Living healthy: Back pain rehab

At least 75-percent of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives.

It causes more than discomfort it can lead to depression, missed work and poor quality of life.

For eight long years, Monica Bailey endured nagging back pain. She couldn’t even stand for more than an hour while teaching her third grade classes.

“Sharp intense pain in my lower back and it would hurt to walk. If I stood for more than an hour or walked around for more than an hour, my back would start to hurt really badly in my lower back,” she said.

Monica got injections and did physical therapy, but both were like Band-Aids to her pain.

“That seemed to help, but you’re only allowed so many sessions of physical therapy,” she said.

Then Monica was selected to take part in a trial, using a first of its kind at-home DVD exercise program to improve back pain.

“It makes sense that if we strengthen the muscles of the core and the muscles that support the spine, there’s more stability to the spine,” Dr. Craig Morton said.

At home exercises are nothing new for back pain patients, but instructions are typically hard to follow.

“A lot of patients are given a sheet of paper with some stick figures saying, ‘Hey these are the exercises to go home and do.’ There’s no motivation, they don’t really understand how to do it, there’s no one cueing them, no one showing them what to do,” Morton said.

Two specialists put their heads together to create “Rehab-Zone” 12 progressive workouts in three phases that are easy to follow at home.

“Each workout has three parts: the warm-up to get the blood flowing, to get the body temperature up, to get the mind right and then the core part or the workout is when they’re working on core stability and strength and then the end of the workout is to focus on flexibility,” personal trainer Carl Comeaux said.

The trial lasted four weeks.

Monica says she liked it so much, she plans to keep it going.

“My back was stronger. I could stand for longer periods of time and I was more flexible,” she said.

The doctors say their DVD taps into the three major components of an effective physical fitness program, flexibility, stability, and strength.

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