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experience with Gokhale Method?

JuliegJJulieg Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi all,

I'm 29 and I've been experiencing really severe pain around my sacrum since I was 23. It feels like someone's jamming a knife into my butt - when it's at its worst, walking is impossible and even lying perfectly still is excruciating. The pain usually lasts for a few months when it flares up, jumping from side to side for a few weeks at a time.

I've seen two doctors about this already and have an appointment this week to see my third. The first one sent me to a physical therapist, who gave me a gigantic list of exercises and stretches to do - which had no lasting effect at all. I finished the physical therapy regimen, went back to my other forms of exercise (walking, jogging, etc.), and within a couple of months the pain was back in full force. I got the impression that the only way the exercises would keep the pain away was if I did every single one of them, every single day, for the rest of my life - which just isn't a sustainable solution.

The second doctor I saw took an X-ray, said it looked normal, and then prescribed... back exercises! Ha! When I asked him for his official diagnosis, he said "back pain." Wow, thanks.

Like I said, I have an appointment with yet another doctor this week, but I feel like I know the routine by now - they'll prod me a little and then send me on over to the physical therapist, who'll give me The List and make me feel like the pain is my fault for not having more hours in the day to exercise. Maybe they're not taking me seriously because I'm young?

At this point, I feel like there has to be something I'm doing - some way I'm sitting or walking or moving - that's throwing things out of whack and bringing on the pain. A friend of mine swears by Esther Gokhale's posture-based method. Has anyone here tried it? Does it have any effect? Her book has rave reviews on Amazon, which has to be a good sign, right?

Thanks so much for your help. I'm so relieved (although saddened) to know that there are other people out there going through what I'm going through.


  • Once you "completed" the physical therapy routine, how often did you do the physical therapy exercises?

    Did the PT also go through your daily routine and give you tips for more back-friendly ways of doing things?

    You might want to request a visit to another PT. Usually, my PT routines, which I (and 90% of people) have been really terrible about keeping up with, are about 15 minutes. I think if you did at least that much daily, rotating through the exercises he gave you, you'd probably continue to see improvement as PT exercises maintain symmetrical stretch and tone in the muscles that support the spine.

    However, I get the impression that you saw it as an all or nothing sort of thing. Running is high impact and is not usually recommended by spine experts (although walking is).

    But you admitted that the exercises relieved the pain. That's a miracle! If all it took was an hour a day for me to be pain free, I'd be on it like frosting on a cake ;) You are young now, true, but that also means that if the pain is starting now, you'd best keep on top of it.
  • i wish at your age, id had the education of p/t exercises for my spine, probably could have prevented some of the mess , that my spine is!

    If i were you , i would make it "sustainable "
    Jogging (which i use to do and love) gives the spine a tremendous beating! You were saying "it has to be something im doing" well jogging sure wouldnt be helping.

  • Thanks so much for your reply!

    I'll be honest that I got really bad about the exercises after I stopped going to the physical therapy clinic; I started doing them again the next time my pain flared up, but I found (and still find) that exercising while I was in pain only made it worse. Once there's even a hint of pain, the only thing that really works is anti-inflammatories.

    The problem with PT, though, was that the therapist gave me so many stretches and exercises that if I tried to do 20-40 reps of each one twice a day, as I (mistakenly?) thought he was telling me to do, it would have taken about 30-40 minutes total. He never talked to me about lifestyle changes.

    I've found that yoga and the 8 minute abs/glutes series have been somewhat effective, too (I tried those in lieu of PT after seeing the second doctor), but again, whenever I stop doing them even for just a couple of weeks, the pain comes right back. What confuses me is that when I get lazy about working other muscles in my body, they still retain their strength for awhile - so why isn't that the case with my core muscles? I'm not THAT sedentary!

    I just feel like if I'm slumping or walking funny or doing something else to contort my back without realizing it, then the exercises are never going to solve the problem. It's like being poked with a pin and having someone continually hand you band-aids, rather than just remove the pin.

    All right, now I'm just venting... it feels good to get this out. Thanks for listening.
  • Hi Julieg,
    I'm 35 and also had issues with doctors and PT -- they assume that your pain will go away with some exercises and electro-stim, etc. because it does for a large percentage of people and because we're young. But it doesn't go away! And I also had about an hour of PT to do every day to keep me in tact, (15 mins - I wish! :)) and honestly I feel the same whether I ice it and do the exercises or don't.
    SO, I'm also looking into the Gokhale Method. Wondering if you ever wound up trying it or talking to anyone who did. Let me know! Thanks.
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