The Problem: Unsupportable neck and back pain
As an insurance agent, I sit all day at an office. So, it did not really surprise me that I finally developed neck and back pain. But about two years ago, the pain went from a dull ache to a burning and burning sensation, making it difficult for me to walk, sit, sleep, or do anything. whatever matters normally. I searched desperately for a solution.
Diagnosis: Degenerative Disc Disease
I started with biweekly massages. I thought it would help relieve tension in my muscles. But the relief provided was short-lived. I would feel good the rest of the day, but the next morning I would wake up again.
When I consulted my doctor, he recommended me yoga and physiotherapy. However, I was too stiff to hold yoga poses, and during PT I was in such pain that my blood pressure would rise, and my therapist would have to stop treating me.
My primary care physician then referred me to a pain management specialist, who revealed the underlying cause of my pain: degenerative disc disease, which occurs when the discs in the spine lose liquid or develop small tears or cracks. The condition is partially genetic (my mother has it too), but I've also learned that sitting for extended periods – as I do in my job – makes it worse.
Having been diagnosed with a degenerative disc disease sentence. The doctor told me, "It's not going to get better, only progressively worse, so all we can do now is manage your pain." He suggested all kinds of strong drugs – and I did not say no. I was only 43 years old at the time, which just seemed too young to accept this diagnosis and start to break down painkillers. I accepted one of his recommendations – a prescription nerve blocker – and I quickly regretted it. The drug made thinking clear and problem solving impossible, which affected my job performance
A New Approach
I was a specialist to specialist table tennis trying to relieve my snowball symptoms, including including numbness of the arms, in my tendons of Achilles. After neither chiropractic care nor steroid injections relieved my pain for more than a week or two, my doctor recommended surgery.
It was then that I decided to try another thing: stretching assisted. I had spent a number of times in front of a facility called Stretch U while going to my chiropractor's office, so I asked my chiropractor about it and I told him that I was interested in making an appointment. When he thought I was stable enough to try, I met Bren Smith, the owner of my local U Stretch, to find out more.
What is stretching assisted?
With stretching assisted (also called stretching facility), a stretcher driven manually maneuver the limbs to lengthen and relax the client's muscles. Allowing someone else to do the work for you can give you a deeper stretch, according to Stretch U founder and physiotherapist John Carey. In the same way that you work with a personal trainer to strengthen your strength, you work with a stretcher to gain flexibility.
At my first weekly assisted stretching appointment, I told Bren that I wanted to be flexible enough to do yoga without suffering. If I could just hold the poses, I knew that yoga would help with my posture and core strength, which, according to my chiropractor, could also reduce my back pain. Bren explained that Stretch U's stretch stretching program would give me the extra boost I needed to get the flexibility that yoga needs.
My first appointments, I really gritted my teeth and worked hard. I would take deep breaths as if I were in a Lamaze class. The stretching of the IT band was the worst part; Bren would take my leg and try to get it through the other one, and she would barely budge.
In a few weeks, however, the stretching sessions became easier – and gradually, my pain started to melt. I could finally bend down or sit for a few hours without feeling the oppression and pain in my back that I had felt for so long.
After a few months, I slept all night without waking up in pain – and that was just the greatest feeling. When you face chronic pain, your mind tends to fall asleep so that you can get through your days, so I think it took me a few days to achieve exactly what happened. But as the pain subsided and I slept more, my mood improved and I became a more fun person.
Over time, this difficult computer group became easier, a few months ago, about nine months ago. After my first U Stretch session, one of the trainers told me that he was trying to be creative with my stretches because I had become so flexible!
These days, I go less often, usually once or twice a month, just to maintain the progress I've made.
The greatest moment wow for me came a few months ago. I realized that I could sit at my desk and work on the computer for hours without any nagging or burning pain in my neck. Shortly after, even my colleagues recognized my good mood and the fact that I did not seem to be in constant pain.
Now, on average, I do not feel much discomfort. If anything, I'll feel a pinch only after I'm on my feet for a while, like when I sing with my band. But overall, I feel much better. I usually used to be such a boring artist because it was hard for me to dance and move on stage, but now I can do both of these things with ease.
Of course, I am not completely healed. I still have degenerative disc disease, which is a hard fact to swallow for me. But stretching gives me a different relief from everything I've tried. I am more convinced than ever that it is essential for general health, especially for those who work like mine.