“In November 2012 I had a bad fall landing with my full weight on a step edge hitting the Lumber part of my spine. I was out photographing Venice by night. It was actually at 0230 in the morning. I was there singing the title tenor role of Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at La Fenice. I still got the photo I was after…. Thankfully it was quite a chilly night and I think this masked the injury a little.
In the following days it was obvious I had some serious damage, nasty bruising, but being a stubborn individual I did all the rehearsals and performances. The doctor put me on seriously strong pain relief as I could not walk more than about 20 metres without stopping. My apartment was only 10 mins from the theatre but it would often take 30 mins to get there. The pain would build up to an unbearable point through the Glutes and into the leg. I had a mixture of differing sensations below the left knee: numbness and sharp paper-cut like pain amongst others.
When I returned to the UK I had MRI scans that showed I had prolapsed 3 discs. The worst of which was the one at L4L5. This was causing me immense pain as it was constantly pressing on the L4 nerve root.
In the following weeks I tried Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy in the UK and Keiser Training in Berlin. All gave me some relief but not long lasting – sometimes only 20-30 mins and then the pain returned. The most relief I had was from one of the 1st team Physios of Manchester United football club – the REAL football!!! But this took a lot of time as I live 3hrs from Manchester, driving was not possible so my wife became taxi driver and the journey home undid some of the good work. I had lost muscle mass in the outer thigh and glutes, the trips to Manchester rectified a lot of this problem as you would expect! Hard work.
I was put in touch with the Pain Centre in Liverpool and the specialist there injected my spine, facet joints etc on 2 occasions – the first time the disc was so “squashed” and the inflammation so severe that the treatment put me in bed for a week on Morphine derived meds. The treatment worked in that it masked the pain and reduced the inflammation.
I started to investigate on the internet about disc replacement surgery and all that can entail. After a couple of months the pain was coming back as the injections were wearing off. The pain though was reduced.
In the course of my research I came across Inversion Tables. It seemed to me pretty logical that these could help by just the sheer mechanics of inverting the load on my spine, but I thought it would again be a temporary measure.
I decided on Teeter. Before I became a singer I trained in Design at Loughborough University and designed and made furniture. I understand by looking at something the structure, the potential weaknesses and design attributes and/or flaws. So after a lot of thought I decided to purchase the L5 contour by Teeter.
This is possibly the best buy I have ever made.
During the first couple of days I found that I was getting uncomfortable pain and sensations in my lower left leg. The Doctor said that this was probably due to a release of the pressure the disc had been exerting for many months. By day 3 these were subsiding and I noticed that the pain was considerably relieved and in fact after 5 more days I had no pain whatsoever… I cannot describe the relief. Sleeping without pills was again possible. It used to take up to 30 minutes for me to get comfortable in bed.
I had a long standing appointment with the pain specialist for further injections this month – August. He was very surprised by how things had progressed and said that the prolapse was much smaller and that I could now get back to fitness work in the gym – obviously avoiding spinal compression exercises at this stage.
One of my serious pastimes is Archery. I can now shoot with no pain and greater accuracy as I am not fighting against the problem. Again such a relief. It will be a while until I get back to golf though, but even that, I think, is possible.
I now do my bat impersonation several times a day (not immediately after a meal!) and I am astounded that my back is so good.
Thank you Teeter.”
~Ian Storey – International Opera Singer
Here is a clip of Ian performing at the San Francisco Opera in 2011.