The summer I was 12 years old something awful happened in my back while unloading a wagon rack of hay bales. Since then I have struggled with chronic lower back pain.
Our solution was to go to a chiropractor. Through the rest of middle and high school, monthly – weekly when needed – adjustments kept my lower back pain manageable.
Once at a sports physical I mentioned it to the doctor but the answer I got was “You are too young for surgery. You’re just going to have to wait for it to get worse.”
Yikes! Not many options!
I struggled with the pain through college and into my working years, still seeing a chiropractor. I became a chiropractor hopper. One wouldn’t help me so after a year or so I would switch to another. No more help, so on to another. My pain kept me going in this vicious cycle.
Then someone told me about a style of adjusting called upper cervical. Rather than the twist and yank method on the neck, this style puts the specific vertebrae in the neck back in place with a much gentler motion.
I finally found a chiropractor who practices this method two hours away. Pain makes you do crazy things! As crazy as drive two hours one way once a week for a 15 minute appointment!
I experienced some greater relief but the pain was still frustrating for my 25 year old body.
A while after that I wrecked my shoulders. My orthopedic doctor recommended I do physical therapy for six months and if nothing got better I would have to consider surgery. I requested a physical therapist who I knew nothing about except that her exercises were challenging and her patience saw results.
My physical therapist was wise and saw that my whole body had issues, starting with the way I walked. She told me that my shoulders would never get better unless I corrected several other aspects of my physical being, including my back.
Also during the time of my physical therapy I began getting deep tissue massage every one to two weeks. She worked wonders on my shoulders and also worked pressure points in my glutes that relieved lower back pain.
All this to say that if you suffer from lower back pain you have options. Yes, it will take time and hard work. In my opinion, these options far outweigh any surgery or painkillers.
Here is a list of some ideas for you to try to reduce lower back pain.
- The most affordable place to start is in your home. Focus on weight training exercises that strengthen your core muscles. If your core is not strong then your spine doesn’t have optimal support.
- A specific exercise I do in addition to core strengthening is squats. Look up a video or seek professional instruction so you know you are doing them correctly.
- If you are unsure of what exercises to begin with, see a physical therapist for a few sessions. They will give you specific exercises and instruct you on proper technique.
- See a chiropractor. If you are not happy with the results from your current chiropractor, find another. Look into the upper cervical adjustment procedure and seek out a chiropractor near you who implements it.
- Get deep tissue massage. Going to a massage therapist can be pricey but it is so worth it. Or you can have your friend or spouse give you a good back rub finding and focusing on your knots and tender spots.
- Buy some tennis balls . Now that I don’t go to a massage therapist all the time, I do a lot more work at home from what I learned through my appointments. Pressure spot #6 is in a difficult to reach spot on your hiney but can relieve a significant amount of pain. This article explains a bit about this pressure spot and how to find it. I just roll around on a tennis ball until I find a tender spot and then I work it for a bit.
- Hang upside down. I have an inversion table that I hang on now and then. It feels so good to stretch out the spine and relax.
- Get a supportive mattress. One of the most important things for your back is proper support while you sleep. I’ve been told by several chiropractors “The firmer the better.”
Go ahead! Start out with a few suggestions from home. Ease into the exercises slowly and build up your muscles. Remember, your back pain has been a long time in coming, have patience as it may take a long time to relieve it.
I am not a medical professional. This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any malady.