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    The Office Chair: Friend or Foe?

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Have you ever risen from your desk at the end of the day feeling cramped, creaky and uncomfortable? If you are like many office workers, you spend the majority of your day seated at your desk. But spending eight hours a day in an office chair can be as detrimental to your physical health as it sometimes feels for your mental health. If your chair does not support your body and posture properly, it can cause a variety of health problems, including lower back pain. If you experience back pain after a few hours at your desk, or if you feel a twinge each time you stand up from your chair, talk to your spine specialist about ergonomics and selecting a spine-friendly office chair. 

    Ergonomics

    Ergonomics is the science of creating a workspace that is designed to meet the physical needs of employees. An ergonomic workspace can differ for each individual; a person’s height, size, history of previous injuries, and the nature of any repetitive motions performed on the job can all shape the particular ergonomic environment he or she needs.

    Chairs to Avoid

    Imagine working on a tall, backless stool for eight hours a day. While very few offices provide chairs of this nature, this uncomfortable stool represents chair characteristics to avoid. Because of the chair’s height, you might need to hunch over to reach your desk, and rather than lying flat on the floor, your feet would hang in the air. Additionally, a chair with little or no back support can also take its toll on your physical comfort and long-term health.

    The Right Chair for You

    An ergonomic chair is one that is an appropriate height for you. Your feet should be able to lie flat on the floor, which keeps your hips and spine balanced. Lumbar, or lower back, support is another critical feature of an ergonomic chair. Proper support helps you to sit up straight, avoid hunching over, and prevent back pain. The seat of your chair should be sized so that you can sit against the back support without discomfort for your knees. A cushioned seat rest can also help to prevent discomfort from prolonged seating.  

    Could your office environment be impacting your spine health? For more information about protecting and supporting your spine at work, 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.

    Common Conditions that Lead to Back Pain

    Last updated 4 years ago

    When you suffer from back pain, scheduling an appointment with a spine specialist can help you discern which of many possibilities is the source of your pain. For some patients, back pain results from accident or injury; others may suffer from spine or nerve damage. To learn more about common causes of back pain and treatments for each, talk to your spine doctor today.

    • Your spine and spinal cord are complex systems of vertebrae, muscles and nerves. Damage to even one small part of this system can result in serious pain. Learn more about how your spinal cord is put together with this illustration of spine anatomy.
    • A herniated disc is a common cause of neck and back pain that can result from a sudden accident or long-term, repetitive movements. Learn more about a diagnosis and treatment options for a herniated disc from Dr. Kraus.
    • If you experience tingling, aching or pain in your leg, the cause may actually originate in your spine. The sciatic nerve runs along the length of your leg and can cause these sensations when spine injuries like a slipped disc apply pressure to the nerve.

    To learn how to treat and prevent common causes of back pain, 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.

    Spine Healthy Summary: Sciatica

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Running down the side of your lower spine, through the back of your thigh and down to your foot, the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. You may have experienced pressure to this nerve if you’ve suffered from a herniated disc. The sensations that accompany problems with the sciatic nerve are known as sciatica. Symptoms tend to vary but often include numbness or tingling in the affected area. In the video below, a spine specialist discusses common symptoms of the condition and why you should seek care to prevent pain and damage from progressing.

    For more information about sciatica symptoms and treatment options, 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.

    What Happens When You Slip a Disc?

    Last updated 4 years ago

    Your spine is made up of vertebral bodies that are separated by shock-absorbing discs. When a disc moves or splits, it results in a slipped disc, also known as a herniated disc. While some people with a slipped disc may experience no symptoms, the condition can cause pain and numbness in the area surrounding the damage. To help you recognize when to seek medical attention, learn more about what happens when you slip a disc and the possible consequences of the condition.

    Symptoms

    Depending on the position and size of the herniated disc, you could experience very different symptoms from another affected patient. A common symptom of a herniated disc is pain in the lower back, which may indicate that the disc is not pressing a nerve. In the event that a disc is applying pressure to a nerve, you could experience weakness, tingling, or pain in the area along the nerve’s path. Your spine specialist can evaluate your symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis for the source of your pain.

    Leading Causes

    A herniated disc is the result of significant wear and tear that can occur from old age, repetitive movements or, more commonly, physically demanding activity. Individuals who engage in poor lifting habits or who accidentally strain their backs are at the highest risk for disc rupture.

    Treatment Options

    The best treatment for slipped discs is to practice preventive measures. Fortunately, most patients with herniated discs can typically expect recovery within a month if they seek medical attention. If nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy or injections fail to relieve pain, your physician may recommend spine surgery. A discectomy, for example, is a surgery that removes ruptured disc material and alleviates pain related to nerve damage in the leg.

    If you suffer from a slipped disc or back pain, 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.

    The Benefits of Exercise for Spinal Health

    Last updated 4 years ago

    We hit the gym to flatten, tone and tighten trouble spots on our bodies, but the spine is often overlooked in many people’s exercise regimens. Maintaining a strong and healthy spine, though, can play as critical a role in a healthy lifestyle as regular exercise. If back or neck pain is interfering with your daily life, ask your spine doctor about spine exercises and activities that could benefit you.

    • Walking: Making time to walk for as little as 20 minutes a day can help to reduce your risk of developing future back problems. This low-impact exercise strengthens muscles in your feet, legs, hips and core, all of which support the stability of your spine.
    • Water Therapy: If walking causes too much pain, exercising in the pool can be an effective alternative. Activities like aqua jogging or deep-water aerobics are performed in a gentle, no-impact environment and can reduce compression on the lower back and strengthen muscles.
    • Stretching: Daily stretches provide a simple means of releasing pain in your lower back. Even if you are not suffering from pain, consider practicing spine stretches to increase flexibility and prevent your susceptibility to injury in the future.
    • Stability Ball: A popular method for stretching and strengthening back muscles is exercising with a stability ball. Performing back extensions supports a greater range of motion while simultaneously strengthening your glutes and hamstrings.
    • Yoga: Yoga is a discipline that can help to improve your posture and flexibility, qualities that support a healthy, neutral spine. Yoga’s emphasis on controlled breathing can also help to facilitate better circulation throughout your body. Certain yoga poses, such as the bow or bridge pose, are targeted for stretching the spinal cord and can provide a therapeutic outlet for pain.

    For more spine exercises and recommendations, 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.

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