The Spine & Back Blog

Weight Loss Back PainDropping weight is an important step in preventing and/or reducing back pain. A recent study revealed how shedding extra pounds can prevent disc degeneration in your spine, particularly in the lumbar region. In the study, published by Arthritis & Rheumatism, researchers found that disc degeneration is more prevalent and severe among overweight individuals.

Overweight individuals tend to carry more weight in their midsection which can cause the spine to bend forward. This can lead to gradual changes in the spine that can cause spinal issues like disc degeneration.

Eating healthy, minimally processed foods is an excellent way to kick-start your weight loss journey. Also, strengthening the core muscles in your abdomen help to support your spinal column. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that overweight men who exercised for one hour per week reduced their risk of back pain by 20%.

Although a lot of back pain requires medical intervention, a good first step is weight loss. If you’d like more information, please give us a call at: 704-864-5550

Lower Back Pain Exercise

Exercise can be very helpful for dealing with low back pain. When completing these exercises, be gentle. Do not force movement and do not continue if your pain intensifies. If comfortable, repeat these exercises 2-3x per day.

  1. Hamstring: Lying on floor, pull thigh towards your chest to about 90 degrees. Straighten your knee until a stretch is felt in back of thigh. Hold 1 minute. Repeat with opposite leg.
  2. Hip Flexors: Lying on you back, pull one knee to the chest to keep the back flat. Allow the opposite thigh to drop over the edge of the bed. Do not allow the thigh to move away from the midline or rotate. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times each leg.
  3. Knee to Chest: Pull knee into chest until a comfortable stretch is felt in hip and lower back. Hold 15 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg. Repeat 5-10 times each leg
  4. Pelvic Tilt: Flatten back by tightening stomach and buttock muscles. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  5. Tail Wag: On all fours with back maintained in neutral position, gently move hips toward rib cage to side bend trunk. Hold briefly, then alternate and do other side. Repeat 10-15 times.
  6. Cat Cow: On all fours, assume a “hump” back position by arching the back up. Hold briefly and then slowly lower the back into a sagging position. Repeat 10-15 times.
  7. Lumbar Rotation: Slowly rock knees from side to side in a pain free range of motion. Allow back to rotate slightly. Repeat 10-15 times.

*these exercises were recommended by UC Berkeley

Min Invasive Spine SurgeryMinimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is an excellent alternative to open spine surgery and often results in quicker recovery times. MISS utilizes significantly smaller incisions causing less harm to surrounding muscle and tissue.

MISS is often used to relieve pressure or stabilize the spine which can be helpful for some patients who suffer from conditions like bone spurs, scoliosis, spinal tumors, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and more.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that MISS can have the following benefits:

  • Reduced scarring from smaller skin incisions which lead to better cosmetic outcomes
  • Reduced blood loss from surgery
  • Reduced risk of muscle damage, since less or no cutting of the muscle is required
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Quicker recovery from surgery
  • Diminished reliance on pain medications after surgery

Your doctor will be able to guide you in determining whether or not minimally invasive spine surgery will be helpful for you. If you are suffering from back pain and would like to see a doctor, please call our office and schedule an appointment today: 704-864-5550


Once a patient undergoes a formal treatment program and still has issues, it’s time to evaluate if he or she is a candidate for surgery. Most of the time – nine times out of 10 – patients do not need an operation to correct their spine issues. However, in recalcitrant cases where surgery is required, we now have an array of surgery options from which to choose to accomplish our desired goals.

Why minimally invasive?

There has been an explosion in spine surgery advances, most especially in minimally invasive surgery. Continual refinement of surgical techniques and devices now allows us to perform procedures minimally invasively that in the past required large incisions, long hospitalization and lengthy recovery times.

Advantages of minimally invasive surgery:

  • Less anesthesia
  • Smaller incisions
  • Shorter operation times
  • Decreased blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery times
  • We’re still able to accomplish everything we were able to do in the past, but it’s safer for the patient. Minimally invasive techniques also offer solutions for patients who have had surgery in the past.

The advantages of minimally invasive surgery over traditional, open spine surgery are undeniable. We’re on the cutting edge of both learning and teaching these techniques, and I personally travel around the globe to teach these techniques to other surgeons. It is exciting work knowing we are continually making these surgeries safer for patients so they can find relief from back pain and return to their daily routines faster.

Listed below are some of the spine problems I treat, and all of these can be cared for minimally invasively if the patient should require surgery.

Spine problems treatable with MIS:

  • Sciatica
  • Herniated discs
  • Stenosis
  • Slippage/spondylolisthesis
  • Spondylosis
  • And more!

Thankfully, most patients will never have to see the inside of the operating room. But for those who do, patients can rest easy knowing they will be accurately evaluated and diagnosed, and have access to the most cutting-edge facilities, equipment, providers and surgical techniques in the country.