Monthly Archives: February 2016

Recovery at Home

Watch as Rhonda, the Nebraska Spine Hospital Nurse Navigator, discusses how to prepare to recover at home after spine surgery. Including things you should do and things to avoid, like housework 🙂

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We want you!

Nebraska Spine Hospital is looking for caring, compassionate and detail oriented Registered Nurses to provide exceptional care in our inpatient unit. If you would like to be part of our specialized team you can learn more at: OR

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We are also looking for detail oriented Registered Nurses to provide exceptional care for our surgical patients. If you would like to be part of our specialized surgical team you can learn more at: OR

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Office Chair Advice

Most of you are probably reading this from an office chair. That forward leaning posture you’re likely sitting in is actually really awful for you and presents consequences for more than just the back and spinal column. When the front body is compressed from hunching over for long periods of time, the internal organs, digestive system and lungs become burdened. At Nebraska Spine Hospital, we’re all about preserving your quality of life, which includes your worklife. And as such, we want to offer up some pretty simple solutions to your office chair woes.

Office Chair Stretching

In order to create renewed tissue circulation and joint mobility and to open up the front of the body, stretch breaks at your desk are absolutely necessary. There is one stretch in particular, the Reverse Arch Stretch, that is specifically designed to do just that. This stretch will quickly counteract any negative spinal, shoulder, wrist and organ system effects that hunching forward in your chair may cause.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Sit on the very edge of your chair, reach your hands behind you and hold on to the back of the chair. Press your chest forward, arching your spine and if it feels comfortable, let your head fall back slightly to open through the front of the neck.

  • Continue to breathe, feeling the front of your body open up as you extend backward. Hold this position for 30 seconds, or as long as you want.

  • Slowly lift your head up, straighten your spine, and then let go of the chair.

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With any stretch, it is important to take your time and listen to your body while doing it. Over time, you may be able to get deeper into this stretch; extending back even further with little effort.

Choosing the Right Office Chair

There’s really no way to get around sitting in a chair if you work in an office. However, to avoid developing or compounding back problems, it’s important to opt for an ergonomic office chair. These chairs support your lower back and promote good posture.

No one type of ergonomic office chair is the best, but it is important to look for things that will allow you to make the chair work for your needs. You should look for things like:

  • Seat height: look for a seat that ranges anywhere from 16-21 inches from the floor. The important thing is that your feet are flat on the ground and your arms even with the height of the desk.

  • Seat width and depth: the standard,17-20 inches in depth, will allow any user to sit comfortably in a chair. A good rule of thumb is that when your back is up against the backrest of the chair, you still have about 2-4 inches between the chair and the back of the knees. The forward or backward tilt of the chair should be adjustable.

  • Lumbar Support: because the lumbar spine has an inward curve, sitting for a long time without support for this curve can cause slouching and strains the structures in the lower back. The ergonomic chair you choose should have a lumbar adjustment, for both height and depth.

  • Backrest: you should opt for a chair with a backrest that is 12-19 inches wide. Again, look for a chair that provides good lumbar support, providing proper support for the natural curve of your spine.

If you are experiencing any back pain or discomfort and would like to talk to a nurse navigator or one of our board certified and fellowship trained Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons about your symptoms, do not hesitate to call us at 402-415-2332 or you can schedule an appointment online.


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Stiff Neck

Typically, a stiff neck is characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. As if a stiff neck isn’t already just the worst, it may be accompanied by headache, neck pain, shoulder and/or arm pain and cause the individual to turn their entire body when trying to look sideways or backwards as opposed to just the neck

Stiff Neck Symptoms

Stiff neck symptoms can last anywhere from a couple of days to a week and pain can range from annoyingly mild to extremely painful and limiting. Most episodes of neck pain are acute and heal quickly due to the durable and recuperative nature of the cervical spine, with few cases being indicative to more serious medical condition.

Stiff Neck Causes

The most common cause of neck pain or stiffness is from muscle sprain, muscle strain, a spasm of the neck muscles or an inflammation of the neck joints. Common activities that may cause this kind of pain include:

  • holding your head in a forward posture or odd position when watching tv, working or reading

  • sleeping on a pillow that does support your head or that is too high or too flat or sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted or bent

  • spending long periods of time in the “thinker’s pose”– resting your forehead on your upright fist or arm

  • stress can cause tension which makes the muscles that run from the back of the head to the back of the shoulders (trapezius muscle) feel tight and painful

  • work or exercise that uses the upper body and arms

  • holding your neck in odd positions, such as cradling a phone in between the neck and shoulder

Like we mentioned before, there are some instances wherein neck stiffness or pain can be indicative to a more serious medical condition. Such conditions can include meningitis. If you have a stiff neck accompanied by high fever, headache, nausea or vomiting, or sleepiness, you could be suffering from meningitis; a bacterial infection that causes the protective membrane of the brain and spinal cord to be inflamed.

Anytime a stiff neck is accompanied by a fever, you should seek medical attention.

Stiff Neck Treatment

In most cases, a stiff neck may be treated within a few days with conservative care in the form of over the counter pain medications, heat/ice therapy, or physical therapy and muscle conditioning. However, you should seek medical attention if your symptoms do not subside after one week. You should also seek immediate medical attention if neck stiffness is noted after traumatic injury, like whiplash.

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.