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Senior Correspondent

Most back pain blog readers are well aware that I am no fan of surgical intervention for back pain. However, I do understand and accept that there are times for some people with certain back problems that spinal surgery is the way to go.

If it’s really unavoidable, then you may want to be living in Canada, preferably within striking distance of Toronto. There, neurosurgeon Dr. Howard Ginsberg is using an amazing piece of technology at St. Michaels Hospital to help him operate without opening up the back and exposing the spine.

A story on the Star.com website by Anne-Marie Tobin of The Canadian Press details a case history involving a young woman who suffered with a severe herniated disc problem after a sneeze. (Sound familiar?)

After two “standard” back surgeries, she had reached a point where her back pain was so bad she was barely able to walk. At which point she was referred to Dr. Ginsberg who is using a Ziehm 3D intraoperative scanner for spinal surgery.

This machine is accurate to within half a millimeter, and enables surgeons to place screws inside the body in a minimally invasive way, thus reducing the risk to the patient. Dr. Ginsberg describes it as “like virtual surgery, but you’re actually cutting people.”

In the case of the young lady in question, she had a five-level spinal fusion. A big operation which would normally involve weeks in the hospital, and take days to get up and start moving around.

She got up the morning following her surgery, and is now living a normal life once more. Quite remarkable. If you want to read the whole story click here.

Try the Royal Walk to Beat Back Pain

We all know that posture is extremely important when it comes to looking after your back. I came across this little piece on the daily mail website the other day which might make you smile.

Apparently, physiotherapist Sammy Margo advises her patients to walk like Prince Charles to reduce back pain and maintain a good posture.

Interlink your fingers from each hand behind your back as you stand and walk, just as Prince Charles does. “This will open up your chest and get your shoulders back and down, reversing the slumping posture many people have whilst sitting.” She says.

She goes on to say that poor posture throws the body out of it’s correct alignment, so certain muscles become overworked, while others, like the stomach muscles, weaken through lack of use. This can cause undue stress and strain, especially on the lower back.

So there you are, pretend you are going on a walkabout like Prince Charles next time you are out and do your back a favor. You can check out the article on this page.

Don’t Let Back Pain Ruin Your Festive Season

OK, I know it’s nearly over this time around (thank goodness do I hear you say?), but it’s still useful stuff. According to an article on Stamfordplus.com, the incidence of back related problems increase dramatically at this time of year.

Physiatrists (you can look that up here if you’re not sure, like me, what a physiatrist is) Dr. Peter Moley and Dr. Alice Chen practice in Greenwich, and see a large growth in the number of patients coming to them with back pain around this time.

The doctors say there are a number of reasons for this, with stress being a major contributor.

Drs. Moley and Chen have put together a few useful tips to maintain spine health and keep your back pain free during the Christmas holiday season.

I won’t list them now. If you want to know what they recommend click here.

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