Medicine and a steady dose of common sense can keep us moving and functional with the highest quality of life possible.
At this moment, I’m thinking about all the wonderful things that medicine can do to stop infections, enhance healing, and keep us active. In nearly every medical field I can think of, there have been incredible advances in technology and treatment methodology.
In my realm of medicine, for many decades now neurosurgeons such as myself can reverse most causes of chronic back and neck pain. Some treatments are outpatient procedures that take only an hour or so to perform. Medical developments about two decades ago allow me to implant artificial discs as replacements for damaged or herniated ones. Even more recently, I can reverse cervical spinal fusions and restore full natural range of motion.
Lately, these and other developments in medicine have emboldened my approach to different ways we can stave off our greatest medical challenge: aging.
I’m meeting more and more patients at my practice in Beverly Hills, CA, who want to do more than just “get better” from what ails of them. They want to be “greater” than better. And they want it later in life. Their interest and mine is to help them age with greater grace. I have found that we achieve these goals by using all of the medical means at our disposal to achieve the highest quality of life possible. Some of these “means” have been around for quite a while.
Some patients are surprised that “aging management medicine” is something I can do for them. Here’s where, as a physician, I can apply an even more aggressive approach to preventative medicine. In a previous post, I described one of the “heresies” of preventative medicine: asymptomatic disease screening. Patients can self-elect a medical whole-body CT scan to check for early signs of disease.
With aging management, my patients and I can embark on an even more proactive approach. We’re not waiting to see if there’s a disease. We’re going to work, well in advance, to help us maintain peak energy levels, bone and muscle health, and sharpened mentation. The goal is to modulate the process of aging before the body degenerates and conditions are irreversible. We can achieve these goals with a program of biologically intelligent supplements. We may also use hormone replacement therapies to give my patients an additional foundation for healing and to support their health goals.
I must note here that supplements, no matter how robust the program, cannot replace what the human body needs from proper nutrition. Similarly, hormone replacement does not supplant the importance of a meaningful and consistent fitness program. These are tools we can use to augment the effects of all the other actions we take. The rest is up to common sense. We get a bit of a biological boost when we want to bypass some of the physical effects of aging. But we do so as we build on healthier lifestyle choices.
In this way, being medically proactive is not necessarily “preventative medicine,” but it is a solid strategy for living life to the fullest. Most people want to be functionally active: we want to be able to do things for ourselves, have fun, and enjoy life. In my opinion, the only way to achieve these goals is to invest a little in our own future. Being proactive about how we age may mean that we modify some activities to accommodate injury or disease, but why give up things in our lives because we have aches or pains?
If you’re reading this article, then you must know – the only way to age better is to stay active and keep moving. I’m helping patients today age better with some proactive medicine, but we rely on a healthy mindset and self-image to determine how well we can reach these goals.
We cannot stop the accumulative effects of aging. However, we can slow the aging process by being more proactive about health. Yes, by all means feel better. Why not reach a little and be Greater than Better?