What a Pain in the... BACK!
Lower back pain comes in many forms including back spasms, herniated discs, stenosis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, and chronic low back tightness and stiffness. The causes of lower back pain can be elusive and the cause of back pain is never found in 85% of patients. Often pain is the result of years of improper movement due to postural misalignments in the body.
I recently found a blog from another person in the same "position" as I am, Alexander Heyne. He wrote "4 (Rarely Used) Things You Can Do Right Now for Immediate Lower Back Pain Relief". I loved how well he described his situation, all the crazy things he tried and what really worked. Here's an excerpt:
The Raw Truth About Lower Back Pain
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health) lower back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in their life(!).
Lower back pain also:
- Is something that Americans spend $50 billion dollars on annually in physicians visits and rehab
- The #1 cause of job related disability
- The #2 neurological health issue (headaches is #1)
Seeing as how back pain is such an ubiquitous problem, I was a little disappointed when I googled back pain relief, because this is the useless advice I got from just about every website.
Useless guides online to backpain:
- See a chiropractor
- Physical Therapy
But here’s the problem — none of these things you can do yourself, right now (unless you do the usual quick fixes like Aspirin, Ice, Icy/Hot, etc.).
- Immediate Relief: http://modernhealthmonk.com/fixing- lower-back-pain/
- Guide #1: http://modernhealthmonk.com/ ultimate-back-pain-guide-1/
- Guide #2: http://modernhealthmonk.com/ ultimate-back-pain-guide-2/
- Guide #3: http://modernhealthmonk.com/ back-pain-when-sleeping/
#1 Egoscue Method
I can not even begin to describe my excitement upon finding the Egoscue method. The underlying premise is simple: you’re experiencing pain because of chronic inactivity which weakens certain muscles and tightens others, and the promise is true: it works. Famous celebrities and pro athletes have raved about it, and if you don’t believe me, just look at the Amazon reviews.
I’ll go into much much more detail later, but for now, here are the exercises you should be doing (and the instructions):
For Lower Back Pain
A. Static back – Duration: 5-10 minutes
How to do it:
- Lie on your back with both legs bent at right angles on a chair or block
- You can just rest your hands on your stomach or lay your arms out at the side below shoulder level, palms facing up
- Breathe from your stomach. Let the lower back relax.
B. Static Extension – Duration: 1 Minute
- Hold for 5-10 minutes
￼For many of us, back pain is caused by the rounding of the back (flexion) from bad postural habits and sitting or slouching. This exercise reminds the back how to extend properly.
How to do it:
- Kneel with hands on the floor positioned under your shoulders
- Let your back and head relax towards the floor
- Let your shoulder blades come together, and make sure there is an arch in your back
- Keep the elbows straight but shift your hips forward 6 to 8 inches so they are not aligned with the knees.
C. Supine Groin Stretch – Duration: 10 minutes per side
- Hold 1-2 minutes
How to do it:
- Lie on your back with one leg resting on a chair, knee bent at 90 degrees, while the other leg is extended straight out and resting on the floor
- Make sure both legs are aligned with the hips and shoulders
- The foot of the extended leg should be propped upright to preventing it from rolling to one side
D. Modified Floor Block – Duration: 6 Minutes
- Hold 10 minutes then do it on the other side
How to do it:
- Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor — your feet should be pigeon toed
- Rest your elbows on books or blocks so that your hands are in the “don’t shoot!” position
- Make sure your shoulders are level — breathe deeply and relax the upper body
- Let your bodyweight naturally fall into the floor
- Hold 6 minutes
Other Methods Mentioned
#2 Trigger points
The science behind trigger points suggests that many chronic pains in the body are due to tension in the musculature. Trigger points are essentially the “origin” points of these pains, and the way to stimulate the relaxation of these points is deep (slightly painful) massage to relax the area.
The interesting thing about trigger points is that even though you think your pain may be coming from a certain area (e.g. your lower back or knee), vary rarely is that the case. Usually somewhere in the surrounding musculature there is something going wrong, rather than at the site of the pain. This is called referral pain and is important to remember. The place hurting is often just collateral damage.
Generally you stimulate the points 5-7 times during the day, for about 30 seconds – 1 minute at a time. Many people report complete back pain relief after regularly using trigger points throughout the day.
Trigger points are a little tricky though because they take some practice to find.
- If you've read Pain Free by Pete Egoscue, you realize his whole method is about postural imbalances, which lead to muscles in other areas having to compensate, and thus having pain. Therefore it is better to use #1 The Egoscue Method. Otherwise, you are merely treating the symptoms of sore muscles with temporary massage. The real pain will come back even if you feel better briefly. My poor hands know this all too well from countless massages of my wife ;)
- Not to mention, Mr. Heyne even admits how hard it is to find these triggers and that it causes pain. Again, this is against the Egoscue Method. With that, if any pain, you stop. It is gentle.
- What about #3 Myofascial Release? It "is basically personal deep tissue massage." I just discussed treating the symptoms of sore muscles with temporary massage.
- For #4, Static Stretches, he says they are like those done in Yoga. I have not tried these, but believe the premise is again covered with Egoscue.
How to Sit Properly
Like what you see?
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- More to come!...
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- THE #1 MOVE TO DO FOR A PAIN-FREE BODY
- The 8 Laws of Physical Health (from page 28 of the book)
- 3 Tips To Get The Most From Pain Free
- Visit Sonima for more Pete Egoscue Workout Tips & Videos