Daily Stretch Routine for Your Lower Back

So many of us feel it – that tightness of the lower back. The daily tasks we do can easily cause strain, so the key is the keep the muscles and ligaments of the area strong and limber. Here is our recommended routine that doesn’t take much time and can be done daily. Before you get started, though, if you are suffering with acute or chronic pain, be sure to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists before you start any exercise routine. 

Knee to Chest

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Wrap your hands around one knees and pull towards your chest while keeping your other foot on the floor. Hold for 15 seconds, then alternate. Repeat 2-3 times. 

Knee Rotation

Remaining on your back with your feet on the ground, bring the knees together. Slowly allow the knees to drop to one side as low as you can comfortably bring them. Hold for 15 seconds, then rotate to the other side and hold again. Repeat 2-3 times. 

Hip Bridge

In the same starting position as the two previous exercises, with feet flat on the floor, lay your hands to the ground palms down. Slowly raise your hips to the sky while tightening your belly, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for 10-15 seconds and slowly lower your hips. Repeat 5 times. Increase repetitions as you progress. 


Rotate onto your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and your back flat. Slowly round your back towards the sky, while tightening your belly, easing your head down towards the space between your arms. Hold for 10 seconds, the slowly reverse the movement, bringing your abdomen down towards the floor and your head up glancing up towards the sky. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. 

Knee to Elbow

In the same staring position as Cat/Cow, extend your right hand out in front of you and your left leg out behind you. Slowly bring your right elbow and left knee toward each other while rounding your back, then extend them back away. Repeat 5 times, then move on to the other side (left arm, right leg)

Knee Hug

In the final move, roll back on to your back. Bring both knees up to your chest and wrap your arms around them, hugging them close to you. Rock your body left to right. Hold for 15 seconds. Release your knees and extend your legs out, then repeat the knee hug. Repeat two more times. 

Try these exercise for a week or two and let us know how you feel! If you have any questions, we’re always ready to help you feel your best. Give one of our conveniently located offices a call.

Avoiding Fall-time Injuries

Schools in session and it’s that time of year where the air is changing to a crisp autumn wind. With the come of Fall, comes the increase in season-related injuries. Here is our advice to minimize your risk and keep you safe.

Home Maintenance

Gutter Cleaning

If you decide to take on cleaning your gutters, be sure to apply good ladder safety and avoid doing so during wet weather. Best is to hire a professional.

Leaf Clean-up

Find the tools that fit your body. The right height on a rake will ease stress on your back. And as with any physical activity, warming up your body beforehand can prevent injury.


Preparing your yard for the winter months includes use of powertools like hedge-clippers and lawnmowers. Be sure to abide by product safety guidelines, keep tools out of reach of minors and use protective gear like steel-shoe shoes and glasses.

Winter Prep

Prevent injuries for the next season by checking walkways for cracks where water can pool, creating ice hazards in winter. Also, make sure to place driveway markers to mark a path when edges are covered in snow.


With more comfortable weather here and school sports underway, there are more instances of sport-related injuries. Follow these guidelines to prevent injuries:

  • See a physician for a physical
  • Warm up prior to activity
  • Stay hydrated before, during and after
  • Inspect equipment (ie. shin guards, pads, etc.)
  • Invest in proper footwear
  • Stretch your body after activity
  • Don’t push through pain, consult a doctor

With these precautions, you can enjoy all that this Fall season has to offer. If you need us, the specialists at Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are here to keep you going.

Dehydration and Orthopedic Injury

As summer heat intensifies, so does the risk of dehydration. Physical activity in hot temperatures, no matter how intense, requires proper and regular hydration. So, in regards to orthopedics, why is this so important? Here is how hydration and orthopedic injuries are related and how to keep them at bay.

Function of Hydration on Muscles

Proper hydration keeps the muscles pliable, meaning they contract and relax with ease. With lack of water in the body, tension and cramping can occur, increasing the risk of sprains, tears and fractures. In addition, dehydration can cause joint pain as the lubrication fluid between joints are made mostly of water. Beyond orthopedics, good hydration has numerous health benefits including preventing headaches, kidney stones, urinary tract infections and more.

Warning Signs of Dehydration

If you’re feeling any of the following early warning signs, be sure to take action.

  • Dark colored, strong smelling urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling of thirst with lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Decreased frequency in urination
  • Fatigue

Staying Hydrated

Here are some tips to keep dehydration at bay, especially during summer months:

  • Set a daily goal for water consumption (recommend starting with a goal you can accomplish then adding on)
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
  • Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go
  • Set up phone reminders to keep you drinking water
  • Take water breaks often when performing physical tasks or exercising
  • Track the amount of water you’ve drank all day
  • Avoid coffee or other caffeinated drinks

With a conscious commitment to staying hydrated, you’ll reap all the health benefits that comes with it – orthopedic and beyond! As always, if you have any questions, give our specialists a call!

4 Common Causes of Summertime Injury

Here in the Northeast, we’re all more active in the hot summer months. With vacations planned and kids out of school, we’re listing the most common causes of injuries so you won’t miss out on any fun this summer.

Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a great way to stay in shape with less stress on your joints, but pool related injuries are all too common in the summer. Slipping on wet pool decks, unsupervised diving, and similar incidents can lead to serious medical consequences. Check out our Pool Safety blog post for details on how to stay safe.

Bicycle Injuries

From kids to adults, more and more bicycle riders are out on the roads once the weather warms up. As a rider it’s imperative to stay alert, keep your bike in shape and wear your helmet. We have all the tips in our Cycling Safety blog post.

Sport-related Injuries

With ideal weather for outdoor sports, like tennis and golf, there comes in increase in related injuries. In addition to sudden injuries like muscle strains or sprains, symptoms from conditions like tennis/golf elbow and osteoarthrtitis may get worse with increased activity. It’s important not to let these signs of injury linger so you have more options for treatment.

Home Maintenance-related Injuries

Spring and summer house maintenance can be rewarding, but could also come with some risks. Traumatic injuries from lawnmowers and other power tools are all too common during the warmer months, as are falls from ladders. Read more on ladder and gardening safety tips in our blog posts.

Just by being aware of these injury risks for summer will allow you to make better decisions as you partake in this active season. And as always, if you need us at NEOSM, our specialists are here to help you all season long.

All About Herniated Disks

You may have heard of or known someone with a herniated disk, but have you ever wondered what exactly the condition means (aside from causing back pain)? We break down all there is to know and what treatment options are available.

Anatomy of the Spine

In order to know what a herniated disk is, it’s important to understand the role of disks in your spine. Your spine is comprised of:

  • Vertebrae – bones stacked upon each other which create a canal to protect the spinal cord.
  • Spinal cord & nerves – part of your nervous system, the spinal cord delivers messages from the brain to the muscles of the body
  • Intervertebral disks – flat and round, these disks are found between the vertebrae. They are flexible and absorb shock from movement like running or walking. They are made of two components: a touch flexible outer ring (annulus fibrosus) and a soft jelly-like center (nucleus pulposus).

Herniated Disk

When the soft center of the disk pushes against or even squeezes past the outer ring, it is herniated. It can put pressure directly on the spinal cord, causing pain that can extend from the lower back down the leg. If a disk is herniated in the neck, pain can be felt through the neck, shoulder or arm.

Wear and tear on the intervertebral discs can cause them to weaken, so age, occupation and weight are risk factors to be aware of.


Most patients are able to find relief through non-surgical treatment options such as:

  • Rest
  • Medication
  • Cold & Heat
  • Physical Therapy
  • Steroid injections

Surgical options include Lumbar miscrodiskectomy, where the portion of the disk that is bulging and applying pressure on the spinal cord is removed, and cervical discectomy with fusion or disk replacement, where the damaged disc is removed and replaced with either bone or an artificial disk.

If you are experiencing unusual pain, don’t ignore it until it gets worse. The specialists of the Spine Center at NEOSM are skilled in all forms of treatment to help ease your symptoms. Contact us for an evaluation.

Source: OrthoInfo

Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

Our bodies are designed to support all our physical activity. But when the stress gets to be too much, tissues can tear or be damaged, leading to inflammation. This is true of a specific heel pain caused by what is called Plantar Fasciitis.

Connecting your heel to the front of your foot, the plantar fascia is a ligament running the length of the bottom of the foot. It helps support the arch. When strain leads to inflammation of the plantar fascia, it stiffens and causes pain in the heel. Pain may appear most severe when the foot is in a long period of rest, taking some time to subside with some walking, or after an exercise session.

What puts you at risk of plantar fasciitis?

  • High arches or flat feet
  • Regular high impact activity, like running
  • Career which requires standing on a hard surface for an extended amount of time (ie. nurses, factory workers)
  • Obesity
  • Tight calf muscles

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Luckily, majority of those who suffer with plantar fasciitis can find relief through non-surgical treatment options, including:

  • Eliminating activities that are contributing to the inflammation. Allowing your foot the proper amount of time to heal is important, in fact, your doctor may recommend a walking boot to help facilitate the rest.
  • Icing the bottom of your foot a few times a day will help reduce inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen will ease the pain.
  • Specific stretches to elongate the calf muscles will assist in releasing the stress on the plantar fascia. Your doctor may recommend you see a physical therapist who can work with you on a specific exercise program.
  • The proper footwear to reduce the stress on the bottom of the foot is recommended, along with orthotic inserts like heel pads.

Other treatments your orthopedic specialist may recommend include cortisone injection, casting, or even surgery, which is visited only when non-surgical treatments have shown no improvement.

If you’re suffering with heel pain, reach out to the orthopedic specialists at NEOSM for a consultation to plan your route to recovery.

Source: OrthoInfo

Hydration and Joint Pain

It’s no secret that drinking water is a huge part of maintaining optimal health. There are many signs that you may be dehydrated, but one you may not think of is how your joints feel. Here’s how hydration and joint pain are linked.

  • Cartilage Function

Your body’s joints – your knees, elbows, hips – are up to 80% cartilage. The main job of cartilage is to reduce the friction between the bones while the joint moves.  Water plays a crucial part in helping cartilage perform its duty by supporting its structure.

  • Eliminating Toxins

Drinking an adequate amount of water daily flushes out toxins from your body. Toxins can cause inflammation – and in the joints, inflammation means pain. It can also worsen symptoms of arthritis.

  • Healing from Injury

By keeping your ligaments, tendons and muscles pliable, proper hydration is key in recovering from injury or surgery.

Tips to increase your daily water intake:

  • Always have reusable water bottle nearby. Be sure to sip throughout the day
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can dehydrate the body
  • Eat fruits and vegetables rich in water-content like cucumbers and watermelon

These tips will help keep minor dehydration at bay, but severe dehydration can be a serious condition, therefore it’s important to seek medical help if symptoms continue or worsen. For joint pain that interferes with your daily activities, call the specialists at NEOSM for a consultation.

Pop Quiz: Test Your Orthopedic Knowledge

How about a pop quiz? Orthopedic fun-facts, safety tips… how do you think you’ll do answering these questions? Let us know how you do! (answers at the bottom of the page)

*Here’s a tip – all the answers can be found in our News & Blog posts! 

1. Which of these should you NOT do when in a cast?

A. Elevate as needed

B. Wash the cast with soap and water

C. Keep it clean

D. Have people sign it

2. TRUE or FALSE: Tommy John is a tendon in the elbow.

3. Bending your head down 45-60% can put as much as XX lbs of force on your upper spine.

A. 30 lbs

B. 60 lbs

C. 75 lbs

D. 90 lbs

4. ______ is responsible for over 2 million fractures per year

Arthritis OR Osteoporosis

5. What should you bring with you to your orthopedic appointment?

A. Insurance card

B. List of medications or supplements

C. Questions

D. All of the above

6. Aside from calcium, which vitamin is essential for bone health?

A. Vitamin A

B. Vitamin B

C. Vitamin C

D. Vitamin D

7. According to Dr. Ilan, is cracking your knuckles bad?

A. Yes

B. No

C. No, but just don’t do it around him.

8. TRUE OR FALSE: People hurt themselves cutting avocados so often that there’s a name for it.


  1. B. You should always try to keep your cast dry. We share more cast care tips in this post.
  2. False. Tommy John surgery is named for the famous pitcher it was first performed on. Here’s more about it.
  3. B. Looking down at your computer or phone puts a lot of pressure on your neck. We explain in our Text Neck article.
  4. Osteoporosis. Learn all about preventative measures here.
  5. D. Find out all you need to prepare for your appointment in our guide.
  6. D. Read all 5 keys to bone health.
  7. C. He doesn’t like it, but see why it’s ok.
  8. True. Yup, it’s called Avocado Hands and it could be pretty serious. Here’s our preferred way to prep our favorite add-on.