Randy Yelvington's Story

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A Pain in the… Back

Anyone who has worked in the construction industry knows that back pain often is part of the job. For 41-year-old Randy Yelvington of Lehigh Acres, 20 years of back pain was too much.

"Once a year, my back would give out on me," Randy says. "It would be so bad that I would miss three or four days of work. In construction, that's a death sentence."

Randy's primary care physician prescribed a round of adrenocortical steroids for the once-a-year flare-ups. But by the third year, the steroids did not help. His pain was so bad that not only was he out of work, he couldn't play with his kids—in fact, he hardly could move.

Randy was referred to Reggie Augusthy, D.O., interventional physiatrist at Lee Memorial Health System's Spine Center. On the day of his appointment, Randy had X-rays taken of his back on the first floor and then went up to the second floor to Dr. Augusthy's office for the consultation. When Dr. Augusthy determined the first step in Randy's recovery should be learning proper back mechanics, he sent Randy down the hall for physical therapy.

"I had no idea everything would be so convenient," Randy says. "With everything centrally located in the one building, I only had to take one morning off from work, instead of three separate mornings at three different locations."

On the Mend

Randy completed six physical therapy sessions with Tom Reid, physical therapist at the Outpatient Center at the Sanctuary. "He taught me the proper way to lift 50-pound bags of concrete, but he also taught me exercises to strengthen my core," Randy says. Tom explained that strengthening the abdominal muscles teaches the body to use both front and back muscles, reducing the risk of back injuries.

"When I left that first session with Tom, I was dripping with sweat," Randy admits. "Manual labor is a daily part of my life, but Tom worked muscles I didn't even know I had. There were times I wanted to quit, but I knew the end result—no back pain—was worth it."

Back to Life

After graduating from physical therapy, Randy is back to working full time, playing with his kids and still doing his best to find time for his favorite hobbies—hunting and fishing.

"When I have to lift something heavy, I ask for help now," Randy says. "It wasn't easy the first few times that I had to admit I needed someone to help me, but when I come home from work pain-free and can spend three hours playing outside with the kids instead of icing my back, it makes me glad I got help."