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Working-out with back injury

Question:

I have just purchased your program and am looking forward to a new and better me. Yes I could stand to lose about 40 pounds, but at 5"10", I can get away with a little extra weight. Here's my concern, I had a very serious waterskiing accident 26 years ago that has caused me to have at least 10 spinal surgeries, and numerous other procedures to try and help with my severe daily chronic pain. The doctors now say unless I want more surgery , which is a definite no, the only thing they can do for me is to try to control the pain, I want to get off as much medication as I can, I worry for my liver.

I am just about 51 years old, well will be in a couple weeks, so I don't know which program would be best for me to start with. I know the one you have on backs is going to help, and I'm beginning Yoga in a couple weeks to help me with my flexibility, I am too young to be in a wheelchair anytime soon. I have more metal in my spine then most cars have in their whole body. I guess what I'm asking is, since you are the expert, is this something I will be able to do with practice, and where do you suggest I begin? I am so ready to start living my life, rather than watching it go by. I'm on Isabel's Beyond Diet and eating healthy, which isn't a problem, I've always tried to eat healthy. My problem there is I don't eat enough. I never have an appetite. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

It's really just a matter of taking a step back and also a matter of being realistic and figuring out what you can do to overcome the roadblocks and recognize the risks involved. I'm not there to evaluate you myself, but I do know a few things that are certain. Starting with the bad news first (cause we might as well get that out of the way): Surgery creates surgical pain- it's just a reality. Surgery is meant to solve one kind of pain but the trauma to the body, incision to tissues, all that sort of thing tends also result in pain. However, it's usually worth the trade to be able to get rid of the more severe pain that you could've been experiencing. I'm not questioning the decision to surgery, but what I'm saying is it's not realistic to get rid of 100% of pain when you've undergone several surgery procedures. As far as doing exercises for your back, obviously there are limitations from the metal rods and screws and stuff that you have in there, so you have to follow the precautions very closely and stay away from the counter-indications. If you're not sure what those are, it's best to consult your surgeon about the things or movements you're not supposed to do.

Above all else is finding movements that are pain-free (whether it's in a pool or on land) and really establishing a routine with those movements. Try to get the front of your body, the back, the upper part of your body and the lower part of your body, left to right- trying to work on all 3 planes. You'd want to work from there by increasing exercise tolerance and improving circulation. Very often you can reduce the amount of pain throughout your body by increasing blood circulation re-absorbing the pain receptors back in your blood stream- that might be a good starting point. I wish that you could've participated in the 4 Days With Dr. K since it was a pain elimination workshop and would've been right up your alley. But, this is the sort of thing that would respond much better to hands on care. In terms of general recommendations, they can be often just be frustrating because I'm sure you've tried a lot already. So, I don't want to jump the gun and tell you that I have a solution without seeing you in person.

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