Tag Archives: spine

Technology and Spine Issues

Is all the technology contributing to our back pain and spine injuries? Many people with these types of pain use cellphones, work at a computer eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, and don’t have good posture.

Experts are saying that for every inch your head leans forward past your shoulders adds 10 pounds of pressure, just like a bowling ball. This can lead to neck strain, backaches, tension headaches, and can even make it harder to breathe.

Forward head posture can cause the body to lose up to 30 percent of lung capacity as it impacts nerves throughout the body.

Perhaps the worst injury due to slumping over from technology is lower back degeneration or disk bulging. This can happen when muscles get tight and joints don’t move as well.

What can you do? Try bringing your shoulders back and getting your chin over your shoulders.

Scoliosis stems from one gene variation

Largely misunderstood, many genes have been implicated in causing scoliosis. The gene that causes this genetic condition has now been pinpointed by researchers at the University of Montreal as POC5.

Scoliosis affects more than 7 million Americans, and while 20 percent of the cases stem from a mix of tumors, trauma or neurological dysfunction, the cause is unknown in upwards of 80 percent of patients.

POC5, the gene newly discovered for being responsible for scoliosis, brings hope. “This crucial first step will open the door to future studies that will identify the complementary genes and pathways that play a role in scoliosis in other populations,” says Dr. Pierre Drapeau, professor and director of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at the University of Montreal.

As defined by the ACA, scoliosis is a curvature in the spine of no less than 10 degrees. It appears in children between the ages of 10 and 15, mostly in girls.

Dr. Drapeau adds that while the cause of scoliosis may not be completely solved, researchers are getting a better sense of what questions to ask.

Oregon’s Sam Kamp retiring due to long-term health concerns

Oregon’s defensive lineman Sam Kamp says he is choosing to retire from football due to concerns on how his playing weight was affecting his long-term health.

“I took about a week or two after (the Ohio State loss) to finally come to the conclusion that, yeah, it’s time to hang up the hat. I think everyone knows when they’re done. And I’m done,” said Kamp in an interview with The Oregonian/Oregonlive.

His retirement stems from unstable weight gain. He added 29 pounds in the 2014 offseason in order to bulk up along the offensive and defensive lines. At 292 pounds at the January 12th game against, Ohio State, Kamp is looking to slim down to 225 by spring’s end.

Kamp comes from a big line of men, but his father suffered from a blood clot due to a knee injury on top chronic back pain. Kamp said that was a tipping point in his decision to retire. “I could see I want to be incredibly healthy when I get older because of how much that scared me. It was fun at first getting to eat what I wanted all the time, but after a while, especially practicing as much as we do, it added up on me,” Kamp said.

“My body was in pain a lot of time and I think for a lot of guys that weight works out well but my body is just not meant to carry that much weight naturally, especially not playing at this high of a level.”

Sweet potatoes, vegetables, egg whites and chicken breasts are all in Kamp’s post-retirement grocery trips.

Spinal cord implant helps paralyzed rats walk again

Paralyzed patients have new hope now as a new ‘cyborg’ spinal implant has proven to help paralyzed rats walk again. While it may seem like science fiction, this new implant attaches directly to the spine and delivers electrical impulses and drugs.

Soft enough to bend with tissue surrounding the backbone, this thin prosthetic ribbon has been created by French scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. They hope to move the trials to humans soon and believe the device could last 10 years before needing to be replaced.

For more info about this new implant, visit the Telegraph at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11333719/Cyborg-spinal-implant-could-help-paralysed-walk-again.html

5 Exercises to help your back pain go away for good

Relief from back pain can be hard to find as it is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, and second most common reason to visit the doctor. While your gut instinct may be to stay put and don’t move until it goes away, the opposite is actually true.

Keep moving with the following gentle stretches to reduce your back pain and hopefully avoid a trip to the doctor:

  1. Back curl: Lie on your back and pull one knee towards your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg, then pull both knees to the chest at the same time and hold. Repeat the cycle 2-3 times.
  2. Side-to-side twist: Lie on your back and bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Roll your bent knees to one side and hold for 10 second. Return to start, and repeat on the opposite side. Run through the series 2-3 times.
  3. Bridge: Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Lift your torso and hips off the floor and into a bridge. Press your shoulders and upper arms on the floor, lifting your hips higher. Hold for 10 seconds. Lower down by rolling from the top of your spine to your tailbone. Repeat 3 times.
  4. Cat-cow: Start on all fours with palms and knees on the floor. Slowly arch your back, tilt your butt up and look at the ceiling. Return to neutral. Tilt your pelvis down and gaze at the floor. Return to neutral and repeat 3 times.
  5. Seated twists: Sitting on the floor, cross your right leg over your left knees. Brace your left elbow against the outside of your right knee and twist to the side. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat the series 3 times.

Stand up! 14 things that can happen if you sit at your desk too long

Despite the growing trend of ergonomic products and workplace accommodations like flexible gym hours, researchers believe that office workers sitting at their desks all day, have already done lasting damage to their bodies.

Ph.D Peter T. Katzmarzyk says, “Even with physically active individuals, there was a strong association between sitting and risk of mortality… This is an important observation because it suggests that high amounts of sitting cannot be compensated for with occasional leisure time physical activity even if the amount exceeds the current minimum physical activity recommendations.”

Here are 14 adverse effects that can occur from sitting at your desk for too long:

  1. Low energy expenditure
  2. Slower metabolism – decreased muscle contractions occur as sitting slows the clearance of fat from the blood stream and decreases the effect of insulin.
  3. Compromise posture – sitting causes the pelvis to rotate backwards and puts pressure on the lumbar discs. The head is forced forward and shoulders curve to compensate for weight transfer.
  4. Back and spine injuries – prolonged sitting puts pressure on the low back and stress the surrounding muscles and joints.
  5. Reduced social skills – interaction limited to the Internet can cause a decline in social involvement.
  6. Loneliness or depression – when a computer is used a the sole source of communication, the size of a person’s social circle can decline, and loneliness and feelings of depression can increase. Lack of sunshine can also cause a person to become deficient in vitamin D.
  7. Metabolic syndrome
  8. Chronic pain – low back pressure increases and this can lead to symptoms of chronic diseases.
  9. Rheumatic disorders – excessive amounts of sitting can add to the “wear and tear” to the joints and results in rheumatic diseases like osteoarthritis.
  10. Obesity – energy expenditure is decreased and can lead to weight gain.
  11. Diabetes – Sitting at a desk all day impairs the body’s ability to handle blood sugar, reducing sensitivity to the hormone insulin which helps carry glucose from the blood into cells to be used for energy.
  12. Cancer – Low physical activity occupations have an increased incidence of cancer.
  13. Risk of heart disease is increased by up to 64%
  14. All-cause mortality is adversely affected from too much sitting, independent of physical activity

Worried? Here are a few tips to get moving and sit less:

  • move around in your seat periodically
  • stand while eating or talking on the phone
  • use a stand up desk
  • have organized breaks throughout the day
  • walk laps with your colleagues
  • position your work surface above a treadmill so you can be in motion all day

Source: Business Insider at http://www.businessinsider.com/14-horrible-things-that-can-happen-if-you-sit-at-your-desk-for-too-long-2014-3

Man overcomes spine tumor to become a marine

At just 11 years old, Esra D. Mullner was diagnosed with a tumor in his spine. His doctors advised against surgery due to the high risk and low success rate of the procedure, but unfortunately the tumor grew larger causing periods of paralysis. Surgery was needed to save Mullner’s life.

“I remember my mom told me and at the time I didn’t understand what a tumor was,” Mullner said. “I just remember my mom was mad that the neurosurgeon was going on vacation right after he told us that. That’s how I knew it was bad.”

Mullner had three episodes where he become paralyzed from waist down for 30 minutes to an hour. “It felt like needles coming from inside my back pushing outward,” he said. The tumor had grown into his spinal nerves, which was causing the paralysis.

Prior to his diagnosis, Mullner had dreamed of becoming a marine, after being inspired by Marine recruiting posters posted on walls near his wrestling gym. “One day in 10th grade, I went in and the doctors told me the tumor was gone. It had just disappeared! It was a miracle,” Mullner said. “It was the happiest day in my life because it meant I could play sports and fulfill my dream of joining the Marine Corps.”

Muller waited numerous months following high school graduation before his medical waivers were finally accepted into recruit training. His waiting efforts paid off, and he is now two weeks away from graduation.

Source: Military.com at http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/2014/12/03/boise-idaho-native-overcomes-tumor-in-spine-to-become-marine.html

90 second yoga pose each day may improve spine curvature for scoliosis patients

Performing a single yoga pose for 90 seconds at a time at least three days a week could reduce spine curvature in scoliosis patients, a new study claims.

The study performed from researchers of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, NY published their findings in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine.

In their study, patients were required to perform the side plank on the weaker side of their spine. The side plank involves lying on one side of the body with straight knees, and propping up the upper body with the elbow and forearm.

In the first week, patients were instructed to do the pose on the side their spine was curved for 10-20 seconds each day.  They were then asked to do the pose once daily for as long as possible, still on the same side of their curvature.

On average, the yoga pose improved spine curvature by around 32% among all patients. Adolescents saw a nearly 50% improvement in curvature while adults saw a 38% improvement.

For more information visit Medical News Today at http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283689.php

Rockets’ Dwight Howard on 2012 back surgery

Two years after sitting out from back surgery, Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard told reporters “he’s made significant strides over the offseason to return to a high level of play heading into the new season,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Howard averaged a double-double in 2013-2014, posting 47 in his first season with the Rockets. He shot nearly 60% from the field and 55% from the free throw line – his best since 2010-2011 when he was playing for the Orlando Magic. In 71 appearances, he averaged 18.3 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.8 blocks.

It took time for Howard to heal, however. Howard quotes, “I don’t think a lot of people understood how serious the injury was. It was something that could have been career-ending. I decided to come back and play earlier than I was supposed to and I suffered a lot because of that.”

Source: CBS Sports at http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybasketball/update/24731786/rockets-dwight-howard-finally-healthy-from-2012-back-surgery

Spinal Safety in Contact Sports

Anyone can get back pain as it can appear in different ways. From contact sports and serious injuries, back pain in not limited in a certain age group.

What is of vast concern is contact sports and children. Contact sport injuries can be especially dangerous for children as their spinal cords are still developing, and kids as young as 5 years old are playing football, for example. Realisitcally, playing heavy contact sports should wait until the child is 12 to 13 years old.

Dr. Russell Biundo, Director of the Spine Center at UHC says, “I think in this day and age that we are premature. We are exposing kids to traumatic insights to the spine, head, and neck primarily by highly competitive spirit.”

Due to the competitive nature of these sports, Dr. Biundo also believes children are less likely to inform doctors of the pain they may be experiencing so they can get back on the field.

Football and contact sports are not the only concerns. Younger girls who participate in gymnastics can develop back and spine injuries. Growth plate disorders are of concern in children of these injuries who do not get the proper treatment.

While there are no sure-fire ways to prevent back injuries, maintaining a strong core and using proper mechanics in workouts can help.

View the full interview via WDTV.com 5 News at http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Spinal-Safety-Delaying-Youth-Participation-in-Contact-Sports-18486