Tag: Back pain

A very special community gift for a very special teacher.

Hello All,

Last week I was asked to help start a GoFundMe  page for a person I have never met.  She is a physical education teacher who through a series of life events now has debilitating back pain due to a spinal disc that has partially broken off.  Surgery is needed to alleviate the pain and start the healing, but due to red tape, her insurance company is denying or limiting much of the coverage she will need to pay for the “must have” medical procedures and after care.

I don’t want to make this article about insurance issues in our country, but rather how a community has come together in less than five days to donate a serious “chunk of change” to get Ms. Monica Wood back on her feet again. They have given her not only financial help but the gift of their love and community spirit.

Side note: I know the agony of back pain and my experiences have been nothing compared to what Monica is having to endure.  Read related blog. 

Monica Wood and I have communicated via good old fashioned texts and what I have learned is this is a vivacious woman who is beloved by the students, staff and parents at Grand View Elementary School in Manhattan Beach, California.   She exudes all the traits one needs for a  speedy recovery as she is hopeful and keeping a positive outlook. She also believes in not wasting a moment or wallowing on her situation as  she recently asked a group of friends about how to get connected with area organizations who  knit blankets for families with new babies.  Geez – that is one incredible woman!


Monica’s unique story is best told by the many comments and  photos that have been left on the walls of the GoFundMe campaign.  I am simply inspired by each and every one.  These days we are all so busy and focused on our own lives –  but, the outpouring of love and generosity to help this educator simply is a testimony to the willingness of community members to  stop everything  in order to help.  Not only are they demonstrating their support with their wallets, but also with their hearts and social sharing to others.  Those who are in social media call the act of social sharing: #SocialGood!

From the GoFundMe “Giving BACK to Monica Wood” campaign:

Monica, You are the best! Always positive, encouraging, and energetic. We are so sorry you are having such pain. We wish you a speedy recovery. Love, Kate, JT, Edie and David <B>


Ms. Wood- you were the first person to really see Brendan and to help him have happy time in school. You gave him a safe place and a teacher’s love. I’m so sorry you are going through this. You deserve the best of everything. ~ <B.P/>


We got your back, Monica!!!!!  ~ Kari



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Monica Wood has responded to all the amazing folks in her GoFundMe “sphere” with these words

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Lastly, I conclude this note to all with a video from the GoFundMe page and also my thanks to all for reading this very special story.



Ouch my aching back!

Have you ever reached for an object and then exclaimed “Oh No!” because your back immediately went in to spasm?

Have you ever sneezed and then spent the rest of your day trying to get relief from the intense pain that one little “ahh-choo” caused you? 

Have you ever gardened, indulged in some home repair task, picked up a baby, or flinched and had what seemed like an ordinary action result in incapacitating pain? The kind where you crawl in to a chair or can’t seem to do the simplest of activities.

If you said YES to one or more of the above – welcome to the club!

The OMG – I have back pain club!


There are some interesting facts associated with back pain. A few may even surprise you.

  •  Back pain is a major reason why people miss work
  •  Back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide
  •  Over 50 BILLION dollars are spent on remedies (including medications) to alleviate back pain
  • Experts estimate that 8 out of 10 adults will experience back pain some time in their lifetime.
  • Back pain is a major reason for people to seek a doctor appointment

Related: Time Magazine even compiled their own informational list. 

I have spent the better part of 30 years combatting on- off – on and off again back pain.  Mine, most likely, was the result of years doing gymnastics. I spent a good part of my youth flying through the air and trying to “stick a landing”.  Only one problem. I was not a good gymnast! My “training” consisted of access to rudimentary equipment and a lot of hand springs on the lawn.

So, in my 20’s I started to experience occasional back pain. I am no doctor (despite what my Mom wished), but, I do know that I have tried a lot of traditional and non-traditional remedies to alleviate my back pain.

Not every person has the same symptoms.
Dull aches are common. So, can be acute pain and discomfort due to sciatica involvement.  

I did some research on the most common and popular treatments for helping back pain suffers (acute and chronic).  Below I compiled a list of sources that  I found to be of interest and with educational value.  Remember that each person reading this blog has a different set of circumstances when it comes to their own health.  So first and foremost, you need to check to be sure that your back pain is indeed your back and not because of some other condition.

Do your due diligence with your own research. Consider the resource links below a starting point for an education about back issues.

WebMD: A lot of user – friendly information about symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and even quizzes.  This medical website is a  perennial favorite for all kinds of health related information.

Mayo Clinic: Rumor on the street has it that this medical center “knows their stuff” when it comes to orthopedics, including ailments of the spine. Their information is very useful and I found it often encouraging.

Related 6 symptoms you should never ignore.

Chiropractors are very often called upon to help prevent and ameliorate back pain. I have used chiropractics and they were a great source of comfort when I was pregnant. Highly recommend reading up more about this type of therapy.

Physical Therapy  (who are now being educated at the doctoral level) can provide immense back pain relief.  I am in the midst of PT right now – and must say Kathy Fox,  my therapist, is an angel.  I am NOT an easy patient.  But she has given me many techniques to use and they have been very effective.

One strategy is SIMPLE.  When I twist and turn myself in a way that creates a spasm in my lower back I just remember to follow the SIMPLE  guidelines to get me “untwisted”. 

 STRETCH (ask a medical / therapeutic professional for an appropriate set of stretches that will aid your condition) – ICE – MEDICATIONS (when prescribed) – PT – LAY DOWNEASE YOUR MIND (I have recently been doing guided imagery.  Helps even my ADHD to focus on pain control techniques.)

Last but not least on my list … Acupuncture. I must admit I was leery of being subjected to Eastern medicine techniques. Guess what? It works! Or at least did for me!  If you  live in Los Angeles and are in search of an A+ acupuncturist be sure to look up  Jean Morris.  

 Related: reasons why acupuncture helps many back pain patients.

I sympathize with any one who has suffered chronic pain. If you are experiencing mental health issues due to pain, perhaps depression, please seek professional help.  No one should go through agony alone. Sending healing vibes to those in pain – back or otherwise.

~ Louise

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