2 years ago, I did my back in. Ironic, right, given that I co-own a studio where we help people reduce back pain?
It happened because my core weakened after having babies and I stopped doing enough strength work to protect myself over a very busy few months in my life. In my case, I was very lucky as I’m surrounded by expert back-fixers so was back on my feet (literally) in no time and now am very strict with my core work.
It made me appreciate the pain – no pun intended – of your back going though. From having to ease myself out of bed and taking about 2 minutes to actually get up, to not being able to put my socks and shoes on myself – my kids LOVED me for that.
If it happens to you and you get struck down with back pain – however severe – there are several things you can do to help yourself:
1. Take a warm bath
Or use a hot water bottle on the affected area. The warmth will help your muscles relax and ease any spasms you may be experiencing. Try to avoid icing your back as you’ll find that you tense up against the chill which may make the spasms worse.
Take it easy if you’re really locked up but try to avoid extended periods of inactivity. Moving helps lubricate the joints and promote circulation to the area, which brings with it all the nutrients your body needs to heal. I found gentle walks worked wonders for loosening my back off.
3. Get a massage.
In the same way that moving increases circulation, massage can do the same. Plus, you get the added benefits of relaxing the muscles. And it feels nice
4. Avoid lifting and movements which hurt it.
This kind of goes without saying but take it easy and don’t overwork your back. Know your limits and listen to your body. Especially avoid movements where you’re bending and twisting at the same time under load.
5. Start some gentle core exercise.
Depending on the severity of your pain, this could be as simple as engaging your core muscles when you lift the kettle or open a door, to going to a Pilates class or doing some core exercises at the gym (or at home)
If you do start an exercise class though, remember point 4 above. Let the instructor know you have a back issue and they can help you with alternative exercises if any feel uncomfortable and never push yourself beyond your limits.