The Unguarded Moment – Resistance Exercise can Help Back Problems

Back problems has become all too prevalent in today’s society. Typical solutions include surgery and medication. However, Vert Mooney, M.D., a clinical professor of Orthopedics at the University of California- San Diego, proposes that resistance exercise may have medical benefits to treat back problems in his book, The Unguarded Moment.

An Overview

Throughout his medical career, Dr. Mooney began to realize the enigmatic nature of back problems. Due to a lack of technology, no one can ever truly detect the source of the pain. Technological advancements such as the MRI make it easier for doctors to diagnose patients, but it is hard to know for sure where the back pain is coming from. Despite this, many strides have been taken to improve treatment for back problems. The total disc replacement is one such development in orthopedic surgery. However, the surgery is not guaranteed to provide relief. In fact, many people experience complications after these surgeries, and they do not actually solve the problem.

Through a series of what he calls “unguarded moments,” Dr. Mooney began to realize that resistance exercise provides many medical benefits. Seemingly coincidental events occurred in his career that led him to unexpected places. He gained expertise with MedX equipment, and soon realized that their use under supervision can greatly relieve back pain. He states, “I am still respectful of the place of appropriate surgery, but I am concerned that far too much surgery and other ineffective medical care is being provided to our population. Many of the problems could be avoided with proper exercise.” The medical benefits of resistance exercise could change the way people treat back problems.

The Problem

If the solution is so simple, why isn’t this knowledge more wide spread? Dr. Mooney explains that while many people in the medical community recognize the medical benefits of resistance exercise, they are not willing to openly prescribe it as a treatment. First off, it is difficult to measure and prescribe. Many physicians are unwilling to go through the trouble of prescribing a set exercise plan. It is difficult and time-consuming. In addition to this, having patients use resistance exercise as a treatment is not financially beneficial to the surgeons or insurance companies. They would prefer to perform a surgery that may or may not work in order to make more money.

Unfortunately, the much of the medical community is unwilling to recognize the medical benefits of resistance exercise. Dr. Mooney wrote The Unguarded Moment in the hopes of increasing the credibility and knowledge of resistance exercise as a medical treatment.  The book is quite eye opening. In an age of back problems, understanding the medical benefits of resistance exercise is extremely important.

The Unguarded Moment: A Surgeon’s Discovery
of the Barriers to Prescription of Inexpensive,
Effective Healthcare in the Form of Therapeutic Exercise
by Vert Mooney 


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