Keep your body's engine well-tuned

The spine can be compared to the engine of your car. You don’t think about the engine of a car until something malfunctions. A malfunctioning engine can severely limit your ability to get around. Additionally the malfunctioning engine can cause pain in your pocketbook.

Just like your car’s engine your spine needs regular maintenance to run smoothly and if you don’t provide it on a regular basis it will cost you in the long run. It is estimated that Americans spend $50 billion dollars on spine care every year and back ache is the number two reason people have to miss work in the United States.

“As the saying goes, Prevention is always the best medicine,” said Billy Naquin, Director of the Spine Center of Excellence at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center. “Failure to maintain our spine can lead to problems which can be difficult and expensive to treat.”

A maintenance program for your spine begins with exercise. Exercise for your spine can be broken down into three forms: aerobic, flexibility, and posture or core exercise.

Aerobic exercise can take many forms. It can be as simple as walking thirty minutes a day, or as strenuous as a one hour high intensity aerobics class. Whatever the form of aerobic exercise, it is important to start slowly and gradually work into a full program. Aerobic exercise can help you maintain or lose weight while it strengthens the core muscles of your body.(walking thirty minutes a day three times a week can be one of the best ways to prevent lower back pain.)

The second form of exercise is flexibility exercise. Just as the belts and hoses in your car become brittle with age so do the muscles and ligaments in your body. Tasks that were simple to perform when we were in our twenties may become more difficult to perform as you age. Maintaining good muscle flexibility is extremely important in maintaining a healthy spine especially the hip and leg.

The third form of exercise is posture or core exercises. While not as widely known as the other forms of exercise core strengthening has been viewed as a key to maintaining a healthy spine and improving overall athletic performance. Core exercises allow us to maintain a neutral spine while we sit and perform lifting activities.

Always contact a physician or healthcare provider, if you want to start an exercise program or if you have a spine related problem.

About Thibodaux Regional Health System

Thibodaux Regional Health System, a 185-bed acute care facility, provides inpatient and outpatient care for the people of Lafourche and seven surrounding parishes. Highly specialized services offered include Heart Surgery, Medical and Radiation Oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, General, Laparoscopic, and Bariatric Surgery, Pulmonology, Rheumatology, Women’s Services, Sleep Disorders, Behavioral Health, Home Health, and Inpatient and Outpatient Physical Rehabilitation Services. Nationally recognized for quality care and service, Thibodaux Regional has been named a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates and has been honored with the Press Ganey Summit Award for high levels of patient satisfaction. For more information, visit