My Back Pain Experience

My Back Pain Experience

by Dr. Steven Blair, DC,RYT

This blog may sound like I am tooting my own horn so to speak but I would like to share the truth about my own recent experience with a severe back pain episode and how I recovered. I will start by saying that I used to experience several episodes each year of severe, crippling back pain that would have me unable to walk, lying cripple on the floor for 2 weeks each episode and then another month to return to something resembling ‘normal’. I have not had a severe episode like this in over 15 years, since finding a good chiropractor and improving my own core stability, mostly through climbing and yoga.

For those health care providers and chiropractic friends reading this, I have a history of an intense low back extension injury at 19 years old that led to lumbar instability…and when L4 slips forward, 9/10 (seriously, 9/10) pain levels that are just absolutely debilitating.  Since my last major episode, I have become a doctor of chiropractic and a yoga instructor.

On with the current story.  On Saturday, my wife and I were packing to move and my back started to feel a bit sore while packing boxes full of books.  Soreness increased through Saturday into Sunday (Easter Sunday 2017) so that I was barely able to move by evening. On Monday, I had lost all range of motion with severe (alarm bells going off) pain in any position where my spine was not in a completely vertical or horizontal position, anything in between was excruciating.

On Monday morning, I struggled to make it in to see my fellow doctor, Dustin Rising, at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic. He provided gentle care and then I spent the rest of the day either gently stretching and breathing (gentle self guided yoga) or lying horizontally on the floor.

I had a miserable night of pain and almost no sleep Monday night into Tuesday morning. Upon rising on Tuesday, to no surprise (typically cripple for 2 weeks with this type of episode), I continued to experience tremendous pain with any motion and my range of low back motion was non-existent.  Tuesday morning, Dr. Rising provided more treatment and following care, while still in a lot of pain, I was able to find a way to treat my own patients. After my clinic shift, I spent the rest of the evening doing gentle yoga, stretching and breathing my way through the pain and slowly finding my way to nearly full range of motion. 

On Wednesday, I woke feeling considerably better and spent some time doing more therapeutic yoga before making my way into clinic. I was provided treatment by Dr. Rising again and, again, spent the evening after work using yoga for self-care, patiently and gently. I started practicing some gentle muscle engagement and core stability postures as opposed to exclusively stretching postures.

On Thursday, I was significantly better, nearly pain free as long as I am conscientious about movement. I was able to teach and demonstrate a yoga class Thursday evening, and woke this morning, Friday, with little pain and significantly improved ranges of motion. I would say 85% recovered in less than a week…better than I have ever been at a month following the onset of previous similar episodes.

In previous episodes, my focus was pain avoidance; so, what are the lessons learned and what am I trying to share with this story?

  1. Quality chiropractic care really helps with back pain.  Dr. Dustin Rising did an amazing job for me, I am grateful and have reservations recommending his care to anyone (not just saying that because we share a clinic).
  2. Movement, stretching, muscle engagement, therapeutic yoga helped to provide rapid healing that has been faster than any of my previous experiences.
  3. While being kind, gentle and patient with the body, moving through and around pain was more effective at healing than simple pain avoidance…though, admittedly, I was applying knowledge of my own diagnosis and cause of back pain as well as my knowledge of chiropractic and therapeutic yoga to myself.

I am writing this blog to share that I am truly amazed at the healing potential when chiropractic and therapeutic yoga are combined. If you have questions about my experience, if you are interested in chiropractic care and/or are interested in therapeutic yoga give Gallatin Valley Chiropractic a call. We will be happy to speak with you, offer a free consultation, or provide an exam and care if you desire. 



Dr. Steven Blair, DC, RYT


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