My pain story started when I took a huge Labrador for a walk. Actually, it was more like the Labrador took me for a walk—pulling and running ahead of me until she suddenly decided to change direction and force me into an argument with the laws of physics. The episode resulted in an instant crack in my lower back—not to mention a permanent dislike of the canine species.

Rather than take it easy on my now tender back, I continued as if nothing were wrong. I lifted heavy objects, moved furniture by myself, and refused my wife's offer of help in wrestling a filing cabinet into our new home. But the filing cabinet left me lying on the floor awaiting an ambulance ride to the hospital with an angry wife standing over me.

But today I am a changed man.

I listen to my wife more, and I have new respect for my spine. And yes, a couple of surgeries and a wife who said "Enough is enough!" have much to do with my changed attitude. Despite being angry with me for being stupid, she massaged my lower ...

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