Is Back Pain Killing You?
Did you know that 50-80% of adults will get back pain? And of that, at least 60% will experience it again, and again, and yet again.
I treat a lot of back pain here in Seaside.
I used to have severe back pain myself. It made me study more about it to find better ways to treat it.
All acupuncturists are trained to treat back pain. But I wanted more extensive study after my own experience. I studied what is called “orthopedic” or “sports” acupuncture. It makes acupuncture even more effective to reduce the pain from back spasms, sciatica, herniated discs or scoliosis.
But there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening again:
1. Acupuncture- of course this kinda goes without saying, but I figured I should say it! Here’s a study out of Harvard you may want to check out. Regular acupuncture can help keep your back from going out. It can also reduce stress which helps reduce pain too. The Harvard study talks a lot about how effective it is.
2. Movement! Movement most every day! I cannot stress this one enough. More and more studies have shown that sitting all day takes years off your life. It also keeps your back stiff and immobile. Do anything that you love, and do anything that doesn’t aggravate it. If running bothers your back, don’t do it until your back is well enough to do it without pain.
Think of it as a rusty gate. A gate that is not used gets rusty and then can’t be used. Nothing is really wrong with it. When you oil it and start to use it, it returns to its normal state. Your back is much the same! Use it and lubricate it (that’s what exercise does!).
3. Restorative yoga. Not Hatha, not Flow, not Hot, not Power yoga. Restorative yoga. It will give your back the most powerful re-alignment, which helps the back stay mobile and flexible. There are classes in most towns, also Youtube.
Here’s one pose that aligns your back to reduce pain:
Lie on your back. Knees bent up to 90 degrees, with pillows, or your couch. Neck supported with neck pillow or towel roll. Heat where it hurts, if you like heat. Lie there 5-15 minutes. That’s it!
4. Massage, OMG, massage! Need I say more? Well, yes! Regular massage is wonderful, relaxing…But, I found to prevent back pain, or reduce it, Myo-fascial release, works the best!
5. Feldenkrais-this is a great system of learning to move more in alignment, get better posture, flow with ease. And well, reduce back pain! I hadn’t realized that I was sitting slouched over all day long until a practitioner showed me, and showed me how to re-align myself.
6. De-stress. Yes, I know. We hear it all the time. Stress is bad. Stress kills, blah blah blah. But, wait, it really does! It also kills the back! We all have stress, right? It’s what we do to manage it that makes or breaks us. Sure, an occasional drink can help. But what really helps is meditation, guided relaxation. I love the Free App- “insight Timer”. It has thousands of Free ( did I mention free?) Apps for 5 minutes to 2 hours…even a few minutes helps a lot. Did I mention acupuncture and herbs can help with getting rid of stress?
7. Oh no, we are going to mention food? Well, yes! Following an anti-inflammatory diet can really help! Sugar, gluten (yes, really) , natural flavors (well, that’s what the label says, it’s also known as MSG), can really increase your pain, and even anxiety. There are tons of resources out there to help with an anti-inflammatory diet. Elanas Pantry and The Paleo mom are my favorites.
8. If you’d like to read more about the real causes and pitfalls of back pain, Read this book: The Back Pain Conspiracy Gillian Hubble.
So, consider taking care of your back as an ongoing routine. I promise, your back will take better care of you!
Be Well, Kate