Sean Kelly, DO, one of our adult and pediatric spine surgeons, explains why spine health is important for people of all ages.
The spine is important for balance and posture, but the spine also plays an essential role in nearly all bodily functions. Therefore, maintaining good spine health is important in avoiding a multitude of health issues.
“Spine health is important for patients of all ages because children, adolescents and adults all experience back pain at some point in their lives,” Dr. Kelly shares. “In fact, neck pain, upper back pain and low back pain are, hands down, the most common chief complaints for a spine surgeon in the office.”
Dr. Kelly says to also keep an eye out for the most notable signs of poor spinal health. These signs including:
- sore or stiff back, neck or shoulders
- numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- difficulty with or recent change in bowel/bladder health
- difficulty walking or frequent falls
- buttock/leg pain when walking long distances
- difficulty with fine motor tasks like buttoning a shirt, opening a jar or decreased grip strength
“Chronic pain can exacerbate certain disorders like depression and anxiety, it can stimulate new psychosocial disorders, affect school in children or work in adults, and even affect people’s ability to provide for their families,” Dr. Kelly continues.
Thankfully, he says 90 percent of back pain goes away with conservative management, including physical therapy, core strengthening, anti-inflammatories and time. When pain persists, X-rays and other imaging studies, like MRIs and CT scans, may be needed. However, this is not until the patient has been assessed by a spine specialist.
To maintain a healthy spine, Dr. Kelly says to:
- stretch and strengthen the back and core
- maintain a healthy weight
- be mindful when lifting heavy objects, especially athletes and manual laborers
- avoid a sedentary lifestyle
Learn more about the spine care services we offer at Bon Secours.