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Living in Pain? Consider Rolfing

One person’s journey back from pain

Like many Americans I had suffered my share of back challenges, sports injuries in high school, a fall from a scaffold in college. My youthful body shook these off over time, but as my 30’s gave way to 40’s there was chronic pain, dull aching pain all the time, and the periodic flare-up after helping a neighbor move or following a bout of leaf raking. My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, and then physical therapy. The pain was lessened but never went away. As I continued to age the pain grew more persistent and more intense. I found that the medication was partly responsible for frequent heartburn and higher blood pressure. Physical Therapy seemed to have less and less effect. My doctor prescribed narcotic painkillers for the worst of the pain. Cortisone shots provided periodic relief. I tried massage, acupuncture each with partial and temporary relief.

At 50 I had accommodated the back pain by reducing exercise, avoiding any lifting and living a careful but limited life. My doctor suggested I try Rolfing. I used the map on the the Rolfing website (rolf.org) to find a certified Rolfer in my area. I approached my first session with a weary hopefulness dulled by long experience. By the end of three sessions I felt better. My entire body felt freer, and the pain in my back seemed to have taken a break. As I went through the remaining seven sessions I waited for the pain to return as it had with every other form of treatment. I walked gingerly, checked out my back each morning as I got up – nothing. My practitioner encouraged me to move more – exercise, and with some reluctance I started daily walks – first a half mile and more as the pain remained at bay. It has been more than five years since that first long walk, and I feel as though I’ve gotten my life back. While I still pay attention to heavy lifting, I exercise daily, and have come to trust that the pain truly is gone.

Certainly, Rolfing is not for everyone and every condition, but for me it succeeded when every other therapy I tried had side effects or failed to provide longer term relief. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who live with back pain, Rolfing should be on your list of treatment considerations



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