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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Exercise (continued)

Back Strengthening


Strength Training

Strength training is the cornerstone of a healthy back and a healthy body.  It can help to

  • accelerate weight loss
  • reduce back pain
  • prevent injury
  • reduce osteoporosis

Weight loss:  it is well known that muscle burns more calories than fat does.  A body which is lean (low in fat relative to muscle) will burn calories more efficiently.  Body builders are very familiar with this concept.  When they are "off season" and trying to get stronger and bulk up, they eat a large amount of calories, and don't do cardiovascular activities.  Then, 12 weeks before a competition, they decrease their caloric intake, and start doing cardiovascular activities.  They dramatically lose weight, and with what appears to be great ease.  This is because their bodies are such efficient machines at burning calories, that the small reduction in caloric intake through a change in diet, combined with the increased caloric burn through cardiovascular activity, allows a quick reduction in body fat. 

We find that people often significantly underestimate the value of strength training in weight loss.  DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF STRENGTH TRAINING.


Back pain reduction; injury prevention:  a stronger back is naturally more resistant to injury;  the muscles are stronger, the ligaments stronger, and the tendons stronger.  While cardiovascular activities deliver more oxygen to the muscles, only strength training can really hypertrophy (thicken) muscle cells.  Stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments provide for better posture and better support of the spine, and reduce pain.

Osteoporosis: the weakening of bone which is common as the aging process progresses, has been shown to be significantly slowed or stopped by strength training.  Wolff's law tells us that constant stress upon bone actually causes the bone to grow stronger.  Bone density have been shown to change even in the short time astronauts are in a weightless environment.  Similarly, strength training can cause the bones to become stronger.



Strength Training

It would be nice if there were a certain set of exercises which one could do to develop a strong back, to reduce back pain, and concentrate upon those, without working the rest of the body.  We would like to tell you this were the case, but it isn't.  There are exercises which work the back, but to do these without strengthening the rest of the body is pointless. 

Would you put a V10 engine in a car without improving the tires and suspension system?  No!

Would you put on a finely tailored suit, and wear sneakers and tube socks? No!

Would you build a house with a strong sturdy iron frame, to be built upon a weak foundation? No!

Would you strengthen your back, without strengthening the foundation upon which it is built? No!

Sometimes low back pain is caused by reasons other than your low back. Weak abdominal (stomach muscles) or weak hamstrings (back of leg) could also cause low back problems. Weak trapezoids may cause low back problems by causing  the shoulders to slouch, which causes poor posture and added stress to the lower back. Musculature imbalances like these may cause your posture to go bad and put the stress on your lower back. We recommend a total body workout with an extra emphasis on problem areas.


All the body parts must be strengthened in a deliberate, methodical manner.  After beginning the program, and understanding the principles of strength training, you will agree!!


One last thing before you lift !!

Many individuals will wear a weight lifting belt to help support there lower back during total body workouts. This is okay to do as long as you do not become totally reliant upon it. Also, a belt should not be worn during lower back and abdominal exercises.

There are many different kinds of weight lifting belts on the market today. Many belts have a large area on the back for support but a small frontal area of support.  This is not a proper weight lifting belt. It may actually cause one to lean forward causing bad posture and putting to much stress on the lower back region.

A proper belt should be the same size in the back as it is in the front.

Also an individual that has been wearing a belt during their exercises and suddenly does not wear it and tries to lift the same amount of weight may injure there lower back. So if you forget your belt when you go to the gym then lift light.


Body Parts to Strengthen



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