Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Causes of Lower Back Pain

Article By John Peloza, MD | Featured on Spine Health

The single most common cause of lower back pain is a torn or pulled muscle and/or ligament.

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orthopedic care doctors, albuquerque

8 Tips to Fix Your Posture at Work

Article Written by Dr. Diana Sadiq | Found on AdvancingYourHealth.org

For the average working American, it is common to sit a minimum of eight hours a day and a majority of that behind a computer. I frequently see patients with neck and back pain that are not related to a specific injury, but rather from spending many hours at their desk (which usually involves using a computer). Sitting for extended periods of time can lead to a variety of health issues, including fatigue, muscle and joint pain.

Do you spend a lot of time behind a desk? If so, make sure your chair and work station are set up to fit you properly and influence good posture. Here are a few tips to help get you started: Read more

raking leaves proper technique

‘Leave’ Raking Back Pain Behind with These 7 Tips

Article found on UPMC Centers for Rehab Services here: http://share.upmc.com/2017/10/7-leaf-raking-safety-tips/

Autumn brings colder weather, fall sports, and colorful foliage on the trees.

The changing season also brings new chores and outdoor work, along with the potential for injuries while accomplishing these tasks. Leaf raking is one such task, with injuries ranging from strained back muscles to twisted knees.

The following tips can help make leaf raking a breeze this autumn.

Tips for Safe Leaf Raking

Stretch it out

Stretching or warming up before you begin is an important step helping prevent back pain when raking leaves.

“It is important to stretch or warm up the muscles involved in raking leaves beforehand to avoid any injury,” explains Michael Balandiat, an occupational therapy team leader at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services-Chapel Harbor. “Consider taking a short walk to stimulate circulation prior to leaf raking.”

Take 10 minutes to stretch properly and warm up your muscles. Areas of the body to focus on when stretching include the neck, back, hips, torso, wrists, and shoulders. Getting your heart rate elevated slightly will also help as you prepare to rake.

Keep proper form

Using proper form when raking leaves can significantly reduce the chance of injuries.

“Hold the rake handle close to your body and keep one hand near the top of the rake for better leverage,” explains Michael.

Stand with legs slightly bent and weight distributed evenly. Be sure to place the forward foot in position first, then follow with the hips and the rest of the body to ensure proper posture.  Try to maintain an upright posture and avoid twisting. Switch hands every few minutes to prevent overuse on one side of the body.

Avoid back pain during leaf raking with these tips

Lift properly

Improperly lifting heavy bags of wet leaves is one of the most common ways to sustain an injury while raking. Using proper lifting techniques lessens your chance of getting hurt.

“When lifting bags of leaves, keep the back straight and bend with the knees and hips. Lift manageable loads and allow the legs to do most of the lifting,” says Michael. “Try to avoid twisting and straining— especially if lifting heavy bags alone.”

Don’t pile too many leaves into one bag – especially if they are wet. If possible, rake leaves onto a tarp and have another person help move the tarp. If you must stoop to pick up leaves, face the pile and do not twist as you lift. Just make sure to keep the load light and be careful to use good body mechanics when lifting the tarp.

Use correct sized rakes

Many people do not realize it, but it is possible to injure yourself by using a rake that is the wrong size. A rake that is too long or too short will place unnecessary strain on the back, arms, and torso. Using a rake that is larger than normal may seem like an easy way to gather more leaves, but it can cause unnecessary straining and reaching. The rake should be a comfortable length when moving up and down. Using a lightweight, ergonomic rake can ensure that your elbows are slightly bent and help you maintain good posture while raking.

“Rakes that have padded or adjustable handles can reduce stress on your hands and back,” adds Michael.

Wear the right stuff

The clothing worn for leaf raking might not seem like it matters but it plays a large role in preventing injuries.

“Comfortable shoes with adequate arch support and non-skid soles provide the support needed for the length of time most people are on their feet while raking,” says Michael. “They can also help to reduce strain on the back and can prevent slipping on wet leaves.”

Gardening gloves with non-stick palms can help prevent blisters and save hands from jagged twigs and thorns. Wearing loose, breathable layers helps maintain body temperature. And remember to use sunscreen.

Take a break

Some people want to power through and get the raking done as quickly as possible. Taking short breaks to catch your breath, drink some water, stretch your muscles again, and admire your progress is more beneficial.

“A good rule of thumb is to take a 10- to 15-minute break for each hour of strenuous activity,” says Michael. “Your body will thank you.”

Don’t overdo it

Tackling the entire yard at one time can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. Dividing up the yard into sections and committing to a section or two at a time can make things more manageable.

Safe Yard Work: Don’t Ignore Warning Signs

Sudden, sharp pain, or dull, incessant aching pain while raking leaves should never be ignored. Stop working if pain persists.

Listening to the signals your body is sending helps you understand when to stop before injuries occur. Reward a hard day’s work with a warm bath or shower to soothe achy muscles, and gentle stretching to cool down. If pain persists, especially after proper precautions and healing methods have been exhausted, talk to your doctor.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions ó such as sports injuries and fractures ó to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

 

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From Back Pain to Back Strain

From Back Pain to Back Strain

Article By Daniel J. DeNoon | Featured on WebMD

Your back is killing you, but you have to get those groceries out of the car. You lift carefully. You go slowly. You try not to hurt yourself, but OW! You do.

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new mexico, orthopaedic doctors, albuquerque

How the Spinal Cord Works

Article Found on ChristopherReeve.org

What is the central nervous system?

The central nervous system (CNS) controls most functions of the body and mind. It consists of two parts: the brain and the spinal cord.

The brain is the center of our thoughts, the interpreter of our external environment, and the origin of control over body movement. Like a central computer, it interprets information from our eyes (sight), ears (sound), nose (smell), tongue (taste), and skin (touch), as well as from internal organs such as the stomach.

The spinal cord is the highway for communication between the body and the brain. When the spinal cord is injured, the exchange of information between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Read more

new mexico, orthopaedics, albuquerque

7 Bad Habits That Cause Back Pain

Article by Kristen Stewart | Found on EverydayHealth.com

Back pain will affect about 80 percent of us at some point in our lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). It often results from repeated behaviors that stress your body.

If you’re battling back pain now — or if you want to take steps to prevent an achy back — make an effort to avoid these seven bad habits: Read more

orthopaedic, doctor, new, mexico

Back Pain in Children and Teens

Article By Laurie Udesky | Found on HealthDay

Anyone who has spent time with children knows that some of them can bend themselves into positions that defy logic. A teenager may think nothing of dropping into full splits in front of the television. A child with extra flexibility may love impressing her friends by bending her thumb all the way back to her wrist.

Dexterity is a good thing. But it can go too far, even in kids. Children and teenagers can end up with chronic back pain for any number of reasons, including injuries from sports or stressing overly flexible joints. In rare cases, they may be born with spinal problems. Whatever the cause, it’s important to recognize the signs of a problem. Read more

10 Ways to Protect Your Joints

By Mark Barroso | Found on Men’s Fitness

Joint pain can be a major issue when you’re working out and playing sports.

And while complaining about a bad back or stiff hips might typically be considered a sign of old age, it’s a frequent problem with Regardless of age, it’s time to start taking care your joints so you can enjoy life, and training, to the fullest.

Stiffness is only one condition that can result from a lack of joint care. Strains, sprains, dislocations, and arthritis are four more things you want to avoid throughout your strength andconditioning career. These four conditions are common in weight-bearing joints: knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The good news is that with proper care, you can avoid joint injuries using a variety of training and lifestyle principles so that you’re always improving in the gym.

To learn how to work out pain and injury-free, we asked orthopedic surgeon Ron Noy, M.D., and Michael Camp, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., P.E.S., for ways to increase training longevity. Follow these 10 expert joint-saving tips to improve athletic performanceand stay functional throughout life.

Balance Low and High-Impact Cardio

High-impact cardio, such as running, plyometrics, and agility drills, is a great tool for activating fast-twitch muscle fibers. However, too much impact can cause stress and potential damage. “Balancing low-impact exercises with your impact activities to strengthen the muscles will help protect your joints,” says Noy. “Muscle strength across the joint is what stabilizes and protects it.”

Elliptical machines, stationary bikes, rowing machines, treadmill walking, and swimming are examples of low-impact cardio that will provide continued muscle strengthening, and aerobic and fat-burning benefits while minimizing stress, says Camp.

Increase Flexibility

Stretching, whether it is dynamic or static, maintains range of motion around joints.

“When a joint is stiff, it can alter the stresses seen during activities and it’s more prone to swelling, which can weaken the muscles protecting the joint,” says Noy.

Warm up all major muscle groups prior to exercise and stretch afterward to increase flexibility.

Avoid Behind-the-Neck Presses

Moving your hands and arms behind the plane of your shouldersduring a weightlifting exercise, like a behind-the-neck overhead press or a behind-the-neck lat pulldown may place the shoulders in an unstable condition. And that instability may lead to injury.

“With both of these movements, your shoulders are in an externally rotated position,” says Camp. “Most people have limited shoulder joint mobility in addition to poor muscle flexibility, so they get hurt performing these movements. There are safer and more effective exercises to perform, so take them out of your routine.”

Get Nutrition in Check

Minimizing inflammatory responses and excess body fat are two ways to ensure healthy muscles and joints.

“Diets that are more alkaline have been shown to improve your energy and help lower inflammation,” says Camp. “Foods such as berries, avocados, ginger, apples, dates, kale, spinach, and papaya are important to include in your diet.”

Noy adds that a diet low in saturated fat and processed foods can be beneficial. Also opt for fish, vegetables, fruits (cherries, apples, pineapple), whole grains, nuts, and legumes.

Supplement Up

Recommended for treatment of osteoarthritis, the joint supplements chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and hyaluronic acid have been shown in medical studies to be beneficial for joint health, says Noy. Some joint supplements have a combination of these ingredients for maximum joint health and overall energy.

Wear the Right Shoes

Regardless of the activity, shoes should provide cushioning, stability, and comfort while being flexible. Camp says the arches of your feet can be high, normal, or non-existent and knowing this information is crucial for selecting a training shoe. Also, knowing your foot strike pattern, whether it’s overpronation, underpronation or neutral, is necessary for finding the right shoe.

For running, the main factor is the compression ability, which is typically reduced at 300-500 miles. At this point, or about every six months, it’s time to replace your running shoes because worn shoes cause abnormal stresses on weight-bearing joints.

Consult a podiatrist to analyze your gait pattern and get the perfect fit for whatever the task at hand.

Maintain Proper Posture

If you have to sit, practice good posture.

“Poor sitting posture can lead to tightened, compromised muscles, and eventually back pain,” says Camp. “The vertebral discs have poor nutritional blood supply when your body is static. Getting up and moving around every hour to stretch and move is necessary to combat these affects and reduce any spinal pain.”

For the right sitting posture, Camp suggests lower back support. “Setting up your desk so your workstation is close to you, an maintaining angles of 90 degrees for your elbows, hips, and knees have been found to be best,” he says. “Having a chair with low back support is ideal, and if you do not have one, roll up a pillow or bath towel and place it behind your low back.”

Listen to Your Body

Avoid being overzealous and know when it’s time to stop a certain movement–it can mean the difference between major performance improvement and a dislocated joint or other injury.

“If you have pain during an exercise or sport, stop and rest,” says Noy. “If it persists, consult a doctor to check out why so you are not causing preventable permanent damage. Sometimes ‘no pain, no gain’ can lead to problems if not addressed early enough.”

Reduce Stress

Controlling stress is imperative to decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can drive down the production of collagen, a compound necessary for healthy joints.

Camp suggests that practicing diaphragmatic breathing for 5 to 10 minutes, which can lower your stress hormone levels. Or try yoga, a low-impact exercise for overall health and flexibility.

Already Injured? Brace Yourself

If you’ve already injured a joint, ligament, tendon or muscle, a protective brace can help reduce inflammation in that area.

“While there is controversy around whether braces can prevent injuries, such as ACL tears, they may provide benefits when you are working through an injury or have damage already,” says Noy. “Compressive sleeves can provide warmth, combat swelling, and provide biofeedback, and some braces can help unload an injured part of a joint.”


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Joints Achy? Don’t Blame Mother Nature

Article by Robert Preidt | Featured on MedlinePlus

You might want to think twice the next time you’re ready to blame the weather for your aches and pains, researchers say.

Some people swear that changes in humidity, temperature, air pressure and the like trigger back pain and arthritis. But a team at the George Institute for Global Health in Newtown, Australia said it found no evidence to support that theory.

“The belief that pain and inclement weather are linked dates back to Roman times. But our research suggests this belief may be based on the fact that people recall events that confirm their pre-existing views,” said Chris Maher, director of the institute’s musculoskeletal division.

The study included nearly 1,350 Australians with either lower back pain or osteoarthritis of the knee. The study participants’ pain flare-ups were compared with weather data.

There was no association between back pain/knee arthritis and temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction or precipitation, the investigators found.

“Human beings are very susceptible so it’s easy to see why we might only take note of pain on the days when it’s cold and rainy outside, but discount the days when they have symptoms but the weather is mild and sunny,” Maher explained in an institute news release.

Maher is also a professor of physiotherapy at the University of Sydney.

Back pain affects up to one-third of people worldwide at any one time. Nearly 10 percent of men and 18 percent of women over the age of 60 have osteoarthritis, the study authors said in background notes.

Manuela Ferreira, an associate professor of medicine who led the osteoarthritis research, said, “People who suffer from either of these conditions should not focus on the weather as it does not have an important influence on your symptoms and it is outside your control.

“What’s more important is to focus on things you can control in regards to managing pain and prevention,” he concluded.

Ferreira is a senior research fellow at the George Institute and the Institute of Bone and Joint Research at the University of Sydney.

SOURCE: George Institute for Global Health, news release, Jan. 10, 2017


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions ó such as sports injuries and fractures ó to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Article Featured on WebMD

Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis — swelling of the tendons — that causes pain in the elbow and arm. These tendons are bands of tough tissue that connect the muscles of your lower arm to the bone. Despite its name, you can still get tennis elbow even if you’ve never been near a tennis court. Instead, any repetitive gripping activities, especially if they use the thumb and first two fingers, may contribute to tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is the most common reason that people see their doctors for elbow pain. It can pop up in people of any age, but it’s most common at about age 40.
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