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A healthy spine: preserving motion in the back

By Admin | May 16, 2022

Doctors have gotten much better at helping people with joint problems over the last 100 years. These days, patients can get hip and knee replacements that preserve joint function and motion.


But, what about the spine?

“The spine is not a rigid structure,” said Dr. J. Alex Sielatycki, a spine surgeon in Steamboat Springs and a member of the medical staff at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. “By design, it is intended to move. Every time you move – sit, stand, bend, twist – it’s part of a kinetic chain that includes everything from the ground up, from your feet through your legs to your hips and pelvis to the spine.”

Below, Sielatycki shares more about the spine, motion preservation, and what you can do to keep your spine as healthy as possible.

Addressing an unhealthy spine

Nerve compression is the source of most pain in the back, said Sielatycki.

“The good news is that most issues don’t require surgery,” he said. “Surgery is actually not the first step for most patients. Rather, we look to physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, low-impact aerobics programs or even possibly weight loss before we consider surgery. Only in rare cases where a patient is experiencing rapid progression, has a nerve deficit or an inability to walk would we consider surgery before some of the alternatives.”

If surgery is determined to be necessary, many procedures require the removal and replacement of parts of the spine to reduce the pain, such as removing a worn or degenerated disk and replacing it with an artificial disk.

However, when the facet joints, or the connections between the spine’s bones, are removed, fusions are needed as there hasn’t been a good way to reconstruct those joints.

“The spine is one of the last joints of the body that is still being fused for a lot of the conditions patients may experience,” said Sielatycki. “That’s why the advancements in spine motion preservation are so encouraging. There are groundbreaking...(More)

For more info please read, A healthy spine: preserving motion in the back, by UCHealth

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