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Tips for a Healthy Spine
 
Each year back pain affects millions of people in the United States. As a result, many people see their quality of life diminish. Hobbies cannot be enjoyed, workdays are missed, and sports and leisure activities hindered.

However, there is good news too! By taking several simple steps now, we can all improve the health of our back and neck, and diminish the chances of developing spine problems later in life.

Our medical team is committed to helping our patients become healthy! As a result, our medical team will not just focus on your spinal condition, but we’ll also suggest steps you can take to improve your spine’s overall health.

We invite you to review the following five tips for a healthy spine, and hope that you’ll build them into your daily life. You’ll never regret making these changes!

Tip #1: "Lift light and lift right”

We all put immense stresses on our spine daily. Whether you are reaching into your car to pick up a child, loading grocery bags into your trunk, or digging weeds in your yard, your back endures a daily assault-course. Each time we lift too much, or lift in an awkward way, we risk injury to our spine. To minimize your chances of injury from lifting, follow these easy steps:

*If it seems too heavy, don’t lift it! Get help!

*Do not lift at arms length; always get close to the object.

*When lifting or lowering an object, bend your hips and knees and keep your back straight. Do not hunch over an object, and never lift with straight legs while bending at the waist.

*Never make sharp movements. Lift smoothly!

*Never twist your back when moving an object. Move your feet instead!

Tip #2: Stand tall

Good posture helps your spine! However, poor posture can damage the spine and its associated muscles and ligaments. A hunched stance places abnormal stress on muscles and ligaments, causes backache and fatigue, and can even cause the spine to become fixed in an abnormal position.

So, if you want your spine to feel healthier, and you want to look better, follow these two simple pointers for good posture:

*Stand straight. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down, and your knees and back straight.

*Head up. Hold your head up straight, not tilting in any direction. As a general guideline, your earlobes should be above the middle of your shoulders.

Tip # 3: Work smart

Many of us spend hours each day working at a computer terminal. Poorly designed workspaces can wreak havoc on your back and neck. If you’re ending your days at work with headaches or backache, check the following guidelines for a "back healthy" work environment.

*Are you sitting comfortably? Your chair should enable you to have a "neutral posture", i.e. no part of your anatomy is in an unusual or uncomfortable position when working at your desk or monitor. Make sure that your back is well supported by your chair, and that the chair is not pinching the back of your knees. Your feet should rest firmly on the floor, with the angle behind your knees greater than 90 degrees. Your forearms should angle down slightly to rest on the keyboard, while your upper arms should be able to rest close to your body in a relaxed manner.

*Eyes forward. Your computer monitor must be positioned so that it is directly in front of you, and does not require you to bend your head forward, backward or sideways to view it comfortably.

*Talk straight. Do not cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder. Such posture is almost guaranteed to cause neck problems. Either sit straight and hold your phone to your ear, or purchase one of the various hands-free phone options.

Tip # 4: Start moving

Exercise is critical for keeping your back healthy. Even a few minutes of exercise each day can greatly help your back and neck. Under the direction of a physician or exercise expert, build an exercise routine that combines stretching, strengthening and aerobic activity. Our medical staff is always pleased to help patients develop safe and worthwhile exercise plans.

Tip # 5: And so to bed

Most people spend one third of their life in bed. A bad mattress, or an unhealthy sleeping position can be a significant cause of back pain. Here are some guidelines for sleeping in a way that will help your back and neck:

*To maintain proper posture, sleep on your side with your knees bent and a pillow placed between your knees. However, if you must sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees, to help maintain the natural curves of your spine. Sleeping on your front with your head turned to one side, or sleeping with a large pillow should be avoided.

*Make sure your mattress supports your body so that the natural spine alignment is maintained. Soft beds provide insufficient support, while overly firm beds can push your body into stressful positions.

*Turn your mattress regularly to maintain even wear, and to provide consistent support.

Tip # 6: Keep your Spirits Up!

Most people will encounter disabling neck or back pain sometime in their life. When this happens, do not empower this pain. Get proper care from fellowship trained specialist and take back control of the situation.

While these tips are only a small selection of those that our staff provide our patients, they are a great foundation upon which patients can develop a healthy back and neck.

 

The spine is a complex structure that provides both mobility and strength. Proper functioning of the neck and back allows for fluid, effortless movement. But, when there is a deformity, injury or disease of the spine, common activities such as turning, bending, or stretching often become painfully out of reach. More than 80% of adults will experience significant back or neck pain at sometime during their life.

Dr. Sethuraman, a fellowship trained Spine Surgeon from the Mayo Clinic, is a minimally invasive Spine Specialist & Surgeon who offers treatments and performs the latest surgical techniques in treating disorders of the spine. He enjoys working individually with each of his patients to find the best custom tailored options for resumption of an active and healthy lifestyle while minimizing down time. His specializations include:

 

*Specialization in Minimally Invasive Techniques
*Image Guided Technologies in the Management of Spinal Disorders
*Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbosacral, and Intervertebral Spinal Conditions
*Cervical Spine Disorders and Disc Replacement
*Vertebral Compression fracture
*Spinal Fusion
*Spondylolisthesis
*Spinal Stenosis
*Comprehensive Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease
*Techniques in Spinal Instrumentation

 

Why the Southwest Spine Institute Team?

The Southwest Spine Institute Team is headed by Dr. Sethuraman, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon from the Mayo Clinic, who solely has performed more than 300 surgeries annually prior to joining the DFW community, treating problems resulting from degeneration of the cervical and lumbar discs, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spinal deformity, trauma, and instability.

When to Seek a Spinal Evaluation

The spine can be affected by arthritis, degenerative wear and tear problems affecting the joints and disks, as well as a variety of other abnormalities that cause pain, numbness and weakness. Problems in the low back or lumbar spine can affect the leg and foot, while problems in the cervical spine of the neck can affect the arms and hands.

Modern spinal care is very complex. To determine if surgery is needed, patients should seek out highly trained experts such as the fellowship- trained specialists of the Southwest Spine Institute Team. They are experts at determining how to effectively treat spine related problems.

 

Education and Training

Fellowship: Spine Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rocheter MN
Residency: Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia PA
Internship: General Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia PA
Graduate: Doctor of Medicine, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA
Undergraduate, Bachelor of Arts, Rutgers College, New Brunswick NJ

 

Board Certification

American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Certified 7/13/2007

Professional Organizations

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
North American Spine Society
Association for Ethical Spine Surgeons
Mayo Clinic Alumni Association
Thomas Jefferson University Alumni Association