Prevention is the best medicine for back pain

Have you ever wondered how to get rid of your back pain? Have you ever wondered how you got the crazy back pain in the first place? Statistics have shown that 80% of Americans have had some kind of lower back pain. I have been one of those statistics myself.

The featured speaker at the Crescenta-Cañada Rotary Club meeting on Sept. 7 addressed those questions. The speaker was Laura Stewart, president of Wellspring Therapy Inc., based in Glendale. Stewart has two master's degrees, one in occupational therapy and one in sports psychology.

Stewart said most back pain initially strikes people under 45. It usually comes from the bending and twisting of the spine, causing the spinal discs to bulge out or even rupture. The disc injuries then cause nerve damage, and then here comes the pain.

She gave a list of the things we do that causes the pain. Lifting items improperly or that are too heavy are the biggest causes. Not thinking about how you are bending, stooping or even sitting can cause severe back pain. When Stewart talked about bending forward to look at our computer screens, almost the entire audience said help. She said to sit up straight in your chair when looking at the screen and use a pillow for lower back support to keep your discs from rupturing.

Stewart gave some more advice. We should be pushing objects instead of pulling them. We should bend at our hips, not at our waist. Again, keep our backs straight and use our feet and legs. Get higher chairs and avoid those old low sofas, plus get up and walk around during the commercials. She really thinks we all should start a regular exercise program. Not as a TV body builder, but one to keep us flexible.

She got everybody thinking about their bad habits. Her advice was to be careful and then exercise. Exercise sure beats her other cures of medicine and surgery.

Crescenta-Cañada Rotary Club meets at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Frank's Famous Kitchen, 3315 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale. For more information, call Joe Kroening at (818) 249-2016.


Twice a year, many eye surgeons from the United States go to Vietnam on a mission to help the poor get relief from eye injuries and eye birth defects. Dr. Tinny Dinh, an ophthalmologist from the Lugene Eye Institute in Glendale, has gone several times to both perform the needed eye surgery and to train Vietnamese doctors.

The West Glendale Gateway Kiwanis Club invited Dinh to speak at its regular noon Wednesday meeting on Sept 8. Dinh brought a very good slide show of all the work he and other doctors had done for the children. The pictures showed the absolute poverty in the rural towns they worked in and many before and after pictures of the kids he performed surgery on.

He also talked about the pilot programs the mission carried out. The mission team also spent time training on infection control in the hospitals, and they provided health services for special-needs children.

The Kiwanis Club is going to explore how to help bring relief to the children with eye injuries.

West Glendale Gateway Kiwanis Club meets at noon every Wednesday at the Glendale Masonic Lodge, 244 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale. For more information, call Dave Fortune at (818) 507-6210.

BRUCE CAMPBELL can be reached at (626) 403-1010, cell phone (626) 664-2223, or

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