Tag Archives: Orthopedic Surgeons

UNLOCKING YOUR BODY’S FULL POTENTIAL FOR GOLF

golfing-on-golf-course

Golf is a sport appreciated by people of all ages and abilities. Everyone who plays would like to hit the ball farther and more precisely without low back or neck pain which increases the enjoyment of the game and the longevity of their playing career.

The key to unlocking the full potential in any participant’s golf career lies within that persons “drive” to get their body stronger and more mobile. Improved strength and mobility have the ability to create longevity in anyone’s career whether they are a professional athlete or working at a desk job. The primary area of concern for golfers is becoming stronger and more mobile at the hips, trunk, and thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is an area that is often overlooked in golf as it requires a significant amount of rotation to complete the golf swing. When we create strength and mobility throughout these specific areas, we protect our body from injury and create what every golfer needs, power. Power increases the force we generate when striking the golf ball and allows us to drive the ball farther.

Unfortunately, our bodies are habitual and their worst habit is finding ways to take the path of least resistance; they compensate for our shortcomings. Often times the source of low back and neck pain in golf comes from faulty swing mechanics due to immobility at the hips and thoracic spine. Simply put, the best golfers are able to rotate freely from the hips and thoracic spine, minimizing the risk for injury and pain. Golfers who are less mobile in these areas compensate during their swing, which results in excessive motion through their lumbar/cervical spine and hips and they experience an increased incidence of pain in these areas.

The good news is that improving the strength and mobility in these key areas of our body is much simpler than one might think. With the help and guidance of a Physical Therapist, or strength and conditioning specialist trained in human performance, one can achieve an improved, pain free golf swing. This will allow you to enjoy playing pain free golf for many years to come and might even help lower your handicap!

Sarasota Orthopedic Associates treats people of all ages at four convenient locations and offers same day appointments when needed. We are a comprehensive orthopedic facility including Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Aquatic Therapy. Visit our website at www.SOA.md  for more information. Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.

Source: Austin Jensen, PTA, LMT, CSCS is part of the Physical Therapy team at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates who earned his BS degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from Florida Atlantic University in 2011, Physical Therapist Assistant degree from Keiser University, CSCS Certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is also a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Mini-Meals Vs. Three Squares a Day

mini-meals

Eating small, frequent meals can take the edge off your appetite. But which is better for controlling your waistline – eating three squares a day or grazing?

Do you find yourself in the employee break room every day at 4 pm because the pretzels, chips and candy bars are calling to you from the vending machine? Even though you had a healthy and nutritious lunch, you can’t seem to resist the temptation because you’re hungry again and waiting until 6 or 7pm for dinner seems like an eternity!  You’ve heard varying advice but wonder which is better for controlling your waistline – eating three squares a day or having smaller, more frequent meals?

Actually, it depends. Many people eat three nutritious meals a day and have no trouble maintaining their weight. But studies have suggested that grazing (eating smaller amounts of food more frequently) can make it easier to maintain or lose weight.

Eating four to six small meals each day can take the edge off your appetite. This makes it less likely you’ll binge on fast food or empty calories. And some research has shown that more frequent, smaller meals may help increase your metabolism.

Mini-meals may have health benefits, along with making it possible to fit into your blue jeans. Research has shown that this eating pattern may contribute to lower cholesterol levels and better blood sugar control. That means added protection from heart disease and type 2 diabetes – two conditions also linked to obesity.

Smart grazing tips

That being said, your mini-meal choices still have to be nutritious to count. If you are not careful, more meals can easily turn into more calories per day. In the end, total calories are going to count, no matter how many meals you eat.

If you decide to try eating mini-meals for weight control, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep a food diary so you can keep track of your calories. Eating more meals is not permission to overeat. After all, calories from even small snacks and meals can add up quickly.
  • Use mypyramid.com guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help guide you on reasonable serving sizes.
  • Eat whole foods instead of processed foods. A mini-meal is just that – a smaller version of a larger meal, not an excuse to eat junk food. Go for things like a bowl of soup, a large rice cake with natural peanut butter, half a sandwich, yogurt and fruit, a hard-boiled egg and raw veggies, or whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese.
  • Plan ahead. Don’t get caught at the vending machine. Keep your kitchen or work place stocked with nutritious options.
  • Make sure your mini-meals balance out. Choose from the various food groups (meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy) to get protein, carbohydrates and a little fat.

Almost all nutritionists agree that the most successful formula for maintaining a healthy weight includes:

  • Portion control
  • Balance of calories consumed versus calories burned off
  • Exercise
  • Daily breakfast
  • Regular eating pattern (whether that means three or six times/day)
  • A healthy balance of complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fat
  • A good night’s sleep

In the end, do what you feel works best for you. A good eating plan is only as successful as the person who is able to stick with it.

Source: Thank you to Fleet Feet Sarasota and United Health for sharing this article with us!

POKEMON GO? OR NO?

pokemon-go-logo-480x270

By now you’ve likely heard of the new craze, Pokémon Go. So what’s all the fuss about and why would you want to participate?  We admit at first blush, we had no interest but then we got to thinking this could be a good thing … even a healthy thing if done correctly. Say what?

Some history first. The original Pokémon appeared a little over 20 years ago for the video game device, Game Boy. The internet was just being developed at that time and not accessible to most. Pokémon was based on a coming-of-age tale hidden in a theme of “collecting” bugs while travelling through caves, cities, and forests to battle monsters on the Game Boy device. The designer of the game, Satoshi Tajiri, was an enthusiastic insect collector with a passion for Japanese monster movies, thus his inspiration.

Fast forward to today, and the theme still resonates with hundreds of shapes and sizes to reflect those odd little critters you see on your smartphones. A player creates their avatar to go in search of, and collect, Pokémon at PokeStops and PokeGyms while tossing PokeBalls and hatching PokeEggs. In fact, in Japan, they love the anime so much that there are posted real cartoon figures at locations across the city and tourists seek them out for pictures. But wait, we digress.

This new Pokémon Go is not a couch potato game as it was in the 90’s. To be successful at the game, you need to get outside.  Wow … fresh air.  Then you have to move. Double wow … exercise! We like that idea. Pokémon Go is a virtual game via avatar combined with having  you in the real world.  You must physically walk around to find the little creatures and you must walk a specified number of steps to level up.  It’s more complicated than that and you’ll need to google it and download an app if you want to join, but this game is being played by people of all ages and not going away anytime soon. Some people are playing in groups and some are using it to meet new friends. Some are teens and some are seniors. Some are competitive and some are just enjoying the fun and exercise.

PokemonGo

So why are we writing about this on an orthopedic blog? Well … people are getting hurt. Here are some safety tips:

  • Pay attention to WHERE you are. There have been cases of people being lured to locations only to be robbed; take your quest with a buddy or in a group. Be safe.
  • Look up! Don’t keep your eyes glued to your smartphone while walking in search of Pokémon. Consider this habit in the same dangerous category as texting while walking. Use the app in vibration mode so you can enjoy your surroundings while you walk, yet get an alert when you’re near a capture.
  • Finally, and here is where we can help … many people participating in Pokémon Go haven’t exercised regularly or even at all; they end up suffering problems with their legs, knees, and feet. Our caution is to begin slowly and don’t overdo it just as with any exercise.

If you do overextend yourself on a Pokémon Go journey, or if you take a nasty spill, give us a call at 941-951-2663. You may also go to our website at www.SOA.md to schedule an appointment through our home page at the green button. We have four convenient locations and offer same day appointments when needed. The commitment at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life. Enjoy the journey and be safe!

NEED MOTIVATION TO EXERCISE? — How About Lowering Your Cancer Risk?

exercise

A recent study found that increased levels of exercise and physical activity have a direct impact on lowering the risk of 13 cancers. These include esophageal, liver, lung, kidney, gastric, endometrial, leukemia, myeloma, colon, head/neck, rectal, bladder, and breast cancers.

The findings indicated three factors that contribute to lowering cancer risk. They are:

  • Estrogen – studies show these levels are lowered in physically active women.
  • Insulin – active people typically have lower levels of insulin; that alone is a cancer risk factor.
  • Inflammation – a general risk factor according to the study.

The research indicated that “median” activity level was defined as just over two hours per week or one hour of intense activity per week; the median age of participants was 59. Overall, the researchers were able to conclude that either length of activity results in a 7% decreased risk of cancer.

This is great news and supports the popular and increasing quest to get out and MOVE!

What are some other things we can do to lower our cancer risk?

  • If you smoke, STOP! A 2014 study determined that smoking a pack of cigarettes a day can cut 10 years from a person’s life. Even second-hand smoke is harmful.
  • Maintain a healthy weight; obesity is a factor in 14% of cancer related deaths. Have you heard the phrase, “Plant Your Plate”? The American Institute of Cancer Research suggests two-thirds of your plate should come from plants: fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans.
  • Decrease your alcohol consumption, although red wine has been shown to have heart healthy benefits. More than two drinks a day can cut your lifespan by 20 years.
  • Stress can become the foundation for overindulgence in bad habits like smoking, overeating, alcoholism, or drug abuse. Methadone and cocaine users die at an average age of 42. Try to “shake it off” instead with meditation, yoga, and movement.
  • Sunscreen should be applied even on a cloudy day when the sun’s rays are still harmful but not felt. It’s possible to get a painful sunburn at the beach even on a cloudy or windy day!
  • Regular screenings like prostate and mammogram tests may help detect early, treatable problems.
  • Know your family history. Some conditions are genetic and knowing how to combat them and may make a difference. “Knowledge is Power”.

Exercise-and-diet

Why not make it a point to do something wonderful for yourself today … adopt a new attitude … eat healthy, move those bones and muscles, and most of all, take care of yourself!  Sarasota Orthopedic Associates can help when those bones and muscles don’t feel the way they should. We have four locations and offer same day appointments when needed.  Call 941-951-2663 for an appointment.  You may also schedule an appointment  online from our website at  www.SOA.md … just click on the green button.

 

Sources: JAMA Intern Med 5/16; National Institute of Health; Medscape

FUN FOOD & FITNESS QUIZ – TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

fitness-aging[1]

Nowadays we’re more prone than ever to think about our health and ways to stay fit. With so much information and “mis”-information out there in cyberspace to “digest”, it’s not easy making wise choices”. It’s difficult to separate myth from fact. Take our quick quiz and see how much you know. Then check your answers below.

  1. You stuffed yourself by binging on fatty foods at a party. What’s the best way to counter your overeating: Take a walk for 30-45 minutes OR Fast for the next 12 hours.
  2. Which burns more calories: swimming OR jogging?
  3. Cycling OR Aerobic Dancing?
  4. At PF Chang’s Restaurant which is the lowest in calories: Crisp Salad, or an Egg Roll?
  5. Which burns more calories: Boxing OR Jumping Rope?
  6. Which has more calories: a Starbucks Grande Caramel Frappuccino OR an Applebee’s Grilled Oriental Chicken Salad?
  7. What is the strongest muscle in the human body?
  8. Which contains more lycopene: a cup of watermelon or a tomato?
  9. What is the longest bone in the human body?
  10. Which burns more calories: cardio OR strength training?
  11. BONUS QUESTION – True or False? Crunches are the best way to lose belly fat.

apple

ANSWERS:

  1. If you said take a walk, then pat yourself on the back. Fasting throws your metabolism out of whack while walking burns off a few calories, increases blood flow, and relieves stress.
  2. Swimming wins this one with approximately 580 calories burned vs 390 from jogging. Plus it’s more fun!
  3. The winner here is cycling but not by much. An hour of cycling burns approximately 480 calories vs. 440 from aerobic dancing, plus you get some fresh air. Which brings up another point … indoor cycling and outdoor burn equal calories so either way, you’re shedding those calories.
  4. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that the egg roll has 180 calories with 6 fat grams while the salad contains 270 calories and 22 fat gram. Sometimes the tastier choice actually IS better for you!
  5. Boxing takes the bigger punch on this one with 720 calories. Jumping rope is good aerobic exercise as well with 670 calories burned.
  6. You’ll be glad to know that while the Frappuccino is full of sugar, it has far less calories and fat than the salad which weighs in at a whopping 1,290 calories. There are far better salad choices out there, so think before ordering!
  7. This is a tricky one and there may be a couple of “correct” answers. There are different ways to measure strength: dynamic, elastic, and endurance. To complicate things even more, there are 3 types of muscles: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Most will say the strongest is the masseter, or jaw muscles, because it is based on weight and ability to force as much as 200 pounds on the molars. For more on this subject, check out this link: https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/muscles.html
  8. In a one cup comparison, watermelon edges out tomatoes by a slim margin. Lycopene is a free-radical antioxidant able to fight some cancers. You can also get a healthy dosage of lycopene in pink grapefruit, red peppers, mangos, and carrots. Think “red” although some other non-red foods like asparagus contain lycopene.
  9. The femur, or thighbone, wins this one and comprises about one quarter of the height of an adult. Runner up is the tibia, or shinbone. The smallest? It’s the stapes, or stirrup, located in the ear.
  10. Both are important. Cardio will burn more calories, but won’t do much for your muscles. With strength training for every three pounds of muscle you gain, you may burn an extra 120 calories a day without even trying. The best solution? Do both!
  11. The most popular abdominal exercise in existence is not the best way to trim your midsection. They will tone a small portion of your abs, however your shoulders and butt need to move as well to be effective. Your waistline will sculpt faster by doing planks. If you do decide to do crunches, make sure you’re doing them correctly or you could put your spine into a painful situation.

So how did you do with your answers? At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, we treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system with skilled physicians at each of our four locations. If you have chronically sore muscles, aching joints, or suffer from pain, call us at 941-951-2663 (BONE) or check our website www.SOA.md by clicking HERE. You may also obtain an appointment with us via our website BUTTON “request an appointment” which directly reaches our skilled scheduling team.

TEXT NECK … Is that really a “thing”?

texting adults

Indeed it is. Think about it. We spend much of our day with our heads lowered to read our smartphones. It’s not unusual to see people “text-walking” or worse, driving while texting. With all the advantages of having a world of information at our fingertips, there is also an associated health risk.

There are over 4 billion mobile devices in the world and the average American usage is 2.7 hours per day communicating on these devices. It’s no wonder we have sore necks and shoulders. In fact, it’s becoming an epidemic affecting millions and it’s growing.

Constant lowering of the neck to look downward puts the spine in an unnatural curve that can cause reduction in the cervical spine, thus creating a “pain in the neck”. Worse, that pain can radiate through the shoulders, creating tension, and even debilitating headaches. As the situation intensifies, the arms may become weak, numb, or tingle. Over time, this pattern can become lingering and as a result, a challenge to treat.

The average head weighs about 10 pounds. When tilted downward 15 degrees, the force of your head on your cervical spine increases to about 25 pounds. The more tilt, the more weight; that can be up to as much as 60 pounds of force on your neck. Prolonged tilting downward creates excessive strain causing stress injury. Over a long period of time it may even lead to spinal misalignment, early onset of arthritis, disc compression, or nerve damage.

text neck

So how do we combat this growing concern? Resistance and strengthening are keys to reinforce the neck and shoulder muscles and offset damage. Taking frequent breaks, maintaining good posture, and doing neck stretches help circumvent damage. Most important, when using a mobile device, place it at eye level to avoid tilting of the neck. Remember … Hold Your Head Up!

If you believe you have “text neck” or any form of musculoskeletal pain, Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has four convenient locations to help you alleviate your discomfort. We offer same day appointments when needed. Give us a call at 941-951-2663 (BONE) or check our website here for more information.

 

Sources:   WFLA; LA Times; Today Health & Wellness

SUMMER IS A PERFECT TIME FOR POOL THERAPY

pool therapy

One of the advantages living in Florida is our sunny weather year round so it is not unusual to have daily access to a pool, whether at a private home, community development, or a local Y. Even if you’re in a climate with cold winter temperatures, there are gyms offering year round swimming. From an orthopedic perspective, swimming is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do, and better yet, it can be so much fun that you don’t think of it as exercise.

When prescribed as Aquatic Therapy, there are many techniques and forms of bodywork. Applications include those for spine pain, musculoskeletal discomfort, post-operative rehabilitation, and disabilities or disorders. It may be most beneficial when non-weight bearing exercises are needed or when normal range of motion is limited due to pain, inflammation, or rehabilitation.

Water has properties that provide resistance which are beneficial in exercising. Because of these properties, the muscles actually work harder when submerged in water compared to doing that same exercise on dry ground. Try to imagine running through water and how much more difficult it would be and how much more time it would take to cover the same distance as running a mile on land. Submersion into the water makes it harder to move because of the buoyancy. This resistance also helps tone muscle and improve balance.

Pool exercise can also burn calories. An average 30 minute pool exercise routine can burn off approximately 300 calories. The water also helps reduce body fatigue as it supports so much of the body weight. Pool exercises, done three or four times a week, could result in weight loss and be fun in the process!

Water is also known to have an added benefit on the body and brain. There is a theory called “blue mind” that suggests being close to, in, over, or under the water makes us happier and healthier. For this reason, yoga studios and massage spas incorporate waterfalls into their décor. The gentleness of being near or in the water sends a soothing feeling of relaxation and can lower blood pressure.

PT Pool

Pool therapy has become a widely accepted form of exercise and is now offered in many gym facilities, parks, and community developments. The Arthritis Foundation has even partnered with many YMCA’s across the country in a program called PACE, or People with Arthritis Can Exercise. In fact, they have an excellent website with great tips for a water walking routine. Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/simple-routines/water-walking.php

At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have an on-site therapy pool at our Bahia Vista location as well as a team of expert physical therapists at our offices. To learn more about us, click here or call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment.

 

Sources: brainline.org; SOA.md website; Wikipedia; Arthritis Foundation

BACK TO LIFE: MANAGING YOUR HIP PAIN

    hip pain woman

Hip pain is a very common complaint we hear from patients at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. A decrease in mobility may make your daily activity problematic, depending on the severity. Did you know hip pain stems from many different causes?

We typically think of a broken hip as a condition suffered by the elderly, however hip fractures can occur in younger patients, particularly from a traumatic injury such as a serious fall, sports injury, or auto accident. These injuries may also involve labral tears, impingement, avascular necrosis (loss of blood to the bone), bursitis, and muscle tears.

The most common condition we see as a cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease. This is the wear and tear of the joints occurring when the cartilage (or cushion) between joints breaks down. Characteristic indicators of OA might be pain, stiffness, swelling, and/or loss of mobility. Currently there is no cure for arthritis, however there are many ways to help manage it.

hip pain

Whether trauma or arthritis, at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we begin with a comprehensive evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Typically we you will have a digital x-ray taken on-site in our office at your first appointment. Having on-site technology allows for a prompt diagnosis. Knowing the exact problem is essential to determining the best treatment options for you.

In the case of a less serious hip injury, Physical Therapy may be all that’s needed to extend your range of motion and manage your condition. PT and regular low impact exercise, such as bike riding or walking, may strengthen your muscles and help relieve discomfort in the joints. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) or aspirin may be helpful, although should not be used on a long term basis. Other options include cortisone injections and PRP (platelet rich plasma) however, PRP is not a covered benefit of insurance and there is currently not enough scientific data to validate its effectiveness. It is important to know that nothing currently will regrow cartilage nor correct alignment.

hip injection

If measures to alleviate hip pain fail, you may want to explore a discussion with us about hip replacement surgery. You may be surprised to learn that hip replacement surgery can mean a relative quick recovery time. Everyone is unique so your timeline could be longer or shorter depending on individual circumstances. You will likely be in the hospital for about three days. A day or two after surgery you will start moving with assistance. Physical therapy will be fundamental to an optimal recovery. After 12 weeks, you may be able to resume normal activity under consent from your surgeon. In every case, it’s vitally important to discuss your situation with a skilled surgeon and listen closely to their advice.

The team of physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are experts in diagnosing and treating your condition. We have four convenient locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton) and are able to accommodate same day appointments when needed. Cal us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment or click HERE to view our website.

Sources: SOA website; WebMD; Arthritis Foundation; American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Sugar & Drug Abuse? WINNING THE WAR

sugar heroin

Recent studies have found that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine or alcohol according to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. For some people, eating foods high in sugar may produce chemical changes in the brain’s “reward” center causing addictive cravings. Sugar is sugar … don’t be fooled by replacing white table sugar with honey, agave, or brown sugar. Those may have some nutritional value, but they are still sugar with calories and addictive qualities. In fact, sugar overuse may sometimes lead to problems other than addiction like diabetes and liver disease.

SUGAR IN TWO FORMS

  • Free sugars are those added to food and liquids whether at the table, in the kitchen, or at the manufacturer. Free sugar is the form we need to cut down on consumption. Identifying these sugars can be difficult since they appear in many different forms like agave, raw sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, molasses, glucose, dextrose, coconut sugar, and honey.
  • Natural sugars are those found in fresh, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables. They are also found in dairy products like milk, plain yogurt, and cheese.

WHAT FREE SUGAR DOES TO OUR BODIES

Consuming excessive sugar over long periods of time stimulates our brain activity and hormone levels. This increases glucose levels which lead to the pancreas releasing insulin. This causes the body to retain calories as fat, causing weight gain. Carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, chips, and fries process slower than free sugar, however, still break down into sugar. The result: the excess weight puts strain on our joints and we crave more sugar.

Since these sugary foods stimulate the same areas of the brain as drugs of abuse, they may cause loss of control over consumption and cravings. Currently the average American consumes almost 20 teaspoons of sugar every day; that’s over 65 pounds of sugar a year, per person!

sugar addition

SO HOW DO WE WIN THIS WAR?

  • The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 10% and ideally less than 5% of our calories be consumed from added or natural sugar. For the average person per day, the recommendation is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
  • Read labels; food labels list ingredients in descending order. If sugar or a form of sugar is in the first 3 ingredients, put it back on the shelf.
  • The same goes for a packaged food with more than one sugar listed — put it back!
  • Eliminate soft drinks and fruit juices; they are jam packed with sugar.
  • Limit consumption of candy, baked goods, and desserts to special occasions.
  • “Low fat” packaged foods often compensate with extra sugar; read the label.
  • Eat fresh fruit rather than canned which have added syrup containing sugar.
  • Protein such as eggs, beans, and nuts can help control sugar cravings.
  • Eliminate sugars from your diet slowly; don’t go “cold turkey”.
  • Drink water!

The good news is that when cutting back, no math or calorie counting is involved in eliminating sugar. Try replacing sugar with tempting flavors like ginger, lemon, vanilla bean, nutmeg, or cinnamon.  Bottom line, the easiest way to cut back is to avoid processed sugar whenever possible and eat fresh fruits instead.

Taking care of our bodies through eating well and proper exercise is paramount to healthy bones and muscles. If you experience pain or discomfort in your joints or muscles, give us a call at 941-951-2663 for an appointment. At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have four locations and offer same day appointments when needed.

 

Sources: WebMD; Authority Nutrition; American Diabetes Association; US National Institute on Drug Abuse; World Health Organization

Driving … A Pain In The Neck? AND IN MY BACK!

driving neck pain

We’ve heard many times about how important it is to maintain good posture at our workplace desks to protect our neck and spine, however most of us don’t give it a second thought when driving. Unlike sitting in a chair, the spine experiences variations of force when in a car. Vibrations from car movement may push on the discs, our internal “shock absorbers”, acting as cushions.

Proper driving posture and seat positioning may avoid a myriad of chronic problems. Here are some helpful tips to avoid discomfort:

Position your car seat to the proper height and distance across from the wheel so that your hands can comfortably reach the recommended “10 and 2” or “9 and 3″ location.

  • Your thighs should rest as much as possible on the seat in order to align your knees on the same level plane as your hips.
  • Elbows should be slightly bent.
  • Consider using a neck support, one similar to that used on a plane. This keeps your neck straight. Even a 20 degree downward curve in the neck will cause stress over time.
  • If you have lumbar support in your car, use it. If not, use a portable back support or a rolled up sweater to place at the small of your back.
  • A seat cushion used for extra padding will help protect your spine from a bumpy ride.
  • For long rides, take regular breaks; get out and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
  • If you have cruise control, use it to give your back a rest. Place both feet firmly on the car floor. Bend your ankles a few times to stimulate blood flow.

seat-position

Whatever the cause of your neck or back pain, don’t delay having it checked. Chronic pain needs assessment, particularly if it’s worse at night and wakes you up from your sleep.

The physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are experts in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating neck and back pain. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment at one of our four locations in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, or Bradenton. For more information about us, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/srqsoa or our web page at www.SOA.md