A Quick Back Pain Quiz
1. Working at a computer or desk more than 2 hours per day?
2. Overweight by 10 lbs or more?
3. Missing an exercise routine?
4. Commuting for an hour or more per day?
5. The victim of an accident (car or injury)?
6. Experiencing chronic stress?
7. A student?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you are likely suffering from or at risk for back pain or a back injury.
There are a number of ways to prevent and relieve back pain that don’t involve drugs or surgery. I am offering this information to you for FREE, because I feel that everyone should be an active participant in their healing process, and should have the tools to do so.
Who Am I?
Watch this video for a short introduction:
When I suffered a debilitating back injury in 2011, I was in excruciating pain. I tore a disc in my lumbar spine while I was also suffering from the effects of Lupus. I was told that I could never run or jump again because of my spinal injury and because of the damage the Lupus was causing to my joints.
While I was in grad school getting my degree in Acupuncture, I asked the opinion of one of my professors, who was a chiropractor and an acupuncturist. He told me that as long as I “babied” my injury for about a year, I had a good chance of healing because I was young and at a healthy weight. With this information in mind, I understood how important movement was to the body, and that in order to get well, I needed to move, but gently.
MY TOOLS TO RELIEVING BACK PAIN
Below is what my personal treatment plan consisted of:
1. Regular acupuncture treatments – weekly, sometimes twice a week because the pain was so bad and I knew that I had a lot of inflammation that needed to be managed.
2. Regular chiropractic treatments – in the beginning once a week, and after about a year, maybe once a month.
3. Yoga or stretching – to this day, I DO NOT go one day without yoga, or at least a 10 minute stretching routine when I’m limited with time, this is SO IMPORTANT as our pain is directly related to the tension that is felt in our muscles, and stretching releases that tension, and the effects are cumulative, the more you do it, the better it gets.
4. Swimming – swimming has been the answer to any tightness in my body, anywhere. It is great because you are moving all of your muscles allowing them to become supple and strong and releasing tension, while being extremely gentle on your joints. If swimming isn’t an option for you, try walking.
5. Posture correction – being mindful of my posture took a lot of time to practice, but it is imperative to watch how we are sitting and standing, and correcting our posture takes patience, but the benefits are instant, just from this one small change.
6. Nutrition – I knew that inflammation played a huge role in the constant pain I was in, so I sought foods that were anti-inflammatory such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, greens, garlic, berries and I stayed away from things that exacerbated the inflammation such as dairy, sugars and alcohol.
7. Oils and Water – two things that keep our muscles and joints moist and lubricated, I make sure to always drink about 2-3 liters of water per day, and to get a good amount of healthy fats and oils. Good sources for healthy fats are wild salmon, coconut, flax seed oil, avocados and grape seed oil.
3 Daily Must-Do Stretches
Here are some stretches that you can do at home or anywhere. I don’t go a day without doing these, right after getting out of bed, and right before going to bed. Hold these stretches for at least 10 seconds and work your way up gradually to about 30 seconds
I have made a video for you to demonstrate exactly how to perform these stretches.
1. Hamstring stretch – lie flat on your back with your knees bent, raise your right leg straight up in the air and grab your leg with your hands while feeling the stretch at the back of your thigh. To deepen into the stretch, straighten out your left leg so that it lays flat on the ground. Repeat on other side.
2. Spinal twist – lie flat on your back, left leg straight, right knee bent, and with your right hand on the right knee gently bend your right leg over your body to the left side, while your left arm is flat out and straight on the floor and your face is turning towards the right. Repeat on other side.
3. Piriformis stretch (figure 4) – lie flat on your back with knees bent, bring the outer right ankle to the top of your left knee, pick your left leg up off the floor and with your hands wrapped around your left leg, gently pull your knee towards your body. Repeat on other side.
So, there you have some easy ways to find relief from back pain TODAY.
If this seems overwhelming, then start with just one thing, and then gradually add on.
And if anything does not resonate with you, then honor your instinct and don’t do it.
I hope you find this information useful and that it inspires you to seek other ways to heal yourself.
I look forward to hearing any questions you may have.
Licensed Acupuncturist - CA License #: 17216