It was a total self-inflicted injury. I did a really stupid thing.

Early one Saturday morning, I heard the doorbell chime, which reminded me I'd set up an appointment with a landscape guy. Not wanting a second ring to wake my husband, I flew like a flash from one end of the house to the other in socks ... and down the wooden stairs.

When I hit that top step, my legs shot out from under me like a rocket, and down I bounced -- on my bum. Hitting the landing halfway down didn't stop anything. Instead, it propelled me all the way to the bottom, where I landed on the terrazzo tile in full view of one bewildered gardener.

The pain was tremendous -- the bruising even worse. I knew it was bad, but what were they going to do? You can't wrap a tailbone in a cast, right? So I toughed it out. It took months, but I could finally sit and walk normally. No harm, no foul, right?

Wrong. I don't intend to bore you with the details. Just let me say that when you wake up in the morning and have to crawl on hands and knees to the coffee pot, something's not right. Or, as my doctor put it while gazing at the X-rays, "Did you suffer an injury?" Well, yes, I did. But it healed.

This happened more than 10 years ago, and apparently what I considered healed was not exactly how the medical community would describe it. I pretty much destroyed my tailbone, and there were a few other technical outcomes that have now resulted in lower back pain with unlovely diagnosis. My method of dealing has been complete denial. If it "healed" once, it can heal again, right?

As you may have guessed, I have come to the end of my ability to deny this any longer. I've learned exercises from sessions with a physical therapist. I have done them religiously for many months with no change. Recently, my doctor said the words I was not ready to hear: "It may be time to schedule you for surgery." Back surgery? Are you kidding me? Noooo! It's not really that bad. I can live with it.

Now, you have to know that I am not one to put any faith in late-night infomercials. I'm smarter than that. But there I was up very late working and writing when I saw a compelling infomercial.

A gizmo called the Lo-Bak Trax (www.everydaycheapskate.com/lobak) is promised to provide "dual traction" to treat herniated discs, spinal stenosis, sciatic issues and spinal degenerative joint diseases -- all of the words uttered by my doctor.

Look, I hate ordering anything from an infomercial. It's all so scammy. I hate how they try to upsell with added bonuses or a promise to throw in a second one for free plus an additional shipping charge. I'm just not into that.

When I found this thing on Amazon for $40 with Prime shipping and conducted my own limited research, I decided to give it a try. Yep, I fell for it. And I bless the day it arrived.

I've been using my Lo-Bak Trax device daily for quite a few weeks now, and it has changed my life. It's so easy to use! Not only does it feel fantastic (not like drudgery, the way some exercise can be) but I can also feel it opening and stretching my spine, which is exactly what needs to happen to relieve this condition I have -- whatever it is.

As long as I use this every morning -- it takes fewer than 10 minutes -- I have no back or sciatic pain. And for that I am grateful, if not astonished. The thing looks like bike handlebars, weighs only 4 pounds and easily fits in my suitcase. I will never leave home without it.

You might say I have become a Lo-Bak Trax evangelist. I'm out spreading the word about how spending 40 bucks has changed my life and, at least for now, has made it possible for me to avoid surgery. I am doing the happy dance.

mary@everydaycheapskate.com|Everyday Cheapskate, Box 2099 Cypress, CA 90630

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