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2022 Gift List for Back Pain
Episode 5719th December 2022 • Back Talk Doc • Sanjiv Lakhia - Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates
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Holiday shopping season is upon us, and there’s something out there for everyone. Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia reflects on the guests that decked the halls of Back Talk Doc in 2022 and compiled a list of the top ten gifts for people with back pain. 

The list is inspired by discussions with guests, including Dr. David Schecter and Esther Gokhale, and addresses a range of prices and applications. Finding the perfect gift is tough, so Back Talk’s top ten list helps strike the balance of something that lights up your loved ones’ faces while not depleting your budget or inflicting more back tension. 

Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia’s Top Ten List 

10. Think Away Your Pain by Dr. David Schechter

 9. Desert Tortoise Botanicals Trauma Pain Salve

 8. Dr. Eric Goodman’s Foundation Training App

 7. Fresh N Lean Meal Delivery Service

 6. 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back by Esther Gokhale

 5. Back Mechanic by Dr. Stuart McGill 

 4. Crossover Symmetry Padded Bands

 3. Ear Seeds

 2. Thermophore Heating Pad

 1. The Back Talk Book by Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia 

Bring enlightenment into friends’ and families’ spines and homes this holiday season and start 2023 with habits that are guaranteed to ease any back pain or stress. Listen to this episode of Back Talk for the top ten gifts people with back pain can’t wait to receive this year. 

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Back Talk Doc is brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, with offices in North and South Carolina. To learn more about Dr. Lakhia and treatment options for back and spine issues, go to backtalkdoc.com. To schedule an appointment with Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, you can call us at 1-800-344-6716 or visit our website at CNSA.com.

Transcripts

Voiceover (:

Welcome. You are listening to Back Talk Doc where you'll find answers to some of the most common questions about back pain and spine health, brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, where cutting edge nationally recognized care is delivered through a compassionate approach. This podcast is for informational purposes only and not intended to be used as personalized medical advice. And now it's time to understand the cause of back pain and learn about options to get you back on track. Here's your back talk doc, Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia.

Sanjiv Lakhia (:

Greetings, friends. It's that time of year. We're nearing the holiday season and I thought I'd circle back and update an episode I've done in the past where I discussed my top 10 gift ideas for people who have back pain. And we've learned a lot over the last year and I'm ready to update my list. And these are things that I have talked about before, maybe on previous podcast and or have tried myself and have experience with. And I think for anyone who's looking for that gift, for someone in their family who has some discomfort with their back, these are some things that you should consider investing in. So we're going to do a list of 10 items and we will end with probably the most important one or the ones I like the best. So let's go ahead and get going. Number one on my top 10 gift ideas list for back pain in 2022.

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I'd like to start with Dr. David Schechter's Monthly Pain Journal. And as you may recall, those of you who follow the podcast, I did an interview with Dr. Schechter podcast this year where we talked about tension myositis syndrome or tension myoneural syndrome, and just the idea that for many people, their pain has a significant correlation and relationship with their psycho-emotional state. And in fact, Dr. Schechter did publish an article in 2007 in the Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine where they looked at outcomes of a mind body treatment program for chronic back pain in individuals who do not have a distinct structural pathology. And honestly, there's a lot of people out there where the MRI just doesn't show much. And essentially what they found during the study was when they went through the the 30 day program where they had the structured workbook along with some educational audio CDs and even some psychotherapy, that pain scores decreased 52% on average, which is pretty remarkable over the course of a month.

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So I've looked at the journal, he was kind enough to send me one. It has some excellent writing prompts that you can go through each day of your month and really help you get a better understanding for what's driving some of the muscular tension in your body and some of your discomfort. And what's interesting is as you have light bulb moments from an emotional side, the physical body will follow and you can feel so much better. So that's number one, Dr. David Schechter's Monthly Pain Journal. Moving on number two on the list. This is one of my favorite topical remedies for pain and it comes to us from John Slattery from Desert Tortoise Botanicals. As you may recall, we did a interview with John this past year as well where we talked about herbal medicine and pain. And he has a terrific formula, what he calls a trauma pain salve.

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And what this really is, it's based upon, the main ingredient I believe is wild. Arnica and Arnica has been used historically, traditionally for decades now for pain control. And many of you may have used it before. If you ever pick up some of those homeopathic white little tablets at the store for a sickness, they may have Arnica one. But what I'm referring to more is the whole plant Arnica Montana, and in the salve formula, he's included Arnica along with cayenne and then some other essential oils to provide a real nice cooling, anti-inflammatory topical pain salve. And if you look at the literature on Arnica, there's an article in the Journal of Medicines, and this is a Switzerland journal that was published in 2021, review article on clinical trials, potential mechanisms and adverse effects of Arnica as an adjunct medication for pain management. And it's a real nice full text article, it's available online and we'll link to this as well.

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And essentially what they do is they uncover some of the data on Arnica, it's anti-inflammatory benefit, some of the chemical components that drive this. And they talk about it as an adjunct therapeutic approach for acute and chronic pain management. And I have some of this and it's really good, any pulled muscle strain, just rub a little bit on a couple times a day and it can give you some good relief. Particularly he's included in the formula some capsulation, which is an active ingredient from cayenne pepper. And this will reduce substance P, which is a neurochemical that is in the soft tissues and nerve endings that drives pain in the body. So it's a really good healthy natural formula. And most of these on my list today, fortunately almost all these companies are offering some sort of discount right now through the holiday season.

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So it's a great time to pick it up and we'll link to his store at Desert Tortoise Botanicals if you want to get some. Okay, so moving on to number three on my list of top 10 gift ideas for back pain. Again, we're going to reference a prior podcast episode that I did with Dr. Eric Goodman, who is one of the creators of Foundation Training. And Foundation Training is a movement-based practice that really incorporates breath work, postural work to activate the posterior kinetic chain, which is the muscles in the back of the body, the hamstrings, the glutes, the erector spinae and muscles amongst others to provide stability, strength and fluidity through movement and less back pain. And the gift idea here is they have a Foundation Training app and you can subscribe to the service, and I believe it's around 10 to 15 bucks a month, and you'll have access to numerous different foundation training workouts.

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And the videos are very, very well done. They're easy to follow at home and you can do it off your iPad or your phone. And there's a strong variety of workouts and then they do live workouts. So it's a really cheap economical way. And I really look at this as an adjunct to your physical therapy program. It's nice to have different ways to move your body. It's very beneficial just from a neurologic perspective to drive changes in neuroplasticity by having different exercises, different movement patterns than just the same thing every single day. And the Foundation Training app is a wonderful tool and it's something you could consider a gift membership for someone that you love. Okay, so that was our third and now let's move on to number four on the list. Number four on the list is a meal delivery service called Fresh n Lean. That's Fresh, the letter N and then Lean L-E-A-N.

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And this is one that I've used for myself as you know, listening to my podcast. I'm a huge believer in the therapeutic value of nutrition in terms of health, pain and inflammation. And if you haven't heard, we'll link to prior episodes that I've recorded on the Mediterranean Food Plan on olive oil. And then more recently, just an update on basically a macro look at food and pain. If you're busy and cooking's not your thing and you have a little bit that you can set aside to invest in healthy organic foods, this is a great meal delivery service. What I like about their offerings, you can pick and choose what type of plan you want to be on. So for example, over the last month I've been doing the Mediterranean food plan and I pay for a couple meals a day and it's really great. And in fact it's almost a little more economical now than eating out just due to inflation and the cost of eating out at restaurants.

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But you can do Keto plan, you can do a whole 30 food plan, you can do a vegan food plan. The food is delicious, it's organic, it's chemical free, and it's just really, really healthy food. A nd I think that's something that would be a worthwhile investment if you're coming around January and you're looking to set some goals for weight reduction and just feeling better, it's really good to invest in their food first. I'm a big believer in food over supplementation, first. If you only have so much in terms of resources, I'd much rather you invest that in healthy food that you put in your body and then use supplements to fill in the gaps if at all. Okay, so that was our fourth item on the list. Let's go to number five. Five and six are a couple of books that I recommend and we covered them over the last year on the podcast.

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Number five would be Eight Steps to a Pain-Free Back by Esther Gokhale. And I did a real nice interview with Esther and this is a great book to really look at things from a postural perspective. She goes back and looks at cultures that have been able to exist throughout time with very little injury to their spine and really analyzes how do they move, how do they carry their body, how do they walk, how do they sit, how do they lay down? And what I really like about this book is it's very, very well illustrated and it's easy to follow and understand. And then of course if you want to learn more, you can go to her website. So this is a wonderful book to add to your reference library. And we will link to this as well, probably through Amazon or her website.

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Next up then another book here, number six would be The Back Mechanic. And this was one of the highlights of my year, was a interview we put out on YouTube as well as on the podcast where I interviewed Dr. Stewart McGill, who is one of the preeminent spine researchers in the world. And this is his most recent offering and it's really written well for both the lay public as well as medical professionals. And it's something that if you're really trying to learn more about how your spine works and become a bit of a back detective in terms of figuring out your back pain triggers and then what are some exercises you can get started with, this is a wonderful addition to your library and I'd actually recommend that you invest and purchase. He has a version of this that comes with supplementary video access that they put on Vimeo, and it's a really nice learning piece.

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So I think that's a great option to consider as a gift for someone who is struggling with back pain. Okay, moving on to number seven here. The next item on the list, I'm going to circle back to the idea of exercise. And at Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine, we have a wonderful physical therapy department and if you go and see them, they're going to give you stuff to do at home. And more likely than not, you're going to need some type of exercise band to use. And I was introduced to this just recently doing some rehab for my hip. And these are the crossover symmetry padded bands and crossover symmetry has put together a couple offerings, a set of bands for the shoulders, but for this purpose, I really like the bands that they have for the hip and back. And these are padded very, very comfortable.

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So you can use them for all sorts of exercises like side steps, pelvic bridges, marching in place, one-legged pelvic bridge, all sorts of things. And they don't pull the hair on your skin, they don't leave marks, and they're very, very durable and likely going to last you forever. So take a look at those at crossoversymmetry.com. And I believe they're running a 20% off special right now on their products. Okay, we're flying by here. Let's move on to number eight. Nu mber eight on the list is drum roll please, EarSeeds. Many of you know I am a practicing acupuncturist. It's a big part of my practice and trying to help people recover from pain. And I was thinking, what type of gift could someone get that takes advantage of the therapeutic power of acupuncture, but gives someone access to it at home? And I do a fair amount of auricular acupuncture on my patients, and this is where we place tiny needles into spots on the ear to stimulate a therapeutic response.

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You may be wondering, well, how does that work? Well through neural networks and pathways, it can activate centers in the brain and nervous system and it can have tremendous influence on pain. There's all sorts of programs across the country using a auricular acupuncture for addiction and smoking cessation. And there's a really nice journal article from the Clinical Journal of Pain 2012 where they did a randomized controlled trial. This is a highest quality trial. And they looked at exercise and auricular acupuncture for chronic low back pain. And this was what was called a feasibility randomized controlled trial where they're essentially trying to assess, is it feasible to put together, put together a large randomized trial and evaluate this further. And what they did was they broke individuals up into a couple of different groups and in one group it was exercise alone and then the other group was exercised with auricular acupuncture where they put needles into different spots on the ear that correlate with the back pain.

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And then they documented over 12 weeks, six and 12 weeks, they followed this program and documented outcomes and they found a significant benefit where adding in the auricular acupuncture was helpful for the pain. It was found to be safe and demonstrated additional benefit when combined with exercise for people with chronic low back pain. So they recommended confirmation with a fully powered randomized controlled trial. Now you're not going to buy needles for your family member, but you can purchase what's called EarSeeds and the website is earseeds.com and you can purchase their back pain EarSeed kit. And these are tiny, depends on the material, they can be crystals, they can be different types of plastic or metals, and they're very tiny little, just almost like little BBs that you can tape over different spots on the ear and it comes with a map of the ear and it shows you exactly where to put the EarSeeds.

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So EarSeeds are very, very safe. There's not a high educational level barrier that you need to be able to use them. You just buy them, follow the directions and you're good to go. So I'd like the idea of ear seeds on the gift list for 2022. Okay, moving forward, we're coming towards the end here, number nine on my list here for top 10 gift ideas for back pain. I really love the Thermophore Heating Pad and Thermophore puts out what we call as moist heating pads through the technology. It literally draws moisture from the air. So you can use what's called moist heat. And this is a wonderful addition to the pain toolbox at home. And you can use it definitely after exercise, after physical therapy, if you have soreness in your hip or back, any version of delayed onset muscle soreness, this can be helpful.

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And this was verified journal article 2013, the Journal of Clinical Medicine, which demonstrates moist heat or dry heat for delayed onset muscle soreness. And what they found was essentially the results state that moist heat has similar benefits to dry heat, but in some cases enhanced benefits with only 25% of the time of application of the dry heat. So it works quicker and frankly when I use it, it just feels better. So it's a great gift to use. Always though when you're using any sort of topical application like heat or ice, you want to make sure the skin is protected with a cloth and you don't want to overdo it using it for excessive periods of time because you can burn the skin. Okay, so that's a great gift idea. I believe on their website, thermaphore.com, you can get large heating pads, 50 bucks to 80 bucks somewhere in there.

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So that's a great addition. Okay, wrapping up this short episode. We are now at number 10, and this is like two items in one. My favorite, favorite gift idea, of course, I'm totally biased when it comes to this idea, but the Back Talk Book, this is my book that I put together a few years ago, and you can get it at backtalkdoc.com and think of it more as an insider's guide to the medical care of spine conditions. And I wrote it in a Q and A format where I summarized some of the top questions I get in the office over the course of my career from patients about back pain. And it's not too long, it's more like a booklet and the appendix I have some information on nutrition, some of my favorite tools and tips that I like to use, books and videos, et cetera.

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And then we cover a lot of different topics from spinal anatomy, two different injection options, to even surgical options. We talk about spinal stenosis. So I cover it all. It's really cheap. You just go to the website, we'll link to it, download, buy a few copies for friends and family, it makes a good stocking stuffer, can really roll it up and fold it, put it right in the stocking if you want. And then while you're at it, after you purchased the book, go ahead and go online to carolinaneurosurgery.com and set up an appointment. There couldn't be a better gift for someone that you love who is struggling with back pain, particularly if you live in the North or South Carolina area to set up an appointment to come and see one of our providers, whether it's with me or one of our surgeons, we are here to help.

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And we have the premier group, in my biased opinion in the entire, at least Southeast United States, and we have topnotch surgeons, we have amazing physical therapists. The website there actually would be C as in Charlie, N as in Nancy, S as in Sam, A as in apple.com. So cnsa.com, and you can inquire directly from the website and we look forward to helping you or your loved one. We have a button right on the website where you can request an appointment, you'll fill out a form and we'll be back in touch with you and help make 2023 your best year ever.

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So there you go. This will be my last episode for 2022. I want to thank everyone for their support and for listening over the last few years. And the feedback that I get really empowers me to continue to put out good information. And I love combining the idea of promoting the services we have at the group, putting the spotlight on some of the amazing docs and team members here so you can get to know us better, along with just my own flavor of integrative medicine and health and nutrition and giving you tips that you can take and use to help your health all on your own.

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So thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if you love this podcast, if you've been following it, it would really make my year if you could leave us a five star review on Apple iTunes and a course forward any episode to any loved one, post it to your social media channels. The information is there for everyone to benefit from. So thanks again. Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and we'll be talking again in the new year.

Voiceover (:

Thank you for listening to this episode of Backtalk Doc, brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates with offices in North and South Carolina. If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Lakhia and treatment options for back issues, go to backtalkdoc.com. We look forward to having you join us for more insights about back pain and spine health on the next episode of Back Talk Doc. Additional information is also available at carolinaneurosurgery.com.

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