Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How I overcame my back problems

Ok, so before I tell you my story I just want to tell you a bit about me. I’m 26 now and have had minimal problems with my back since I learnt how to treat and manage the problem myself. I learnt to live with and manage my back problems for free and people reading this can learn to manage yours for cheap too. I have always been active and physically fit. I wanted to write this to help anyone else that’s maybe gone or going through the same thing.

I first noticed that I had back problems when I was aged 15. I was trampolining at school, I bounced a few times and my back felt like someone had electrocuted me. I had a sudden shot of pain go up my back and all the muscles went into spasm. I couldn’t sit comfortably or walk properly for about a week after. I discovered at this stage that my mum had similar problems when she was my age. We put it down to growing pains and I thought nothing more of it.

The next incident that made my problems worse was when I was 16 in my last year of school. I was going to go on a snowboarding holiday with my friends so we decided to practice once a week on the dry slope before our holiday. Dryslopes are not nice to fall on. They are made of plastic matting with brushes on it. It’s like falling onto hard ground basically. I had only been snowboarding a few times but like an idiot decided to try to spin a 360 off a jump they had on the slope. I landed on my left hip from about 7 feet in the air. Ouch! I couldn’t sit down comfortably for about a week. I had to carry a cushion around with me. I felt like an old man at the age of 16!

The next time it happened was when I was about 17 and I was working in a local supermarket stocking shelves. I lifted a box and my back suddenly went into spasm again. I felt again like an old man and could hardly move. My boss and work colleagues all thought that I was faking to get out of work. It was pretty horrible. It again got better in about a week or so.

When I was about 20 was when it really started to become a problem. I was working doing house removals for about 6months doing lots and lots of ridiculously heavy lifting. The problem with moving things from house to house is that you can’t lift it in a uniform way so it’s really hard on your back. It got to the point where one day I had to quit because I couldn’t walk. I felt like I was about 80 years old. I would get muscle spasms in my neck and back that were debilitating. I went to the doctors about it and all they did was to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers. All these did was to mask the problem and not treat the cause.

At the age of 21 I was working for a telesales company sitting in front of a computer all day. My back was uncomfortable all the time. I had sciatica and the pain would go from my lower back all the way down my left leg to the foot and sometimes into one toe. It felt like someone was pinching a nerve in my back with their fingers. It can only be described as a constant pulsing, aching, numb feeling. I tried osteopaths, chiropractors, doctors, physical therapists, pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs and just about anything that I could to try to solve the problem. I would get back spasms every couple of weeks and was generally depressed and at a loss about how to deal with it.

All of the medical help that I received helped for a short period and then the problem would return again. It was just not getting any better. At this stage I was even considering surgery to get the problem fixed. I was at the end of my rope at the age of 21! Stupid really now I think back. There just isn’t the kind of good helpful advice available unfortunately.

I was considering surgery along with visiting an expensive specialist. Luckily for me my saving grace came along randomly one day. I was visiting a friends house and happened to be chatting to his mum as we were on our way out the door to go somewhere. I was explaining my problems and she was telling me about her back problems that she’d had. She “slipped” a disc when getting out of the bath and was bed ridden for about a month. She was totally debilitated and couldn’t work, walk or move. Luckily for her someone recommended the book “Treat your own back” by Robin A.Mckenzie. She used the simple exercises and stretches in the book until her problem COMPLETELY disappeared. No surgery, no chiropractor, no hospital, no pain killers and no anti inflammatory drugs. I was pretty skeptical to be honest but she lent me this old copy of the book with back and white pictures.

I took the book home and have to say that the book totally changed my life. I know how stupidly cheesy that sounds but it did. I read the book from cover to cover in about 2 hours and then set about using the exercises straight away. I had a better understanding of why I had the problem in the first place and how to solve it ON MY OWN, IN MY ROOM. It was pretty incredible really, and free.

The cause of my problem was a combination of an inherited weakness in my spine (from my mum) and bad posture throughout my life. I am a sloucher and have been my whole life. Bad posture puts loads of strain on your spine and exacerbates any problems that you may have. It also distorts the shape of your spine gradually over time. The only way to correct it is to distort your spine gradually back to how it should be. When I say should be, I mean to a position that puts the least pressure on your in vertebral discs, which is what causes the “spasms” that I was having. It turns out that one of my discs bulges slightly (a fraction of a mm), this presses on your sciatic nerve fractionally which is enough for your body to go into protection mode.

After two weeks of using the book I could feel the effect it was having. My posture improved, my sciatica started to move up my leg until I could feel the point in my lower back where the pain originated. I think that the process in called “centralization”. I could literally pinpoint the exact disc and point in my back that was the cause of all the problems I’d been having. It was an incredibly invigorating, empowering feeling. I could correct this problem for myself and maybe it would go away for good.

To cut a long story short I am now pretty pain free. I do sometimes get spasms but at least I know the cause and how to quickly resolve it. I live an active life which helps and don’t work in a office anymore. I believe now that sitting in an office chair is the single worst thing for your back. I now teach snowboarding and have had some serious falls. None of which have caused the same reaction in my back. It’s all about posture and simple exercises to correct the distortion of your spine. If you can “put your back out” then you can definitely “put it back in”.

Thanks for reading my blog and if you have any of the problems that I just described then do yourself a massive favour and buy the book:

“Treat your own back” by Robin A.Mckenzie

You won’t regret it!