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Eliminating crippling back pain the focus of fitness program

Orthopedic spinal surgeon Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh believes in exhausting all alternative treatment methods before invasive surgery. That’s why he started Core Spinal Fitness, a back-strengthening program at the La Jolla Spine Institute.

The program uses state-of-the-art training equipment designed to condition neck and lower-back muscles.

“What we do here is strengthen the specific musculature around your spine,” said Jessie Schiesel of the Core center. “Atrophy of the muscles is real common as you get older. It’s a natural fact your body will lose what it doesn’t use.”

There are an estimated 31 million back-pain sufferers in the United States who pay $50 billion annually for treatment. Raiszadeh said 90 percent of individuals will experience severe spine pain at some point during their lives.

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The Core fitness program is being used at the spine institute to treat a wide variety of conditions including spine curvature, trauma-related fractures and osteoporosis. The idea is that most back pain is caused by muscular problems related to strains, sprains or herniated or degenerative discs.

Core equipment is designed to reduce or eliminate back or neck pain, improve ease of movement, decrease risk of osteoporsis by increasing bone density, increasing flexibility and strength, as well as decrease risk of spine-related injuries while improving range of motion in hips, back, neck and legs.

“The Core special fitness program uses the body’s innate ability to heal itself,” said Raiszadeh. “It’s extremely patient-friendly, very effective and only requires 15 minutes one to two times per week to yield maximum health benefits.”

Raiszadeh said the majority of spine-related problems can be traced to poor conditioning or posture, both of which can be treated non-surgically.

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“If spinal health is optimized,” he said, “most injuries can be prevented by promoting muscular stabilization and balance. Many of us don’t realize how vitally important the spine is to our overall well-being, something everyone should be concerned about and taking steps to maintain.”

Many who’ve tried the program swear by it.

La Jolla Shores resident Sue Weissman was won over by the therapeutic value of weight training at Core.

“I don’t like regular gyms. It’s hard for me,” she said. “I like the quiet and the specialized equipment. It really did help my back problems.”

Core client Esther Lopez likes the results she’s gotten from the program.

“It’s great,” she said. “I had cervical fusion and I’d been doing another therapy, and it just wasn’t getting any better. I got in here and after a couple of weeks, it was amazing. My range of motion was much better. I wasn’t in pain 24 hours.”

Core therapists like Scheisel work like personal trainers giving clients individualized attention. She said the weight-training equipment at Core is effective partly because it’s more incremental.

“What makes this equipment different is it’s therapeutic,” she said. “It has 2-pound increments instead of 10. That’s very important because you want to be constantly changing the stimulus.”

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Scheisel said the most difficult thing is commitment.

“It’s not a pill,” she said. “You don’t change overnight. It’s something you actually have to put some time and effort into.”

Core charges for its services a monthly rate of $49.95. The initial month, the charge is $159, which includes an x-ray bone scan and two personal sessions with a therapist.

“The scan determines muscle mass and body fat, two really important components to back pain,” said Scheisel. “It’s a starting point to see where somebody is.”

The program also includes patient education with bi-monthly seminars conducted by doctors on spine-related topics such as arthritis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease.

For more information call (858) 909-9095 or visit www.lajollaspine.com. The facility is at 4130 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 100.