Dr. Riley has a Fit Tip drill to help you with core stability and core activation.
What's News at Tulsa Spine and Rehab
Disk injuries are extremely common and we see them at Tulsa Spine and Rehab quite a bit.
The disk is a spongy structure positioned between two of the vertebra bones in the spine. It serves as shock absorption and provides space which allows the spine to function properly. It is subject to wear and tear in our bodies, resulting in disk bulges, disk herniations, protrusions and degenerative disk disease.
One type of injury is what we refer to as “acute” which is a sudden onset injury. More commonly, we see the cumulative type of injury which occurs from bending and twisting when lifting heavy loads. It’s important to avoid picking something up from a bent or flexed posture because the rotational force on that disk can result in injury, herniation or a bulge. This can lead to Sciatica which was discussed in a previous blog. Patients frequently ask the question, “What should I be doing, or what should I not be doing?”
Our patients are taught to hinge at the hip instead of flexing from the spine. Visualize putting your hand in the small of your back, then flexing at your hips to keep the small of your back in a neutral position. The more you maintain this neutral position, the better your spine is protected.
Improper flexing increases the load on your vertebra and disks as well as other structures in the back, so the first thing I would say is use a lot of caution in your bending and picking things up from the ground. You should use your large muscles such as your legs and drive from your heels when you rise.
Treating Disk Injuries
Healing varies from person to person and we do see some pretty serious injuries here in the clinic where we were able to help the person heal on their own. Sadly, surgical interventions are required on occasion. If you suspect you have a disk injury, you should make it a priority to be checked out by someone. You can see your primary physician, a chiropractor, physical therapist or an orthopedist, but it’s important to obtain an MRI to determine the severity of your injury. Once we determine that severity, we most likely will give some very specific instructions on what a patient should and should not do.
If there is some disk injury found, there may be some inflammation and swelling. As I mentioned in a previous blog, sitting for long periods is not healthy. You should interrupt your sitting every 10 to 15 minutes and move around. This little change can go a long way in helping to heal an injury and a lot of our patients report feeling pain when they sit. Transitioning from sitting to standing should also be done carefully. We recommend scooting forward to the front of the chair while keeping the upper back stable; drive from the heels and stand up. If you are lying down on your back, you should roll over on your side and bring your knees up towards your chest so that you sit up from the side. Transitioning in this manner will avoid some of the irritation.
Exercising with a Disk Injury
We always recommend you come in and see someone to obtain a supervised and controlled exercise program tailored to your particular needs. One exercise to avoid is sit-ups as they are not a good exercise for any type of back problems. There are different types of core exercises that we give patients to reduce the load on the vertebra which helps reduce the possibility of injury. These same exercises can also keep a condition from worsening.
It’s very easy to injure yourself from something as simple as putting on shoes and socks in the morning. People wake up a little stiff and then flex from the spine and that creates problems and pain. My best advice is to practice awareness in moving and bending forward, particularly if you have had postural abnormalities in your past. Take the high road and form good posture habits before further problems arise.
It’s well known that that nutrients in certain foods can boost immunity, improve heart health, and promote well being. However, did you know that nutrition can play a role in bone and joint health as well?
Joints serve an important function in the human body. Movement at the joints allows you to bend, reach, turn, and rotate.
As an individual gets older, more sedentary, and gains weight, arthritic changes can set in. Joints begin to degenerate, resulting in pain and discomfort in daily life.
The best way to build strength and stability of the joints and the surrounding ligaments, muscles, and bones is through a combination of exercise, stretching, healthy eating, and nutritional supplements.
Exercise – The Right Stimulus for Healthy Joints
Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your joints healthy and improve well being. On the other hand, sedentary individuals are at a higher risk for joint pain. The less you move, the more stiff your joints will be, so it’s important to move around.
“Getting up and moving” can be as simple as going for a brisk walk or using the vacuum. If you work in an office, you can increase your mobility by talking on the phone while standing up instead of sitting at your desk. You can also stand up and and stretch at regular intervals.
The weight of your body is supported by your lower back, knees, and hips. Loss of excess body weight will help ease the strain on your joints.
Chiropractic care can be very effective in improving joint mobility and flexibility. Combining this with resistance training increases muscle strength around your joints and ligaments. It is very important to consult a qualified professional such as a physical therapist before beginning any resistance training program. You want to make sure you don’t overdo anything and hurt yourself.
In addition, nutrition plays an important role in joint health. Eating a diet rich in nutrients contributes to bone strength. The consumption of diary and foods such as broccoli and kale facilitate calcium intake. If you can’t tolerate milk, ask your physician if calcium supplements are right for you.
Foods rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants may contribute to immunity and joint health. Eat plenty of colorful fruits like oranges, berries, and melons to take in an excellent supply of both nutrients. Salmon is an excellent source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats have several benefits, and may boost joint health, heart health and decrease pain and swelling. Please note that these are general guidelines, and are not meant to replace or constitute the advice of a registered dietician or nutritional consultant.
The Role of TS
Your team at TS&R are all licensed health care professionals trained to help you improve joint health. For best results, use a combination of diet and exercise. A well-designed, simple, yet progressive exercise plan that includes stretching will help strengthen muscles surrounding the joints and improve mobility.
Although joint pain can limit your quality of life, we will stand by your side and help you. Our team of experts, including chiropractic, physical therapists, and clinical massage therapists, will design simple, achievable goals and teach you the right techniques to help you regain full function and resume the things you like doing.
We are here to help you. We don’t want you to be limited with your daily activities – not on our watch! If your joints hurt, it’s time to talk to us. Chiropractic and physical therapy (along with healthy nutrition) may be exactly what your joints need.