Dr Riley has a great drill to help improve your core strength and stability.
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One of the things as a patient when I go in to see my physician, I’m always interested like what can I do. I feel like so many times the physicians tell me what my problem is and then the treatment they’re going to recommend, obviously, but one of the biggest questions, I want to be accountable as a patient. I always, in my discussion with my physician, it’s like what can I do, what can I do at home? Are there any recommendations that you could make that could speed up my recovery or prevent it from coming back? Those are recommendations that I would make to you. Self-management strategies, activity modifications. I want to empower you as the patient to help yourself. Obviously, you’re here because something’s wrong, but if I could get you doing a few simple stretches at home or make some recommendations on sleep or ergonomics, things that would make you feel better throughout the day, I think that’s so very important to provide patients and you with those management strategies to help yourself.
Dr. Riley has a Fit Tip drill to help you with core stability and core activation.
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.