After my experience in Norway and especially on Vaerøy I decided to do a family practice Residency in Santa Rosa, California. This was a three year program that trained me to do a myriad of things in medicine, including emergency medicine. After the residency I worked in an Emergency Department full-time for 10 years.
In 1985 I was lifting weights and herniated my L5-S1 disc and learned about physical limitations caused by back pain. For a year I had trouble getting into and out of a car and had a lot of trouble sitting and exercising. I began designing exercise equipment and different kinds of chairs just so I could be more comfortable.
I designed three weight training machines and exercises taken from gymnastic movements as well as seating in many forms and opened The Backworks. The office had higher countertops, space under the cabinets for feet to eliminate bending over sinks, as well as ergonomic chairs in the waiting room that I designed to decrease intradiscal pressure in the L4-5 and L5-S1 discs. No one really knew much about ergonomics so everything was created by feel.
There were three weight training machines which I designed to strengthen core muscles while keeping the patients safe from back and neck injury. The Upper Body Machine had a 45 degree board which the patient reclined against. While using the upper handles the patient was essentially in traction while exercising in a "neutral spine" position so that the patient could exercise until the day before surgery or as quickly as one week after surgery. I was featured in the book "Over the Hill but not out to Lunch" in 1985 and ran The Backworks from 1986 until 1996. The photos on the bottom of the page show our family back then. Jill was born about a month later.