Why Back Pain is Difficult to Treat

Article featured on WebMD
Two women come to their doctor with searing lower back pain and a fiery sensation shooting down their legs. Both women have back pain with sciatic-like symptoms, but the source and treatment of their pain are different.

Same Pain, Different Problems

Herniated disk. Helen had a herniated disk. The disk caused inflammation and nerve irritation, which resulted in fiery pain down her leg. Standard treatments for a herniated disk include physical therapy, medications, steroid injections, and time for healing. 

Nerve sensitization. Nancy’s pain stemmed from nerve sensitization or nociplastic pain. Nociplastic pain arises from abnormal pain processing in the brain and nerves. Nerves become more sensitive and reactive to stimuli, exaggerating pain signals to the brain. 

Nancy’s back and leg pain had slowly worsened over the past year. She developed pain hypersensitivity where simple, everyday movements—like getting up from the couch and walking to the kitchen—had become increasingly uncomfortable. Her symptoms also spread. Instead of pain in a small area of her back, she felt it across her back, down her thighs, and enveloping her leg. 

Although an injury may have started Nancy’s pain, it was no longer the factor perpetuating it. Over time, the pain source had shifted from an injury to the nervous system (brain and nerves). Due to nerve sensitization, her brain and nerves kept telling her she was hurt even after the injury had healed.

You Can Have Both Sources of Pain at the Same Time

A mixed pain state is when you have injury pain and sensitization pain simultaneously. For example, you have back pain arising from a herniated disk and sensitization. Sensitization amplifies the pain signal that is already present. The two pain sources overlap into one set of symptoms, making it difficult to discern where the discomfort arises from. 

For back pain, three different pain scenarios are possible:

  1. Back pain from an injury with no sensitization, meaning the nerves have not become sensitized; this situation will respond well to standard treatments. This was the case with Helen.
  2. Back pain from an injury and sensitization; in this case, there will be a partial response to standard treatments. This is a “mixed pain state.”
  3. Back pain with predominant sensitization, where most symptoms stem from sensitization; there will be minimal response to standard treatments. This was the case with Nancy.
Understanding the source of back pain is important for selecting the appropriate treatment. Standard treatments like physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections don’t work when the pain comes predominantly from sensitization. The more sensitization drives the symptoms, the less responsive they are to standard treatments because the pain source has shifted to the nervous system. For example, Helen, with a herniated disc, responded well to treatment with physical therapy and a steroid injection. On the other hand, Nancy did not respond to those interventions. The correct target for her treatment is the nervous system. You don’t put a cast on a paralyzed arm from a stroke because the cause of the injury isn’t in the arm; it’s in the brain. The problem is deeper in the nervous system. The same is true when treating sensitization.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

What Should I Do When My Foot or Ankle Pain Won’t Go Away?

Article featured on PennMedicine

Foot and ankle pain is a common source of frustration because it often involves small bones, ligaments, and/or tendons, all of which can heal at somewhat unpredictable rates. A little patience is in order. But what can you do when your patience starts to wear thin because your pain doesn’t feel like it’s gotten any better over time? This article will offer some guidance.

Managing Foot or Ankle Pain Caused by an Injury

Foot or ankle pain caused by an injury occurs suddenly and includes conditions such as sprains and fractures.

What should I do after a foot or ankle injury?

If your foot or ankle pain is the result of an injury, in the moments immediately following, treating it with the tried-and-true acronym RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Try to spend as little time on your feet over the next few days as work and life will allow.

Light compression and keeping your injured foot or ankle elevated above the level of your heart will help minimize swelling. She says a heating pad can make the injury feel better initially, but because it opens blood vessels in the injured area, it can ultimately make the inflammation worse. Ice, on the other hand, will constrict the blood vessels, reducing inflammation.

When should I see a doctor for my foot or ankle injury?

Many foot and ankle injuries may be treated at home, but there are some symptoms that require immediate medical attention. They include:

  • A significant deformity. Compare your injured ankle or foot to the other one. If there’s a clear difference in appearance, seek medical attention.
  • Any large open wounds or significant bleeding
  • You’re unable to put any weight on your injured foot or ankle

Otherwise, if the pain hasn’t lessened after about three to five days of treating your injury at home, it is best to  see your primary care physician. They may order x-rays and, depending on what they show, refer you to a specialist.

Managing Foot or Ankle Pain Caused by Overuse

Foot and ankle pain can also occur slowly over time as a result of overuse and include conditions such as Achilles tendinitis and stress fractures.

The hallmark of an overuse foot or ankle injury is an aching pain that comes on gradually. You may start to notice discomfort in the area of the injury during certain activities. Eventually, it will become more persistent. Achilles tendonitis, for example, may be agitated only during runs or long walks initially. Left unchecked, running will become impossible, and simple everyday activities, like making dinner, will feel like they’re straining the tendon.

What should I do at the first sign of foot or ankle pain caused by overuse?

Similar to the advice above for an injury, treat the initial pain with RICE and acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In some cases, overuse injuries will heal on their own with at-home treatment and time off from activities that put stress on the injured area.

Exactly how much time off will depend on the type and severity of the injury. In general, you can return to light activity that involves the injured area if you haven’t experienced pain there, without the use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for a week. If, after another week, you’re still pain-free, you can gradually ramp up your intensity. But be honest with your self-assessments. If you feel any discomfort, limit your activity and continue resting.

When should I see a doctor for my foot or ankle pain caused by overuse?

The vast majority of overuse foot or ankle injuries do not require immediate medical attention. The exception is those that escalate to the point of causing any of the symptoms listed above for an injury that would prompt urgent treatment.

Aside from these instances, the guidance is similar to that of a foot or ankle injury: If the pain hasn’t diminished or resolved after about three to five days of treating it at home, see your primary care physician. They will help address your concerns by performing a thorough examination, obtaining x-rays, and initiating a consultation/referral to an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist.

Why should I consult an orthopaedic surgeon for my foot or ankle pain?

As mentioned earlier, feet and ankles can be finicky. For that very reason, consulting an orthopaedic surgeon should be your next step if your primary care physician refers you to a specialist. Orthopaedic surgeons undergo rigorous training.

While waiting for the x-rays, the Dr will ask about the patient’s medical conditions, past injuries, general lifestyle, and what sorts of physical activity they engage in on a regular basis. The responses, along with the x-rays and observations during a physical exam, will help develop a more complete understanding of the injury and inform treatment strategy.

Often, patients will want to know if they did anything that made their foot or ankle more susceptible to injury so that they won’t unknowingly cause another injury. They sometimes also ask if this is something that could get better on its own.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Common Rotator Cuff Injuries and How They’re Treated

Article featured on SSMHealth

Your rotator cuff is made up of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder, which connect your upper arm bone (humerus) with your shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff holds the ball of your humerus firmly in your shoulder socket. The term ‘rotator cuff injury’ can mean many different things and includes any type of irritation or damage to your rotator cuff muscles or tendons. About half the time, a rotator cuff injury can heal with the help of physical therapy. But sometimes, surgery is needed to repair the injury.

Rotator cuff pain is one of the most common shoulder problems in adults.

Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries can be acute (traumatic) or chronic (ongoing) injuries that happen over time. These injuries include:

  • As you get older or participate in repetitive movement activities, the general wear and tear on your shoulder can cause a rotator cuff injury.
  • Tendinitis is inflammation of the tendons in your rotator cuff from overuse or overload. Shoulder tendinitis is a common repetitive motion injury for athletes who participate in overhead sports like swimming, tennis and volleyball.
  • Bursitis is inflammation or irritation of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) between your shoulder joint and rotator cuff tendons.
  • A partial or full tear can occur in the tendon connecting the muscle to the bone during an abrupt injury or as a result of repetitive motion. Untreated tendonitis can also lead to a tendon tear. A torn rotator cuff causes pain, weakness and inability to move the arm freely in full range of motion. It also tends to be painful when you try to lift and turn your arm during overhead activity.
  • Shoulder impingement, a common cause of shoulder pain, occurs when the rotator cuff rubs or catches on the bones in the shoulder. Shoulder impingement causes persistent pain as the tendons are injured and swell. Left untreated, shoulder impingement can lead to rotator cuff tears.

Diagnosing a Rotator Cuff Injury

If you have shoulder pain that’s limiting your day-to-day activities, our shoulder specialists will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if you’ve damaged your rotator cuff. This includes understanding your symptoms, a physical exam of your shoulder, and may also include imaging studies, such as an x-ray or MRI.

Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment

The best treatment for a rotator cuff injury depends on what your doctor finds during your evaluation and may include rest, medications, physical therapy, injections in the joint, and/or surgery. Rotator cuff injuries can take several weeks to several months to heal depending on the specific injury. Most rotator cuff tears will not heal on their own, but many times, you can relieve your pain and restore the function of your shoulder without surgery.

Rest and Physical Therapy

Rotator cuff injuries are usually treated first with rest and physical therapy. Your physical therapist will give specific exercises designed to help heal your injury, improve the flexibility of your rotator cuff and shoulder muscles, and provide balanced shoulder muscle strength. They also may recommend using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) or ice packs/heat packs to control the inflammation. Depending on the severity of your injury, physical therapy may be required for several weeks to several months.

Steroid Injections and Surgery

If rest and physical therapy don’t fully heal your injury, your doctor may recommend other treatments, including:

  • Steroid injections: Depending on the severity of your pain, your doctor may use a corticosteroid injection to relieve inflammation and pain in your shoulder region.
  • Surgery: If you have a large muscle tear in your rotator cuff, you may need surgery to repair the tear. During this type of surgery, doctors also may remove any bone spurs or calcium deposits.

Night Time Shoulder Pain

Many people with rotator cuff injuries have a hard time sleeping, but night time pain can often be relieved with a few simple steps. Try icing your shoulder for 15-20 minutes and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, before bed to help ease the pain. Many people also find that experimenting with their sleep position can help them get some rest.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Arthroplasty/Joint Replacement Surgery for the Lower Arm

Article featured on MercyHealth

What is arthroplasty on the lower arm?

Lower arm problems are common. Your lower arms have many small bones, joints, muscles and nerves working together. Without the use of your hand, wrist or elbow joints, life can be difficult. Arthroplasty is one solution.

Arthroplasty is surgery to replace a joint. You may be familiar with knee and hip joint replacements. Doctors do arthroplasty on arthritic joints in hands, wrists and elbows. An artificial joint placed in the hand, wrist or elbow is called a prosthesis. Your surgeon may also resurface the bones for better function.

When do doctors perform arthroplasty in the lower arm?

Doctors do arthroplasty when traditional pain medications or physical therapy haven’t worked to reduce the pain and increase function of your hand, wrist or elbow. Today, the tools and the prostheses for joint replacement surgery in the hand, wrist and elbow are much more advanced. That makes this surgery more common for people who have arthritis. Arthroplasty can replace knuckles and wrist and elbow joints.

A joint wears out over time when you have degenerative arthritis in it. Inflammatory arthritis destroys a joint in your hand, wrist or elbow. In arthroplasty surgery, doctors remove the damaged joint. They replace it with a durable prosthesis. For elbow arthroplasty, the damaged parts of the bones and joints are replaced with a prosthesis, too. It includes a hinge and metal stems that fit inside the hollow parts of your bones.

What to expect from arthroplasty in the hand, wrist or elbow

Your doctor may do the arthroplasty on an outpatient basis. That means you get to go home the same day you have surgery. You get a local anesthetic for this procedure. That means you don’t feel what’s going on, but you may not be fully asleep. Arthroplasty for the elbow is a little more complex and requires a short hospital stay. Recovery for arthroplasty for the hand, wrist or elbow takes about four to six weeks.

Common conditions that benefit from arthroplasty

There are several conditions where arthroplasty of the hand, wrist and elbow can be helpful. It may allow you to have a better quality of life. These include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative)
  • Post-traumatic arthritis (after an injury)
  • Severe fractures (more likely for elbows)
  • Instability (more likely for elbows when ligaments holding joint together fail)

Arthroplasty works well if you can limit the amount you use your hand, wrist or elbow. However, right after surgery, you likely need to do physical therapy. The exercises help you strengthen the joint and surrounding muscles.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease in Children

Article featured on Nationwide Children’s

What Is Osgood-Schlatter Disease In Children?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is an overuse condition. It’s when the tendon at the front of a knee becomes injured and inflamed. This tendon connects the thigh muscles to the knee and shin bone. It’s also known as the patellar tendon.

What Causes Osgood-Schlatter Disease In A Child?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by the constant pulling of the tendon in the knee. It’s seen in growing children and teens. This is an age where the bones are typically growing faster than the muscles and tendons. As a result, the muscles and tendons tend to become tight.

Which Children Are At Risk For Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is common in young athletes who play games or sports that involve running, jumping, or going up and down stairs. These include football, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, or ballet. It most often affects children ages 9 to 14 who have undergone a rapid growth spurt.

What Are The Symptoms Of Osgood-Schlatter Disease In A Child?

In some cases, both knees will have symptoms. One knee may have more symptoms than the other. The following are common symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and tenderness below the knee
  • Swelling below the knee
  • Tight muscles in the front or back of the thigh
  • Limping (may get worse following jumping activities)

These symptoms may seem like other health problems of the knee. See your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How Is Osgood-Schlatter Disease Diagnosed In A Child?

Your child’s healthcare provider can diagnose Osgood-Schlatter disease with a complete health history and physical exam of your child’s knee. Your child may also need to have an X-ray of the affected knee.

How Is Osgood-Schlatter Disease Treated In A Child?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

The goal of treatment is to control your child’s knee pain and prevent the condition from getting worse. Treatment may include:

  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
  • Medicines such as anti-inflammatories for discomfort and swelling
  • Elastic wrap, padding, or a neoprene sleeve around the knee
  • Limits on activity
  • Physical therapy to help stretch and strengthen the thigh and leg muscles

Osgood-Schlatter disease often goes away over time. In rare cases, your child may need surgery.

How Can I Help Prevent Osgood-Schlatter Disease In My Child?

Your child can develop Osgood-Schlatter disease again. To prevent that from happening, have your child:

  • Do exercises to strengthen the thigh and leg muscles. Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend certain exercises or physical therapy.
  • Ice the knee area after being active. It can ease pain and swelling. To make an ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the bag in a clean, thin towel or cloth. Never put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin.

Key Points About Osgood-Schlatter Disease In Children

  • Osgood-Schlatter disease is an overuse condition that affects the tendons in the knee.
  • Growing children who are active in sports are most at risk for this disease. It’s common in children who participate in football, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, or ballet.
  • Pain and swelling in the knee area are the main symptoms.
  • Treatment includes RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) of the affected knee.
  • Your child may also have to limit certain activities, such as running.

Next Steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your child’s healthcare provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Tips for Mastering Acute Pain

When Back Pain Is a Spine Compression Fracture

Article featured on Spine-Health
The type of fracture in the spine that is typically caused by osteoporosis is generally referred to as a compression fracture.A compression fracture is usually defined as a vertebral bone in the spine that has decreased at least 15 to 20% in height due to fracture.These compression fractures can occur in vertebrae anywhere in the spine, but they tend to occur most commonly in the upper back (thoracic spine), particularly in the lower vertebrae of that section of the spine (e.g. T10, T11, T12). They rarely occur above the T7 level of the spine. They often occur in the upper lumbar segments as well, such as L1.

Types of Fracture

A spinal fracture due to osteoporosis (weak bones) is commonly referred to as a compression fracture, but can also be called a vertebral fractureosteoporotic fracture, or wedge fracture.

The term “wedge fracture” is used because the fracture usually occurs in the front of the vertebra, collapsing the bone in the front of the spine and leaving the back of the same bone unchanged. This process results in a wedge-shaped vertebra. A wedge compression fracture is generally a mechanically stable fracture pattern.

While wedge fractures are the most common type of compression fracture, there are other types as well, such as:

  • Crush fracture. If the entire bone breaks, rather than just the front of the vertebra, it may be called a crush fracture.
  • Burst fracture. This type of fracture involves some loss of the height in both the front and back walls of the vertebral body (rather than just the front of the vertebra). Making this distinction is important because burst fractures can be unstable and result in progressive deformity or neurologic compromise.

Compression Fracture Symptoms

Vertebral fractures are usually followed by acute back pain, and may lead to chronic pain, deformity (thoracic kyphosis, commonly referred to as a dowager’s hump), loss of height, crowding of internal organs, and loss of muscle and aerobic conditioning due to lack of activity and exercise.

A combination of the above problems from vertebral fractures can also lead to changes in the individual’s self-image, which in turn can adversely affect self-esteem and ability to carry on the activities of daily living.

Because the majority of damage is limited to the front of the vertebral column, the fracture is usually stable and rarely associated with any nerve or spinal cord damage.

Spinal Fractures are Common

Spinal compression fractures that occur as a result of osteoporosis are actually quite common, occurring in approximately 700,000 people in the U.S. each year.

Osteoporosis is especially common in postmenopausal women. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 25% of all postmenopausal women in the United States have had a vertebral compression fracture.

While osteoporosis is far more prevalent in women – approximately four times as many women have low bone mass or osteoporosis as men – it still occurs in men. As many as 25% of men over age 50 will suffer a bone fracture (e.g. hip or spine) due to osteoporosis.

The problem is that the fracture is not always recognized or accurately diagnosed – instead, the patient’s pain is often just thought of as general back pain, such as from a muscle strain or other soft tissue injury, or as a common part of aging. As a result, approximately two thirds of the vertebral fractures that occur each year are not diagnosed and therefore not treated.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Desk Job Dilemma: Preventing and Managing Back Pain at Work

Article featured on Orthapaedic Associates
If you have a desk job, you probably spend a lot of time sitting at your desk, working on your computer. But did you know that this can sometimes lead to back pain? Back pain can be a real nuisance, making it hard to focus on your work and enjoy your day.In this article, we will talk about some simple ways to prevent and manage back pain while you’re at work. These tips are easy to follow and will help you feel better in no time.

Tips for Preventing and Managing Back Pain

Whether you are working from home or in an office, taking steps to prevent and manage back pain is crucial for your comfort and well-being.

Here are some strategies and tips to help you maintain a healthy back while at your desk job:

1.  Ergonomic Workspace

Create an ergonomic workspace by adjusting your chair, keyboard, and monitor to the right height.

Use an ergonomic chair that supports your lower back and encourages proper posture. You can also position your computer monitor at eye level to avoid straining your neck.

2.  Proper Seating

Choose a chair with good lumbar support and adjust it to fit your body’s needs. Sit all the way back in your chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.

In addition, avoid crossing your legs for extended periods, as it can lead to poor posture.

3.  Regular Breaks and Stretching

Take short breaks every 30 minutes to stand up, stretch, or walk around briefly.

Incorporate simple stretching exercises into your day to relieve tension in your back, neck, and shoulders. You can try:

  • Gentle neck stretches
  • Shoulder rolls
  • Seated twists

4.  Stay Hydrated

Drink enough water throughout the day to keep your spinal discs lubricated and prevent stiffness.

5.  Use a Lumbar Support Pillow

Consider using a lumbar support pillow to maintain the natural curve of your lower back while sitting.

6.  Mind Your Feet

Ensure your feet are flat on the floor or use a footrest if they do not reach. Avoid crossing your legs for prolonged periods to maintain good posture.

7.  Maintain Regular Exercise

Engage in regular physical activity outside of work hours to strengthen your back muscles and improve overall posture. Activities like swimming, yoga, and walking are excellent choices for back health.

8.  Adjust Your Monitor

Position your computer monitor at eye level to prevent neck and upper back strain. Use monitor stands or adjust your chair’s height if necessary.

9.  Mindful Sitting

Practice mindful sitting by maintaining good posture throughout the day. Always try to:

  • Sit back in your chair
  • Keep your back straight
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Keep your elbows close to your body

In addition, try to avoid slouching or hunching forward.

10.  Take Microbreaks

In addition to regular breaks, incorporate microbreaks every 30 minutes. Stand up, stretch, or take a short walk around your workspace to prevent stiffness and maintain circulation in your back muscles.

By incorporating these strategies and tips into your daily routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of back pain and discomfort while working at your desk job.

Remember that small adjustments can lead to significant improvements in your back health and overall comfort.

When to Consider Seeing an Orthopedic Doctor

While back pain can often be managed with self-care and ergonomic improvements, there are instances when it is essential to consult an orthopedic doctor for professional guidance.

Here are some situations in which you should seriously consider seeking medical advice:

Persistent Pain

If your back pain persists for several weeks despite rest, home remedies, and over-the-counter pain relievers, it may be a sign that an underlying issue may be present.

Severe Pain

Intense and debilitating back pain that affects your daily activities and quality of life should not be ignored.

An orthopedic specialist can help identify the root cause and provide effective treatment options.

Tingling or Numbness

If you experience tingling or numbness in your legs or feet along with back pain, it could indicate nerve compression or other neurological concerns that require evaluation.

Leg Pain and Radiating Symptoms

Pain that radiates down your legs, commonly known as sciatica, can be indicative of herniated discs or spinal stenosis. An orthopedic doctor can diagnose and recommend appropriate treatments.

Difficulty Walking or Balancing

If your back pain makes it challenging to walk or maintain balance, it is a serious concern that should prompt a visit to an orthopedic specialist.

Loss of Bladder or Bowel Control

In rare but critical cases, back pain accompanied by loss of bladder or bowel control may signify a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention in such situations.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

How Does Yoga Work?

Article featured on MedicalNewsToday

Yoga is a mind and body practice that can build strength and flexibility. It may also help manage pain and reduce stress. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.

Yoga is an ancient practice that may have originated in India. It involves movement, meditation, and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical well-being.

There are several types of yoga and many disciplines within the practice.

This article explores the history, philosophy, health and wellness benefits, and various branches of yoga.

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves physical poses, concentration, and deep breathing.

A regular yoga practice can promote endurance, strength, calmness, flexibility, and well-being.

Yoga is now a popular form of exercise around the world. According to a 2017 national survey, one in seven adults in the United States practiced yoga in the past 12 months.

History

The first mention of the word “yoga” appears in Rig Veda, a collection of ancient texts. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “union” or “to join.”

Yoga can be traced back to northern India over 5,000 years ago.

Indian monks spread their knowledge of yoga in the West during the late 1890s. Modern yoga teachings became widely popular in Western countries by the 1970s.

Philosophy

The overall philosophy of yoga is about connecting the mind, body, and spirit.

There are six branches of yoga. Each branch represents a different focus and set of characteristics.

The six branches are:

  • Hatha yoga: This is the physical and mental branch that aims to prime the body and mind.
  • Raja yoga: This branch involves meditation and strict adherence to a series of disciplinary steps known as the eight limbs of yoga.
  • Karma yoga: This is a path of service that aims to create a future free from negativity and selfishness.
  • Bhakti yoga: This aims to establish the path of devotion, a positive way to channel emotions and cultivate acceptance and tolerance.
  • Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga is about wisdom, the path of the scholar, and developing the intellect through study.
  • Tantra yoga: This is the pathway of ritual, ceremony, or consummation of a relationship.

Chakras

The word “chakra” means “spinning wheel.”

Yoga maintains that chakras are center points of energy, thoughts, feelings, and the physical body. According to yogic teachers, chakras determine how people experience reality through emotional reactions, desires or aversions, levels of confidence or fear, and even physical symptoms and effects.

When energy becomes blocked in a chakra, it triggers physical, mental, or emotional imbalances that manifest in symptoms such as anxiety, lethargy, or poor digestion.

Asanas are the many physical poses in Hatha yoga. People who practice yoga use asanas to free energy and stimulate an imbalanced chakra.

There are seven major chakras, each with its own focus:

  • Sahasrara: The crown chakra, which is at the crown of the head, symbolizes spiritual connection.
  • Ajna: Located between the eyebrows, the third eye chakra has to do with intuition.
  • Vishuddha: The throat chakra corresponds to immunity and verbal communication.
  • Anahata: The heart chakra, which is in the center of the chest, influences professional and personal relationships. Any imbalances in this chakra will affect oxygen, hormones, tissue, and organ control.
  • Manipura: The solar plexus chakra is in the stomach area. It corresponds to self-confidence, wisdom, and self-discipline.
  • Svadhishthana: The sacral chakra, which is beneath the belly button, connects pleasure, well-being, and vitality.
  • Muladhara: The root chakra, which is at the base of the spine, connects the mind and body to the earth to keep a person grounded. It controls the sciatic nerves and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Benefits of yoga

According to a 2012 survey, 94% of adults who practice yoga do so for wellness reasons.

Yoga has many physical and mental benefits, including:

  • building muscle strength
  • enhancing flexibility
  • promoting better breathing
  • supporting heart health
  • helping with treatment for addiction
  • reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain
  • improving sleep
  • enhancing overall well-being and quality of life
  • It is advisable to consult a medical professional, if possible, before starting a yoga practice.

Risks and side effects

Many types of yoga are relatively mild and therefore safe for people when a well-trained instructor is guiding the practice.

It is rare to incur a serious injury when doing yoga. The most common injuries among people practicing yoga are sprains and strains.

However, people may wish to consider a few risk factors before starting a yoga practice.

A person who is pregnant or has an ongoing medical condition, such as bone loss, glaucoma, or sciatica, should consult a healthcare professional, if possible, before taking up yoga.

Some people may need to modify or avoid some yoga poses that could be risky given their specific condition.

Beginners should avoid advanced poses and difficult techniques, such as Headstand, Lotus Pose, and forceful breathing.

When managing a condition, people should not replace conventional medical care with yoga or postpone seeing a healthcare professional about pain or any other medical problem.

Summary

Yoga is an ancient practice that has changed over time.

Modern yoga focuses on poses designed to stimulate inner peace and physical energy. Ancient yoga did not place as much emphasis on fitness. Instead, it revolved around cultivating mental focus and expanding spiritual energy.

There are many different types of yoga available. The style a person chooses will depend on their expectations and level of physical agility.

People with certain health conditions, such as sciatica, should approach yoga slowly and with caution.

Yoga can help support a balanced, active lifestyle.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Neck Surgery?

Article featured on Arkansas Surgical Hospital
The time it takes to recover from neck surgery depends on several factors, including the type of surgery you have, the extent of your condition, and your overall health. Discussing your options with your surgeon will give you a clearer picture of your predicted recovery time.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

There are many causes of neck pain, including poor posture, muscle strain, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. Some neck pain can be treated with conservative measures such as ice, heat, over-the-counter medication, or steroid injections. However, surgery may be required if your neck pain is severe or persists for more than a few weeks.

Warning Signs of a Serious Injury

If you have any of the following signs of a serious neck injury, talk to your doctor right away:

  • Severe pain that doesn’t go away with over-the-counter medication
  • Intense headaches that are not relieved by medication
  • Loss of feeling or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Loss of coordination in the arms or legs
  • Difficulty walking or standing upright

Surgical Options for Neck Pain

If your neck pain has persisted through conservative treatment options without relief, it may be time to ask your doctor whether surgery may be the answer. Surgical options for neck pain vary by each individual and their condition. If you are unsure about what is best for you, consult with your doctor.

Some common neck surgery procedures include:

  • Fusion. In a cervical fusion surgery, two or more vertebrae in your neck are fused together, often using a plate of metal or another material. Spinal fusion stabilizes the vertebrae and reduces pain.
  • Laminectomy. Cervical laminectomy removes a part of the vertebrae called the lamina. The surgery aims to ease pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
  • Discectomy. Like a laminectomy, a discectomy is a type of spinal decompression surgery. A cervical discectomy is the removal of a damaged disc between two vertebrae. It is often accompanied by a fusion procedure to keep the vertebrae stable.

Most people spend a few days in the hospital after undergoing neck surgery. During this time, you will be monitored closely, and you won’t be able to move your head or neck much. Once you’re home, you will need to take it easy for several weeks, so it’s important to have a support system in place. You will be able to gradually increase your activity as the pain and swelling goes away.

Recovering from Neck Surgery

Recovery from neck surgery typically ranges from one to six months, but some cases can take longer. Your surgeon will determine a more specific time frame after evaluating your condition and discussing which procedure is right for you based on your diagnosis.

In the months following your surgery, you will have follow-up appointments with your surgeon to check your progress. Each situation is unique: your recovery time depends on the type of procedure performed and the severity of the symptoms you had before surgery. The specific length of time depends on what was done during your procedure and how well it went.

Factors that affect recovery time from neck surgery include:

  • The type of surgery you had
  • How many vertebrae were affected
  • The state of your health before surgery
  • Whether you experience any complications after surgery
  • Whether you follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to return to work in a few weeks. Other patients may take as long as three months to get back to work. In general, most people fully recover from neck surgery after six months, but some patients can take up to a year or more.

There are some things you can do to help with your recovery. For example, practice good posture at all times. Always follow the instructions your surgeon gives when recovering from neck surgery.

Is Neck Surgery Right for You?

If you have tried other treatments for chronic neck pain with no relief, it may be time to consider surgery.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.