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My story

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:49 pm
by Todd
My story

My name is Todd I’m 31 and I never really had any back problems, aside form the occasional sore muscles after strenuous activity. Although I did notice problems (short/tight muscles) in my legs and low back, but nothing hurt so why bother stretching out my legs. I’ve always been a very active and healthy individual. My first acute back pain episode happened late in December of 2005 after a pretty hard fall while snowboarding, the next morning I couldn’t get out of bed. Out of ignorance I went straight to the closest chiropractor (bad Idea). At the time the chiro seemed to work, they did x-rays, used electro-therapy, did manipulations and put me on a 6 month plan. It all seems so official and seemed to help me through the acute stage of the injury. The first two months of chiropractic care got me back to normal so I kept going (second bad idea). After about the third or fourth month of manipulations the pain came back with a vengeance and gained severity in my left sciatic nerve and moved from my lower back to my left buttock. I felt like the manipulations were what caused this and asked the chiropractor if that was possible and told them that I wanted to stop. Obviously they told me that manipulations are safe and could never harm someone and told me that I just needed to stick with program they put me on.

By the fifth and sixth month I could hardly walk and the pain was now moving down my leg and into my foot. By this time I was convinced that the manipulations were what caused this pain and I canceled my appointments. They called me in for another x-ray and fallow up. They said my x-rays look really good and couldn’t figure out why my back was hurting so bad. My spine was perfectly aligned and the disc spacing looked low but good. They took pity on me so they through in another months worth of free treatments just to be nice. I still figured that they knew what they were talking about, but scheduled an appointment with a real doctor anyway.

Long story short MRI scans showed a herniated of my L4-L5 disc and nerve impingement at the L5 nerve root, it also showed annular tears on my L5-S1 disc as well as tears on my L3-L4 disc. I took my MRI results to the chiropractor and ask them why this type of injury would show up 6 or 7 months after the acute stage. They basically through their hands up and had no clear explanation, and I used to think that chiropractors were “back experts”. So I give them the middle finger and never went back.

Round two… Orthopedics.

The Doctors who examined me and who evaluated my MRI scans took two approaches, Physical therapy, and an epidural injection. The injection was a scary procedure and did nothing for me as far as pain reduction. Physical therapy on the other hand did help me… finally the only thing that seemed to do something. But the physical therapist gave a regiment of exercises that were all about core strengthening and did not include any mobility exercises. After a few more months of PT the pain just wouldn’t go away and started to get worse again. What was happening is that I was building super strong core muscles that had almost no range of motion, which in turn was crushing my discs even further every time I tried to move.

Completely discouraged I decided to get a second opinion, and guess what, the next set of doctors started with the exact same approach and I saw an immerging pattern that was going to waste more money and time. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started reading and gathering as much information as I could about back pain and what others have done to fix it. I came across Rebuild Your Back and it has been the only thing that makes sense. I started the basic exercises and noticed improvement after the first two weeks. I’ve been going through the book and after six weeks I feel better then I ever have since the first acute episode. I am still in a significant amount of pain especially after sitting for too long but I am able to control it with these exercises, and for the first time I feel like there is a way out and hope that I will one day be totally pain free.

Dean, thank you for putting up this site, you’ve saved my life! The fact that you’re running it based on donations gave me even more faith that you’re genuine and really want to help people. Thank you so much.

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:21 pm
by Dean
Hi Todd,

Welcome to the group and thanks for taking the time to share your story with us. I appreciate the positive feedback.


Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:24 pm
by randolph
Yes, Todd, thanks for telling us your story ... especially the happy ending in progress. Please keep us posted on your improvement. Do you have dreams of snowboarding again?

Like you, I'm also very positively impressed with how Dean runs the website and forum.


Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:41 pm
by Todd
I’m very slowly progressing, and some days are better then others. Although I am only doing the basic exercise twice a day (once in the morning and once at night), I see improvement week-to-week. I have a desk job and sitting all day isn’t helping, I did however get a kneeling chair that helps a little, the best part about it is that I can do back bends while kneeling in the chair. Sometimes I get the pain to move into my back but the tingling and numbness are pretty constant through out the day, especially after right when I stand up and move around. I have been applying ice and heat for the past couple of weeks and I can get the foot tingle to go away while I’m lying down, but after I stand up and walk around for a bit it comes back.

Tomorrow will mark my seventh week rebuilding my back and I’m not there yet, but I feel like I’ve come a long way (considering that before I started I was taking 600 mg of ibuprofen a day and still couldn’t walk). Now I’m not taking any pain meds and I’m able to make it though the day, but I still limp a little and have to walk slowly sometimes.

Am I torturing myself by not talking ibuprofen?

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:37 pm
by Dean
Long term use of NSAIDS (such as ibuprofen) will damage the lining of your stomach. They are fine for occasional use, but should be avoided if you can.

This is not my opinion, this is straight from a family practice physician with 30 years experience. (His exact words were, "NSAIDS will burn a hole in your stomach.")


Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:39 am
by Todd
Yeah I was developing stomach pain when I was taking them for a while there. I suppose I can avoid taking them but it just works so well.

Anyway last night while I was in the shower I leaned over and got the water as hot as I could handle on my low back warming it up really well. Then I turned the water to as cold as it would go for as long as I could handle. Needless to say this got my heart racing and I had to breath as deeply as I could. After as long as I could handle the cold I turn the water back to has hot as I could handle. I did that three or four times and when I got out of the shower I felt so much better. I actually remember my father mentioning to me years ago that we would do that when ever his back was sore. It works well but I could see how it could be dangerous if you had poor circulation. Even got a little light headed.

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:39 pm
by Todd
10 weeks… I still can’t just sit down, relax, and be comfortable and dealing with this for over a year now is starting to get to me. I start to go back and forth on the best action to take… surgery… TMS… PT… All I really know is that I’m in pain still. Last night was pretty bad after I tried to sit on the couch and watch TV for like ten minutes and I felt my back just start on fire and it just felt like I hadn’t made any progress at all. Today ibuprofen as got me feeling OK, but nothing gets rid of the funny-bone feeling in my left foot and lower leg. I’m having a hard time distinguishing the difference between pain and the tingle. When I’m in real pain I know it… but the tingle is petty consistent. I still can’t walk with out a limp and I’m getting frustrated again.

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:11 pm
by Steven
Hi Todd,

Sciatica can be very frustrating. Some days you think you're making progress and then other days it seems like you're right back where you started from.

What I did on the bad days was to fall back and just do the basic exercises for awhile until I started making progress again.

Sometimes you may have to not do certain exercises like krd mentions in his recent posts about not doing the forward bending exercises until several weeks into the program. It all depends on whether the exercise helps or makes things worse.

Some people get lucky and the sciatica symptoms clear up right away. For others it can take a long time. There are so many opportunities during the day to irritate the already sensitive nerve that it's very easy to cause a painful flare-up without even knowing you did it. (Sitting on the couch was a big no-no. No back support on the bloody things... very bad for your back.)

Just keep positive, focus on the fact that you did make progress up until the flare-up, and that the flare-up does not necessarily mean you have to start all over. It just means you're having a bad day.


Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:13 am
by randolph
Hi Todd

Ditto Steven's last post to you.

Half of the rebuilding process is re-educating our minds, accepting what is, and reminding ourselves of the realistic hope we have for complete recovery.

I consistently made steady progress with the exercises ... except one particularly frustrating time during the acute stage of my scatica, every exercise seemed to hurt. I just had to quit doing much of anything for a couple weeks ... then one day, it felt OK to exercise again, and resumed making steady progress again. Relapses happen; like Steven writes, it's just a bump in the road, not the end of the road.

How are things going these days, Todd?



Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:21 pm
by Jules
Hi Todd - just re-reading your note on sciatica and leg pain. I have found using a lumbar roll when sitting helps a little - especially watching TV, and sleeping. I have got both the small Mackenzie one and the sleeping roll which ties around your waist, which I purchased from a website here in Australia, but I know they are available in the US too. You may already have tried them, but just a thought. Good luck, Jules.

decompress with your excercise and stretching man.

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:43 pm
by ryanmitton
hey. im 30, went through exactly what your doing. i also gave the doctors the middle finger and said i would fix it myself cause they clearly had no solution.

(looking back now...i understand why...its tough to see exactly whats going on...i guess it just bugs me that they always just say "relax, take some ibus and come back if it doesn't go away)

in canada, we have to wait a long long time to get an mri, so i booked a private one, and paid the 900 bucks. i sure didn't need a rocket scientist to show me the herniation, yup, i started doing what your doing.

Dude. All i can say is, decompressing makes sense if you think about it. I tried it, and it worked man. I am zero out of 10 from 8/10 it's non invasive, 'almost' natural, and combined with the stretches and pilates im totally rehab'd. i do have the occasional 2-4/10 flair up if i play squash and work out too much.

I actually found this website cause of a post dissing the machine...i used it, did 20 treatments and i truly think u should evaluate it. it's not voodoo or hocus makes sense.

im not a doctor, don't own a machine, live in canada, and have no vested intrest in u considering it. Good luck. ps, ive never seen a forum on any subject with so much anti bot stuff. i think it's overkill and a little annoying to be honest.