MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (KABC) --Garrett Bray recently had back surgery and is doing just what the doctor ordered.
"I iced round-the-clock and really took it easy the first two or three days," he said. "They say for the first three weeks or so you should really not lift more than ten pounds."
Along with that, people should not do BLT: bending, lifting, or twisting.
Bray is a health care marketer for DISC Sport and Spine Center in Marina Del Rey, an orthopedic practice, which is perhaps why he is more compliant than most.
Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Sanjay Khurana said some people do too much too soon, which brings them back to his office.
He suggests a three-phase program for getting back to activity post-surgery. The first two weeks should involve some walking but not too much activity.
After two weeks, short distance drives and walks. Then at six to eight weeks it's time to move a bit.
"We start with an activity called isometric muscle strengthening. So we don't want the muscle fibers themselves to stretch or to really react too violently. We just want very gentle protocols," Khurana said.
After the patient is done working with a physical therapist, Khurana said one more thing is important.
"By the time you hit three months, we also want to go back to what generated the problem," he said.
Khurana sees desk work, texting and driving as spine challenging, but they're problems that won't go away, so he wants us to counteract them.
Even if you haven't had surgery, the doctor would like you to prevent it.
He's recommending some range of motion exercises with your neck. And also reminds you to keep your stomach muscles contracted to keep your spine strong.
At work or in your car, test neck mobility to establish range of motion then work to keep that range healthy by small exercise breaks.
"Contracting your muscles. Small squats, maybe 15 degrees of knee bend and strengthening with your back," he suggested.
Even vertical planks against the car can help. For all of us, a strong core means a spine that is better protected from excess weight, poor posture and other things that lead to trouble.