Easing Your Lower Back Pain…..
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How I overcame my terrible back pain.
About 11 years ago I started with severe back pain. I don’t even know what caused it or where it came from. I hadn’t injured myself or anything like that. I’m sure carrying around my 2 year old son didn’t help the situation much either. Everything hurt my back, sitting, standing, driving, walking for long periods of time laying down and even working out would cause me pain. I kept trying to ignore it until one day I bent over and pretty much could NOT get back up. It took all I had in me to stand back up. That’s when I decided it was time to do something. Now, back pain is quite common in my family. I can remember my dad having back issues when I was younger and he went to a chiropractor to help with his pain. So, of course, I had to try this out. I had already gone through the over the counter pain meds and not much had helped.
I started out seeing the chiropractor and at first I thought “Oh this is causing me more pain than I started with.” I of course asked about that and she did tell me that I would feel more pain at first until everything was adjusted and then my pain would ease. The drive alone was killing my back. After having X-rays done we realized that my spine was a bit crooked and I had uneven hips. Who knew? So right away she started treatment and had me fitted for orthotics for my shoes to help with the hip issue. (I contribute the hip issue to carrying my son on my left hip. That hip is higher than my right but nothing has been confirmed, it’s just my assumption cuz he was a rather large little boy.) Let me tell you, those also hurt my feet when I first started using them. I of course asked about that and was told I would adjust. So I wore my orthotics and continued treatment of my spine.
It seemed as though my back got better but there was still pain that was hindering me from my daily activities. Not that I don’t mind not having to clean BUT I seriously would have to lay flat for a few days after I would clean my house. NOT FUN! At that point the chiropractor examined things further and sent me for an MRI, which showed I had 3 herniated discs in my lower lumbar. L 4, 5 and 6 ( I think) and a little something going on with S1. So our next step was Physical Therapy.
I learned quite a few things when I started therapy. First and foremost, I had a WEAK core. I was amazed and how terribly weak it was. I also learned what core exercises to do to help strengthen my core; sit ups are not the key here. Through Therapy I was able to regain my core strength and this is where my working out comes back into the picture. I started working out and really focusing on my core. I worked on a lot of balance issues, took yoga, worked on the machines in the gym, took classes, and even started running a bit. I could not believe how much better I felt. It was amazing.
From this point on I had decided that I never wanted to feel that pain again and was going to do whatever it took to stay pain free. I continued to work out and go to the chiropractor. I even became a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Well, when I started teaching classes things even felt better. I focused a lot of my training and classes around core strength. Planks are my favorite!! I then started teaching a boot camp class. Well, you know that has to be brought to a different level and I sure brought it. I brought it alright, right into another back issue. If you could have seen me walk out of that classroom that day. I swear it took me 15 minutes just to walk to my car. I thought for sure I had ruptured a disc. I was crushed, not to mention the pain I was in.
Ironically, I had a chiropractor appointment that next day. So I hobbled into the office and said to them “You’re going to kill me!” They knew by the way I was walking that something was NOT right. I remember filling out the paper and when it asks how high your level of pain is on a scale of 1 to 10 and I put 12!! I thought I was dying. She sent me for another MRI and thankfully there were no ruptured discs. WHEW!! So we continued with treatments 3 times a week and a bit more therapy. It helped but I was still not completely out of pain. At that point my chiropractor mentioned that we may need to look into pain management. I remember thinking I have been coming here for 9 years and you have NEVER even mentioned pain management. She is not one who will push meds on you unless it is absolutely necessary. At this point she thought it was. So yes, I did end up going in for a cortisone shot. So the shot, therapy and continued chiropractic treatment helped me tremendously. We also discussed my diet and since then I pretty much eat an anti-inflammatory diet. This means I limit the carbs and sugar in my diet. YEP, they are inflammatory. Trust me, I feel it when I eat too much of these foods.
How am I today? Well, I have learned that I can still add intensity to my workouts but the level MUST be safe for my back. I am pretty much able to do all exercises; I just listen to my body. I believe the exercising had helped me tremendously along with the continued treatment at the chiropractor. Had I not been working on my core strength all this time, my little boot camp mishap could have been a LOT worse. I still stay away from sugars and carbs most of the time. I have minimal pain because of all this.
I am thankful that I was open to learn more about my back and why it was causing me so much pain. I didn’t want to use the pain as an excuse for everything. I wanted to live a painless life and was not going to let it define me. It has been 11 years since I first started treatment on my back and I am so glad I continue to this day. My pain is not 100% gone, and it probably never will be but I am able to do my daily activities without any issues now.
With all that I have learned I have decided to share it with you. I have a few videos on core strengthening exercises and lower back stretches. I hope you find them as beneficial as I do.
To find out more about my back issues, follow my series on lower back pain:
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