If I had a dollar for every time a patient said they felt like they wanted to be pulled apart, I would be a rich man!
So, there I am, Monday morning, and my new patient “Steve” as we will call him is asking me to “yank” his legs or “stretch” and “pull” his low back! Luckily for Steve I had heard these many times over the past 20 years. Let me give you a back story (no pun intended) on Steve so you can understand why he felt like he needed this.
Steve is 37, about 6’2” and 200 pounds give or take. He has ridden motorcycles for years, both on dirt and the street. He is a surfer and owns a construction company. Although he doesn’t do a ton of hammering nails anymore, he was a framer in his past life. So, the damage is done so to speak. Due to many years of low back pounding from motocross and heavy bending, lifting, twisting as a construction worker, Steve’s lumbar spine had developed degenerative disc disease (DDD).
Quick side bar on DDD. It is a normal part of the aging process, and we can see evidence of this on x-ray as early as age 30. If you have this on your x-rays, it is not necessarily the cause of your low back pain. In fact, it rarely is. BUT it does alter the mechanics of the spine due to less space and cushion between the vertebrae. So, working on mobility and stability of that region is particularly important.
Check out this mobility routine we used below!
NOW BACK TO STEVE…
Contrary to what I just described, Steve’s discomfort was partially related to his DDD. Through our evaluation we determined that he had plenty of strength. Especially in his core. But what we also determined was that he lacked mobility and space in his lumbar spine. Every day when Steve walked the job site, he felt like he needed to hang from the rafters to get some relief for his low back pain. In fact, it did give him some temporary relief!
So, we developed a simple plan to help Steve improve his low back mobility. Over the next 4 weeks In the office we performed various manipulations of the lumbar spine as well as some spinal decompression(traction). We also sent him home with a simple mobility routine and a safe and effective self-traction move he could do on his own anywhere anytime!
Check out this self-traction technique we used for Steve.
It is amazing what 30 days of consistent passive and active care can do. Steve never stopped beating his low back up which is the goal. To live our lives the way we want to. The difference is now he can do it pain free!