National Spine Health Foundation

The National Spine Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those with neck and back pain through education research and patient advocacy. We educate Americans about the treatment and prevention of neck and back disorders, helping to prove what works, drive innovation and support patients on their journey toward spinal health.

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Do you feel numbness and tingling in your arm? Do you feel pain in your back, sometimes radiating into your leg? That might be due to an underlying neck or back problem. Search our site to find the answers you need!

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Eat to Strengthen Your Bones, Ligaments, Cartilage, & Muscles

Aside from taking more walking breaks or getting a standing desk, you can also eat to keep your structure strong.

Jun 15, 2018wpengine

Scoliosis Information You Can Use

At the Spine Health Foundation, we’re here for you when it comes to all issues of spine health. Scoliosis is a condition that affects 2-3% of the population and we are lucky enough to work with some of the best experts in the country. As these doctors and experts continue to seek out the best […]

Jul 01, 2020wpengine

Poor Posture & its Effects on the Body

Poor Posture & its Effects on the Body Posture is defined as “the relative position of the body at any one period of time”. Correct posture or neutral posture is a position in which minimal stress is applied to the body’s muscles, tissues, joints, and ligaments, providing the most energy efficient movement. The central nervous […]

Apr 08, 2015wpengine

Lifelong Nutrition for Healthy Bones

Ours bones play many roles in the body, from providing structure and support and protecting our organs to acting as a mineral storage for calcium and phosphorous. However, bone health is often overlooked until the diagnosis of osteoporosis or the occurrence of a fragility fracture later in life. Good nutrition throughout life plays a vital […]

May 12, 2020wpengine

Your Patient Journey

Spinal Symptoms Begin Spinal Stenosis surgery was an ultimate diagnosis and treatment for Paul, but it didn't begin there. Here's Paul's story, in his own words: The onset of my spinal symptoms included itching of my arms and the back of my neck, muscle weakness, stiffness, aching, lack of sleep, and constant pain in the back of my neck down to between my shoulder blades. I decided to address these symptoms with a surgeon who performed an anterior cervical fusion in October 2007. However, the surgery was unsuccessful and the physical pain returned. Soon after surgery, I started my own business. This induced much anxiety, because although the pain was becoming unbearable, I couldn’t neglect work. The pain and anxiety had an effect on my family as well. As a result, I was not myself physically, and to concentrate on anything else in life was getting harder. I found no relief in any position - standing, sitting, or lying down. Knowing that my quality of life was affected due to the daily battle with pain, I was forced to make an appointment with a specialist. Looking for guidance? Go on our Patient Journey! Spinal Stenosis Treatment & Recovery A year after my initial surgery, I found Dr. Brian Subach at Virginia Spine Institute for a consultation. He recounts his examination and findings: “Paul initially presented to me describing 80% neck pain and 20% symptoms in his arms, specifically left-sided neck achiness and right arm numbness. The constant pain in his neck radiated down toward the left shoulder and he also had numbness in his right forearm down to his right thumb. He had similar symptoms in 2007 involving the left arm, which resolved after an anterior cervical fusion was attempted at C3/C4, C4/C5, and C6/C7. On examination, flexion forward of the cervical spine caused pain, although extension to thirty degrees caused no discomfort. Light touch sensation was normal in both upper and lower extremities and on neurological testing his reflexes were brisk, 3/4 in both the arms and legs. There was a Hoffmann’s sign present bilaterally, indicating damage or compression of the spinal cord in the neck. >>>>>>> A Back Pain Treatment that Worked: Mary Lou's Story Having a presumptive diagnosis of cervical degenerative arthritis with previous attempted surgery and recurrent neck pain, my concern was one of two possible diagnoses; there was either a failure of the fusion to heal properly or there was progression of disease to involve a previously normal level. He had x-rays done at our office which demonstrated failure of the bone grafts to heal in the disc spaces where the fusion had been attempted. There was clearly plate fixation on the front of the spine, however, there was also a clear gap between the donor bone and the endplate confirming a pseudarthrosis, or false fusion. Essentially, instead of healing solid bone, scar tissue finds its way into the area and there is continued motion. The bending x-rays demonstrated that the area of the attempted fusion still moved. His MRI scan demonstrated evidence of signal change or a white area in the substance of the spinal cord, which indicated compression of the spinal cord and damage. In this area, there was spinal stenosis, which was significant and needed to be addressed.” Spinal Stenosis surgery would be necesaary. Previously, I had tried several different non-operative treatments including chiropractors, massage therapy, physical therapy, pain relievers, traction, and a previous surgery for this same issue. Dr. Subach shared his recommendations and the procedure we decided to pursue: “I discussed with Paul the two problems that I saw. The first problem was the failure of the fusion to heal properly, which meant that he would need a revision operation from the front side of the neck. My second concern was his forward flexed posture and persistent spinal stenosis which would require a decompression from the back of the neck. I discussed doing this in two phases: on day one, a posterior cervical laminoplasty to make sure the spinal cord had adequate room and on day two, plate removal followed by revision anterior cervical fusion, placing a single plate across the front of the spine. On January 3, 2011, Paul underwent a posterior cervical decompression laminectomy and fusion. At the time of surgery, I had planned to do a laminoplasty procedure, which would have given the spinal cord additional room but kept the supporting ligaments. During that attempted procedure, he developed an acute deterioration in his somatosensory-evoked potentials and motor-evoked potentials while he was on the table. That meant that my manipulation of his spinal cord was causing him to lose function in both his arms and legs. Therefore, I decided to change the procedure from a laminoplasty to a decompression laminectomy, which would certainly be faster. Upon completion of the operation, he did move both his legs as well as the right arm. His left arm did not move initially but began moving shortly after starting the corticosteroid protocol for spinal cord damage. Paul made a reasonable recovery in both his legs and arms. We had excellent decompression of the spinal cord, however, he still had the pseudarthrosis to deal with. After waiting nearly two months for him to recover, he was taken back to surgery on March 16, 2011 to undergo revision anterior cervical fusion. I removed the previous plates, chiseled out the failed bone grafts, and revised his fusion, restoring his normal posture, his normal alignment, and decompressing the spinal cord beautifully. He had no problems with this operation, from positioning to wake up and was moving his arms and legs. Over the ensuing months, Paul obviously had discomfort, which gradually improved with physical therapy and time. His ability to use his arms and legs continued to improve, and by the time I last saw him in December 2012, he had absolutely no neck pain and had recovered normal function in his arms and legs. He essentially required revision surgery for a difficult problem, became transiently paralyzed on the operating table, regained his function, underwent anterior cervical reconstruction, and is now pain-free!” Paul's Life Today Since surgery to help my Spinal Stenosis, my life has changed drastically. I no longer need pain medicine on a daily basis; the itching and pain down my arms and back of my neck are gone. I now have more range of motion than even before surgery. I can do the physical labor necessary for my business without having to stop due to pain. Additionally, sleeping through the night is now possible. I am able to walk and participate in recreation with my kids, like a game of football, riding dirt bikes, and my favorite past time, drag racing. The anxiety I felt before surgery due to not seeing any relief in sight is a thing of the past. I would recommend to anyone going through similar issues with chronic pain to please consider a consultation with a specialist who looks at a patient as a whole, not just a number on a chart - taking into consideration your family, lifestyle, work, and recreation. You can get your life back. See more stories from our Spinal Champions here!

Sep 19, 2019wpengine

Your Patient Journey

Your Patient Journey serves as a unique patient education and advocacy initiative that aspires to prevent injuries, help patients achieve improved spinal health, strengthen provider-patient relationships, and reduce the uncertainty and anxiety experienced by those suffering from spinal injuries and disorders. Through the cooperation of our Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Directors, and Centers of Excellence, we are able to apply an unmatched level of medical expertise to these issues, resulting in meaningful and accessible information that will help patients overcome their challenges and achieve improved spinal health.

PREVENT AND IDENTIFY SYMPTOMS OF BACK AND NECK PAIN.

 

Prevention: Behavior and lifestyle factors that help prevent back and neck pain.

  • Posture: Proper spinal alignment helps to alleviate and prevent back pain.
  • Workplace Ergonomics: Maintaining a healthy back and neck at the office.
  • Safe Lifting: Avoid back pain with stress reducing practices.
  • Relax: Avoid back pain with stress reducing practices
  • Sleeping: Identify the best ways to sleep for a healthy back.
  • Smoking: Understand the impact that smoking has on bone density, disc health, connective tissues, and more.
  • Nutrition and Weight Control: Maintaining a healthful weight and good nutrition assists in back pain prevention and reduces stress on the spine.
  • Exercise: A commitment to fitness helps prevent back pain and speed recovery if pain does occur.
  • Physical Therapy for Prevention: Consider physical therapy before pain occurs to avoid back and neck pain from occurring at all.
  • Spine Specialists: A guide for choosing a medical professional that fits your needs.
UNDERSTAND CONDITIONS AND HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH PROVIDERS.

 

Choosing a Specialist: Identify the best spine specialists for you.

Conditions: Learn more about your spinal health condition.

  • Disc Degeneration: The aging process of the discs in the spine that can be either minor discomfort or inhibiting pain.
  • Facet Syndrome: Inflammation of the facet joints that are located between the vertebrae in your spine.
  • Herniated Disc: Wear and tear of the spine over the years.
  • Spondylolisthesis: Pain caused by one bone in the back sliding in front of the bone below it.
  • Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal column resulting in varying degrees of discomfort.
  • Diagnostic Procedures: Understand the different testing and imaging techniques.
EXPLORE TREATMENT OPTIONS THAT WORK.

 

Non-Surgical Treatment: Available alternatives to surgical treatment.

  • Acupuncture: The stimulation of anatomical points on the body using various techniques.
  • Aquatic Therapy:  Aquatic therapy assists in developing core strength and can support pain reduction and healing.
  • Chiropractic:  A qualified, reputable chiropractor can be used under certain circumstances to assist in back and neck pain treatment.
  • Ice or Heat?: Choosing between ice and heat for injuries depends on the type of injury and also personal preferences.
  • Injections: Injections performed by a specialists can result in pain reduction without surgical intervention.
  • Medications: Different types of medications can assist in spinal pain alleviation, although are not a singular treatment option.
  • Physical Therapy: Inflammation management, improved mobility, and return to functional movement are all part of physical therapy.
  • Regenerative Therapy: Allows the body to heal from within by rejuvenating and regenerating cells, replacing damaged tissue, and restoring function.

Surgical Treatment: Surgical options available to alleviate back and neck pain.

  • Deciding to have Surgery: Determine if surgery is the path for you.
  • Preparing for Surgery:  A guide for patients on what to do to making surgery easier and less stressful.
  • Artificial Disc Replacement:  An artificial disc is designed to closely replicate a real disc and its functions.
  • Fusion: The joining of two vertebraes in the spine.
  • Laminotomy/Laminectomy: Surgery performed to alleviate pressure on spinal nerves and/or spinal cord.
  • Laminoplasty:  Surgery which allows more room to the spinal cord in the neck when it is compressed by disc material, bone spurs, or ligaments.
  • Microdisectomy:  With a small incision, professionals are able to alleviate nerve pain.
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery:  Technical innovations and advances allow surgeons to perform less invasive surgery resulting in quicker recoveries and less complications in patients.
DISCOVER RESOURCES AND WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY.
  • FAQ: Answers to common questions post-surgery.
  • Caregiver Support: Useful information on how to care for and support a loved one.

 

CELEBRATE YOUR STORY BECAUSE YOU ARE A SPINAL CHAMPION!

Our Spinal Champion program provides relief from the emotional and physical challenges that spinal patients face. We are pioneering patient support initiatives that bring together spinal patients, allowing them to share their experiences, offer support, and find strength and comfort in others who are battling similar challenges.

Spinal Champion: A person who has achieved an improved quality of life through treatment for neck or back pain.
The moment you step foot into one of our Center of Excellence, their team will work collaboratively to support you in achieving the goal of becoming a Spinal Champion. Join the We’ve Got Your Back campaign and celebrate with others by participating in one of our events!

Share Your Story: We love to hear from our Spinal Champions – your stories will inspire, teach, and provide hope for others. No story is too small; each journey to recovery is equally powerful and helps build awareness and hope. Celebrate your success while inspiring others and share your story!

 

Latest News

Welcome to #spinehacks™! Here you will find all of our social media posts intended to provide you with simple ways to improve the way you care for your spine each day.

Want to see more of these? Follow us @SpineHealthFoundation (FacebookInstagram) and @SpineHealthFdn (Twitter) as well as on YouTube and LinkedIn.

 

Top Spine Doctors Join To Improve Neck and Back Pain

For immediate release: November 5, 2020 Contact: Ericka Andersen | eandersen@spinehealth.org | 703-909-5515 Reston,... Read More

Dr. Jeffrey Gum: Research is the Key

Dr. Jeffrey Gum, Norton Leatherman Spine Center Dr. Jeffrey Gum is a spine surgeon... Read More

Spinal Champion® Paul: Spinal Stenosis Surgery and Recovery

Spinal Symptoms Begin Spinal Stenosis surgery was an ultimate diagnosis and treatment for Paul,... Read More

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OUR PROGRAMS

Spine-Talks® is the premier educational platform designed to improve lives through knowledge and hope, featuring the latest diagnostics, therapeutics, and technological advancements. Join our community and hear from national experts discussing current spinal health topics you need to know!

Welcome to #spinehacks™! Here you will find all of our social media posts intended to provide you with simple ways to improve the way you care for your spine each day.

Want to see more of these? Follow us @SpineHealthFoundation (FacebookInstagram) and @SpineHealthFdn (Twitter) as well as on YouTube and LinkedIn.

Join the nation’s largest 5K event to celebrate healthy spines and benefit those suffering with neck and back pain. The We’ve Got Your Back Race for Spinal Health consists of a timed 5K race and a 1 mile family-friendly fun run/walk. All are welcome to join! Save the Date: The 13th Annual We’ve Got Your Back event will be held on May 17, 2020!

Our Spinal Champion® program provides much needed relief from the emotional and physical challenges that spinal patients face. We are pioneering patient support initiatives that bring together spinal patients, allowing them to share their experiences, offer support, and find strength and comfort in others who are battling similar challenges.

The Get Back To It Podcast exists to tell real stories of healing and recovery from Spinal Champions® – people who have achieved better quality of life through the treatment of neck or back pain! We believe that sharing these success stories creates a community of hope and encouragement for those in various stages of their patient journey. We can’t wait to hear your story.

Our largest networking event of the year, the Gala celebrates the power of hope, gives a nod to the innovative future, and recognizes Spinal Champions®, a person who has achieved an improved quality of life through neck or back treatment. This special event also honors some of the most influential individuals within spinal health during the Spinal Champion® Award Ceremony and will conclude with a Dessert Reception, where patients, physicians, industry leaders, and members of the community have the opportunity to network and exchange ideas, producing an overwhelmingly positive and innovative energy.

From Ask the Expert interviews to review articles, our national network of Centers of Excellence contribute to The Spine Health Journal, a patient-centered, research-driven publication produced by the Foundation.

The Patient Journey Project is a unique patient education and advocacy initiative that aspires to prevent injuries, help patients achieve improved spinal health, strengthen provider-patient relationships, and reduce the uncertainty and anxiety experienced by those suffering from spinal injuries and disorders.

A monthly curated collection on #spinehacks™ and other tips and tricks on how to maintain a healthy spine.

#1

reason for doctor visits for physical pain and most common non-cancer related opioid prescriptions in the U.S.

264 million

lost work days per year due to neck and back pain

100 million

Americans (1/3 of U.S. population), suffer from neck or back pain each year

4x

more likely to become clinically depressed when suffering from debilitating neck or back pain

The # 1

cause of job-related disability in the U.S.

2nd highest

doctor visits after the common cold

80%

of working adults will experience lower back pain in their lifetime

$250b

annual cost to U.S. economy