My Back Pain Experience
posted: Apr. 21, 2017.
My Back Pain Experience
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?
- 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).
- Movement, stretching, muscle engagement, therapeutic yoga helped to provide rapid healing that has been faster than any of my previous experiences.
- 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