My aching back! continued
The important thing is to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition. It may take a lot of tries with various health care professionals, but keep trying. None of them work together it seems, and each knows little about related fields/procedures. Your traditional family doctor may prove the least knowledgeable of all, but don't give up! My original back problem returned in 1991, and it took till '96 until I could climb like I used to. I still have to (or I'm supposed to!) do the exercises daily and I sometimes still wear the belt while climbing or cycling (or anytime lower back pain bothers me alot). I've worn that darn thing for 21 full hours at a stretch.
To summarize, maybe you have a problem with your back that can be helped by one of these suggestions. They are:
Sacroiliac Belt, available at medical supply stores. Helps SI joint instability; helps me.
Chiropractors. Manipulation to break the pain cycle which causes stiff muscles that restrict proper joint movement and to help restore proper motion of the joint(s). Chiropracters definitely provide relief for certain types of back and neck pain, but it seems that the actual cure has to come from your body or elsewhere. If the problem becomes chronic and you have to keep going back repeatedly, it is only providing relief, not actually "fixing " anything. Voltaire once said, "Medicine consists of amusing the patient while Nature provides the cure." Then you may need additional help from something else listed below.
Yoga: There are even special yoga classes for back problems. Too-tight muscles can cause tension and unnatural movement of various joints and structures. If you do a lot of those movements, (walking, climbing...) it can become a bigger problem. Yoga can help stretch out those tight muscles and (guys or lesbians) there might even be nice-looking, flexible ladies in the class too, besides the teacher. But don't try to impress them with your flexibility: It won't work.
Sports Physiotherapists. Exercises for strengthening and learning to use appropriate specific abdominal/spinal/lumbar muscles (among other things). Definitely worth a try; it helped me.
Prolotherapy injections. Many traditional doctors don't even KNOW what this procedure is. Don't let that stop you though. Its been around a long time and is making a comeback. There are doctors in many cities (even in Canada) that do this procedure. The injections aren't that painful (compared to a real back problem) and it works to strengthen many different ligament-related problems. It did work for me, if just for awhile. Note: These are NOT Cortisone injections, but entirely different solutions are used.
Surgery. It couldn't help me, but for certain collapsed disk/ broken vertebrae problems, orthopedic surgeons are a good option: Maybe the only option.
Lasers. Used to vaporize the center of a bulging disk, creating a vacuum so the disk collapses inwards and no longer pushes on a nerve. Sometimes used for Sciatica, a back- related condition that can cause pain down the leg past the knee and as far as the toe, due to pinched nerve.
Rolfing Deep tissue massage and pressure technique to lengthen muscles and allow them to move easier while improving posture. (Not the best definition; check out their website.)
For more info, you can web search for keywords like "prolotherapy" "back pain" "sciatica" "sacroiliac joint pain" "core stability exercises" etc.
With back problems, patience is a virtue. I have precious little of it myself, but I've come to realize that improvements are often slow, don't adhere to a schedule and tend not to happen just because you need your back better ASAP. And they don't always stay "better" either...they sometimes regress. It isn't like stiff or injured muscles where improvement occurs within days or weeks. Back problems often take many months or years. And I hate that! I only have one life to live, and I'm not gettin' any younger.
During and after Aug 2002, I had at least six more sets of prolotherapy injections, 6 accupuncture sessions, 10 rolfing sessions, spent $1750.00 on an MRI that showed no problem with my back and I still go regularly to a chiropracter. Plus I work on my core stability. And guess what: My back still bothers me. S-o-o-o-o,
In July 2003, after many years of being stubborn, I basically gave up and packed it in with climbing, scrambling, climbing, cycling, rollerblading and instead, I bought a fly rod. I can at least hike to a nearby backcountry lake sometimes and fly fish without pain, or wander the wonderful streams and rivers of Southern Alberta in search of a trout.
I always suspected that exercising exacerbated my back problem but it doesn't take a long walk to leave most fishermen behind, thankfully. And once you actually start learning how to catch fish, it's a hoot!! Watch for my next book: Save your sanity by flyfishing.
A few links for back/neck/knee problems+prolotherapy
http://www.whiplash101.com/ (1000's of searchable pages on back problems)
http://www.sacroiliac.com/ (explanation of sacroiliac joint problems)
http://www.wheatons.com/Prolotherapy.htm (A practising US doctor's page)
http://www.sonic.net/~nexus/sclero.html (article about prolo injections)
http://www.thephysiotherapysite.co.uk/back/core_exercise.html Core stability exercises
http://sportsmedicine.about.com/library/weekly/aa052002a.htm Core stability exercises
http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/patients/patientsforum/messages/111.html (prolotherapy for backs and knees)
http://www.spondylitis.org/ (ankylosing spondilitis arthritis)
http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/5550/indexa.html (ankylosing spondilitis arthritis)
http://www.vax-d.com/ (article on latest herniated disc surgery)
Use this advice at your own risk.
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