My back hurt enough to go see a specialist. The MRI and X-rays ensued and I was preparing my mind for surgery. I was almost begging for surgery. I sought out the best and received opinions from two different neurosurgeons.
The first specialist never saw me face to face. He had his nurse inform me that he did not see a problem that he could repair surgically. They gave me prescriptions for pills and physical therapy.
The second specialist I saw reviewed the tests with me. He drew diagrams and showed me the little bulges in my lower two spinal discs. He went on to tell me that he did not see the cause of my pain. I was in shock while trying to find a less excruciating way to lay on his table. The surgeon went on to explain that he could perform surgery and I had about 60% chance of pain relief. He said that he would go in the front of my body moving organs to the side and finally putting some sort of putty type substance on my lower spine that would harden and fuse my discs together. The surgeon then proceeded to tell me that my insurance no longer covers this procedure. I then asked if he would recommend that I have this procedure and he said no he would not. He wrote prescriptions for pills and physical therapy. I told him to keep the pills. I know that is an unsustainable option.
The next several weeks I drove across town on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 30 minute physical therapy sessions. I rolled on a mat. I did "wood chopping" exercises on the universal gym. I walked backwards on a treadmill and I had traction. I had the distinct feeling that they were time filler exercises. Although if it had not been for the physical therapy I would not have known about traction.
The therapists strapped me into the traction machine on my second visit. It took two people to strap the top half and bottom half of my body to a table with a hook on the bottom harness that connected to a computerized winch. The therapist entered some numbers and walked away. After a 20 minute session my back felt better than it had in a long time! From then on I asked for traction 20 minutes out of the 30 I had in therapy.
Each visit I persuaded the therapists to make the traction machine pull a little harder. It was uncomfortable but not painful. I could feel my lower back stretch. I would be sore for about a day after the first few sessions. Not so much after that. Up until then my back had been compressed in one position.
The throbbing pain had disappeared from my lower back. The sharp pain in my buttock had disappeared.
After 7 traction sessions and 4 weeks of therapy my pain was gone. They kicked me loose. It took about three weeks for the pain to return. The throbbing and sharp pain had returned and it was just a matter of time before it would be worse.
I knew I would not be able to visit a therapist once or twice a week for the rest of my life to use their traction machine which I knew was what would be required for life long pain relief. Losing time from work, cost, traveling through traffic, and waiting in lines is just not feasible.
My first attempt at fighting the pain in my back was to wrap a ratchet strap around my ankles and hooked it to a 1/2 ton hoist in my garage to lift myself upside down. This turned out to be very painful on my ankles and when the blood rushed to my head I had a three day migraine headache. This eliminated the inversion table that I had also researched. Also, my body was not near enough weight for the pulling force I needed. The search began for the perfect home traction machine . . .
I researched home traction machines. I found one that resembled a weight bench. You strap yourself in and someone else loads approximately 200 pounds of weight on the foot end. It wouldn't work for me to rely on someone else to help me every time I needed traction. Next was the traction device resembling a suitcase with a hand pump. This one had promise but it did not take long to see it wasn't going to work for me. It did not create anywhere near the pull that I needed for therapeutic relief. It had also been made of plastics, a lot of parts....inevitable breakage. I had gotten tired of spending money on things that break soon after purchasing.
I researched equipment made for professional healthcare providers in the $6,000-$12,000 range. As I continued my research I realized they all had the same drawbacks.....none of them could be self-operated. Most of them had a computerized winch that I felt would eventually malfunction or need special electronic repair at a high cost one day. They are designed to have a therapist input numbers corresponding to pounds of force that they think are right for your back. Everyone's back is unique with different levels and tolerances for pain. If the pull is too much it causes you to automatically tense your back muscles in a self-preservation reaction to avoid perceived damage. This seemed to me to defeat the purpose and caused needless soreness. If the force is set too low you will waste your time because there will not be enough force to be therapeutic.
My research yielded no good results for a self-operated machine that would provide the preferred, personalized pulling force. Not one!
I realized I would have to build my own....That's how LumbarTrac™ was born. Out of sheer necessity. I wanted something I could make small adjustments to and maximize the therapeutic effects.
You strap yourself in, you turn the handles, you are in control of your comfort and your level of pull and tolerance. LumbarTrac™ enables the finest of adjustments effortlessly to find the perfect amount of pull for your back. You can confidently relax every muscle knowing there is no possibility of sharp loading or unloading of tension force on your back.
It was only a few short years ago when my chronic back pain was so bad I had a hard time finding reasons to get out of bed. It was out of pure necessity that I found a way to treat my pain because the healthcare system provides only temporary relief with physical therapy and pills. Both are unsustainable options. I developed my own program that has changed my life. Please let me share it with you.
Please feel free to call me anytime with any questions or concerns.