low back pain exercise, Denver back pain specialists

How I love this spine of mine

The spine is one of the most amazing and important parts of the human body – it’s both strong and flexible at the same time – often more than we even know. We put strain on our spines in the course of everyday life and most of the time, our strong backbones can handle it. But if you’ve had back pain, you know that when something goes wrong it can be debilitating. If not, you’ll want to make sure you do everything you can to stay active and pain free. How? Give your spine the love that it needs! Here are a few simple ways to prevent injury and maintain a strong, healthy spine:

Take care of your whole self. Not surprisingly, spine health is tied to whole body health. This rule applies to just about any body part. If you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and consume a healthy diet, your whole body will feel better and do better. If you drink (alcohol) or use tobacco, those are big factors too. Minimize alcohol consumption, and talk to your primary care physician about resources to help you quit smoking.

Get moving. Did you know that exercise helps your body long after you’ve finished a workout? In addition to supporting an increased metabolic rate, regular exercise maintains essential blood flow which carries nutrients to all of your muscles and bones. And even moderate weight training builds muscle strength which provides balanced support for your core.

At the very least, it’s important to avoid sitting for extended periods of time, which has been shown to be as harmful to your body as smoking! Schedule short breaks on your calendar when at work, and try to take a moment to stand and stretch when traveling (only when it’s been deemed safe to get up and move!) Moving also helps you to check and reset your posture. Poor posture puts extra strain on your spine and can lead to or exacerbate back and neck pain. Use that same timer at work to do a ‘posture check’ to make sure you are not slouching. Be mindful too of when and how you use your cell phone or tablet. It’s hard to believe, but according to NBC’s Today Show, we exert up to 60 pounds of force on our necks by tilting our heads forward, in the way that many of us do when checking our phones! Think about that the next time your head is buried in an app.

#BeActive, but be smart too. People who are already active and regularly getting plenty of exercise are on the right track, but you can have too much of a good thing. No matter what your sport or level of competition, you have to be smart. Always start with a good warm up. Don’t show up to the start of a 5K without a warmup jog, and don’t tee off on the first hole without spending some time on the driving range first! Get your muscles warm and then do some stretching – never stretch first.

Next, know your limits. It’s ok to push yourself and aim for that new “PB” (personal best), but don’t push too far. How far is too far? That’s a question that only you can answer, but keep in mind that increases in intensity should be incremental and not exponential. For example, if you typically exercise for 30 minutes, try 40 or 45 before you go to an hour. Be especially aware of moderate increase when strength training and doing high-intensity workouts.

Finally, mix it up every now and then! Alternate high impact with low impact activities. Mix in a day of anaerobic (strength) training with your aerobic workouts. Runners often find that repeated long runs – especially when done on concrete or other hard surfaces – put strain on the lower spine. Add in a day of biking, strength training or swimming to give your body a break!

Our spines are one of the most important parts of our skeletal systems, so take good care of it and it will take good care of you!

MAKOplasty: Advanced Orthopedic’s less-invasive option for knee osteoarthritis.

Are you sitting on the decision to relieve your knee pain? As we age, countless adults fight through knee pain or stiffness that occurs while standing, walking short distances or starting from a sitting position.

Colorado has one of the nation’s fastest-growing aging populations and in six years, there will be more than 1.3 million Coloradans age 60 or older. But an active life after 60 isn’t for sitting, it’s for doing – embracing your interests and doing all of the things that you finally have the time to do.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects many active adults, but today’s treatments options can relieve your pain and extend the life of your knee into the next decade. For patients who have not experienced relief from anti-inflammatories and non-surgical treatments, MAKOplasty offers a convenient and viable option to undergoing complete knee replacement.

The consistency and precision of MAKOplasty’s proprietary computer navigated, robotic assisted procedure allows the surgeon to resurface only the diseased portion of your knee (sparing the healthy portion of the bone and surrounding tissue), ensuring that your implants are optimally positioned to maximize function of your existing knee.

You can’t turn back the clock on osteoarthritis, but MAKOplasty’s bone and function preserving partial knee replacement procedure can delay more invasive surgeries for as much as decade or more – allowing your retirement years to be active years rather than sitting out on the fun.

As Colorado’s first MAKOplasty surgeon, Dr. Harold Hunt has pioneered the use of this computer navigated, robotic assisted treatment and has made less-invasive treatments a truly viable option for Coloradans with partial knee osteoarthritis. “I see the real difference that MAKOplasty makes in my patients’ pain and mobility every day,” said Advanced Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Harold Hunt. “For patients with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis, MAKOplasty is a game-changer.”

In fact, success stories include one patient, who after the MAKOplasty procedure at the age of 70 has since placed second in two international duathalons, and another patient who was skiing within just a few weeks of his procedure. Many others report the thrill of getting back to tennis, biking, hiking and all the activities they love.

Makoplasty keeps active adults active, with rapid pain relief and recovery. In most cases, patients are permitted to walk the day of surgery, drive a car within two weeks and return to normal activities shortly thereafter. For patients with limited osteoarthritis, MAKOplasty is the go-to tool for relief.

Knee pain doesn’t need to impact your ability to line up a putt or enjoy a brisk morning walk. In Colorado, we enjoy our active lives, so don’t sit on your pain problem. MAKOplasty offers active adults a less-invasive solution to knee osteoarthritis. AdvancedOrtho keeps active lives active.

How Does Playing Injured Impact Performance? Focus on the Shoulder

We see it all the time in pro sports, athletes compete when they are not 100% and often try to mask injuries to stay on the field ice or court, especially when the season is on the line.

Seattle Seahawk Earl Thomas boasted days before the Superbowl that he has played injured all his life, driven through pain and physical setbacks by his passion for competition. New York Rangers hockey star Ryan McDonagh recently played several games of the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a broken foot.

But if a championship isn’t on the line, should you really play injured? For the 99 percent of us who are not playing for world domination, the cost of playing injured usually outweighs the benefits. Slower recovery, pain, and reduced performance all result from playing injured.

In the case of a shoulder injury, which is what ailed Thomas (separation), and will keep Cleveland’s Kevin Love (dislocation) out of the NBA Finals, contact is often the key factor. Shoulder separation is caused when the ligaments that surround and stabilize the “AC” (acromioclavicular) joint are injured.

The AC joint is where the clavicle (aka collarbone) comes together to meet the high point of the shoulder blade, which is known as the acromion. For both athletes and non-athletes, the contact is typically caused by a fall.

But in high-impact sports like hockey, football, and sometimes even soccer, a hard hit will often do the job. Shoulder separations can range from a slight dislocation to a complete tear of the ligaments, which is more painful and requires significantly more treatment, potentially including surgery. And a player with an existing shoulder separation as far more likely to re-injure or increase the level of separation if hit again.

Pain from shoulder separation can often reduce range of motion and stability, which can significantly hamper performance in just about any sport.

So can you still play? The short answer is, maybe. In non-contact sports, athletes who can tolerate and/or manage pain, and deal with less range of motion in the short term may be able to compete. But the better question is, should you play? And to that, we typically tell recreational players not so fast.

Shoulder separations heal with time, ice and physical therapy, so focus on getting better and staying healthy. Talk with your doctor about when you are ready to Be Active, and you’ll make your long-term prospects much stronger.