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Tips For Managing Back Pain in Manhattan

Suffering from back pain? You’re not alone. An estimated 10.2% of Americans live with chronic lower back pain, according to a 2009 study from the University of North Carolina. Not only that, but it is estimated that 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. With these statistics, it’s important to know how to effectively manage back pain so it doesn’t end up putting a damper on your everyday activities. Here are some things you can do to keep the pain at bay.


Don’t Stop Moving

Keeping your body moving is essential for back pain recovery. Though it may feel immobilizing, back pain will subside more quickly the more you gently work your muscles. Start out light with low-impact activities like walking, and then once your back pain subsides, keep up the pace with aerobic activities such as swimming and cycling to keep your back muscles in good shape. Just don’t overdo it!


Ice is Nice

The first 24 to 48 hours after a back injury or flare-up of your chronic back pain, chill out with some ice. Apply an ice pack to the affected area of your back for 20 minutes, then take it off for another 20 minutes, repeating until your back pain has decreased. After 48 hours of this, you can switch to heat, but using a heating pad within the first two days of a back injury or chronic back pain flare up can actually worsen the inflammation of the affected spot, slowing recovery.


Get Strong

Once you have recovered from your most recent bout of back pain, start an exercise regimen that will strengthen your abdominal, hip and pelvic muscles, as this will take the pressure off of your spine and provide your back with more support. Developing your back muscles can also help prevent against future back pain episodes by strengthening the areas that support your lower back. Just be careful with your exercise regimen- overdoing it can lead to another back injury.


Stretch it Out

Stretching your back is good for you, and feels amazing! Next time you’re at your desk at work or sitting on the TV, take a break to stretch out your back muscles. Experts recommend standing and stretching slightly backward every 20 minutes or so during a task that has you sitting for long periods of time. Practicing stretching exercises and yoga can also help alleviate the pressure in your back, so brush up on your downward dog!


Posture is Important

Your mother was right- you shouldn’t slouch. Simply making an effort to stand up straight without slumping your shoulders can make a big difference in the amount of back pain you experience. When you slouch, you’re making it harder for your back to support your weight. Maintaining good posture keeps your center of gravity in better balance, allowing your back to do less heavy lifting.


Lift With the Knees

Speaking of heavy lifting, we all know that you shouldn’t bend from the waist to lift heavy objects, but most of us do it anyway. If you need to lift something, make sure to bend from your knees, not your back. Better yet, leave the lifting to someone who doesn’t have chronic back pain or a recent back injury.

By developing healthy habits and modifying a few everyday practices, you can keep your back in better shape, lessening the recurrence of chronic back pain flare-ups. For more serious issues that require spinal surgery, New York orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Paul Brisson is here to help. Dr. Brisson specializes in diagnosing and treating all spine-related issues, including sciatica, herniated disks and spinal stenosis, and offers comprehensive treatment and spinal surgery in the Manhattan area. For New York residents who are suffering from chronic back pain, Dr. Brisson can help you get your life back on track. Call 212-813-3632 for an initial consultation with Dr. Brisson and his team of caring professionals. Make back pain a thing of the past- contact Dr. Paul Brisson today!




When to Seek Treatment for Sciatica

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with shooting pain down one hip, or if you experience pain, tingling or numbness in your leg with no explanation, you may be one of the millions of Americans affected by sciatica. While sciatica is not a diagnosis in and of itself, it can be a symptom of an underlying cause, such as spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease. Dr. Paul Brisson, Manhattan’s premier orthopaedic surgeon, can help find the cause of your sciatica and provide effective treatment so you can get past the pain and get on with your life.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. Characteristics of sciatica include constant, shooting pain that is only in one leg or on one side of the buttocks, which gets worse when sitting. The leg pain sometimes presents itself as tingling and numbness, and radiates down the affected leg into the foot and toes. This pain and tingling is caused by the sciatic nerve, which runs down the leg from the lower back, through the buttock, When you have an underlying spinal issue, the sciatic nerve can become irritated or compressed, causing the symptoms of sciatica. Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth are prone to sciatica, as are overweight or obese individuals; however, sciatica can affect anyone at a given time, and be an indicator of more severe spine problems including a herniated or compressed disc, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, lumbar spinal stenosis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease.

Treatment for Sciatica

When sciatica strikes, some at-home treatments such as alternating ice and heat at 20-minute intervals can help sufferers find relief. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Motrin can also help alleviate the sciatic pain. However, if pain persists, you should schedule a visit with an orthopaedic specialist. Your orthopaedist can properly examine your spine and help find the root cause of your sciatica. While spinal surgery may be recommended to treat lumbar disc herniation or spinal stenosis, other non-surgical methods of treatment, including physical therapy, may be administered first. If you do opt for spinal surgery, keep in mind that approximately 90% of orthopaedic surgery patients report total sciatic pain relief following their procedure.

If your sciatica has gotten to the point where your sleep, normal daily activities, and overall quality of life has been adversely affected and at-home treatments are ineffective, it may be time to seek professional treatment. For residents of Manhattan and surrounding areas, Dr. Paul Brisson is the preferred choice for orthopaedic surgery and treatment. Dr. Brisson has years of experience in accurately and effectively diagnosing and treating a variety of back problems which cause sciatica, and will help you get to the root of your sciatic pain so you can get your life back on track. For your initial consultation appointment, call Dr. Paul Brisson’s office at 212-813-3632 today, and get ready to say goodbye to sciatica!

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