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Solutions for back pain

Millions of people suffer from back pain. Among the common culprits: poor support while sleeping, carrying too much weight, and smoking.

Millions of people suffer from back pain.  Among the common culprits: poor support while sleeping, carrying too much weight, and smoking.

Steve Vandemore lives a relatively active lifestyle. He tries to hit the links 3-4 times per week.  Vandemore's dedication is obvious when you watch his game.

"I love playing golf, love being outside, I don't know what I would do if I wouldn't be able to do that," he said.

His beloved habit nearly changed forever about nine months ago when he noticed his back was becoming weak and he experienced sharp pain.

"The pain has been deep very low in my back," he said.

Since he was not ready to put the clubs away for good, he decided to visit Dr. Michael Dolphin.  Dr. Dolphin is a Spine Surgeon at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center.

"We want to see a nice gentle curvature of the spine.  We're also looking for robust space between vertebrae," said Dr. Dolphin.

"I do have an issue with one or two of my discs that might be slightly compressed," Vandemore learned after a visit with Dr. Dolphin.

"The most important thing that people can do to prevent back problems are maintain a healthy body weight, maintain an active lifestyle, and not smoking," said Dr. Dolphin.

He said that smoking speeds up the deterioration of the cartilage in the discs in a person's back.  It will cause the bones to weaken and trigger back pain.

Vandemore's back pain is not from smoking but likely from periods of time when he is not active.

" I think the most typical type of back pain I see associated with patients that have been inactive for quite a period of time (is) when they do try to get back into activities there's an increase or flare in their lower back pain," said Dr. Dolphin.

Vandemore received several therapy recommendations and now tries to stretch more often to reduce the strain on his back.

"Sometimes the urge to get out there without proper stretching can be problematic for me," said Vandemore.

With physical therapy and exercise, Vandemore is hoping to avoid needing surgery and he says he has Dr. Dolphin to thank for that.