My Personal Struggle with Back Pain 
Elias, LMT

For almost fifteen years I have suffered from back pain. Approximately seven years ago I was diagnosed with herniated disks in my lumbar spine. This caused a stabbing pain in my left hip that would also shoot down my left leg. To my understanding, it is not usual that this condition causes pain on both sides of the body. However I was at the point, on that occasion, where my right side was having similar pain. 

I had worked in construction for twenty years and I had also been in a few car accidents, both of which I believe had contributed to my problem. None of that information helped solve my problem. I started down the usual path, went in and saw a doctor and got a magic pill, of course this did not solve anything but I felt better and therefore kept working in the same field. Everything was good until the pill would wear off and then I was in worse pain. So what do I do? The Doctor is the expert, right? So back I go the recommendation, a cortisone shot. I have never been big on shots ever since I was a kid and one in the spine was not encouraging. It was particularly scary when I was told to roll in to a ball and DON’T MOVE! Wow, but I am the bread winner in my family and my boys need to eat, so suck it up right? And, I was told it would be more painful for a while! That was no exaggeration, it was bad. What I was hoping for was relief. I got, umm, maybe a few days! It was not enough to convince me to go through the process again. So back to the doctor, what else can I do at this point? I am getting a bit more desperate. The recommendation is surgery and the threat if I don’t, I could lose my ability to walk because by now my leg is going numb.

I want to give you a bit of back ground on my family, the majority of my relatives have been in some sort of construction or heavy labor type of job. Consequently, a few have gone through these life saving surgeries and have they not faired well at all, especially in the long run. I have seen through the years as they progressively got worse and worse. My decision was no surgery for me thank you and we’ll talk when I am no longer able to walk. From that time on I decided to find some alternative to remedy my situation. That is what led me to massage therapy. 

I am not going to lie to you, the first two massages I got were bad, so it is important to find a competent therapist. This is what led me to my career as a Massage Therapist. I knew if I did not like the options for back problems, chances were there were other people who felt that same way. As I made my way through school I found things that complemented massage, I also use yoga, an exercise ball, and I traction my back, all of which has helped me manage my pain. On occasion I still have some pain but it is not at the level that it used to be and more importantly it is not as frequent. While there is no way with massage to fix herniated disks there is so much more that is going on with the musculature that can be addressed that will bring you relief!

One last comment, many times the work that needs to be done in a clinical level massage session can be painful but, after it is done you will feel much better, At least this has been my experience. 

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