“What should I do in-between treatments… homework ?”
My general approach for my patients is not to give “homework” – exercises and the like – because as the spine gets better, treatment to treatment, people move more anyway and do swimming, yoga stretches , Pilates… walking & running…
My exception to this rule is this: Inclined Bed Therapy – because this is something people will not normally for on their own and it is super useful !.
Right way up… Head High… Feet low – so the opposite of what you do if you have fainted
So what you do is this: you put something under the legs of the head of the bed, right under the legs, so the whole bed is lifted up on a sliding incline. You sleep flat, as usual (not “kinked” like on a Sun lounger or hospital bed), but your head is higher than your feet by 5 degrees (or more if you want to push it), but 5 degrees is the magic angle where things really start to happen.
Inclined Bed Therapy was invented by a modern day Leonardo Da Vinci polymath & Engineer from Dorset in England called Andrew Fletcher (well worth a follow on Facebook as he is always coming up with new brilliant ideas. Here he is solving global warming: https://www.livingcircular.veolia.com/en/inspirations/egypt-has-grown-forest-wastewater?fbclid=IwAR0LC_DzPsqTagNOOB-ipU7zB7s_WYdkg3TIQcNw8nIv4pvanZbjw1DJpyY )
His web site is https://inclinedbedtherapy.com/ and he has a Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/InclinedBedTherapy/
How is Inclined Bed Therapy any use ?
Well as can be seen from the other posts on this site, when the spine is damaged by a trauma, the bruised facet joints send a signal to the powerful para-spinal muscles to go into a protective spasm.
For small traumas this works fine and once the damaged is fixed this nerve signal is switched off and the muscles relax and we are back to normal. But for modern day more powerful traumas: falling on concrete, car accidents, skiing accidents… this spasm is so strong of itself it causes stress to the facet joints – which then ask for help in the only way they know… even more “help” from these muscles. This situation can last a lifetime.
You may have heard that “the heart pumps the blood round the body” – well it doesn’t – it pumps the blood away to the body. But to get back again, there is little heart “pump” left after it has passed through the tissues to exchange oxygen, water and waste products. To get back to the heart the body uses two things:
a) The muscle pump (every time you move a muscle it “pumps” blood and lymph and, thanks to the one way valves, the direction of this pump is towards the heart
b) Gravity – Now at this point in the text books a note is made to say gravity is used to return blood that is higher than the heart
The Da Vinci discovery of Andrew Fletcher is that Gravity also pumps blood and lymph back to heart from areas below the heart as well!
How does this happen: When you breath on a mirror or glass you stream it up with your out-breath – you don’t just breath out carbon dioxide you also breath out a lot of water vapour. What this means is the fresh bright red oxygen rich blood in your arteries is drier and hence denser than the old dark red blood in your returning veins (arteries take fresh blood away from the heart, veins return old “used” blood back).
When you are vertical, the denser new blood is pushed down by gravity and so provides a ‘push up’ to the less dense old blood. A similar situation happens with the Lymph.
When you are flat in bed, gravity can not have this effect, and if you have a bad back with tight muscles – so no muscle pump – the lymph is stagnant all night long – which is one of the reasons why heart attacks happen so much at night time or first thing in the morning and so many health problems are worse first thing in the morning.
Raising your bed by 5 degrees (you can use a free app like: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=iyok.com.anglemeterpro2&hl=en on your smart phone to get an accurate measurement) is enough to allow gravity to kick in and keep things moving for an extra 8 hours a day.
This allows an extra 8 hours of white blood cell supply to be fixing things all over.
For some people, Inclined Bed Therapy is a life changer, for others it ‘helps a bit’ . Lots of people are in-between and have to build up bit by bit to get to 5 degrees.
But given it is free (some old thick books) and can work wonders, it is well worth a try.
There are plenty of testimonials on the https://inclinedbedtherapy.com/ web site so have a look and have a go !
The first science on this has now been published: https://www.yourmedicalresearch.com/copy-of-participate-in-ibt-survey