Monday, Feb 06th

GolfOne of the greatest golfers of all time, Tiger Woods, struggled with back pain that was so severe he would drop to the ground in visible pain. When he finally opted for spinal-fusion surgery, it revived his career. You may not play like Tiger Woods, but if your back is suffering as much as your golf game, then it’s time to investigate better options than trying to play through pain.

Cause and Effect
An estimated 36% amateur golfers, and more than 63% of serious golfers play with some form of backWPH Banner discomfort, the result of spending four or more hours bent over and repeating the same motion hundreds of times. “Golf is considered a low-impact sport, yet players can suffer injuries, most notably in their lower back,” notes Dr. Andrew Casden, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery and Spine Surgery at White Plains Hospital. “Changing your swing may not help, in fact it may worsen matters. Continuing to play with lingering back pain can lead to other more serious injuries.”

Common causes of lower back pain include muscle strains, athritis, bone fractures and herniated discs, which if left untreated can lead to severe issues, including nerve damage. “Herniated discs can occur in the lower back when making the bending, or twisting movements associated with a golf swing,” says Dr. Casden. “Symptoms of a herniated disk vary, but they can include back pain, numbness or tingling, and weakness. They can sometimes cause radiating pain to the buttocks, legs, and feet.”

Tips to Stay on Course

One of the most overlooked causes of back pain is the way players lift and carry their clubs. By yanking their golf bags over their shoulder, players can injure themselves before they set foot on the course. To avoid injury, keep your back straight and use the strength of your legs to lift and carry the golf bag using both straps to help divide the weight of the bag evenly across your back.
Other back saving tips that can keep you in the game include:
Dr Andrew CasdenWarming up before playing.
This increases the blood flow to your muscles and makes your muscles less susceptible to tears It also improves your flexibility and increases your range of motion when you swing. “Cooling down after a game before jumping into your next activity is equally important as the warm up,” says Dr. Casden. “It allows you to clear out the lactic acid that’s built up in your system while you’ve been playing. Lactic acid build-up can result in muscular pain and fatigue.”


Add exercises that stretch and strengthen your back, such as yoga.

Treatment and rest. To help relieve pain and swelling, Dr. Casden recommends applying ice, followed by heat a few hours later and rest. If cleared for use by your doctor, anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Aleve may help.

Whether you swing a club like Tiger Woods or hit the ball in the woods, golfing is a great way to get outdoors and exercise. Remember, a little knowledge and preparation can help keep you in the game.
Dr. Andrew Casden is Chief of Orthopedic Surgery and Spine Surgery at White Plains Hospital and sees patients at his office in Harrison. To make an appointment, please call 914-946-1010.

pesticidesAssemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) announced the passage of her legislation which bans the use of pesticides at children’s day and overnight camps. It is the first bill in the country banning pesticides at camps.

New York State enacted anti-pesticide laws for public and non-public schools in 2011 as part of the New York State Child Safe Playing Fields Act. This bill expands the existing law to protect children from these toxic chemicals at camps.

According to a 2016 report by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “Children are at greatest risk from exposure to hazardous pesticides because of their developing systems, smaller size, and faster metabolisms.” In addition, children are more likely to come into direct contact with pesticides when at play, especially while running, sitting, and playing on treated lawns and fields; they are also at risk due to hand-to-mouth behaviors.

As the American Academy of Pediatrics reported in 2012, "childhood exposure to pesticides is associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive functions and behavioral problems." The National Academy of Sciences has also reported that 39% of all neurobehavioral disorders in children are caused by toxic exposures in the environment and that another 25% are caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics.

Current procedures with respect to pesticides do not always protect children from exposure. Warning labels on pesticides give time limits for keeping children off the grass but may fail to reflect a wide variation in the half-life of ingredients, which depend on weather and soil conditions. Once these chemicals come indoors on shoes or through windows, they may remain active for years. At camps in particular, children may walk on grass with bare feet and then enter swimming pools and other water bodies, where the chemicals may then be ingested.

This bill ensures that children can play in a safe and chemical-free environment, while taking into consideration AmyPaulinNY State Assemblywoman Amy Paulinemergency situations, in which the use of pesticides is determined as necessary by the applicable authority for public safety reasons. In addition, because the bill only prohibits the application of pesticides to playgrounds, and athletic or playing fields, camps will still be able to apply pesticides in other areas of a camp where it might be necessary to prevent or eliminate insects or rodents, such as kitchens and the outside perimeter of cabins.

“For the last decade New York has prohibited the use of toxic pesticides on school and daycare playing fields,” said Paulin. “It’s time to extend the same protections for children to playing fields at overnight and day camps.”

This legislation is sponsored in the New York State Senate by Senator Samra Brouk.

PrayerStretchIt isn’t a stretch to say experts recommend stretching before playing sports or exercising. But stretching isn’t only for athletes and fitness buffs, and it shouldn’t be reserved for before and after workouts. The truth is limbering up should be a part of your daily routine just as much as healthy eating and a good hygiene. Stretching offers many health benefits, especially as we age.

“Stretching helps to maintain range of motion, flexibility, and good posture and decreases the likelihood of injury during athletic activities,” says Adam Cohen, PT, DPT, a physical therapist with the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at White Plains Hospital. “Stretching can even help to improve balance and walking quality.”

To truly experience all the benefits, Cohen recommends stretching at least 10 to 15 minutes a day, starting as soon as you wake up. Stretching first thing in the morn¬ing can help decrease stiffness after lying in bed all night.
Here are four easy movements/stretches you can do in the morning before you start your day:

Lower Trunk Rotations
Gently drop your knees to one side and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat to the opposite side. Perform 10 times.LowerTrunkLower Trunk Rotations

Single Knee to Chest Stretch

Gently pull one knee towards your chest. Hold for 10 seconds. Perform 5 times with each leg.

Cat Camel Stretch

Begin on hands and knees. Alternate between arching your back (angry cat position) and lowering your stomach toward the ground (camel position). Hold each position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Child Pose or Prayer Stretch

Begin on hands and knees and slowly lower your buttocks towards your heels until a stretch is felt in the back and/or buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds and perform 3 times.

Cohen says there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind: “Move to the point where you feel a gentle pull in your muscles rather than pain. Taking deep, relaxing breaths while you stretch will help you to relax and stretch a bit further with each repetition. Be sure not to bounce. Bouncing can actually tighten the very muscles you’re trying to stretch. Learning to stretch properly will come with time.”

CatCamelCat-CamelAbove all, don’t begin any exercise program without consulting a phy¬sician first (yes, stretching is a form of exercise). And If any stretch causes a sharp pain, don’t continue it.

Photos and research courtesy of HEP2go.

Adam Cohen is a Physical Therapist with the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at White Plains Hospital. To make an appointment, please call 914-681-1116.




SingleKneeSingle Knee Stretch



Hot flashes, night sweats, unexplained fatigue. Most women recognize these as signs of menopause, but they might be surprised to learn that these ailments could also be signs of heart disease – the Number 1 killer of women.

“It’s important to understand that menopause doesn’t cause heart disease, but the risk certainly increases around this stage of life,” notes Dr. Shalini Bobra, a cardiologist with White Plains Hospital. “To further complicate matters, some common symptoms of a heart problem could mimic what we tend to think of as menopausal symptoms.”

Before menopause, the risk of heart disease is low in women. The reason? Estrogen is a friend to blood vessels, keeping them flexible and adaptable to blood flow. When estrogen levels decline as a result of menopause, the blood vessels lose some of that resilience, upping the risk of arteriosclerosis, a clogging of the blood vessels. In fact, an overall increase in heart attacks among women is seen about 10 years after menopause.

Know the Risks at Any AgeWhitePlainsHospitalSponsorBanner
Women have their own unique set of conditions that predispose them to heart problems. Otherwise healthy women who sit too much, maybe as a result of being locked in during the pandemic, may be at greater risk of a heart attack. One study showed that having an autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc) doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, due to chronic inflammation. Also, those who are dealing with ongoing states stress or depression – leading to elevated stress-hormones that can increase blood pressure – are also at risk for heart disease. 

Get a Symptom Check
If you’re around the age of menopause (average age around 51), and have been noticing the following signs, take pause and consider consulting with a Cardiologist or Internal Medicine specialist:

Fatigue. It’s natural to feel more tired as you age, and it’s a common menopausal complaint. But if simple activities like carrying the laundry upstairs or walking out to the mailbox that were once a breeze are now suddenly difficult, this could be a warning sign.

BobraDr. Shalini BobraSweating. Three-quarters of all women experience hot flashes during menopause. It’s worth mentioning to your physician if these sweats are associated with shortness of breath or chest pain, especially when you haven’t been exerting yourself or there doesn’t seem to be any real cause.

Chest Pain. While chest pain alone isn’t necessarily a menopause symptom, it’s worth mentioning that it is the most commonly ignored symptom by women who suffered a heart attack and then reflected back on what they experienced beforehand, according to a 2012 study by the University of Barcelona. Chest pain isn’t always the “grip your chest”; it could be just simple discomfort, pressure, or feeling that something isn’t right. 

“The good news is that despite this long list of risk factors, eighty percent of cardiac events can be prevented–with small, simple daily changes,” says Dr. Bobra. “The first and foremost change would be to quit smoking. I tell my patients another simple step is to just move 30 minutes a day. Also, adopting a Mediterranean style diet focusing on greens and grains, legumes, and lots of fiber has proven to benefit the heart.”

Dr. Shalini Bobra is a cardiologist with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates, seeing patients at 99 Business Park Drive in Armonk. To make an appointment, call 914-849-7900.


pesticidesPhoto Credit: Shutterstock, Submitted by the Office of Amy PaulinThe following was written by Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Senator Samra Brouk:

Spring is here and parents are now beginning to plan summer activities, including signing their children up for camp. After long winter days of being indoors due to COVID-19, we know that the demand for summer camps will be higher than ever this year—and we should make the health and safety of the children attending those camps our top priority. We have sponsored a bill in the New York State Legislature (A.528/S.4478) prohibiting pesticide use at summer camps.

Camps should be held to the same standards as schools, where pesticides have been banned for the last decade. In 2011, New York’s Child Safe Playing Fields Act went into effect, which prohibits pesticide use on school and day care center grounds. As with the current law for schools, our bill allows for exceptions to be made in emergency circumstances, such as hazardous infestations. Our proposed legislation would require the same standards for children’s day and overnight camps.

Children are highly vulnerable to the health risks of pesticides. Developing bodies and brains are particularly at risk from exposure to pesticides, which have been linked to delayed cognitive development, learning disabilities, lower IQ, and attention deficit disorders, as well as to cancer and endocrine disruption. Children receive more exposure through air and skin contact relative to their body weight than adults and have less developed organs and immune systems to detoxify contaminants. When at summer camps, children spend many hours outdoors and on fields. Yet research shows that even minute amounts of exposure to pesticides can have long-term negative impacts on our children.

There are many healthy alternative approaches to lawn care. These include using natural fertilizers and choosing grasses and plants that are appropriate for a region and therefore can grow successfully without pesticide use. Well-chosen plants resist pests, and healthy soils grow dense turf that outcompetes weeds. Camps are just one locale where we can support natural growth systems and encourage a culture of healthy yard maintenance—both for our children and for the environment.

Current procedures with respect to pesticides do not always protect children from exposure. Warning labels on pesticides give time limits for keeping children off the grass but may fail to reflect a wide variation in the half-life of ingredients, which depend on weather and soil conditions. Once these chemicals come indoors on shoes or through windows, they may remain active for years. At camps in particular, children may walk on grass with bare feet and then enter swimming pools and other water bodies, where the chemicals may then be ingested.

We can take steps to significantly improve the safety of children’s environments. We can pass this legislation banning pesticide use in camps, as a strong first step. We have already taken the lead in enacting The Child Safe Playing Fields Act that bans their use around schools, and on playgrounds and athletic fields. There is every reason to use the same standards for the grounds and fields our children are playing on all summer long.

Children and camps need grassy lawns for games and sports, as well as areas where children are free to discover nature. Over the last decade, it has been shown that New York State’s school pesticide ban works. Let’s put the same protections in place for camps. Please support our Camp Pesticides bill A.528/S.4478 so that we can eliminate pesticides from our children’s summer camp experience and instead give them one that is fun, healthy, and safe.

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