One of my patients – Morgan Tebeau – is a mom, a fitness coach and an entrepreneur who is deeply passionate about empowering women to be champions of their health. She works with women in person and online through the Strong Moms Consistency Club she founded that is currently over 1,000 moms strong on Facebook and she’s constantly advocating for women to prioritize their health.
Recently she shared a blog with her followers about a meme she saw that made her do a double take –
“OK, this was supposed to be a funny meme on Instagram,” she wrote. “But it just broke my heart.”
Morgan firmly believes there’s no reason to live with back pain because she says she did for too long. The Virginia mom had pain for about 2 months in her arm and shoulder but put off getting help because life was busy and because of the pandemic. The pain got so bad the outdoor enthusiast and fitness trainer couldn’t drive, sit down, lift her then 4-year-old daughter Mirabel or dance with her. A fitness trainer, she also was struggling to lead her classes, had to have others do the moves… and often even led classes with a neck brace on.
Morgan has degenerative disc disease. She finally reached out to me for help when the pain was unbearable and affecting her physical and emotional health. At the end of January 2021, I performed an artificial disc replacement surgery to relieve her neck pain. Within six weeks she was dancing with her daughter again. She can now pick Mirabel up and is working her way back to full activity levels in terms of fitness.
Prioritizing your health – and not ignoring back pain is something I’m certainly passionate about too. This is an especially critical message for women and moms because research shows women often postpone medical care. They increasingly say they’re ‘just living with pain’ and because of COVID – many have been putting off a variety of healthcare appointments including pain prevention procedures for far too long.
Surgery was the answer for Morgan but it’s not for the vast majority of my patients. I consistently remind women – and men – that 90% of our patients at the Virginia Spine Institute don’t need surgery to address the source of their back and neck pain. There are so many other innovative options out there now – from regenerative medicine to physical therapy and so much more.
So I encourage people to watch out for red flag warning signs of pain – like weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms, legs, fingers or toes as well as consistent and debilitating pain that’s getting in the way of your daily activities and keeping you from living the life you love. Reach out for help before it gets to that point because solutions are always easier when we find them earlier.
You can hear more of my tips to address back pain – and Morgan’s story – in the latest episode of the Get Back To Your Life podcast on iTunes titled Getting Back To: Helping Women Live A Pain-Free Life. Morgan’s proof that addressing the root cause of your pain is what helps you get past it so you can get ‘back’ to doing whatever you love.
In Morgan’s case – that’s focusing on fitness – for herself and her clients, being the kind of strong mom she wants to be and empowering other women to do the same. “I’m feeling so much more confident in being able to advocate earlier for my health when it comes to back and neck pain or things that might crop up as and seem as like a minor inconvenience,” she says. “I now get really curious about it and think – is this something that needs to be addressed? And now my life is just infinitely better.”
Dr. Colin Haines is a board certified spine surgeon and the Director of Research at Virginia Spine Institute. Dr. Haines performed the world’s first combined endoscopic and robot-guided spine surgery. His patient success has earned him a national feature on The Today Show and WebMD, and Top Doctor recognition in consecutive years. Learn more about Dr. Haines.
Reviewed by: Dr. Colin Haines, MD.
Reviewed by: Dr. Colin Haines, MD.