Saving the Spine: Restoring Structure For Maximum Result


Jennifer Ford my have slowed down a bit to allow her back to heal, but she has returned home, out of pain for the first time in many weeks.  Her husband, Dustin, children Tanner (l), Taylor (r), and dog Oreo, are happy to have her around again.

The physical therapist said, 'Okay, let's go.' I was shocked. I was also excited, just to be able to walk.

-Jennifer Ford, Orthopaedic Spine Center patient

Eugene Carragee, MD works with his physician assistant, Zoya Benjamin, to review patient test results.

Reading to her kids is an activity Jennifer Ford can do while she recuperates, this afternoon in Taylor's room.

Taylor Ford is very happy to have her mom at home again, especially when there's cake involved.

I'm lucky. I'm a walking miracle. After you go through something like this, you want to cherish every moment.

-Jennifer Ford, Orthopaedic Spine Center patient

How to Keep Your Spine Healthy

• Practice good posture - Standing up straight and sitting properly prevents stress on the spine.

• Sleeping position matters - Sleeping on your side or back is best.

• Use your knees - Bending over with legs straight and hoisting up weight is responsible for many, many back injuries.

• Maintain appropriate weight - Extra weight is another strain on the spine.

• Exercise regularly - Include aerobic and weight-bearing activities. As you age, think about changing your choices to low-impact activities.

• Strengthen your core muscles - A strong core helps support the spine.

• Stretch your body - Flexibility is important. If you have already injured your back, or have suffered from long-term back pain, consult your doctor about which stretching exercises will work best for you.

• A healthy diet - Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains is recommended.

• If your back hurts, see your doctor.

For More Information

• The Stanford Health Library: Stanford Shopping Center, 650-725-8400; Stanford Hospital, 650-725-8100; Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center, 875 Blake Wilbur Dr., 650-736-7157. Website:

• The Stanford Hospital & Clinics Orthopaedic Spine Center, 650-725-5905.

The North American Spine Society: