“Do I Have To Have Surgery If I Have A Herniated Disc?”

This is a common question I hear from patients who arrive in my office having just visited the physician and learned that they have a herniated disc. They see the x-ray of the spine. They see the MRI or may be the CT-scan. Then get inundated with a lot of information where they don’t understand all the big words AND all of that combined can seem pretty scary and confusing. They often leave not the physician office not really knowing what to do next.

What exactly is a herniated disc?

Rather than get all fancy with big medical words, the best way to describe a herniated disc is to think of a jelly donut. The outer donut part is the outer portion of your disc and the jelly part of the donut is the gel-like substance in the inner part of the disc.

A herniated disc has different levels of complexity. Less complex means that the jelly is starting to bulge into the donut part but you can’t see the jelly yet. Moderately complex means that the jelly is bulging more and...

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The Best 4 Tips to Improve Your Golf Score AND Keep You On The Course All Season Without Back or Shoulder Pain

I had a guy stroll into my office and exclaim, “Dr. De Witt, you got to fix my golf game!” This man took me a bit by surprise because he was boisterous and very confident that I was the one who could help him. The truth of the matter was that I had never met the guy.

I replied by saying, “Sir, how can I fix your golf game? Are you having pain or feeling weak?”

He said, “Well, you see, this buddy of mine came to see you to fix his shoulder and you shared with him 4 exercises. He said after he started doing your 4 exercises that not only did his golf score improve but his shoulder and his back pain went away. I’ve had back pain for quite a while and I want to learn those 4 exercises you gave him.”

I asked him how long he had back pain and he informed me “all my life.” I shared with him that I specialized in treating patients with back pain for “all their life” then I asked him what his golf score was.

He laughed and...

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Self-Massage Technique #2: Who Knew That Rolling Foam Along Your Back Could Reduce Tightness?

Not all foam is created equal.

You actually need a foam roller to reduce muscle tightness, muscle tension, and muscle soreness.

A foam roller is another tool that allows you to reduce muscle soreness in the comfort of your own home. Using a foam roller when you are feeling tense after a day’s work or feeling tight after a challenging workout will help promote circulation and muscle recovery so that you feel looser and less sore.

And, please feel free to share this blog with your friends and family who may also benefit from less muscle tension and soreness.

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Self-Massage Technique #1: Can Rolling a Stick Over Your Body Really Help Relieve Muscle Tension and Muscle Soreness?

The answer: “YES!”

I know it sounds a bit crazy that a little tool called “the stick” can work wonders on your body… except that it really does… if you know how to roll this stick over your body correctly.

Many people keep their muscles tense because of stress, poor posture, and overdoing their activities. Many people also do not know how to correctly ease this muscle tension or help decrease muscle soreness themselves.

One simple technique using “the stick” or a rolling pin can help increase circulation, decrease muscle tension, promote muscle relaxation, and decrease muscle soreness. You can use “the stick” on muscles at the base of your head, along your neck and upper shoulders, low back, buttock region, thighs, lower legs, and even the bottom of your feet.

And, please feel free to share this blog with your friends and family who may also benefit from less muscle tension and soreness.

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7 Great Things To Do In Southeastern WI If You Didn’t Have To Worry About Back Pain

80% of Americans will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. If you are living with back pain, then you might also feel pain in your butt and down your leg – also known as sciatica. Back pain can limit your ability to sit, stand, walk, and sleep. It can be so painful that you stop doing the things you love to do.

But what if you didn’t have to live with back pain?

Can you picture it?

Could you be:

1) Enjoying the beauty of Petrifying Springs

Without the achy soreness of back pain, you could be sitting at a picnic table laughing with your family or friends, riding your bike, playing with your dog at the Dog Park, hiking or walking the trails, running the bases on the softball field, or chasing your kids on the playground at this 360-acre park.

http://www.co.kenosha.wi.us/1652/Petrifying-Springs-Park

 

2) Relaxing at Racine North Beach

If your back pain or sciatica wasn’t limiting how far you could walk or how long you could sit in one spot, you...

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How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

Sleep is underrated.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, people between the ages of 26-64 require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Adults 65 years and older require 7-8 hours of sleep per night. In comparison, adolescents between the ages of 14-17 require 8-10 hours of sleep per night while school age children between the ages of 6-13 require 9-11 hours of sleep. Preschool children ages 3-5 years old require 10-13 hours of sleep while toddlers ages 1-2 years old require 11-14 hours of sleep per night. Newborns and infants up to age 11 months old may require 12-18 hours of sleep per night.

Here are some benefits of a good night’s sleep: 

  • Quicker pumping of cerebral spinal fluid across your brain to remove waste products so you awake with a clearer mind
  • Slower breathing and more regular breathing action of your lungs
  • Reduced heart rate and decreased blood pressure
  • Release of growth hormones to rebuild muscle and joints and allow your body to recover from the...
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Fitness – What Does It Really Mean To Be Fit?

Anyone can be an athlete.

Think about that again.

Anyone can be an athlete.

Anyone can be fit.

According to the American Heritage Medical Dictionary, fitness is defined as “the state or condition of being fit.”

So what does that mean?

Being fit is being able to physically and mentally do what you want to do when you want to do it.

Anyone can be an athletethe question is what level of athlete do you want to be?

Do you want to be a spectator and watch everyone else play or do you want to get in the game?

What game do you want to play?

It doesn’t have to be a sport. Being fit may have nothing to do with playing an organized sport.

Any activity that burns calories can be your sport – as long as you are physically moving!

Children should play for 60 minutes per day and adults should play for 30 minutes per day.

Find an activity that you enjoy and get moving!

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cycling
  • Canoeing
  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Croquet
  • Gardening
  • Arm...
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Good Pain vs Bad Pain

Pain can be both good and bad.

It is good because it warns you to withdraw like when you touch a hot stove and immediately withdraw your hand.

Pain lets you know that something is wrong like when you wake up in the morning and feel back pain. If this happens for several mornings, the pain will eventually prompt you to seek a qualified medical specialist like a physical therapist.

Pain can also create a muscle spasm to guard or protect the injured area of the body.

Pain is bad when you 1) have to stop doing what you want to do, 2) can’t do what you want to do without thinking about whether or not you have or are going to have pain, and 3) when your muscles begin to weaken from lack of activity or when your circulation becomes poor from lack of movement.

Pain that gets in the way of you being able to enjoy your life is absolutely bad pain that needs to go away ASAP!

What kind of pain do you have?

Is it dull? Achy? Comes and goes?

Is it sharp? Shooting? Feel Numb? Tingling?

If...

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When a Headache is Not Just a Headache but a Disorder of the Nervous System

If you have ever suffered from a migraine, you are not alone.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, about 12% of the population experiences migraines. That’s roughly 38 million men, women, and children in the United States. The Migraine Research Foundation states that “Migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world” and “is the 8th most disabling illness in the world.”

Many migraine sufferers do not seek medical care for their pain and are never diagnosed. Those who do seek treatment may be misdiagnosed with sinus-related disorders or hormonal imbalances.

Migraines are NOT JUST HEADACHES – they are actually a disorder of the nervous system and one of their symptoms is a headache. Other symptoms typically include light sensitivity, nausea, auras (changes in vision sometimes described as flashes of light), and sometimes vomiting.

If so many people, especially women, suffer from migraines, then why don’t they seek...

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Ouch! My Jaw Hurts!

When pain occurs in the jaw, it can be difficult to talk and eat. The joint of the jaw is called the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Jaw pain can be a symptom of temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD.

What causes TMD and jaw pain?

1. Teeth that are not aligned (such as an under bite where the bottom teeth are more forward than the top teeth or an overbite where the top teeth are more forward and rest over the bottom teeth). Malaligned teeth can create abnormal forces across the TMJ.

2. The muscles surrounding the jaw are in constant contractionThis means that the muscles never stop working. For example, a person who has difficulty sleeping may not be able to find a comfortable resting position and this could contribute to their jaw pain. The function of the temporalis muscle is to close the mouth. It has to constantly work against gravity to keep the mouth closed so that a person does not walk around...

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