aching back

For many years I have had back pain which limited my ability to do a lot of physical work without taking pain relievers. Over time the pain got worse, but I could still carry 50-pound bags of chicken feed, which was the measuring stick of my strength and ability to tolerate the pain.

One Sunday, mid-February 2021, I woke up in agony. My back hurt so bad I couldn’t get in a comfortable position in bed and couldn’t face getting up. This went on all day, and I finally fell into an exhausted sleep late that night.

For the next week, I was incapacitated. My brother and a neighbor had to do all my chores, gather eggs, feed sheep, and so on. All I could manage was rest, and uncomfortable rest at that. I made an appointment with my wife’s pain doctor and went in the next week.

The doctor, after xrays, evaluated my condition and said I had a severe case of spinal stenosis. He said he could give me injections, some kind of steroid, to relieve the pain and inflammation. I could get that twice, two weeks apart. He also said I would probably have surgery for long-term relief.

I asked him if there were things I could do to avoid surgery. He said it was possible by getting physical therapy after the injections and losing weight to relieve pressure on the spine. At the time, I was 6 feet tall and 265 lbs. The polite term is obese, or crudely speaking, I was – Fat.

I scheduled physical therapy and researched all other options. My primary doctor recommended, along with physical therapy, that I enroll in a yoga program I could do at home called DDPY Rebuild Yoga. I forked over the $79.00 for a set of DVDs and started that program. I was skeptical about a “Yoga” program since all I had seen of people doing yoga involved positions I was pretty sure I was incapable of. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The lowest level was easy but gave excellent results. It increased the exercise at a pace most anyone could do, regardless of age. The first part of the program you can do in a bed. That was good because it had been years since I could get off the floor without help.

Concurrent with the above, I researched a weight loss program that made sense to me. In the distant past, I had gone through various diets, and although they worked, they were not sustainable unless you wanted to suffer deprivation for the rest of your life. That just wasn’t me.

I once heard that if you stopped eating after 2 PM, you could eat anything you wanted and lose weight. Not true. At least, not if you wanted to remain healthy. However, by eliminating simple sugars and most carbohydrates combined with was is called intermittent fasting, I lost 70 lbs in about 6-8 months and have been able to keep it off comfortably.

I intend to write a separate article on this, giving more detail.

My back has been in better shape for almost a year than for decades. By continuing intermittent fasting, “intermittently,” I have kept the weight at where my doctor recommends. I still carry chicken feed, and rarely does my back have any pain. As a bonus, I can get up off the floor without help or using a crutch.

Life is good.


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