Please first read, “The Real Cause…The Real Cure” on the Home page.
Back pain reveals its ugly self in many forms and receives various diagnoses: sciatica, bulging/herniated discs, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and more. I, myself, received many diagnoses
during the 20 years that I suffered with back pain. At twelve years old, I suffered my first severe injury as a gymnast. As the years went by, I experienced many more injuries not only as a gymnast, but as a runner. And when I was 21, it didn’t help matters when I was rear ended, with such force, that my car was completely totaled.
At first my world just got smaller and smaller. By age 18, I could not really do gymnastics anymore. I thought, “So what, I can still run.” Soon running had to cut from my repertoire of activities. Again, I thought, “So what, I can still bike ride.” But in 1998, at age 33, I suffered yet another back injury; this one put me in bed for approximately one year. No longer could I say, “So what.” It became, “Now what.”
I literally cried for about six months straight. But after about six months, I grew angry. I knew that I wasn’t the only one suffering. I knew that one out of three people (statistics show in the U.S.) suffer with pain at any given time. I decided to go on a crusade for an answer.
Through the meticulous process of interviewing, what felt like, countless healthcare professionals and reading close to 200 books and articles on the back and health in general, the pieces of the puzzle did begin to fit. One of my major clues came from reading and analyzing studies where people, who never had back pain, were given MRI’s of their spines. Inevitably in all the studies, many people (usually close to half) had at least one bulging disc, several had herniated discs, and almost everyone had some kind of spinal aberration: spinal stenosis, arthritis, etc. Yet, these people had no pain! They were out running, playing tennis, skiing,
etc. It became pretty evident to me that these diagnoses, although being blamed for our pain, didn’t hold any water. How could one person have a herniated disc or arthritis and have zero pain and/or limitations, while someone else was completely incapacitated by these same supposed ailments?
I had been seeing a physical therapist on and off for years. Besides receiving a diagnosis of osteoarthritis down my spine, this gentleman told me, over and over again, that the cause of my back pain was weak muscles. But…I had been a gymnast: one of the most physically demanding and strength requiring sports. I had muscle on muscle! Then it all came together. The epiphany hit me!
And I asked some pretty revealing questions:
1. Who gets carpal tunnel syndrome?
2. Who gets shin splints?
3. Who gets golfer's elbow?
4. Who gets tennis elbow?
It wasn’t my osteoarthritis or my “weak” muscles that were hurting me. It was tight, contracted muscle tissue that was the cause of my downfall.
Now, as a therapist, I see clients with all kinds of diagnoses: sciatica, spinal stenosis, bulging/herniated discs, arthritis, etc. Once I loosen up their muscles—and they continue to do their stretching—the pain becomes a distant memory.
I made a covenant during that year in bed. If I figured a way out of that nightmare, I’d come back to help others. So, I wrote, Back Pain Breakthrough and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Breakthrough. Both books not only explain the cause of these conditions, but they both have chapters that take you through the stretches and self-massage techniques to, in almost every single case, rid yourself of pain.
“Even if you’ve been told by your doctor that your back problem is the result of degenerating disc disease, bone spurs, spinal arthritis, a pinched nerve, scoliosis, or some other condition, remember that all of these conditions started with problems in the muscles of your back. When you restore the health of your back muscles, these conditions will be reversed, and you will, ultimately, be free of your pain.”
- Healing Back Pain Naturally by Art Brownstein, M.D.