Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Making Every Day Earth Day

earth day 3 recycling

Making Every Day Earth Day

For the past 43 years, April 22nd has been the day when America commemorates the changing of its consciousness about our planet and its finite resources. From its beginning in 1970, when “flower power” was a radical notion, Earth Day has become a touchstone for both genders, all ages and people of every political persuasion.

The founders of the movement could not have possibly imagined that almost 50 years later, grandparents would be talking to their elementary school-aged grandchildren about recycling, carbon footprints and natural resource conservation. However, that’s exactly what has happened and Texas Back Institute is proud to be waving the Green flag too.

The History of Earth Day

As Earthday.org notes in 1970, “Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. ‘Environment’ was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.” All of that changed when Senator Gaylord Nelson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and U.S. Representative Pete McCloskey of California joined forces to begin an organization that was to become the impetus for the annual celebration of Earth Day.

Here’s how the network news reports covered that first Earth Day.


Over the years, this original environmental “protest” has become more of a teaching opportunity. Anyone who has been reprimanded by a young child for such transgressions as littering or having a gas guzzling vehicle understands Earth Day and the sentiments that it commemorates has become a fundamental part of the American psyche.

In addition to heeding the admonitions from youngsters to “Save the Planet” and “Go Green,” environmentally sensitive business practices have been developed by many companies.   As such an organization, Texas Back Institute helps educate its staff about earth-friendly responsibility and saves money- all while saving the planet.

Every Day is Earth Day at TBI

From our beginnings, the goal of Texas Back Institute has been to perform as a center of excellence.  We do so by integrating the best of science and education with the exemplary business practices. We believe it is both good business and ethically responsible to conserve our natural resources. Over 35 years, Texas Back Institute has become one of the largest freestanding multidisciplinary academic spine centers in the world and along the way we have worked hard to reduce our own carbon footprint.

What does Texas Back Institute do to help conserve natural resources? A large medical practice can literally consume tons of paper and much of it must be shredded and destroyed in order to protect patient privacy. We’ve made it a point to find a document destruction firm that recycles this paper after the shredding and destruction have been completed.

An even more effective way to save natural resources such as trees is to avoid using paper altogether.  We’ve done this by aggressively pursuing electronic health record keeping throughout our offices. Electronic health records (EHR) save on paper waste as well as computer resources. It also enables more efficient collaboration among our physicians by avoiding the massive paper flow and storage.

Texas Back Institute also uses a “PACS” system for digital imaging in order to eliminate the use of paper folders and the plastics, metals and chemicals in radiology film. Plus, certified recycler is used for all electronic equipment destruction and recycling.

We note these conservation tactics to show that it is possible for any enterprise – large or small – to reduce its consumption of natural resources. It takes planning and a commitment to efficiency in daily operations.

Saving Fuel and Staying Healthy

One of the tangential effects of Earth Day has been to encourage earth-friendly transportation such as biking. Several of the surgeons at Texas Back Institute – Dr. Richard Guyer, Dr. Michael Hisey and Dr. Isador H. Lieberman – are cyclists and they find this sport helps them reduce the stress of their profession.

TBI Dr. Guyer biking

Dr. Guyer recently went all the way to Cape Town, South Africa to participate in the 109 km cycling tour around Table Mountain. This was a part of the “Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour.” For this event participants ride to support a charity of their choosing and Dr. Guyer along with many others dedicated their ride to the Jeffrey Allen Guyer Fund for Sarcoma Research now known as “Spinspiration.” The team has raised more than $50,000 and for more information, visit: https://give.massgeneral.org/spinspiration.

Since he is both a spine specialist and cyclist, we asked Dr. Guyer to share some advice on proper techniques for biking and back health.

Do any of your patients complain of back pain after biking?

Yes, but neck pain is actually more prevalent. This soreness is usually the result of the rider being in racing position – where they are leaning over the handlebars, gripping the steering handles – and arching their neck. This can be alleviated by periodically sitting up straight, while gripping the top of the handlebars and stretching while riding.

What precautions should someone take to keep from getting back pain from a long biking trip?

The most important thing a new rider should concentrate on is being in aerobically good shape and having a strong body core. The best way to work into this is to use a stationary (exercise) bike or spin bike to get the heart rate up and go through this training a week or two before climbing on the regular bike. It’s also a good idea to bike slowly around the neighborhood a few days before attacking a challenging course or race. Getting into biking shape by building up strength slowly will help to minimize the soreness from cycling.

Walking the Walk

The business staff and the spinal specialists at Texas Back Institute are focused on treating patients for chronic back pain, disc damage, artificial disc replacement, scoliosis and spinal injuries. However, we are also committed to saving natural resources with innovative business practices.

Join us in celebrating Earth Day 2013! Is your company or family doing anything to help conserve our resources? Let us know. Post them below.

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