Back Clinics of Canada Patient Question of the Week: Sciatica and Age

My mother is 89 years old. She suffers on and off with sciatica. Her doctor prescribes painkillers and rest. It doesn’t help. She is miserable. Can someone her age be treated in your clinic? Are there risks with someone her age?

old blond woman at home 

I’m so glad you asked this question. Sciatica can be treated successfully and safely in the elderly with the High Performance Healing System™. At Back Clinics of Canada we have treated many patients who are in their eighties. And sciatica is a back pain condition that we see often and have treated with great success.

Every patient who comes to Back Clinics of Canada first undergoes a thorough examination. We consider a patient’s complete health when assessing their eligibility, including their age of course. Only qualified patients are accepted for care.

We also consider and discuss risk factors with every individual, regardless of age. For example, some elderly patients may have severe osteoporosis. Good news is, we can offer treatment for these patients.

Our goal is to help each patient achieve optimal healing success. When a patient is accepted for care, they undergo a treatment program that is designed for their individual healing needs. A result of our patient-specific approach to care is that patients have a high rate of success with minimal discomfort.

I invite you to schedule a consultation/examination at our back pain clinic. The appointment is free and there is no obligation.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Ron Nusbaum

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Join Dr. Ron Nusbaum On His Journey To Help Children With Life-Threatening Illnesses

Dr. Run Nusbaum at 2014 half marathon

Hi Friends, this Sunday, January 25, 2015 I will be joining over 25,000 runners in Miami to run the annual Miami Half Marathon. The money I raise will go to Toronto Chai Lifeline, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children suffering with life threatening illnesses.

These real life Angels provide a wide array of services to both the children and the childrens’ family. This includes just about what ever the needs of the child are, ranging from medication, transportation and accommodations necessary for the child and immediate family in order that the child receive the right care wherever they may be: from tutoring, visits from volunteers to give them companionship, “babysitting” so the parents can have a few hours off from the hospital, gifts to the children to cheer them up, outings where and whenever possible, and even a world class summer camp designed specifically to cater to the needs of these kids in such a way that they can forget about their illness long enough just to be a kid again and have fun.

Please help me to support this remarkable organization with a donation of any amount. My goal is to raise $ 20,000.00 and at present I have raised $17,336.50. Tax receipts are available for donations $5.00 and up. No donation is too small!

Please click on this link to go to my donation page and help me help a beautiful child have a happier future in the midst of their scary illness.

https://www.teamlifeline.org/my/60458

Help me do good for these kids and lets together fill a sick child’s life with sunshine, happiness and hope.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Ron Nusbaum

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2015 New Year’s Resolution: Lose Weight to Help Reduce Back Pain

Losing weight and back pain

There is a direct link between back pain and being overweight. On some level, we all know it.

New Year’s Eve 2014 — “Lose Weight” was number one of the top ten New Year’s Eve resolutions made by adults(1). It’s a good thing to want to do; being overweight is a contributing factor to many health conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as people become “overweight” and “obese,” they increase their risk for developing the following conditions:(2)

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Stroke
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Musculoskeletal diseases, including osteoarthritis
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal periods, infertility)

* Note: Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher; obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.

What does this have to do with Canadians? Well, we’re gaining weight. According to a 2013 United Nations report on The State of Food and Agriculture, more than 24 percent of Canadian adults are obese.(3) In October 2013, the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) reported that more than 25% of Canadian children are overweight (including obesity). Overall, more than 50% of the Canadian population aged 15+ is overweight/obese.(4)

The OECD also reports that before 1980, rates of overweight/obesity around the world were generally below 10%. Today these rates have doubled or even tripled in many countries.(5) This rise in overweight and obesity is a big concern. Children who are overweight or obese are at a greater risk of poor health in adolescence that may continue into adulthood. There’s a strong possibility we are looking at a growing population of people facing cardiac disease, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoarthritis, and other health concerns.(6)

The Link Between Overweight and Back Pain

Your spine carries your weight. As you move through your day, the spine constantly moves, and adjusts for balance, uneven loads, and unexpected forces of twisting and turning. Any time there is uneven or excessive force, the spine and the muscles surrounding it must react to and absorb the force. Too much of this may lead to strain, pain and injuries. The spinal discs in particular may suffer from compression, bulge or herniation, causing terrible low back pain.

When a person is significantly overweight, their spine is under constant strain and they are a candidate for low back pain.

What happens to an overweight person who is not very active? Poor flexibility; weakened muscles in the lower back, pelvis, and thighs; increased curve of the lower back; poor posture that can cause the pelvis to tilt too far forward; misalignment of the spine; additional weakened or strained muscles; compressed spinal discs, disc bulges, and even degenerative disc disease.

It is true that some degeneration is the result of normal aging. But if you carry extra weight on your body, especially around the middle, you significantly increase your chances of having a painful back condition.

How much weight really impacts your spine? Ten to twenty pounds too much increases your chances of having back pain by 20 percent. Obese? Your chances of back pain are doubled to tripled(7).

Benefit Your Back by Losing Weight

Here are 6 simple ways to help your back through weight loss:

Move more: Become more active by walking, jogging, biking… whatever aerobic activity suits you. This gets oxygen pumping through your blood, increases metabolism, and strengthens muscles.

Build strength: support your spine from the inside out by building abdominal strength through yoga, Pilates, or other abdominal exercises.

Eat Wisely: loose weight and boost your spinal health with dark leafy vegetables, lean proteins, calcium rich-foods, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Cook with healthy ingredients. Eat more at home while avoiding processed foods.

Improve posture: stand tall, shoulders back and down, chin up. When sitting, knees should be bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Use a small pillow for lumbar (lower back) support if your chair/sofa doesn’t provide.

Stay limber: If you’re sitting for long stretches, stand up every 20 minutes or so. Stretch your neck, shoulders, hips and lower back. Move your arms (remember windmill exercises in grade school?). Motion draws fresh, oxygen-rich fluid into your spine’s discs, keeping your back healthier.

Lift Correctly: Carry small loads close to the body. Keep feet firmly planted, and step and pivot to move (rather than twist and contort your body). If you are lifting something heavy from the ground, BEND YOUR KNEES and use the strength of your thighs to lift.

The team at Back Clinics of Canada wishes you the best in accomplishing your 2015 New Year’s resolutions. If you have been suffering from low back pain or neck pain for a month or more, don’t wait and hope for it to subside. Schedule a free consult/exam at Back Clinics of Canada to learn if you qualify for the High Performance Healing SystemTM.

You deserve a pain-free life.

  1. University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
  2. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults: The Evidence Report. NIH PUBLICATION NO. 98-4083 SEPTEMBER 1998 NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf
  1. FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2013. http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3300e/i3300e.pdf
  2. http://data.oecd.org/healthrisk/overweight-or-obese-population.htm; http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/health-at-a-glance-2013/increasing-obesity-among-adults-in-oecd-countries-2000-and-2011-or-nearest-year_health_glance-2013-graph38-en#page1
  3. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/obesity-and-the-economics-of-prevention_9789264084865-en
  4. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/health-at-a-glance-2013/overweight-and-obesity-among-children_health_glance-2013-16-en
  5. Could Weight Gain Be the Cause of Your Back Pain? by Mehmet C. Oz, MD and Michael F. Roizen, MD, http://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/article/could-weight-gain-be-the-cause-of-your-back-pain
Posted in low back pain, Obesity and back pain, Uncategorized, Weight loss and back pain | Leave a comment

Back Clinics of Canada Patient Question of the Week: Foot Pain & Class IV K-Laser Therapy

K-Laser Tissue Injury

Class IV K-Laser

Can the Class IV K-Laser help me with a foot injury? My foot is not broken, but it’s terribly bruised. Walking is difficult and I feel like my healing is taking forever.

I’m sorry to hear about your foot pain. The answer to your question is YES. The Class IV K-Laser is designed to effectively treat most soft tissue injuries of the body. We have seen many patients with foot and ankle sprains and ligament tears. Their healing has accelerated before our eyes and we’ve seen injuries that ordinarily take weeks to heal, improve significantly faster.

The Class IV K-laser is so effective for treating most soft tissue injuries anywhere in the body — not just in the foot, ankle and shoulder. In fact, the Class IV K-laser is a vital component of our High Performance Healing SystemTM, used in the healing of low back pain and neck pain caused by damaged spinal discs.

Soft tissue includes muscles, ligaments, joints, vertebral discs and intra-articular surfaces. Effects of the laser include:

  • improved healing time; three to five times faster than with other treatments
  • reduced pain
  • improved and increased circulation
  • improved transport of nutrients across the cell membrane
  • influx of water, oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area
  • reduced swelling
  • reduced muscle spasms and stiffness

Call Back Clinics of Canada today: (416)-633-3666, or toll-free 1-877-PAINFREE. We’ll answer any additional questions you may have about Class IV K-laser therapy, and help you schedule your first laser appointment.

You deserve a pain-free life.

For a more comprehensive list of conditions treated, visit www.backclinicsofcanada.ca/index.php?/backclinics/laser_conditions

Posted in Foot Pain, K-laser therapy, Soft tissue injury, Sports Injuries, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Avoid Back Pain Injuries in Winter

Preventing back pain while shoveling snowUpdated Jan 8, 2015:

Even without the current arctic storm, we’ve had a good round of extreme cold, ice and a little snow. Combined, these are perfect conditions for a possible acute back pain or neck pain injury — a fall on the ice, a disc injury from shoveling, an exuberant winter athlete perhaps trying out the half-pipe for the first time.

Besides the usual torn muscle or bone fracture, many Canadian adults can do serious damage to their backs: developing a bulging or herniated disc. This is exactly the kind of back pain condition we treat at Back Clinics of Canada.

Here are 5 things you can do to mitigate injury and enjoy your winter pain-free!

  1. SALT: Icy stairs and walkways are the main cause of serious painful falls. Keep a supply of salt on hand and use it liberally to de-ice. (When visiting others, tread slowly and carefully on their property. I’ve fallen a few times over the years visiting other people and their icy walkways/steps.)
  1. QUALITY BOOTS: Give yourself the gift of sure footing. Check the sole of your boots and make sure you have a pair with a sturdy gripping sole. If it’s particularly icy this season, you may even want to invest in a set of winter boot cleats.
  1. SHOVEL SMART: Shoveling is more strenuous than many people realize and can directly contribute to a painful back injury.
  • Stretch before you shovel or do any strenuous activity. Spending 10 minutes warming up and loosening up your muscles and joints will make a world of difference between an invigorating afternoon and a serious back pain injury.
  • Use an ergonomically appropriate shovel that mitigates stress on your back.
  • Shovel small piles at a time, especially when the snow is wet and heavy. Pushing the snow to the side is less strenuous than lifting and throwing piles. Lifting and twisting to move heavy snow directly stresses the lower back.
  • Always take breaks. Muscles do stiffen up, especially in the cold.
  1. HYDRATION: whether working outside or enjoying some outdoor recreation, remember that an active body needs fluids. Cold weather can be deceiving. So drink before and certainly after your activity. (And yes, hot cocoa counts as fluid!)
  1. Whatever you’re doing, remember to Rest when you’re tired. Stop if you feel pain.

If you do experience back pain or neck pain, call us to book an appointment before your condition grows worse. Back Clinics of Canada’s state-of-the art clinic in Vaughan offers medical breakthrough Class IV K-laser therapy, cutting-edge non-surgical spinal decompression, chiropractic care, custom orthotics and orthopedic shoes, and more.

We offer safe, robust, aggressive healing. Our technology targets and treats the true cause of pain. We are the only clinic in the world that offers the High Performance Healing System™

 

– a unique protocol that has helped even the most debilitating cases.

You deserve a pain-free life!

Posted in acute low back pain, K-laser therapy, low back pain, spinal decompression | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Back Pain and Pills: Risks Outweigh the Benefits

Morphine. Codeine. Oxycodone. These Pain Medicationare just a few of many well-known pain medications prescribed for patients suffering with debilitating pain. They are opioids, narcotics. Highly addictive. Dangerous even. The public has learned a lot over the years, through various news channels, about the risks that come with taking these medications.

Patients suffering with serious chronic low back pain or neck pain are likely to ask their doctors for prescription painkillers to help them manage. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recently issued a statement — the risks associated with taking narcotic pain medications seem to outweigh the benefits. Hopefully patients and doctors will pause before securing the next prescription.

The risk of death, overdose, addiction, or serious side effects with prescription opioids outweigh the benefits in chronic, non-cancer conditions such as headache, fibromyalgia and chronic low back pain. *

More than 100,000 people have died from prescription opioid use since the late 1990s, according to the AAN. And there have been more deaths in young to middle-aged groups from prescription opioids than from firearms and car accidents.

Addiction is a serious problem. Studies show that fifty percent of patients who take opioids for at least three months are still on opioids five years later. And while opioids may provide significant short-term pain relief, there is no substantial evidence that medication successfully maintains pain relief or improves function over long periods of time without serious risk of overdose, dependence or addiction.

Alternatives to Pain Medication

Alternative pain management options are available. Back Clinics of Canada in particular offers a multi-pronged approach to care for painful back conditions like bulging/herniated discs, sciatica, spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis and facet syndrome. What makes this care different is that it is designed to target and promote healing of the root cause of patients’ pain. It’s called the High Performance Healing SystemTM.

This system, developed by Dr. Nusbaum, delivers patient-specific targeted healing for true, lasting pain relief. One side effect of our care – many Back Clinics of Canada patients have successfully stopped taking their pain medication altogether.

The High Performance Healing SystemTM offers benefits without any risks.

* American Academy of Neurology, September 30, 2014. http://www.newswise.com/articles/aan-risks-of-opioids-outweigh-benefits-for-headache-low-back-pain-other-conditions

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5 Ways to Keep Your Kids’ Backs Strong and Healthy

Children's back pain from poor posture and heavy backpacks is preventable
Back pain and neck pain affect not only adults. Kids too are prone to aches and pains brought on by poor posture, carrying heavy backpacks and, well, by just being active kids. As parents, it’s our job to give our kids every advantage for an active, healthy life.

Look out for your kids’ spinal health with these 5 easy tips.

1. Posture: We’re raising a generation of slouchers. Kids everywhere are hunched over their smart phones and gaming systems. No one seems to look up anymore. Poor posture weakens shoulder and neck muscles, and puts stress on discs, joints and muscles of the back. This unnecessary stress speeds up the natural degenerative process of the spine. Teach your kids about proper posture and why it’s important. Not only will it help them to feel better, they’ll look better too!

2. Activity: Involve your kids in activities and sports that help to strengthen their core muscles (muscles that support the lower back and abdomen). Dance, gymnastics, weights, soccer, basketball. You name it. An active person is a healthier person.

3. Correct Backpacks: During the school year kids are laden with too heavy packs. These do more to strain and injure young kids backs than anything else. Make sure backpacks are the right size, are worn correctly, and are not overweighted. Read here to learn more.

4. Nutrition: What we eat impacts spinal health. A diet rich in calcium, glucosamine sulfate, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, soy and fibre can really boost growth and healing of soft tissues, the primary component of spinal discs. Read this nutrition article to learn more. Provide your kids with healthy foods that will provide them with spine-friendly nutrition.

5. Spinal Health Check-Up: Every child should have their spinal health checked by a back pain doctor, at least once a year. A healthy spine is central to the overall health of the body. As well, by properly addressing any “minor” aches and pains of the low back or neck, you can prevent small strains from becoming big health problems later on. No one is ever too young to have their spine checked.

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3 Tips For Preventing Back Pain Caused By Prolonged Sitting

Preventing Low Back Pain When Sitting All Day

What happens to your spine when you sit for long periods? This infographic explains the different forces in motion and what you can do to prevent low back pain from sitting in your chair.

Inner hip muscles, or iliopsoas connect the back to the legs. These muscles get tight when you sit all day, causing the abdomen to be bulled forward and downward, and causing pressure on the lower back. Unnatural pressure on the lower back can certainly lead to pain. Prolonged sitting can compress spinal structures like the discs and lead to their deterioration, and may also aggravate sciatica.

3 Simple Tips For Keeping Your Low Back Pain-Free

1. Stand up, stretch backwards for a moment and walk a bit every 20 minutes.

2. While seated, keep one knee lower than the other (requires sitting near the front edge of your seat). Alternate knees frequently.

3. Regularly preform hip flexor stretches to keep your muscles from tightening up.

Posted in chronic low back pain, low back pain | 1 Comment

Road Trips and Back Pain Infographic

Road Trips and Back Pain Infographic

The Road Trips and Back Pain Infographic from Back Clinics of Canada

If you’re one of the 80 percent of adults taking at least one road trip this year, be aware that car travel is not great for back pain. Minimize your low back pain and neck pain on long drives with these tips:

1. Use a Lumbar Support Pillow: This can help reduce stress on the lower back and help maintain proper alignment.

2. Good Posture: Minimize strain on your neck, shoulders and lower back. Adjust your seat and mirrors and reach the pedals comfortably.

3. Take Driving Breaks & Stretch: If you suffer low back pain or neck pain, stop and stretch every 30-60 minutes.

4. Move Often: Change position as you’re able, cruise control can help you rest your legs.

5. Pack Smart: Lift luggage with your legs, not your back. Hold heavy items close to your body. Ask for help!

6. Share the Load: Take turns relaxing both your muscles and your mind.

7. Stop When You Should: If your pain intensifies, stop. Rest, ice, and lay down with a pillow under your knees. If this doesn’t help, or if you develop persistent numbness, loss of muscle power or bowel/bladder symptoms, call your health professional.

Posted in acute low back pain, back pain and driving, chronic low back pain, low back pain, Spinal Health Tips, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Road Trips and Back Pain

Prevent back pain and neck pain while drivingMore than 80 percent of adults will probably take at least one summer road trip this year*. On average, they’re willing to drive more than 500 miles. That equates to approximately 8-9 hours on the road.

There are many positive reasons for choosing travel by car: fresh air, low cost, enjoyment of driving, family time. Unfortunately there are some drawbacks as well. Long drives are not good for the back. If you suffer with any kind of back or neck pain, such as bulging or herniated disc, spinal arthritis or sciatica, you may find your pain aggravated by long stretches on the road. If you don’t have a specific low back or neck pain condition, stress and aches on the spine can develop on long car trips, affecting even the healthiest person. Both the lower (lumbar) spine and the neck (cervical) can be negatively affected.

Why Car Travel is Not Great for Back Pain

1. Car seats are not ergonomically ideal. There is some adjusting you can do to the angles and height of a driver or front passenger seat. But overall the seated position of the driver or passenger is likely to bring the center of gravity right over the discs, which can lead to an increase in pain. Poor posture assumed in a car seat worsens things.

2. When sitting in a fixed position for a long time, muscles can stiffen. This can cause spasms and shorten hip flexors. The driver may also experience hyperextension of the neck and cramping of the legs.

3. Packing the car with suitcases, coolers or other heavy/bulky items can also exacerbate an existing back pain condition. Often people lift too-heavy loads and/or lift improperly, and don’t realize that they’re putting incredible strain on their lower backs.

Minimize Low Back Pain and Neck Pain on Long Drives

These simple reminders can help to minimize back and neck pain while enjoying your road trip.

1. Use a Lumbar Support Pillow: this can greatly reduce stress on the lower back. It will support your lower back and help you to maintain proper alignment over your hips. It’s good for just about any seat in the car.

2. Good Posture: Having good driving posture will minimize strain on your neck, shoulders and lower back. Especially if you’re the driver, take time to adjust your seat before beginning your long drive. Make sure you can see in the rear and side mirrors by moving your eyes, not straining your neck. Also that you can see all dashboard dials and information by just moving your eyes. Be able to hold the steering wheel comfortably, without lifting, rounding or straining your shoulders or neck. Your feet should reach the pedals in a relaxed way. Don’t sit too far away that you strain your ankle or toes, or too close that your knee is bent up under the wheel.

3. Take Driving Breaks and Stretch: If you suffer with low back pain or neck pain, stop every 30-60 minutes. Pull the car over to a safe spot, park and get out. Stretch your muscles; loosen your joints, move around get your blood circulating.

Specifically, and this is good for everyone, place your hands on your low back and extend backwards so you feel a good stretch. Also you can rotate your upper torso carefully from side to side. This should take no more than a minute. These stretches will help dissipate pressure on your spine and help you feel more comfortable.

4. Move Often: Change position as you’re able, especially if you are a passenger. (If the car has cruise control, use it while driving to rest your legs.)

5. Pack Smart: Be mindful when loading and unloading the trunk. As always, lift with your legs, not your back. Resist the urge to bend over when maneuvering heavy objects. Pivot to turn. Hold heavy items close to your body. Ask for help before pushing yourself too far!

6. Share the Load: Don’t do it alone, if at all possible. Share the driving with another adult; take turns relaxing both your muscles and your mind.

7. Stop When You Should – Your health is too important. If your low back pain or neck pain becomes intense, stop! Rest, ice and lay down with a pillow under your knees. If this doesn’t help, or if you develop persistent numbness, loss of muscle power or bowel/bladder symptoms, call your health professional.

* Survey fielded by Bridgestone Americas in May 2014.

Posted in back pain and driving, chronic low back pain, low back pain, Spinal Health Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment