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Brisk Walking Supports a Healthy Spine!

A routine of brisk walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. Walking is good for the total body and the best way to keep the entire body finely tuned and trim. Brisk walking balances the major muscles and brings better body alignment, keeps your hip joints flexible and works the lower and side abdominal muscles. Proper motion increases blood flow, builds muscle strength in the pelvis and lower back and improves bone strength. Walking decreases muscle tension a major contributing factor to back pain and provides relief from static body positioning. Motion keeps us young and adds years to our lives. Movement is the most vital ingredient to spine health.

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Sneakers are Your Best Bet!

Footwear has a large effect on back health. How shoes support our feet can have a lot to do with developing a good gait or bad one. The way your foot moves during a step affects how the rest of your body follows. The wrong shoes can cause stress and pain to your vertebrae and the soft tissues that support them.

High heels throw off your alignment. They change the center of gravity and cause excess strain and stress on the low back; the lower the heel the better. Sneakers or shoes with a rigid heel counter (the back of the shoe) and a rigid midsole provide the best support and sneakers with laces are best.

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Smoking – Detrimental to Your Health and Spine!

The butt stops here. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine causing the spinal discs to degenerate. It also prevents nutrients to your spine causing discs to become brittle. If you want a healthy spine – No Smoking!

If you’re looking for a reason to quit, here are a few. All parts of the spine are affected by the toxins in cigarettes. Smoking inhibits circulation making it impossible for intervertebral discs to absorb nutrients; accelerates degenerative disc disease by reducing bone density putting the vertebrae at greater risk for developing osteoporosis, facet disease, spinal arthritis and other degenerative spine conditions. Nicotine diminishes collagen levels causing tendons and ligaments to become vulnerable to injury. Cigarette smoke harms your lungs making physical activity difficult resulting in lowered muscle mass. Smoking cessation programs are highly recommended and there is plenty of support to help you kick the habit!

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Tight Hip Flexor Muscles may be Causing Your Low Back Pain

Having low back pain? Often times, lower back pain can be caused by overly tight hip flexor muscles. Stretching out the hip flexor muscles may alleviate your lower back pain.

The major hip flexor muscle, the psoas is attached to the five lowest vertebrae of the spine and the opposing muscles to your low back muscles. Due to their structure and function, these muscles can have an effect on the low back or hip by putting excessive strain on your low back muscles which increases pressure on your low back vertebrae. Exertive activities or biking can shorten or tighten the hip flexor muscles which then pull on the vertebrae, creating a sensation of tightness in the low back. Prolonged sitting can keep the hip in a flexed or shortened position and over time the hip flexors weaken and loser their flexibility which will eventually cause low back pain or hip pain.

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Caution is Imperative – a Rationing of Healthcare

This Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obama Care, Medicare’s Limited Coverage Determination and our current insurance environment has become a rationing of healthcare for the patient.

If you’re a patient with spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis, your ability to just get an MRI scan is already being denied, delayed and deluded.

Let me explain what lumbar spinal stenosis is – it simply means that the part of the spine that starts where the ribs end down to the pelvis is narrow or stenotic – a narrowing of the spinal canal. If you’re a patient with lumbar spinal stenosis – it very often means that overtime you have developed joints that have enlarged, bone spurs that have enlarged, discs that have bulged and ligaments that have gotten bigger, when you add to that instability or deformity of the spine, you have lumbar spondylolisthesis. Lumbar spondylolisthesis is a slippage or deformity of the spine that becomes problematic because it causes back and leg pain.

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Caution is Imperative

The Affordable Care Act President Obama drafted has now been put into law. It was voted upon by the citizens of the United States and passed. It was then taken to the Supreme Court and upheld.

The ACA, also known as Obama Care will significantly affect the ability for spine surgeons to provide care to patients who need tests or procedures.

Medicare and the insurance companies are already doing that to a certain extent, therefore caution is imperative.

In the past five or ten years, we’ve already seen a challenging approach to get authorization from insurance companies and now in 2013, in Florida, the Medicare provider has drafted what is called “Limited Coverage Determination”.

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