African American Senior Couple Enjoying Meal Around Table At Home

How Nutrition & Eating Habits Can Impact Your Pain 

Nutrition is only one aspect of overall health, but it can play an important role in how well your body functions. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, dietary changes — as part of an integrated treatment plan — may help you feel better. 

Here’s a look into how nutrition can influence your pain levels, and how you can make choices that help control your pain. 

The Link Between Diet & Chronic Pain

The food you eat, as well as the nutrients you may be lacking, can significantly influence pain levels. According to Dr. Fred Tabung, visiting researcher with the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the culprit is inflammation. Dr. Tabung says:

A lot of chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation, and the evidence is quite strong that your diet can contribute to increased systemic inflammation. But your diet is also one of the best ways to reduce it.

While inflammation is the body’s natural way to fight injuries and infection, prolonged inflammation can damage healthy cells, too, including those that make up the joints, muscles, and other tissues. 

The immune system may respond to an unhealthy diet similar to how it would respond to an infection, triggering an inflammatory response. It’s also possible that deficiencies in certain nutrients — including zinc, iron, folic acid, selenium, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — could create the same immune system response.

This low-grade, persistent inflammation is believed to be an underlying cause of many sources of chronic pain, including:

  •       Osteoarthritis
  •       Myofascial pain syndrome
  •       Rheumatoid arthritis
  •       Chronic low back pain

What Can You Eat to Reduce Chronic Pain?

While there’s no single, “cure-all” food that will alleviate chronic pain in everyone, certain dietary approaches can help you get the nutrients your body needs to heal and perform well while also minimizing the factors that can contribute to inflammation. 

For instance, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with significant reductions in pain symptoms. In the Mediterranean diet, the following foods are prioritized:

  •       Fruits and vegetables
  •       Nuts and seeds
  •       Legumes
  •       Fish and poultry (omega-3s found in fatty fish are also believed to reduce inflammation)
  •       Poultry
  •       Eggs and dairy (in limited quantities)
  •       Whole grains

This dietary approach provides many of the micronutrients the immune system needs to perform optimally.

Heavily processed foods, including refined carbohydrates, trans fats, processed meats, and foods with added sugars are avoided or limited, as the ingredients found in these foods are often linked to inflammation.

Does this mean you have to eat only the above ingredients? Absolutely not. In fact, there’s research that suggests adding moderate wine and cheese consumption may help, too. 

In general, because no single food can address inflammation, and a variety is needed to promote a healthy immune system, anyone looking to reduce chronic pain through their diet should aim to eat a wide spectrum of nutrient-rich foods. Attempting to “eat the rainbow” each day can help you take in a variety of nutrients, as different color groups have distinct nutritional properties. While it may not eliminate pain altogether, it could be a promising complementary approach to consider.

If you’re seeking a more tailored dietary plan as part of your individualized pain management plan, schedule an appointment by calling 770-929-9033 or reach out to us online.

Man in a blue shirt suffering from disc herniation

What to Know About Disc Herniation, Also Known As “Slipped Discs”

Disc herniation, also known as “slipped discs” is one of the most common causes of serious lower back and leg pain. Yet as common as they are, herniated discs are not so commonly understood.

How does a disc herniation happen? What symptoms might you feel? How can you best care for yourself while your body recovers? And how might an interventional pain management specialist help you on the path to real relief?

With better understanding comes better treatment, so let’s take a closer look at what’s going on in your spine.

What Is a Disc Herniation?

The Mayo Clinic describes a disc herniation as “a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack to make your spine.” When the jellylike center (nucleus) of the disc pushes out, it can cause a tear in the annulus, or rubbery exterior, of the disc.

The protruding nucleus can then compress a nearby nerve. This may cause pain, numbness, or weakness in other parts of the body such as the neck, arm, or leg — particularly along one side of the body. 

What Causes a Disc Herniation?

“Most of the time, disc disease happens as a result of aging and the normal breakdown that occurs within the disc,” says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Aging-related wear and tear can cause your discs to become less flexible, and therefore more susceptible to damage.

Medical News Today further explains that “spinal discs also lose some of their water content as a person ages. This reduction in fluid makes the discs less supple and more prone to splitting.”

Though you may not be able to pinpoint when a disc problem began, it can often occur while lifting heavy objects without bending at the knee, or else twisting while lifting something heavy. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, other risk factors for a herniated disc include:

  • Excess body weight
  • A physically demanding job
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Lessening of oxygen supply due to smoking

How Do You Know If You Have a Disc Herniation?

Though in some cases you may have no symptoms at all, common signs of a disc herniation include:

  • Numbness and tingling
  • Pain in the spine that possibly spreads to an arm or leg
  • Weakness in muscles linked to the nerve

Your primary care doctor or interventional pain management specialist can also help diagnose a disc herniation with a physical exam.

During the exam, your doctor will check your reflexes, muscle strength, and range of motion. They will also ask you about areas of tenderness and activities that increase your pain levels.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend advanced tests such as an X-ray or an MRI.  

How is a Disc Herniation Treated?

Fortunately, most people recover from a herniated disc without surgery. Treatments recommended by John Hopkins Medicine, SPINE-Health, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons include:

  • Bed rest
  • Lumbosacral (small of the back and back of the pelvis) support
  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Physical therapy
  • Maintaining healthy body weight
  • Low-impact activities
  • Regular core-strengthening exercises
  • Ice and heat therapy for pain relief
  • Avoiding tobacco products

If you are suffering from pain or complications of what you suspect may be a disc herniation, please reach out to us online or give us a call at 770-929-9033. We will work with you to identify the cause of your pain then develop an individualized treatment plan to bring you real relief.

Scoliosis Spine Curve Anatomy, Posture Correction. Chiropractic treatment, Back pain relief.

Learn All About Scoliosis

Though an important part of your body and your life, the spine can often be taken for granted — until it develops or causes problems. 

In order to more fully understand and appreciate the spine, we’re taking a closer look at scoliosis: what it is, how it’s caused, and different forms of treatment.

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition involving a side-to-side curvature of the spine of 10 degrees or greater, either to the left, right, or both. “You can’t spell ‘scoliosis’ without an ‘S’ or a ‘C,’”  say the experts at Spine Universe, “and if you have this condition that’s what your spine looks like.”

Scoliosis usually manifests itself during the growth spurt that happens in young people just before puberty (between the ages of 10 – 15), though it can affect people of all ages. It is a fairly uncommon condition (2 to 3% of Americans have scoliosis), but if left untreated, it can cause complications later in life, including leg and back pain, and/or breathing and cardiovascular problems.

What Causes Scoliosis?

Though the Scoliosis Research Society assures scoliosis “does not come from carrying heavy backpacks, participating vigorously in sports, or poor posture,” in more than 80% of cases, the actual cause of scoliosis is not easily identified.

There “appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors that influences the development of scoliosis,” professionals at CLEAR Scoliosis Institute explain. “Even in identical twins, it is possible for one twin to develop scoliosis but the other does not.”

There are generally three types of scoliosis:


Though scoliosis has been around and studied for a long time, often the original cause remains unknown. What we do know, as Johns Hopkins Medicine experts explain, is that it can worsen as the body grows. “We should be most concerned about scoliosis in a child that has significant growth remaining.” 


Neurological conditions such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or other disorders of the brain, spinal cord, or muscular system can contribute to this form of scoliosis. When the muscles are not working properly due to these conditions, scoliosis may develop.


If the spine or vertebrae do not form properly while an infant is in utero, scoliosis can manifest later in life. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this form of scoliosis occurs “in only 1 in 10,000 newborns, and is much less common than the type of scoliosis that begins in adolescence.” 

Spine Universe also identifies three other types of scoliosis (Degenerative, Thoracogenic, and Syndromic), but each of these involve complications with or damage to the spine because of outside forces (such as radiation) or other syndromes. 

How is Scoliosis Identified and Diagnosed?

As we’ve already discussed, the causes of scoliosis are sometimes difficult to determine. Symptoms can vary as well — differing between individuals. Johns Hopkins Medicine identifies common indicators of scoliosis that include:

  • Shoulder height differences, as well as differences in shoulder blade position
  • A difference in head alignment with the rest of the body
  • Difference in arm length, when standing straight
  • Asymmetry in the ribcage visible from the back or front

If scoliosis is suspected, diagnosis can be determined by a physical exam with a doctor, and/or imaging tests (X-ray, and in some cases MRI) to give your health specialist a more specific look at the spine. 

Can Scoliosis be Treated?

Though often the impacts of scoliosis are mild, when necessary, effective treatment commonly involves a brace, which is worn daily until the bones have ceased their growth. Stretching and muscle-building exercises may also help, including a few offered here by Healthline. In some cases, surgical treatment may be recommended, particularly in extreme cases where the procedure will improve balance, breathing, pain management, and quality of life. 

Above all, frequent checkups and conversations with your spine specialists are of utmost importance. If you suspect you may have scoliosis, we are here to help alleviate your pain and distress. Please reach out to us online or give us a call at 770-929-9033.

Preparing for yoga poses for pain management at home with laptop and fitness mat.

Helpful Yoga Poses for Pain Management

Yoga has increasingly become established as an effective method for relieving some physical stress and pain. At Alliance Spine & Pain Centers, we are dedicated to the pursuit of innovative solutions that give you real relief from chronic, long-term pain. Here are our top yoga poses for pain management, as part of an integrated plan for interventional pain management

Why Yoga Works

“Decreasing stressful feelings and emotional reactions to stress lowers levels of cortisol, the main human stress hormone,” Carrie Janiski, DO, a yoga teacher and the director of sports and musculoskeletal medicine at Romeo Medical Clinic in Turlock, CA explained to Healthline. “This has a positive impact on levels of inflammation throughout the body, including joints that are affected by [rheumatoid arthritis].”

Beyond the physical sources of chronic pain, thoughts, emotions, memories, and other mental influences may also contribute. “The best way to unlearn chronic stress and pain responses,” asserts Yoga International, “is to give the mind and body healthier responses to practice.”

Restorative Yoga is an opportunity to hold simple poses, relax deeply, connect with the body, and alleviate pain issues. Benefits highlighted by the Chopra Center include:

  • Heightened body awareness
  • Soothing of the nervous system
  • Strengthening of acceptance and detachment

Experts at Harvard Health agree, highlighting scientific studies that indicate weekly yoga practice can increase mobility, improve daily function, and raise psychosocial well-being.

What Are the Best Yoga Poses for Pain Management?

When beginning any new practice, going slowly, listening to your body, and staying in consultation with your pain specialist is of utmost importance. But if you feel you’re ready to start, here are some simple yoga positions we’ve found may be helpful:

Cat/Cow Pose

Chakravakasana, or Cat/Cow pose is highly recommended for those with back pain. Begin on your hands and knees, and flex the spine through its full length first toward the floor, and then up to the ceiling.

Side Body Stretch

A gentle side body stretch can strengthen and relieve all the muscles around and between your ribs. Clasp your hands over your head, facing forward, and lean to one side, then the other.

Legs up the Wall

The name of this pose may make you want to climb the wall, but the benefits could help you lie down with greater comfort. Yoga Journal has solid recommendations for making this pose work for you.

Warrior II

Abundant with the powerful energy of its name, Warrior II can strengthen muscles throughout the arms, core, chest, and legs, while simultaneously allowing the lower back to release and relieve pain at the same time. 

Side Twist

Popular for spine and hip pain relief, the Side Twist (illustrated here by Yoga Basics) can be executed on the floor or in a chair.

Modified Downward Facing Dog

It may feel challenging to get both hands and feet on the floor at the same time, but Downward Facing Dog can also be modified by leaning against a chair or table.

Fish Pose

Though it may involve a pillow, rolled blanket, or yoga block for support, done properly, Verywell Fit assures this pose “stretches the front of your body, including the chest, abs, hip flexors, neck, and back, and engages parts of the body that are often neglected, even within yoga’s asanas.”

For a deeper discussion of how yoga and/or other exercises may work to help resolve your chronic pain as part of your custom pain management plan, please reach out to us online or give us a call at 770-929-9033.

Senior woman with osteoporosis exercising.

Exercises That Help with Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million Americans have low bone mass or osteoporosis, and approximately one in two women (and up to one in four men age 50 and older) will break a bone as a result of the disease.

Osteoporosis is common. (Public figures including Gwenyth Paltrow and Sally Field have spoken about their bone density issues.) But osteoporosis is also serious, costly, and hard to see coming — since you can’t easily observe or feel your own bones weakening.

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent osteoporosis and improve the health of your bones. Exercise is one of them and one that our experts recommend.

Strengthen Your Bones with Strength Training

Bone strength, like muscle strength, requires weight. Strength training at least two to three times a week will accomplish this. You can:

  • Work with free weights or elastic resistance bands
  • Use weight machines at the gym
  • Do floor exercises that require lifting your own body weight

Keep in mind that you may need to lift more weight than you think, though still never so much that you stress your bones. Harvard Health recommends beginning slowly, “with light weights and few repetitions,” so that you can build up from there. “Add one more repetition per week, until you can do a full set of eight to 12 reps.”

Weight Impact Improves Cardiovascular Impact, Too

Along with strength-training exercises, cardiovascular workouts can and do help, especially when weight impact is involved. Examples of what you might choose include: 

  • Power walking 
  • Dancing
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Jumping rope
  • Stair climbing 
  • Tennis

As the Mayo Clinic explains, “These types of exercises work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow mineral loss.” But specialists also caution against abrupt movements that may cause stress. Choose activities that are slow and controlled, yet still engage your muscles. 

Other aerobic activities, such as swimming, cycling, and using elliptical machines have many benefits, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, even if they don’t provide the weight-bearing load needed to help prevent mineral loss in your bones. Just also diversify your exercise routine with activities that include weights.

Where Do Flexibility and Balance Come In?

While these types of exercise don’t directly impact your bone composition, they can lower your risk of fractures in another way. By keeping your muscles supple and your whole body better coordinated, flexibility and balance routines can help prevent potentially devastating falls. 

Simple exercises such as those recommended by the NHS, or tai-chi, may help with both your balance and your confidence. But be sure to honor your body’s limitations, seek guidance and supervision, and don’t push things too far too soon. Avoid stretches that flex your spine or cause you to bend excessively or uncomfortably at the waist, and maintain movements that are smooth and slow. 

The American Heart Association also recommends warming up your body to promote blood flow a bit before any stretching. Walk or jog lightly for a few minutes, then stretch lightly prior to a cardiovascular workout. Or stretch at the conclusion of a strength training routine.

Above all, keep your own needs and abilities in mind. We understand that finding the right exercise plan depends a lot on the individual, but especially for those with osteoporosis. Reach out to us online or call at 770-929-9033 so that we can help craft the right regimen that will support a functional, fulfilling life for you.

Woman going home. Tattooed young woman holding towel while going home after running in the morning, wondering about walking long distances without hurting your body.

Tips for Walking Long Distances Without Hurting Your Body

Walking is a fantastic exercise for increasing your heart rate, lowering stress levels, and improving overall health. However, many people think there’s no technique behind walking.

That’s not the case, especially if you’re walking frequently and for long distances! In fact, if you do end up walking long enough without the correct posture or technique, you could cause harm to your spine, hips, feet, and joints. Plus, using the right technique can make a world of a difference in your speed and performance! 

If you’re a huge fan of walking and what it does for you, keep reading below to learn tips for walking long distances without hurting your body.  

Perfect Your Posture 

Just as posture is important for runners, so it is for walkers! Here are some tips for using the correct posture when walking:

  • Stand up tall and straight. No leaning forward or backward. 
  • Your feet should be about hip-distance apart. 
  • Keep your toes pointed forward. 
  • Have your eyes 10 to 20 feet in front of you. This should mean your chin is parallel to the ground.
  • Avoid arching your back. 
  • To engage your core muscles while walking, suck in your stomach. (However, don’t suck in too much that you are uncomfortable! )
  • Relax your shoulders. 

Watch Your Stride 

When you’re used to walking to get from point a to point b as quickly as possible, your strides are naturally long. However, for the purposes of walking for exercise, you’ll want to shorten your stride. Not many people think to make this change, but doing so will protect your hips, knees, and Achilles tendons! 

So, next time you’re out on your walk, consciously think to take smaller steps. It may take longer, but you’ll be keeping your body safe. 

Use Your Arms 

Walking uses a majority of the muscles in your body, except for your arms. Make the effort to include them in the endeavor!  It will help increase your heart rate and burn more calories. To do this properly, hold your arms at a 90-degree angle and swing them backward one at a time, in line with your stride. 

The Right Shoes Are Key 

Wearing the right type of shoes can prevent the soreness and discomfort that often comes from walking long distances. The right padding, support, and fit makes a world of difference. So, try out different options before you commit to one pair, and make sure you break them in for at least five hours around the house before taking them on a long walk. 

If taking long walks does result in injury or discomfort or have further questions about walking long distances without hurting your body, our pain management specialists are here to help you get back to doing what you love. Reach out to us by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

Teenage girl lying on the floor in the living room doing her homework using a laptop computer, low angle, close up, highlighting child habits hurting their spine.

How Your Child’s Habits Could be Hurting Their Spine

As parents, we want to protect children from harm to their young bodies. Yet, it can be challenging to keep track of all they do and how it indirectly impacts their health. Unfortunately, many children’s daily habits have negative impacts on their spine. 

If your child is complaining about back pain, their posture needs improvement, or you’re interested in proactive health tips, keep reading to learn how your child’s habits could be hurting their spine.


With many schools using virtual learning, kids are finding themselves using technology as a daily part of life more than ever. Here are Alliance’s tips to help establish healthy screen time habits with the proper posture.

  • When children are looking at phones, tell them to hold it up in front of their faces. They need to avoid hunching over to look at the screen.
  • Similarly with iPads, instead of slouching on the couch, ask them to sit up straight and use the device at a table. 
  • If your child spends a lot of time sitting at a desk to use a computer, make sure the monitor is set up correctly so that the screen is at eye level and your child’s feet can rest firmly on the floor or a stool.


When your child is physically active, their body is properly developing the muscles that keep their spine, abdomen, lower back, and hips in shape. Staying active can prevent injuries and pain from developing in the future for children.

Make sure your child has at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. It can be going outside to play or participating in a team sport. 


If your child uses a backpack on a regular basis, you need to be aware of how it’s adjusted. It’s easy to overlook, which later can lead to aches and pains in your child’s shoulders, neck, and spine. 

Here are a few rules to keep in mind when adjusting your child’s backpack:

  • Ensure it sits evenly in the middle of their back. 
  • Children’s backpacks shouldn’t have more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, meaning they should easily be able to put it on and take it off themselves.
  • No one-strap bags. In the same vein, don’t allow your child to wear a backpack on just one shoulder. 
  • Read more about how backpacks affect children’s spine health.


Shoes with strong support are best for everyone, but especially for kids. They spend lots of time on their feet.  Try to select sneakers with support that are lightweight, flexible, and also breathable. Shoes without these characteristics can lead to issues with your child’s feet, hips, and even lower back. 

If you have any additional questions about issues with back pain or posture or how your child’s habits could be hurting their spine, contact Alliance and Spine Health to speak with our specialists or call 770-929-9033. 

Female runner running at summer park trail . Healthy fitness woman jogging outdoors, showcasing the proper posture for running.

Proper Posture for Running

When it comes to running, posture is extremely important. If you want to lower your risk for injuries, keep your level of soreness down, and also protect your joints so you can keep running, posture is vital to focus on. Running with poor posture can lead you to hurt yourself or feeling sorer than necessary the next day. Plus, running with the right posture will help improve your time.

The posture experts are here to help all runners stay injury-free and enjoy this healthy activity. We’re describing the proper posture for running below.

If You Run, Follow These Steps for the Best Posture

For the best possible posture for running, keep all of these tips in mind:

  • Avoid Bouncing: If you’re bouncing a lot when you’re running, that means you are spending too much energy lifting yourself off the ground. Focus on keeping your stride low to the ground, land softly on your feet, and run lightly.
  • Hands at Your Waist, Arms at Your Side: This tip is pretty straightforward. You don’t want to tense up your fists, because that tension will move up to your shoulders and your neck. As well, don’t keep your arms up closer to your chest because it will spend your energy up quicker.
  • Head-Up: You may be tempted to watch your feet while running to avoid tripping. However, it’s better to look about 10 to 20 feet ahead of you. It will avoid adding tension to your neck and shoulders too.
  • Relax Shoulders: If you tense up your shoulders too much, it’ll lead to them feeling sorer after your run, which can discourage you and can even restrict your breathing. So, remember to relax them and don’t hunch them forward too much.
  • The Z Angle: This term refers to the proper posture of running as if you’re running with the right form it’ll make a z shape with your body. To do this correctly, ensure that your hip is parallel to the top of your pelvis, your hip is straight to the ankle of the leg that is running, and that your feet land firmly on the ground so your ankle doesn’t curve up too much.

If you have any more questions about the proper posture for running, Alliance Spine and Pain is here to help. Reach out to any of our pain care specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

Male grabbing neck in pain in front of laptop, due to bad posture.

Watch Your Posture While Quarantining

While many of us are working from home and living a new reality in quarantine, one thing that can slip your mind is practicing good posture. It’s easy to forget about this important habit, especially if you’re spending more time in the comfort of your own home. 

The experts at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers are here to remind you that good posture is important for overall health and happiness. Here are some tips we’ve curated to help you watch your posture while quarantining.

How to Watch Your Posture While Quarantining

  • Get a Comfortable Office Chair: If working from home has become part of your normal routine, now is good time to start focusing about your posture. Our first recommendation is to make sure your home office as a high-quality office chair. Chairs in bad condition are not helpful for posture improvement. Take the time to find one that will be comfortable for you and also maintain your proper posture. 
  • Don’t Forget to Exercise: While it can be tempting not to stay active while you’re working from home, it’s important to keep up an active lifestyle. It improves your well-being and helps with your posture too. Also, remember to stretch! Stretching will improve your muscle flexibility and also help correct any posture issues. If you need tips on how to keep active during quarantine, read this blog from our experts
  • Keep Your Posture at the Forefront of Your Mind: Feeling pain in your back might be a sign you need to improve your posture. However, you might not feel back pain and need to actively try to keep it on the top of mind. Make it a personal goal to try and better your posture. Schedule daily checks to see how you’re sitting and consider putting a mirror nearby to notice your reflection from time to time. 

If you have any questions about improving your posture while quarantining, Alliance Spine and Pain is here to help. Reach out to any of our pain care specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

Child with kyphosis being examined.

What is Kyphosis?

Almost three million Americans experience kyphosis in their lifetime. Also known as hunchback syndrome, this common medical issue impacts the upper back and can lead to issues with posture and pain. While it may not be as common of a name as osteoporosis or arthritis, it still can impact anyone’s quality of life.

What is kyphosis? The experts at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers are here to explain this medical condition. 

Explanation of Kyphosis

The best way to describe kyphosis is a severe curve on the upper back. While it’s more common in older women, sometimes children will develop it too. What causes kyphosis? Here are the most common reasons:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Disk degeneration 
  • Birth defects
  • Cancer treatments 
  • Previous fractures in your bones

Main Symptoms of Kyphosis

Unfortunately, symptoms aren’t visible in the early stages of kyphosis. However, a curve in the upper back can be an early sign of kyphosis. Sometimes, back pain and stiffness will also accommodate that symptom.

Treatment Options 

Here are the treatment options that medical professionals recommend for those experiencing kyphosis:

  • Consuming more calcium and vitamin D
  • Avoiding smoking products and alcohol
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or prescribed
  • Certain medication, such as osteoporosis focused options
  • Surgery

If you have any more questions about kyphosis, Alliance Spine and Pain is here to help. Reach out to any of our back-strengthening specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.