Log of my progress

Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.
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Log of my progress

Post by Michael1965 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:26 pm

Hi... My name is Michael and I am new to the forum.....but not so new to back pain. I thought I would post a log of my attempt to use the rebuild your back book which I downloaded yesterday. A brief history first.

About the year 2000- Was working construction on my newly purchased fixer-upper house. My back gave out and I basically fell to the ground. I was essentially immobile. I could not get to the phone and I was alone. Several hours later a family member came to the house and discovered me. I was taken to the emergency room. I believe an X-ray was done, but according to the doctor I showed no complications. They offered me morphine but I had to refuse as I have been alergic :wink: to opiates since 1997. They were not able to offer me any help and sent me home, unable to walk. My mom was friends with a chiropractor who came to my home and worked with me. Through his help I was able to get back on my feet. The problem seemed to eventual disappear. From about 2001 I began to notice a similar pain in my lower back when doing construction projects on my home. Since that point it has gotten progressively worse year by year. It would go away when I rested, but would come back much sooner. In those years I have had several MRIs and most doctors don't see anything they would consider too serious. They do see issues, but certainly nothing that surgery would be an option for. Forgive me if I get some of the medical terms wrong for what I have had done, but here are some of the procedures we have tried. Facet injections, steroid injections, acupuncture, massage, topical medicines and chiropractic which I am currently trying without too much success. My chiropractor wants to put me on the DRX 9000 this September, but I'm just not sure about it. Actually that's how I found this site. Reading the commentary on the DRX. I will now try the methods from the book I have just downloaded before I go anywhere near the machine. I know I'm forgetting some things, but oh we'll. I was never a great writer anyway... Hope I got the general idea out.

So....here is my day one report on using the rebuild you back methods.

Basically my back only hurts when I bend in certain position. It's the lower back at I believe at l4 l5. For example, I can get into a comfortable position and have zero pain. Its when I stand and try to bend forward to brush my teeth, depending how far I bend it can cause me to collapse from the pain. This is now a consistent feature day to day.

I have gone through 6 repetitions of the methods described in the book so far today. I will do a 7th later and hopefully my 8th before bed. As of right now most exercises are ok with not to much pain. The hip shrug and the forward bend causes the most pain. As of day one there is no improvement and I feel a bit more sore than when I started.

Ok, will try to get back tomorrow

I began the full regiment of exercises this morning. I work at home so can do them as I please.

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day 2

Post by Michael1965 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:50 pm

just finished five sessions of the basic exercises. will complete 2 to 3 more tonight. basically i am the same as yesterday with no real progress. i must note that I don't expect quick results. i have been dealing with this pain for many years and i dont expect to get better in 2 days. i expect to have to work at it at least a month or more to see anything noticeable. hopefully be back with an update tomorrow.

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Day 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Post by Michael1965 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:43 pm

Day 3. (I plan on just adding to my posts instead of creating a new thread each day. I'll add a new thread each week) Was able to do 5 reps of the basic exercises so far today. Today was not as bad of a pain day as yesterday, however that may just be my normal cycle. I have good and bad days whether I do any form of treatment. It's still much too early to give a thumbs up to progress. I have to be honest too, I'm not a person that sticks with routines well. It's kind of tedious doing these exercises so much everyday. I have to push myself and posting here helps. Ok, be back soon with some more observations.

Day 4

Basically the same today. Have done 5 reps so far with no noticeable improvement. However, I have been doing a lot of boating this summer in the Puget Sound. That's a killer on my back. I believe the exercises are keeping from deteriorating beyond my baseline normal pain level. Was on the boat today and am no worse.

Day 5

Boy do I have tight hamstrings. I've always had hard to stretch muscles. When I was in track back in highschool 1983.... I was able to run long distance pretty well, but I could never stretch well. Doing the basic exercises today and when I get to the forward bend I'm amazed how tight I am. My hands are probably about 2 feet from my toes. I remember my chiropractor telling me I had the tightest hamstring he has ever dealt with. Anyway, perhaps that tightness has to do with my pain. I'm really going to focus on stretching those out in my daily exercises. As far as today's routine, I was busy during the afternoon today and did not get the normal routine in. As of now I'm at 4 sets and will do one more. My condition is normal for me, no dramatic improvement, but also no worsening. That's it for now.

Day 6

Don't know why but I woke up this moring in a lot of pain. That's the normal ups and downs for me. To make matters worse I have only been able to do 2 sets of exercises so far. Will complete one more set before bed. Tomorrow I will focus on doing at least six sets.

Day 7

It's been one week today since I began the basic exercises. Did 4 sets today. Wish I could have done more but things keep getting in the way. My pain level today was probably the best it has been so far this week. I would say a 10% reduction of my typical levels. Once again, this could fall into my normal pattern of pain ups and downs....but it still did feel like progress. Ok, that's it for today.

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Week Two Progress

Post by Michael1965 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:40 pm

Day 8
Well, it's been a full week of the basic exercises. At this point I'm positive about how things are working out. Today my pain level was about 80% of my normal pain baseline. That's pretty good, but it still falls within my normal ups and downs of pain. I think if I can keep it at a consistent 80% over the next week then that is saying something. If I can get it down even more this week that would be great too. I will of course keep you posted. As for today, day 8 the exercises are getting less painful to do, so that seems like progress too. It seems as I am able to hold the stretches twice as long in most cases. I've done 3 sets so far today and will hopefully get another 3 more before the evening.

On another note, I've decided to hold off on seeing my chiropractor until I've really given this a shot....to be honest I dont believe he has ever gotten me to the point I'm at right now. My current chiropractor.....I've been seeing him for the last six months.

Anyway, going good ....talk to you tomorrow

Day 9

Well I guess I did a stupid thing. Yesterday I went to lowes and bought 10 fifty pound bags of water softener salt as well as 2 large containers of water. I was very careful how I loaded them into the cart and then once again into my truck. I felt fine for the most part, I finished up with more exercises and went to bed. When I woke up today I could not understand why my back hurt so much. Worse than it has through this whole process. I finally put two and two together and realized it was the lifting.

Anyway, I'm five sets of exercises in today so far and I feel a bit better than this morning. I would say I am at 90% pain level. Was hoping to build on my 80%, but guess not today. Anyway, the salt and water is still in the truck. I might wait a few days to unload it and then do a little at a time maybe over several days. Ok, that's it for now. Talk to you tomorrow.

Day 10

Today was not a good day emotionally. I was getting discouraged because my pain level was back to square one. I took it easy on the exercises and only did 3 sets. That's it for today.

Day 11, Day 12

Did not post yesterday so I am posting today
Yesterday on Day 11 I felt very discouraged. My pain level was at 100% of my norm and I only did 2 sets of exercises for the day. I did not do more because I just felt plain lazy. Today day 12 I carried over that discouraged feeling and laziness untill about 4:00 pm. I just did one set and actually I feel as good as I have since the beginning of this process. Maybe at a 80 % pain level. Perhaps I just needed a break to let things settle down and let some of the work I've done over the past two weeks catch up. I will try to get 2 more sets in today and then will try to do a full set tomorrow and going forward. I still have to get those bags of salt out of my truck, but I'm waiting on that for a bit still. Ok, will get back tomorrow hopefully.

Day 13, Day 14

Status quo so far. No real improvement, just my usual ups and downs. Day 13 I was only able to complete 3 sessions and day 14 I completed 5 sessions. I start week 3 tomorrow and hope to see something kick in.

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Week 3 Progress

Post by Michael1965 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:03 pm

Well, I'm 4 days late reporting on this weeks progress. At the beginning of the week, day 15 I was starting to get discouraged by my progress. I woke up that day with the worst pain I've felt since I've started this routine. I did a total of 3 sessions with not much relief. Day 16 I felt a little better but only managed to do another 3 sessions. Not much relief again. Day 17 I just plain got frustrated and decided that maybe I needed a break. I had after all done 16 previous days of sessions. The pain was consistent much of the day. Day 18...... What the heck..... I woke up with virtually no pain in the moring. Could it be that I just needed to give my back a little breather. Now, I'm too lazy to look back up at what I have written before, but I need to explain my pain again if I already mentioned it. I measure my pain based on my range of motion... Even on bad days I can lie down and get into a position where my pain level is maybe a 2 out of 10. It's when I try to get up or do something that I can almost collapse from the pain. Well, today was not like that... My range of motion was really great. Truly the first time I felt like that in a longtime. That was a great start, but I knew daily life activities would not let it stay that way.... I decided to go out on the boat today and it was choppy out. It really pounded on my back. I did a set of exercises on the boat to help compensate. Anyway, it's bedtime now and I would say my pain level is an 8 out of 10. My hope is that this mornings progress is going to stick and tomorrow I wake up with and 8 out of 10 or better. I know that's not asking for much, but I feel I'm on to something here and these sessions are going to make my back adjust quicker to rough days like today. Anyway, I'm energized and got in a set of 7 sessions of the basic exercises today. I'm still not doing the part two exercises yet as I want to have this progress stick before I move into them. I'll try to post tomorrow.

Day 19

I woke up today expecting to be worse than I was yesterday. I was correct, my pain level was back to about 8 out of 10. This is actually what I was hoping for. I did not want to completely lose the progress I had made. Well, 6 set of the basic exercises in and I feel I'm for the first time at a consistent level of 7 out of 10. Today even though I did not wake up like yesterday with virtually no pain was a definite step in the right direction. I'm noticing the exercises are getting easier and I'm able to push myself a little bit more on the stretch in each session. The most striking improvement is the forward bend. I'm noticing the more I can stretch on the forward bend, the better my back feels. My goal is to eventually touch my toes, but I've got a long way to go. Also, I don't think I commented on this, but as I do the exercises I notice myself modifying them to suit me a little better. The general exercises stay intact, but my movements may be slightly altered to fit what I think is best for me. Anyway, very positive day. I'll try to post tomorrow with the latest.

Day 20 and 21

Well....it seems that progress has been sticking the past 2 days. On average I would say I have a 7 out of 10 maximum pain level when I put stress on my back. As I've been doing these exercises daily, I have been experimenting a little with some of them. Basically yesterday I came up with a hybrid exercise that I think is extremely effective for my particular situation. Today I also came up with one that basically is targeting my particular area of pain. Not sure if this will be beneficial, but I'm going to work it for a week or so and see if the pain lessens when I do it like it has for all the exercises I've learned from the book. I have not done as many sets today as I wanted to as I seemed to get a neck pull from sleeping funny last night. I don't believe the neck problem is related to any of this and I feel it's temporary. I've gotten these before over the years and it usually goes away in a day. Ok, hopefully report back tomorrow.

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Post by Dean » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:59 am

Just want to point out that I think you're overdoing it. Based on your original post, you should only need to exercise once a day. Some exercises can be done more often but I believe I point that out in the individual exercise descriptions. (I haven't read my book in years.)

Try taking a day or two off and then start again at a much more relaxed pace. Read the book again, if you haven't already. You'll find that almost any questions you have are answered either in the book or in the articles here on the web site.

As always, do everything gently and relaxed. Don't strain.

I will go back to being a silent reader now.

Hang in there.

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Week 4 progress

Post by Michael1965 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:27 pm

Hi Dean

Thanks for the input on my routine. I probably did not make it clear, but I am still on the pain relieving exercises. I have not advanced to the more advanced exercises because I am not down to an acceptable pain level. In your book you state that the pain relieving exercises must be performed 6-8 times per day. I'm trying to maintain this the best I can, but things do get in the way. I understand that when I eventually move on to the advanced exercises that it the repetitions are going to be greatly reduced. Anyway, on most days I feel the higher level of repetitions area positive for me.

Now on to my week 4 progress

Day 22 and 23 were progressing normally. I did 4 sets on day 22 and 3 sets on day 23. My pain level was pretty consistent at about 7 out of 10.

Day 24. Not sure what happened here. I woke up and could barely get out of bed. I did not do anything the day before that would have stressed it. I did one set of exercises nd that was it for the day. The pain level stayed consistent for most of the day.

Day 25-28 pain stayed consistent for this entire time. Not sure why as I'm not doing anything to stress my back. I was able to do one set of exercises every other day on these days. Was getting quite discouraged.".but the I thought to myself...since I have been able to get myself to a comfortable level this past month doing these exercises then I can't get discouraged. I have made progress and with a back as bad as mine there are going to be set backs...I'm going to work through this latest and hopefully recover faster than if I had been doing nothing. That's the reason for this log...to show me and remind me of where I've been and whereim going. I can read back and see the progress I've made since starting this. I know this is going to be a long process and one month is not going to give me a good indication of my progress. I really do understand its going to be 6 months or more to really give this a shot. Anyway, I'll report back on the 5th week in the next post.

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Post by Dean » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:47 pm

Hi again:

I'm aware that you've been dealing with this for 12 years and that your situation is different than the average person. Also, I'm sure you know your back better than anyone and can tell what's working for you and what isn't.

That's why I'm not saying you're on the wrong track, but only that I'm concerned about your lack of progress at this point.

Granted you injured it again a couple of weeks ago and that didn't help things any.

I can tell from your writing that you're intelligent and that you've got a good handle on things and that's why I believe you will beat this thing.

Don't get discouraged.

If you don't start seeing progress soon, consider my advice given above.


With that in mind, I would like to clarify a couple of things for anyone reading this thread...

The first set of exercises in the book are "the basic exercises" not the pain relief exercises. If I didn't make that clear in the book, I apologize. Some people experience pain relief when doing them, but that is not their primary function.

The pain relief phase mentioned in the book is referring to someone with a brand new ligament / muscle pull type of injury and is the body's pain relief phase, not the exercise program's pain relief phase. This phase generally takes a week to 10 days maximum.

The body does the healing. No exercise ever invented can heal anything.

The exercises are for rebuilding the back after it heals in order to reverse (or avoid developing) a chronic bad back.

The book is written for the average person, which means some people will have to modify my advice. I tried to write it in such a way that the information could be adapted to meet each individual's specific situation.

I could write a lot more and ask a lot of questions, buy I would only be repeating what I've already written elsewhere on the site or in the books, so I'll quit here.

The goal is for you to become you're own physical therapist.

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Post by Michael1965 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:18 pm

Hi Dean

Thanks so much for taking the time to carefully give your thoughts on my problem as well as people with typical backpain scenarios. I believe I have an atypical condition, which has been very hard for any medical professional to pinpoint or diagnose correctly. Based on what you have said and based on my own intuition into my problem, it seems I need to modify my expectations on what can be accomplished. I do believe your exercises are a part of what I need to be doing, but I just have to experiment more.

On my progress, The past two weeks were not good for me. I got sick ( flu or cold type symptoms) and that seemed to deteriorate my back to its worst condition since I have been logging this here. I've just started on week 7 today, but for week 5 and 6 I really did not do much of the exercises because of my sickness and then just trying to recover from that. So, I am really back at step one now.

Considering what you said in your last post I may do things differently. I may not go at the basic exercises 6-8 times per day. I may cut that in half for now....just so I don't over stress things. I really do feel those exercises are beneficial to me so I still want to get in some decent reps.

One thing I have come to the conclusion on is the relationship to different body areas, muscles, ability to move those body parts and muscles and how much pain and immobility I have that day. For me, a key factor I can identify now is my hamstrings. I believe they are pulling on my lower back and have a significant influence on my pain. When I do the exercises and am able to stretch my hamstrings in a good range, that day I do have less back pain. I believe I really need to concentrate there over the next month and see what the results are.

One last thing before I go for the day... I believe the whole time I have been working the exercises over the past six weeks that I have been sabatoging my progress. I go out on my boat in 1-2 foot seas which is a killer on the back, I put on and take off my wetsuit which is extremely taxing, and I do yard work which causes great strain on my back. Well, I took my boat out of the water for the season yesterday and its fall now and the yard work is much less an will become even more so in the next month here is Washington State. That should really let my back have a chance to maintain the progress I make.

I'm going to keep at this. I'm also going to keep in mind your comments Dean. That's why I am writing here. For my own record as well as yours and your readers. Also it keeps me from getting lazy and discouraged and giving in.


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