Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

David Wright fights spinal stenosis all the way to the World Series

Oct 29, 2015


In: Articles, Spinal Stenosis

If you watched the World Series, you may have heard the commentators talk about David Wright’s battle with spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal column.  Wright, a homegrown superstar from Hickory High in Chesapeake, and the New York Mets’ team captain, was diagnosed with the condition earlier this year.

For months Wright underwent intense rehab and missed most of the season, but he returned to the field in late August and has helped the Mets reach the World Series.

While some physicians may have recommended surgery for Wrights’ spinal stenosis, Wright chose rehab and physical therapy and it looks like he made the right decision.

At our non-surgical spine center we treat many patients with spinal stenosis and help them return to their normal routines – WITHOUT surgery.  I applaud David Wright for having the determination and patience to choose a well-developed rehab program to overcome this condition.  Go David!!!

Symptoms of spinal stenosis include:

  • Numbness, tingling, cramping, or pain in the back, buttocks, thighs, or calves, or in the neck, shoulders, or arms
  • Weakness of a portion of a leg or arm

Click here to learn more about spinal stenosis.

If you have any questions about your back, please call us at (757) 333-3360.


Start Living a Healthier Lifestyle and Become an Everyday Champion: It Can Make the Difference in Your Life

May 14, 2013


In: Articles, Healthy Lifestyle

What is a champion? Many people think of a champion as someone who just won a contest. I think of a champion as anyone who accomplishes a worthwhile goal. Let me tell you about two people who were champions for their health.

Several years ago, I met a lady who had smoked cigarettes for 50 years. She indicated that cigarettes defined her life. Because of other medical problems, she knew that she had to quit smoking. But this was very difficult for her because all of her friends smoked and, when they did things together, everything seemed to be centered around cigarettes. She had reached the point that she was “scared” to quit smoking.

Realizing that she had to be a champion for herself, she decided to quit smoking. Gradually decreasing her two-pack-per-day cigarette habit, she worked on this endeavor over a period of a year, and now she has been smoke free for the past year. Champions do not have to be well known people that we read about. Champions are people that we see every day.

Let me tell you about another person who was morbidly obese with a history of sleep apnea, hypertension, and diabetes. She desperately needed to lose a massive amount of weight. She did not want to have surgery for weight loss. She wanted to lose weight through exercise and reducing her daily intake. The thought of surgery terrified her. Friday night was her night to drink beer and eat nachos, french fries, and hamburgers with her friends. Over the years, she had gained a great deal of weight. Due to her health problems, she realized she had to take control of her weight.

She put great effort into reducing her weight by tracking what she ate and eating all things in moderation. She also started exercising during television commercials. Every time a commercial came on, she would get up and do an exercise.

Did you know if you watch an hour-long program, commercials occupy about 20 minutes of that time? Learn from this woman. Get some 2 or 3-pound dumbbells and do boxing and kickboxing during commercials. Just walking around the room would be a good start if you haven’t been doing any exercise. What an excellent jump start to get you on your way to improving your quality of life and improving your health.

Did you know that being overweight puts you at risk for a number of conditions, such as: osteoarthritis, back pain, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack to name a few? Losing weight and increasing exercise help to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Isn’t it worth your time to take steps to improve your health and reduce your risks for these conditions?

Make “you” a priority by eliminating unhealthy habits and scheduling some exercise into your daily routine.

Start today exercising during television commercials.

My prescription for becoming an everyday champion is to Take care of yourself.

Remember don’t start any exercise program without the consent of your physician.

© Winifred D. Bragg, MD. All Rights Reserved.


Is Your Hand Numbness Due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

How can you tell if that nagging numbness or pain in your wrist is really Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? The wrist is surrounded by a band of fibrous tissue that serves as a support for the joint. The space between this fibrous tissue and the wrist bone is called the carpal tunnel. The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel and receives sensations from the thumb, index, and middle fingers of the hand. Any condition that causes swelling of the tissue within the carpal tunnel can cause pressure on the median nerve.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb and next two or three fingers of the hand
  • Numbness or tingling of the palm of the hand
  • Pain extending to the elbow
  • Pain in wrist or hand
  • Problems with fine finger movements (coordination) in the hand
  • Wasting of the muscle at the base of the thumb in advanced or chronic cases
  • Weak grip or difficulty carrying bags (a common complaint)
  • Weakness in the hand

Common Causes Include:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is common in people who perform repetitive motions of the hand and wrist. Typing on a computer keyboard is probably the most common cause of Carpal Tunnel. Other causes include:

  • Sewing
  • Driving
  • Assembly line work
  • Painting
  • Writing
  • Use of tools (especially hand tools or tools that vibrate)
  • Sports such as racquetball or handball
  • Playing some musical instruments
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity

To accurately diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, your doctor will perform tests that may include:

  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction velocity
  • Wrist x-rays to rule out other problems (such as wrist arthritis)

Symptoms often improve with non-surgical treatment, but some cases eventually require surgery.

Is Your Hand Numbness Due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Avoid or reduce the number of repetitive wrist movements whenever possible, and use tools and equipment that are properly designed to reduce the risk of wrist injury.

Ergonomic aids, such as split keyboards, keyboard trays, typing pads, and wrist braces, may improve wrist posture during typing. Take frequent breaks when typing and always stop if there is tingling or pain.

Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is usually Non-Surgical.

When your occupation aggravates the symptoms, you should modify your activities. Periodic resting and range of motion stretching exercises of the wrists can prevent the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome if they are caused by repetitive overuse.

Obese individuals may find that weight reduction improves their condition.

Efforts should be taken to reduce wrist swelling. Therefore, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be helpful in decreasing inflammation and reducing pain.  Additionally, corticosteroids can be injected directly into the affected wrist joint to provide symptom relief.

Most patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome improve with conservative measures and medications. However, occasionally, chronic pressure on the median nerve can result in persistent numbness and weakness of the hand. When carpal tunnel syndrome becomes chronic, you may need to consider surgical treatment in order to avoid permanent nerve damage and muscle wasting.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consult your physician to learn more about this condition and ways to treat it.

© Winifred Bragg, MD. All Rights Reserved.