Recovery: 5 Essential Steps to Where I am Now (Part 2)

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So how’d I get to be pain free? How did my recovery begin?

Well, it took a whole lot of time, patience, and hard work. But there are five elements that really put me over the top, all of which I’d like to speak about here.

Once I resolved that my sciatica was not going away on its own, and that I needed to do everything in my power to conquer this beast, finding the right medical professional was no simple task.

Bad Medicine

I knew at this point to run when I heard things like “The pain will start going away tomorrow.” Most folk I met radiated an arrogance that made me uneasy. I knew the task ahead of me was not going to be easy. And any smug charlatan who promised me anything other than a challenging process would likely be ignored.

In addition, I knew I needed someone whose hours wouldn’t cause me undue stress.

Most were disqualified, and very quickly.

1) She’s the One they Call Dr. Feelgood


My current physical therapist not only had uniquely accommodating hours, but quickly made me know I found the right person. These were some of the gems that caught my attention:

a. We searched for the underlying problems, and their underlying causes as well. No stone was left unturned.

b. She shared of her knowledge, freely and abundantly.

c. She made no promises of a quick recovery. Rather, she was honest about every step of the process.

d. Finally, and this was a big one for me, she encouraged me to keep exercising. In fact, she said it was my fitness level that prevented a far worse pain, which I can’t even imagine. Others told me to stop what I was doing, which just meant continued pain, none of the mental relief I get from exercise, and the frustration of going backwards in my fitness goals.

But this was a system where I could continuously accomplish my life’s goals while simultaneously recovering. And didn’t have to feel like every time I hit the gym I was destroying my life.

If you’re in pain, go to Tamara May. And please don’t wait!

This was a system where I could continuously accomplish my life's goals while simultaneously recovering. And didn't have to feel like every time I hit the gym I was destroying my life. Click To Tweet

2) Stretching the Night Away


Not long ago I wrote about easy health things I just can’t get myself to do. Stretching was prominently featured.

And I’m not going to lie. I still hate stretching. It bores me to tears, and even though I love the results, if it weren’t necessary, I would never waste my precious days with this miserable activity.

However, stretching is a vital component to recovery, and now I find myself doing it all the time. Religiously. I only wish it didn’t drive me crazy, because it is quite clear that without a whole lot of stretching, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now.

3) Get Up, Stand Up


When sitting all day long became too painful of an option, my only other choice was to figure out how to work lying down.

This was very unnatural for me, on so many levels. And it became my norm for well over a year.

And as I just got used to this lifestyle, I could feel myself falling apart from the inside out. Sitting all day long is absolutely terrible for the system, and lying down all day long takes everything to the next level of detrimental.

I could feel my muscles weakening, and despite constantly resting the parts of me that hurt, it didn’t feel like doing so was bringing me even slightly closer to recovery.

My work supervisor pushed for me to order a standing desk (on the company’s dime) and I couldn’t be happier that he did (Thanks Yitzi!). Once the contraption finally arrived, and I eventually pushed myself to start using it consistently, my recovery started speeding up like never before.

I already knew movement was an essential part of getting better. I had no clue that being on my feet all day long would accelerate the recovery at this pace.

And God knows, I couldn’t be happier about it.

4) I Would Do Anything For Recovery (EVEN That)


In order to cope with the pain, and hopefully expedite recovery, I tried everything I could find. I drank more water. I stopped drinking coffee. Supplements galore, all sorts of different stretches, exercises to work on other parts of my body peripherally connected to the injured one. I got new shoes. I tried to avoid anything and everything that exacerbated the pain.

In short, if I learned about or someone suggested something that might help me, I gave it a try. Did any one of these things make a difference? Or did their collective value come together to get me to where I am now? Or was it all a whole lot of wasted time and money? Or perhaps each one was a placebo, giving me false confidence that better times were ahead?

Who knows!?

One thing is for sure: I’m doing a lot better now than I was doing several months ago. Maybe some or none of these methods helped me. I may never know. But I’ll also never regret trying everything I could get my hands on. Finally arriving at lengthy moments without pain is so obviously worth it.

5) You are My Sunshine


Last and by no means least, I can’t thank my fantastic wife enough. If it weren’t for her support and patience, I would still be lying on the floor writhing in pain, not a doubt in my mind.

My beautiful, fantastic, and overwhelmingly kind wife encouraged me to seek medical attention. She pushed me when I had basically given up.

She found me my fantastic physical therapist, drove me to each and every appointment, and put up with endless moaning and complaining.

But more than anything, she represented hope. I had all but given up. I assumed my life would forever be pain. Sitting down comfortably would be something I would never experience again. Devorah repeatedly assured me that wasn’t the case. There is an end somewhere to all of this. And if it weren’t for my rock, I’d be nowhere.


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Recovery: 5 Essential Steps to Where I am Now (Part 2)

2 thoughts on “Recovery: 5 Essential Steps to Where I am Now (Part 2)

  1. So, have you found some miracle way to make stretching not suck?? I have a back issue that, when it flares up, sounds a lot like what you had going there. Stretching definitely helps. And also makes me rethink *so* many life choices because I hate it so much.

  2. Sadly, I think I’ll always hate stretching. The best I can offer is to try and distract yourself as much as humanly possible. Music, TV, conversation with a friend, whatever it is, as long as it takes your mind off the stretching. Also for me I find the stretches I like more than others. Some are fine, others are completely miserable but basically serve the same purpose. So I just drop the miserable ones from the routine.

    Hope that helps, even if just a little!

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