Daily Stretch Routine for Your Lower Back

So many of us feel it – that tightness of the lower back. The daily tasks we do can easily cause strain, so the key is the keep the muscles and ligaments of the area strong and limber. Here is our recommended routine that doesn’t take much time and can be done daily. Before you get started, though, if you are suffering with acute or chronic pain, be sure to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists before you start any exercise routine. 

Knee to Chest

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Wrap your hands around one knees and pull towards your chest while keeping your other foot on the floor. Hold for 15 seconds, then alternate. Repeat 2-3 times. 

Knee Rotation

Remaining on your back with your feet on the ground, bring the knees together. Slowly allow the knees to drop to one side as low as you can comfortably bring them. Hold for 15 seconds, then rotate to the other side and hold again. Repeat 2-3 times. 

Hip Bridge

In the same starting position as the two previous exercises, with feet flat on the floor, lay your hands to the ground palms down. Slowly raise your hips to the sky while tightening your belly, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for 10-15 seconds and slowly lower your hips. Repeat 5 times. Increase repetitions as you progress. 


Rotate onto your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and your back flat. Slowly round your back towards the sky, while tightening your belly, easing your head down towards the space between your arms. Hold for 10 seconds, the slowly reverse the movement, bringing your abdomen down towards the floor and your head up glancing up towards the sky. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. 

Knee to Elbow

In the same staring position as Cat/Cow, extend your right hand out in front of you and your left leg out behind you. Slowly bring your right elbow and left knee toward each other while rounding your back, then extend them back away. Repeat 5 times, then move on to the other side (left arm, right leg)

Knee Hug

In the final move, roll back on to your back. Bring both knees up to your chest and wrap your arms around them, hugging them close to you. Rock your body left to right. Hold for 15 seconds. Release your knees and extend your legs out, then repeat the knee hug. Repeat two more times. 

Try these exercise for a week or two and let us know how you feel! If you have any questions, we’re always ready to help you feel your best. Give one of our conveniently located offices a call.

Avoiding Fall-time Injuries

Schools in session and it’s that time of year where the air is changing to a crisp autumn wind. With the come of Fall, comes the increase in season-related injuries. Here is our advice to minimize your risk and keep you safe.

Home Maintenance

Gutter Cleaning

If you decide to take on cleaning your gutters, be sure to apply good ladder safety and avoid doing so during wet weather. Best is to hire a professional.

Leaf Clean-up

Find the tools that fit your body. The right height on a rake will ease stress on your back. And as with any physical activity, warming up your body beforehand can prevent injury.


Preparing your yard for the winter months includes use of powertools like hedge-clippers and lawnmowers. Be sure to abide by product safety guidelines, keep tools out of reach of minors and use protective gear like steel-shoe shoes and glasses.

Winter Prep

Prevent injuries for the next season by checking walkways for cracks where water can pool, creating ice hazards in winter. Also, make sure to place driveway markers to mark a path when edges are covered in snow.


With more comfortable weather here and school sports underway, there are more instances of sport-related injuries. Follow these guidelines to prevent injuries:

  • See a physician for a physical
  • Warm up prior to activity
  • Stay hydrated before, during and after
  • Inspect equipment (ie. shin guards, pads, etc.)
  • Invest in proper footwear
  • Stretch your body after activity
  • Don’t push through pain, consult a doctor

With these precautions, you can enjoy all that this Fall season has to offer. If you need us, the specialists at Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are here to keep you going.

Dehydration and Orthopedic Injury

As summer heat intensifies, so does the risk of dehydration. Physical activity in hot temperatures, no matter how intense, requires proper and regular hydration. So, in regards to orthopedics, why is this so important? Here is how hydration and orthopedic injuries are related and how to keep them at bay.

Function of Hydration on Muscles

Proper hydration keeps the muscles pliable, meaning they contract and relax with ease. With lack of water in the body, tension and cramping can occur, increasing the risk of sprains, tears and fractures. In addition, dehydration can cause joint pain as the lubrication fluid between joints are made mostly of water. Beyond orthopedics, good hydration has numerous health benefits including preventing headaches, kidney stones, urinary tract infections and more.

Warning Signs of Dehydration

If you’re feeling any of the following early warning signs, be sure to take action.

  • Dark colored, strong smelling urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling of thirst with lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Decreased frequency in urination
  • Fatigue

Staying Hydrated

Here are some tips to keep dehydration at bay, especially during summer months:

  • Set a daily goal for water consumption (recommend starting with a goal you can accomplish then adding on)
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
  • Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go
  • Set up phone reminders to keep you drinking water
  • Take water breaks often when performing physical tasks or exercising
  • Track the amount of water you’ve drank all day
  • Avoid coffee or other caffeinated drinks

With a conscious commitment to staying hydrated, you’ll reap all the health benefits that comes with it – orthopedic and beyond! As always, if you have any questions, give our specialists a call!

4 Common Causes of Summertime Injury

Here in the Northeast, we’re all more active in the hot summer months. With vacations planned and kids out of school, we’re listing the most common causes of injuries so you won’t miss out on any fun this summer.

Swimming Injuries

Swimming is a great way to stay in shape with less stress on your joints, but pool related injuries are all too common in the summer. Slipping on wet pool decks, unsupervised diving, and similar incidents can lead to serious medical consequences. Check out our Pool Safety blog post for details on how to stay safe.

Bicycle Injuries

From kids to adults, more and more bicycle riders are out on the roads once the weather warms up. As a rider it’s imperative to stay alert, keep your bike in shape and wear your helmet. We have all the tips in our Cycling Safety blog post.

Sport-related Injuries

With ideal weather for outdoor sports, like tennis and golf, there comes in increase in related injuries. In addition to sudden injuries like muscle strains or sprains, symptoms from conditions like tennis/golf elbow and osteoarthrtitis may get worse with increased activity. It’s important not to let these signs of injury linger so you have more options for treatment.

Home Maintenance-related Injuries

Spring and summer house maintenance can be rewarding, but could also come with some risks. Traumatic injuries from lawnmowers and other power tools are all too common during the warmer months, as are falls from ladders. Read more on ladder and gardening safety tips in our blog posts.

Just by being aware of these injury risks for summer will allow you to make better decisions as you partake in this active season. And as always, if you need us at NEOSM, our specialists are here to help you all season long.

Hydration and Joint Pain

It’s no secret that drinking water is a huge part of maintaining optimal health. There are many signs that you may be dehydrated, but one you may not think of is how your joints feel. Here’s how hydration and joint pain are linked.

  • Cartilage Function

Your body’s joints – your knees, elbows, hips – are up to 80% cartilage. The main job of cartilage is to reduce the friction between the bones while the joint moves.  Water plays a crucial part in helping cartilage perform its duty by supporting its structure.

  • Eliminating Toxins

Drinking an adequate amount of water daily flushes out toxins from your body. Toxins can cause inflammation – and in the joints, inflammation means pain. It can also worsen symptoms of arthritis.

  • Healing from Injury

By keeping your ligaments, tendons and muscles pliable, proper hydration is key in recovering from injury or surgery.

Tips to increase your daily water intake:

  • Always have reusable water bottle nearby. Be sure to sip throughout the day
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can dehydrate the body
  • Eat fruits and vegetables rich in water-content like cucumbers and watermelon

These tips will help keep minor dehydration at bay, but severe dehydration can be a serious condition, therefore it’s important to seek medical help if symptoms continue or worsen. For joint pain that interferes with your daily activities, call the specialists at NEOSM for a consultation.

Pop Quiz: Test Your Orthopedic Knowledge

How about a pop quiz? Orthopedic fun-facts, safety tips… how do you think you’ll do answering these questions? Let us know how you do! (answers at the bottom of the page)

*Here’s a tip – all the answers can be found in our News & Blog posts! 

1. Which of these should you NOT do when in a cast?

A. Elevate as needed

B. Wash the cast with soap and water

C. Keep it clean

D. Have people sign it

2. TRUE or FALSE: Tommy John is a tendon in the elbow.

3. Bending your head down 45-60% can put as much as XX lbs of force on your upper spine.

A. 30 lbs

B. 60 lbs

C. 75 lbs

D. 90 lbs

4. ______ is responsible for over 2 million fractures per year

Arthritis OR Osteoporosis

5. What should you bring with you to your orthopedic appointment?

A. Insurance card

B. List of medications or supplements

C. Questions

D. All of the above

6. Aside from calcium, which vitamin is essential for bone health?

A. Vitamin A

B. Vitamin B

C. Vitamin C

D. Vitamin D

7. According to Dr. Ilan, is cracking your knuckles bad?

A. Yes

B. No

C. No, but just don’t do it around him.

8. TRUE OR FALSE: People hurt themselves cutting avocados so often that there’s a name for it.


  1. B. You should always try to keep your cast dry. We share more cast care tips in this post.
  2. False. Tommy John surgery is named for the famous pitcher it was first performed on. Here’s more about it.
  3. B. Looking down at your computer or phone puts a lot of pressure on your neck. We explain in our Text Neck article.
  4. Osteoporosis. Learn all about preventative measures here.
  5. D. Find out all you need to prepare for your appointment in our guide.
  6. D. Read all 5 keys to bone health.
  7. C. He doesn’t like it, but see why it’s ok.
  8. True. Yup, it’s called Avocado Hands and it could be pretty serious. Here’s our preferred way to prep our favorite add-on.

Muscle Cramps: Causes and Treatment

Sudden spasms in a muscle can take you off-guard and put you in sudden pain. They come upon instantly and unexpectedly. They may last between a few seconds or a few minutes. There’s a few reasons why a muscle cramp may creep up on you:


Strenuous activities or exercise can put a physical strain on your muscles.


When your body loses/uses more fluid than it takes in, buildup of toxins make muscles prone to spams.

Low Electrolyte Levels

Electrolytes like calcium and potassium are key to regulating muscle activity


Changes in circulation and pressure on nerves increases the risk of muscle cramps for pregnant women.

What can you do at the onset of a muscle spasm? First, stop the activity that triggered the cramp and gently stretch the muscle while massaging the cramp. When muscles begin to tense, apply heat for relief. Be sure to hydrate and intake electrolytes-rich food or beverages like bananas or low-sugar sports drinks. To prevent cramps, always warm up before physical activity and stay hydrated.

When should you see a doctor? Though majority of cases are harmless, if muscle spasms become frequent and more severe, there may be an underlying issue. Contact our office to make an appointment with our specialists.

Source: OrthoInfo

Importance of Stretching at Your Desk

If you spend your day seated at work, you know that feeling when you first stand up after a long time at your desk. Your legs are tight, your back aches and your neck feels stiff. It’s easy to get caught up with your tasks, but taking breaks to relieve your muscles is so important for many reasons. Here’s why:

Promote Circulation

Without regular movement, our circulation slows down, which may present serious issues. Just a few minutes each hour to allow your blood flow to recalibrate can prevent them.

Improved Posture

When you’re engrossed in your work, it’s easy to begin to slouch unknowingly. Taking a break to stand will remind your body to practice good posture to prevent injuries.

Reduce Tension

Remaining in a seated position for a long time increases the tension in your neck, back, hip and leg muscles. By giving these muscle groups a chance to elongate releases this tension and commonly associated pain.

Mental Clarity

Breaks from work are not only good for the body, but good for focus and mood. Stepping away from your desk to connect with your physical self has been shown to increase productivity.

Stretches to Consider

Here are some stretches to try the next time you take a body-health break at work.

  • Hands/Arms – Extend your arms out in front of you, palms facing down. Move your hands up then down. Repeat with palms facing up.
  • Shoulders – Cross your arms across your chest, alternating arms top and bottom
  • Neck – Gently roll your head clockwise, then counterclockwise
  • Back – Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms out in front of you.
  • Hip – Seated, cross one leg over the other and rotate your torso in the direction of the top leg. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Hamstrings – Standing, cross one leg over the other. Bend from your hip towards your toes. Repeat with opposite leg.
  • Ankles – Seated or standing, lift one leg off the ground and circle your ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise. Repeat on other side.

The specialists at NEOSM are here to help you live your best life. Prevention is the key to maintaining good health, so remember to keep moving throughout the day to keep your body in tip-top shape!