The importance of maintaining a healthy spine

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is partnering with the Mariners to aid neuroscience and spine support and research. Sponsored by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

SEATTLE — Virginia Mason Franciscan Health celebrated MLB Opening Day by launching Runs for Research. For every run the Mariners score this season, VMFH will donate to the Center for Neurosciences and Spine at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, which benefits patient support services and research.

“Runs for Research is meant to allow us to bring more awareness to spine health and to also allow our community to understand how important it is to support the neurosciences and spine,” said Dr. Venu Nemani, spine surgeon, Center for Neurosciences and Spine, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

As we enter the spring sports season, maintaining your spine health can allow you to enjoy your activities and boost your success.

“Without a strong spine, you can’t actually transmit energy to your arms and legs, which power you to run, which power you to twist, which power you to throw,” Dr. Nemani said. “Having a good, strong core and a good, strong spine is important.”

Research helps guide healthcare providers’ care and treatment for patients. Advancements due to research help patients get back to doing the things they enjoy faster after an injury.

“We don’t practice medicine the same year after year,” said Dr. Philip Louie, spine surgeon and medical director of research and academics, Center for Neurosciences and Spine, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. “We want to be doing different things now than we did five or ten years ago. Research allows us to continue to grow, improve what we’re doing and care for our patients in the newest ways.”

Surgeons can now perform ultra minimally invasive surgeries with tiny incisions. This allows patients to often go home the same day and get back to their activities more quickly.

In most cases, back pain is not scary and will get better within a few days. If your back pain worsens over time or causes symptoms down your leg, like pain, numbness, tingling and weakness, it’s best to see a doctor.

“If it’s back pain and it’s worsening over the span of the week, I think it’s really important to get in because I think early treatment is generally going to be beneficial,” Dr. Nemani said.

Dr. Louie suggests stretching and core work to help maintain a healthy spine. As we age, stretching becomes increasingly important.

“If you can maintain stability, it takes some of the pressure off your back and hopefully helps you go enjoy some of those activities,” he said.

 Visit to learn more about the VMFH partnership with the Mariners and to find a doctor.

Sponsored by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health

Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on Contact New Day