RubyRed, if the traction helped you, you might look into trying a gadget called HangUps. I saw it at Costco the other day, it was 300. I got one in 1993 right after they came out and I paid nearly six hundred bucks for it. They've come down in price quite a bit. The pain management clinic I went to advised me to use it. I did tell tthem that I was comfortable using it. You put your feet between pads n frame that grips you around your ankles and onto the tops of your feet as well. Tennis shoes makes this comfortable. You lay back on it and use your arms to control how far upside down you go, you can control it really easy with raising your arms from a folded over chest position, raising and lowering your arms continuously feels really good, and you can also swing back and forth which helps to plump discs by helping them hydrate with the movement swinging. It took a while before I was comfortable actually hanging by my ankles. But once I got there, oh boy, did it ever relieve my sciatica. It took a year of hanging, and I felt the lumbar joint pop, heard it in my head too, and from that time on the sciatica and low back pain just went away. UNFORTUNATELY, I have not been faithful with using mine for the past few years. It is on my patio. DH wants me to bring it in so I will see it and use it every day. I need to do this, as I know how much daily use helped me. GIVE it a thought.
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Thanks to both you for the replies, and thank you Kris for such a thoughtful message.
I have actually worked with a physiotherapist and chiropractor, with excellent results. It was a combination of physical therapy and spinal decompression therapy on a very high tech machine that seemed like the modern version of "the rack". Unfortunately, this kind of therapy is not covered by medical insurance in the U.S., and a 6-week stint going 3 times per week, with each session running over an hour, cost $3,000 for what amounted to 3 months of pain relief. I would continue with it if I had the resources.
I am reassured by your other suggestions. At least I seem to be exploring all the right kinds of options. Perhaps I should explore a diet that reduces inflammation....
All the best, Katherine
Fitness Minutes: (39,738) Posts: 25,031 2/23/13 7:56 P
If not, then I strongly suggest that you ask your Dr for a referral to a Physiotherapist. I was referred to one while having rehab, by our Accident Compensation Corporation. The Physiotherapist I saw is also a qualified practicing Pilates Instructor. Her input helped immensely and I continued going to her small classes each week for a number of years, because it actually helped with a lot of issues. She was aware of my various skeletal problems so was able to steer me away from exercises which could harm, and give me others in place. Also, there are alternative ways of doing some exercises so it takes the stress off the problem areas. Pilates focuses on core strength (deep abdominal and lower back muscles), and when there are (particularly) back and hip issues, it is vitally important to have a strong core.
Have you had a good look at your shoes re arch supports, heels, etc? When I changed my shoes to a good quality leather pair that had GOOD heel height and inner support including the arch area, some of the pain and discomfort from my back diminished. Also, when you DO go for your walks, ensure that you are wearing them and not just some cheap 'anything goes' type of footwear.
Where it comes to stress, obviously there ARE some that you can't do anything about, but there are many that you CAN reduce. Just sit down with a pen and paper and identify your stressors. IF (lack of) time is one of them, write down a list of all that you do and then go through them and cross off those which really are not necessary, and reduce those which don't need doing as often. Sometimes you might find that you can do 2 things at once to save time - I go for my walks by putting my groceries and laundry away one at a time. This serves 2 fantastic purposes, but it doesn't seem like housework and nor does it seem like exercise - that is a win/win situation. The other beauty of that is that if the pain start to rear it's ugly head OR you get too tired, you can sit without having to walk anyway to do it, or traipse home again in pain. Also, you are walking on even ground that is great for helping to reduce the pain.
Rather than being on your feet and walking a lot, try mixing that with sitting - not too long at one, but also not too long at the other. That was one of the first things that my Dr told me.
Is your furniture appropriate for you? Some people have chairs and couches that are just too low. When you are sitting your feet should be flat on the floor and your lap flat, or your knees pointing slightly down. It helps to take the pressure off the spine when standing up or sitting. Your bed also needs to be at an appropriate height - particularly for when you make it. When I bought my bed and got extra long legs put on to raise it up and it made it tons easier. You can also get furniture raisers specifically for that so that you don't need to replace the furniture. I have an armchair raiser and that made a huge difference to me.
Acupuncture is great for pain relief - and is totally non-drug so won't interact with anything you may be on or cause nasty side-effects. I have had this - altho' it was for Essential Tremors, BUT while I was with him he would put in needs for other issues - whether it be an asthma flare-up, emotional stress, pain, etc. It really can work wonders. You just need a qualified Medical Acupuncturist or a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor who is qualified to use this technique.
Now, here is another thought that a lot of people don't realize - you can actually have therapy as in psychological therapy, to help reduce pain. Sometimes it is because we haven't realized that we tense our muscles up a lot when we are emotionally tense, and this can really exacerbate pain. Unfortunately a lot of people don't realize that they are even emotionally stressed! A Psychologist can help with this and it isn't an uncommon part of their practice.
I can understand the lack of sleep interfering with your nutrition to a degree - BUT instead of unhealthy choices, choose a healthier alternative. Fish Oil Supplement can help with your pain, too, to a degree, and may help your cholesterol issue, BUT check with your Dr first because there ARE some contra-indications. If your body doesn't get good, healthy nutrition, it can't fight the pain and sleep issues.
I hope that this provides you with some food for thought and that you get the relief that you need.
I can give you some encouragement...I read an article about a new treatment for disc issues...it involves injecting all natural body materials such as marrow into the disc area. It causes the disc to repair itself and after about 2 days to 2 weeks you are all better. It is not approved by the FDA yet but is expected to be available in 2015..so if you can manage awhile longer that will be the way to go. I hope and pray if my back surgery is messed up from disc fusion that it will help me.
I bought a beginning yoga DVD and plan to try to see if that will help with my back pain.
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" Romans 8:37
current weight: 180.0
Fitness Minutes: (1,639) Posts: 6 2/23/13 11:35 A
Stress in my life is a given. I wouldn't know where to begin to lower it, so I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And oh my aching lower back! (I have ruptured the disc between L4 and L5.)
I'm now at the point where the only time I am truly (physically) comfortable is when I am moving. It is seriously impacting my night's sleep! And no sleep = poor dieting and poor exercise.
I am trying so hard to stay off pain meds. The meds elevate my triglycerides. I have a daily stretching regimen to loosen my back, but stretching and walking are just not enough
Does anyone have any great (inexpensive) diet or exercise tips to manage an aching back before I go back to Tramadol and Skelaxin?
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