Broke Ass Financial Coaching: “Broke Back” No Insurance

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While being young, broke and beautiful is all well and good, some people’s finances are more jacked than others.  That’s why we’ve invited Betsy Crouch (aka Coach $izzle) to come onboard and dole out some much needed advice.  She is a professional financial coach after all.  If you’ve got a question you’d like answered please email her  Maybe your question will be the next one answered.

“Coach Sizzle, I hurt my back and I don’t have health insurance, and I know you hurt your back too, what should I do?  – S”

What causes lower back pain?

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According to Louise Hay, author of You can heal your life, one cause of lower back pain is “financial insecurity.” Over 80% of Americans will deal with lower back pain at some point in our lives.  Read more about the causes of lower back pain.

How do you know if you should go to the emergency room?

First of all, I am not a Medical Doctor and I am not giving you medical advice, just sharing what I have experienced.  If you are in a lot of pain and you feel you need to go to the emergency room, many people say that isn’t the best place to go.   If you have lost bowel or bladder function, among other factors and symptoms, according to the University of Illinois College of Medicine, go to the Emergency Room!

If you are in San Francisco you can go to the Glide Memorial Church clinic or to General Hospital.  Also you may qualify for San Francisco’s Universal Health Care.

I ruptured a disc in my back at the beginning of the year.  My pain was at about 8 to 9 on a scale of 1-10 at certain points in January.  By the time I saw the back specialist my pain was 0-1.  I still spend several hours per week working to maintain my back’s health.  Although I do have health insurance, I have used it for only about 5% of my healing and back care.

Here are the strategies and therapies that have worked for me, including free/affordable options:

1.  Think for yourself. Question everything and do your own research.  Keep in mind, if you go to a physical therapist they will tell you to do physical therapy, and if you see a surgeon they will likely suggest cutting you open.  Obviously each of these types of healers/professionals are going to likely suggest the healing modality they know.  Listen to your body and trust your intuition.

2. Egoscue therapy. They have clinics in the bay area and the therapy is expensive, however you could pick up the book called “Pain Free” by Pete Egoscue and find the exercises for back care and do them yourself.  Be gentle and go slow.  I did their exercises and experienced relief almost immediately.  The exercises help create better alignment and great alignment means preventing future issues.

3. Yoga class and Chiropractor. I also took this yoga class for back care and I see this amazing, non-cracking chiropractor, Dr. Meakim (who does accept insurance), for those of you in SF who have some funds or insurance to pay for these types of things.

4. Limit sitting. Sitting is one of the worst things for our bodies.  If you sit a lot for work, get up and walk around or at least stretch periodically throughout the day.

5. Acupuncture.  I see Karena Goldfinger in Potrero Hill.  She is awesome and she has helped me with many things not just my back stuff (emotional, digestive stuff, quick healing of a cut, etc.).  Right now she has a special community rate of $75 for two people to have an acupuncture treatment.  She is amazing.  Email Karena –

Affordable Chinese Healing in SF and NYC:  Quan Yin Healing Arts – San Francisco, New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine – New York

5. Drugs / Natural Herbal remedies / Alcohol.  I was given a prescription for Vicodin and I never filled it.  I did take 5 rogue Vicodin pills during the really rough pain when I couldn’t get out of bed.  I avoided filling the prescription because I really like Vicodin and I didn’t want to get hooked.  Also, I wanted to feel what was going on in my body.  I did take some natural herbal medicine, and drink some red wine.  When you’re in a lot of pain and you don’t have pain killers, in moderation, these things can help.

6. Meditation.  When I was going through a lot of pain at the beginning, I did a number of healing meditations visualizing relaxing my back and healing energy flowing through it.  I really believe that helped a lot, so much so that I stopped doing it for a while!  🙂  I have gotten back into it.  I go to this class Tuesday nights in the Mission, and meditate a few other times per week on my own.  It really helps.

Sending you lots of healing energy!

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Betsy Crouch - Coach $izzle

Betsy Crouch - Coach $izzle

Betsy hates to brag, but she grew up in Michigan. An unhappy materialist/rabid consumer turned minimalist, Betsy feels right at home in the warm socially responsible arms of San Francisco. With an Economics degree, a basic financial certification, and a range of personal experience, she has developed a unique financial coaching philosophy. She wants you to feel a sense of serenity with your finances and she shares what she has learned from coaching almost 200 people one on one. Betsy wants you to embrace your "sizzle," and for you to become a more confident and empowered Broke Ass.


  1. alan
    December 15, 2009 at 12:33 am

    you have a back problem and you are able to do yoga?

  2. jony
    December 15, 2009 at 12:37 am

    the picture above with the guy holding his back in pain, sry to be a troll but you cant stay in that good of shape as the picture illustrates he is in, if you have a problem with a slipped,herniated,bulged disc, take it from me, the best thing u can do is hang it up and dont think youll be able to do some of the same things you used to, because you will make it worst,take it easy or u will be regreting it