Hanging from bar can relieve back discomfort

Lumbago is a general term for lower backache, although it has fallen out of use of late. But a large percentage of seniors knows the sensation of lumbago, and I’m one of them. Lot of skiing, lots of crashes and nose plants resulted in a diagnosis of “trauma-induced arthritis” years ago. But while I have sought relief in many ways, no method has been particularly successful. I’ve tried chiropractors, acupuncture, epidural injections and massage, plus physical therapy. None worked very well, although a lumbar-support belt and electric jingles to the nerves are palliative in nature but limited.

Despite the lumbago, I still ski the easier runs around Lake Tahoe and hike the more moderate mountains. But in the morning before my hourlong exercise routine, the back hurts so much it is near agony to walk to the nearby bathroom.

Then a couple of years ago I was told by a physical therapist that hanging from a horizontal bar at times might help, so I bought one for $20 and installed in it a bedroom door frame. I added hanging from the bar for a minute or more to my routine and my back pain lessened or disappeared temporarily. For a long time I let it go at that, but then when the pain returned, as it always did, I thought maybe more time on the bar might help.

And now every time I pass that bar, I hang from it for a couple of minutes. And that keeps the back painless most of the time. I don’t know if it would work for any senior with back pain, and before trying it one should check with a physical therapist or doctor. But just hanging, not trying to do pull-ups (you can’t; you’d hit your head), works well for me.

Odd thing about my senior back pain. It never hurts while I’m skiing or walking the morning treadmill or climbing Prison Hill.

After all the remedies, just a plain old horizontal bar does the job.

Here’s something I dug up from the Internet on the subject about back pain:

• Beneficial: back exercises, multidisciplinary treatment.

• Likely to be beneficial: analgesics, NSAIDs, triggerpoint and ligament injection, back schools, behavioural therapy, spinal manipulation.

• Unknown effectiveness: colchicine, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, epidurals, steroid injections, acupuncture, TENS, physical treatments, lumbar supports, advice to stay active.

• Unlikely to be beneficial: bed rest, EMG biofeedback.

• Likely to be ineffective or harmful: facet joint injections, traction

getting e-books from Carson Library

For seniors who have problems with getting to the Carson Library, there’s an online way now to download some of the 1,400 e-books the library has. Go to the library website http://carsoncitylibrary.org.

Click on the “downloadable tables” tab. Click on overdrive/com. This will take you to the library’s website. Browse “Now Available Library Books for Kindle.” Click on books selected and then on “add to cart.” You’ll need your library card number.

After that it’s full speed ahead to getting your e-book. Call 775-887-2244 if you get hung up and can’t get a book. You can pick up a complete guide to library e-books at the reference desk as the library.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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