Frank, a regular Lunge yogi since 2005, avoided crippling back surgery at 18 and these days experiences zero back pain at 62.
Regular golf, racket ball, soft sand runs and long walks? No issue whatsoever.
A little bit about Frank
At 62, Frank is a healthy, youthful and successful, co-director and major shareholder of Advantage Line – a point-of-sale and merchandising system business specialising in strategic planning and understanding consumer behaviours in store.
Going back 40-odd years, Frank was (and still is) a passionate sportsman.
“In my late teens I was a radical surfer and mad footballer who got injured all the time resulting in a major back injury. I didn’t realise it was a major back injury until I went to a doctor with terrible pains in my stomach. The doctor explained that it wasn’t my stomach but that I’d actually damaged and wrecked my lower back at a very young age.”
Avoiding crippling surgery
At age 21, Frank booked into see Professor Taylor, the top renowned back specialist at North Shore Hospital, to schedule a radical back operation.
On arrival at Professor Taylor’s office, Frank had one of the most confronting 15-minute conversations of his life. Taylor explained what Frank’s surgery would entail. Firstly, he said, “I slice your abdomen open down the middle, take all your internal organs out and place them next to you. I then fuse your broken L4 and L5, put your organs back in and sew you up again. This operation has a 10% success rate, do you still want the surgery?”
Frank suddenly felt better and bolted out of Taylor’s office to continue playing rugby with the aid of regular painkillers. Frank eventually had to stop playing rugby and moved to touch football. “I had to give it away because after every game my back was in so much pain and I couldn’t walk for 3 days.” Frank however continued to experience excruciating pain after games. Over the next 20-odd years Frank saw chiropractors, physios and osteos for temporary relief from his pain and muscle spasms but eventually a more sustainable solution for his pain management became crucial.
From Newcastle to Kokoda to Yoga
In the year 2000, Frank was referred to his newest hero. Dr. Anthony Schwartz performs Radio Frequency treatment in Newcastle. The treatment involves ‘cooking’ or cauterising the nerves around the small affecting area, which blocks the pain signals travelling to the brain temporarily. After ten months the nerves regenerate and the pain returns as before making the treatment completely reversible. Frank continued with Radio Frequency for four years at ten-month intervals and felt stronger and healthier after each treatment.
At the end of 2004 Frank’s friend convinced him to train for walking the Kokoda trail with him. After six months of walking around the northern beaches 10-12 hours a week with packs full of heavy phone books, Frank noticed that he no longer needed Radio Frequency. The muscles in his core had become strong enough to support and protect his broken L4 and L5, removing the pain altogether.
Frank conquered Kokoda in August 2005 with no pain issues whatsoever. On return to Australia Frank was determined to maintain his strong, supported and pain-free physique. It was then that Frank’s good friend, Kim Harris introduced him to Louisa, “my next doctor”, at Lunge Yoga and Health.
When asked how yoga at Lunge with Louisa has influenced his life, Frank affirmed, “It’s changed my life”.
Yoga at Lunge according to Frank
Since September 2005, Frank has attended the Yoga for Surfers classes at Lunge twice a week. Nowadays at 62, Frank plays regular racquetball, golf and goes on long walks every week, all without a single painkiller or need for treatment.
Frank is very conscious however of the consistent nature of his yoga practice. As long as Frank goes no longer than a week without regular yoga, his pain stays away. “So I still have my problem, the problem won’t go away, but what I’ve been able to do is maintain the strength in my body so I don’t experience any pain.”
Other than strengthen in his back, yoga has helped Frank build flexibility, which has improved his golf and racquetball swings and reduced his recovery time after taxing games. As Frank moves into his senior years of life, he swears that stretching and yoga is the key to keeping his body agile and strong so he can continue his active lifestyle for many years to come.
“You can do yoga for the rest of your life, unlike with sport where there’s a limited timeframe to be a good athlete. Yoga is a form of fitness that can become a consistent part of your life forever.”
For Frank, yoga is more than just stretching. Other than for the physical benefits, Frank uses his time at Yoga to plan his day and mentally work through the tasks he needs to tackle throughout the week.
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