Healing the spine and improving quality of life
Understanding the Basics of Wellness
It might seem strange for a spine surgeon to talk about wellness but improving overall wellness is the ultimate goal of treatment. This is not just about one specific part of your spine that may be bothering you or causing a problem. This is about how pain affects your life, your interactions with others, your career, your ability to do daily activities and to function in a productive way.
Wellness encompasses the entire patient and includes their mental, social, spiritual and physical health. When addressing a patient’s spine problem without consideration to how that problem affects their overall wellness, it increases the chance of a poor outcome even if the specific treatment is technically done correctly. For this reason, at Huffman Clinic, we want to know not just the details about your specific spine problem, but how those details are affecting your life and the lives of those you care about.
The Doctor’s #1 Recommendation
Dr. Huffman stresses the importance of exercise:
Before I get into a conversation about surgery or other invasive treatments I want so share my number one recommendation: exercise. The first thing I recommend for the treatment and prevention of spine related pain is exercise. This is also the thing I recommend for general health and wellness. Out of all the preventive medicine available exercise has been shown to be the thing most associated with prolonged life span and lower levels of disease. Exercise improves mental function and memory, it helps treat depression as much or more than medication, it helps prevent diabetes, it helps manage weight, it reduces risks of heart attack, stroke and even cancer, it helps promote healing, it helps with sleep and it helps decrease neck and back related pain.
Specifically, I recommend a minimum of 3 hours a week of aerobic exercise with five to ten minutes of daily core strengthening exercises. Aerobic exercise is exercise that increases your heart rate to an appropriate aerobic level for your age and fitness.
If you have chronic back or neck pain and you do not exercise, unless you have been specifically told not to exercise for some other medical reason, then start exercising. If you are not sure where to start, ask your doctor for a referral to a physical therapist for a home exercise program.
Recent Blogs on Wellness
The cause of your spinal stenosis influences your diagnosis and treatment options. In general, the cause of spinal stenosis can be categorized as either primary or acquired: Primary: Some people are simply born with a smaller spinal canal Acquired: You can also...
Doctors generally divide the causes of scoliosis into four categories: Idiopathic (unknown cause) is the most common type of scoliosis Congenital (at birth) Neuromuscular (such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy) Injuries to, previous surgery on, or infections of...
Our colleague at Napa Valley orthopaedic, Dr. John Diana, is not only a stellar orthopaedic surgeon, but also a very talented runner. We want to congratulate him on his recent silver win at the Western Endurance Run. He was featured in the Napa Register: "Before...
Photo courtesy of Summit Orthopedics A compression fracture is a break of a vertebra or bone in the spine, which commonly occurs in patients with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that lessens the density of bones, causing them to be weaker, which can then...
Photo courtesy of Teeter Lumbar disc herniation, or herniated disc, is when a piece of the disc - soft cartilage cushion that is between the vertebra or bones in the spine - bulges out of its disc space and into the spinal canal. Because of the limited space the...
Cervical Disc Replacement: What I Learned After 15 years & Hundreds of Cases By Dr. HuffmanCervical disc replacement is still a new form of spine surgery to many surgeons, but it has been a tried and true part of my surgical practice since I began. I participated...
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Using Marijuana for Pain Pain is the primary complaint of most of the patients that present to the Huffman clinic. I have written about pain and the use of opioids to control pain as well as about natural ways to decrease pain through diet and exercise. One of the...
The Opioid Crisis & Why It Matters What is all the fuss about narcotics, specifically, about opioids? It all starts with pain. Back pain, neck pain, any pain. On the surface pain seems like a simple sensation. It is the brain’s way of interpreting nerve signals...
Stem Cells: A Therapy for the Spine One of the most common things patients ask me about are stem cells. At this year’s American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, I had the chance to meet with Carl Llewellyn, President and CEO of Lipogems SPO. Lipogems is the leading...
"My husband, Mom and I have been patients of Dr. Huffman’s for quite a number of years. The BEST spine surgeon in the county! He has operated on me twice in the past year with amazing results. Would highly recommend this gifted man."
- Vivian B., Facebook Review
"I have been a patient of Dr Huffman's for many years, with some major back issues. The care I received (and still receive) is exemplary. Staff members Sarah and Dawn are amazing. I wouldn't go anywhere else."
- Deborah N., Facebook Review
"Dr. Huffman is by far the best spine surgeon for so many reasons. I have worked for him, with him and been apart of his surgeries with assisted fluoroscopy. He is brilliant, dedicated and really cares about his patients. That said why would anyone go anywhere else. Did I mention he loves gummy bears, who doesn't love that."
- Sheila B., Facebook Review
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