Stop straining. If toe touches and sit-ups cause even slight pain, switch to crunches and coached weight lifting.
Change your mattress every five to seven years. Use the floor or plywood to support a sagging mattress until you can replace it.
Use a pillow under your knees when sleeping on your back or between your knees when sleeping on your side to maintain the alignment in your spine. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Ice injuries for 48 hours afterward. Don’t stay in bed more than a day or two after an injury, and move regularly to avoid stiffness.
Pain or numbness in the arms, legs, chest and tummy can be the result of pinched, injured or irritated nerves in the back. If you haven’t had an injury, take notes throughout the day to help determine if you’ve overused or misused a muscle, ligament or disc. Try nixing high heels, back-pocket wallets and bags worn on one shoulder (sling messengers across the body).
Instead of posture-correcting by shoving your chest forward and chin up, rotate your pubic bone so it’s parallel to your seat and bring your chin down and throat back. Relax your shoulders down, keep both feet on the floor and position your seat to keep your knees and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
Vertebrae Repair: In vertebroplasty, bone cement is injected into crumbling and fractured vertebrae. Its success has been debatable, and leaked cement can press the spinal cord and require surgery. Researchers are testing new types of cement that may be less likely to leak and could include anti-tumor agents to prevent cancers that cause crumbling.
Stem Cell Therapy: Researchers in Manchester isolated adult stem cells from bone marrow to repair discs (the cushion between vertebrae), repairing their casings and replenishing their gel cores. The technique, RegenaDISC, is so new it’s exclusively offered at Celling Treatment Centers in Texas.
Disc Repair: Intradiscal Electrothermoplasty, a new approach to disc repair, involves the insertion of a needle into a damaged disc. A wire is threaded through the needle and then heated as it lies along the inner wall, destroying nerve fibers that grow into and invade degenerating discs. It also partially melts part of the disc, encouraging it to generate new reinforcing proteins in the disc fibers. Radiofrequency discal nucleoplasty uses radio frequencies instead of heat to decompress the disc and reduce pressure on the disc and surrounding nerve roots. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about services offered at medical facilities throughout the North Metro area via Boulder Neurosurgical and Spine Associates.
“You have to have a strong core muscle. I always recommend an exercise ball versus sit-ups or normal types of (core exercises). The exercise ball is unstable and it forces your brain to control your muscles better. It’s way more functional. I’m not a huge fan of yoga because it’s very slow and stretchy, and life is not that way. Life is unstable, it’s quick, it’s uncomfortable. You carry the groceries and the babies, and if you fall or slip on the ice, you have to be able to respond. If your body is not able to quickly respond, then you’re going to get hurt. …Get adjusted. You have 24 bones in your spine and if the bones are stuck or not moving properly, you might feel that more in the winter because you’re a little stiffer.” —Shane Fishbein, chiropractor, Boulder
“As someone who has aged while doing yoga, the important thing I’ve discovered about dealing with the stiffness that comes with aging is an overall, well-balanced movement program that keeps muscles strong and flexible. It seems that we can handle the kinds of arthritis and pain that comes to us as we age much better by keeping a strong muscular system around our skeleton. We can have serious damage from an osteoarthritis point of view, which in fact will not bother us if we’ve got a good balance of muscles in the body so we don’t feel bound by pain.” —Mukti Miller, yoga instructor, Boulder