NOT THE LAST OF ME
Through many years of cutting trees, mountain climbing, biking and working with draft horses in the woods, I’ve had many opportunities to get hurt. Now that I’m in my sixties and after seven surgeries for knee, wrist and shoulder injuries, I had actually begun to try to be more careful and take care to avoid getting hurt. Thus, I was very disheartened when last June, just before starting to make our first-cut hay, I slipped on a tarp I had carelessly left on the edge of our barn loft, and fell several feet down, somersault-like, landing on a pile of equipment. I shook off the impact and surprise, and got up to let my wife know the shout she heard was likely not the last of me.
After the various cuts and bruises had started to heal, and the pain in a sprained wrist began to fade, I realized that something was “not right” with my back. Sitting on a tractor was painful, and tossing bales of hay into the loft was a challenge. I hoped that the usual “working through it” would bring about eventual healing, but with each passing day my discomfort grew more intense….not better. Neither x-ray nor MRI imaging revealed anything worse than the arthritis in my back. I was told “you have a sore back, go home and do these strengthening exercises.” Those I did…and the next morning I experienced a crippling, agonizing pain.
My wife insisted that I call Cioffredi to try to get an appointment with Marsha Wykes, who had helped my wife recover from a herniated disc that had prevented her from being able to sleep properly for months. It was my lucky day: Marsha had an opening in her schedule in just a few hours. She listened to my explanations and then observed me bending and moving in prone and standing positions. I could “see the wheels spinning” in Marsha’s mind, and then she asked me to shift my hips laterally while each shoulder was touching the wall (one at a time). That test confirmed her suspicion: my spine had been curving more and more to the side, as my body tried involuntarily to protect the injured muscles/tendons in my lower back. The consequence was that some of my discs were being deformed into wedges and likely pinching nerves.
Marsha agreed that I needed to strengthen several core muscles and tendons, but emphasized that “first we need to straighten your back.” Through a series of targeted exercises, Marsha guided me through a recovery process that enabled me to quickly relieve the intense pain I was experiencing, and then to develop some more core strength via recruitment of auxiliary muscles that often are not utilized, even by very active people. Just prior to seeing Marsha, my mind had spiraled into a “very dark place,” thinking it would be a long time before I could make hay, cut wood or work the horses again. Through Marsha’s astute observation, specific expertise and thoughtful coaching, she helped me overcome my debilitating back pain quite quickly. That enabled me to resume normal activities, including making hay again in the fall and cutting wood this winter. I am very grateful for Marsha’s skills and care, and enthusiastically recommend her to anyone experiencing back-pain issues.