Posted by: krusty505 | August 9, 2011


For those of you who may be following my progress in my physical rehabilitation, I had an interesting week last week. I was supposed to have a procedure done on my back called a Radio Frequency Neuropathy (RFN). Basically, a needle is placed between your facet joints, heated up to 100 degrees Celsius and the nerves are burned out, thus, “eliminating” the source of discomfort.

Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to it at all, and I was beginning to think it unnecessary as my pain has been a lot better lately. That is until one day before the procedure.

BACK STORY (Really! No pun intended): I’ve been seeing a chiropractor for treatments called Active Release Technique (ART). It’s really helped. Sincerely, I think it’s the single best thing I’ve done for my body. After my first treatment, I was able to run (barefoot and shortly, but running none-the-less), and I’ve been slowly building up my speed and distance since. Still, I’ve not been able to shake a pronounced limp, especially when walking, and some nagging hip and knee pain are still plaguing me. I have, however, noticed that my pain recedes and my limp virtually vanishes when I take off my shoes. To wit, I have been trying to train myself to run barefoot. I played around with this a couple of years ago with mixed results, but now I’m really trying in earnest to stay out of shoes as often as possible. It just seems to fix a lot of my issues.

Back to my RFN: So the morning before my procedure, I was practicing a barefooting drill before I’d really woken up and warmed up sufficiently. As a result, I tweaked (no reference to my previous post) my back a bit and ended up in massive agony! I took a bunch of ibuprofen and a Valium, which seemed to help, but I was still hurting. It left me wondering if I should go ahead with the procedure.

The day of my procedure, I showed up planning on telling my story to my pain doc, and expecting him to want to go ahead with the procedure. To my utter surprise he said that he thought I was doing the best thing I possibly could, using my body to heal my body and that he felt I SHOULD NOT have the RFN done. I was shocked! A Western doctor recommending against a procedure that surely was slated to earn him some serious money?!?!

Furthermore, he asked me what else I was doing to relieve my pain and heal myself. I told him that I’d tried a bunch of things from Pilates to physical therapy to gentle yoga to barefoot living and that the three things I tried that worked were (in order of importance) ART, being barefoot, and engaging my transverse abdominals through “easy” PT. I also think the yoga is helping, but I really try to make it restorative and not vigorous. He told me that he was reading a book called The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris. I guess he wrote a best seller called The Four Hour Work Week or something like that. Anyway, Ferris has spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to fix similar problems with his body, and he has found 5 things that work. Coincidentally, 3 of them are my big three. The other 2 are some sort of micro-dose injections called Biopuncture and soft tissue work called AMIT (Advanced Muscle Integration Technique). Incidentally, I bought his book on the Kindle store that day.

I was pretty much blown away by this doctor’s assessment that I had stumbled onto something that took Ferris a whole lot more money than I had spent discovering basically the same things, and that he (the doctor) was more interested in questioning me than I was in questioning him. He actually said, “Why should I spend all this time, money and effort injecting people with steroids and prescribing narcotics, when they can fix themselves more effectively and safely?” Credit where credit is due, that is just an awesome attitude! (Dr. Craig Narin for those of you who are interested)

For those of you who want more infomation: Pilates were flat-out counter productive for me. They left my back worse than when I started, so I wouldn’t recommend them until you are feeling close to 100%. The yoga has to be really gentle and slow, but that doesn’t mean I hold the poses for long. Usually, I don’t hold them for more than 5 deep yogic breaths, and I don’t push past mild tension or discomfort. It’s purely restorative. Cortisone injections have a very limited effect both in terms of outright relief and lasting relief. Even minimal shoes (Vibram 5 Fingers, Merrel Trail Gloves, etc.) are not nearly as good as being BAREFOOT. I take my shoes off at every opportunity. Most of what I experienced in physical therapy was pretty useless, but a few (3) exercises actually worked, and I try to do them everyday. (If you’re interested, I could explain them. They aren’t “hard,” but doing them correctly takes focus). Finally, I think that post 40 years of age, you had better start thinking seriously about doing some strength training, at least 30-45 minutes of focused work 2-3 days a week. Natalie has been doing Body Pump regularly for over a year, and the results are pretty pronounced. I have been focusing more on strength, and I think it’s really helping support my body. Plus, the constant grind of hard aerobic workouts is wearing me out. Currently, I am enamored with the Spartacus Workout. It’s easy to Google, and all you really need are some dumbbells. I went ahead and invested in some Powerblock dumbbells, which allow you to quickly change between weight, and they are very compact, but a bit pricey. Worth every penny if you ask me.



  1. I am really glad you are sharing this information. I think lots of people suffer from unexplainable, chronic back pain so it’s always nice to learn about prospective therapies. (And for the record, Body Pump works! I typically have a hard time hanging onto muscle because of a naturally thin frame but I can honestly say that for the one hour time investment 2-3 times a week, I have seen an excellent return.)

    • Yeah, I hope it helps even one other person because it’s been a slow, painful, exhausting and expensive process. Thanks, Babe.

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