5 Health Benefits of Natural Sunlight

health benefits of sun

Here Comes the Sun

It’s been a long winter, but the good news is—it’s almost over! If you’ve been cooped up all winter, now that the warmer weather is here, it’s time to get outside and enjoy nature. It’s beautiful, and it’s even good for your health! That’s right. Did you know sunlight helps fight skin diseases such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema? Here are just a few of the many health benefits you can gain just by soaking up some rays.

1. Healing Properties

In 1903, physician Niels Finsen received a Nobel Prize for his contributions to the treatment of diseases. Finsen studied “concentrated light radiation” and learned that natural sunlight kills bacteria and contains many healing properties. Shortly after, German soldiers in WWI used this knowledge to their advantage, using sunlight to disinfect and heal wounds.

2. Improved Immune System

During exposure to sunlight, the amount of white blood cells increase. White blood cells play an important role in building the immune system and fighting off infections.

3. Fights Depression

Sunlight increases the levels of serotonin in your body, which can have a huge impact on your overall mental well-being. Depriving yourself of sunlight can lead to a condition called seasonal affective disorder – a form of depression most common during winter months.

4. A Better Night’s Sleep

Natural daylight helps restart your body’s internal clock, making sure you wake up feeling well rested and refreshed. Going outside in the mornings signals your body that it is daytime, making you feel less tired.

5. Lowers Blood Pressure

Skin exposed to natural ultraviolet light releases nitric oxide which helps to lower blood pressure. A recent study at Edinburgh University revealed that patients who were exposed to UV rays experienced a significant drop in blood pressure.

Hopefully, now you’re ready to get outside and catch some rays! Just keep in mind that if you haven’t spent time outside in a while, limit yourself to sun exposure. Too much sunlight can cause painful sunburns, and even increased risk of skin cancer. Enjoy the sun in moderation and remember to use sunblock on hotter days.

The spine specialists at Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, Colorado are committed to living a healthy lifestyle and helping our patients do the same.

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Get Your New Year’s Resolutions to be Healthy Back on Track

Get Your New Year's  Resolution to be Healthy  Back on Track

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with the best of intentions. We say we’ll lose 50 pounds this year, stop eating fast food and workout every day. While some do actually follow through with their resolutions, many find themselves back to square one by mid-January. But the good news is success can be within reach with planning and dedication. Here are a few tips that can make your journey a little easier:

  • Set realistic goals. For example, it’s not reasonable to say “I will stop eating fast food altogether,” if you eat it daily. That would require a lot of discipline and planning on your part. Instead of going cold turkey, break your goal down into mini-goals. So, if you want to be able eliminate fast food from your diet, maybe start by cutting it down to three times a week. Then, cut back from there until it’s no longer part of your routine.
  • Track progress. Whether it’s weight loss or establishing a regular gym routine, focusing on progress can help you continue to succeed. For example, you might mark on your calendar the days you go to the gym. Or if you’ve shed a few pounds, keep a log of your weight so you can see patterns. Both will serve as a visible reminder of the changes you’ve made.
  • Set your intention. Support systems can be the difference maker in achieving goals. Do yourself a favor and inform your friends and family of your goal and ask them to keep your honest. Some tough love is good for you every now and then.
  • Reward yourself. Positive reinforcement can a motivating factor. A word of caution: Be sure the rewards don’t sabotage your goal. For example, instead of treating yourself a pizza for doing that spin class, you could reward yourself with a massage.
  • Love yourself. Sometimes life happens and achieving the goal seems nearly impossible. Stick with it and you’re bound to succeed.

From all of us at the Denver Spine Institute, we wish you a happy and healthy new year!

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Shoveling Snow Can Cause Back Pain

How to Avoid Injuries when Removing Snow

Here in Lakewood, CO, we are in the midst of full-blown winter weather. For most of us, that means we will probably be spending quite a bit more time shoveling snow off of our driveways. For those who suffer with back pain, and even many that don’t, severe back pain and other health risks can be brought on by shoveling snow. Before you head out to start shoveling, it is important to know how to do it correctly and safely to avoid injury.

Reducing Risk of Heart Conditions

The good news is that shoveling snow counts as a moderate physical activity, which can burn up to 250 calories per 30 minutes. The bad news is that over the years, researchers have discovered an increase in the amount of fatal heart attacks among those shoveling snow after heavy snowfalls. Due to a combination of sudden increase in physical activity, and the extremely low temperatures and wind that make it hard to breathe, shoveling snow can be much more dangerous than you might think.

When shoveling snow, take your time and don’t overexert yourself. If you find yourself short of breath, or with an increased heart rate, take a break. You might be tempted to get the job done as quickly as you can, but many do not consider that the physical stress that shoveling can cause, along with your heavy clothing can be a dangerously vigorous activity. Be sure to bundle up before going outside! Keeping yourself warm can help your lungs get the oxygen they need.

Reducing Back Pain

Along with an increased risk of heart conditions, shoveling snow may also cause severe back pain. The act of being hunched over for extended periods of time, lifting a heavy shovel full of snow can be extremely harmful to the spine.

If you already suffer with back pain, shoveling may only worsen your condition. Instead of risking further injury to your spine, pay a neighborhood kid to shovel the snow, or invest in a snow blower. However, if these are not an option, it is important that you know how to shovel snow safely. By utilizing the right techniques, you can diminish your risk of back pain and muscle strain.

  • Invest in an ergonomic shovel with a curved handle. Curved handles severely decrease the amount of bending over your back will have to endure.
  • Push the snow; don’t lift it
  • Use your leg muscles as much as possible
  • Keep your back straight; never bend your back more than 10 degrees.
  • Don’t twist your body as you throw snow
  • Keep one hand close to the blade, for better leverage
  • Stand with your legs hip width apart

Don’t forget about your elderly neighbors that might not be able to shovel snow on their own. A few minutes of shoveling can make all the difference in the world to a less able-bodied neighbor. Hopefully, by following these guidelines, you will be better prepared for shoveling and clearing snow in a safe manner.

Back Pain Relief at the Denver Spine Institute

If you find yourself suffering from back pain brought on by shoveling, be sure to give our offices a call at (303) 456-4466 to find out more about our non-surgical, non-invasive back pain treatment.

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Should You Get a Flu Shot?

Every year we ask ourselves if we should get a flu shot. The answer to that question depends on the individual.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all persons over the age of 6 months get an annual flu vaccination. There are rare exceptions to this recommendation.

Those that will not be able to receive the vaccination are those with allergies to any of the ingredients contained in the vaccination that may be life threatening.

The most compelling reason to get the flu shot is that according to flu.gov, you are 60% less likely to need medical attention for the flu. The vaccination has also been shown to reduce general illness, time lost from work, hospital stays, and death.

Other individuals who are encouraged to get an annual vaccination are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children over the age of 6 months
  • Older adults, particularly those over 65 years of age.

The CDC further recommends that you talk to your doctor if you have an allergy to eggs, have ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or if you are not feeling well. If you are going to get the nasal spray, the CDC lists additional warnings and precautions that should be taken. Some of those warnings and precautions included; Asthma, Chronic conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, disorders with the kidneys or liver as well as neurologic or metabolic disorders.

Whereas the CDC makes the preceding recommendation, it is always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before getting a flu shot as your conditions may change from year to year.

Beyond the recommendations from the CDC, this is a personal choice. Do some research and talk to the provider of the flu shot. Recently, it was noted that the some flu shots available were not effective against the current flu strain. Therefore, the shot may provide a false sense of security.

However, because the flu virus can evolve from year to year, it is a good idea to get a flu vaccination each year.

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Ease Your Aching Back

5-ways-to-ease-back-pain-now5 Things to Help you Ease your Back Pain Now

Ignoring back pain can be difficult. Finding time in your busy schedule to make an appointment with your medical professional is just as difficult. If you are suffering from back pain and just want relief, here are some tips to help ease your pain until you can make time to come in and see us at the Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, CO.

Gentle Exercise

If you are suffering from back pain, start with easy activities to strengthen your “core” — abdominal and back muscles — like pushups and situps. Swimming is a great, low impact way to tone those areas. A strong core supports your lower back and improves posture.

Don’t Sit for Long

If you must sit for long periods of time, use a chair with good lumbar support — or place a small cushion behind your back. Practice good posture — not unnaturally stiff — keep your head supported over your neck and spine, tilt your pelvis slightly forward, pull in your stomach muscles, keep your feet flat on the floor. If your job has you sitting for long periods of time, make sure you frequently take some breaks to get up and move around.

Sleep Comfortably

With a pillow between your knees, sleep on your side. This position takes pressure off of your lower back and reduces the curvature of the spine.


Our bodies are mostly water. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water and/or other healthy (unsweetened) beverages. Water helps the body stay loose and reduce muscle stiffness.

Relax / Be Happy

Incorporate more fun and/or relaxing activities into your daily life. Relaxation and happiness release endorphins — hormones that help block pain signals from reaching our brains. Examples might include laughing with a favorite friend, watching a funny movie, reading a great book, enjoying nature, meditating, or practicing deep breathing exercises.

Other ways to reduce back pain include:

  • regular exercise
  • proper stretching before physical activity
  • staying at your optimal weight
  • wearing properly fitted and comfortable shoes
  • eating a diet rich in a variety of nutrients, but especially high in calcium and
  • vitamin D rich foods to keep your bones strong
  • stop smoking

Call the Denver Spine Institute

At Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, CO, we get to know you and work with you to best understand the nature of your back pain. After a thorough exam, we develop a custom pain treatment that works with your lifestyle to help you live a healthy and pain-free life.

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Your Back Pain Could be Caused by Sciatica

what-is-SCIATICAden5 Signs that you May have Sciatica

Are you suffering from lower back pain?  Do you experience a shooting pain down your leg? How about a feeling of walking on pins and needles? Does the pain suddenly get worse when you cough or sneeze? If you are experiencing any of these conditions, there is a good chance that what you are experiencing is sciatica.

Sciatica is not a disease; rather, it is caused by an increase in pressure on the sciatic nerve in the lower back. This increase in pressure is usually caused by a herniated or bulging disc. Sciatic pain may be mild in some people and severe, even debilitating, in others. How do you know if you have sciatica?

If you have ever experienced any of these indicators, there is a good chance you are suffering from Sciatica.

1. Lower back pain
2. Pain or Numbness that radiates down one leg
3. Pain that lessens or goes away when you lie down or walk instead of sitting or standing
4. Problems with controlling your bladder or bowels
5. Sudden severe pain in the leg or lower back

All Natural Pain Relief at the Denver Spine Institute

If you experience any of these warning signs, visit the Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, CO for an evaluation of your condition. Like most back and neck pain, sciatic pain can be successfully treated without having to turn to invasive surgeries or harmful pain medications. At the Denver Spine Institute, we specialize in all natural back pain treatment options, such as the highly effective DRS Protocol. The agony of sciatica is not something that you have to live with. Let the experts at the Denver Spine Institute relieve your pain today.

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Pain, or no Pain: Which Half are You in?

Chronic pain treatment The Villages, FLA study recently published states that 50% of all working Americans suffer with some type of chronic pain. My question to you is, which half are you in?If you suffer from joint pain, muscle pain, lower back or neck pain, you are not alone!  With over 19 million Americans suffering from some sort of pain each day, it is a fairly common problem.  Do you know what kind of treatment options are available to help you relieve your pain once and for all?Drugs and painkillers may be used to ease chronic pain, but, in reality, they do nothing to remove the source of the problem. They offer nothing but a temporary solution to a much bigger problem.  Painkillers only dull the senses, leaving you feeling groggy.  And, when the medications wear off, your pain returns.

All Natural Pain Relief in Lakewood, Colorado

Dr. Eipe Kuruvila, MD, FRCA of the Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, Colorado is a board certified Anesthesiologist specializing in Pain Medicine and Medical Aesthetics.  Dr. Kuruvila works with people in pain every day, utilizing the highly effective, non-invasive treatment known as the DRS Protocol.  This non-surgical treatment option combines modern technology with research to help people with degenerative and herniated disc disease eliminate the chronic low back or neck pain associated with these spinal conditions, without using harmful medications or neck or back surgeries.If you are one of the 19 million Americans who suffer with pain each day, especially in the lower back or neck, relief is within your reach.  Call the Denver Spine Institute today at (303) 456-4466.
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Your Back Pain May Be Due to Smoking

great american smokeoutGreat American Smokeout

On November 20, 1976, the American Cancer Society celebrated its very first Great American Smokeout by having almost one million smokers give up smoking for a day. Each year, the Great American Smokeout successfully helps people kick their habit. Although it only lasts one day, the idea is that the Great American Smokeout can help provide people with a reason to quit smoking. Hopefully, November 20 will be a day that many people give up the habit for good.

Smoking can Cause Chronic Lower Back Pain

Besides respiratory issues, smoking can also cause many other conditions, including back pain! In 2001, the results of a study lasting more than 50 years were released, showing that there is a direct correlation between smoking and lower back pain. The study, examining over 1,300 physicians found that smoking, along with hypertension and coronary artery disease, can lead to a disease called “lumbar spondylosis,” or more commonly – degeneration of the spine.

Besides relieving back pain, there are many other health benefits involved in quitting. Some of these benefits include:

  • A drop in heart rate and blood pressure within 20 minutes of not smoking
  • Next, within 12 hours the levels of carbon monoxide in your blood drop to normal.
  • From 2 weeks to 3 months after that last cigarette, circulation improves along with improved lung functions.
  • From 1 – 9 months later, the pains of being short of breath decrease and the cilia in the lungs start getting back to normal.
  • After 1 year of not smoking, the additional risk for heart disease is cut in half from that of an active smoker.
  • 5 years later, the risk of mouth and throat cancer is cut in half.

If you would like to quit smoking, and haven’t been able to in the past, why not join in the Great American Smokeout? With millions of other smokers participating, there is not a better time to quit.

Non-Surgical Back Pain Relief in Lakewood, Colorado

If you suffer from chronic back pain, it is time to finally relieve it for good! Dr. Eipe Kuruvila, of the Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, CO utilizes the DRS Protocol – a highly effective back pain treatment option that has been proven to effectively and safely relieve back pain without harmful surgeries, injections or painkillers. For more information on how you can successfully relieve your chronic back pain, contact the professionals at the Denver Spine Institute today at (303) 456-4466.

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On the Road

Tips for Traveling with a Bad Back

The Holidays are here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless you suffer from back pain, that is. If you are one of the many people who suffer from back or neck pain, traveling can be a nightmare. Long car rides and heavy luggage can put even more stress on your already painful joints. If you’re traveling this year, follow these tips to help you manage neck or back pain while traveling during the Holidays.

Pack Lightly

For many people who suffer from back pain, lifting heavy objects can ruin your day. It might not seem like a big deal, but carrying around a heavy backpack can wreak havoc on your lower back. If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to invest in some rolling luggage. The extendable handle and convenient wheels make it easy to haul around even the heaviest of luggage.

Be Careful Lifting Luggage

When it comes to lifting heavy luggage, you can’t be too careful. Be sure to lift with your knees, as opposed to your back. If you will be flying this holiday season, placing your carry-on in the overhead compartment can be a hassle. Make sure to lift your carry-on in smaller stages; and not all at once. That can be stressful on the back. First, lift (with your knees) your suitcase onto the seat below the overhead compartment, and then into the compartment.  Keep your carry-on light, and if needed, ask for help.

Riding in the Car

If you will be riding in a car for an extended period of time, your back may cause even more problems. The body tends to reject doing something for too long, even sitting in one position. Because of this, it is suggested to take breaks every hour or so. Stop at a rest stop and stretch your back – walk around, stand up, etc. This can provide a great deal of back pain relief.

If you are experiencing chronic back pain on the road, try placing a pillow or sweatshirt behind your lower back, in order to give your back some support.

By following these guidelines and talking to the professionals at the Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, CO about comfortable travel techniques, you can enjoy your trips this holiday season.

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Herniated Disc vs. Bulging Disc

Who Cares What you Call it, It Hurts!

You’re having lunch with your co-workers and you tell them about your chronic back pain, and how it’s made your life miserable.  One co-worker says, “Sounds like you have a bulging disc.”  But another says, “or a herniated disc.”  Bulging disc, herniated disc, both sound pretty serious.  So, what’s the difference?

What are Discs, Anyway?

In order to understand the difference, you have to understand what a disc is and what it does for you. Discs are the cushions between your vertebrae.  Each of these discs consist of a tough outer cover, with softer cartilage inside.

With a bulging disc, the softer cartilage begins to move into areas it normally wouldn’t or shouldn’t be, within this outer cover.  This causes the disc to bulge in certain places.  If that bulge comes in contact with a nerve, it can cause a great deal of pain.

In the instance of a herniated disc, there is a tear in the outer covering of the disc, causing the softer material inside to escape.  More commonly, it is this escaping soft cartilage that is touching a nerve and causing your pain.  Bulging disc?  Herniated Disc?  Most pain sufferers don’t really care which they have, they just want relief!

Non-Surgical, Non-Invasive Treatment in Denver & Lakewood, CO

Dr. Eipe Kuruvila, MD FRCA of the Denver Spine Institute in Lakewood, CO utilizes the highly effective treatment method, the  DRS Protocol: an all natural, non-surgical treatment that has been proven to successfully relieve back pain and disc problems.  If you are experiencing back pain caused by a herniated, degenerative, or bulging disc, give them a call today at (303) 456-4466 to find out more about this successful treatment for neck & back pain.

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