Sep 27

I’ve had serious lower-back pain lately and after the first night of good sleep in a week, this is my major realization regarding the treatment of this type of problem:

While the injury itself that’s behind the problem may be muscular or skeletal in nature, the systems affected are inter-related and one issue cannot be fixed without correcting the other.

Even if you sit properly in your chair, you’re still sitting in a chair all day if you have a desk job and as Greg says, “our bodies aren’t designed to hold that position for an extended period of time.”

spinalTugOfWar.gifGreg and Michael are the same two guys that fixed my rotator cuff injury back in the Spring. I’ve done three acupuncture and chiropractic treatments for this problem this past week with only mild relief each time, however as I’ve now learned, we weren’t addressing the muscular side of the equation. Yesterday we added therapeutic massage to the regimen and not even 24 hours later I feel 95% improved. Apparently there are two sets of opposing muscle groups that battle over the lower spine and both were having spasms playing tug of war with my sacrum. Moving the bones back into place provided temporary relief but the muscles were undoing the work. By alleviating the muscle strain, the back adjustment seems to have held and my situation is much improved. And yes, that’s me posing in the diagram ;-)

I cannot recommend the services of these two individuals highly enough. When your daily existence becomes eclipsed by a health problem, there is simply no price that can be assigned to the prospect of becoming free of the pain. For me the back problem this past week had become more than an uncomfortable nuisance and was starting to seriously damage my productivity and morale at the office (my co-workers would tell you that I’ve been hobbling around like an old man and I’ve been irritable and unable to deeply concentrate). Thanks to Michael and Greg I should be back in the saddle now.

The question I have is “from where do these problems originate?” I had a major car accident in ’93 that left me with a crushed L5 vertebrae so that’s probably the ultimate culprit but still there is no single event recently that should have triggered the resurgence of problems. My back has been mostly fine ever since the accident with the occasional intermittent, dull pain from long road trips and uncomfortable seating. Being acutely aware of my risk for back issues, I make sure to sit properly in the most ergonomic chair you can buy. The massage guy told me that apparently that’s not enough though, and that sitting uninterrupted for long periods without taking the occasional break to get up and stretch will cause the muscles to strain, which in turn pull the bones out of alignment, which means you don’t sleep well, which thwarts the healing process and creates more muscle strain, etc. Good sleep is so essential to the recovery that once the negative spiral is initiated, it needs an intervention to stop it. The spiral can be avoided entirely by drinking a lot of water and stretching throughout the day.

If you are experiencing prohibitive pain from repetitive strain injury or another work-related stress and are in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend the services of the guys from the CFAM as a measure of intervention.  And for that matter, whatever ails you I recommend you contact the CFAM – here’s a testimonial from a good friend I sent there for her long-term sinus problem and she’s finally found relief. Heck, if you’re outside of Phoenix and your problem is troublesome enough, I recommend you fly here and meet with them. Phoenix is beautiful in the winter!

*One disclaimer here- it should be noted that I did do their web site. I believe the service they do is extremely valuable but I derive no direct monetary benefit from referrals generated via the advice here.

One Response to “The importance of solving the full equation for repetitive strain injury”

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