Form & Function: Muscles and Bones
Dr. James Marvel, a member of the Beebe family, retired as a board‐certified orthopaedic surgeon and Chief of Trauma at Beebe Healthcare. Dr. Marvel worked with patients who had problems or injuries related to the musculoskeletal system. Here’s what you need to know about orthopedics and related procedures.
Q: Why should I go to an Orthopaedic Surgeon?
Dr. Marvel: Orthoapedic surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, which includes ligaments, tendons, and muscles, as well as bones and joints. When you experience pain or discomfort in any of these areas, especially if that discomfort affects mobility, consult an orthopedic surgeon.
Q: If I go to an Othopaedic Surgeon, does that mean I must have surgery?
Dr. Marvel: Absolutely not. Orthoapedic surgeons include a variety of therapy options within your individualized treatment regimen, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, medications and injections. In fact, only about 10–15% of visits lead to surgery. Surgery is usually the last resort, unless a patient suffers a traumatic injury such as a broken hip.
Q: If I must undergo surgery, how long will it be before I'm up and moving?
Dr. Marvel: It depends upon your disease or injury, your general health, and what type of surgical procedure is performed. Some procedures, including some back procedures, are minimally invasive, allowing you to resume normal activities within a few weeks. Other surgeries, including hip replacement and complex back surgeries, will require you to follow a specific regimen so you can recuperate over time.
Stand Strong with Back Exercises
Dr. Marvel recommends continue to move as you age to lower your risk of musculoskeletal diseases by exercising. Stretches and strength exercises help maintain your back health by increasing your muscle tone and improving your flexibility. Strong abdominal and back muscles stabilize the spine, promote proper spinal movement, and help you maintain correct posture.
Stretch before and after a workout to improve flexibility, or your ability to move your body through its full range of motion. Flexibility of tissue around the spine and pelvis enables normal spinal movement, prevents unusual force on your back, and lowers risk of injury.
Try these exercises to sustain your back health:
Prone Trunk Raises
- Lie facedown with your arms beside your body.
- Squeeze your butt.
- Lift your head and shoulders straight up.
- Hold for 5–10 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times.
Lying Down Hamstring Stretch
- Lie on your back and bend your knees.
- Raise one leg and support it with your hands.
- Attempt to straighten the knee until comfortable.
- Hold for 20–30 seconds.
- Repeat with other leg.