Are these exercises for me?

Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.

Are these exercises for me?

Postby megreene » Wed May 16, 2007 1:04 pm

Hello Everyone,

I stumbled across the RYB website about a month ago while doing research on back surgery (my doctor has suggested I see a orthopedic neurosurgeon to discuss the possibility of surgery). According to my doctor (a DO), I have a severe scoliosis (on a scale of mild-moderate-severe) which has caused degenerative disc disease in my lower back. I have suffered with back pain on and off for the last 30 years, although have managed to live a very active lifestyle. I began doing Macenzie type exercises about 20 years ago, so I am aware of the role the right exercises can play in maintaining a healthy back.

My doctor has told me not to see a chiropractor or PT, though I'm not sure why. I think that in his opinion, the scoliosis is severe enough to cause the muscles to be continually strained causing my back to "go out". But, by my way of thinking if I can strengthen and stretch the muscles through the RYB program I'll be much better off. Does this make sense? Do you think I'm on the right track?

I started the stretching program about 3 weeks ago taking it slow. Three day ago, I added about 5 new exercises from the advanced routine. I felt fine while doing them, although I was a little stiff later. This morning I reached behind to pick something up while sitting down and felt the familiar "ping" in my lower back. I am now in the middle of a mild "flair up". I know how to get through it and to the other side, but do you think these exercises are for me? I really want this to work and I am willing to do what it takes. Maybe I just did too much too soon? (I also walk 30 minutes a day 3x a week and do water aerobics 2x a week when I'm able).

Well, I've rambled enough. Any input anyone has would be appreciated.

Oh, one more thing - I've decided nobody is going to touch my back with a knife!
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Postby cygnet » Thu May 17, 2007 1:35 pm

Hi there,

Well since you have severe scoliosis, it might be wise to check with your doctor before starting a new program. I understand why he told you not to see a chiropractor, but the ban on PT you might want to ask more about. Does he know that you want to avoid surgery unless it's totally, absolutely necessary? Maybe if he knows how you feel about it, he might give you the OK to do some exercises or PT. You could even bring him the RYB book and see how he feels about the exercises for your specific condition. Core strengthening seems like it could only be helpful for degenerative disc problems.

The neurosurgeon I saw gave me the impression that surgery was my only option, but when I made it clear to him that I saw surgery only as a last resort, he supported me in a conservative approach. I think doctors and surgeons are likely to recommend elective surgery when a particular problem has a surgical solution, although surgery may not be the ONLY solution. If you want to manage your condition without surgery, have you consulted with a pain management doctor, or a physiatrist - people who specialize in non-surgical treatment? They might have a different perspective.

From the little I know, scoliosis can cause problems other than back pain if it's severe enough. Surgery has helped many people with severe scoliosis...although it's also definitely true that fusion surgery only "fixes" the levels that are fused. The levels adjacent to the fusion can eventually degenerate in a domino effect because the pressure is transferred to those joints.

I took a yoga class for people with back problems. One woman in the class who was in her late 60s or even 70s had scoliosis severe enough to cause a hump on one side of her back. I don't know if she had ever had surgery for it, but she was participating in the class like everybody else. She could do more than I could at the time :-) The yoga teacher also had a noticeable spinal curvature, and she could do more than any of the students!
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Postby megreene » Sat May 19, 2007 1:37 pm

Thank you for your response. Finding this website with like-minded back sufferers has been wonderful.

I've made some decisions. My doctor wants me to have an MRI done which I've scheduled for this upcoming week. After that, I'm going to sit down with him and discuss my concerns in detail. I want him to understand that my goal is to learn to "manage" my back, rather than have surgery. I've never heard of a physiatrist, but I'm going to do some research on that also.

I'm not giving up on the RYB program either. I'm letting my back heal for a few days, while doing some very mild stretches. After that, I'm going to start the program again (less aggresively this time which is hard for me). I'm also going to show my doctor the program, although I'm pretty sure he'll endorse it.

Thanks again. I really appreciate you input.
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Postby kshum88 » Fri Jul 06, 2007 11:32 am

Is there such profession as "physiatrist"? I searched my medical providers' website and don't see it listed as one of the specialized area. Is there any other name for it?
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Postby megreene » Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:29 am

Yes, there is such a thing as a physiatrist. They are doctors of rehabilitation. In my area they tend to be very specialized and work with spinal cord injury patients, brain injury patients, etc. I tried to find one through my family physician, but I found out they don't take on cases as "minor" as back problems - at least the ones my doctor works with. However, since that time I have been faithfully doing the exercises in the RYB book, and I'm am soooo much better. I'm not even considering going to any more doctors!
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Postby Steven » Sun Jul 22, 2007 2:46 pm

Hi megreene,

That's really good news! Thanks for the update.

I think you're correct about physiatrists. I seems to be a fairly uncommon specialty. I had never heard of them until I found this website.

Keep us posted,
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