Healing My Back Pain
Dear Dr. Batmanghelidj, 26 February 2003
I would like to thank you and share with you the significant progress I have enjoyed in the healing of my back. While reading your book, Your Body's Many Cries for Water, I learned of your other book, How to Deal With Back Pain and Rheumatoid Joint Pain. Following your suggested exercises - plus a few of my own - and drinking the amount of water you suggest as well, I am pleased to report that I have enjoyed much more strength and a lot less pain in my back.
I had a back injury well over twenty years ago, while helping to lift a piano for a friend. It seems that one of the disks in my lower back was crushed or badly damaged. It had gotten progressively worse over the years to a point a couple of years ago when it would go into spasms - rendering me unable to walk. The pain was excruciating. This would usually be triggered by a slight amount of lifting - especially front on. If I bent over and lifted something much over 10 pounds, I would be in trouble for some days.
Upon starting your suggested back exercise program about a year and a half ago, I saw slow but consistent progress. Last summer was the acid test. Ten and a-half years ago, I retired as an atomic clock researcher in Boulder, Colorado, and bought a farm in central Utah - near my home town and family. My wife and I have pretty much had others run the farm until this last summer, but circumstances arose that we needed to run it. This included moving 40 feet long irrigation pipes, baling and hauling three crops of hay. The farm is not big enough to be modernized, so my sons and I with some hired help were hand lifting 90 pound bales of hay up on a truck and hay wagon - with hay leaves down my sweating neck and back. We had to also lift them into the hay barn - harvesting well over a thousand bales. Having been raised on a farm, I have never minded hard work and this was hard.
There is no way that I could have done that the year before, and it actually felt good to be able to do this hard work. I have always tried to keep myself in good physical condition, but some years ago I had to even stop jogging because it hurt my back too much. Now I can also run again without serious pain. Considering, also that I am 66 years old, I feel that the whole thing is pretty remarkable, and I thank you for the tremendous assist in my recovery. I am far from all the way better, but the trend is right and my back is getting stronger all the time. This morning and yesterday I shoveled about a foot of snow off of our walk with no significant back pain. I haven't been able to do that for years.
You suggested extra weights on the feet as one does the back exercises. I just wear shoes and have a three pound weight in each hand to strengthen my upper body while I am at it. The extra exercises that I do in addition to yours are all toward strengthening the back muscles and for general cardiovascular and lymph system circulation improvement. These include: 1) laying on each side and doing scissors with my free arm and leg in circular motion as well as up and down; 2) sit ups and leg lifts while lying on my back; 3) push ups from the knees and the toes with particular emphasis on flexing and using the lower back muscles - activating the osmotic pumping of water action as you suggest for the lower back; 3) jumping jacks, touching the floor with the weights in my hands, and cross touching the right hand to the left foot while straddled, and visa versa; 4) doing a variety of jumping exercises on a re-bounder, which is excellent for the lymph system circulation; and 5) then a variety of stretching exercises to keep the whole body limber. I add to these walking with my wife, cross country skiing, mountain bike riding every day when the weather permits. We can usually do one of these most days of the year.
It feels so good to feel good. Life has been really good to me, and good health allows me to better serve and do those things that I feel are most important. I love to express my gratitude by serving, and you can't do that very well laying on your back in pain. Thanks again for helping so significantly to take that pain away. I was so impressed with your first book, that I did a book report and have it posted on my web site: http://www.allanstime.com/Health/water.htm. Your second book is saving my back. My wife has found significant benefit from your water cure as well.
David W. Allan, President