Tag Archives: back pain

Is there a link between weather and pain?

Cloudy with a chance of pain? Doctors are now looking at whether there really is a link between weather and pain.

To test this, patients with chronic pain like arthritis are asking to record their symptoms based on the weather. They score their symptoms each night on a new app. The GPS on their phone will automatically collect the weather data wherever they have been that day.

For some, a pain forecast would help them know how to plan their day. 36-year old Carolyn Gamble, with has arthritis says, “Perhaps I won’t book as many meetings on that day, or won’t travel so much.”

She adds, “If it’s really hot and humid I get a full-body flare but equally if it’s cold and humid I get a flare up as well.”

Researchers will be collecting data throughout 2016 and are hopeful to have results by the summer of 2017. Anyone aged 17 and older in the UK with chronic pain is allowed to take part. All they need is a smartphone. To take part, visit www.cloudywithachanceofpain.com.



Dietary solutions for your back pain away

Can you eat your back pain away? For Americans, lower back pain is inevitable. Sitting for prolonged periods of time strains your back, neck, and shoulders.

While standup desks have become popular, there’s another alternative that contributes more than you think to back pain: what you eat.

In the recent book 3 Weeks to a Better Back, Dr. Todd Sinett says that major dietary causes of back pain include caffeine, alcohol and sugar. He suggests that eating large amounts of inflammatory foods can cause muscles to contract without relaxing.

This can cause back spasms and irritation if it persists over time.

So what foods should you avoid because they are considered inflammatory and increase cortisol levels? See the list below.

  • alcohol (wine, beer, spirits, cocktails)
  • excessive caffeine (coffee, tea)
  • added sugar
  • soda and other artificially flavored/sweetened fruit juices and drinks
  • milk-based drinks (chocolate milk; milkshakes)
  • some fruits (bananas, grapes, cheerios, figs, dried fruit)
  • processed cheese and processed foods
  • hydrogenated oils (anything ending in -ose)
  • enriched white flour (found in bread, pasta, cookies, pastries, and crackers)

What Does a Back Muscle Spasm Mean?

Ever experienced a muscle spasm in your back? For some, they can be so painful that you feel like you should head to the emergency room.

What are back spasms? Muscle spasms occur for two reasons:

  1. As a result of muscles trying to protect themselves from a muscle sprain or strain or…
  2. In response to an underlying condition

Sometimes a muscle will seize up if it senses it is about to be torn as a result of a sudden movement as a form or protection. With some rest and recovery, you should be back to your old self in about 1-2 weeks.

If after 1-2 weeks, your back spasm doesn’t get better, you may have an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Some of those issues include:

  • pain from a herniated disc
  • facet joint osteoarthritis

For these cases, the muscle is reacting to the pain from the disc or joint disfunction.

How can you treat a muscle spasm? The goal is to get the muscle to relax. You can do that by the following:

  • massage therapy
  • hot and cold therapy
  • muscle relaxants

If the muscle spasm is a result of an injury, it will take a while for the muscle to heal. If it is a result of an underlying issues, these treatments will help treat the muscle spasm pain, but will not fix the issue long-term.

Is ‘text neck’ the new arthritis?

It’s the new year and many folks are hitting the gym hard, eating clean, and trying to fulfill their New Years’ Resolution goals. While eating right and exercising is good, what if there is a problem that can’t be fixed by the gym or health food store?

That problem is called ‘Text Neck’. It’s been a growing problem since the invention of smartphones and according to textneck.com, it is the “harmful and dangerous condition of consistently looking down for long periods of time.” Over time it can take a huge toll on your spine and body due to poor posture.

Many folks spend hundreds and even thousands of hours in a hunched position writing emails, texting, and surfing the Internet from the comforts of their smartphone.

Text neck is now considered the new arthritis. If you think about it, the average head weighs about 10 pounds. Your neck must support that weight. For ever inch your head is leaning forward due to gravity, it’s an additional 10 pounds. If that person is texting and their head is leaning forward two more inches, the neck is now supporting 30 pounds!

Want to fight “Text Neck”? Here’s how:

  1. Maintain proper posture in the car, in front of the computer, and while holding your smartphone or tablet. Do NOT lean your head forward for a sustained period of time.
  2. Stretch your neck, lower back, hamstrings, hips, and quad muscles daily for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Sleep on your side or back.
  4. Stay hydrated with water. Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces.
  5. Practice yoga several times a week.


Best way to prevent back pain

Forget the shoe inserts, back belts, and other gadgets aimed at fixing lower back pain. Good old fashioned exercise has been proven to be the best way to ward off back pain in a new study.

Researchers have discovered that exercise alone or exercise along with back pain prevention education was most effective at reducing people’s use of sick time at work.

In the study that analyzed data from 23 studies and nearly 31,000 participants, exercise was shown to have reduced a person’s risk of back pain by 35 percent, and it cut sick time by 78 percent over the course of the year.

Those that took an educational program that included proper lifting techniques, and learning about correct posture, saw their chances of back pain reduce by 45 percent.

So, get outdoors, hit the gym, and get your sweat on. It’s not only good for your health, but good for your back too.

Twist and ouch. 10 ways to combat back pain

80 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their life. The current debate is not how to treat it, but how to prevent it. Check out these 10 ways that have provided relief for thousands of people suffering from back pain:

  1. Cold and Heat – Lower back pain sufferers should use an ice pack for 20 minutes and then remove it for thirty minutes. After that, apply heat for the same interval of time. This will reduce muscle spasms, and soothe the pain.
  2. Exercise – This is the best method for treating back pain. A jog around the block, a trip to the yoga class. Nothing too intense. Just try and get some activity in your day.
  3. No soft beds – A cloud-like feel from your bed or couch may feel great but the effects are the opposite. Firmer is better for preventing back pain.
  4. Stretch – Stretching your hamstrings can actually help relief low back pain. Tight hamstrings actually put pressure on your back which causes pain. Try and stretch twice a day to loosen up.
  5. Posture – People who slouch more and have less than perfect posture have more trouble with their back. Unnecessary twisting and bending are also culprits.
  6. Push up – Lay on your stomach and prop yourself up on your elbows. Simulate 10 push-ups keeping your waist as flat as possible.
  7. Get out of your chair – Too much sitting is bad for you. It weakens your muscles and adds strain to your back. Get up and move ever hour, even if you don’t feel pain in your back.
  8. Anti-inflammatory – All natural anti-inflammatory medications like turmeric and ginger are great for lower back pain.
  9. Don’t wear heels – Or wear in moderation. Four inch platforms may be cute but your back hates them and they aren’t worth the pain. Opt for heels with less than one inch in height.
  10. Shift your weight – Whenever you stand in place for long periods of time, reposition your feet every few minutes. These prevents your weight from pool in the same direction for too long.

You are what you eat – Your back will appreciate it

It costs an estimated $80-90 billion each year to treat chronic back pain. Despite advances in therapies, drugs, and surgeries, experts still consider back pain to be an epidemic.

But did you know that there’s an alternative way to treat your back pain that doesn’t involve splints or needles? It’s called a change in lifestyle and what you eat.

Dr. Todd Sinett, author of 3 Weeks to a Better Back told Foxnews.com, “For a good muscular system, you need to have a good digestive system or good function.” He adds, if you’re only looking at your back pain as structural source you’re missing 2/3 of the equation. You can’t solve any problem if you’re looking at a third of the possible solutions, a third of the possible diagnosis and a third of the possible treatments.”

For a 51-year old patient named Jon Roman, he had tried everything to cure his back pain: heat, ice, medication, but nothing seemed to work. He was paired with a nutritionalist and eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol from his diet.

Dr. Sinett says that those foods elevate a person’s level of cortisol, the stress hormone, and an inflammatory factor in the body which causes pain.

Within just days, not weeks, Roman’s body felt better and within a week he was pain free.

It’s a new year, so let’s create a new you. Write down everything you consume for seven days. See if there is a pattern between what you eat and how you feel. Odds are, you’ll feel better just by eating better.

Motor Control Exercise for Lower Back Pain

Often labeled as LBP, lower back pain is one of the most common health conditions in the world. Despite the high number of people it affects, the source of pain is oftentimes unclear. This can be described as “non-specific LBP”.

Prior studies believe that LBP is related to the deep trunk muscles and the impairment in those muscles. Motor control exercise (MCE) was thus developed with the goal of restoring those muscles, and improving coordination and control of the trunk muscles supporting the spine.

MCE involves isolating the deep trunk muscles with contractions and integration of complex static, dynamic, and functional tasks to improve the muscles.

In a new study led by Bruno Saragiotto of The George Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia, they found low to moderate quality evidence that MCE is more effective than a minimal interventions for chronic low back pain. MCE appeared to bring reduction in pain, disability and perceived quality of life when compared to other minimal interventions.

Saragiotto says, “Targeting the strength and coordination of muscles that support the spine through motor control exercise offers an alternative approach to treating lower back pain. We can be confident that they are as effective as other types of exercise, so the choice of exercise should take into account factors such as patient or therapist preferences, cost and availability.”

Fitness Friday: 2 Ways to Save Your Back

If you’re a golfer, or perform a swinging movement on a regular basis, you may quickly find that your body isn’t designed to do so without stressing certain parts of the back.

For most, the joy of the sport of golf is worth the chance that you may injure your neck, back, wrist, elbow, etc. With that said, before you get too apprehensive, there are two moves you can perform that will decrease your chance of injury.

Hear from Michael Cummings, a performance specialist for the fitness product company SKLZ. He shows two ways you can improve mobility in your mid-back and how to avoid back pain, and perhaps improve your golf swing.

Postpartum back pain

Back pain is almost inevitable during pregnancy. The good news is that the pain usually diminishes within a few weeks after delivery. However, many start to see a return of back pain as you begin lifting and carrying your infant daily. As the baby grows in weight, you may see the back pain get worse.

Fortunately there are ways you can prevent back problems like modifying your activities and strengthening your spine.

  • When you are “cleared” to exercise, begin restoring your hip and back flexibility with light yoga or stretching. A great time to do this is during your baby’s nap tip.
  • To pick up your baby from the flood, bend at your knees, not your waist. Squat down, tighten your abs, and lift with your legs.
  • Don’t stretch your arms out to pick up your baby. Instead bring your baby close to your chest before lifting him/her.
  • To avoid back pain while breastfeeding, do not bend over your baby to breastfeed. Bring your baby to your breast. Place a pillow or two on your lap to bring the infant up close to you.
  • Consider using a “front pack” to carry your baby while walking.
  • Try not to carry your baby on your hip. This puts too much pressure on the back muscles.
  • Infant car seats are heavy. As you infant grows, consider fastening the seat into the car first, then bring your baby outside separately and strap him or her into the car seat.