Tag Archives: back surgery

Practice Proper Sitting Posture

Maintaining proper posture can work wonders both preventing and alleviating back pain. We’ve already covered how to achieve great posture while standing and believe it’s time to cover sitting posture.

The majority of us spend most of our days in the seated position. Whether it’s spent at a desk, at the table, or in your car, it’s important to keep the correct sitting posture in mind.Did you know that proper posture can help prevent and alleviate back pain? Click To Tweet

Proper sitting posture

While your mother was correct in telling you to sit up straight for all of those years, the advice ‘sit up straight as a rail’ isn’t quite correct. In fact, you never want your back to be completely straight, as it is naturally curved. When practicing proper sitting posture, remember to maintain those three natural curves in your back.

Follow the steps below to ensure you have good sitting posture.

  • Sit with your back straight and shoulders back.
  • Ensure your body weight is distributed evenly on both hips.
  • Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping the height of your knees even with your hips.
  • Rest your feet flat on the floor or a footrest if needed to keep your knees aligned with your hips.
  • Try to not sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes.

Sitting posture check

Now that you know how to achieve good posture while sitting, here’s a little test to make sure you’re sitting correctly.

Begin by sitting at the end of your chair and slouch. Sit up as straight as you can, accentuating the curve of your back as much as possible and hold for a few seconds. Release the position into a comfortable, upright position. What you’re feeling now is proper sitting posture.

If you’re interested in more healthy back tips like this one, please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or register for our monthly email newsletter.

All About Spinal Stenosis

Have you ever heard of spinal stenosis? If not, it’s about time you learned the basics of this common spine condition that affects an estimated 8-11% of the population. Since most cases are degenerative, individuals over 50 years old have the highest risk of developing the condition.It’s estimated that 8-11% of the population is affected by spinal stenosis. Click To Tweet

In short, spinal stenosis is when the spinal canal begins to narrow. While most don’t feel the canal begin to narrow, they later experience symptoms such as radiating pain, numbness, or weakness. These symptoms begin to arise as the nerves in your spine and your spinal cord become compressed. The most common causes are age and arthritis.

Spinal stenosis can occur in any area of your spine. In order to determine the exact cause and location, a specialist must perform tests.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when spinal nerve roots in your lower back are compressed. It can cause symptoms such as tingling, weakness, and numbness radiating from your lower back into your legs. Most patients we see complain of weakness or numbness in their legs when walking and relief when they sit down.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Cervical spinal stenosis is when your spinal cord is compressed in your neck. It can be an extremely serious condition and lead to weakness and paralysis. The symptoms most seen include weakness, tingling, numbness, and pain in the arms and hands. It can also cause problems with balance and coordination.

Thoracic Spinal Stenosis

Thoracic spinal stenosis isn’t as common as the other two types. Since this section of your spine is stabilized by the rib cage, it is less susceptible to degenerative conditions.

We posted this blog for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as a diagnosis or professional medical advice. If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms listed above, we urge you to contact your physician to discuss what can be done to help.

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.