Fitness and the Spine

Injuries to the spine during intense works outs are common and these injuries seem to be increasing in frequency in our practice at Elite Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center. Luckily, the majority of spinal injuries can be treated without surgery and athletes can use their injury as an opportunity for education. Many of the currently in vogue exercise programs are re-introducing athletes to the use of barbells and more complex body movements that require knowledge of proper, safe technique and skill to safely complete. Before starting an intense workout program, assessing your flexibility and form is a must to ensure safety. The use of a simple testing process called a Functional Movement Screen (or FMS)* can help identify potential trouble spots and weaknesses that can sideline even the fittest athlete. Some of the current fitness trends that we believe are here to stay are the boot camp style workout and fitness programs that utilize Olympic lifts, kettle bells, plyometrics, and HIIT (high intensity interval training). These programs can effectively build muscle quickly when done correctly and with proper training but the key to injury “defense” is a good “offense”. The follow are the keys to your defense against injury–

FLEXIBILITY. Athletes in their thirties and forties are the first to complain about the loss of flexibility. There is no doubt this occurs.  Stiffening joints and tightening of the soft tissues is something we will all experience. Sedentary lifestyles only compound the problem. Unfortunately the stiffest areas tend to be in the low back and the backs of the hips, thighs and calves, which are the main muscles that give us the power needed for lifting a barbell from the ground or doing a squat. Most of the power for these exercises comes from engaging the gluteal muscles (which make up the buttocks and the backs of the hips) and lack of flexibility here can cause a real problem. Athletes with poorflexibility will compensate with over-reliance on other parts of the body and the spine is the usual victim. Incorporating stretching of trouble areas, especially AFTER your workout, is the key to staying healthy enough to knock your next workout out of the park.

FORM. Proper form throughout the entire range of motion of an exercise is critical. Often athletes will pay attention to form during the “essential” parts of a lifting exercise, but will use poor form either initiating or completing the lift. This can be something as simple as how to lift a dumbbell or kettle bell off the rack, or something as complex as locking the rhomboid complex linking the shoulder girdle to the upper torso during an overhead snatch. Proper form for ALL complex body movementexercises (such as Olympic lifting) has foundations in being able to engage the muscles of the core and KEEP them engaged until the exercise is completed.

CORE. The core is the group of muscles that are responsible for stabilizing your thorax or trunk, during any movement. The deep abdominal muscle known as the transverse abdominis, the diaphragm, the pelvic floor muscles and the gluteal muscles along with muscles across the low back make up the majority of the core. Knowing how to engage or turn these muscles on and off is an essential part of weightlifting and proper form.

Improving your flexibility, learning and maintaining proper form, training your core and finally a more sophisticated functional movement screen/ FMS all requires an investment of time and dedication. The highly specialized personal trainers at MPower who work closely with the physical therapists at both MPower and Elite Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center can provide expert assessment and exercise planning to advance you from the occasional exerciser to a true athlete, and/ or empower the seasoned athlete to safely get to the next level. Our goal at both MPower and Elite is to provide you with the skills and training needed to SAFELY set your own personal record and enjoy doing it.

Chris Glattes, MDR. Chris Glattes, MD

Dr. Glattes is a fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon at Elite Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center who treats all sports injuries related to the spine, as well as cervical trauma, adult spinal disorders, work related back and neck injuries, and performs surgeries to the cervical and lumbar spine.

*The “FMS” or Functional Movement Screen is a service provided at MPowerMD.,

What does it mean to be fellowship trained?

Why be an orthopedic fellow?

To become an orthopedic surgeon you must graduate from college, apply and be admitted to medical school, complete 4 years of medical school, and complete a rigorous 5 years of medical and surgical residency in orthopedic surgery. The residency programs in orthopedic surgery are some of the most competitive residencies to be accepted in to, and by the time you complete this 5 year program you have now spent 13 years “in college”. You are now an orthopedic surgeon. So why continue with the additional training called a fellowship?

A fellowship is a program that a physician can chose to do to become more specialized in one area of orthopedics known as a subspecialty. Orthopedic fellowships do enable physicians to become recognized experts in an orthopedic subspecialty. A fellowship is not required to practice orthopedic surgery and while many orthopedic surgeons do not chose to do a fellowship after their residency, it is being more common to do so. With all the rapidly changing advances in orthopedic surgery it is crucial to see an orthopedic physician that is fellowship trained to ensure that you receive the best and most up to date care for your injury or concern.

Orthopedic fellowships are offered at Universities and orthopedic institutes around the country in the following subspecialties: orthopedic sports medicine, foot and ankle, hand surgery and upper extremity, joint preservation, orthopedic surgery of the spine, pediatric orthopedics, and orthopedic trauma. Some of the top Fellowship programs in the country are at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Institute, American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL with Dr. James Andrews, Steadman Hawkins Clinic, OrthoCarolina, Emory University and Washington University.

Elite Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Centeris the only orthopedic group in the region where all of the physicians in the practice have completed fellowships in an orthopedic subspecialty. What also makes our practice at Elite unique is that our physicians all stay within their subspecialty. For example if you come to Elite for a neck or back concern you will not be scheduled with a shoulder specialist…etc.

Dr. Burton Elrod, our founding physician, and true pioneer in the field of sports medicine, did his orthopedic sports medicine fellowship at the world renowned Kerlan- Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Inglewood, California.

Dr. David Moore was a fellow in orthopedic sports medicine with Dr. James Andrews at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL.

Dr. Jeffrey Willers completed his orthopedic fellowship in foot and ankle at OrthoCarolina Foot and Ankle Institute in Charlotte, NC.

Dr. Thomas Dovan completed his fellowship in Hand, Shoulder and Upper Extremity at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, MO

Dr. R. Chris Glattes completed his fellowship in orthopedic spine surgery at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, MO

Dr. James Johnson is a non-surgical sports medicine physician who completed his fellowship in sports medicine at Stanford University in San Jose and Palo Alto CA.

Dr. Colin Crosby has completed his fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, GA in orthopedic surgery of the spine.

Dr. Chad Price completed his fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder reconstruction at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Spartanburg, SC.