats. Other exercises include:

  • Abdominal Brace with Leg Extension: Lie on your back with your knees bent and abs tightened. Kick one leg out while keeping your back straight, then slowly lower it. Repeat this 10 times with each leg.
  • Superman on Bed: Lie face down with your arms at your sides and your head hanging off the bed. With your chin tucked, lift your head up until your back is straight. Pull your shoulder blades together and lift your arms off the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times. Do this 2-3 times per day.
  • 4-Point Hip Extension: Start on your hands and knees with your abs tightened. Extend one leg behind you for a few seconds, then bring it back down. Repeat with the other leg.

Stretching

Sitting in a single position while riding causes joints and muscles to stiffen. Stretching and movement – which relax the muscles and lubricate the joints – are therefore important components of a comfortable ride.

While it may not be possible to get off your bike to stretch and walk around every 30 minutes, try to do it as much as possible. Take advantage of rest stop breaks to do some simple arm, leg, back and neck exercises. You can also try to work movement into your ride: Raise and drop your shoulders, straighten your legs out for a few seconds (one at a time), or even move your elbows around briefly. If you have cruise control, use it on long stretches and take the opportunity to move your wrists and hands around.

Simple Adjustments

There are some other simple things you can do to reduce pain while on the road.

  • Hydration matters – no matter the temperature. Dehydration can cause slower reaction times and even cognitive impairment
  • Adjust your bike where possible. If your seat or handlebars are adjustable, take the time to make them as ergonomic as possible. Even a slight tweak could save you from pain in the future.

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Published in Motorcycles
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 01:19

A Healthy Harvest – For You and Your Plants

Harvest is a wonderful time, but for gardeners it can often be a (literal) pain in the neck – and back and knees. But, with a few easy changes, you can protect yourself – and your plants.

Get Into Position

Harvesting vegetables requires a lot of physical exertion. Carrots and most root crops, for instance, are first dug with a fork and then picked up by hand, either when bending or kneeling.

To reduce the risk of injury, avoid kneeling on both knees and keep one foot on the ground to give your back more stability, while making sure to change positions frequently. If possible, bending should be avoided. When it’s absolutely necessary, bend at the knees and hips and tighten your abs. Or bend at the hips and extend one leg back, keeping your back straight. And take frequent breaks, walking around every 20-30 minutes.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers suggests that next year instead of planting bush beans, which require a lot of bending and searching to find all the ripe beans, consider the taller and easier to pick pole beans. And to do less damage to your plants and ensure that they continue to grow and develop, use a sharp knife and scissors during harvesting.

Perfect Pumpkins

Pumpkin picking requires precision. “Pumpkins are harvested when the rind is firm and glossy, the fruit is full-size and the portion touching the ground turns from cream to orange,” says Myers. Don’t lift it by the stem, since it may break. Instead, squat with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the hips and knees and pick up from the base, lifting gradually.  

Pick Your Posture

When it comes to fruit trees, use a ladder or secure step stool to avoid looking up for long periods. Work at waist level whenever possible, looking and reaching in front of you rather than above you. When picking fruit, gently twist it instead of pulling it off. And don’t forget to harvest your plants regularly, says Myers, so there’s less to harvest at one time – and so your plants keep producing.

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Published in Healthy Living
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 18:04

4 Tricks for Evading Halloween Pain

For many people, the scariest thing this Halloween won’t be the masks or the movies, it will be facing the laborious holiday projects and parties with chronic pain. Fortunately, though, pain’s disrupting effect can be minimized with a few Halloween tricks.

Trick or Treat with Ease

For those suffering from chronic pain, trick-or-treating can be a dreaded event – but it doesn’t have to be. With proper preparation, warmup and some minor modifications, trick-or-treating can quickly regain its sense of fun.

Start preparing a week or two beforehand with a basic walking program. Start off moderately with a few simple stretches and set yourself an achievable goal. A fitness app or pedometer can help measure your progress. Slowly increase your distance as you feel comfortable. Also remember to wear comfortable clothing and shoes and drink plenty of water to fuel your muscles and keep you energized.

On the day (or night) of your area’s trick-or-treating, make the walk easier for yourself by planning out the route beforehand, keeping in mind how far you can comfortably go. To reduce the distance, if your children are old enough have them walk to the door by themselves while you remain at the end of the driveway.

Keep Clear of Candy

While it may be tempting to raid your own candy bowl (or your kids’ trick-or-treating bags), it’s better for your pain if you refrain. Sugar, in all its varied forms, can actually increase the inflammatory markers in the body – and lead to weight gain. Just like simple carbohydrates and food additives (such as MSG, artificial sweeteners and preservatives), it’s best to decrease your sugar intake.

Instead of sugary items, opt for healthy or fun alternatives – and give them to neighborhood kids, as well. Not only could you help teach kids lasting healthy habits, you could also provide a much-needed option for those with allergies. For consumable items, try handing out fruit leather, mandarin oranges, or juice boxes with 100% fruit juice. To add more of a “trick” to their treating, consider handing out something simple, like silly putty, masks, bubbles, glow sticks or stickers.

Dress for Success

Selecting your ghoulish, ghostly or gut-busting garb can be one of the best parts of the season – but it can also spell disaster for those with chronic pain. To avoid painful predicaments, no matter what your Halloween plans, opt for a costume that’s comfortable and allows you to move and walk easily.

Avoid costumes that require high heels or awkward footwear, for instance. High heels can actually make your feet slide forward in your shoes, causing improper weight distribution. This imbalance causes your body to tilt forward, forcing your back to compensate by overarching and putting strain on your hips, knees and lower back. Instead, choose footwear that provides support to your whole foot, promoting proper posture.

You should also steer clear of outfits that put extra weight on your shoulders or legs, which can lead to increased neck pain, back pain and knee pain. For comfort and safety, also try to choose a costume that doesn’t constrict your legs when you walk, and that isn’t too hot or itchy.

Avoid Decorating Nightmares

Whether spooky or spectacular, Halloween decorations are key to getting into the holiday spirit. But for those with chronic pain, the effort required to decorate can be a real nightmare. To avoid pain, choose lightweight decorations that don’t require excessive bending or reaching to put up. If you must carry heavy decorations or heavy boxes, hold them close to your body as you walk and try not to twist or turn.

To put decorations on your roof, gutters or a similarly high area, use a ladder or step stool, which can reduce the neck strain that comes with looking up for long periods, as well as the shoulder and arm pain from reaching up.  

You could also consider a back brace, which provides back and abdominal support while you lift boxes and decorate your home. Back braces, along with wrist braces and knee braces, help support the weak or painful parts of your body and protect them from further injury.

Enjoy the Season!

Taken together, these four Halloween tricks can help you avoid pain so you can enjoy all the spooktacular things the holiday season has to offer. What creative techniques do you use to avoid Halloween-related pain?

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Published in Halloween

In part one of our post on recommended warm-weather activities, we touched on the pain-fighting benefits of strengthening bones, increasing flexibility, building muscle and diminishing stiffness. We provided some back and neck friendly outdoor activity recommendations to enjoy in the month ahead. In this piece, APM experts share insight regarding activities to avoid if you are experiencing back or neck pain. Be sure to use caution when: Golfing with back pain can be easy with these tips.

Golfing:

The Midwest is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. Whether you are waiting for the perfect spring day or if you’ve already played your favorite course - consider these important tips before you tee off.

  • Warming up is critical – especially for those first couple of rounds early in the season. Do adequate stretching and warm up to limber back and neck muscles that have likely not been used in a while.
  • Take a lesson — whether you're a golf newbie or an old pro who's been experiencing some back pain, you might want to take a lesson on swing mechanics. These classes emphasize proper form that is imperative to back and neck pain and injury prevention.
  • Bend from the hip — when bending during your game, be sure that you're bending from your hips and knees and not your back.
  • Focus — concentrating on the biomechanics of your swing will help ensure that you don't suffer a back or neck injury. Think about the motion of your body and don't lean forward.

Waterskiing / Motorized Water Activities:

Waterskiing and other motorized water sports are activities that someone with a back or neck condition should approach with extreme caution. Consider these important factors before hitting the waves:

  • Due to the high speeds involved with these types of activities, potential falls can involve significant momentum, leading to direct pressure on the neck and spine.
  • It is always best to slowly build up confidence and expertise before trying more advanced moves.
  • Stay in close communication with the person in control of the boat or other motorized water equipment.  

Amusement Parks:

Popcorn, corn dogs, tilt-a-whirl and games… what’s not to love about an amusement park during the warm spring and summer months? In addition to all the fun activities involved with taking kids to an amusement park, you may want to keep the following thoughts in mind for back and neck care:

  • Relax — if your pain management physician has given you the approval to get on a ride, be sure you do so with caution. Relax your muscles and do a few stretches to loosen up. Tensing up and holding your neck and back in place may cause additional pain.
  • Follow instructions — if you encounter a ride that advises guests who suffer from back and neck pain to abstain from riding, then you should definitely pay attention to the warning.

Camping:

 Camping is a popular warm-weather activity throughout the Midwest as a way to experience nature, relieve stress and bond between family and friends. However, if you suffer from back pain, sleeping on the hard ground may be a less than desirable scenario. Follow these tips to prevent pain from getting in the way of your enjoyable outdoor adventure.

  • Use an air or foam mattress — your sleeping bag on the hard ground may not be the best situation if you have back or neck pain. Investing in an air or foam mattress will make sleeping easier.
  • Wear good shoes — if you plan on hiking or walking from campsite to campsite, make sure to wear shoes that prevent jarring. Shock absorbers can wear out in shoes, so if yours are well worn, consider getting cushion inserts.
  • Drink water — being outdoors in the elements can take a larger toll on your body than you may think. Lack of hydration can cause sensitivity in the neck back muscles - so be sure to drink up.

There are many great opportunities for increased physical activity and fun in the great outdoors. However, it is best for most individuals – especially those experiencing a neck or back condition – to consult with your healthcare provider or pain management expert before beginning any new activity. In addition to consulting with your physician, start new activities slowly, take breaks and always warm up, stretching, stay hydrated and wear / use appropriate clothes and equipment.

What warm weather activities do you enjoy? Please share in the comment section below.

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Published in Activities

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