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Rehab Caribbean leads the way: REHABILITATION NOW

The Rehabilitation Institute of the Caribbean launched a new radio feature called REHABILITATION NOW, a program on a program on Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation for patients who have pain and/or dysfunction from injury or disease that affects muscles, tendons, nerves and joints.

January 6, 2014


90% of the population will have low back pain at some point in their lives, and in most cases the pain will resolve without seeking medical attention. The problem is, if nothing is done to manage the pain, 80% of the time the pain returns, and each time the pain may become more intense and may not be relieved as easily as before.

Low back pain can occur as a result of chronic overuse, or from injury to the low back muscles, intervertebral discs, ligaments, bone or the small facet joints in the back. Your doctor may diagnose you with one of the following: strained muscle, herniated (slip) disc, disc bulge, spinal stenosis, lumbar spondylosis (which is really spine arthritis with degenerative changes) or more uncommonly, spondylolisthesis, spondylysis or a compression fracture.  Low back pain from chronic overuse: seen in improper posture or movement while sitting, standing, walking, lifting or even while sleeping. The pain is usually localized to the low back and may be associated with muscle spasm and stiffness.

The first line of treatment is to avoid the aggravating activities: lift heavy weights with your knees bent and your spine straight or in a neutral position; maintain good posture while sitting, especially at a computer with knees, hips and elbows at about 90 degrees and with your elbow resting on an arm rest, while maintaining your elbow and wrist at one level, with the computer monitor in line with your eyes; Sleep with a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side, pillow behind knee while sleeping on your back and if you prefer to sleep on your tummy then place a pillow under your pelvis.

Your doctor may give you oral anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxant or a topical anti-inflammatory but Vitamin B complex, Calcium and Vitamin D may be added in patients with deficiencies. The lumbar spine has a natural curve called lordosis, which biomechanically distributes the pressure across the low back evenly. Strengthening the muscles of the core helps to maintain a neutral and stable spine.  Spine Rehabilitation programs focus on strengthening the muscles around the vertebral column- including the paraspinal muscles, gluteal (buttocks), pelvis floor muscles and the diaphragm. Tightness in hamstrings and hip flexors can pull on the pelvis and put additional strain on the low back, so flexibility of these muscles is incorporated in Spine Rehabilitation.

Compliance with a Spine home exercise program is essential to having a healthy spine and preventing back pain.