I couldn’t walk, stand, sit, sleep or move without excruciating pain shooting down my leg. Driving was unbearable. And don’t even get me started on putting on socks…
Steroids and pain relievers just weren’t doing much, so I’d decided to try getting a spinal cortisone injection. I honestly thought that surgery was the next unavoidable step.
The spinal injection had little or no effect. I was at a decision point. Surgery or Physical Therapy (again).
This time, though, I went a different route. I asked my wife. I asked my family. I asked friends. What do I do?
Most said to avoid surgery at all costs. I also got advised to look into myofascial release (MFR), chiropractic, yoga, pilates and physical therapy.
Since I hadn’t tried MFR before, that’s what I picked to start with. It’s a very intense form of massage, designed to free up knots and kinks in your fascia (the thin layer covering your muscles). It also loosens muscles that have been contracted for a long time. Brother, that was me! Both my muscles and nerves were stiff and painful. They needed stretching. So, MFR definitely worked as a starting point to loosen me up.
Next up was some chiropractic. Fortunately, my wife had found a chiropractor near us who was recommended by a neighbor. She is the best chiropractor I’ve ever been to – bar none! I started with twice weekly sessions, then moved to weekly. When I’d leveled off on my pain and was beginning to see improvements, she referred me to a physical therapist. On to the next phase!
Unlike my last experience with PT, the person who worked with me really knew their stuff. They started with a 1-hour exam to deduce exactly what my issues were, and how to address them. Back to twice weekly sessions for PT, then moved to weekly. As I improved more and more, we went to every two weeks, then once per month. It was a long and sometimes painful process. But I had regained a lot of flexibility, strength, mobility and even nerve function. Plus, the pain was greatly decreased.
I’m now on a regular daily routine of stretching and strengthening, combined with every-other week sessions for chiropractic and massage. Although I still have some pain, and some problems with long-distance driving, my life is incredibly better than it was a year-and-a-half ago.
I’m back to walking daily, workouts, and hiking on the weekends. Even sneak in a bit of yoga poses some days. By US standards, I lead a very active life. And I am immensely grateful to my wife, friends, family, and all the doctors who have helped me on my road to recovery.
I know there are people fighting worse battles out there. But this one is my demon. And I’m gonna fight it with all I’ve got.
I may never be back to 100%, but I’ll settle for 98% Joe.