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October 2011
Spine West Newsletter
Fall Edition
In This Issue
Core Power
Physicians for Motion
Our Providers

Dr. Cliff Gronseth

Dr. John Tobey

Dr. Michelle Pepper

Vaheed Sevvom, PA-C

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Core Power


In less than two months, ski season begins. In preparation you have your skis waxed, your beanie purchased, and your legs toned. Have you considered a core-strengthening program? Core strength is often overlooked; however, if you want to improve your ski season with sharper turns, smoother carving, and more controlled landings; then look no further. Building a stronger core will enhance:



Body alignment

Flexibility and agility


For those of us who feel house bound by the winter weather, considering a core strengthening program may give you extra confidence when stepping out.  Core strengthening increases:


Body awareness

Muscle strengthening


For program suggestions please ask a Spine West provider.

Phone: 303-494-7773
Fax: 303-494-1104 

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Physicians for Motion 

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Spine West is excited to announce the addition of Physiatry & Sports Physicians to our name.  Although physiatrists are well-known for the treatment of the spine, we also specialize in sports-related injuries, muscle and joint pain, and numbness and tingling. Injury prevention and graceful aging are key components in creating the best quality of life possible.

Here at Spine West we know that optimum health and wellness are gained through movement. Our providers strive to get you back in motion and keep you as active as possible, without surgery. By treating the whole person, our goal is to maximize movement and restore function to nerves, muscles, and bones.

Spine West's staff strives to create a patient-centered, comfortable environment with many services offered in office, including: physical therapy, acupuncture, x-ray, nerve testing, ultrasound and fluoroscopic guided injections. Along with the comprehensive physical exam, our physicians educate each patient on his or her condition. Then, the provider and patient work together to create a customized treatment plan.      


"The Osteoporosis of Muscles"

We often hear from our patients, "Aging is not for sissies!"


The literature has described Aging in many ways:


         Scientifically: the "disruption of homeostasis";

         Philosophically: "the correction of life"; 

         Humorously:"a sexually transmitted, terminal disease."

         At Spine West we call it "Seasoning." 


Anyway you spin it; aging is inevitable, pervasive, and relentless.


Muscles, like bones and osteoporosis, weaken with age.  In medicine we call it "Sarcopenia" (Greek for "decreased flesh").   After the age of about 30, we began to slowly lose the number and the type of muscle fibers. In fact, most world records are held by athletes under 30 years old and space travel is limited by loss of bone and muscles in a zero gravity environment. Some had even suggested that inactivity is the third leading cause of death.


Fast twitch (Type 2 or strength muscle fibers) tend to dissolve at a rate of 5-10% per decade. Slow twitch (Type 1 or endurance type muscle fibers) tend to survive longer but also melt away with time.


Research has shown that some muscle loss may be postponed or prevented with exercise, specifically resistive strength training (or RST).  Resistive strength training can start at any age. In a study from Harvard, a group of 87-90-year-old nursing home residents were started on a weight lifting program 3 times per week. Resistive strength training using maximal tolerable weights, (not 1 pound weights or soup cans) with a maximum tolerance of about 10 repetitions was compared to normal daily activities by other nursing home residents who were not exercising.  Compared to the control group, the weight lifting group had 24% decreased mortality rate, lived 1.6 years longer, and scored higher on cognitive tests!  And this was in a population that never performed weightlifting before!


Of course, walking and lifting light weights is better than no exercise at all, but the body tends to respond to stress. When you think about it, strength is what you need for emergency situations, like when you lose your balance and are about to fall, getting out of a low chair, or climbing stairs. You don't lift a flowerpot or pile of books 100 times. Rather, you lift something heavy once and then carry it. Lifting a 1- 2 pound dumbbell 100 times may feel like good exercise but you would be better served to lift 10-20 pounds (or whatever your capacity) for 10 repetitions to build strength when you need it.


The key message: "Use it or lose it"

1. It is never too late to begin the weightlifting, even at 90 years old!

2. Resistive strength training (using heavy weights) is healthy and beneficial [if done correctly***].


****CAUTION:  The heart and body may be overstressed with any new exercise program if done incorrectly.  If you have questions, please ask us or your other doctors before beginning any new exercise program.***


Written by: Cliff Gronseth, MD