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Easing back on that back pain

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Greg Peck
November 8, 2013

Last weekend, I spent all day Sunday raking, mowing and doing other yard chores. On Monday, I washed and waxed both our cars. That night, my back was stiff and sore. But I didn't think of going back to the chiropractor.

Last fall, I spent more than $1,000 out of pocket running to local chiropractors. My back started acting up in late June when I got up early one morning at a Wisconsin Rapids hotel. I had backaches off and on through the years, but this was so painful I couldn't stand up straight or sit down. I only found relief through walking.

This continued, most every morning, for a week or two before I decided to see a chiropractor for the first time. I started with one before switching to another. This second one suggested stretching exercises. Soon the problem dissipated, only to return a few weeks later. Some mornings I could barely move, say nothing about reach down to pick up my newspaper off the porch. Only those dog walks brought relief.

After a number of treatments, my chiropractor suggested my problem stemmed from too much time sitting. I do spend most of my days sitting—I work at computers, write as a hobby and relax while watching TV. The chiropractor told me an inversion table might help. This is one of those gadgets in which you strap in your feet, swing over upside down and hang like Batman. It's designed to reverse the effects of gravity and offer relief similar to using a traction table.

I found a local guy selling a good used model and bought it. I believe I first tried it on a Friday night, and it seemed to irritate my back more than it helped. I used it twice daily through the weekend, however, and by Monday my back was feeling better.

I've never been back to the chiropractor. My last session with him was a year ago Thursday.

I've continued to do the five-minute series of stretching exercises every morning without fail. I use the inversion table for about 2 minutes, take a five-minute break, then do another 2 minutes, every weekday.

I still have backaches, and some days are better than others. I feel the ache whenever I roll over in the middle of the night, and I do so carefully so as not to aggravate it. But I've never experienced any pain even close to what I suffered before buying the inversion table. And when my back is particularly stiff and sore, like it was last Monday night, I get relief from doing another series of stretches on the floor and perhaps another round on the inversion table.

So was it the inversion table that ultimately spelled relief, the stretches or a combination of the two? I'd wager it's the mix of both. If you have back problems, have you ever tried an inversion table? I'm sure glad I have mine set up in the basement. I have no plans to stop using it or resell it.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.



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