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3 month progress report: GOOD!
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:43 pm
Hello Forum Friends!
In a few days I jump (well, actually, carefully climb into) the big rig and begin working full-time again. Drove 2200 miles a couple weeks ago with few problems ... the exercises are a blessing, some even possible to do while driving, which reduces tremendously the butt/leg sciatica pain that still comes from sitting for more than an hour.
Three months ago I could not even stand up without horrible pain (let alone walk); could barely crawl to the bathroom and back to bed; slept very little due to pain, even with max doses of NSAIDs; and could do very few of even the beginning exercises, and only with very limited flexibility. Now I can walk almost as much as I want with only mild pain, and can do all the exercises, advanced too, with much more flexibility. Still have 16" to go before I can touch my toes, but I'm very confident that continued, daily sessions with the exercises and the pain will continue to decrease steadily as it has, and the flexibility will increase, too, as it has. I'll report back in 3 months, or whenever I touch my toes (whichever comes sooner).
Thanks to all of you for your consistently good advice and encouragement. The only bit of advice that didn't turn out to be right for me was Bill's advice to not do yardwork "til I was 100%". I found I had to start doing any activity (yardwork, cooking, cleaning, etc.) a little bit each day, maybe 5 minutes, then each next day, a minute or two more,
sort of like the exercises: do what I could before the sciatic nerve screamed out ENOUGH ALREADY! There were no days I wasn't able to do a little more than the week before. But Bill also gave me the most important bit of advice: get out of bed!! And somehow he manages to say 10 times as much as I can with 10% of the words I would use. So I'm still learning Bill: please continue posting your profound pearls.
I'm one of those who learns by talking ... and if I want to learn a lot, I have to talk a lot. I was that goofy guy in class you groaned at every time he raised his hand to ask a question ... but I swear to y'all, some of us just have to risk embarrassment to finally "get it". I still haven't "got it", but bottom line is: each week there's less pain, I'm more flexible, and I can do more than the week before; and I'm very confident I will only improve as I continue with the RYB program.
So I thank y'all for your patience, your help, and special thanks to Dean for not e-mailing me a virus to melt my computer so I would just SHUT UP!!
Which I guess I better do now
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:30 pm
Randolph -- Your progress sounds great...to be able to return to long distance driving after a bout of sciatica seems to me nothing short of spectacular
. I had just about decided I wouldn't be able to ride again and was wrestling with the idea of selling my horses even though the barn work seemed to keep me from stiffening up completely -- not an easy decision, believe me -- but I'm encouraged that I'm feeling better with consistent work and that, maybe by the time spring arrives, I'll be able to climb into the saddle again.
Thanks for sharing your progress and for your continuing support.
Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:25 am
Yes indeed, the back rebuilding process is pretty spectacular. Each of our own successfully rebuilt (and rebuilding) backs is an incredible story to tell others about now ... especially considering how many folks think, that once your "back goes out", for the rest of your life, you've got to suffer with some kind of disability (even just the nagging fear that it's just waiting to flare up again at any time for no apparent reason)
I'll be checking in every weekend I'm home and see how you, Jeanette, and others, are doing. Looking forward to reading about your spectacular improvements. While there are no guarantees with this rebuilding process (like anything in life I guess), I've never done anything more personally rewarding and gratifying ... and you can be sure I'll continue doing the exercises daily to make sure I never go thru that kind of pain again
Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:20 am
Boy, what exciting news! I'm so glad you're finally able to get back to work. I knew you said you were making progress, but I didn't expect it to happen so soon.
By the way, don't tell my wife that yard work is good for your back.
Be careful out there,
Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:02 pm
About yard work ... it's our little secret.
But that brings up a "wondering" I've been having about the healing process. The first week after my back injury and I was down in bed, I had to pay to have someone do the yard work I would normally have done. Man, I hated that! And something in me just resolved - never again ... no one's doing my work for me. So the weeks rolled by, and the leaves piled up (etc), and the pain still hung on. But as soon as I could stand for 5 minutes without too much pain, I was out there raking leaves ... but just for five minutes. And the next day, maybe 6 minutes. And slowly, I've been able to do more and more. It seems I have to push the pain farther and farther, but if I don't push, it doesn't get better. And I got to thinkin about my dad who just gave up and died after a mild heart attack that he should have recovered from. And I remember a friend who just would not give up when cancer threatened her, and she's OK now. (Yeah, we like the success stories.)
So I'm wondering, does our state of mind really influence the biology going on inside of us? Because, there are people who give up, like my dad, and don't die, and there are people who just don't give up when cancer comes ... and they die (those are the stories least likely to be told of course).
is there really a mind/body connection?? In my case there was an interesting coincidence: my resolve to get up and work, and the healing that came after. But is there a cause-effect relationship here? Or was it just dumb-luck that my body decided, somehow, to slowly heal in spite of my resolve and yard work? Do you have any insights into this?
And yes, I will be careful as I'm out there on the road. Thanks!!
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:34 pm
Interesting that you should mention the mind/body connection. I just finished reading a book (recommended by PeteD) called Healing Back Pain: The Mind/Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno.
I've put off posting about it because I'm still mulling it over and I want to do more research into this area before I fully commit to endorsing it. But I have to say the man has something very important to say.
I think he is wrong in his conclusion that all back pain is caused in the mind - rather than being due to physical injury - but if you read his book with an open mind there is definitely something to be learned about the power of the mind to control the body.
I will be writing more about this in the future when I know more. For now, I think everyone should get this book and read it. Don't dismiss it off-hand ... the man is very dogmatic ... but read between the lines and consider the possibilities of what role the mind can play in your recovery.
He's not a quack (as I first believed), he just has tunnel vision.
I have long believed that one reason this group is so successful is due in great part to the "can do" attitude of our members. That was why I created this forum and why I insist on no negative posting.
I want to share one example of how this mind/body concept has already changed my life:
I have had a life-long problem with insomnia. After reading Sarno's book I began to wonder how I could test this "power of the mind" thing for myself. (Haven't had back pain for years so it's hard to test it that way.)
Long story short, I just decided that I no longer have insomnia.
Sounds crazy, I know. But you see, I started to realize that I'd been telling myself, "I have trouble sleeping" ever since I was a kid. I got the idea in my head because of the times as a child that I had trouble getting to sleep. (Actually normal occurrences, right? Scary movie on TV, trying to sleep in a strange bed... that sort of thing.) I just assumed that it was something wrong with me. I accepted it and believed it.
So now that I know better, I just chose to reprogram my subconscious mind. I told myself - and believed - I was going to sleep through the night.
It took a day or two, but for the last week I've slept through the night like a normal person.
I do not have insomnia, never had insomnia, will never have insomnia again. As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing. It was all in my head and simply required a mental adjustment.
I still think it's as important to keep your back in shape as it is to keep your heart and lungs in shape... or any other part of your body for that matter... None of what Sarno is saying changes my opinion about rebuilding your back.
But I also think that Sarno has touched upon what history may show to be one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in medical research. I think he has only scratched the surface in helping us understand the role that the mind plays in controlling the body.
The jury is still out... but I definitely think everyone should get this book and check it out for yourself.
Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:40 am
I've been away for a couple of weeks. Great to see that everybody seems to be doing well.
Especially great to hear that you're getting back to work randolph. That's really great news and I'm sure you're happy to be able to start getting things back to normal. You've really made some remarkable progress considering you had a rough go of it in the beginning.
Just goes to show what determination and perseverance can accomplish.
Don't know what to think about the mind/body stuff you guys are talking about. In a way it makes sense and I'm willing to keep an open mind about it. Maybe I'll have to get this book Dean mentioned and look into it further.
Good luck on the road randolph and I hope you'll continue to check in and keep us updated.
Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:14 pm
Hi All -- Interesting discussion about mind/body connection and Sarno's book. Haven't read the book and am unlikely to
as my must-read stack of books may outlive me as it is
But, that's never stopped me from offering an uninformed opinion before
If as you point out, Dean, Sarno concludes that all
back pain is caused in the mind, then I'm willing to suggest that -- in that respect, anyway -- he's all wet! However, as to, as you put it, "the possibilities of what role the mind can play in your recovery," I'd agree that that's a subject not yet fully explored.
For one thing, regardless of the cause of back pain, much of the process of living with it comes from one's attitude in dealing with the pain. Whatever the cause, the pain is real
And I'm willing to bet most of mine
-- the example I'm most intimately familar with
-- is injury and abuse. I can document both. But
there are a number of mind/body pain-relieving strategies out there that seem
I just read an article in either New Scientist
or Science Digest
(sorry, can't remember which) that discussed a controlled, double blind study on the placebo effect that monitored subjects' perceptions to painful stimuli. I don't recall the details of the experiment, but the gist of it was that different sets of subjects thought they were testing the pain reducing power of an anlagesic ointment vs none at all. They weren't aware that the experiment was actually looking for a placebo effect. (The subjects were all hooked up to EEGs looking for brain activity relative to the induced pain.) The results are interesting. Anyway, if it's something you might be interested in, I'd guess it was published sometime in the last couple months. Sorry, I don't still have it around.
Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:31 pm
I agree with you 100%.
I'm like you, I know my back pain problems were physical and I know that because my mind/emotions/stress level has not changed over the years and, therefore, could not have played a part in my recovery.
I think Sarno has simply stumbled onto a way to utilize the placebo effect in his treatment program even though he refuses to acknowledge it.
Doesn't change how I feel about the possible benefits his research holds for those whose pain is stress related. It just makes me cautious about totally endorsing it as a cure-all.
Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:06 pm
Correction to my earlier post. The article I referred to appeared in either Science News or New Scientist.
Is it OK to do forward bends
Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:44 pm
Have you guys tried forward bends. I thought after you have a beack pain you are not supposed to try to bend unless it is absolutely necessary due to work etc, Don't you think forward bending can flare up the problem again.
Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:22 pm
You are right, Rupert.
This thread started in January; in April, I re-injured my back, swinging a heavy tool while bent forward ... perfect recipe for re-injury, as you cautioned.
Never again, of course!
Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:26 am
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