Back Pain Relief Weirton WV
Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
Family Practice, Sports Medicine-Family Practice
Medical School: Suny-Hlth Sci Ctr At Syracuse, Coll Of Med, Syracuse Ny 13210
Graduation Year: 1979
Hospital: Camden-Clark Mem Hosp, Parkersburg, Wv; St Josephs Hospital, Parkersburg, Wv
Group Practice: Grand Central Family Medicine
Family Practice, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine
Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
Sports Nutritionist, Registered DietitianCertified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
East Liverpool, OH
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Get Your Back Back
By Catherine Guthrie
I had my first backache at age 12. It crept up on me after two weeks at a summer horseback riding camp. The unease started as periodic muscle soreness, then progressed into spasms, and ultimately settled into a continuous throb. My pediatrician diagnosed scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine) and told my mother not to worry; the curve was a mild one.
But things only got worse when I started school that fall. I swallowed prescription pain pills at lunch, fidgeted through class, and stood in the back of school assemblies, unable to endure the torture of sitting on a metal folding chair for more than a few minutes at a time.
My alarmed parents called the doctor, who recommended bed rest. At his urging, I became a couch potato. I quit the basketball team and sat on the sidelines during PE. Once a whirling dervish of energy, I spent my afternoons lying on a heating pad in front of the television, watching The Brady Bunch until my eyes burned.
As it turns out, his prescription may have been the worst health advice I’ve ever received.
Four months of inactivity later, the pain had become debilitating. Unable to sit through a full day of classes, I slunk to the principal’s office every day at lunch and waited for my mother to drive me home to the couch. One night I overheard my parents murmuring the word “surgery,” and two weeks after my 13th birthday I had a spinal fusion, which left me with a metal rod in the middle of my back.
After my operation, I spent years walking on eggshells, terrified the rod would break if I put too much stress on it. My well-meaning parents fanned my fear by warning me away from sports I’d loved. Scared I’d wind up needing another painful operation, I heeded their advice.
Much as I hated the sedentary life, I can’t fault my parents or the doctors. In the 1980s, the standard advice for any twinge, pull, or ache in the back was three to four weeks of bed rest. Not so today.
Of course, it’s not front-page news that back experts are telling patients to get moving after two or three days in bed. What is news is how vigorous their prescriptions for getting physical have become. James Rainville, one of the country’s foremost experts on exercise and back pain—he’s chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Spine Center at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston—doesn’t mince words. “Unless you stress your muscles at or near their physiological limits, you will not see any real change.”
In his ten-session program, called aggressive rehabilitation, patients lift weights, climb stairs, and move and twist in ways that would never have been considered possible for someone whose back had once landed him or her in bed. Part of the rationale for this approach is a new understanding of the mind-body connection and its role in pain.
But even for more cautious types who don’t want to go anywhere near a weight machine, there’s new advice about the best way to get moving. For long-term relief, ...
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