Each month, find out what motivates ORA Orthopedics’ physicians to practice and treat patients in the Quad Cities in our What Moves Me feature.
In celebration of fall, and as we look ahead to getting moving in the glorious cool days spent outdoors, meet avid QC hiker and physician, Dr. Timothy Millea, who specializes in spine and back surgery.
Hometown: Graettinger, Iowa
Years in practice: 22
Specialty: General orthopedics at QC ORA Orthopedics Spine Center with special interest in fractures, neck, back and spine surgery.
Why is hiking one of your favorite hobbies/sports?
My youngest son attended college in South Carolina, and each fall and spring when he was moving in or out for the school year, we would try to set aside as many days as possible to hike the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia. When in the mountains, you are entirely self-sufficient. The success, enjoyment, and safety of the hike are totally dependent on your preparation. We have had encounters with bears and rattlesnakes, and while camping at 5,000 feet altitude, survived a severe lightning storm, which was at 4,000 feet. The sight of seeing lightning travel horizontally and upwards was very impressive!
What is your favorite hiking destination?
Still the Appalachian Trail, although I have my sights set on the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, the Pacific Coast Trail, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
What is your most memorable hiking moment or memory?
My 80-year old father-in-law, a retired family physician, joined us for two days on the Appalachian Trail. He was a trail warrior, and easily twice the age of anyone else on the trail (other than me).
From an orthopedic perspective, what is it about hiking that can benefit people at any age?
Hiking is an aerobic exercise that builds strength and endurance from head to toe, especially if emphasis is placed on trying to do more as the days, weeks, and months go by. This is especially important for people with persistent back pain; the most effective and time-proven method to manage back pain is regular exercise.
Where is your dream hiking destination and why?
The Camino, starting in the French Pyrenees, and traversing northern Spain. It is a trek that pilgrims have made for more than a thousand years.
What made you decide to become an orthopedic surgeon?
The opportunity to help people with problems that hampers their quality of life. This was and still is what attracted me to orthopedics.
What do you like best about practicing medicine?
The interaction with patients is what keeps everything in perspective for me. Having patients become friends is a culmination of the efforts of both the patient and me to work together for a common goal.
What is your advice to patients for staying fit and strong, especially after an injury or surgery?
Keep moving, and keep expecting more of yourself. If you always stop short of feeling that you are challenging yourself, you will not be able to reach your full potential.
October 5, 2014 at 12:16 am
Dr. Millea, you are one in a zillion. Thanks to your wonderful care and skill, I am still pain-free following a lumbar laminectomy/fusion done in 2008. This recent interview has inspired me to expect more of myself physically despite head-to-toe fibromyalgia pain. You are tops in my book!
October 5, 2014 at 4:47 pm
Isle Royal National Park in Lake Superior has been a place I have wanted to hike/camp for years and my goal is next year to go there. Have you ever considered this destination?
October 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm
Great story and advice Dr Tim Millea. Awesome!