Back pain taught me that “Sitting is the New Smoking”

marlboro nbc sittingIn Spring-2011, I injured my back while doing yardwork. But in retrospect, I had pre-conditioned my back to fail. For 10 months, after my 90-yo mother broke her hip, I drove from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles every week. I tried to drive down Hwy 5 as fast as I could with only 1 stop. Pretty much ~5 hours with my pedal to the metal. My back hurt, but I used a TENS unit to stim it for 2 hours each way. I also went to a chiropractor at least once a week. I thought I was doing the right things, but I was only treating the pain symptoms. I conditioned my back to have a complete collapse. Which it did.

The rehab for that was about 9 months. I had so much pain, a little old lady bumped into me once, and I went into paroxyms. Fortunately, physiatrist Dr Darren Don infused my disks with cortisone to wipe out the inflammation. This reduced my pain enough where I could work with a physical therapist, and then I progressed to a personal trainer.

Personal training with Marc Santos revolutionized my attitude toward how I deal with muscle and back pain. While I had played sports all my life, I never lifted weights or did strength training. My cardio was good, but Marc’s training made me realize that all along, I had only been treating the pain symptoms. I needed to identify and eliminate the source of the pain, by strengthening or relaxing muscles.

In this blog, I am going to post articles about the many exercises I do to treat my aches and pains. Resolving back, leg, knee, and ankle pain improves mobility. Mobility supports aging in place. One of my friends said to me recently that “Sitting is the new Smoking”. It’s true. You need to get off that chair, and you need to build strength to support mobility. That’s successful aging.

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