Back Pain Doctors: James Zucherman M.D.

James Zucherman M.D., medical director of St. Mary's Spine Center in San Francisco, specializes in orthopedic surgery, and he is a strong proponent of individuals staying active at home and work in order to maintain spine health. According to Zucherman, "the human back isn't designed for 6-hour stints in a chair." Spine doctors as well as chiropractors caution patients against jobs and activities that involving sitting in place for too long a time. While many of our jobs do require extended periods of standing and sitting, there some things we can do to engage our spinal muscles and ligaments even when we are stuck in our chairs or in our trucks.

His advice is to sit less and stand more, whether we are at home, at our desk, or in our vehicles. Though sitting in one of these types of environments may be an inevitable consequence of our job or responsibilities, there are some things we can do to decompress the spine even while we are stuck in one place.

For example, his advice is to sit less and stand more. Even if you do have a desk job, you will probably have a chance to get up and walk around for a few minutes at least once an hour. Even if you don't have an opportunity to walk around, you may be able to at least shift around in your chair or even to do some of your work while standing once an hour. If you have a desk job that requires making a lot of phone calls, you may be able to buy some equipment that enables you the ability to make phone calls and talk from a standing position.

If you do not feel comfortable standing in place, or if you do need to sit in your desk chair for extended periods, then you should at least try to stay active in your chair, frequently shifting your weight around, and back and forth. When you sit, fidget in your chair and try to challenge your muscles in your lumbar (lower back) area and your back. Continue to shift your weight around, and regularly cross and uncross your legs. By moving around, you will be agitating your muscles enough and shifting your weight around enough to change the stress load on your lower back.

Dr. Zucherman is on the editorial committee for the journal Spine. Zucherman is also a member of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine and the North American Spine Society.

Dr. Zucherman, along with Dr. Hsu are currently in medical trials for the PRODISCA arthroplasty procedure. The PRODISCA arthroplasty is a procedure that includes the fabrication of artificial joints to replace ones that have been damaged due to damage or degeneration. Dr Zucherman and his team have pioneered internal fixation of the lumbar spine and pedicle fixation in the United States. His team developed the laparoscopic fusion technique first utilized with BAK cages during FDA trials. Dr. Zucherman is the created and developed the X-Stop Device, a minimally invasive implant for the treatment of cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis.