I snapped my Achilles tendon while playing tennis. I was operated with a surgical technique where part of the fascia is pulled over the tendon. This left my right calf atrophied.
My hamstring muscles were torn in a water-skiing accident. One muscle was cut completely, the other one partly. Three months after the accident my flexion strength was 25%.
My collarbone was ripped loose at the acromioclavicular joint when I landed on my shoulder in a bike accident. After three different opinions on what to do, I decided to leave it as it is. It is now loose and sticks out.
The worst case was the cauda equina. It developed when I slipped on a tennis net. A piece of the herniated disc found its way down the spinal canal. It got stuck and caused a nerve block. That morning my buttocks were in fire and an emergency operation was performed the same day. I was left with paralyzed calf muscles and loss of sensation in the back of the thighs and buttocks.
I got very little if any advice what to do. But I was lucky. I had seen the power of exercise in my line of work with DAVID.
Any of these incidences could have left me painful and disabled. I got very little if any advice what to do. But I was lucky. I had seen the power of exercise in my line of work with DAVID. After one year of exercise, my flexion strength was at 85%. It took two years before my shoulder was trouble free. After five years I could run at the same level than before cauda equina.
Today I am pain-free and can live a normal active life.
Times are changing in healthcare
These experiences gave me confidence that we are on the right track with DAVID. Exercise combined with the body’s ability to regenerate is a powerful tool. Unfortunately underutilized in healthcare. But times are changing. What we found out over 30 years ago is becoming the norm. Our solution used to be the last remedy in the toolbox. Now it is the first. The latest Lancet article calling for change is promoting this. The two first-line treatments for non-specific low back pain are exercise and cognitive support. Everything else comes after or is not recommended.
Exercise combined with body’s ability to regenerate is a powerful tool. Unfortunately underutilised in healthcare.
There seem to be two factors that have forced this change: lack of funds and new irrefutable evidence. Exercise is as effective as surgery in many degenerative problems.
I must admit this is gratifying. There was a time when I almost lost faith in the change. It has taken its time. But as said life is a marathon, not a sprint run.