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Many of the items we use daily can cause serious damage to our necks and backs. Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, a spine surgeon at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases offers easy tips to spare patients from preventable injuries.
Purses and Knapsacks. Oversized purses and knapsacks are fashionable, but carrying a heavy bag can cause muscle spasms, slipped disks and herniations. Dr. Goldstein advises patients never to carry a bag that is more than 10 percent of their body weight. If they must carry a heavy bag, they should switch it from side to side to alternate the weight load.
High Heels. Wearing three- to five-inch heels can create dangerous stress on the hips and lower back. Women who can't give up their pumps should consider wearing flat, supportive shoes en route to the office and changing when they get there, Dr. Goldstein says.
Mattresses. Worn-out mattresses don't support the curves of the spine. Foam cushions can help rejuvenate the mattress and provide the necessary back support.
Pillows. Pillows last about two years. Sleeping on an older pillow may not provide adequate neck support. Furthermore, Dr. Goldsteins says patients need to find the right pillow to accommodate their sleeping position. People who sleep on their back should use a medium firm pillow with a smaller pillow under the knees. Those who sleep on their sides also should use a medium-firm pillow. Putting a pillow between the knees takes the stress off the hips. Stomach sleepers need a soft pillow with a gentle slope. Putting a small pillow under the tummy maintains the spine's natural curve.
Office Chairs. Sitting in an office chair for prolonged periods can cause low back pain or worsen an existing back or neck problem. Dr. Goldstein advises patients to take brief walks throughout the day. Rather than calling or emailing a coworker, stroll over to their desk to chat.
Dr. Goldstein is recognized as one of the leading spine surgeons in New York. He is a Clinical Professore of Orthopedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at the NYU School of Medicine. His expertise is sought by television, media, and magazines. His practice is focused on surgical treatment:
Dr. Goldstein serves as Director of the Spine Service at NYU Langone Medical Center Hospital for Joint Diseases.
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