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Horrible Pain, Numbness, and Foot Drop.......Gone :)

Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:03 am
by MusicSentry
I would like to begin by stating I am a physical therapist. While working in a hospital last November, I lifted a patient incorrectly, and felt a pop in my back. Two days later, while getting out of my car, I couldn't move my foot, had numbness down my leg, and experienced pain that is impossible to categorize. Needless to say, I thought I was screwed.

I rushed to the primary care doctor, and they put me on Medrol and Vicodin. I began a lumbar back extension program (not Dean's program) and stayed in bed for a week. I tried to get outside and walk, but that was way too difficult. The first week was miserable.

After the first week, I ran into Dean's book, and I began doing deep squats to help decompress the spine. Shazam, that was the magic pill. Though they were extremely difficult on my knees at first, the squats got easier, and my back started improving.

After six weeks, I could feel my strength coming back into my foot and hip. The pain was still bad and really frustrated me, but the strength gains gave me confidence that I was heading in the right direction.

One thing about Dean's book that gave me the most confidence was the idea of pain vs. soreness. As I got stronger, soreness (not pain) seemed to follow. It made perfect sense, and pushed me to do more. I think many times people feel soreness and confuse those symptoms with pain, and thus quit a program. I urge people to push through the soreness (with the help of meds).

I now sit here 11 weeks after my initial injury and I am 90% back to normal. I still have a little numbness in my big toe, a little difficulty walking on my heel, and some pain in my glut medius, but otherwise I feel great most days. I know my back care is a lifelong job, and I am prepared to work hard to see that my back remains strong.

I would also like to note that I had an app. 20 mm disc prolapse. In layman's terms, that is huge. However, I did discover a Vanderbilt University study from back in 2000 that stated the worse the disc protrusion, the better chances of recovery. Do you think my spine surgeon told me that? The human body has this immense ability to heal itself, and when the body finds this foreign substance sitting way out of place, IT ATTACKS IT!!! An immune response eats away at the disc.

Who knows what really happens, however all I know now is surgery is for the birds. I suffered a horrible injury, I worked my butt off (with the help of Dean), and I live to tell a happy tale.

I hope my story finds someone who has been demoralized by a back injury, thinks surgery is the only option, and wonders whether permanent nerve damage may occur by not acting on a spine surgeon's advice.

Another great resource is Dr. Jolie Bookspan. She also has some amazing self-help back techniques that benefited me greatly. Also, look into Doug Kaufmann and the fungal link to pain.

People, seek your own truth. Surgeons are paid to cut, not to give you the latest non-surgical research. I worked hard to find my own answers, and I am back to basketball and running and lifting at work.

Best of Health,


Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:27 am
by randolph 2
Hello Colin/MusicSentry

Glad to hear of your recovery. I'm wondering how old you are.

Echoing 2 things you mentioned which were really important to my recovery from sciatica: learning the difference between pain and soreness; and the importance of continuing to stretch and exercize daily to minimize the risk of re-injury.

While it may seem like it sometimes, not all orthopedic docs are greedy, knife-happy butchers. It sometimes takes some work to find the docs who will be open and forthright about alternatives to surgery, but they are out there. I was lucky; the first orthopedic surgeon I went to understood the value of trying physical therapy like RYB first and the value of minimizing surgical interventions.

Continued good luck, Randolph

One Year Anniversary

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:49 am
by MusicSentry
I am now one year out from my injury and things are back to normal. However, I would like to note one thing I have noticed that continues to bring back my pain and numbness: nightshades.

When I say nightshades, I mean potatoes, tomatoes, all peppers (except black), etc. Whenever I eat any nightshades, soreness shoots into my hip and numbness goes into my big toe. When I get back on my diet, the symptoms quickly go away.

I would also encourage anyone with back problems to purchase Jim Johnson's Multifidus book on Amazon. It's a great read and accumulates all the best research on the muscle that counts.



17 months later

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:52 am
by MusicSentry
I am back 99%.

Over the last 4 months, I have moved toward a paleolithic diet. All forms of sugar (sucrose/glucose/fructose) irritate my sciatica, so I decided hip soreness just wasn't worth it. I lost 35 lbs in the process so that was another plus.

The 1% that remains is a little numbness in my right big toe. Most days it's hardly noticeable. I am back to sports without any residual soreness. I do my multifidus work once every 3-4 weeks.

Kudos to Dean and Jim Johnson for getting great information to the public.

I am a living example that a horrible, scary back injury can be conquered.

May my words help someone in need.

All the Best,


Re: Horrible Pain, Numbness, and Foot Drop.......Gone :)

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:50 am
by fruitypuds
MusicSentry wrote: After the first week, I ran into Dean's book, and I began doing deep squats to help decompress the spine. Shazam, that was the magic pill. Though they were extremely difficult on my knees at first, the squats got easier, and my back started improving.
Fab inspirational story, thank you!

Squats are not mentioned in the ryb book - can you give me more info please? I'm not having much luck with my herniated disk so far! Thank you :-)