What are my therapy options for a herniated disc?

herniated disc

Suffering a herniated disc (also called a slipped disc or ruptured disc) may be one of the most serious injuries of your life so far. Although it is a very common injury for people 35-55 years old who are active, it does cause significant distress and disruption to life. Unfortunately, the recovery time may be longer than you expected—and the lingering pain might be the bane of your existence for a few months. What can you do to make sure that you are getting the most effective treatment to fix this temporary medical problem?

What is a herniated disc or slipped disc?

The 26 vertebrae that make up your spine are cushioned by soft, rubbery discs. They allow the spine to bend and flex while also acting as shock absorbers. Discs can experience wear and tear over time and they can be aggravated by certain activities or conditions like improper lifting, excessive body weight, smoking, sudden pressure, and repeated strenuous activities. When a cushion ruptures, you now have a condition known as a herniated disc or slipped disc.

The common symptoms of a herniated disc? It’s the lower back pain or neck pain you may be experiencing right now. The protruding disc can also inflame nerve roots and lead to sciatic nerve pain. Not treating a herniated disc can lead to permanent nerve damage that causes an array of potential complications in the future, such as losing sensation in the inner thighs and legs.

Therapies for a herniated disc or slipped disc

Our experts at Baldwin Bone and Joint recommend several types of therapies for a herniated disc, depending on the situation.

Medications and Injections – Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Advil for mild to moderate discomfort. If you’re suffering from more severe pain, he or she may prescribe a narcotic or anticonvulsant, to be used for a limited duration of time. Other recommended treatments might include a muscle relaxer if you are experiencing muscle spasms.

Injections – An epidural steroid injection is a quick and simple procedure that can quickly relieve pain. For the procedure, the irritated spinal nerve (caused by the protrusion of the herniated disc) is bathed in steroids, a powerful anti-inflammation medicine.

Core Strengthening – Strengthening your core is critical to keeping your spine healthy. It means relieving some of the burden your back muscles have in supporting your spine, which can result in less back pain. That could mean heading to your local Pilates or yoga studio and practicing your favorite poses. For more personal support from a trained specialist, you can participate in a lumbar stabilization program supervised by a physical therapist.

Physical Therapy – Going to physical therapy is an investment in the optimal functioning of your body. When your muscles work together effectively, they pave the way to a healthier spine that will reduce the chances of future injuries. Physical therapists can help improve your strength, flexibility, and motion by teaching you proven exercises and stretches, using proper techniques that will provide the safest possible training program. They can monitor and holistically evaluate your progress in order to determine the best combination of exercises that will help you reach optimal spine health.

To request an appointment with the team at Baldwin Bone and Joint, please click here.

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Tips for weekend warriors: preventing back and neck injuries

neck injury As an athlete, you know all too well that taking care of yourself is the #1 most important factor of success. No weekend warrior can win without putting his or her health first. Why let a preventable neck or back injury keep you from scaling every Kilimanjaro and all the amazing scenic trails to run? Back and neck injuries, along with severe neck and back pain, are some of the most common issues that athletes and fitness enthusiasts face.

Common back and neck injuries

Muscles strains and ligament sprains – some of the most common injuries that can be caused by heavy training, improper techniques, insufficient stretching, and trauma. Cracks and stress fractures in the vertebrae – often experienced by athletes who practice sports that require intense twisting or hyperextension of the spine, like gymnastics. Stingers – injuries to the nerves around the neck and shoulder most often occurring with contact and collision sports like football. (North American Spine Society) If you are having problems with neck injury or back injury, the physicians at Baldwin Bone and Joint can help. We are experts on sports medicine with extensive education in the musculoskeletal system, trusted by several athletic teams in the state, including the University of South Alabama Jaguars. Injuries can put you out of commission for awhile, meaning you’ll be stuck at home instead of out and about basking in the sun, so here are a few tips from us help you prevent them:

Do this and you’ll reduce the risk of neck and back pain

1. Warm up – Loosen your joints and get your blood flowing to the muscles. A warm up session before you start your workout will help prevent injuries by improving flexibility. Since most of us are tied to sedentary 9-5 desk jobs, you’ll need to warm up your spine by moving it in ways that it’s not used to before you start exercising. It really only takes a few minutes to get your spine ready for a great workout. 2. Strengthen the core – If your abdominal muscles are weak, it means that back muscles are working extra hard to support the spine, and the extra burden can cause back pain. A stronger core will reduce the strain on back muscles and reduce the risk of back pain. 3. Make sleep a priority – Your spine needs to rest just like the rest of your body. Make sure you are getting a good eight hours of sleep every night so that you can give your neck and back some much needed time off. 4. Choose the sport that fits you best – If you have a past or ongoing issue with neck pain or back pain, you may want to consult your doctor on the best sport to play. Some sports that require intense twists or jumping (think about making a slam dunk) may not be the most ideal. Other alternatives like swimming or skiing could actually be fun and exciting, yet safe to practice. Click here to schedule an appointment with us today.
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The Spine Institute: Is minimally invasive spine surgery right for me?


A spinal procedure that gets you out of the hospital faster

Every fitness lover who lives for the exhilarating highs of training for the Boston Marathon or the weekends filled with rugged adventure in unexplored terrains dreads the day when their body needs a tune up. Back and neck pain is an incredibly common problem for people, and even the most savvy weekend warriors may not be able to escape it. When it’s gotten so serious that you may be looking at spine surgery, you’ll find out that there is a way to make it as painless as possible. Undergoing spine surgery may seem like a scary idea, but our surgeons at the Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone and Joint want you to know that new and innovative techniques in spine surgery may be effective for you.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery vs. traditional spine surgery?

Traditional spine surgery is an “open surgery” that requires the surgeon to make a 5” to 6” incision in your back to view and access the anatomy. Spinal procedures may include laminectomy, microdiscectomy, and traditional lumbar fusion. (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) In open surgery, the pulling of muscles around the area where the incision was made may cause damage to the muscles and soft tissues surrounding it. You may experience pain that’s different from the back pain you experienced before the surgery—and you may face a lengthy recovery time. With minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon will use advanced technologies to make smaller incisions that cause less injury to the muscles. Because there’s less trauma to the muscles and soft tissues, it’s a technique that’s proven to be effective but also has several advantages over traditional spine surgery.

The potential benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery

  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less reliance on pain medications during recovery
  • Shorter recovery time
Visit The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone and Joint to learn more about our fellowship-trained surgeons and specialized spine care team. Find out if minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you by setting up a consultation today. The best part? You may need to have surgery, but you can get back to your awesome, active life faster than ever before.
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DAPHNE, AL (April 25, 2019) The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint is expanding its practice with the addition of Elizabeth “Hill” Luscher, a board-certified Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) who has focused her career on treating patients with orthopaedic injuries and conditions.

Luscher became a registered nurse in 2008, working in hospital and outpatient specialty settings in the Mobile area. In 2014, she earned a Master of Nursing degree with honors from the University of Massachusetts, then returned to the Gulf Coast to practice with a private orthopaedic physician group until most recently. 

 “We are delighted Hill Luscher joined our team at The Spine Institute,” said Charles Gordon, M.D., The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint. “Her extensive experience working with patients who suffer from neck and spine injuries makes her a great fit for our practice. We can’t wait for our patients to get to know her.” 

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Local Students Contribute 70% of Shoes Donated to Homeless Outreach Organizations

Daphne, AL (April 5, 2019) – Hundreds of people – primarily students and teachers – in Baldwin and Mobile Counties recently donated gently used shoes to Baldwin Bone & Joint’s 16th Annual Many More Miles Campaign, resulting in 2,728 pairs of shoes finding new life. Last year’s campaign resulted in just over 2,000 pairs donated.

Baldwin Bone & Joint, P.C., Dr. Glenn Glass, the University of South Alabama Student Recreation Center, and local schools partnered to collect shoes for the homeless outreach programs of Family Promise of Baldwin County and Wings of Life. The campaign, now in its 16th year, got off to a running start in January and concluded at the Azalea Trail Run held on March 23rd.

Mobile and Baldwin County students were challenged to collect shoes for homeless families in the area while earning money for their schools’ P.E. programs. Baldwin Bone & Joint awards cash prizes to the top three participating schools who donate the most shoes. Fairhope Intermediate won first place, collecting 1,100 pairs of shoes and received a $300 cash prize. Rockwell Elementary took second place ($200), and Mary B. Austin Elementary received third prize ($100).

The 1,906 pairs of shoes (out of the total of 2,728 pairs) donated by local schools have provided the largest collective donation to this important campaign. The response from schools this year has shown significant growth. Other schools participating in this year’s campaign include Dixon Elementary (MC), Bayside Academy (BC), and Spanish Fort Elementary (BC).

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Dr. Michael Chamblee, Orthopaedic Surgeon With Baldwin Bone & Joint, Earns “Patient’s Choice” Award From Vitals

Dr. Michael ChambleeDaphne, AL. (April 2, 2019) – Dr. Michael Chamblee, a board certified and fellowship-trained Orthopaedic surgeon with Baldwin Bone & Joint, was recently recognized with a Patients’ Choice Award for 2018 from Vitals, an online database of medical professionals owned by WebMD that ranks physicians based on patient experience and feedback.

“We are delighted that patients continue to confirm what we already know,” said Greg Shoemaker, Practice Administrator, Baldwin Bone & Joint. “Dr. Michael Chamblee is a highly-skilled surgeon and caring physician who ensures his patients understands their conditions and treatment options.” (Photo: Dr. Michael Chamblee)

Dr. Chamblee, an Orthopaedic surgery specialist, has over 13 years of diverse experience, specializing in anterior hip replacement.

A Patients’ Choice recognition reflects the difference a physician has made in the lives of his or her patients. It is bestowed on physicians who have received near perfect scores, as voted on by patients, according to information provided on the Vitals website. Dr. Chamblee also received this award in 2017.

In 2018, more than 280 million people used Vitals to search for healthcare options based on specialty, doctor and/or condition. One of the largest digital health properties in the U.S., Vitals Consumer Services Division is comprised of Vitals.com and UCompareHealthCare.com. In August 2018, both online platforms became subsidiaries of WebMD.

Since 1989, Baldwin Bone & Joint has provided expert orthopaedic care to patients of all ages, with all conditions. As fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons and experienced clinicians, they are recognized leaders in the field of orthopaedics, providing the most current treatment available. Office locations include Daphne, Bay Minette and Orange Beach. Specialized clinics available are The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint, The Center for Sports Medicine, and The Shoulder Center at Baldwin Bone & Joint. For more information, visit https://baldwinboneandjoint.com or call 251.625.2663.

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Baldwin Bone & Joint Partners With Local Schools For A Successful 16th Annual Many More Miles Campaign

Local Students Greatest Contributors for Homeless Outreach Ministries

Greg Shoemaker, Baldwin Bone & Joint Practice Admn. assists Jamie Foote, Director, Family Promise of BC, with pick-up of donated shoes

Daphne, AL (April 4, 2019) –Local runners and exercise enthusiasts may have put a lot of miles on old running shoes, but when they are donated to the “Many More Miles” campaign, those shoes will come to life again as they land on the feet of someone who really needs them.

For the 16th consecutive year, Baldwin Bone & Joint, P.C. once again hosted an important community project, “Many More Miles”. Partnering with the local schools, the Port City Pacers, Dr. Glenn Glass and the University of South Alabama Student Recreation Center to collect shoes for the homeless outreach programs of Family Promise of Baldwin County and Wings of Life. Shoe donations for 2019 were accepted January – March 2019.

This year’s campaign was record-breaking with 2,728 pairs of shoes donated! Local students were the overall greatest contributors to this year’s campaign – donating 1909 pairs of shoes for this special homeless outreach project, hosted by Baldwin Bone & Joint. The top three schools (Fairhope Intermediate, Rockwell Elementary and Mary B. Austin) were awarded cash prizes to go to their P.E. programs. Other schools participating in this year’s campaign include: Dixon Elementary (MC), Bayside Academy (BC), and Spanish Fort Elementary (BC). The schools collectively contributed 70% of shoes donated! Thank you to all!

Fairhope Intermediate Student Representatives pictured with:
Principals Carol Broughton & Christina Stacey;
PE Coaches Christin Ferguson & Curtis Brodie;
Student Rep Sponsors Holly Alman & Abby Koert;
Baldwin Bone & Joint Administrator Greg Shoemaker


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Media Coverage Report – March 2019

March 7, 2019


Calendar of Events: March 6, 2019 — March 12, 2019

Jo Ann Broadus, longtime director of Dogwood Trail Program, on Dogwood Trail Maids Court in Baldwin County and its importance to young members …

February 28, 2019

Becker’s Orthopedic & Spine

News Archives – The Spine Institute at Baldwin Bone & Joint

PAUL B. CANALE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, THE SPINE INSTITUTE, EARNS “COMPASSIONATE DOCTOR” AND “PATIENT’S CHOICE” AWARDS FROM VITALS … 28, 2019) — Dr. Paul B. Canale, a board certified and fellowship-trained … Canale received Compassionate Doctor Recognition and a Patients’ Choice Award …

February 28, 2019


Calendar of Events: February 20, 2019 — February 26, 2019

“Many More Miles” – For the 16th year, Baldwin Bone & Joint is hosting a community project to collect shoes for Wings of Life homeless outreach programs and for, the first year, Family Promise of Baldwin County

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