Beth's spine rehabilitation story
Before I injured my back, I led a full and active life. I was dedicated to my work, family, and friends. Looking back, I’d say life seemed to come effortlessly to me and I enjoyed being fully involved with every activity possible.
This all changed beginning in the summer of 2004 during a family picnic at my house. My dad was getting off of my couch and he lost his balance and started to fall back. Since I was in front of him, I grabbed for him, but as soon as I grabbed him, I could feel a hot ripping feeling in my back. I could not stand straight up and had to sit down. In December of 2005, I fell down my basement steps, which further increased my back pain. Then from July 2006 to Jan 2010, I took care of my folks, which included constant lifting and continued back pain.
The treatments that I’ve received for my chronic back pain include: injections, chiropractic treatments, massages, acupuncture treatments, Rekei (a form of healing alternative medicine), pain pills, sleeping pills, and anxiety pills. You name it, I’ve tried it. I spent five years desperately seeking a solution to my chronic spine pain, which cost me thousands of dollars and many lost work days. All I did was go to work and then isolate myself at home. My life was full of fear, dread, and pain. I hated to even think about going to bed because I knew I would not sleep. I was depressed. I had no patience and I did not want to go anywhere or do anything. I was not living; I was going through the motions. My chronic pain was affecting my whole life. I believed that all I had to look forward to for the rest of my life was pain. I became totally inactive due to my pain and fear of pain.
My doctor knew that I was at my wits end. I told him that I could not take it anymore and I was at my breaking point. Something had to be done because my pain was getting worse, and it was taking over my whole life. That is when my doctor sent me to the UI Rheumatoid Clinic. I told the staff how I felt and that I didn’t want any more drugs as treatment for my chronic pain. They referred me to the UI Spine Center, and thank God they did. It was scary to go to the one day evaluation at the Spine Center, but my fear was put to ease when I met the staff. The knowledge, support, training, and caring that I received at the Spine Center, and continued to get throughout the two-week Spine Rehab program, cannot be put into words to do it justice. What I learned through the physical therapy workouts, the coping skills tools, the vocational classes, and the speakers changed my life forever. I am active at home and with the family again. I'm back on my game both at home and at work! I can now do the things I want and I don’t fear my pain anymore. I am getting stronger every day through my home exercise program. And when I do have pain, I use my bag of tricks from coping skills for my pain management. I know how to seek other job opportunities in the future if I need to change my career. I am not taking any pain or stress pills, and no more injections either. Work is so much better because I can concentrate. I am not in constant pain so I can care again.
What I learned during the two weeks at the Spine Rehab program gave me my life back! The work is hard, and you have to be dedicated to it, but it is completely worth it. The spine team taught me in two weeks what I could have never learned on my own, and now I know what I have to do to have a quality life again. I learned a new lifestyle so that I can live life to the fullest everyday, and you can learn this too!