Maine Spine & Nerve Institute - The Back and Neck Surgery Alternative
In the Portland area, patients seeking back pain and neuropathy relief have many healthcare options.
And from clinic to clinic, they're likely to encounter a diverse range of recommendations. For the same set of spine and nerve symptoms, some providers may prescribe pain medication, and others may recommend back or neck surgery. Lately, though, more and more providers are recommending that patients start with a non-invasive treatment approach.
At Maine Spine & Nerve Institute, we specialize in that approach.
We begin by diagnosing the origin of your pain, and then proceed to correct the underlying condition through non-surgical spinal decompression therapy.
After a course of treatment here, many of our patients are able to avoid surgery and expensive, addictive prescriptions. And we've even been able to achieve success in patients who have gone through failed back surgery.
If you're struggling with spine and nerve symptoms, we'd love to see if we could help. The initial consultation is free, and you can request your appointment by filling out the form above on this page.
Health Care Articles
It’s not just lifting incorrectly that can put your back at risk for pain. Dr. Douglas VanderPloeg, founder of Maine Spine & Nerve Institute, shares some of the more surprising back-pain causes.
Things you might do every day …
- Sneezing – Sneezing significantly increases pressure or load on lumbar discs. A way to minimize this is to bend your knees when you sneeze to alleviate the pressure in the back.
- Carrying backpacks, briefcases or purses – When looking for a bag, aim for symmetry by choosing thick straps to disperse the weight more evenly. If you use single-strap bags, such as purses or briefcases, be sure to switch hands every now and then. Once the bag is fully packed, check its weight. It is recommended to carry no more than 10 percent of your body weight. It’s also a good idea to take your cue from pilots and flight attendants, and use a bag on wheels. This can be particularly beneficial to schoolchildren.
- Sitting for long periods of time – Compared to standing, sitting for long periods of time increases the load on the lumbar spine.
- Poor posture – Poor posture while standing, walking and even sitting can add strain to the muscles and stress on the spine. Over time, it can actually change anatomical characteristics of the spine.
- Smoking – Nicotine restricts blood flow to the discs that cushion the vertebrae and can increase the rate of degeneration. Cigarette smoking is also linked to reduced calcium absorption and hindered new bone growth. Additionally heavy coughing from heavy smoking can cause back pain.
… or things might not do at all
- Get enough vitamin D and calcium – Vitamin D is essential for overall health. It’s also important to make sure your diet includes calcium-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, figs, oranges and dairy products.
- Wear proper footwear – Walking in high heels increases the lumbosacral angle, placing more stress on the joints and muscles in the spine. Poor footwear in general – such as those that are too tight, too loose, have a slippery sole or too high of a heel or without fastenings to control the fit - will change gait, causing muscle fatigue and, in turn, pain. Poor footwear is also responsible for many accidents outdoors, such as ankle strains and sprains as well as breaks to the lower extremity
- Exercise – Pilates, swimming, walking and bicycling are recommended, along with movements to improve flexibility. Lack of exercise, especially exercises that strengthen the core, can lead to poor posture and increased back pain.
- Excess weight – Excess weight in the midsection shifts the center of gravity forward and adds additional strain to back muscles.
And watch out for…
- Stress – While stress won’t cause back pain, it will certainly symptom-magnify. This is true not only with back pain, but pain at large. The mind-body connection is very real.
- Emotional factors cause physiological changes such as constriction of blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves in the back.
- This causes a decrease in oxygen as well as a buildup of biochemical waste products, in turn prompting muscle tension, spasm and pain.
- Giving into the pain by not doing anything - Research indicates that prolonged bed rest might increase pain and potentially lead to complications such as depression, blood clots in the legs and decreased muscle tone. Activity, on the other hand, increases blood flow to the affected area, which can help reduce inflammation and reduce muscle tension.
Don’t wait for your back pain to progress. Take advantage of a free consultation with Maine Spine & Nerve Institute. The physicians there have got your back.