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North American Spine The Leader in Minimally Invasive Spine Care

San Antonio BACK Pain Sufferers:

Dr. McKee Speaks Your Language!

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Also in this issue: ›› ›› ›› ›› ›› ››

Superior Sleep with Spinal Stenosis Coping with Chronic Sciatica Pain Common Culprits of Back Pain from Sciatica and Strains Date Night Suggestions for Sciatica Sufferers Turning Herniated Disc Pain Upside Down Stopping Smoking May Help Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

North American Spine Courtesy Magazine | March 2013

San Antonio Back Pain Sufferers: Dr. McKee Speaks Your Language!

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Have you ever felt like your doctor was speaking in another language? Many international patients, and even Americans, may find that the best specialist for their surgical procedure literally does NOT speak the same language that they do. Dr. Michael McKee is helping to break down these barriers… and make the AccuraScope procedure accessible to even more back pain sufferers. Dr. McKee has practiced for more than 15 years with a special focus on Interventional Pain Management and laser spine surgery. He served as Chief of Pain Management for multiple hospitals in the New York area. Dr. McKee educated others as an associate professor at New York Medical College and at Stony Brook University Hospital. He is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and is a Diplomat of the American Academy of Pain Management. Not only has Dr. McKee brought the AccuraScope procedure to San Antonio, but he has also made the procedure accessible to Spanish speakers, thanks to his bilingual fluency and education abroad.

Dr. McKee will perform the AccuraScope procedure at Victory Medical Center San Antonio. The state-of-the-art facility offers additional amenities for patients and their families to enjoy.

Superior Sleep with Spinal Stenosis

It’s bad enough you spend your days shuffling, hobbling, or leaning over in pain while you are walking. Not to mention the constant moving you endure to find a comfortable sitting position at work. But when you finally hit the sack at night, you would expect to finally get some relief from a painful condition like spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, when people were videotaped while sleeping, they shifted positions between 3 and 36 times with about a dozen times being the average. No wonder you wake up every morning EXHAUSTED!

The article explains that different sleeping positions are recommended for different conditions, and that it’s important to move around to avoid discomfort from compression injuries that arise from staying in one position. This idea is similar to the concept that it’s important for our bodies to stay as active as possible to maintain optimal joint and muscle health. After all, physical therapy and specific gentle exercise are often prescribed for conditions like herniated discs and spinal stenosis.

Moving is nature’s lubricant for our musculoskeletal system. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / 4774344sean

Coping with Chronic Sciatica Pain

Learning to cope with chronic pain doesn’t mean you have given up treating the underlying condition, like sciatica or degenerative disc disease.

Coping can improve your lifestyle and ease muscular tension, thereby preventing worsening your situation. By managing your reaction to pain you can also reduce your stress hormones, which have been proven to aggravate injuries and pain. A first step to coping with chronic pain is to relax the body with focus and deep breathing, according to It recommends focusing on slowing down your breathing in a darkened room. You can then engage some imagery techniques:

›› Imagine you are in your safe, happy place. ›› Imagine a numbing agent being injected into the location of pain. ›› Think of the pain as being separated from your body. ›› Transfer your focus away from the pain by focusing on a non-affected body part. ›› Count items in your line of vision or within your mind’s eye.

With frequent practice, you will engage these techniques more quickly to relax, focus and cope with pain. Success with pain coping can also improve your outlook toward your situation and overall treatment. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / samotrebizan

Common Culprits of Back Pain from Sciatica and Strains

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You don’t play pro football, wrestle, or jump horses. But are you really playing it safe? Back pain from muscle strain, bulging discs and sciatica develop from the things we do each and every day. How many of these ‘DAILY DANGERS’ can you recognize?

›› Heavy hoisting, twisting and turning on the job – ok, this one isn’t surprising. ›› Typing on a computer and talking on the phone, with your head tilted downward or sideways –cervical discs become compressed and over time can be forced to bulge outward. ›› Over-exercising during your sporadic free time, when your muscles and connective tissues are weak. Your spinal discs absorb the shearing and torque forces, possibly resulting in an injury. ›› Getting dressed for work – Really! High heels throw off your spinal alignment. What about your undergarments? Ladies, if the girls have a ‘big personality’ and you aren’t wearing the proper support, your shoulders are pulled forward and down into a permanent slouch, leading to back pain.

So, improve your posture, get moving, lift safely and dress smartly to prevent pain and injury.

Date Night Suggestions for Sciatica Sufferers

Struggling with sciatica pain, or recovering from a minimally invasive spine procedure, can detract from the romance… These suggestions will help you get through date night, and even enjoy it! ›› Stay local: Avoid sitting in your car for hours, tilting your head forward and straining your neck while hunched over the steering wheel. ›› Try some new positions: In YOGA! Instead of stressing and rushing through dinner in an overcrowded restaurant, making ‘relationship’ conversation, and then racing to a movie… Chill! Put on hisand-hers Zen-clothes and head over to a gentle yoga and meditation class. ›› Extend the Zen into dinner: Nourishing your body (and soul) with healthy veggies and lean protein will make you feel great. Flirt with danger— try a vegetarian restaurant! (She will love it; you will survive.) ›› Choose red: The compound resveratrol found in red wine may have an antiinflammatory and analgesic effect on vertebral disc conditions that cause sciatica and other forms of back pain.

From exercise, to meditation, red wine and alone time…your endorphins should be dancing for joy by evening’s end. Endorphins, the feel-good hormones released by your body, are nature’s best answer to pain. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / 4774344sean

Turning Herniated Disc Pain Upside Down

When you can barely walk thanks to a compressed nerve from your herniated disc, you may fantasize about hanging upside down by your ankles on an ‘inversion table’ to DECOMPRESS and stop the agony! Time and home therapies will likely end your nightmare. Occasionally, a herniated disc may require an endoscopic disc and neural decompression procedure to remove the offending disc matter. But, what if there were a way to hang upside-down… According to the Mayo Clinic, the idea behind this non-surgical decompression technique for herniated discs is that gravity helps ease the nerve pressure by opening up the spaces between the vertebrae during the stretch you receive while hanging upside down from a special movable table.

The effects are not lasting, and for some individuals the risk of remaining in this position poses serious health risks. For those with cardiovascular disease or glaucoma: increased blood pressure, decreased heart rate and eyeball pressure from blood rushing to the area are all potentially high-risk side-effects.

So you may want to reconsider your treatment options to help you regain your active lifestyle… and maybe even train for a half-marathon when it warms up this spring!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / soupstock

Stopping Smoking

May Help Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / barsik, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / andreadonetti

Really? You needed yet another convincing reason to quit smoking? Well, here it is. Medical researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center conducted a study finding that quitting smoking is positively related to reduced pain among back pain sufferers with conditions like degenerative disc disease. Since nicotine has some analgesic attributes, people may smoke when they are experiencing pain, but over time nicotine actually increases pain for various reasons, including its inflammatory properties. Nicotine also impedes healthy oxygen circulation, which inhibits proper healing. It has also been proven to increase the likelihood for developing early onset bone and joint problems like osteoporosis. One of the researchers from the study, published in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, noted that young people who were current smokers, or recent quitters in the program, experienced pain along with the older patients who quit a long time ago. He suggested this confirms earlier studies indicating smoking accelerates the onset of degenerative disc disease.

Hopefully this additional reason will convince you to quit smoking if you haven’t already done so!

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North American Spine Magazine March 2013 issue  
North American Spine Magazine March 2013 issue  

North American Spine Magazine March 2013 issue