Athletic woman touching neck and back muscles by injury

Back Pain by Your Marque Team

 

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor, whether it is for lower back problems or neck pain.  Over 90% of the population will hurt their back or neck at some point in their life, usually while doing some routine activities.  Surprisingly, a lot of back and neck pain is not triggered by heavy lifting, but rather simple bending or reaching. Typically back pain is of sudden onset, without any warning sign.

So the million dollar question is why is this so common and what can we do to prevent back and neck injuries?  The simple fact is that our upright posture does not serve well for our spine!  The stack of vertebral bodies of the spine are not well designed for upright human activity, but would better serve a 4 legged creature! Thus, we are by nature more susceptible to back and neck injuries.

There are three major elements to prevent back pain:
1. POSTURE: Always try to keep your head, shoulders and hips in line, even when bending or reaching for something. This translates into more bending with your knees when standing and using some type of lumbar support when sitting, especially when sitting in a car or in front of a computer.

2. FLEXIBILITY: Stretching your neck, back, and leg muscles every day can help avoid pulls and strains. This is especially important after the age of 35 when we all gradually lose a lot of our normal tissue elasticity. Ask your doctor for a physical therapist referral on proper stretching to prevent injuries.

3. STRENGTHENING: Strengthening your back actually means strengthening your core muscles, especially your abdominal muscles; this can be done with simple "crunches" or by more formal training such as pilates or yoga.

In the unfortunate event of back spasms, your doctor will likely offer you anti-inflammatory medications as well as muscle relaxants to alleviate your symptoms.  The normal recovery course is typically 3-5 days.

 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

Sports-related Fractures by Richard Lu, MD

Board Certification: Family Practice
Recently, we have noticed an increasing number of sports related injuries at our clinic, most of which happened to teenagers active in different team sports, such as basketball, baseball and football.  An increase in pediatric sporting events has been attributed to the increase in pediatric sporting injuries that we witness. There are nearly 3 million emergency department visits annually for pediatric-related sports injuries and that number is still on the rise.
 
One of the major challenges that we face in the diagnosis of acute fractures in kids is the presence of growth plates, which can mimic subtle hairline fractures.  Salter Harris fractures refer to the acute fractures that involve the growth plates in skeletally young patients.  Salter-Harris fractures are classified into five different types. Type I fractures are fractures through the growth plate. On radiographs, a fracture usually will not be seen. It is common to see some widening of the affected bone. Type II fractures involve one side of the growth plate. Type III fractures involve the other side of the growth plate. Type IV fractures involve both sides of the growth plate.  Type V fractures are due to a compression injury of the gap between the growth plates. There will often be an absence of the normal gap of the growth plates on radiographs for Type V fractures.

 

The goal in treating Salter-Harris fractures is to realign the anatomic growth plate so the bone can keep growing. The risk of bone growth failure increases with Salter-Harris classification. Types I and II fractures usually can be treated with immobilization (placing a cast or brace). In instances where the fracture is displaced, closed reduction (manipulation) may be necessary, followed by immobilization with a cast or brace. Rarely is open surgery needed. Types III, IV, and V fractures usually require orthopedic intervention to avoid growth problems. These patients must be followed long-term to assess for growth problems. It is important in all sport injuries where a potential fracture has occurred to see a medical professional and consider X rays.

 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.