HEALTH & WELLNESS

The LESS Institute Fosters Adolescent Scoliosis Care With the Best in LES

By Abagail Sullivan

Written by Fabio Pencle & Garianne Bowen

Compiled & edited by Abagail Sullivan

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the most common form of pediatric scoliosis in individuals between the ages of 10 and 18,1 found in as many as 4 in 100 adolescents.2 By definition, idiopathic scoliosis implies the cause is unknown or not related to a specific syndromic, congenital or neuromuscular condition. Treatment options include conservative management, bracing or operative intervention.

Marketing Intern Garianne Bowen is no stranger to a life with adolescent scoliosis, although she may not have known it at first.

“Looking back, though I had the signs of scoliosis growing up, my family wasn’t aware of the potential for this diagnosis. We all thought nothing could be done of it – and though I tried to accept it, I somehow could not,” she said. Bowen spent years settling for a life that held so much more potential, in the physical and emotional space. In a world where lives are hyper visual with social media exposure, “I always felt uncomfortable in my own body. It sometimes felt like I didn’t know how to walk correctly, and that eyes were always on me. My breasts were two different sizes, my stride wasn’t straight, clothes fit awkwardly and I experienced occasional annoying back pain. My shoulder was damaged by birth and my parents attributed that to me being ‘different,'” said Bowen.

Eventually Bowen’s parents discovered an article on scoliosis – and as they read, realized she fit the mold so entirely. Because of this, they scheduled an X-ray to be read by an orthopedic surgeon, witnessing first hand their daughter’s 40 degree spinal curvature.

A proper adolescent scoliosis evaluation includes X-ray imaging from various angles.  Generally speaking, those with curves of 10 to 25 degrees are monitored for surveillance with serial X-rays. This is usually at three, six or 12 month intervals. Those with curves greater than 25 degrees but less than 40 to 45 degrees are candidates for bracing. And those with curves of over 40 to 45 degrees who are skeletally immature are considered operative candidates.3

Bowen’s 40 degree spinal curvature seen through X-ray

Bowen’s 40 degree spinal curvature seen through X-ray

During her preliminary orthopedic visit, her doctor at the time being highly encouraged Bowen to undergo a spinal fusion from the neck down, a more major procedure for an adolescent scoliosis case that would limit Bowen’s flexibility and motion. But Bowen was not so on board. She became determined not to undergo surgery, adapting to a life of covering her curvature and accepting pain as the norm.

Three years post scoliosis discovery, Bowen’s mother met Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Kingsley R. Chin at a conference. Impressed by his profile as a successful Jamaican-born, Harvard-trained spinal surgeon, she brought her daughter to him straightaway to determine a second opinion regarding treatment options. Dr. Chin assured Bowen he would not be completing a full spinal fusion, introducing a Less Exposure Surgery procedure in its place – and clarifying her every concern regarding maintaining motion post-procedure.

Dr. Chin pioneered this LES procedure, a short segment scoliosis surgery with a focus on the apical curve, gearing treatment to the levels above and below – limiting fusion levels.

“As he reassured me, my perceptions of the procedure were altered for the positive,” she said, and after further personal research and consideration, she ultimately trusted Dr. Chin to perform the surgery. “I am so grateful to have gotten to that place,” attests Bowen.

We know it’s vital to prioritize our health, but we must also expose ourselves to our options that lie ahead. Explore your varying avenues of recovery and choose the most appropriate healing method for you.

I can personally vouch for Dr. Chin as a top orthopedic surgeon, as I begin enjoying my young years to my utmost potential – confident and free of pain.
— Garianne Bowen

And just like that, from curvature to confidence, Bowen leads a life of health, happiness and pain-free motion.

The Less Exposure Surgery Advantage

In advancing Less Exposure Surgery, The LESS Institute aims to reduce operative time, minimize blood loss and decrease instrumentation, while improving overall outcomes. For more on adolescent scoliosis cases with The LESS Institute, see the Jamaica Gleaner article and our post titled 15-Year-Old Jamaican Girl Appreciates Life Changing Scoliosis Surgery in Jamaica by Dr. Kingsley R. Chin.

About Dr. Kingsley R. Chin

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Dr. Kingsley R. Chin is a board certified Harvard-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and professor with copious business and information technology exposure. He sees a niche opportunity where medicine, business and info. tech meet – and is uniquely educated at the intersection of these three professions. He has experience as Professor of Clinical Biomedical Sciences & Admissions Committee Member at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Visiting Spine Surgeon & Professor at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Biomedical Studies at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

  1. , 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29763083

  2. https://www.srs.org/patients-and-families/conditions-and-treatments/parents/scoliosis/adolescent-idiopathic-scoliosis 


Here’s How to Choose the Right Spine Specialist for You

By Abagail Sullivan

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Content by Ana Williams

Navigating the healthcare landscape isn’t easy, but it feels like even more of a feat when you’re bogged down with chronic pain amidst your search. Here, we guide you with six helpful steps in choosing the best spine specialist for you.

Make a Decision for Action

The first step to choosing your spine specialist is determining you want to take action. Begin your search straight away once you’ve made the decision. The best spine specialists are prepped to help their patients as soon as they’ve determined the needed treatment, making moves as directly as possible after a consultation. When you feel it’s time to take action, it is!

Commence the Surgeon Search

The spine is a complex collection of bones, nerves and tissue. Make sure your spine specialist has the experience and training to properly handle your condition. Providers devoted primarily to spinal orthopedics will have more experience treating your discomfort than general doctors will. The LESS Institute specializes in spine care with Professor Dr. Kingsley R. Chin, our founder, providing first class care of his own. Dr. Chin is a Harvard trained, board certified and repeatedly honored top surgeon and innovator in less invasive outpatient surgery.

Remember to Reference

Studies suggest that almost 80% of Americans will experience lower back pain, which means you’re bound to know a family member, friend or coworker who’s been treated by or heavily researched a spine specialist. There’s nothing like a personal referral to start. If that particular specialist is booked up or not accepting new patients, be sure to ask their office for an additional reference in the right direction.

Take the Time for Testimonials

Patients can provide the most personal insight into the type of care you may receive from the doctor and facility. Ask your potential surgeon to see their testimonials, or check out the practice’s website and social media pages for further info. At the LESS Institute, we’re huge patient advocates and hope they, too, feel the same in return. For our dedicated patients’ testimonials, head here.

Meet the Doc

Sure, you can learn a lot from research and online reviews, but you’ll get a much stronger feeling about your doctor by sitting down with them in person. An appointment will give you the opportunity to talk through your situation and discuss treatment goals. To request an appointment with our LESS Institute team, call us any time at 855-411-LESS.

Prep Your Qs

Undoubtedly, there will be aspects of your condition or recommendations for relief that you may not fully understand. Make sure to bring your past records and questions at the time of your visit so your surgeon can use that face to face time to explain next steps. The LESS Institute S.E.R.V.E. team, our concierge gurus, personally sits down with you (and even your family!) to educate on the recommended procedure to guide you on your road to relief. The concierge hotline is open to those patients getting a procedure and who may have questions after hours.

We’ve witnessed the hardships of living with chronic pain through our patients, and we hope these tips help you navigate the often overwhelming world of healthcare – to find the best spine specialist fit for you.


Love Your Back and It Will Love You Right Back

By Abagail Sullivan

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Content by Esther Rodriguez & Ana Williams

This Valentine’s Day, give a little love to the one who supports you most – your back. The muscles that maintain your movement and keep your life balanced deserve some TLC this February (and every month to follow!).

Treat Yourself (starting with your back)

Loving your back never felt so good! Massages help increase endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller – while providing healing nutrients to the affected area. Treat yourself to a spa day or save money and relax at home with a diffuser & tea tree oil (or even better, recruit the skills of your loved one!).

Cozy on up at Work

You may be working hard but your back doesn’t have to. Standing desks and ergonomic chairs are trending for good reason – as they help reduce fatigue and your risk of neck & back injury, while also increasing blood flow. Studies show that “spine friendly” workplaces have higher productivity, more employee engagement, better safety culture and lower costs due to less injuries.  

Upgrade Your Sleep Routine

It’s crucial to rest & rejuvenate with the right mattress. Experts recommend a change of mattress every eight years (you can also try flipping it to get the most out of yours!), so research and find the right one for you, being kind to your spine even while you hit the hay.

Shoe Support

Who doesn’t love an excuse to buy a new pair shoes?! Whether you’re walking for exercise or just getting from point A to point B, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. For a more personalized shoe experience, visit a specialized running store for knowledgeable recommendations regarding your best fit. Having the correct type of shoe will make all the difference – in both fitness enjoyment and injury prevention.

Get in Formation

… with stretching, yoga & morning mediation. 

Yoga poses are worth more than just a cool Instagram photo. This powerful form of exercise helps promote a healthy spine while stretching & strengthening key muscles of the back. Although there’s more to yoga than just the poses themselves, the versatility of this exercise makes it easy for anyone to join the fun – no matter your fitness level.

Focus on Form

Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains, so taking precautions can help keep your spine healthy, as well as prevent back pain. Use the gym mirrors to your advantage and align your body correctly and smoothly through each exercise. Pay close attention to your breathing during your workouts. Exhale as you work against resistance and inhale as you release. And after a solid workout, remember to give your muscles time off to recover.

Need extra help getting that form down? Consider hiring a trained professional to teach you the ropes! Even if your budget doesn’t allow for regular sessions, seeing a trainer once every few weeks to touch up on form and learn new exercises can be a great investment for your back and overall health goals.

How do YOU “love your back” each day? Share with us below to spread the healthy back movement.


Setting Your New Year’s Resolution – & Keeping It

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Content by Esther Rodriguez & Ana Williams

As we ring in the new year, we inevitably ring in resolutions to follow – from fitness aspirations to lifestyle improvements, we all share a common end goal: to improve our lives in the upcoming year, by altering bad habits and fostering positive ones. But goal setting is more than making a wish and hoping it will come true. It’s about making it happen and sticking to it. This year, don’t promise the same old new year’s resolution just to find yourself given up by February. The biggest mistake we see are goals that are too broad, too big or too complex. Read on for your guide to setting a manageable new year’s resolution – and keeping it for good.

Tip #1: Recognize what you need to change.

Take a serious step back and consider what you feel you need or want more out of life. It could be as major as a big move, or as “minor” as dedicating more time to home cooking. Whatever will increase YOUR quality of life – make it happen.

Tip #2: Establish smart goals.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are those that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Set these goals by writing them down, making them feel tangible. Then plan the steps you must take to realize that goal, and cross each off as you work through.

Tip #3: Begin a goal-directed activity.

The first step to achieving your goals is starting. Don’t let the prospect of hard work keep you from beginning. It takes just one step – and voila! You’ve begun.

Tip #4: Track your progress.

Tracking your progress doesn’t have to be intimidating, but it does need to hold you accountable. Whether it’s in baby steps or giant leaps, track your wins every time. This will serve as both proof of achievement and a motivator to keep you climbing for success.

Tip #5: Reward yourself.*

Perhaps the best step of all: reward. Don’t forget to celebrate your wins, even if it’s in a small way. You ran a mile every day last week? Highlight that by treating yourself to a new piece of gym swag. Or take a day off and pick back up twice as hard the following. Small wins are still wins.

*Just don’t go too easy on yourself! Goals are meant to challenge and better you – and hard work is tough for a reason. The easy path won’t get you to your desired destination, trust us. It’s all about a happy medium in rest & reward. You know your limits; establish those, stick to them & you’ll thrive.

Share below how YOU make & keep your new year’s resolution. How will you take 2018 by the horns?


Feel Jollier All Season Long with These Healthy Holiday Choices

By Abagail Sullivan

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Content compiled by Esther Rodriguez & Ana Williams

The holidays are so close, we can practically taste that home cooked comfort food. With all the creaminess and goodness it’s no wonder the average American gains a few pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. Fortunately for us, this season doesn’t have to consist of dodging one food-focused frenzy after another. We can still enjoy the same delicious flavors we love, while cutting unhealthy fat and making a few tweaks to the classics – creating an all around healthier holiday.

Mashed Potatoes

Did you know that with every spoonful of mashed potatoes you serve yourself, you’re adding heaps of empty carbs and calories – and that’s before the added goodies like butter, gravy & cheese!? Stay light on your feet by making mashed cauliflower instead. It has the same texture and similar flavor – while staying a lot more belly-friendly.

Pies

Pie is an American classic, but try substituting one on your dessert table for baked, roasted or grilled fruit. If you’re a peach cobbler fan, try grilled peaches! This way, your guests will get the fruity sweetness they crave, minus the buttery, carb-heavy, calorie-dense crust.

Green Bean Casserole

Creamy green bean casserole is a go-to tradition for the turkey-day table (and a sorry excuse for a veggie!) With fried onions, butter, cheese, salt and cream of mushroom soup, this side’s ingredients are far from friendly. Toss in some oven-roasted Brussels sprouts for a savory, fiber-packed veggie or stick with the green bean classic, but sauté them over low heat in extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt & black pepper instead.

Creamed Spinach

Spinach is a source of a lot of goodies for our body – like fiber, vitamins A, C, E & K, folate, calcium, iron and more – but when we load that with saturadated fats, the whole “health” aspect is sort of rendered useless. This year, sauté those leafy greens in heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil and garlic, or toss a spinach salad – dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with sliced apples or peas & toasted walnuts or pecans for added flair.

Stuffing

In place of a heavy, white-bread loaded side dish, try quinoa, couscous or faro-based stuffing to cut down on cholesterol, saturated fat and empty carbohydrates. When these grains are blended with all the other stuffing ingredients, you won’t even be able to taste the difference between the traditional vs. healthy versions. 

Sweet Potato Casserole

We know, the melted marshmallows and brown sugar are to die for! But this year, try drizzling your baked sweet potatoes with a sauce made from extra virgin coconut oil, maple syrup, fresh grated ginger and pumpkin pie spice. While the syrup adds sugar, it acts as an unrefined form of the sweetener, which contains more natural nutrients.

Sour Cream

Our holiday favorites that “require” sour cream – from mashed potatoes to casseroles and sauces – can so simply be made healthier by subbing in nonfat Greek yogurt. And there’s no need to increase the amount – just a dash of ‘plain’ incorporated in the recipe, and your dish is just as delicious as it would be with its creamy cousin counterpart.

What approachable healthy holiday choices do you make? Next up, we’ll cover “amping up your healthy holiday” – highlighting ways in which we can get foster a healthier seasonal environment.

Inspired by Health.com’s 20 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps You Need to Try


Maximum Flavor, Minimal Guilt: Six Surprising Pumpkin Health Benefits

By Abagail Sullivan

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It’s a fruit! It’s a squash! It’s a PUMPKIN. 

Who doesn’t love pumpkin season? From classic decor to seasonally tasty treats, this fall favorite has become a true symbol of autumn. Luckily for us, this season’s ‘superfood’ has health benefits galore – and doesn’t have to be another major indulgence among holiday madness. Check out these six good-to-know pumpkin health benefits, fostering maximum flavor and minimal guilt.

Content compiled by Esther Rodriguez & Ana Williams of The LESS Institute

Clear That Vision
Filled with beta-carotene and almost twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, a pumpkin’s bright orange hue promotes good vision – especially in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Keep Your Hunger at Bay
Pumpkin seeds are not only fun to eat, they’re high in fiber – which helps keep you full longer and promotes digestion.

Ward off Disease
A serving of pumpkin can contain 50% of your daily recommended vitamin K, which has recently been found to safely suppress the growth of some cancers.



Promote Your Healthiest Heart
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in potassium, vitamin C, and essential fats that can help lower the risk of hypertension and contribute to a healthy heart.



Sleep like a Baby
Can you feel that Thanksgiving-day sleepiness already? The tryptophan found in pumpkin seeds is that feel-good amino acid that helps you relax and unwind. Pumpkin seeds promote better sleep – so go ahead, take that post-Turkey-day nap!

Foster Positive Vibes
Ask someone what their favorite holiday is and chances are, it’s Thanksgiving. The serotonin found in pumpkins is known to improve the mood of those consuming this flavored pie – so it’s no wonder fall holidays are the happiest time of year.

Check back for more helpful health & wellness tips from our LESS Institute team – and let us know your favorite pumpkin health benefits (and topics you’d like to see covered), below!


Wellness Wednesdays: Safety on the Job

By Abagail Sullivan

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The importance of safety on the job goes far beyond the individual – it affects families, careers and futures.

The LESS Institute is proud to be Department of Labor (DOL) approved to receive worker’s compensation patients in their network, as well as in Rockport Healthcare Network – a national network services solution. In 2016 alone, there were 7,406 DOL Workers’ Compensation claims involving the back.

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The following stats show the surprising number of workers in Florida who injure their backs while on the job.

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If you’ve been injured on the job, resulting in back and neck pain, call the LESS Institute at 1-855-411-LESS for a consult today. We are enrolled and ready to help.

And check out the following resources for information pertaining to Workers’ Compensation in Florida:

http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/employee/faq.htm

http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/WC/pdf/WC-System-Guide.pdf


Wellness Wednesdays: Rest Up! May is “Better Sleep Month”

By Abagail Sullivan

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Rest up! May is Better Sleep Month and we’re here to remind you of the major benefits of prioritizing your sleep – giving you even more reason to hit that snooze button.

Benefits of Sleep that Might Just Surprise You

Strengthen Your Memory Skills

Sleep can help strengthen memories and your brain can even practice previously learned skills while you’re at rest.

Get That Inflammation Under Control

People who get less than six hours of sleep a night have seen higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins; one study found that C-reactive protein – which is associated with heart attack risk – was higher in people of the same category.

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Sleep helps reset your mind and restructure your memories, fostering potential for a creative-revamp. Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep – so maybe “sleeping on it” is a good idea after all.

Relieve That Nagging Pain

Getting just the right amount of rest is believed to help with chronic pain, as many studies have given evidence that lack of sleep can lower your pain threshold.

Change Your Mindset

The pure power of rejuvenation (and waking up on the right side of the bed) can improve your mood and set the tone for the rest of your day. Just don’t over-do it on the R&R, or you could have health effects to the other end of the spectrum!

For those who (attempt to) sleep with back pain…

Listen up, restless sleepers! Back pain can become a big pain when trying to achieve your best night’s sleep. Here are some tips to get you through the night.

Back sleepers: place a pillow under your knees to maintain the normal curve of your back.

Stomach sleepers: sleeping on your stomach can be detrimental in this realm, but if you can’t shake your go-to position, try placing a pillow under your pelvis and lower abs to reduce some of the strain on your lower back.

Side sleepers: place a pillow between your knees as you rest. Try a body pillow for full coverage!

We spend about ONE THIRD of our lives sleeping – so let’s enjoy it! Let us know what YOU do to snooze deeper, longer and all-around better. Share your tips and tricks to your best night’s rest yet.


Here’s Why You Should Start Practicing Yoga to Promote a Healthy Spine

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From improving flexibility and posture to making you an overall happier person, there’s no secret yoga has its share of benefits. But when back pain and spinal spasms get in the way of your daily activities, practicing something like yoga might seem far fetched. To the contrary, yoga can be a notably beneficial activity for those struggling with back issues. Here’s why YOU should release your inner yogi and see what the buzz is all about.

Benefits

Protect Your Spine

Spinal discs get nutrients through movement. So it’s no surprise back bending, forward bending and twisting helps promote supple and healthy spine discs.

Perfect That Posture

Even those without back pain should be looking for ways to improve their posture, to avoid pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine. When your head and neck are balanced directly above your spine, it gives your body a break from straining the muscles to support it.

Relieve Lower Back Pain

Many yoga moves stretch and strengthen the lower back muscles and increase blood circulation. This, in turn, brings healing nutrients to injured tissues, easing pain from lower back muscles.

Learn Your Limits

learning your limits with yoga is crucial in preventing further back pains and injuries or worsening your condition. Practicing various positions (and re-positions) helps individuals understand their unique limitations.

Relaxation Nation

Relaxation is perhaps the most appealing aspect of yoga, and can actually be quite beneficial in promoting back health as well. Yoga practices incorporate relaxation among stretching, which reduces tension in muscles carrying stress.

Check out the Yoga Journal for moves to alleviate back pain. If you’re short on time, use this 10-minute yoga sequence as your go-to guide. Comment below to your fellow yogis, sharing what’s helped you in promoting a healthy spine and back.


Spring into Warm Weather with This Pre Planned Workout Routine

By Abagail Sullivan

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Check out this warm weather workout routine to get you back in action this spring.

Here’s to sun, fun and fitness!

For most of us, winter is time for bundling in sweaters, blankets, bed… you name it. But with warmer weather comes outdoor motivation, so get back in action with this workout routine for major #fitspiration.

Workout regimen by Lisa Redder

Day One: Monday

Deadlifts: five sets x five reps, one to two minute rest

Bent Over Row: four sets x eight to 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Cable Lateral Pull Down: four sets x eight to 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Incline Dumbbell Shoulder Press: four sets x eight to 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Laying Down Bench Press: four sets x 12 to 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Cable Flyes: three sets x 12 to 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Bicep Dumbbell Curls: three sets x 15-to 20 reps, one to two minute rest


Day Two: Tuesday

Cardio: 30 minutes (running, elliptical, swimming or cycling)


Day Three: Wednesday

Barbell Squat: five sets x five reps, one to two minute rest

Goblet Squat: three sets x 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Leg Extension: three sets x 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift: three sets x 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Lying Leg Curl: three sets x eight reps, one to two mintue rest

Walking Lunge: three sets x 15 reps, one to two minute rest

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press: four sets x 12 to 15 reps, one to two minute rest


Day Four: Thursday

Cardio: 30 minutes (running, elliptical, swimming or cycling)


Day Five: Friday

Barbell Calf Raise: four sets x 12 reps, tempo 2121, one minute rest

Seated Calf Raise: four sets x 12 reps, tempo 2121, one minute rest

Standing Bodyweight Calf Raise: four sets x 20 to 25 reps, one minute rest

Captain’s Chair Leg Lifts: four sets x 15 reps, 45 second rest

Oblique Crunch: four sets x 15 reps, 45 second rest

Cable Crunch: four sets x 15 reps, 45 second rest