Back Health (Pain Remedies, Exercises & Relief)

I spent many hours and many many hundreds of dollars on various treatments for my back pain… thankfully I learned a lot. Hopefully this saves you some time and stress.

I had knifing lower back pain for many years (at some points I had to lay on my bed to put on my socks), due to my computer lifestyle or bag/purse schlepping or slouching/weakness or extreme yoga practice or collegiate rowing or whatever. I tried many things that didn’t help, here’s what did.

1. Get a diagnosis — Don’t skip this step! Treatment varies greatly depending on your condition.

  • Dr. Loren Fishman on the Upper East Side runs sciatica.org and co-wrote Yoga for Back Pain, he did an EMG and finally I knew and could tell trainers I had 3 pinched nerves at L4-L5, S1-S2, and the right piriformis. (X-rays and MRIs can show bulges, but most people have them and they don’t necessarily correlate with pain)

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The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook

2. Reduce the tightness — and keep it loose! This must be a lifestyle change

  • Trigger point massage — The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is a life-saver for mapping the pain to the source (it’s often up the road), and providing simple solutions using:
  • Trigger point acupuncture — worked amazingly on the deeper knots. But my lady with magic hands moved to MN :( Now I get Kiiko acupuncture with Supriya Desai Lay in Gowanus for general wellness
  • Yoga specifically for your back issue — e.g. at Yoga Union Center for Back Care & Scoliosis — I did a day-long herniation workshop with the brilliant Alison West and learned so much
  • McKenzie exercises — if you have a bulging or herniated disc, arching the spine will help (NOT if you have a slipped vertebrae)
  • NO MESSENGER BAGS OR HEAVY PURSES — carry them in your hand, not on your shoulder, if you must… avoid asymmetrical stress

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Gif by 7 Daily Moves (defunct)

3. Strengthen the weakness — also a lifestyle change

  • Physical therapy — get a custom exercise routine. 12 sessions with Kristen Romeo (a back specialist) at Park Sports PT and I was fully pain-free
  • Continued core strength — Pilates and barre are great, and remember your core runs from your ribs to your knees… Physique57 online has 2 months free w/code SDSPHYSIQUE
  • Good posture
  • Standing desk — sitting is actually a forward bend, a standing desk keeps your core strong and your hip flexors long
  • Lumo Lift or Upright Go — buzzes you when you’re slouching… “texting neck” is a known condition now

Also check out books by John Sarno (e.g. Healing Back Pain) — there’s a large group of people (overachievers / perfectionists) that hold stress in their back and can relieve pain by first working out their minds.

Feel better!

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