Creating an Environment for Healing

Environment Lifestyle

I’ve received a ton of questions from people over the past few weeks about some of our recent blog posts. A trend I’ve noticed revolves around the topic of ‘degenerating discs’.

Unfortunately, I continue to hear about people being told that ‘degenerating discs’ is a ‘permanent disease’, that it’s due to ‘old age’, or worse… that people have been told they need to just ‘accept it’…

I Must Stress That:
Nothing Could Be Further From The Truth!

The body always has an amazing capacity to heal, no matter the age, or diagnosis, but it takes a lot more than just ‘resting’, or ‘waiting for it to get better’…

What it takes is having the proper environment to heal!

What do I mean by having a proper environment? Think of it like this…

Just like a bad cut on your skin won’t heal if left in a dirty, unclean environment.

Or if you’ve got a tooth ache, and don’t bother to brush your teeth and drink a lot of soda…

Or if someone is struggling with a weight problem and diabetes, but lives in a household full of sweets, pasta and bread…

These are all examples where the environment is not quite suited for a good outcome.

Healing a Back Injury is NO DIFFERENT!!!

The environment, and lifestyle in which you live has a significant impact on the health of your back, and its not just related to your spine!

Most people may be unaware that an environment that includes a lot of sitting, a lack of movement, or constant ‘repetitive’ movement does not create an environment that is conducive to healing back pain properly!

This type of environment may cause

  • 1. Your discs and joints to become ‘pressurized’ and stressed over a long period of time
  • 2. Stiffness to develop along the muscles and tissues of your spine which may cause your back to lock up and feel tight
  • 3. Inflammation that develops in your tissues, and your joints which causes a deterioration of the structures of your body over time

If you allow these types of negative stressors to affect your body, it is no different than improperly healing a cut, or not taking care of your teeth!

But instead, creating a movement rich environment, focused on slowly restoring your flexibility, activating your muscles, and a consistent level of movement will create:

  • 1. Blood flow and circulation (which is needed for your body to heal and recover)
  • 2. Increased mobility (which will prevent your joints, muscles and spine from getting stiff)
  • 3. Improved strength (which allows your body to become much more resilient and resistant to stress and future injuries down the line!)

Even if you’ve been diagnosed with ‘degenerating discs’, there are SO MANY OTHER opportunities to improve other parts of your body, (and your lifestyle) that will all contribute towards taking pressure and strain OFF your back, and give it the best possible chance to heal properly!

Just recently I worked with a man who recently turned 66 years old, who’d been suffering from sciatica for several years. He’d been told by his primary physican that it was due to ‘age’ and he needed to just accept it…

When we first met, his spine had stiffened significantly due to his sedentary job, and he was skeptical and hesitant that he’d ever get it back. But by taking a slow, thorough, and step-by step approach, he started to experience small (but noticeable) changes in his body over time, and began to incorporate a 10 minutes of stretching of his spine by just doing 3 simple exercises each day.

By staying true to his new found routine, and making slow, incremental changes to the flexibility of his spine, not only is his ‘sciatica’ completely gone, but he is now feeling more confident and aware of his movements than he has in the past decade! (Even though he felt like he was past his prime, the total amount of movement in his spine has DOUBLED within just a few months time!)

Just by making a SMALL change to his daily routine, he was able to create a significantly better environment for his spine to heal, instead of exposing it to the same repetitive strain of sitting each day.

And you can do the same! Stay active, keep moving, and take a steady, gradual approach!

Don’t try to rush to make BIG changes overnight, instead, take the approach of making small, steady changes over a period of time and you too will be amazed what the body is capable of!

So, that’s it for this week’s blog…

Feel free to email me at if you have any other questions, OR if you’d like me to speak about any specific topics!

Until next time!

To your health!


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Kevin Mao, PT, DPT
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