Monthly Archives: December 2015

How to Walk in a Winter Wonderland

How-to Walk in a Winter Wonderland

Winter has finally arrived in Nebraska, making its debut at Christmas this year! And while it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most dangerous. If you have to be out and about in inclement weather, take heed of some of these safety precautions to help you reduce your risk of falling this winter.


Reduce Your Fall Risk

One of the biggest ways you can reduce your winter fall risk is by taking your time. Slow down and give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be. This is especially true for those of you that rush to your car or into the house, those things are still going to be there if you take an extra couple minutes to ensure your safety. If you just can’t slow down, maybe you should invest in ice traction devices that slip right onto your shoes. Actually, a lot of workplaces require their employees to wear such footwear while walking to and from work in order to prevent nasty slips and falls and inevitably, liability. But, because they do so, they generally provide you with the ice traction slip ons. If you work for one of these employers take advantage of it! If not, you can buy some here.


Another way to minimize fall risk this winter is by using sand, salt or other ice melting aids. Take a look at this ice-melt comparison chart that tells you the effective temperature, how much it costs, what it’s best for, the benefits and precautions. Make sure you keep these materials close to your house, you don’t want to have to trek a half mile just to retrieve them (and risk falling while doing so). Also, if you can, salt before the snow and ice.


Have you ever stopped to think about how you walk? Sounds silly, we know, but a major player in reducing your fall risk is how you’re walking. You should take smaller strides, shorter steps, and try not to carry too much weight when walking on icy surfaces; having both hands free can really help with your balance. Take a look at this infographic on the proper way to walk on ice.

How to Walk on ice

And finally, wear proper footwear! It’s as simple as that. Like we mentioned above, ice traction slip ons are great. Ladies, heels might not be appropriate in certain conditions.


What to do if You Fall

Let’s face it, accidents happen. Keep your cell phone handy in situations wherein you might find yourself seriously injured so you can call for help. If you do fall and your hands are free, use them to protect your head. Wrist and hand injuries are painful, but it beats a head injury.

If you find yourself in situation where you have injured your back or spine, always, the hope is that conservative treatments will be effective and the healing process will be quick and your quality of life will return soon. However, when surgery is indicated, Nebraska Spine Hospital is here to provide you the very best in spine surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Watch as Nurse Navigator, Rhonda Burger, answers some of our patient’s frequently asked questions. If you have any more questions, you can visit our Patient Education page on our website. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly back tips and more!

Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Back pain, it’s our specialty here at Nebraska Spine Hospital. Recently we’ve talked about the not-so-common causes of upper back pain so today let’s talk a little bit about something most of you have probably experienced, lower back pain. Research suggests that over 80% of adults will experience one or more episode of back pain in their lifetime. And as such, we’d like you to be educated about the symptoms, causes and treatment of a couple of the most common types of lower back pain.

There’s a lot going on in your lower back. As we discussed in our upper back pain blog, when we think of back pain, generally, we tend to to think of the lumbar spine, or lower back, and cervical spine (the neck). Both of those common areas of the spine are designed to provide you with mobility instead of being strong and stable like your upper back. Because of this, any number of sources can cause lower back pain. Such as:

  • The large nerve roots in the low back that go to the legs may be irritated.

  • The smaller nerves that supply the low back may be irritated.

  • The large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae) may be strained.

  • The bones, ligaments or joints may be damaged.

  • An intervertebral disc may be degenerating.


While lower back pain is extremely common, the symptoms of such can vary greatly. Usually, younger people aging in range from 30-60 years old are the most susceptible to lower back pain. Here are the most common symptoms of lower back pain, as described from


  • Severe or aching pain in the lower back that starts after activity, sudden movement, or lifting a heavy object. You may experience difficulty moving, pain that moves around to your groin or buttox, achy, dull pain, muscle spasms, and soreness at the source of the pain.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you could be experiencing back muscle strain, which is one of the most common types of acute lower back pain.


  • Lower back pain that travels to the buttox, leg or foot. You may experience constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely can occur in both legs), pain that i s worse when sitting, burning or tingling down the leg (vs. a dull ache), weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot, or a sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or to walk.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from sciatica. Typically the cause of sciatica is a lumbar herniated disc.


Just as a patient’s lower back pain type and severity differs, as will treatment. The majority of lower back pain cases are acute, meaning they last and can be treated within six weeks without surgery. The most common type of treatments, though, are lower back pain exercises. Aside from that, you should rest; cease all activity for at least two days, if you can, to allow injured tissue and irritated nerves to begin to heal. However, this inactivity can also lead to weakness, that’s why you are encouraged to do lower back pain exercises as a part of your treatment plan.

Heat and cold therapy is an excellent choice in the treatment of lower back pain because it reduces inflammation; a major source of the problem. Some prefer one or the other, but both can be used intermittently.

Medications are a viable option for lower back pain as well. Each medication has it’s own unique risks and side effects so always consult with your physician before taking any medications.

Always, the hope is that conservative treatments will be effective and the healing process will be quick and your quality of life will return soon. However, when surgery is indicated, Nebraska Spine Hospital is here to provide you the very best in spine surgery. Nebraska Spine Hospital is the first of its kind in the region, a specialty hospital within a hospital model that focuses only on conditions of the spine.


Dr. Woodward on Hospital Within a Hospital

Dr. Woodward of the Nebraska Spine Hospital talks about our hospital within a hospital. Encompassing 34 acute care beds, six surgical suites and one treatment suite, Nebraska Spine Hospital offers all the benefits of a stand-alone specialty hospital. Yet, its location, within Immanuel Medical Center, provides further assurance for patients with additional medical conditions beyond the spine – eliminating the need for lengthy patient transport by ambulance or helicopter. We invite you to experience the Nebraska Spine Hospital difference!

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