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Warm, sunny days are a great time to get outside and move while enjoying the relaxing mood of summer. Below are 4 low-impact, flexibility exercise ideas that can help keep your core strong and minimize back issues. Be sure to include a warm up and cool down as part of your exercise routine.

  1. Swimming or water classes — One of the most refreshing means to increase your activity level, water exercise can be very gentle on your joints.
  2. Biking — A good idea is to pick a route with flat terrain and only small hills, this will keep the impact low and reduce lower back strain.
  3. Yoga — An exercise class that often moves outside in the warm weather, yoga is an excellent way to increase flexibility and strength and combat neck or back pain.
  4. Exercise walking — Whether on trails, on a track or in your neighborhood, walking can be enjoyable. If you need extra support for your back or hips, you can use trekking poles to add stability.

Remember to wear sunscreen and to stay hydrated while exercising out in the heat and sun. A good rule of thumb is to drink 8-16 oz. of water per hour while outside and then double it if you are exercising. On very hot days be cautious and always pay attention to heat index warnings. Enjoy the summer!

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According to the National Scoliosis Foundation approximately 7 million people in the U.S. are affected by scoliosis. The condition is defined as a sideways curve of the spine at an angle of more than 10 degrees (Scoliosis Research Society), and the cause is often undetermined.

You might be surprised to learn many famous people have the condition:

Scoliosis can affect anyone. Screening is important during yearly physicals as the condition is often diagnosed in children and adolescents. While it equally affects males and females, in scoliosis-diagnosed females it is eight times more likely to progress to a curve requiring treatment (National Scoliosis Foundation). Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent curve progression. In fact, many scoliosis patients go on lead normal lives.

If you suspect symptoms of scoliosis, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sharma today: (914) 288-0045.

For scoliosis patients looking for support, the following organizations may be helpful:

  • Curvy Girls – a teen and adolescent scoliosis support group
  • National Scoliosis Foundation – a patient-led nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children, parents, adults, and healthcare providers to understand the complexities of spinal deformities such as scoliosis

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With spring sports playoffs beginning, it is important to make note of some simple tips to help ease back pain while cheering on your favorite team. Let’s face it, bleachers are uninviting and hard to sit on for prolonged periods of time. In an effort to get comfortable, most of us slouch and lean forward resulting in very poor posture. Sitting in this manner, with an unnatural curve of the spine, can cause back pain.

Here are 4 simple tips to help ease “bleacher back:”

  1. Sit up straight – do your best to maintain proper posture
  2. Cushion your seat – use a stadium cushion, blanket or bring along a stadium chair to help support your back
  3. Stand up – remember to stand up a cheer at frequent intervals
  4. Move around – loosen up your muscles by getting up and moving at halftime or between innings.

Read more about “bleacher back” here.

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Not only has May been designated Employee Health and Fitness Month, it’s also National Walking Month! Employers who raise awareness in the workplace will benefit from strengthening employee performance, reducing workplace stress and cutting back on costs relating to health benefits. For employees, endless hours of sitting at your desk can contribute a multitude of health issues, including back and neck pain. That’s why it is so important to get up and get moving. Walking 10,000 steps per day is a simple way to meet the CDC’s recommended 30-minutes of physical activity. Finding time to reach the daily goal can be challenging, which explains the new trend of employees incorporating walking into their workday.

If you are looking for ways to reach your daily 10,000 step goal, try these tips:

  1. Set a reminder on your smartphone — Walking 5 minutes out of every hour can make a difference, but it is easy to get caught up in work.
  2. Ask your boss if they offer exercise programs — Many companies offer walking clubs, exercise classes, and even treadmill or standing desks.
  3. Schedule a “walking meeting” — If your fellow colleagues are game, plan to walk and talk! It’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
  4. Add a walk to your commute — If you live close enough, walk to work or the train. For employees with a long commute, consider getting off the train or bus a few stops early and walking the remaining distance.

Read more about this latest trend.

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Prolonged periods of time spent sitting at your desk hunched over a computer, tablet or cell phone can lead to neck strain called “text neck.” The poor posture created by positioning your head over a tech device can add up to 60 pounds of stress to the neck muscles. Today, the average smartphone user spends two to four hours per day using their device, which may explain why the condition is becoming more and more common. Left untreated, “text neck” can lead to numbness, tingling and nerve irritation. There’s no need to suffer! A quick fix is to try bringing your device up to eye level, so you avoid hunching. Stretching exercises can also help ease your neck pain and strain, try these three easy exercises.

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Before you squeeze into those skinny jeans, you should know your outfit choices may have a hidden impact on your back health.

According to a recent survey by the British Chiropractic Association 73% of women suffer back pain, and a fashionable wardrobe may be partly to blame. Topping the list of popular wardrobe culprits are skinny jeans, oversized bags, hooded coats, backless shoes and heavy statement necklaces. These fashion items may restrict movement, change your gait, and cause undue strain, which can affect posture ultimately causing neck and back pain.

Read more about staying fashion-forward while saving your back.

dreamstime_m_79703241The holidays are a time for merriment and celebration, but preparing for the festivities can cause a good amount of stress. For those prone to back discomfort, added holiday tension may lead to pain. If someone on your holiday shopping can benefit from a little relief, why not consider one of these 3 stress-relieving gifts or even one of these more practical gifts to help ease back pain for sufferers.

Wishing you a happy, stress-free holiday!

With the holiday season getting into full swing, it’s time to start tackling that shopping. For those who suffer from back pain, shopping can become more of a chore than a pleasurable day out. This December there is no reason to be deterred, particularly if you use some basic shopping strategies to help keep your back pain at bay. Check out these fantastic tips from Consumer Reports to make your trip to the mall more enjoyable and pain free.

Let the holiday shopping begin!

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The start of the holiday season kicks off next Thursday with Thanksgiving! It’s the perfect holiday to spend with family and friends, but let’s face it – Turkey Day is a great deal of work. From lifting heavy birds to standing for hours to getting the house ready for out-of-town guests, the likelihood of triggering back pain can be fairly high. Whether you’re cooking, eating, or even relaxing, here are suggestions to help avoid pain and make your holiday more enjoyable. Happy Thanksgiving!

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For most, raking leaves is a once-a-year activity. The chore requires many out-of-the-ordinary movements like bending, reaching, twisting, and lifting. So it should come as no surprise the most common injuries associated with raking are back related. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, herniated discs in the neck or low back are especially common. Lesson Learned: Take caution before picking up that rake – most injuries are a result of poor technique or overload. Check out these tips to help avoid injury.