(This post is part of a 7-part series focused on exploring options to help you avoid Back Surgery)
2. Decide to be ACTIVE versus Sedentary. I know several patients that were able to cancel back surgery by giving up their inactive lifestyle and focusing on being active. The bony spine is a large structure that carries a large majority of our upper body weight. The spine could not carry this weight without the help of the muscles and ligaments that surround the spine. Like the mast of a ship that would easily break if it were not for the ropes and pulleys that keep the most well supported and upright. Our vertebrae and discs need strong muscles and ligaments to keep the spine strong and healthy. If you sit on a comfortable sofa a great deal, your muscles will weaken and your back will suffer. I know the truth of this all too well. All too often, I would come home from a stressful day at work and vegetate on the sofa staring at a box. Before long, this became a habit and I could not easily break the habit of inactivity. Soon, I was having all sorts of joint and back problems from inactivity.
Keeping your core and back strength is essential to even out the forces across the discs and vertebral endplates and facet joints. I teach patients specific exercises like pelvic tilts to help support the spine and reduce forces across the discs. Excessive stress on the posterior portions of our discs can lead to tears and disc herniations. Our bodies crave activity but our minds figure out ways to avoid activity because we associate such activity with pain. Use your mind to associate activity with pleasure and a future body that is sexy and vibrant. Do whatever it takes NOT to get trapped on your sofa. Break that habit. By adopting an active and healthy lifestyle many people are able to postpone and eventually cancel surgery.