I "slipped" two discs in my lower back, by a small yank my dog did to me, culminating in the last straw that broke my back. The power plant work stressed my back and the yank just took it the rest of the way. I woke up thinking my back was going to snap in half - I was scared to move. The pain was overwhelming. I went to the doctor and was giving anti-inflammatory meds, and an order for physical therapy.

In PT, they gave massage, ultrasound therapy, electric stimulation, and stretches that I needed to do every day, getting more difficult as I conquered the previous ones. They had found that I had scoliosis, as well, so did some manipulation of the spine to try to get me straighter. I was eventually able to go back to work, though in limited capability for a while. Six months after the initial episode, I was rear-ended by a driver who wasn't paying attention. Unfortunately, it caused the same injury with the discs, and also added whiplash. Back to PT for a long run again.

Over the years, I had back spasms, at various times of stressing my back in some way or another. I went to PT many times over the years, and kept a notebook of the stretches and exercises I was given. When I was pregnant, I had to go to PT to make sure my back would handle the weight of a baby. I have kept up with the stretching for the most part, lacking every once in a while but then a spasm would pop up and I'd get back on my routine.

I'd kept all my exercises, and the ones to graduate to as I would get stronger. I went to a specialist last year and had an MRI done. Turns out that the scoliosis will always plague me to a degree, and disc degeneration has begun, but nothing to keep me from getting stronger and trying to slow the process down. No back surgery recommended, and he said that PT wasn't as useful anymore since I have the stretches (yes, I brought my notebook for him to see) unless I have an acute issue. I have a hand ultrasound wand, and now a TENS unit (electrical stimulation), an exercise ball, and my notebook.

I am determined to keep my back healthy. I use the TENS unit, and I ultrasound when I get a spasm. I get a physical therapist massage every once in a while. I do my stretches daily, ride my bike daily (it's up on a trainer so I can ride it inside, rain, snow or shine), and walk a lot. I take a rest and lie down or hang several times a day, to allow my back to decompress. It helps to re-align the discs when I lie on my exercise ball, as well.

I have added acupuncture to my routine - it is teaching me to let go of muscle memory of pain. I have gone to a chiropractor, as well - it does help to realign the discs every once in awhile. All give me further stretches to work on at home.

Yoga, especially Kaiut Yoga, has been good for healing stretches.

My stretches incorporate back strength, piriformis, psoas, hamstrings, hips pecs and more. Muscles work together and any one can affect another. You have to work many systems to help an area of the back, or some other area.

I work on my laptop more than on my desktop, as sitting for long isn't easy on my back. In the car, I use a wedge to keep my butt from falling down into the dip of the car seat, and a back pillow to support the lumbar area. I carry my back pillow, to use on other chairs.

I unload the dryer by lifting one leg up behind me while bending to pull out clothes. I keep a step stool in the kitchen so I can keep one foot on it while working in the kitchen - it relieves stress on the back. I keep a stool in the bathroom too, for same reason, as I brush teeth and get ready for the day or the bed. I keep a pillow between my legs when I sleep, as well as a rolled up towel at the lower back area. I am careful when I lift, using my legs and not bending over with my back.

I have a lot of ways I keep stress off my back in daily tasks, and I am diligent about my stretching. I need to keep my back strong, to avert other problems. Start today, yourself, so you don't have the issues I've had.

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