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.
Lookit, one zap is slower, QED the nerve is pinched
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 under L4, S1, and the right piriformis. (X-rays and MRIs can show bulges, but most people have them and they don’t necessarily correlate with pain)
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:
- Lacrosse balls — basic DIY equipment, or take MELT or Yoga TuneUp classes if you want guidance
- TENS zapper — when you’re too lazy to roll
- Deep tissue massage — when you want that human touch (Capri Miner at Slope Wellness in Park Slope is a beast)
- Trigger point acupuncture — worked amazingly on the deeper knots, tho the amazing Tricia Smith (found via Google) has moved to Minneapolis. I currently get Kiiko acupuncture with Supriya Desai Lay in Gowanus — it’s greatly helped my fatigue but I haven’t really needed it for back pain, yay.
- 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 — some super easy positions for relief of acute pain
- NO MESSENGER BAGS OR HEAVY PURSES — carry them in your hand, not on your shoulder, if you must… avoid asymmetrical stress
Gif by 7 Daily Moves (defunct)
3. Strengthen the weakness — also a lifestyle change, stay strong!
- 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
- Standing desk — sitting is actually a forward bend, a standing desk keeps your core strong and your hip flexors long
- Good posture all day — Lumo Lift or Upright Go will buzz you when you’re slouching… “texting neck” is a known condition now, and the weight of your slumping head pulls on your back
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.
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