Oh My Aching Back!
Oh My Aching Back! Is this the constant cry of your body from AM to PM? Do you hurt all day long no matter what you do, getting very little quality sleep at night? Well read on, because you are NOT alone and yes, there IS help for that aching back!
Back pain plagues millions of people over the course of their lifetime. Aching back pain can be due to repetitive strain on the back such as gardening or even a construction worker at his job, an acute injury to the back such as a fall or car injury, bony wear and tear on the back or even from just simple fatigue. Some people experience aching back pain because they work in a sitting job for very long extended periods of time (and usually forget to take breaks) and the back is weakened due to a lack of movement or exercise.
Best Exercises For A Healthy Back
Many cases of back pain can be avoided by exercising your back in a healthy way that strengthens the muscles and ligaments so that back pain will possibly not be a problem in the future. Strengthening your muscles allows you to have a firm foundation of support for your spine and disks.
Recently, I was involved in an auto accident. I was struck from behind while waiting at a lighted intersection. The result was a moderately severe herniated disk of my L5-S1 disks. After almost 2 years I can say I am finally on the road to recovery. It has been a journey, a hard one. But I avoided surgery and you possibly could too. Everyone is different, every back is different and every injury is different, please keep that in mind. I was advised by several Doctors to have surgery, but I know my body and I knew surgery was not for me. And I am glad I stood firm on beliefs of what my body could and could not heal. Like I said, it’s been a long haul and frankly I know it will be a daily commitment with exercise, stretching, some supplementation and a few “do nots” and a whole lot of modifying my life activities.
One of the major “do nots” I have learned is to not bend over from the waist and do toe touches. Very bad for the lower back disks. I have also learned how to bend or reach down properly. How to sit and also sleep with better positioning.
I highly recommend The McKenzie Method for any low back strain, pain or injury. This method has literally saved me and my back. I also do some of the exercises in this book daily as prevention.
Strengthen The Core
The back is not the only thing that keeps your body upright. Your abdomen, together with your back, represents the “core” of your body. Both parts need to be functioning in order for you to have the ability to stand, stretch, and bend appropriately. Perhaps one of the best exercises for a healthy back includes abdominal exercises. A weak abdomen puts too much pressure on the back to take on functions the abdomen needs to participate in. Abdominal exercises strengthen the overall core and will help you have a strong and healthy back.
I would like to stress, that if you have had strains or injuries to your lower back that traditional abdominal exercises could hurt you further. These need to be modified. There are ways to strengthen your core without the traditional “bend from the waist”, remember bending from the waist either sitting or standing is NOT beneficial. It is detrimental.
What exercises work best?
You can strengthen the back alone although most exercises that strengthen the back also strengthen the abdominal muscles as well. Either way, you have a healthier back as a result.
Pilates is another core strengthening form of exercise. Pilates is best learned through a DVD lesson or personalized lessens from a Pilates instructor. There are even really good videos on You tube that are very safe yet can target toning areas for your back. It is a toning type of exercise that strengthens the core, including the abdominal and back muscles. The exercises are easily learned and can be a part of your daily exercise routine.
Mama Kat’s Take-away
A healthy back is all about core strength training and learning what you can and cannot do on any given day, it changes. Maintaining your healthy back includes not only exercises of the back but exercises of the abs as well.
Maintaining you healthy back also includes being very conscious of what you are doing every minute of the day, and possibly modifying your activities so as to support your back, not compromise it.
Continuing on your healthy back journey also includes weaning your dependence off any medications that you may be using for pain or inflammation management. It is so tempting when you hurt to stay on these meds, but they mask what your body is actually going through. And how can you move on, move forward and continue to heal if you do not know “where” your back stands in the terms of healing.
I had to detox from pain and inflammation medications and it was no fun at all. I had to take them for a period of time due to the pain and my inability to continue on with life. But there came a time when I had to stop. I was fortunate to wean myself off with the help of my physician but I will be honest and it was difficult. But, well worth it. I was then able to see that my body was ready for more toning exercises and massage. I was able to “truly feel” where my body needed attention.
Now I take one day at a time. I modify what I do. I do not take anything for pain or inflammation except for the occasional baby aspirin. Yes, you heard me right, I was on anti-inflammatories too long-they messed up my stomach too much. Side effects of medications y’all.
My last piece of advise: Listen to your body!
Mama Kat Recommends:
Live Simply and Healthy,
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