A Program of Positive Health

By | January 5, 2015

I want to revive a phrase from the late 60s, the Grey Panther to describe what I mean by positive health.  The problem is that most young people look healthy, but middle aged woman is "hot", because not only is she attractive, but she could probably leave 90% of her daughter's friends in the dust.

I want to revive a phrase from the late 60s, the Grey Panthers to describe what I mean by positive health. The problem is that most young people look healthy, but middle aged woman is “hot”, because not only is she attractive, but she could probably leave 90% of her daughter’s friends in the dust.

In this series of blogs we will pick up where we left off with the topic of back rehab and then move on to deal with what to do after the pain is gone. But before we get into the nuts and bolts of fitness regimes I would like to examine the title of this blog to give you a better idea what I want to cover.

As I have said before and will no doubt say again, health is more than simply absence of disease. It is a physical and mental state where the organism able to function up to its maximal potential. Let me give you an example of what I mean with reference to the common problem of sciatica. If a patient comes in to see me at Schlesinger Pain Centers with a bulging disc, which is pressing on a lumbar nerve root, causing pain and I give the patient an lumbar epidural steroid injection (LESI) which relieves the pain, can we really say that the patient is now healthy. I would argue, not. While I may have relieved the overt manifestations of disease, the presence of a bulging disc, which could begin to cause pain again at any time, would prevent me from classifying this patient as healthy. Only after the bulging disc has been dealt with whether by traction, yoga therapy, exercise therapy or surgery would I consider that a state of health had been attained.

Furthermore health is not a binary, all or nothing state. The smaller the disc bulge and the stronger and more supple the paraspinal muscles supporting the back the healthier the patient would be. In fact you could argue that health is not so much a state of being as a way of living. At Schlesinger Pain Centers I have observed that it is only when the patient begins to understand this point and incorporates more than the absolute minimum amount of exercise prescribed that we really start to achieve health.

Let’s get personal. For the most part you get the kind of old age you want, fit or fat. I am already in training for my old age. Forget about AARP, I want to be a card-carrying member of the Grey Panther Party. My generation thought that we would change the world. So far the record is pretty mixed. Get up off the couch and help me change the way America ages!


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