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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.