Full Name: Hooman M. Melamed, MD, FAAOS
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Specialty: Board Certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
Places of Practice: Beverly Hills and Marina Del Rey, CA
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I have always wanted to be a doctor as far back as I can remember. My father was a doctor and I was always intrigued by what he was doing. One of my favorite toys as a kid was a play doctor's bag with all the tools, including a stethoscope and a lab coat. I would pretend to be a doctor while my brother pretended to be the patient. As I got older I would shadow my dad while he made rounds at the hospital and I was hooked.
What sets you apart from other doctors in your field?
I do not subscribe to the one-size-fits-all approach to back surgery that most doctors and spine surgeons seem to. I listen to each patient, their entire history and employ conservative methods whenever possible. For me, surgery is the last resort and I want to make a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for each individual patient.
What are your 5 tips for living longer?
80% of people will suffer from some major back injury as some point in their lives.
- Picture holding a gallon of milk. The farther away you extend your arms, the harder it is to hold it. The closer you hold it into your body, the more your body is stabilized. Apply this principle to every aspect of your life in order to protect your spine and prevent injuries.
- Take vitamin D and calcium, especially as you age! These two supplements will help keep you from getting compression fractures of the spine. Compression fractures are shown to significantly decrease your lifespan.
- Use headphones or a hands-free device anytime you talk on a phone. The action of repeatedly cradling a phone under your ear can wear out the discs in your neck and can lead to severe problems.
- Most people think of Pilates as the "trendiest" form of exercise. What they don't know is that Pilates can not only can help extend your life – the more active you are the longer your anticipated lifespan – but it has been proven to significantly reduce and prevent back and spine conditions.
- Attention moms: I know life gets hectic with kids, but pay attention to how you pick them up! Instead of reaching around into the backseat of a car to unbuckle your kids and let them out, get out of the car, walk around and pick them up using your legs. If they are asking to be picked up off the ground, bend at your knees, not your waist, and hold them close to your body as you rise. I see so many injuries!