OT - Remember you back, Or Else


I recently got a very strong message from my body. "He stupid, you ain't 30 any more!"
I have been about 1/2 retired for four years and do contract consulting about 1,000 hours per year. During off-time I stay pretty active in the shop and doing other things. I finished a fairly difficult contract during early June that had me working 50 to 70 hours/week for a few months. When I finished I decided it would be a good time to build 225 feet of privacy fence. Also a good opportunity to work off some of the weight I had gained. Stupid idea without some pre-conditioning.
During weeks 2 and 3 after finishing the contract I spent 6 to 10 hours a day digging holes, lifting 60 and 80 pound bag of concrete and erecting the fence. In retrospect, my back was giving me little messages that I wrote off to fatigue and need for exercise. Two weeks ago today I was standing in the kitchen pouring a glass of water when I developed the first sledge-hammer effects of Sciatica. For those who haven't pissed their Sciatic Nerve yet let me describe it. It feels like the worst hip-to-toes Charlie-horse you have ever experienced with added stinging and burning. The bad part is you cannot walk it off. Also throw in numbness in toes and ankles. I spent most of one week alternately lying or standing because sitting was out of the question. During this period I felt goofy and sleepy from muscle relaxants and large doses of Ibuprofen (I refuse to take the narcotics). After getting some relief from drugs I started with a Chiropractic therapist and I'm getting some steady relief. In a week or two I might be able to pull my pants on or tie my shoes without hurting.
Guys, if your home or shop work has you thinking about cramping, stinging pain in you lower back, buttock area and knees you might want to take a break. I have "thrown the back out" a few times but Sciatica is nothing to screw with. Doctor and therapist say it might take 2-3 months to get back to normal.
If this is what it feels like to be 60, I can't wait for 80.
RonB
PS - Anyone want to finish the last 16 feet of fence? That's the part with the Arbor gate made from 10' 4x6's. Just askin'.
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I feel your pain. Been there, did the exercises. Stretching the hamstrings and quadraceps is very helpful in relieving this pain. Then you feel better and quit. Tom, living in the past. RonB wrote:

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RonB wrote: > I recently got a very strong message from my body. "He stupid, you ain't 30 > any more!"
<snip>
Understand your pain.
For me, building a fence, digging holes, handling bags of concrete, etc, falls in that same class as brain surgery, something I let others do.
Lew
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Not to mention that you'll probably be replacing those posts sooner than you should. Past mistake of mine, the cement holds moisture and hastens wood rot. YMMV, not likely though. Tom

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Tom Cavanagh wrote:

I "think" that the common mistake is to set the concrete such that the top of the block is below grade. In this case the surrounding grade and turf create a depression where water accumulates and dries in repeated cycles which rots the post right at the surface. A fence professional explained to me that the proper way to set a post is with the concrete set higher than grade forcing the water to run off into the soil. Sounds reasonable, but I have not verified this for myself. I do know that some of the fences in our relatively new development have failed after a very short time while others seem to be unaffected and are as sturdy as new after four or five years. This theory is supported by the fact that trees in man-made lakes rot and break off right at the surface while the barely submerged stump remains for decades. DAMHIKT!!!
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I don't think I will ever test the longevity of posts set in concrete vs. posts set directly in the ground. I already know from personal experience that a PT post (or at least the older discontinued CCA variety) set directly in the ground here in Maryland will easily last 20 years; don't see much need for the concrete.
Oh, and to the OP, hope you recover quickly, I feel your pain.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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tom snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote in

In California Bay Area clay, concrete works well, used like Tom Murphy describes. At least according to what my fence guy tells me, but then, we've only know each other 25 years. The ground slides here first. ;-)
HE talked about having some serious challenges with redwood quality some time back, and switching to PT fence posts. And then the mills had challenges with the change of formula on the PT stuff, and ended up replacing a bunch of his early-rotting product (3-5 years?). But that's solved now, according to him. At least for here.
Regarding the sore back, I'm sympathetic. No scyatica here, but leftovers from an adventurous, but _short_ high school sporting career. I have to watch the signals, and pay attention, or pay the price for weeks. Some activities have been removed from what I used to do. You notice I have a fence guy? I have a patio guy too, now.
Pay attention to competent medical and physical therapy folks, and do what you can to avoid the three-week dropouts. I do.
Patriarch
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This is what I did. I built the concrete to about 1"-2" above grade when I poured it. As it set I used the bottom face of a garden hoe to tamp it on each side to form a shallow pyramid around the base of the post and the hoe blade to pull over-pour from the edges. This formed neat square-shaped "domes" at each base. I also threw about 2" to 3" of rough gravel in the hole below the post base. This is supposed to allow water in the bottom to drain off. Don't know if it works but river-gravel is cheap.
RonB
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<cringe> Been there, done that, don't even like to think about it. Funny thing is it hit me almost the same way as it did you - standing at the counter in the kitchen.
For me it really is a weight thing. I can almost tell when I'm edging up on 200 pounds by how my back feels in the morning. I'm still heavier than I should be, but there isn't anything that puts me back on a diet faster than sciatic pain.
Something that really helped me (after recovering a bit) was to do some regular swimming. Helped work the back and torso muscles without putting a big strain on them.
--
Frank Stutzman


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"RonB"

snip
Youth is wasted on the young! Getting old is not for sissies!
Dave
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Alternative better?
wrote:

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