back pain therapy
How I healed my herniated disc without surgery

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After things hit rock bottom with my herniated disc and I took charge of finding my own care, I was lucky to find a fantastic physical therapist. My first experience with physical therapy was with a PT who put me through a routine without really paying attention to the week-by-week changes in my body.  Luckily, after doing some research, I got a better idea of what questions to ask and was able to choose someone who was really well trained and willing to put some brain power into figuring out how to make me better.

Myofascial Release
John Barnes popularized this technique and I've read that it's very effective for people with chronic pain and those who are recovering from trauma. The therapy is very gentle -- so gentle that it sometimes seems like there's no way it could help. Yet, it made an incredible difference in my mobility and pain level. It helped me get things unstuck where they'd been in the same position for too long or gotten into a bad pattern with me not moving very much while I was in bed.  Some yoga programs incorporate Myofascial release techniques as do some massage therapists and physical therapists.

Robin McKenzie is a doctor who revolutionized back care and has written a book called "Treat your own back". The treatment consists of very gentle exercises that move your spine back into alignment.  I found it helpful to have the book in addition to the physical therapy as I was able to understand why the exercises worked and it helped me to remember the exercises at home.

McConnell Taping
Natural pain relief.  The therapist tapes your body so that it holds the muscles in the correct position.  The tape gives your muscles a little bit of additional support and keeps you from getting into bad postures.  I thought this was crazy when the therapist first did it, but it worked wonders and over time I learned to tape myself in between therapy sessions 

General thoughts
I looked for a physical therapist who was trained in the McKenzie technique.  She had been practicing for over 20 years.  For those in the Seattle Area, my therapist was Robin Angus at Movement Systems physical therapy in Eastlake.  The PT department at Group Health is also trained in McKenzie.

I pushed myself to do the exercises and I found out that after some initial discomfort, moving made my back feel better, not worse!  I later learned that the bed rest was the worst thing I could have done for my back, and that improving circulation helps reduce pain.

I have no relationship with the solutions I describe and have created this site purely to inspire others to go take control of their own back care and to provide some ideas of treatments to discuss with your doctor.  If you find this website useful, please add a link to it from your website or blog.

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How I healed my herniated disc without surgery