Tag Archives: back injury

Smoking And Back Pain

The news that smoking is bad for you is hardly groundbreaking. Smoking has been linked to serious diseases like lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. Did you know that smoking and back pain are also related? That’s right, if you’re a smoker and are experiencing back pain, smoking is probably part of the issue.

In our line of work, we see the effects of smoking in our patients far too often. So, if you or a loved one is suffering from back pain or preparing for a spinal fusion, this blog post may serve as another great reason to quit smoking.

Smoking And Back Pain

Smoking contributes to the hardening of arteries which decreases your overall blood flow. As you likely learned in a biology class at some point, blood provides nourishment to your body’s organs and structures.

When blood flow is restricted, the areas of your body fed by smaller vessels, like your bones and spinal discs, become severely undernourished. With little to no blood supply, these bones and discs rely on surrounding tissue for nourishment.

But since the surrounding tissues aren’t meant to provide nourishment, they will eventually become depleted, leaving your bones and discs to essentially starve. Once your bones and discs have reached this point, they can no longer repair themselves and will likely cause you pain.

Smoking And Spinal Fusions

One of the most common surgeries we perform is the spinal fusion. In this surgery, a bone graft is used to form a solid bridge between two vertebral segments. For a successful surgery, the bone graft and vertebral segments need to grow together. The problem is that smoking inhibits bone growth, which can cause the surgery to fail.

In fact, smokers are twice as likely to have an unsuccessful spinal fusion as non-smokers. Even if the surgery is successful, smoking accelerates disc degeneration. That means smokers are more likely to continue suffering from chronic pain.Smokers are twice as likely to have an unsuccessful spinal fusion as non-smokers. Click To Tweet

 
Here at Nebraska Spine Hospital, we know that it isn’t easy to quit smoking, which is why we don’t expect our patients to do it alone. We’ve implemented a Surgical Readiness Program to help prepare patients for a healthy surgery. Whether you need to quit smoking, start exercising or lose weight, we offer one-on-one support to help you reach that health goal and, ultimately, have a successful surgery.

Patient Care At Nebraska Spine Hospital

Here at Nebraska Spine Hospital, we pride ourselves on providing our patients with the best care possible. By focusing on the individual, not the condition, we strive to meet the needs of every patient. We want to make sure you feel heard by every staff member, from doctors and nurses to support staff.By focusing on the individual, not the condition, we strive to meet the needs of every patient. Click To Tweet

To give potential patients a better understanding of what it’s like to receive care at Nebraska Spine Hospital, we asked a repeat patient to share snippets of her journey.

Meet Deborah

Deborah has come to Nebraska Spine Hospital for multiple surgeries over the past 15 years. She travels all the way from Ohio each time to see Dr. Fuller.

“Dr. Fuller is an excellent surgeon, a brilliant diagnostician, and a really nice person. He always treats me like a person and not just a patient. He always explains things completely and he never rushes me if I have questions.”

Deborah also thinks the nursing staff at Nebraska Spine Hospital is terrific. She believes the nurses are all supportive, friendly, and patient.

“They [the nurses] work together as a team, they support each other and they make sure that all the patients are well taken care of. I am always impressed while watching the doctors and the nurses working together for the patients. The mutual respect is visible.”

In short, the care that Deborah has received at Nebraska Spine Hospital makes the drive from Ohio worth it.

“I will quickly run out of superlatives when talking about the Nebraska Spine Hospital. If you have to have back surgery there is no place better than the Nebraska Spine Hospital.”

 
From all of us here, we’d like to thank Deborah for reaching out to us and sharing her incredible story. Our one and only goal each day is to provide every patient with the best care possible. If you would like to share your experience at Nebraska Spine Hospital, please message us on our Facebook page.

All About Scoliosis

June is all about being outdoors, summer fun, and scoliosis. Yes, you read that correctly. Did you know that June is Scoliosis Awareness Month?

Scoliosis is a spinal condition that causes a sideways curvature of the spine. It can affect both children and adults, but occurs most frequently in children during their last growth spurt before puberty.Scoliosis affects 2-3% of all adolescents. Click To Tweet

There are two different types of scoliosis, non-structural and structural. Non-structural scoliosis is where the spine itself is normal but a slight, temporary curvature appears, likely due to differences in leg length, muscle spasms, or even appendicitis. If these causes are directly treated and the curvature will likely resolve.

Structural scoliosis is often due to a structural abnormality from an injury, a neuromuscular disease, infections, or tumors. It is treated on a case-by-case basis, but treatment options include surgery, back brace, or observation.72% of children with scoliosis can avoid surgery by wearing a back brace. Click To Tweet

Now that we’ve covered what scoliosis is, it’s time to become familiar with the facts.

All About Scoliosis

  • Scoliosis is very common. According to the Scoliosis Research Society, it affects 2-3% of adolescents.
  • Treatment plans are based on the severity and progression of the curve, and is evaluated in terms of degrees of spine curvature:
    • 25° or less: no treatment required
    • 26°-45°: often treated with a back brace
    • 45° or greater: surgery typically required
  • While treatments have proven effective in lessening the degree of spine curvature, there is no cure for scoliosis.
  • Back braces have improved in effectiveness and wearability. A study found that 72% of at-risk children able to avoid surgery by wearing a back brace. Patients can wear modern braces under loose-fitting clothing and they are padded for comfort.

If left untreated, the condition will likely worsen, possibly to the point of restricting the rib cage and impacting the function of the lungs and heart. Untreated scoliosis can also lead to chronic back pain later in life.

For more information on scoliosis or to schedule an appointment, please contact us. Our doctors are proud members of the Scoliosis Research Society.

Walking For Exercise And Spine Health

With the weather warming up, we know you’re itching to take a walk around the block and soak up some sunshine. Walking is a great form of low impact aerobic exercise for people of all fitness levels. It provides all of the benefits other forms of aerobic activity provide without the added stress on your joints. We recommend walking for exercise to our patients with ongoing or recurring back pain, or for those recovering from surgery.

Benefits Of Walking For Exercise

Walking for exercise has a myriad of health benefits. First, it helps to strengthen both your muscles and bones. When the muscles in your feet, legs, hips, and torso become stronger, they increase your spine’s stability and condition the muscles to hold your body upright. The stronger these muscles are, the less susceptible you are to back pain and spinal injuries.

Second, walking also provides nourishment for your spinal structures. Because it’s an aerobic activity, it improves your body’s circulation. Improved circulation helps pump nutrients into your spine’s soft tissues and drain toxins.

Third, walking for exercise can help improve your flexibility and posture. When combined, walking and stretching allow your joints to have a greater range of motion.

Finally, walking reduces bone density loss, which helps to prevent osteoporosis and lessens pain caused by osteoarthritis.Walking can help prevent osteoporosis by reducing bone density loss. Click To Tweet

Good Posture Is Key

However, like every other aspect of daily life, posture is the key to a healthy spine. Your feet help to keep your body balanced and aligned and any imbalance in your feet can cause weight to be distributed improperly.

This imbalance can affect your gait while walking, leading to muscle and back pain. While the imbalance may seem minimal, over time the unnecessary wear and tear can add up to serious damage to your spine.

A proper pair of walking shoes can prevent an imbalance from occurring. To find the correct pair, we recommend you visit a shoe store that can match shoes based on your natural gait.

 
And, as always, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise regime. While walking for exercise is beneficial for most, it may not be a suitable exercise for all. Happy walking!

Healthy Spine Tips From Your Mother

We know you can still hear it like it was just yesterday – your mom advising (not nagging) you to do certain things while you were growing up. If you don’t eat your vegetables, no dessert! No coffee – it will stunt your growth. If you keep making that face it will get frozen like that.

Well, your mother probably had some great advice for a healthy spine, so we hope you were paying attention. We’re almost certain everyone has heard these two pieces of advice at least once in their life. The good news is they can genuinely help you maintain a healthy spine.

So, this blog goes out to all of the moms out there. Thank you for caring enough to let us know what’s good for us.

Stop slouching!

We’re sure you’ve heard various versions of this throughout your life, from stop slouching to sit up straight. It turns out your mother was just trying to teach you correct posture.

You may be thinking that good posture isn’t very important. Why does it matter if you aren’t sitting up straight all of the time? This may surprise you but when it comes to maintaining good health, good posture is right up there with eating well, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Since posture is a learned behavior, it’s important to focus on it early in life. Children with poor posture are more likely to develop back pain and other conditions of the spine as they age. Children with poor posture are more likely to develop back pain as they age. Click To Tweet

Drink your milk!

Was milk a staple at your table while you were growing up? We sure hope so. Turns out your mom knew what she was talking about – children do need calcium to build strong bones.

Below is the recommended daily intake of calcium for children of all ages.

  • 1 to 3 years old — 700 milligrams of calcium daily
  • 4 to 8 years old — 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily
  • 9 to 18 years old — 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily

If children consistently don’t get their recommended daily intake of calcium, they are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as they age because calcium is vital to developing bone mass. Children need calcium to develop bone mass. Click To Tweet
If you received these healthy spine tips while you were growing up, it looks like you have another reason to thank your mother for this Mother’s Day. So, among all of the other things you have to thank your mom for this weekend, don’t forget to thank her for caring about your spine health before you even knew you had to.