Kraus Back and Neck Institute in Houston, TX

Relief from Lower Back and Neck Pain

surgery optionsavoid surgery
      At the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI), we specialize
                 in non-surgical as well as surgical treatments
                                of Back and Neck  Pain
     Conservative to Surgical Options: MINIMALLY INVASIVE SPINE SUGERY 
 "Applying Science to the Art of Medicine"                                                  
                 Dr. Kraus is available for Neurosurgery consultation (surgical and non-surgical) in Houston.
                      Offices:  1) West Houston Medical Center
                                    2) Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital
                                    3) Katy
           FILM REVIEW:  send an e mail                                       
      To arrange  an appointment, call 281-870-9292,  visit
or   send an e mail
              For national and international patients, we can help with  travel arrangements
                                         top doctors houston texas 2007 top docs united states neurosurgery spine   top doctors houston texas 2008 top docs united states neurosurgery spine  top doctors houston texas 2009 top docs united states neurosurgery spine   best doctors in america, united states neurosurgery spine
                                            Dr. Kraus is honored to be listed in
                                            "Best Doctors in America" (2001-2008) and
                                             "Top Doctors of Houston, Texas" (2007, 2008, 2009)     

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Low Back Pain, can be very debilitating.  The effects of Low Back Pain in the USA are staggering!!

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   last updated
  June 19, 2009

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Strength Guide
Back Strengthening

Training Regimen

The best way to treat low back pain is to prevent it.  But as we all know, hindsight is 20/20.  To really develop a healthy back, what is needed is not a fancy home gym (although that is always nice), but determination, motivation, a little bit of time each day, and a schedule.  Let's face it, it's never "convenient" for any of us to set aside time to exercise and do the necessary things for weight loss, but if we get into a routine, we start to depend upon it.  Our day is not complete until we do it.  Many clients and patients, who initially were among the most unlikely of dedicated athletes, have been known to actually be in a bad mood if someone or something interrupted their workout.  Their day wasn't complete unless they finished their exercise.  Does this sound familiar?  If not, stay with us, and ask yourself this question in the future.

cardiovascular activityExercise makes us feel better for many reasons.  It increases blood flow to our heart and muscles, taking away lactic acid and other breakdown products more efficiently.  It also delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the damaged muscle.  It strengthens the "guy wires" also known as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which hold our bones, and in particular, our spines, together.  This reduced stress on the bones and joints.  It promotes the release of endorphins, which act as narcotics upon the brain.  It also makes us look better, and the compliments which people pay us can only improve our attitudes. 

Key to exercise are cardiovascular activities, as well as strength training.  Prior to any exercise, it is important to undergo a warm up session and a stretching session. 

Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.  If pain develops, stop immediately and notify your physician.


Warm up and Stretching

A warm up can consist of five minutes on the treadmill, at a brisk walk pace, or five minutes on the stationary bike.  It is not necessary to break a sweat, but rather to get the muscles warm and heart rate at about one hundred.  Follow the warm up with stretching.  The stretching is important.  In a slow yet deliberate manner, stretch the back, chest, shoulders, arms and legs.  Stretching can easily be done by yourself, and resistance can be provided by a wall or doorway, to stretch groups such as the pectorals, biceps and triceps.  Many gyms have a chair designed to provide an optimum stretch.  Another favorite for the pectorals is to stand, with the arms extended backward, while a partner slowly pushes them together behind your back.  The arms should be help on mild tension for twenty seconds.  Try it.  You will agree that this is an incredible stretch on the pectorals. 

Cardiovascular Activity

For cardiovascular activity, the goal is duration, not intensity.  It is much better to walk briskly for twenty to thirty minutes, than to sprint for five minutes.  DURATION FIRST, SPEED WILL FOLLOW!!  While a person in good shape may target an exercise  heart rate of 85 percent of their maximum, a person in lesser shape might target 60 percent.

Although a number of methods are available to calculate maximum heart rate, most are cumbersome, and the only accurate method is a stress test.  A practical method is as follows:

Men: 220 minus your age (add 10 points if you are already fit)

Women: 226 minus your age (add 10 points if you are fit)

Guide workouts according to your level (consult a physician before starting a workout program):

Beginner (over 30 years age, overweight, sedentary for 10 years): it will take you 6 months to get your body conditioned to run; don't go above 70% of maximum heart rate;

Intermediate: generally 80 to 85% of maximum heart rate, with short interval bursts of exercise at up to 90% of maximum heart rate;

To measure pulse, use the wrist measurement, not the carotid artery in the neck.  Pressure on the carotid artery may cause a vagal response, which may slow the rate by 10 beats per minute.

In choosing a cardiovascular activity, running or walking is better for those with low back pain and herniated disks, than is riding a stationary bike.  The sitting position puts stress on the low back, and may exacerbate low back pain. 

COOL DOWN after each cardiovascular session.  Do so until the pulse is below 100.




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