This article should be titled “How I got My Back Power” and both titles would mean the same for me. It was quite timely on my part to finally see my doctor Filipinas Ganchoon, MD, FPARM, for what ails ladies when they reach their golden years. I am talking about my poor aching back. It had caused me a lot of discomfort and robbed me of fitful sleep for months. This 53-year-old decided to fight back and made sumbong to my go-to “manogbulong” for neuromusculoskeletal and pain rehabilitation who just happens to be a diplomate (Philippine Board of Rehabilitation Medicine), the current vice-president of the Phil. Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (PARM), and its 2019 National President, a member of the American Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine and International Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is a Bowen Therapist certified at the Bowen Academy of Australia, and a certified Level 5 Anthroposophic Medicine Physician under the auspices of Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. Together with Dr. Manuel Y. Gayoles, Jr., the board certified physiatrists make up P.O.W.E.R. Rehab at the Doctor’s Hospital.
Doc Pinay made me lie down on my side and patted my back to check for tension. She confirmed the source of my discomfort at the 5th disc of my lumbar region. Then she sat me down at her desk and explained in layman’s terms what I needed to know about my back.
What are the top causes of lower back pain or lumbar pain? Taking the top honors is poor posture. The other causes are dehydration, prolonged sitting, accidents, and aging. Professions at risk for lumbar pain are office workers, call center agents, bank employees, and field workers who drive long distances – all the above involve sedentary lifestyles and prolonged sitting. Farmers, not surprisingly, are prone to lower back pain, too, because most of them “over thar dem hills” have no proper body mechanics. Squatting impacts the knees negatively, take note, so, coupled with heavy lifting endangers construction workers as well. In doctor’s lingo, here are the common causes of back pain 1. muscle strain, 2. lumbar herniated disc, 3. degenerative disc disease, 4. facet joint disorders, 5. lumbar spine stenosis, 6. Osteoporosis, and 7. scoliosis ( common cause among students). There are correct ways to keep the spine in good condition and Doc Pinay gave me a chart to guide me on how to sit, stand, do household chores, and lie down.
I started my first therapy session at once and underwent five phases that lasted about a total of an hour. Lying on my stomach with my derriere partly exposed, my very efficient physical therapist Mercy Grace did a therapeutic ultrasound directly on the lower back. Then, a low-level laser to strike through the deeper muscles.
My favorite portion were the electro-therapy and the warm packs to relax the tensed muscles. Electrotherapy has the sensation of a thousand mini-waterfalls cascading down my backside. Covered with the warm packs, I was sent off to a blissful land somewhere only to halt mid-flight with the most urgent concern: Am I wearing nice underwear today?
The place is bustling with activity because modern sedentary lifestyles do send a lot of patients to this clinic. Expect some scurrying to and fro with peaceful lulls once everyone has settled down. Mercy Grace has very good bedside manners and peeks in from time to time to ask how I am. For the last step, she guides me through exercises I must do to strengthen my core stomach muscles. These I must do every day if I have to stave off a recurrence of my back pain.
The first session had a remarkable effect. There was a marked decrease in the sharp pain somewhere in my behind, and that dull ache radiating around my hip. I was less fatigued and I slept better. So, I told myself, “I’ll be back.” (Can’t resist this.) The second session had me telling Mercy Grace afterwards that I can forego a third visit because I was almost as good as new. With the supplement that Dr. Ganchoon prescribed me, I am on the road to recovery. The secret to any treatment is to be an obedient patient. I do my exercises religiously and check my posture often to make sure that I do not strain my back.
So, there! I chided myself for taking too long to seek professional help or, according to Dr. Ganchoon, “it can become debilitating chronic pain; it can result to weakness of both legs, or bowel and bladder problems.” In this case, no pain is gain. Health is wealth, indeed.
P.O.W.E.R. Rehab, G/F, New Wing, The Doctors Hospital, Bacolod City, Philippines. Telephone numbers: (034) 4350102 (Mobile)+639088809688
Operation Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Clinic Hours: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday