spine, spinal decompression, lower back painPlease note: I’m not a physician or health care professional. I don’t pretend to offer advice and you shouldn’t take this as any form of health advice. I’m simply recounting my own experience here, and my situation may not be like YOUR situation at all. As a result you need to connect with your own chosen health care professionals, look at all the facts and then make an informed decision for your situation based on their recommendations. Fair enough? If so, keep reading because as we all know, misery loves company.  And perhaps my story will encourage you.

Like my 88 year old mother continually says “Getting old ain’t for sissies!”

I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been plagued with a few signs of getting older myself. Call it a quirk of mine, but I hated to keep writing things when I couldn’t seem to get solid workout in myself!

Some of you have been kind enough to email me to wonder if I were still kicking, and that’s been much appreciated.

Anyway I’m back at it, and here are some lessons I learned that I wanted to pass along.

First I didn’t seem to be able to get a good workout because of my HIP.

I had to jump a number of hoops (metaphorically) to conclude my hip wasn’t the problem. But before I concluded that I went through a series of physical therapy sessions, xrays, standard chiropractic adjustments, massage specialized exercises, and even some stretches, only to end up in the Emergency Room one night.

Sometimes after the above treatments the pain might subside for a bit. Other times (like the time I rolled off one of those exercise balls) it got worse. Finally one  night I went to the ER because it had all came to a head.  Every pothole caused huge muscle spasms across my side.  At the ER they did xrays but had nothing to tell me from them. The pain pill helped stop the flare up, but home I went with the advice to “see a doctor” (wasn’t that what I was trying to do?)

Obviously whatever I’d done wasn’t working.

I got over my fear of orthopedic surgeons long enough to be given a shot in my hip that helped temporarily but as I was starting to workout, the symptoms started coming back.

But then he said if one shot didn’t help, I’d need a hip replacement.

Hip replacement?

That just didn’t sound right.

I went to another chiropractic office to inquire about a special laser therapy I’d heard about to relieve pain and they asked me to bring the x-rays from the hospital.

I picked them up and looked at them for the first time in their office.

What we DID see and DIDN’T see surprised me…

First off we DIDN’T see any hip deterioration.

What we DID see was a curve in my spine that might of partly been because of the agonizing spasms that night when it was taken. The Orthopedist had never mentioned my spine curvature at all!


I ended up going through a series of professional spinal decompression treatments that made all the difference in the world! In my case, the hip pain is gone. I notice that at times pain does reemerge… in my lower back. The original site of the pain (right hip) and from time to time completely on the other side!

My immediate go to remedy is of course to have another spinal decompression treatment as needed for follow up, but between treatments I focus these days on forward stretching and NOT hyper extending my back.

forwardstretching,lower back stretches for lower back pain

Many times just bending forward to stretch my hamstrings works. At other times I’ve tested home based spinal decompression devices like the Lo-bak Trax
, though I’m willing to investigate other ones. (Note: Those links are both Amazon affiliate links. If you end up purchasing through one of them it supports this blog’s hosting and other expenses as I try to upgrade our presence here.)

Here’s what I’ve found about spinal decompression and low back pain issues.

I’ve noticed that in my case the spinal decompression REALLY WORKED well… over time.

I’d noticed how my back would seize up easily if I stubbed my toe or something so I began to see how tightly wound my whole lower back area was and how inflexible I’d become.

The traction used by the spinal decompression table really stretched out these back muscles, making them not so “tightly wound”.

This is where one side effect came in… my back muscles were so loose, I was starting to bend forward and my wife commented how back my posture was becoming! Before that I’d have resorted to some zealous kettlebell swings to fix that right up, but I was afraid of hyperextending my back again and didn’t want to get back to undoing all my treatment.

So I’ve gradually had to work on my posture. My body lets me know when I’ve not only stood straight but hyperextended my back again!

If you’re in this or a similar pain situation please see professionals you trust to sort things out. Relief was quick for me but not complete after just a few sessions. Then some long international travel and strange hotel beds seemed to undo most of the benefit, though follow up treatment really helped get things back in order!

My plan:

1) Keep forward stretching… keep unlocking my lower back and hamstrings especially. As needed I use an inexpensive pain relief device (Amazon affiliate link).

2) Keep strengthening the muscles… my whole body of course, but especially restoring some healthy tone to my back muscles. I’ve found myself flipping back to Dr. Schwartz’ discussion of “Backaerobics” on pp. 109 ff of his book “HeavyHands: the Ultimate Exercise System” (Amazon link)…He suggested a variety of moves which – with caution – are reminders of the type of work I need to focus a bit on. Fortunately anyone doing Heavy Hands, Kettlebells, or Clubbells, probably is to some extent… Common exercises like “grave diggers”, kettlebell or clubbell swings, etc. all address the areas of crucial concern… I just have to do them without hyper extending. For the time being, no “neck bridges” or other backward bending moves are prescribed for me.

So thankfully I’m back in gear and ramping back up.

Thanks for staying in touch. We’ll see what sparks another article soon!

  1. mr matthew moore says:

    Excellent post. Posture is so important!