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From the Doc

Articles and advice from our knowledgeable physicians to keep you and your back happy and healthy.

Tips for Caregivers

By Nima Salari, MD

When caring for a patient with neck or back pain, the caretaker faces emotional and at times physical challenges. It is difficult to watch a loved one experience pain symptoms. Many times being unsure of how to provide help can generate further anxiety about the situation. Know that as a caregiver you are not alone. In fact, statistically a broad majority of long term care for patients in the United States is provided by their family members. Know that you are appreciated and here are some tips to perhaps make the journey a bit lighter.

Understand the Condition Better

Knowledge about the underlying condition causing the pain symptoms goes a long way toward building confidence when you are in a caregiver role. Similarly understanding the methods prescribed to treat those symptoms can aide in better caregiving. Try to attend the visits with the health provider and help formulate a list of questions to ask. I caution you to rely too heavily on “Dr. Google”, but it may be a good idea to look up the meaning of the diagnoses made and read several other sources on the same topic. Finally, ask the pharmacist about the best sequence of utilizing the medications, the potential side effects, interactions and alternatives.

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Tips from a Spine Surgeon to Avoid Neck and Back Pain

By Nima Salari, MD

I have the privilege to see, evaluate, and treat patients from all walks of life. Despite the difference in sex, age, and every category imaginable, they all present with similar questions and concerns. Why do I hurt? What is the cause of the pain? How can I alleviate it? How can I prevent it?

I try to spend as much time with my patients to answer these questions. The reasons for the pain can be related to a multitude of sources. The treatments can vary just as much and we make every effort to customize our treatment plan to the individual patient.

Some answers remain universal, however. Those answers relate to steps patients can take on their own to either prevent neck and back pain or help improve their symptoms.

I have taken the time to scour through YouTube so that my patients don’t have to. Below, I have listed the top tips with the corresponding best quality video with appropriate content. As a general disclaimer, I have not reviewed the entire content by the individual or individuals and I always recommend that you discuss what you see with your provider. I also do not have a personal or financial relationship with any of the content creators. I am simply trying to put together helpful tips for my patients in one easy to access location.

Sleep well:

There are multiple longitudinal and population-based studies that demonstrate the importance of sleep. It is a topic that is outside my level of expertise, but I can personally emphasize the benefits of restful sleeping as it relates to lowering stress levels, helping boost the immune response, and more on topic: reduce incidence of neck and lower back pain. This video is one of the better ones I have come across with 5 very solid tips for better sleep.

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7 DOs and DON’Ts After Spine Surgery

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By Nima Salari, MD

Having surgery is a major step for any patient. Even with the shortest and simplest of surgeries, patients should follow instructions as discussed with their surgeon. This is a time to focus on healing and completing the plan set out with your care provider.

Every patient receives a packet with information about their planned surgery. I highly encourage you to look through the packet as it may answer many questions or raise others. Here is a list of DOs and DON’Ts to consider as you go through your recovery process.

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Preoperative Surgical Planning and Evaluation of Customized Instruments and Implants

By Nima Salari, MD

As surgeons we are always looking for ways to improve the care we provide. An often overlooked yet equally important factor are the steps taken prior to even setting foot in the operative suite. Pre-operative planning is a factor that was stressed heavily during residency and fellowship, but as technological improvements are made in the implants and instruments, seldom has anyone sought to improve the way in which pre-op planning is performed. As trends have shown, patients today want individualized care, customized implants, and concierge medicine.

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New guided approach to instrumented lumbar fusion evolved from earlier methods

By Nima Salari, MD

The recent introduction of 3-D-printed and patient-matched pedicle screw guides has modernized spine surgery planning and procedures. The process for this patient-matched approach provides for an efficient and effective technique that reduces radiation exposure and can save hospitals and health systems on expenditures for capital purchases, such as navigation systems or CT-scanning technology. In addition, surgeons are less reliant today on free-hand techniques than they once were.

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Physical Therapy and Improved Health

By Nima Salari, MD

Often patients ask me whether physical therapy is necessary before or after surgery. Although some conditions that cause severe debilitating pain may not respond to therapy right away, patients find a degree of relief in most cases. We typically do not exercise enough and when we do, many of us use poor form or do not do the correct exercises.

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Is back or neck pain holding you back?

Is back or neck pain holding you back from golfing, biking, tennis, hiking, or some other fun activity? Dr. Nima Salari is here to help. Dr. Salari appeared on the Social Station Arizona to speak about how to treat your back and neck pain and when to consult a spine surgeon.

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