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5 Misconceptions About Spine Surgery

If you're living with a spine condition, spine surgery may be the solution you've been longing for. Unfortunately, however, there is no shortage of misconceptions about this procedure that may cause you to misunderstand your options and make poor choices.

So we're here to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about spine surgery and make it easier for you to make informed decisions that lead to long-term relief and a higher quality of life.

1 - Spine Surgery is Always a Major Procedure

When people hear the phrase "spine surgery," they automatically picture an invasive procedure with a lengthy recovery period. The truth is that most spine surgeries are minimally invasive and involve fewer, smaller cuts, less scarring, a reduced risk of complications, and a faster recovery than an invasive procedure. Minimally invasive spine surgery may be an option if you have a condition such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or a spinal infection.

2 - Spine Surgery is Usually Necessary

In most cases, spine surgery is not recommended. In fact, most spine conditions can be improved or resolved through a variety of conservative treatments. These may include rest, cold and hot therapy, medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Spine surgery is usually only performed in severe cases when conservative treatments deem to be ineffective. So if you have a spine condition, understand that spine surgery is a last resort.

3 - Spine Surgery Must Be Performed Multiple Times

Since spine surgery has a high success rate of 70% to 90%, you're unlikely to undergo it more than once. If you maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, exercise regularly with a focus on stretching and strengthening, and make other healthy lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of requiring another spine surgery.

4 - Spine Surgery Comes with Complications

While traditional spine surgery is conducted in 20% of cases, minimally invasive options are usually performed. These minimally invasive procedures paired with improved technology offer a lower risk of complications. Of course, your risk of complications may increase if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or another condition. However, most patients do not face any serious complications after surgery.

5 - Spine Surgery Leads to a Long Recovery

Many patients are afraid to undergo spine surgery because they believe they'll have to spend a lot of time away from work and other responsibilities. The good news is a long, painful recovery from spine surgery is a thing of the past. Believe it or not, many spine surgeries are performed in an outpatient environment and can allow you to return home right after your procedure. Discomfort typically only lasts between 3 days and 6 weeks.

If you're wondering whether you're a good candidate for spine surgery, don't hesitate to consult your doctor today.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

How Should You Sleep If You Have Lower Back Pain?

How Should You Sleep If You Have Lower Back Pain?

If you're facing lower back pain, you may find it difficult to get a good night's rest. Believe it or not, the cause of your back pain may even be a poor sleeping position that places pressure on your back.

Fortunately, there are a number of sleeping positions that can do wonders for your sleep quality and improve or even completely get rid of your back pain. So without further ado, here are the best sleeping positions if you have lower back pain.

Sleep on Your Back

Try to lie on your back as much as possible as doing so will distribute weight more evenly, reduce pressure points, and improve spine, neck, and head alignment. If you'd like, you can take pillow and put it under your knee joints for some extra support. This strategy can also help you maintain your spine's natural curve.

Sleep on Your Side with a Knee Pillow

Chances are you've slept on your side many times. Unfortunately, this sleeping position can take your spine out of its proper position and strain your back. The good news is there's an easy fix. All you have to do is put a pillow between your knees so you can raise your upper leg and restore your natural alignment.

Sleep in a Fetal Position

If you have a herniated disc, curl up in a fetal position. When you lie on your side with your knees tucked into your chest, you'll be able to minimize the bending of your spine and open up your joints simultaneously. If you choose the fetal position, use a pillow to give your head and neck some support.

Sleep on the Front of Your Body

Many doctors don't recommend sleeping on the front of your body. But if you feel comfortable in this position, many of them will suggest you put a small pillow under your stomach and hips. This can improve the alignment of your spine. If you have degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc, sleeping on the front of your body with a pillow could be a great option.

Sleep on the Front with Your Head Down

If you sleep on the front with your head facing one side, you may twist your spine and put unnecessary stress on your back, neck, and shoulders. You can prevent this by simply lying with your face down. It's also a good idea to use a small pillow under your stomach and another one to lift up your forehead.

If you're unsure of which position is right for you, try several of them. Eventually, you'll find one that brings you the most comfort and pain relief.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

How Can Massage Ease Sciatic Pain?

How Can Massage Ease Sciatic Pain

If you're living with sciatic pain, massage therapy may be a great option. While it's not a cure for this condition, it can ease your discomfort and improve your overall quality of life. Through regular treatments, you can relax tight muscles, improve blood circulation, alleviate your stress, and put yourself in a better mood. Let's dive deeper into how massage can reduce sciatic pain and what types of massages are ideal for this condition.

Relaxes Tight Muscles

Tight muscles can put pressure on your sciatic nerve. In addition, they can create uncomfortable nodules and lead to pain in various trigger points. Massage therapy may stretch and loosen these muscles and improve the function of your lower back and legs.

Increases Blood Circulation

Massage has the potential to stimulate your blood vessels and increase your blood circulation as a result. This is important because it can provide sore spots with the nutrients they need to heal.

Releases Endorphins

Endorphins are the feel good chemicals in your brain. The more endorphins you have, the less likely you are to experience pain and discomfort. Massage therapy can release endorphins and help you feel better.

Best Massages for Sciatic Pain

There are a variety of massages that a massage therapist can perform. The best ones for sciatic pain, however, include the following.

Deep Tissue Massage

Through slow strokes and finger pressure, deep tissue massage can ease tension from your muscles and connective tissues. You may notice a positive change in your sciatic pain, even if your session only lasts 30 minutes.

Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage improves muscle tension while giving you the chance to completely relax. It involves a massage therapist placing heated stone throughout your body while making flowing movements.

Swedish Massage

During Swedish massage, a massage therapist stimulates nerve endings through flowing movements and boosts blood circulation as a result. In addition, this type of massage helps with tension and relaxation.

How to Find a Massage Therapist

If you'd like to receive massage therapy for sciatic pain, you should note that not all massage therapists are the same. Try to find a therapist who has experience treating sciatic pain and understands exactly what you may be experiencing. Your doctor or the American Massage Therapy Association database is a great starting point.

Before you move forward with massage therapy, be sure to consult your doctor. They can inform you of whether this is a wise treatment for your unique situation.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

3 Hamstring Stretches to Relieve Lumbar Herniated Disc Pain

3 Hamstring Stretches to Relieve Lumbar Herniated Disc Pain

If you suffer from a lumbar herniated disc, you may be experiencing radiating leg pain. The most effective way to relieve radiating leg pain is stretching on a daily basis. These three stretches will help take away some of the pressure on your sciatic nerve in your leg. They'll also aid in loosening your hamstrings and improve the support in your lumbar spine.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

To perform this stretch, start by standing with your legs straight and feet together. Next, bend at your waist, while keeping your knees straight. Once bent over at the waist, place your hands on your hips or thighs. Inhale, slowly, then exhale, and hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Once the 30 seconds is up, maintain a flat back while you stand up straight.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is a better option than the standing stretch if you have limited mobility or if your hamstrings are extremely tight. For this stretch, you'll need a firm chair with a straight back and another item that has a similar height as the seat of the chair such as a stool or bucket. For this stretch, sit upright on the edge of the chair with both feet flat on the ground.

Straighten one of your legs in front of you and place the back of the heel on the top of the stool. Then, lean forward at the waist towards your straightened leg until you start to feel the stretch near the back side of your thighs. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch to stretching your opposite leg.

Towel Hamstring Stretch

This stretch can be performed while lying down and with the aid of a towel. To start, lie on your back on a flat surface. Put your left leg flat on the floor and raise your right leg up in the air. Wrap the towel around the ball of your foot on your right leg, and hold the two ends of the towel, one end in each hand.

Try to push your right heel up towards the ceiling and keep your rig leg straight until you feel it stretching your hamstring. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg. Repeat this stretch 3 times for each leg.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Sleeping with Neck Pain: What You Need to Know

Neck pain can make it difficult for you to fall and stay asleep. The good news is that there are some things you can do to reduce or even eliminate neck pain while you're trying to catch some shut-eye. If you're sleeping with neck pain, these tips are sure to be invaluable as they can allow you to wake up feeling energized and ready to conquer the day ahead.

Position Your Pillow Properly

Chances are high that you sleep with a pillow. The type of pillow you use and the way you position it can take a toll on your neck pain and slumber. Make sure your pillow allows your nose to be parallel with the middle of your spine.

If your pillow is too fat, it may force your head and neck to bend up. On the flipside, if it's too flat, your head and neck may bend down. A memory foam or feather pillow is ideal as it can conform to your neck's shape quite well.

Do Not Sleep on Your Stomach

While you may want to sleep on your stomach, doing so is not the best move for your neck. Here's why: Every time you lie on your stomach, you force yourself to twist your neck and head to the side. When you do this, you place unnecessary pressure on your nerves. So try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible. Get into the habit of sleeping on your side or back so you can keep your neck pain to a minimum.

See a Physical Therapist

Even if you choose the right pillow and sleep in the optimal sleeping position, your neck pain may still persist. If this is the case, it may be the result of arthritis or another chronic issue. Once you see a doctor, they may refer you to a physical therapist who can educate you on the right stretching and strengthening exercises to help support your neck.

Practice Healthy Sleep Habits

Take a look at your sleep habits and make sure you're doing everything you can to set yourself up for a successful slumber. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Turn off distractions like the television and your phone. Invest in a quality mattress. Soak a warm bath or engage in another relaxing activity before bed.

If your neck pain does not go away despite these measures, consult your doctor as they can evaluate your condition and help you determine next steps.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Back Pain on Vacation

Back Pain on Vacation

You go on vacation to relax and participate in activities you don't normally get to enjoy when you're at home. Unfortunately, going on vacation does not make you immune to back pain that can take away from the fun and excitement of your trip.

This is particularly true if you like to participate in swimming, hiking, and other recreational activities while you're traveling. Here are some tips to help you relieve and prevent back pain on vacation.

Be Careful with Lifting

If you have to lift luggage or other heavy items while you're traveling, practice proper posture. Use a wide stance and use your legs to squat down. Also, place your weight into your heels and keep your butt back. If something is too heavy for you, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Use a Neck Pillow

You may be tempted to fall asleep in the car or plane while you're en route to your destination. This is perfectly fine as long as you use a neck pillow that will improve the alignment of your spine. If you don't have a neck pillow, a rolled up blanket, towel, or sweatshirt will do the trick.

Follow the 30-Minute Rule

As you travel, you may find that you're sitting or standing for long periods of time. The 30-minute rule states that you change your position every 30 minutes. Even a small change every 30 minutes can reduce the risk of back pain on vacation so it's important to follow this rule.

Prepare for Recreational Activities

If your body isn't used to swimming, hiking, and other recreational activities, your spine may not handle them well on vacation. Before your trip, make sure you get up and moving and perform exercises that stretch and strengthen your spine. We suggest yoga poses like downward facing dog, pigeon pose, and thread the needle pose.

Pack and Wear the Right Shoes

Be mindful about the shoes you pack and wear for your vacation. Avoid heels and opt for shoes that are comfortable and offer good support. The wrong shoes can place stress on your lower back and make activities like swimming and hiking dangerous for your back.

Vacation is a time for you to have fun and make wonderful memories with the ones you love. With these tips, you can ease or prevent back pain and throughly enjoy every moment of your trip.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

5 Lesser Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain

5 Lesser Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain

If you live with chronic neck pain, you've probably tried ice, heat pads, and over-the-counter medication, but for some people, the common treatment methods don't always help as much as we'd like. Treating neck pain sometimes involves other, lesser known treatment methods. Read on to learn more about these 5 lesser known ways for treating neck pain. Finding what works best for you may take some time to try each one.

1 - Visit a Physical Therapist

Most people think physical therapy is only used to recover from surgery or an accident, but it can also help with things like persistent neck pain. Physical therapists can help by working on your posture and strengthening your neck. Consult your doctor to see if your neck pain might be improved with visits to a physical therapist.

2 - Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise for most people. But it's especially useful for people that suffer from some type of chronic pain because it is a low impact exercise. Time spent in the water reduces the weight on your spine. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about recommendations on which swimming exercises you should be trying.

3 - Meditation

Sometimes, simply finding a time and place for some gentle relaxation can improve chronic neck pain. One of the most commonly used types of meditation involves controlled breathing exercises. There are many free online sources that teach various different breathing exercises.

4 - Use Proper Posture When Using a Phone or Tablet

Hunching over and constantly looking down at a phone or tablet can be a common cause for chronic neck pain. If you think this may be contributing to your discomfort, try limiting the amount of free time you spend using one of these devices, or try holding the device up higher so that you neck is in a neutral position. You can also try taking regular breaks, stand up, walk around, and stretch your neck.

5 - Try a Chair that Supports your Neck

If you work in an office, or sit for long periods throughout the day, hunching forward places extra stress on your spine. A neck-supporting chair helps to fix this issue by keeping your head and neck in a neutral position, which may help to reduce neck pain.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Can Massage Therapy Help Your Back Problem?

Can Massage Help Your Back Problem?

Massage therapy has been a popular back pain treatment for quite some time. But the question is, does it actually work? The answer is it depends on the root cause and severity of your back problem. Studies have proven that massage can provide a variety of benefits to those with back pain.

Some of these benefits include greater blood flow and circulation, less muscle tension, and more levels of endorphins, which is the "feel good" chemical in your brain. If your back pain is the result of any of these issues, massage therapy is certainly worth considering.

Muscle Strain

In most cases, lower back pain is the result of muscle strain. You may strain your muscles after you lift something heavy, move abruptly, or experience a fall. Muscle strain can lead to inflammation, which can cause pain and mobility challenges. A massage therapist can improve the irritation and help your range of motion.

Spine Osteoarthritis

Spine osteoarthritis occurs when the joints in your spine deteriorate and are no longer to perform at their optimal level. It can cause joint inflammation and when it progresses, pain may develop. Massage can reduce stress and muscle tension and improve circulation. If you are living with spine osteoarthritis and opt for massage therapy, be sure to go to a professional with expertise in arthritis.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a common disorder that prompts muscle pain as well as fatigue and sleep challenges. It's widely seen in women and can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as TMJ disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and tension headaches. If you have fibromyalgia, you may face pain in particular trigger points, which massage can improve by distributing it more evenly.

Types of Massages

There are a variety of massages that a therapist can perform. Your condition, symptoms, and goals will dictate which one they choose. Here's an overview of several of the most common types of massages for back problems.

  • Swedish Massage: Pairs light strokes in one direction with pressure in another to alleviate tense muscles.
  • Deep Tissue Massage: Treats chronic tense muscles via slow strokes and an emphasis on friction and pressure.
  • Myofascial Release: Releases tension in fascia and is typically recommended following a muscle-related injury.
  • Trigger Point Massage: Puts direct pressure on specific trigger points.

Despite the fact that massage therapy is usually safe, it's a good idea to consult your doctor before you begin massage therapy for any condition.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

8 Myths About Your Back - Busted

8 Myths About Your Back - Busted

If you browse the internet, you'll find countless articles about back problems. In a perfect world, all of these articles would be full of accurate, clinically proven information. The truth, however, is that there are many myths floating around. Let's take a closer look at eight of the most common myths about your back.

Myth #1: Stretching can resolve back pain.

People wrongly assume that performing regular stretches can put an end to all their back problems. The reality is that this is not always the case. If you're facing inflammation in your spine, stretching can actually do more harm than good. So it's a good idea to consult a doctor for your back pain before stretching.

Myth #2: Surgery is usually needed to treat back pain.

Contrary to popular belief, surgery is a last resort treatment for back pain. Typically, back pain is treated through conservative measures like medications, physical therapy, injections, and lifestyle changes. While a surgical procedure may be necessary, it will only be recommended when all other treatments have failed.

Myth #3: Back pain is genetic.

Sometimes, people blame their back pain on their parents. The majority of back pain that exists has nothing to do with genetics. It's often the result of posture problems, injuries, and dysfunctions in movement. This is good news as it shows that you have the power to take care of your body and prevent back pain.

Myth #4: If you're physically active, you won't experience back pain.

Just because you're in good shape doesn't mean you'll never face any type of back pain. Unfortunately, back pain can happen to anyone, regardless of their activity level. In fact, being involved in sports can actually increase your risk for back pain. Don't let this stop you from being active though. Instead, focus on being careful while you're engaging in physical activities.

Myth #5: Heavy lifting causes back pain.

It's not heavy lifting itself that causes back pain but the way you lift heavy items that may lead to it. To avoid back issues that stem from heavy lifting, build up your strength and use good form. If something is too heavy, put it down and ask for help.

Myth #6: Keep your back straight at all times.

While it's true that slouching is bad for your back, sitting up straight for too long won't do it any favors. Since sitting up straight for too long can strain your back, take breaks throughout the day. Try to stand for part of the day and let your back curve slightly from time to time while you're sitting.

Myth #7: Bed rest can cure back pain.

Sometimes, resting for a few days can help back pain. Too much time in bed, however, can actually make it worse. So consult your doctor before you spend your days staying away from physical activity.

Myth #8: Only older people get back pain.

Everyone faces back pain at some point in their lives. Kids, teens, adults, and senior citizens. Therefore, it's important for people of all ages to be mindful of their back and do their best to protect it from injury.

The next time you read an article about back pain, remember that not everything out there is true. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any questions about your back or the pain you may be experiencing.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

3 Things That Might Be Causing Your Sciatica

3 Things That Might Be Causing Your Sciatica

If you experience radiating pain that starts in your lower back and makes its way into your buttock and to the back of one leg, you may have a condition known as sciatica. Sciatica can cause a leg cramp that gets worse every time you sneeze, cough, or even sit.

You may also feel numbness, burning, and tingling along your leg. The good news is that sciatica is typically short-lived and can be resolved without surgery. It rarely lasts for more than six weeks. So what exactly may be causing your sciatica? Keep reading to find out.

1 - Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when a portion of the disc in your back leaves its proper place and causes bulging. While the majority of herniated discs arise in the lower back, they may happen in the neck as well. The most common symptoms of herniated disc include numbness, tingling, and pain.

This condition is usually the result of age-related wear and tear known as disc degeneration. As you get older, your discs lose their flexibility and become more susceptible to tear and ruptures. Herniated disc symptoms typically affect one side of the body.

2 - Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and often seen in older adults. It can lead to swelling, pain, and less range of motion in your joints. These symptoms almost always develop gradually and become progressively worse.

The most common cause of osteoarthritis is cartilage that slowly deteriorates. This is the tissue that allows for optimal joint function. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can make it difficult for you to complete everyday tasks.

3 - Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when your spine narrows and causes nerve pressure. Typically, spinal stenosis leads to pain, hot or cold sensations, and tingling. It can also lead to bladder loss control, pain, decreased activity, and disability.

If you have spinal stenosis, it's likely the result of age-related spinal degeneration. You may also have it because of trauma or spinal deformity like scoliosis.

Treating Sciatica

In most cases, sciatica treatment starts with conservative treatments that resolve the condition and prevent recurrence. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen may alleviate some of the discomfort.

Physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, and self care measures like heat, ice, and rest may help as well. Muscle relaxants may also be an option if you're experiencing spasms. If surgery is necessary, discectomy or laminectomy may be performed.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.