Monthly Archives: March 2017

Tee Up For A Pain-Free Golf Season

Golf is an excellent form of low impact aerobic exercise, especially if you walk the course as opposed to using a golf cart. But did you know that golf and lower back pain have an undeniable link?

Lower back pain is by far the most common ailment of golfers, regardless of their age. In fact, 28% of golfers deal with lower back pain on a regular basis. Even 23% of professional golfers report playing with lower back pain.Did you know that 28% of golfers deal with lower back pain on a regular basis? Click To Tweet

So what about golf causes so many avid players pain? The main culprit is the golf swing. From the backswing to the follow-through, your spine rotates with great deal of force and not very much control. What’s more, is that forceful golf swing often strains your spinal muscles, specifically in the lumbar region.

Even the act of bending to pick up your golf bag, club, or ball can strain your back.

So, how can you reap the aerobic benefits and ensure a pain-free golf season? For starters, you can begin every game with a proper warmup and stretching session. Practicing smooth, easy swings are a great warm up. After that, make sure to stretch your shoulders, torso, hips, and even your hamstrings.

Another great way to prevent injury is to learn proper form and posture. Not only will doing so help prevent injury, but it may even improve your game! You want to focus on a smooth, rhythmic golf swing with good balance, making sure to maintain the same spine angle throughout the entire swing.  

Updating your golfing equipment might also help save your lower back. Choose a golf bag with a built-in stand to avoid having to lift it off the ground, and dual-straps to carry the weight evenly across your back. You can even rent or purchase a push cart, allowing you to walk the course without having to carry your clubs.

When you do have to pick up a piece of equipment, make sure to practice proper lifting techniques and bend at your knees.

Next time you hit the course, make sure to implement the tips above for a pain-free golf game. If you are already experiencing lower back pain, please schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.

Calcium: The Key To A Healthy Spine

When you were younger, did your mom urge you to drink your milk for strong bones? She wasn’t wrong in doing so. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, with an 8 ounce serving containing about 300 milligrams.

Calcium is a key nutrient to many of your body’s functions. It supports your bone mass, heart, blood, muscles, and nerves. Calcium is absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy spine.

Sadly, it’s estimated that 70% of people aren’t getting enough calcium in their diet. When your body doesn’t get enough calcium, it steals the calcium from your bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.70% of people aren’t getting enough calcium in their diet. Click To Tweet

If you consistently don’t get enough calcium over a period of years, you’re much more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition that affects more than 44 million people in the US over the age of 50. Osteoporosis is characterized by loss of bone mass or bone mass that has become increasingly brittle.

There are two main components to maintaining strong bones and a healthy spine: reach the recommended intake of calcium every day and consume foods that help with the absorption of calcium.

Not sure how much calcium you should be consuming? See below, the recommended daily intake of calcium varies by age.

  • Adults 25-50 years old: 1,000 milligrams per day with 400 i.u. of Vitamin D
  • Adults 50+ years old: 1,500 milligrams per day with 400-800 i.u. of Vitamin D

It is important to note that consuming more than 2,000 milligrams of calcium per day can be harmful to your kidneys and can cause kidney stones to form.

Getting Calcium Through Your Diet

It is entirely possible to consume the recommended amount of calcium per day without the need for supplements. Dairy products, especially milk, are rich in calcium, as well as dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and peas.

Vitamin D helps your body with the absorption of calcium and, unfortunately, is only naturally found in a couple of foods, including egg yolks and certain fatty fish. However, many foods like milk and cereal have been fortified with the vitamin to make reaching your daily intake easier.
While it may be easy to waive off concern about your calcium intake for later in life, for your bones’ sake it’s important to consistently get enough calcium from an early age. If you have any additional questions on how to maintain a healthy spine, please use our previous blogs as a resource and register for our monthly newsletter.

Truck Driving And Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is often the result of your profession. Did you know that 25-40% of all truck drivers suffer from chronic back pain? Did you know that 25-40% of all truck drivers suffer from chronic back pain? Click To Tweet

So, why do so many truck drivers suffer from chronic pain? Mix long hours in the driver’s seat with a body part designed to be in motion, and you have the perfect recipe for pain. When you don’t exercise regularly or spend long periods of time in the seated position, your spine doesn’t receive key nutrients it needs to stay healthy, causing frustrating back pain.

Common Causes of Chronic Back Pain

Over the years, we’ve noticed that the most common form of back pain for truckers is compression of the joints. This is largely due to the lack of movement mentioned above from so many hours on the open road.

The second most common cause of back pain is sciatica. This also occurs due to the lack of movement and prolonged time in the seated position. The sciatic nerve runs down the back of your leg. When pinched, can cause pain to radiate up and down your legs and back.

Preventing Chronic Back Pain

Luckily, there are certain measures truck drivers can take to to help ward off back pain. Truck drivers should try to plan more short breaks in their routes and spend a good portion of those breaks stretching and exercising their spine. See, the muscles surrounding the spine are just like any other muscle in the body, they become tighter the longer they aren’t utilized.

One stretch truckers can do from their seat is a simple spine twist. While facing forward, slowly twist your torso to the left, bringing your right hand around to grip the left side of your seat. When you feel a gentle stretch in your back, hold for ten seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Even when truckers aren’t out on the road, it’s a good idea to incorporate more movement and stretching into their daily routine. Consider adding these yoga moves for a strong, healthy spine. An active spine is a healthy spine.

Most importantly, we urge you not to ignore chronic back pain. Doing so can create a vicious pain cycle that can greatly diminish your quality of life. Please seek help if you or a loved one is experiencing chronic pain.