fight back pain

9 Foods That Help Fight Back Pain

If you’re experiencing back pain, you’re not alone. Roughly 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Whether it is a pinched nerve or something more serious, it can be frustrating, interruptive, and very painful.

You may know that improving your posture, getting physical therapy, or back adjustments can help, but did you know that the foods you eat can help fight back pain? Scientists have discovered that certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties. You may have heard of popular diets like the low inflammation diet. 

The sooner we realize that food is medicine, the sooner we can use it to heal our ailments. In this article, we’re uncovering the best foods you can start incorporating into your meals to help reduce your back ache and get back to your life. 

Put down the pain pills and pick up the saute pan, we’re getting started.

Fight Back Pain with These Miracles Foods

Everyone has to eat, so incorporate these foods into your diet and watch your pain dissipate. Channel these vitamins and nutrients from your diet and heal your back. 

1. Olive Oil

People who eat a Mederterean diet tend to have a lower chance of developing inflammation-related diseases and symptoms such as joint pain, depression, and or diabetes. This diet is heavy in one thing: healthy fats like olive oil. 

Extra virgin olive oil has similar properties to ibuprofen so instead of reaching for a bottle of Advil, try reaching for your olive oil.

Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can cook with — hot or cold. It’s perfect on everything from salads, dressings for meats and fish, for frying an sauteeing, or even as a dip for crusty bread. 

2. Ginger

Ginger is possibly the most powerful superfood there is. You may have heard that it’s is good for settling stomachs or boosting your metabolism but did you know that it has powerful anti-inflammatories?

The gingerols in ginger drastically reduce pain found in arthritis sufferers. Try adding it to your smoothies, meat and fish sauces, or even as a supplement.

3. Tumeric

For centuries, cultures all of the world consume turmeric (also known as curcumin) in their foods. It’s what gives curry it’s yellow-orange tinge. It’s wildly popular as a spice but rising in popularity as a supplement since it’s proven to reduce chronic osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pain.

Start consuming foods like ginger and turmeric soup and delicious curries or pop a supplement and watch your body transform.

4. Salmon

One of the best nutrients you can consume to reduce inflammation are omega-3 fatty acids. These are the healthy fats that make up a well-rounded, healthy diet. 

Omega-3s are easily found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. Consuming these fats have tons of benefits, from boosting your mood to reducing inflammation. Salmon also provides calcitonin which slows down bone loss and prevents the pain of osteoporosis. 

Now that you know both ginger and fatty fish reduce inflammation, we think it’s the perfect excuse to make sushi dates a weekly thing. 

5. Sweet Potatoes

Another incredible superfood to add to your diet is the sweet potato. It’s packed with all kinds of minerals and vitamins like Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants, which give it anti-cancer and antidiabetic properties.

This friendly starch not only tastes good but reduces inflammation that can lead to unfriendly back pain. Whether you eat it mashed, roasted, or baked, be sure to add this one to your dinner menu. 

6. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are another great two sources of omega-3s. Here are some of the best sources: 

  • Walnuts
  • Hemp Seed
  • Chia Seed
  • Flax Seed
  • Cashews

Consider whipping up a walnut pesto to top your pasta or adding a handful of seeds to your next smoothie. 

7. Caffeine

Most mornings have one thing in common: they’re fueled by caffeine.

Caffeine can actually aid in fighting your back pain. But too much can be detrimental. No matter what kind of caffeine you consume, be sure you talk with your doctor that its a safe level. 

Coffee and green tea contain polyphenols which not only reduce pain but increase your quality of life. We’re thankful there’s a Starbucks on every corner.

Not a coffee drinker? Grab a green tea. It’s perfect hot or iced. It’s known for its abundance of antioxidants and appetite-curbing abilities. Green tea will not only give you a burst of energy but will calm you, as well. 

8. Carrots

Carrots have two incredible things going for them: they’re high in beta-carotene and packed with vitamins. Both of these things fight inflammation and lower your risk of back aches. 

Pair this orange vegetable with grilled salmon and a turmeric soup and you’ve got yourself a perfect, inflammatory-fighting meal. 

9. Red Grapes

Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol which has a multitude of incredible health benefits like the prevention of aging 

If you’re serious about fighting against back pain, consume your resveratrol with turmeric to enhance the anti-inflammatory benefits. Try eating a handful of grapes with your turmeric, kale smoothie and feel better fast. 

Experiencing Back Pain? Let Us Help.

Now that you know what foods help ease back pain, you can start cooking and get back to your regular life. Usually, back pain is a common symptom and can go away on it’s on, but sometimes we need more help than just adding anti-inflammatory foods to our diet. 

Back pain can often be an indication that there is a more serious, underlying problem at hand. At Executive Spine Surgery, we take a multidisciplinary approach to spinal disorders. 

Check out our website to learn more about possible conditions, treatments, and tips on how to fight back pain like these spine strengthing exercises you can do at home.

spinal surgeon

10 Crucial Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Spinal Surgeon

Every year, spinal surgeons perform over one million surgeries on individuals all across the nation. Have you been told that you need spinal surgery? Are you feeling a bit anxious about the procedure?

It’s normal to feel worried before undergoing any type of surgery, especially spinal surgery. One way to ameliorate this anxiety, though, is to make sure you’re working with the most qualified surgeon possible.

Not sure how to find such a surgeon? Start by conducting some interviews and asking the right questions.

If you’re currently trying to find the right spinal surgeon, be sure to ask each candidate these ten questions during the interview process.

1. What Certifications do You Have?

This is one of the first questions you ought to ask when interviewing a spinal surgeon.

Your surgeon should be certified through the American Board of Medical Specialties. They should also have completed between two and three years of specialty training.

These qualifications are not the only thing that matters, of course. They’re a great starting point, though.

2. How Much of Your Practice is Dedicated to Spinal Surgery?

You might assume that a spinal surgeon works almost exclusively on spines. That’s not always the case, though.

Ideally, your spinal surgeon should dedicate at least 50 percent of their practice to spinal surgery and procedures.

The more time they spend working on the spine, though, the better. They’ll most likely be familiar with the latest techniques and technology and will be better prepared to perform your surgery.

3. Can You Provide Me with Testimonials?

Any good spinal surgeon will be able to share lots of patient testimonials with you. Don’t stop with the testimonials available on their website, though.

Do some research on third-party sites to see what people are saying about this particular surgeon.

Have the majority of patients had good experiences? What did they like and dislike about working with this surgeon?

4. How Many Patients Like Me Have You Operated on Recently?

How familiar is your potential surgeon with your specific condition? How many other patients have they operated on who are of the same age and suffer from the same condition as you?

Remember, there are a lot of different spinal surgeries and procedures. Not all spinal surgeons will be equally experienced in the type of treatment you need.

5. What Type of Surgery do You Recommend?

When you share your specific medical information and diagnosis with the surgeon, what kind of surgery do they recommend?

Can they provide you with written information or other resources to teach you about the procedure? What kind of instrumentation (plates, screws, etc.) will they use? Is a bone graft necessary? 

Learn as much about this surgery as you can before you decide that it’s the right one for you.

6. What are the Benefits of This Surgery?

In addition to finding out what kind of surgery they want to perform, it’s also important to find out why they want to perform it.

What benefits will come from it? Will you experience significant improvements to your mobility and a dramatic reduction in your pain? What will your quality of life be like when the surgery is over?

7. Is Surgery My Only Option?

Some spinal surgeons recommend surgery to every single patient they see, even those who could benefit from other treatments.

There are many minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures that could be just as effective as actual surgery.

Ask your surgeon if they recommend alternative treatments first, such as pain mapping, spinal injections, or high-frequency stimulation.

8. What Risks are Associated with My Surgery?

No surgery is without risks. Your potential surgeon should be honest about the risks associated with your particular surgery. If they try to brush these off or say there are no risks involved, they’re probably not the right surgeon for you.

9. Where Will You Perform My Surgery?

Where will your surgery take place? In a hospital, or in an outpatient surgical center?

Most spinal surgeries are performed in outpatient centers. It’s still a good idea to find out the location of your surgery, though.

If your surgery takes place in an outpatient center, you won’t need to worry about making arrangements for an overnight hospital stay. 

10. What Should I Expect After the Surgery?

Finally, be sure to ask the surgeon what you should expect after the surgery is complete.

What will your pain level be? How long will you need to stay home from work? How much physical therapy will you need? 

Get as much information about the recovery process as you can. That way, you’ll be able to make arrangements and be prepared for when the surgery is finished.

Red Flags to Look Out for

During your interview with your potential spinal surgeon, it’s not enough just to get answers to these questions. It’s also important to be on the lookout for the following red flags:

  • Discouraging or not allowing for second opinions
  • Not taking the time to answer all of your questions
  • Making you feel bad for asking certain questions
  • Trying to pressure you or influence your decision about whether you want to have surgery—their job is to provide information, not to persuade you one way or the other
  • Bypassing more conservative treatment options
  • Not being forthcoming about the specific treatments, techniques, costs, and/or outcomes related to the surgery

Your spinal surgeon should be open-minded, empathetic, and willing to answer all of your questions. Don’t work with someone who rushes you, pressures you, or tries to discourage second opinions or taking time to do more research.

Find the Right Spinal Surgeon Today

As you can see, there are quite a few questions you need to ask when interviewing a spinal surgeon. It’s definitely worth it to be thorough during your search, though.

Are you looking for a spinal surgeon in the Hackettstown or Newton areas? Do you want to work with someone who meets all the criteria listed above?

If so, we can help at Executive Spine Surgery. We offer a variety of minimally invasive spinal procedures designed to treat a wide range of conditions, from ankylosing spondylitis to scoliosis.

Schedule an appointment with us today!

back surgery

7 Tips to Have a Speedy Recovery After Back Surgery

In 2017, 54% of adults in the US had suffered neck or back pain for five years or more.

Back pain is something that affects millions of people every year. And in some cases, the only solution is to turn to surgery.

Back surgery can help to alleviate the painful symptoms. But as with any invasive surgery, there will be a lengthy recovery period. There are steps you can take to minimize the length of your recovery, however.

So read on as we take a look at seven practical tips to have a speedy recovery from back surgery.

1. Listen to Your Doctor’s Advice

The first and most important thing you should do after any type of surgery is to listen to your doctor’s advice.

Your surgeon will have a great deal experience with people recovering from the same surgery that you have undergone. They will also have years of medical training. They will be able to provide you with a plan for your recovery, with realistic expectations of the path your recovery will take.

Make sure that you follow that plan to the letter, and don’t try to take on too much too early. You could find that you end up setting your recovery back.

2. Manage Your Pain

Even if your surgery was intended to reduce your pain, your recovery is unlikely to be completely pain-free.

There are steps you can take to help minimize the pain following back surgery. Pain medication is the most obvious, but should only be taken as prescribed by your doctor. Hot or cold packs can also help to reduce pain but make sure that you do not get your surgery site wet until it is safe to do so.

If it is recommended that you wear a brace, this can also help to reduce pain.

Your surgeon should advise you what to expect in terms of pain after your surgery. If you are experiencing pain outside of their expectations, then you should contact your doctor. 

3. Adapt Your Home

Recovering from back surgery is all about giving your body the best chance to heal.

So make sure that you do as much as possible to take the strain off you back within your daily life. Making simple changes to your home can really help to speed up the healing process. For example, try moving your bed to the ground floor to minimize the number of stairs you need to climb each day. 

Consider using a raised toilet seat to reduce the strain on your back, or a commode if your bathroom is not on the ground floor. Bath seats and reacher grabbers are also very useful items to use during recovery.

4. Get Some Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep can really help to speed up the recovery process.

Sleep not only helps your body to heal but will also keep you feeling positive and motivated throughout your recovery. But getting the right amount of sleep can be easier said than done when suffering from post-operative pain. Try to set yourself a regular sleep schedule so that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

You can also make use of pain medication before bedtime to help you be able to sleep more easily.

5. Ask for Support

Whilst you are recovering from your surgery, there will be a lot of tasks that are beyond you.

This is where friends and family can play a huge part. Simple errands such as going to the shops or cleaning the house can be a challenge when you’re recovering from back surgery. If your friends or family can help out with these chores, it will make your recovery both easier and quicker.

The most important thing to do is ask for help. If you don’t, you are robbing your friends and family of the opportunity of helping you when you need it most.

6. Make the Most of Physical Therapy

You may be required to do physical therapy as part of your recovery plan.

If this is the case, it is likely that you will be given some exercises to do in your own time at home. It is vitally important that you follow the regime that your doctor has set out. You may think that skipping a few session won’t do much harm. 

But it is likely to delay your complete recovery from your surgery if you don’t follow the plan properly.

The types of exercises you do, as well as the intensity and duration, are likely to change through the course of your recovery. Make sure that you are doing the right exercises at the right level of intensity if you want your recovery time to be short.

7. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

Whilst you are recovering it is important to give your body as much help as possible.

That means trying to be as healthy as you can. Eating properly will provide your body with the fuel and resources it needs to help you recover. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a must, as are foods that are high in protein.

Try to steer clear of any junk food for the duration of your recovery.

Drinking and smoking should also be avoided whilst your body is healing. Studies show that smoking can slow the rate of bone healing. And alcohol could be a dangerous mix when combined with your pain medication. 

Finally try to exercise as much as you can, within your doctor’s recommendations. Excess weight is one of the key factors in causing back pain in the first place.

Are You Considering Back Surgery?

If you’re considering back surgery then we may be able to help. 

We perform minimally invasive spine surgery that has several benefits, including less post-operative pain, less soft muscle and tissue damage, and reduced risk of infection. We can treat conditions ranging from sciatica and herniated discs to bone spurs and arthritis of the spine. We also offer pain management procedures to help alleviate chronic back pain.

We have locations in both Hackettstown and Newton. Contact us today to book a consultation.

signs of a pinched nerve

5 Signs of a Pinched Nerve You Can’t Ignore

Have you been experiencing discomfort but you’re not sure where it’s coming from?

If so, you might be experiencing a pinched nerve. Pinched nerves present themselves in many different ways. Some symptoms are the same as those for other causes. 

The symptoms associated with pinched nerves vary in strength, too. So it can be difficult to identify the problem correctly.

So how do you know if you have one or not? To help you assess what you’re feeling, we’ve created this list.

Here are five signs of a pinched nerve that you should know about.

1. You’re Feeling Numb

Numbness is one of the first symptoms you’re likely to experience. You’ll notice it when the feeling in your fingertips or another area of your body doesn’t seem to be as strong as usual.

Since numbness doesn’t always feel like a big deal, it’s easy to think you can ignore it. That’s not a good idea though. Allowing numbness to continue only allows the problem to continue.

A simple, momentary feeling of numbness might not be associated with a pinched nerve. But if you feel any numbing that’s significant, or numbness that seems to not go away, consult a doctor.

2. You Have Pins and Needles

This feeling may be closely associated with numbness at times, but it is a different thing. In this case, you’re feeling little pricks of pain all over a certain area of your body.

While they aren’t the same, numbness and pins and needles often go hand in hand. If they continue to show up in the same area on your body, you likely have a pinched nerve.

The feeling of pins and needles comes from a pinched sensory nerve. These nerves help you feel things like light touch.

3. Sharp Pain is Present

Numbness and pins and needles are on the lower end of the spectrum of what you might feel from a pinched nerve. On the other end, there’s pain.

Pain from a pinched nerve may be sharp or have a burning feeling. You might also feel like the pain is moving outward from somewhere deeper.

If you’re experiencing this, there’s a good chance the nerve is being pinched because something near it is inflamed.

Pain from nerve pinches can be sudden and very painful. If you notice this type of pain, consult a doctor to get the issue addressed.

4. Weakness is Affecting One Area of Your Body

Feeling weak in general may just be from not getting enough sleep or eating unhealthy food. If weakness is sticking around in one area of your body, though, you may have a pinched nerve.

This is because one type of nerve that’s housed in your body, the motor nerves, help your brain tell your muscles what to do. Weakness means there’s something wrong with the connection and your muscles aren’t getting the right message.

5. Part of You Repeatedly Falls Asleep

Have you ever had an arm or leg “fall asleep?” If you’re like most people, you probably have. While this is totally normal if you’ve been sitting on your leg for a while, it shouldn’t happen out of the blue.

If you get the feeling that an area of your body keeps falling asleep when you weren’t doing anything that warrants that feeling, you might have a pinched nerve.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

A pinched nerve isn’t always a serious thing. At first, it may not be. But if left alone you may find yourself dealing with something worse down the line.

What might a pinched nerve come from? Pregnancy, diabetes, and repetitive physical stress are all on the list. A pinched nerve might also be a sign of something bigger, like a stroke or heart attack.

Since a pinched nerve may be a sign of something bigger or may turn into a bigger problem, it’s a good idea to get it checked if it persists.

Treatment for Pinched Nerves

The symptoms for pinched nerves range from annoying to painful. Luckily, though, there are remedies to help with each one.

Ultimately, you may need to visit a doctor to sort out the source of the issue. Real treatment may take time and the help of a medical specialist. There are some things you can do at home, though.

Here’s a look at some common treatment methods:

Rest

The area of your body that’s bothering you could benefit from some rest. This remedy is a good place to start.

You may find that the issue goes away, but if it doesn’t you know you need some extra help.

Physical Therapy

Depending on the severity of the pinched nerve you’re experiencing, you may need to do some physical therapy. This will help you work through your symptoms while addressing the issue at hand.

Surgery

Surgery likely won’t be required if the pinched nerve is a minor thing. In some cases, though, surgery may be required. It can help take the pressure off your nerve.

Medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs might be recommended by your doctor. Corticosteroids are an option too. These types of medications can help with the pain associated with pinched nerves.

Don’t Ignore These Signs of a Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve might be something simple, but it also might be a sign of something bigger. Because of this, you should never ignore these signs of a pinched nerve.

The sooner you can figure out what’s going on, the better. So don’t hesitate to reach out to your physician to diagnose the problem.

Experiencing a pinched nerve in your back? Click here to learn about how our spinal injections can help.