Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

Low Back Pain: Why Is It So Common?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

This question has plagued all of us, including researchers for a long time!  Could it be because we’re all inherently lazy and don’t exercise enough? Or maybe it’s because we have a job that’s too demanding on our back?  To properly address this question, here are some interesting facts:

  1. The prevalence of low back pain (LBP) is common, as 70-85% of ALL PEOPLE have back pain that requires treatment of some sort at some time in life.
  2. On a yearly basis, the annual prevalence of back pain averages 30% and once you have back pain, the likelihood of recurrence is high.
  3. Back pain is the most common cause of activity limitation in people less than 45 years of age.
  4. Back pain is the 2nd most frequent reason for physician visits, the 5th ranking reason for hospital admissions, and is the 3rd most common cause for surgical procedures.
  5. About 2% of the US workforce receives compensation for back injuries annually.
  6. Similar statistics exist for other countries, including the UK and Sweden.


So, what are the common links as to why back pain is so common?  One reason has to do with the biomechanics of the biped – that is, the two legged animal. When compared to the 4-legged species, the vertically loaded spine carries more weight in the low back, shows disk and joint deterioration and/or arthritis much sooner, and we overload the back more frequently because, well, we can! We have 2 free arms to lift and carry items that often weigh way too much for our back to be able to safely handle. We also lift and carry using poor technique. Another reason is anatomical as the blood supply to our disks is poor at best.  That makes healing of disk tears or cracks very difficult. Risk factors for increased back injury include heavy manual lifting requirements, poor or low control of the work environment, and prior incidence of low back pain.

Other risk factors include psychosocial issues such as fear of injury, beliefs that pain means one should not work, beliefs that treatment or time will not help resolve a back episode, the inability to control the condition, high anxiety and/or depression levels, and more.  Because there are so many reasons back problems exist, since the early 1990’s, it has been strongly encouraged that we as health care providers utilize a “biopsychosocial model” of managing those suffering with low back pain, which requires not only treatment but proper patient education putting to rest unnecessary fears about back pain.

Yours In Health!

Nathan Cokeley

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Get Up and Get Moving or Death by Couch

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

When it comes to movement, ANY type of movement can be beneficial and is definitely better than not moving at all ( ie. the couch).

Yes, simple movement and staying active can help prevent disease. Making small changes to your lifestyle can have an enormous impact when it comes to your health. Does it have to involve an intense grueling one-hour treadmill nightmare? Nope. Recommendations to establish some form of motion and activity are 30 minutes of moderate cardio per day and 8-10 strength training exercises with 10-15 repetitions of each exercise 2-3 times per week. This can be done all at once or broken up into different times throughout the day.

If your at home most the time, walk while your on the phone, squats while doing laundry, there is literally hundreds of ways to move throughout the day. It’s about prioritizing active movement in an increasingly sedentary world. One study showed positive effects on your health with as little as 7 minutes of exercise a week!! Another study showed that 4 minutes of high intensity exercise at one time can increase cardiovascular fitness. The point is that when it comes to movement, a little can go a long way to get you back on track. Any movement at all is better than none, especially over time.

The goal is not to run a marathon or lift an exorbitant amount of weights (unless that is your goal, then by all means go for it!), but rather to introduce new ways to get you up and moving every day. The health benefits are too great to overlook the power of movement. If you “get up and move” regularly, great! Keep up the good work! It’s doing you and your body a world of good. If you need to move more, start today! Take the first steps toward better health and feeling better overall today! You will not regret it.

Yours in Health!

Nathan Cokeley

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Key Thought: Moderation!

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Food is something I love. We all need food, and it’s a good thing to hunger, thirst, and then be satisfied. These are great things, but it can go bad and then get even worse. With the rise of obesity food has been one area where we have been caught up in.

Food can be our escape:

1. Stress eating – we feel uncomfortable and we turn to food.

2. Pleasure seeking – we plan everything around food and get great pleasure out of the next “event” that may have our favorite item.

3. Gluttony – Pushing ourselves to the max, to see how much we can ingest in one sitting, only to feel uncomfortable and then the cycle restarts.

Eating for nutrition and community instead of an escape:

1. Be grateful for your food and give thanks.

2. Slow down – enjoy your food with your family and friends. Slowing down helps you digest better and feel fuller faster.

3. Quality not quantity – We all have heard “choose local”. Practice it. Just because we can get a bucket of who knows for $5 compared to a bundle of veggies doesn’t make it a wise choice.

4. Eat out as a treat, not the norm – eating out is expensive, lazy, usually very high calorie and high salt. Invite friends over and prepare a meal together.

5. Avoid fake food – If it is synthetically man-made its probably best to avoid it. Also sugary soda’s and snacks don’t provide any real nutrients that our bodies need to thrive.

6. Pass on the seconds – That second trip to the food trough is best to avoid, rather enjoy spending time in good conversations with family and friends.


You will find if you eat less and exercise more, your weight will not be as troublesome and you will feel better too.

Yours In Health!

Nathan Cokeley



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