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Making Spine Boot Camp Real for someone!

This person’s story

We’re halfway through the current Spine Boot Camp and really had a great real-life experience by one person in the group this week to share.

We’ll keep their identity anonymous but she is a hair stylist with a long history of back and leg pain (sciatica). She has struggled with a herniated disc in her low back and was feeling like the only answer for her would be surgery. For the better part of the past year, her pain has gotten to the point where it significantly impacts her quality of life and ability to work. Being self-employed and owner of the hair salon, she has remained at work toughing it out but finds she can only do half-days at the most. By the end of that, being on her feet for 3-4 hours ramps up her pain to a point where she basically just has to go home and is wiped out for the rest of the day. With some meds and enough rest, her pain has settled enough to be able to repeat the process the next day – Lather, Rinse, Repeat 🙂

Not really an option for her to completely take time off because she is the owner and if she isn’t seeing clients, her ability to earn a living is dramatically reduced. Rock and a hard place right? She learned about Spine Boot Camp from a friend who went through it a year ago so decided to sign up. She is also going through some treatment with our chiro, physio and sports med physician team. She understands that SBC would complement that care and would eventually be her ticket out of being dependent on those treatments.

We completed the first two weeks of SBC so moving into week 3, the plan was to share how the nervous system works and fights our ability to exercise our way out of back pain. From there, once we understand how our nervous system reacts and compensates for stress and pain, we can share the secret sauce on how to combine exercises in a way that overcomes this obstacle. Gotta love the secret sauce formula for getting the biggest bang for your buck with exercises! The magic of SBC occurred when she returned for week three…

Best laid plans…

When she showed up for week 3, she had just finished her work shift and was in a great amount of pain. Naturally, she was upset and frustrated because there seemed to be no change in her pain pattern and she was feeling quite helpless as to what she could do to get her situation under control. She was also frustrated because she related that she started doing week’s 1 & 2 strategies and was feeling so good she started gardening and then extended her work day but is now paying the price for that. Not what she would call an improved quality of life.

SBC to the Rescue!

Rather than jumping right into week’s 3’s curriculum we decided to step back into week 1 & 2’s material to see if she could help herself. Step one was to review pain-relieving postures and strategies so we had her go through that process and she quickly figured out a simple exercise that rapidly reduced her back and leg pain. She immediately started feeling better about that because even though we had covered this strategy the previous week, she had either forgotten about it or didn’t fully appreciate how to put it into practice herself. Now she does.

Step two was now that her pain was reduced and under control, she wanted to better understand how she could go about doing her normal home and work activities (gardening and raking at home as well as sweeping at work). We worked through those tasks she wanted to do by analyzing which movements were required. We then went back through the movement tools we learned in week two. With those movement tools in mind, she was able to combine them into a spine sparing strategies to use which will allow her to garden, rake and sweep in ways that are safe for her back.

You can imagine how relieved she felt knowing that she now had the tools to get back in control of her health. She knows how to reduce her pain should it flare up, but also be able to pro-actively think about the activities she wants to do. Her tool kit lets her figure out how to go about doing them in ways that won’t hurt her back and flare her pain. Talk about Win-Win! She is feeling pretty good now because she is back in control of her health and is now able to figure out how to start getting back to her normal activities safely. She just stepped on to the quality of life elevator which is taking her to the top floor! We are feeling pretty awesome about that because that is why we built Spine Boot Camp in the first place. Not bad for an evening’s work eh?


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