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Traditional wind-up keywound mechanical spring-driven alarm clock on bedside table, focus on girl lying with closed eyes sleeping on bed enjoying fresh bedding soft pillow comfortable mattress concept; blog: The Best Pillows to Prevent Back Pain

The Best Pillows to Prevent Back Pain

Traditional wind-up keywound mechanical spring-driven alarm clock on bedside table, focus on girl lying with closed eyes sleeping on bed enjoying fresh bedding soft pillow comfortable mattress concept; blog: The Best Pillows to Prevent Back PainA sore back not only causes you to lose sleep, but tossing and turning at night may also be the cause of your back pain. You can create a vicious cycle of unending back pain if you can’t get comfortable while you sleep. While you should start with a good mattress, you also should invest in the best pillows for your spine.

Change how you sleep and buy the best pillows to help prevent back pain. As you begin to look into the right pillow specifically for you, consider your sleeping habits and posture. Does your back hurt when you’re lying on your side? Do you feel any pain in your shoulders, neck or lower back? Proper pillow support prevents back pain while you sleep.

Mindset for Choosing the Correct Pillow

The best pillows for preventing back pain depend on your needs. Each type of pillow has different characteristics. Pay attention to where your body hurts, then ask your back specialist at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) what you need for support to minimize your back pain.

Specific details of design and manufacture make effective pillows. The factors to consider when looking for your pillow include:

  • The size and measurements of your body
  • Your sleep habits
  • Where you suffer chronic back pain
  • What treatments you’re undergoing for back pain

When Choosing Your Pillow

The best pillows for you are ones that fit your body. The size and the proportions of your shoulder affect the type of pillow best suited for you. If you have wide shoulders, for example, you may need a thicker pillow. Your goal is to be able to rest your head comfortably when lying on your side, which is the most common sleeping position, and the most effective for eliminating back pain.

Another factor when choosing a pillow is its construction. The filling should be soft yet supportive. Many people find memory foam provides the right combination of comfort and support. Consider the breathability of a pillow, too, as some pillows capture heat and make you sweat, making you uncomfortable and likely to move into positions that exacerbate your back problems.

Types of Pillows for Pain Prevention

Once you begin shopping around, you’ll find many types of pillows on the market. Claims made by manufacturers include marketing material and may not necessarily provide the best source of information to meet your needs. The Better Sleep Council suggests that sleeping on your side is the best way to ease lower back and hip pain. Some of the most highly rated pillows for preventing back pain include:

Match your body to your new pillow so it gives you the support you need.  If you really can’t decide, ask your SSI specialist for a recommendation.

Woman measuring her weight using scales on floor; blog: Lose Weight to Ease Back Pain

Lose Weight to Ease Back Pain

Woman measuring her weight using scales on floor; blog: Lose Weight to Ease Back PainIf you’re overweight or obese, you may not realize the profound effect those extra pounds have on your back. The added weight strains your joints, muscles and vertebra in your back. Extra weight also contributes to fatigue and shortness of breath after even brief bursts of activity, so it’s understandable that you want to avoid exercise. That inactivity compounds the strain on already compromised muscles because strengthening and flexibility routines greatly benefit your back. And so the cycle continues.

One of the best back pain solutions is to lose weight. Unfortunately, obesity often hinders your attempts to exercise or even complete everyday tasks. Discomfort and fatigue may cause you to become more and more sedentary, which actually exacerbates many cases of back pain.

Ways Extra Pounds Contribute to Back Pain

Common symptoms often associated with back pain and extra pounds include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Strain on lower back muscles
  • Shifted alignment of vertebrae to compensate
  • Strained muscles and ligaments adjusting to slipped vertebrae
  • Sciatica, as nerves and nerve pathways become affected by strain
  • Herniated discs, as misaligned vertebrae shift or compress discs
  • Osteoarthritic deterioration of your spine and other joints

To treat or avoid these conditions, your Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) back pain doctor recommends safe, effective weight loss measures. Losing weight and exercising provides back pain solutions that fit your ability and alter your lifestyle.

Effective Back Pain Solutions

One of the primary suggestions to ensure effective back pain solutions is weight loss. Increased activity also encourages increased blood flow that accelerates healing. As you begin a weight-loss program, refer to your doctor’s and physical therapist’s recommendations regarding the safest methods. Suggestions for dieting and exercising, while protecting your spine and joints, may include:

  • An exercise plan. Make an appointment with an SSI physical therapist to find appropriate exercise plans for you. Ideally, you want to work out without interfering with your other back pain solutions. You certainly don’t want the exercises to cause further pain.
  • Gentle, low-impact exercises. Walking and using the elliptical trainer are normally excellent ways to begin your weight-loss program. These exercises bump up your metabolism and protect strained muscles.
  • Water therapy. These exercises strengthen and balance overtaxed muscles while encouraging increased activity levels. Since the water counteracts gravity, it causes less muscle strain while providing gentle support.
  • A consultation with a nutritionist. Learn how to decrease the number of calories you consume by reducing portion size and making wise food choices. Nutritious and healthy foods promote greater energy, weight-loss and more effective healing. These changes work best when practiced consistently with small changes added over time to help your weight loss efforts succeed.
  • Increase water intake. When you drink more water, you flush toxins out of your body, nourish strained muscles and lubricate compressed discs.
  • Talk with a therapist. Talk therapy uncovers unhealthy attitudes and beliefs that may be holding you back from living a healthier lifestyle. It plays an integral role in making sustainable changes to your health.

When you work with the spine health team at SSI, back pain solutions, motivation and discipline become easier. Finding and eliminating triggers, overcoming personal obstacles and making healthy choices make your weight loss journey more effective and enjoyable. Knowing you are the key to your own best back pain solution gives you strength and encouragement in more ways than one.

Beautiful woman practices yoga asana dhanurasana - bow pose at the bright yoga class with large windows; blog: Stretches That Are Actually Bad for Your Back

5 Stretches That Are Actually Bad for Your Back

Beautiful woman practices yoga asana dhanurasana - bow pose at the bright yoga class with large windows; blog: Stretches That Are Actually Bad for Your BackSince gym class in grade school, you’ve had it drilled into your head that stretching is an unequivocally good thing. You know that a stiff body is a recipe for trouble and that gentle stretching can produce positive results. But it’s not always the case.

There are bad back stretches, and this is especially true if you’re undergoing treatment for back problems or recovering from recent back surgery. Chronic back pain can ruin your quality of life, so take every precaution possible to prevent further injury. While you should strive to keep your back limber and flexible, you’ll do well to avoid these five bad back stretches.

1. Standing Toe Touches

Toe touches are probably the first stretch you learned in gym class. After doing a few jumping jacks, the gym teacher encouraged you to reach for your toes — or at least reach to touch the back of your calves.

While this stretch is rather harmless for a young and limber body, it puts excessive stress on the ligaments and discs of your spine as you age. Your spine tends to crunch together, and this action can even pinch nerves. Consider this one of the bad back stretches and avoid it, especially if you’re recovering from back surgery.

2. Posterior Deltoid Stretch

The posterior deltoid muscle is at the top but in the back of your shoulder. This stretch involves starting with your arm straight out to your side. Then you bring your arm across the front of your body.

This stretch puts unnecessary strain on your shoulder muscles and ligaments without providing any real benefit in physical performance or the well-being of your back. Stiff posterior deltoids do not cause health problems, but overstretching them can. Put this in the category of bad back stretches.

3. Some Yoga Positions

Yoga can be an incredibly useful exercise regimen. It’s particularly useful for those who have back problems. Nevertheless, there are back stretches in yoga that can be harmful.

Yoga positions such as the Bow, Cobra and King Pigeon cause an inverted arch to the back. These poses are bad back stretches for anyone who recently underwent lower back surgery. The compression on the spinal discs can be extreme and result in discomfort or even damage.

4. Sit and Reach Stretch

The sit and reach is another one of the stretches you’ve probably seen and done innumerable times. You’re seated with your legs straight out in front of you. Then you arch your back forwards to grab your ankles or the soles of your feet.

This stretch aims to loosen both your hamstrings and lower back. Unfortunately, similar to the standing toe reach, this stretch compresses your spinal discs and vertebrae. It can also put unwanted stress on the nerves behind your knees and the back of your calves.

5. Any Stretch that Causes Pain

“No pain, no gain” has almost become a national mantra. You may not feel that you’ve accomplished anything unless your body is aching afterward. But anytime you’ve pushed yourself to the point of pain, you’ve engaged in one of the bad back stretches you need to avoid.

To stay safe, healthy and pain-free, your best bet is to consult your Southeastern Spine Institute physician for the most appropriate stretching regimen for your particular back condition. Don’t take chances with your back. Talk to the experts.

Old man suffering from knee pain; blog: warning signs of knee tendonitis

What Are the Warning Signs of Knee Tendonitis?

Old man suffering from knee pain; blog: warning signs of knee tendonitisKnee tendonitis, clinically called patellar tendonitis and more commonly known as jumper’s knee, is a tendon inflammation injury often caused by repetitive strain. Unless treated properly, knee tendonitis causes at least mild discomfort and at worst severe pain and immobility.

Knee tendonitis is a common affliction that occurs for a variety of reasons. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, its effects are short-term. The recovery time for treated knee tendonitis is brief as well. You may even be able to manage the signs of knee tendonitis with self-care options after you’ve received a clear diagnosis from Dr. Marc Haro at the Southeastern Orthopedic Institute.

Causes of Knee Tendonitis

Knee tendonitis happens when your tendons develop small tears during intensive activity, and the damage doesn’t immediately repair itself. As more tendons tear without rest, your knee weakens and becomes strained. This repeated strain leads to persistent pain and a potentially long-term condition called knee tendonitis.

Those who regularly do strenuous exercise without proper rest, nutrition and conditioning are most at risk to develop knee tendonitis. Weekend hiking, running on hard surfaces, basketball, and other high-speed or high-impact exercises strain your body when you don’t take precautions.

If you’re overweight, you’re also at risk of developing knee tendonitis because of the constant stress on your knees. Age also adds risk because muscles grow tighter and stiffer over time. Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other chronic conditions often lead to knee tendonitis as a side effect.

Signs of Knee Tendonitis

Discomfort in the area between your leg and your kneecap usually is the first signs of knee tendonitis. At first, you may experience pain when participating in an intense workout or activity. Eventually, your knee hurts more often. Even getting up out of a chair can cause pain. Other common signs of knee tendonitis include:

  • Pain above or below the kneecap
  • Pain during or after a workout
  • Pain that recurs with activity and is eased by rest
  • Pain in your shinbone
  • Swelling around your knee that’s sometimes warm to the touch
  • General knee stiffness
  • Chronic pain even during sleep

If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your orthopedic doctor. As long as he rules out other causes of your knee pain, such as referred lower back pain from a pinched nerve, sacroiliac joint dysfunction or herniated disc, rest and self-care may be your best first option.

Treating Knee Tendonitis

Your first steps to take include:

  • Putting ice on your knee to reduce swelling
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Improving flexibility with a stretching program
  • Addressing muscle imbalance through targeted physical therapy exercises

If home care doesn’t significantly reduce your symptoms after a few weeks or if your pain increases or your mobility decreases even further, you may need more intense interventions. While Dr. Haro always begins with the least invasive treatment, further treatment may include:

  • Injections of corticosteroids into your knee
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
  • Oscillating needle procedure
  • Minimally invasive surgery

Don’t ignore your body’s warning signs. Don’t try to self-diagnosis and treat knee pain on your own. Call the specialist at the Southeastern Orthopedic Institute who knows what you need when you show signs of knee tendonitis.

St. Michaels Church and Broad St. in Charleston, SC; blog: bicycle tour of Charleston SC

A Bicycle Tour of Charleston, SC

St. Michaels Church and Broad St. in Charleston, SC; blog: bicycle tour of Charleston SCCharleston, South Carolina has been repeatedly voted as the number one small city in the United States. Charleston is known for its beautiful cobblestone paths and architecture steeped in American history. The port city’s humid but breezy subtropical climate encourages year-round outdoor activity.

And while it’s is one of the most walkable cities in the nation, a bicycle tour of Charleston, SC is the perfect opportunity to survey the city, experience some history, and quickly discover more of the city and the surrounding natural areas. If you visit the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) frequently or just come in for a procedure once, consider trying a bicycle tour of Charleston, SC. Before you undertake a bike tour or any other outdoor activities, however, first get your doctor’s permission.

Guided Tours of Charleston

While you can take a self-guided bike tour that allows you and your family and friends to enjoy open-ended planning to ride in the city or in the local forests. If you’re new to town or don’t feel all that adventurous, a guided tour may be more your style. The most popular guided bicycle tour company in town is Charleston Bicycle Tours.

This tour is a great option for a guided riding experience through Charleston, which is just 20 minutes from the Mt. Pleasant SSI campus. The business is owned by the Grahams, a couple who personally manage every single bike tour. They take 10 riders at a time to permit a more intimate, personal journey through Charleston. The seasoned tour guides accommodate the pace of any riding group. Find Charleston Bicycle Tours at 164 Market Street.

Self-Guided Tours of Charleston

Self-guided bike tours are the best option for a group wanting to dictate pace, distance and location. The bike rental locations have recommendations for a bicycle tour of Charleston, SC that any rider can participate in and enjoy. A commuting option includes Holy Spokes, which offers day rentals with many bike racks around the city.

The Affordabike store offers a variety of options for individuals or groups. Affordabike’s rental service champions their commitment for making sure you’re on a bike that’s comfortable and right for you. The rental options include single rider, tandem and tag-along bikes for the rider who can’t pedal the entire time. Affordabike is located at 573 King Street.

Take a Natural Bicycle Tour of Charleston, SC

In and around Charleston, you’ll find many trails, including the Marrington Plantation and Wannamaker North Trail. The Marrington Plantation offers 19 miles of trails across varying levels of ridership skills. The Wannamaker North Trail is a 3.5-mile trail where only one path isn’t for all riders. All of these loops can be cut short for a quicker trip. Ride through verdant forests and feel the movement of dirt under your wheels to appreciate Charleston’s scenic beauty.

Charleston, South Carolina offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the nature and history of this Southern seaport on the seat of a bike fit just for you. When you next come to SSI, consider visiting this city rich with activity and natural beauty while participating in an activity that’s brimming with culture and strengthens your back.

Cropped shot of hand pick up dumbbell from equipment stand in gym for weight training; blog: lifting weights with a bad back

The Best Weight Training for a Bad Back

Cropped shot of hand pick up dumbbell from equipment stand in gym for weight training; blog: lifting weights with a bad backIf your back is in pain or you’ve recently undergone a procedure for back pain, you may not know if lifting weights is a good idea or not. Always ask the spine medicine experts at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) before you begin or resume any exercise regimen. Lifting weights with a bad back is possible, as long as you’re careful. Give yourself time while focusing on small successes.

It’s best to start with a lesser weight than you’re accustomed to. When you have a bad back, lifting weights means you have to go out of your way not to hurt yourself further. Meanwhile, add to your core, leg and arm strength by performing reps that focus on those parts of your body. Building strength for your entire body also increases the strength of your back.

The Safest Start to Lifting Weights with a Bad Back

Lightweight hand weights are best for starting out. You must be able to do 12 repetitions rather easily. If you can’t do 12 reps, choose a lighter weight. Work your way slowly to heavier weights.

Start with one set of 12 reps. Then see if you can do it twice with a short rest in between. Build up your routine to multiple sets of 12, so you work your muscle group to fatigue. You may notice that as you repeat your reps and repeat your routines, your strength increases and you feel better about your workout choices.

A Weight-Lifting Regimen to Protect Your Back

Find a weight training routine that works best for your daily calendar. Design it for total body health while moving toward a stronger back over time. Stay consistent; try for 20-to-30-minute sessions, two to three times a week. Set a goal for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks of lifting weights with a bad back, you’ll have:

  • Improved energy
  • Increased muscle tone
  • More satisfied outlook from less worry about pain
  • Overall increased body strength
  • Better self-confidence
  • Healthy exercise routines embedded into your lifestyle
  • Stronger back muscles

In time, you’ll feel better and achieve your goals. Lifting weights with a bad back is possible, but you must work up to heavier weights in incremental amounts. Stop lifting any time you feel pain, a twinge or any discomfort. Consult a physical therapist or a trainer who knows how to protect your back when exercising. Find the best physical therapists for back recommendations at SSI.

Stay Safe and Work Toward a Goal

Keep in mind that sometimes less is more when you’re lifting weights with a bad back. It’s much better to develop a practice that allows you to improve than re-injuring your back or undoing all the healing you’ve achieved. Remember to:

  • Work all major muscle groups
  • Start with larger muscles
  • Always include opposing muscle groups: for example, work both your arms
  • Balance your workout between your upper body and lower body
  • Lift slowly and smoothly to a four-count beat up and four-count beat down
  • Do not fully straighten your knees or elbows
  • Breath out when lifting; breath in when lowering
  • Keep to your allotted time schedule

In addition to trainers, medical doctors and physical therapists can guide you in your choices. Call your doctor if you have any questions about increasing your weight training ahead of schedule. Maintain all follow-up appointments so your doctor can monitor your progress. Call 866-774-6350 for peace of mind and to keep your back healthy and strong.

Two players in a tennis match; Blog: protect your back playing sports

How to Take Care of Your Back if You Play Sports

Two players in a tennis match; Blog: protect your back playing sportsPlaying sports provides a healthy alternative to exercising alone. In addition to the physical benefits, playing sports also benefits you by:

  • Building teamwork skills
  • Developing friendships
  • Improving your mood
  • Decreasing depression

While sports are fun and healthy, you’re more apt to hurt yourself in the competitive spirit if you don’t take appropriate precautions. Injuring your back can be devastating. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, an average of 8.6 million people of all ages suffer recreational sports-related injuries every year. Nearly 25 percent of competitive athletes are injured annually.

If you previously experienced a back injury or currently have back pain, you need to be especially careful to protect your back. In fact, you should ask your spine specialist at Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) what you can play safely. While you’re there, get tips on how to protect your back playing sports.

Common Back Injuries from Playing Sports

The most common back injuries that happen during sports are strains and sprains. Back strains occur when a muscle or tendon holding a bone is torn or pulled. Back sprains happen when a ligament holding two or more bones to a joint is overstretched or torn. These lower back problems can happen to anyone from a sudden injury, overuse or lack of preparation.

A more severe back injury is a fractured vertebra, in which the vertebral bones push against each other or get dislocated. This can result from sudden trauma, like getting hit hard playing football or falling while running. Watch for symptoms of back injuries that can include:

  • Pain in your lower back or abdominal area
  • Difficulty standing, walking or sitting straight
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Pain in your buttocks and legs
  • Aching, throbbing or shooting pain in your back
  • Restricted movement forward, whether bending or twisting
  • Lower back spasms or twitches during rest or movement

How to Protect Your Back Playing Sports

You have a number of ways to protect your back playing sports. Whether you’re already physically active or have been stuck to your couch or behind a desk for a long period of time, proper preparation for any sports activity helps prevent injury. Take preventative steps by:

  • Stretching
  • Warming up with light aerobics
  • Having proper, well-fitting gear
  • Knowing the right techniques of the particular sport
  • Being properly prepared

Arrive early, before the first whistle, and take time to warm up your muscles before playing. Complete light cardiovascular activities like jogging, skipping or jumping jacks to get oxygen flowing through your body and wake up your muscles. Do core warm-ups like sit-ups or leg, arm and side bending stretches to warm your muscles before an extensive sports activity.

Being properly prepared in sports can protect your back playing sports. For example:

  • Eat well so you get the nutrients necessary to keep you going
  • Drink plenty of water before playing to prevent dehydration
  • Rely on the proper athletic shoes for your specific sport
  • Avoid continued play if you experience back pain to prevent a major injury

Participating in sports can be an affirming, healthy experience. Not preparing properly to protect your back playing sports can result in a painful, devastating injury. The team at SSI applauds your efforts and wants you to enjoy your games, as long as you play it safe.

Picture of people doing cardio training on treadmill in gym; blog: best exercise for your back

The Treadmill vs. the Elliptical Machine: Which Is Better for Your Back?

Picture of people doing cardio training on treadmill in gym; blog: best exercise for your backWhen you go to the gym, you have exercise choices, based in part on your workout goals. But if your goal is to protect your spine, you should talk to your doctor or physical therapist at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) before you begin an exercise regimen. You’ll find that the best exercise for your back isn’t always the most obvious.

The treadmill and the elliptical are popular cardio machines, and aerobic exercise has proven health benefits. Aerobic exercise:

  • Strengthens your cardiovascular system, including your heart
  • Increases your endurance
  • Improves your balance
  • Uses up calories
  • Reduces your risk of arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes
  • Provides a surge of endorphins that make you feel good

Treadmills and ellipticals are both excellent choices for cardiovascular exercise. Both are better for your back than jogging on cement or asphalt. But which is the best exercise for your back?

The High Impact of Treadmills

Treadmills offer changing speeds and changing inclines. The machines allow you to walk and run indoors, in a controlled environment. Exercise on a treadmill causes high or low impact on your joints and lower back, depending on the speed and intensity of your workout. Treadmills can help you burn calories, but they primarily only exercise your lower body.

Treadmills provide specific training for runners, but running or jogging on a treadmill is a high-impact workout. High-impact exercises may not be suitable if you have joint pain, a previous back injury, or are recovering from a back procedure. As you tire, your posture usually suffers on a treadmill as well, which in turn may cause you to re-injure yourself. That makes running on a treadmill not the best exercise for your back.

The Low-Impact Posture Saver

In comparison, the movement of an elliptical trainer may feel foreign at first; it’s a little like riding a bike while standing up. But it produces little to no impact on your knees, hips and back. And that makes it ideal if you’re recovering from back pain.

Low-impact exercise provides protection for your back, promoting good posture. It can even strengthen your back over time. Elliptical machines usually have upper-body handles that that work your arms, chest and upper back as well as your knees, providing a total body workout. Ellipticals are generally considered low-impact cardio equipment because, like riding a bicycle, your feet don’t leave the pedals during the workout.

With an elliptical machine, your bones and joints don’t endure the pounding that occurs with running outdoors or on a treadmill. Ellipticals can also be pedaled backward, allowing you to isolate calf and hamstring muscle groups. And as you tire, your posture is maintained by the arm handles and foot pedals, decreasing the risk of injury to your back.

The Best Exercise for Your Back

Cardio exercise alleviates back pain and prevents future injury when you use the equipment correctly. Aerobic activity — either on a treadmill or elliptical — improves your overall health. You may feel that an elliptical workout feels easier than a treadmill workout, but in fact, they burn almost the same number of calories.

Elliptical machines are an ideal alternative to running or jogging, making it the best exercise for your back. However, since walking is a lower-impact exercise than running, walking on a treadmill comes in a close second. Everybody is different, so ask your spine specialist at SSI for a recommendation for your particular case.

Historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA at twilight.

Walking Tours of Charleston, SC

Historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA at twilight.Walking is a terrific exercise for your back. When you walk — even at a leisurely pace — you give your legs and feet a workout. Walking is good for your balance, your muscles and your bones. So a Charleston walking tour is a perfect activity to strengthen your back or recover from a spinal procedure.

As it turns out, many Charleston walking tours already exist. You can choose something leisurely or something invigorating. While the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) doesn’t endorse any of these tours, the doctors all agree that anything that gets you up and moving can benefit your health. So choose one the Charleston walking tours or make up your own.

The Many Charleston Walking Tours

  • The Free Tours by Foot isn’t really free, but is advertised as “name your own price.” The company provides professional, licensed tour guides to show you around the city. At the end of the tour, you pay whatever you think it was worth! There’s a morning tour and an afternoon tour to choose from.
  • Charleston Sole Walking Tours provides two-hour tours that cover an easy 1.5 miles. Charleston Sole helps you get to know the city and its history through stories and legends. They even have scavenger hunts!
  • Charleston Footprints Walking Tours puts you in the hands of native Michael Trouche, who’s written two books about the city. He knows the ins and outs of Charleston’s history, architecture, culture and more. On one of his two-hour tours (either in the morning or the afternoon), you’ll learn quite a bit about the Holy City.
  • Bulldog Tours offers something for everyone: history tours, ghost tours and food tours! With so many options and so many times, you can fit one of these Charleston walking tours into your schedule.
  • Charleston Culinary Tours have tours of two different parts of the city: Downtown Charleston and Upper King Street. Both are two-and-a-half hours and include food and drinks from some of the best local restaurants.
  • Historic Walking Tour covers the Holy City’s long past and the historic preservation efforts of today. You’ll come away from the tour with a deep appreciation of the city’s treasures.
  • Walks of Charleston has multiple tours, including one that explores Charleston’s alleyways and hidden passages for small groups. Choose a morning or afternoon tour to gain perspective on the city.
  • Charleston Perspective Walking Tour is a two-hour stroll through history takes you from the 1670s to the 1780s. You’ll explore the many phases of Charleston’s history, gaining insight along the way. Choose a morning or afternoon tour.
  • Charleston Walking Tours with Steve gives you a two-hour tour in the morning or afternoon, beginning at the “Four Corners of Law,” at the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets. Steve takes you throughout the original walled city.
  • Charleston in a Nutshell Walking Tours have multiple tours available, including a candlelight tour at dusk, when the character of the city changes. Tour guide Jeff Zimmerman also offers a Civil War tour that takes you to the sites of actual events.
  • Charleston Strolls accommodates school groups and seniors in a leisurely two-hour walk around historic Charleston. Its most unique tour is the tour of the 215-year-old city jail.
  • Walking Charleston has multiple entertaining, local tours. Tour guide Skip Evans takes up to 12 people at a time on historical tours, including one that’s kid-friendly and another about the Civil War and slavery.
  • Old Charleston Walking Tours has ghost tours to please everyone who likes a jolt of surprise. Charleston’s rich history includes many rumors of ghosts and supernatural phenomenon. Now you can explore them!

The next time you need to visit SSI for a procedure or a checkup, make sure you schedule some extra time to take in the culture and history of nearby Charleston, SC. If you use one of these tour companies, let your friends at SSI know how you liked it!

Feet of an athlete couple running on a pathway training for fitness and healthy lifestyle.

What an Effective Walking Routine Looks Like

Feet of an athlete couple running on a pathway training for fitness and healthy lifestyle.If you want to walk to reach your health goals, you need to follow a good walking routine. Walking is the easiest way to maintain your health, especially as you get older. But no matter how old you are, however, you can walk. Whether you do it slowly or quickly depends on your health and fitness level, the advice of your doctor and your personal goals.

The back specialists at the Southeastern Spine Institute are always available to consult about any back pain you’re experiencing. When you’re pain-free and walking is your chosen exercise, strive to walk five times a week. While your doctor warns you to start slowly, for maximum benefit, work your way up to 150 minutes of brisk walking a week. Research shows every hour of brisk walking increases your life expectancy by two hours!

Walking is perhaps the best medicine and cure for a number of health problems, including:

  • Bone health
  • Muscle strength
  • Low energy level and stamina
  • Flexibility in your spine, making your back feel better
  • Sleep problems
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heart disease and stroke prevention
  • Diabetes
  • Even cancer

Get Set and Go Walking

Walking is easier on your legs than running. You don’t need any special equipment or have to spend tons of money. You don’t even need to join a gym to reap the benefits. But to stay healthy and free from injury, you do need several things, including:

  • Supportive walking shoes that are comfortable, with a good bounce ratio
  • Clothes that allow your body to breathe while keeping its temperature down
  • A place that inspires you to walk and is free from tripping hazards and other dangers

Always start your walking routine with some stretching exercises to warm up your muscles. This is especially important when you’ve been inactive for some time. Breathe naturally when you walk. If you’re out of breath, slow down. Swing your arms naturally by your side and focus on your form and posture to build your core, which is vital to support your back.

Motivation for Your Walking Routine

The same old walking routine can get boring, fast. To prevent this, add variety. One of the easiest ways to do this is to get a walking buddy. Persuade your neighbor, a sibling, your spouse or even one of your kids to walk with you. If they aren’t available, consider adopting or fostering a dog. Dogs love to walk, so you both can explore a new walking routine together.

Other things you can do to get your body moving:

  • Change the rhythm of your walk. Alternate between walking fast and walking slowly, maybe five minutes at a time.
  • Walk uphill or downhill, if you have variety where you live.
  • Climb stairs whenever you can.
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot at work place or the supermarket.
  • Go to the mall and window shop as you walk.
  • Use a pedometer to see how many steps you get in a day or start a competition with yourself.
  • Listen to your favorite music or an audio book while you walk.
  • Explore your local art or science museum.
  • Try different spaces to walk; look for green grass, sandy beaches or a swimming pool.

Before you start any new exercise, including a walking routine, check with the spine specialists from the Southeastern Spine Institute first. They’ll tell you if walking is a good fit for your current health.