The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Fixing Pain and Golf Easier With Real Life Movement Than Isolated Exercises

Jeff is a Silicon Valley executive, and coach of Next Stage. He found that a lifestyle of unhealthy exercise habits can accumulate, until one day of golf becomes "the Camel's Last Straw."

Jeff writes:

"There is life after back pain – even the kind where you can’t walk, sit, lie down, or sleep.

"The weekend before Thanksgiving (2007), I was out golfing, and I made a pretty bad swing at a ball that was buried in deep rough. My club got stopped by the deep grass, my back and arms kept going. I immediately felt a sharp pain in my lower back – so much in fact that I could no longer make a normal swing or even get down into a putting stance.

"I had to give it up after 6 holes and head home. I could still walk, but I couldn’t crouch and I had a hard time getting up out of a chair.

"Three days later feeling a little better, I headed out to the fitness center to do some treadmill running - NOT a good decision. After about 10 minutes, as I was cranking up the speed to a fast jog, I felt a searing pain in my lower back and down through my left thigh. From then on, I was toast.

"By the next morning I could barely walk. I had so much pain in my lower back and left leg I needed to support myself with a cane. I could barely walk or stand with the cane. There was no comfortable position for me, and I couldn’t sleep more than an hour at a time – even on pain killers and over the counter sleeping pills. Two trips to the chiropractor changed nothing.

"I did a web search, found Dr. Bookspan's web site, bought "Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery" and then even sent her an email telling what had happened. To my amazement, I got a personal answer (then another then another as I wrote with more questions and my progress). Dr. Bookspan referred me to the lower back pain part of her site, and I started doing the retraining exercises daily – and more importantly I started “living” the exercises, i.e., using them to get good body positioning and healthy movement into my day.

"In the beginning I could barely do the exercises, my pain was so extreme I couldn’t lie flat on my stomach or back without pain, not to mention doing upper or lower back extensions. (I wrote to Dr. Bookspan who found that I was overarching the lower back, when I was thinking I was straight. Wow! Consciously tucking the hip more reduced the pain significantly.)

"After a few days, things improved so I could perform the exercises better. I started to walk again – albeit with discomfort. (I wrote again and once again got the encouragement I needed, and realized the specific things I was not yet getting right. I was still overarching the lower back and that was preventing healthful motion.)

"Today, it is 5 weeks since worst of the pain. Thanks so much for your support. I am orders of magnitude better! I am walking without a limp – pretty much normal gait. I played 9 holes of golf this morning, walking a very hilly course, carrying my clubs. Yesterday I was on the treadmill doing some light jogging. All signs of discomfort are gone and I am gradually working myself back into shape. I am not taking any medications of any kind, and I am doing just great.

"I am working hard to incorporate the things I learned from Dr. Bookspan about movement, posture, and exercise into my daily life. It makes total sense to me that the positions you are in for most of the day have far more impact than 10 minutes of exercise. I feel like I have been to hell and back, and I definitely don’t want to make another visit."

Links used:

Photo by aurelian
  • 1
Was this article helpful? Yes No

About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.