Spine Center patient - Gary Brown
For nearly 30 years, Gary Brown suffered from unpredictable, recurrent flare-ups of pain in his lower back.
But when he was unable to work this past spring due to a particularly severe flare-up, he finally said "enough" and asked his physician for help. His physician then referred Brown to Sister Kenny Spine Center—Coon Rapids.
Mark Rotty, MD, Medical Director, Sister Kenny Spine Center, treated Brown from May to August 2012. "Our approach," said Rotty, "is to teach patients that exercising can mitigate pain and prevent future flare-ups."
Twice a week at the Spine Center, Brown did stretches, ball exercises and more intensive exercises with specialized equipment. The therapists who worked with Brown gave him very specific exercises to perform at home, including stretches to be done daily and strengthening exercises to be done several times per week.
They also advised Brown on proper lifting techniques and what to avoid doing – very important advice for Brown, whose job is in a warehouse.
Motivating the patient to exercise at home is the key to a successful outcome. "I didn't exercise much even though I had exercise equipment at home," admits Brown. "Now I am using it. I continue to exercise regularly."
"When patients get their lower back in better shape by optimizing strength, muscle endurance and flexibility, they have much better long-term outcomes," said Rotty. "That's the focus of our program."
Brown advises others to seek medical help sooner rather than later, then be consistent with their home exercise program. "You don't need to suffer with back pain," he concluded.