Your Spine is a Complex Structure are You Caring for it the Right Way?

HOUSTON – October is Spine Health Awareness Month. But, how much do we know about this complex structure within our bodies?

To get some advice on how to best look after your spine, Houston Life’s Melanie Camp spoke with Dr. Geoffrey Zubay, who is a board certified neurosurgeon and the director of surgical operations for Memorial Hermann Mischer Associates.

“A large part of my practice is helping manage people’s spinal disorders,” said Dr. Zubay.

So, what is the spine? Dr. Zubay explains that our spines are huge multi-segment structures made of bones and joints that provide a skeletal system of support for our human bodies, as well as providing a protective environment for the nervous system.

We kind of need it. It is kind of important. So, when things go wrong with our spine, what does that mean for the rest of our body?

“A lot of times people don’t know that they have an actual spine problem, when they are actually having a spinal disorder. That disorder can either be a balance problem, it can be a pain problem in a limb, arm, or leg. It could be the loss of strength or the loss of sensation. And, because sometimes those symptoms are separated from their attachment to the spine in terms of how they’re perceived, people don’t realize the origin of that problem is in the spine,” explained Dr. Zubay.

As we age, so do our spines, and there is not a lot we can do about it but we can help support the spine that supports us. Memorial Hermann suggests exercise, staying mobile, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking can all help.

Dr. Zubay said Pilates is a particularly good form of exercise when it comes to spine health.

“Core stability exercises is really the best thing. And, I always like throw out that what I think is the best version of that type of exercise is reformer based Pilates. It addresses your whole body, not just your spine, but your elbows, your shoulders, your hips, your knees. And, it’s a low impact. You don’t have to be flexible to do it. So even at our physical therapy center, where we send patients after surgery, we have a bunch of reformers down in our physical therapy department for patients to use and get acquainted with that exercise and use it as a segue to getting back on their feet.”

Watch more in the video above.

About the Author:

Melanie Camp is a correspondent on KPRC 2’s Houston Life.