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    The Relationship between Your Weight and Your Spine

    Last updated 4 years ago

    We are constantly reminded by our doctors, dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers that maintaining a healthy weight is vital for our overall health and wellness. Indeed, being at a healthy weight can not only help you feel more confident about your physical appearance but also help your body function at its best. Being overweight, for example, can have a serious effect on your spine health in addition to your overall health. Carrying excess weight can lead to back pain, neck pain and even injury.

    The Role of the Spine

    Your spine is, quite literally, the backbone of your body. The spine, along with the various muscles and ligaments that support it, allows you to stand upright, walk, and move freely. In addition to supporting the body’s musculoskeletal structure, the vertebrae also protects the spinal cord and the nerves within that allow you to move, feel and experience the sensations of life.

    The Effects of Body Weight on the Spine

    Because of the location and function of the spine, it is subjected to a great deal of stress from weight-bearing and movement. While the spine is designed to bear a certain amount of weight, excess weight can begin to put undue strain on the joints and discs. Being overweight or obese can cause the spine to be pulled into an unnatural position as it tries to offset the weight strain; this, in turn, can considerably affect posture and general comfort.

    If this strain occurs consistently for a long enough period of time, damage to the spinal structures can occur. Weight may also put pressure on the nerves in and around the spine, which can lead to severe pain. In fact, you could ultimately experience a complete degeneration of spinal discs from repeated wear. When this occurs, the only option for spine pain relief may be invasive surgery. Maintaining a healthy weight, then, can help you to avoid back pain or the surgical treatments that may be necessary to treat it.

    To learn more about conservative treatments for back pain or about pain management, make an appointment with Kraus Back and Neck Institute today. The founder of KBNI, Dr. Gary Kraus is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, spine surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. Please visit us online or call us today at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation.

    Can Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery Solve Your Back Pain?

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Whether from an accident or chronic condition, most people will experience some type of back pain at least once in their lives. While some common causes of back pain like muscle soreness or overextension can be treated with physical therapy or more conservative treatments, others may require surgery to prevent back pain from becoming debilitating. If you suffer from a serious spine condition or complication, your neurosurgeon may recommend an artificial disc replacement to ease severe pain and preserve your spine health.

    What is Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?

    Artificial disc replacement surgery is an alternative to spinal fusion surgery. It is designed to preserve the spine’s range of motion by replacing a worn, degenerated disc with an artificial disc. Artificial disc replacement surgery is often preferred to spinal fusion when possible because it does not result in additional strain on the remaining discs.

    Is Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery an Option for You?

    While artificial disc replacement surgery is a marked advance in spinal surgery, it is still a relatively new procedure and does have its limitations. If spine surgery is necessary, your physician will present you with various treatment options, which may or may not include artificial disc replacement. A medical imaging test may be necessary to determine if your particular symptoms and condition can be relieved by the procedure.

    If you are a candidate, however, artificial disc replacement surgery can provide considerable spine pain relief and preserve spinal mobility. Like any major surgery, artificial disc replacement does have its risks, so it is vital that you speak candidly with your neurosurgeon about any questions or concerns you might have. Most artificial disc replacement surgery patients can expect a recovery period of about six to eight weeks. Follow-up appointments are essential for assessing the success of the procedure and monitoring recovery.

    To learn if artificial disc replacement surgery is a viable back pain treatment for you, make an appointment with Kraus Back and Neck Institute today. The founder of KBNI, Dr. Gary Kraus is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, spine surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. Please visit us online or call us today at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation.

    Making Changes for a Healthy Spine

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Maintaining a healthy back and neck is vital not only to pain-free living but also to preserving your independence and quality of life. In addition to managing any underlying medical conditions that can affect back and neck comfort, you can also take preventive steps to reduce pain and protect your spine. Talk to your spine specialist for additional information and recommendations.

    • Some diseases like osteoporosis can lead to complications in the spine that can cause pain in addition to bone loss. Read more about how osteoporosis can cause compression fractures in the back and what can be done to treat them.
    • While you may not think that something as sedentary as a desk job can lead to back injury, choosing the wrong office chair can actually lead to significant pain and discomfort.
    • Regular exercise is good not only for your heart but also for your back. By adding exercises that target the spine into your fitness routine, you can help to strengthen your spine and reduce low back pain. Try these spine exercises from WebMD to start, and ask your neurosurgeon for more recommendations.

    For more information about managing or preventing back pain, schedule an appointment with Kraus Back and Neck Institute today. The founder of KBNI, Dr. Gary Kraus is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, spine surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. Please visit us online or call us today at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation.

    Bend for a Healthier Back: Preventing Pain with Yoga

    Last updated 4 years ago

    If you currently suffer from back pain, your spine doctor may recommend several methods for treating it, including medications, physical therapy, and surgery. But what would your neurosurgeon recommend to prevent back pain before it even starts? Learning to strengthen and stabilize your spine while it’s healthy can help protect it from pain and injury years later.

    One exercise practice that helps to strengthen the spine is yoga. Performing a targeted set of yoga poses can not only help you relax if you already have pain but also strengthens muscle, enhances flexibility, and improves endurance, all qualities that help to protect the spine. In addition, stronger back and postural muscles also help you to stand taller, improving your carriage. In the video below, a certified yoga instructor demonstrates a set of poses that target and strengthen your back.

    Before starting yoga or any other exercise program, schedule an appointment with Kraus Back and Neck Institute today. The founder of KBNI, Dr. Gary Kraus is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, spine surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. Please visit us online or call us today at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation.

    The Effects of Osteoporosis on Your Spine

    Last updated 4 years ago

    A common condition of the aging process, osteoporosis, or loss of bone density, can have long-term effects on your health if left untreated. As you lose bone density, you increase your risk for spine injuries and fall-related problems like fractures. If you have osteoporosis, talk to your neurosurgeon to learn more about the spine-related problems you may experience and the treatments available to treat them.

    Fractures

    While many associate osteoporosis with broken hips or wrists, spinal fractures are among the most common problems caused by bone density loss. Of these osteoporosis-related spinal fractures, many are compression fractures. Compression fractures can result in significant back pain and are aggravated by standing or walking. Non-surgical treatments like a back brace may be used to help support and stabilize the spine.

    Poor Posture

    As osteoporosis progresses, patients often begin to hunch over and display poor posture. In some cases, this is a result of weakening bones that are unable to hold up a patient’s upper body. In others, this hunching could be the result of a compression fracture caused by osteoporosis. These fractures generally occur in the upper section of the spine, and the resulting pain and weakening can lead to a hunched carriage.

    Spine Solutions

    Osteoporosis-related spine problems like compression fractures and poor posture can be treated in various ways. Non-surgical options include simple rest, a back brace, and medications that may help to treat bone density loss and alleviate painful symptoms. If these approaches are unsuccessful, your spine surgeon may then recommend surgical treatment. These surgical procedures generally involve adding bone-like cement to the spine to fill cracks and missing volume in the vertebrae. The result is not only a stronger spine but also some correction of any spine deformities that may have developed.

    To learn more about the consequences of osteoporosis on the spine, schedule an appointment with Kraus Back and Neck Institute today. The founder of KBNI, Dr. Gary Kraus is a leading Houston neurosurgeon specializing in spine health, spine surgery, and non-surgical spine treatments. Please visit us online or call us today at (888) 816-8954 to schedule a consultation.

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