Three ways to conquer back pain

In anatomy, lumbar is an adjective that means ...
In anatomy, lumbar is an adjective that means of or pertaining to the abdominal segment of the torso, between the diaphragm and the sacrum (pelvis). The five vertebrae in the lumbar region of the back are the largest and strongest in the spinal column. In most mammals, the lumbar region of the spine curves outward; this is called lordosis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is no pain without gain but sometimes there is so much pain that the only ones who gain by it are the doctors who treat you and the pharma companies who manufacture painkillers.

All of us have had to deal with pain in some form or the other at some time or the other. While the commonest pain to deal with is metaphorical  (pain in the neck/butt), more often than not we have to deal with a real palpable pain in other body parts like the head, teeth, shoulder, legs and of course the back.

For the past several months I’ve been plagued by a particularly bad lower back pain – one so bad that the only way I could handle it was to walk with back support in the form of a tightly wound dupatta around my waist. This was a softer alternative to the regular lumbar support available at the chemists and recommended by doctors. So for several weeks, I carried out my own therapy

Simple tips on tackling back pain

  • sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow
  • turning to the side and then getting out of bed
  • gently twisting from side to side while seated on the bed before getting up for the day
This was followed by a bath routine which consisted of
  • gently fomenting the lower back during my bath with a hot shower spray
  • gently massaging in some liniment like Rapid, Heat, Universal oil ( anyone that I could get hold of)
  • tightly bandaging my waist with a soft dupatta. This kept in the heat generated by the topical pain killer and kept the back warm and happy
But obviously, this was not the answer so when my father loaned me his book “Why we hurt” I read it from cover to cover. While a lot of the book went over my head, there were two things I learnt from it
  • back problems can be cured
  • only you can deal with your problem
So, after analysing my problem I came up with two solutions
  • I had to improve my posture while working on the computer
  • I had to exercise my back

Using orthopedic support while sitting

Sitting for long hours at the computer was what did my back in.

Unfortunately, I can’t avoid that but I can definitely do something about it. My father who seems to be having a similar problem tackled this issue by using BackBuddy which is orthopaedic support which he swears by. This pillow of sorts is light and is endorsed by the IAF as per their claim on the website. I still haven’t got down to buying the pillow but the one day that I used it, I did indeed get some relief.

But, what really helps is exercise. And funnily enough, exercise done at the golden hour which is any time between 4 and 5 am is best.  May be it’s only me but I found that at 4 am my back is supple (even after sleeping pillowless on a firm mattress) because by the time I get out of bed at 6 am I am absolutely stiff. So after getting up at 4, I get out of bed and do a simple program of yoga .

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My personal Yoga routine

  • Start off in Sukhasana breathing gently with eyes closed. This centres your body and gets you in the mood for some serious stretching
  • Sit down on the floor and do some gentle Janu Shirshasan keeping a watch on the breathing as you twist from side to side with one leg extended and the bent. After 3-5 repetitions on either side, stretch your back along the extended leg and hold for another 5-7 counts. Repeat on the other leg and repeat the entire sequence three times on each leg.
  • With your back slowly warmed up, now lie flat on your back for some simple leg lifts with knee straight. Each leg should be lifted and kept perpendicular to the floor for 5-7 counts. Lower gently and after 3 repetitions with each leg, raise both legs together and hold for 5 counts. Repeat this double leg raise 3 more times.
  • The fourth time round of double leg raise, lower the legs keeping them straight to  60 degrees holding this pose for 12 counts and then to 15 degrees off the floor for another 10 counts before lowering the legs to the floor.
  • Pavanmuktasana is a great way to release the lower back so bend your legs and hug your knees to your chest.
  • After a few counts of Pavanmuktasana, release the knees but keeping them bent and at your chest raise your head off the ground and support your head/neck with your hands and bring your bent arms around your ears to touch your knees. Extend your legs one by one like shooting arrows for an equal number of counts on each leg. Aim for at least 27×2 by the end of the month.
  • Working further with this pose, extend your arms to form a T and keeping the legs in Pavan muktasan gradually let your knees drop to one side , head turned to the other, legs close together to have a great twist in Parshvapavanmuktasan. Aim to eventually do 108 x 2 sets  but before you get to that colossal figure you can start off with 7 sets of one twist on each side
  • The last exercise on your back is Sethubandhasan where you bend your knees keeping the feet on the ground close to your bottom. Hold the ankles and then raise your body keeping the head firmly on the ground. Hold the pose for as long as you are comfortable and repeat according to your capacity.
  • Then Roll over to one side and get ready for Ananthasan. Before you get into the final pose, raise each leg as high as you can for 5-10 counts. Repeat on the other side before flipping onto your stomach.
  • Holding the Chaturangdandasana pose  for 12 counts is a great way to strengthen your core. Repeat as your back gets stronger for 2-3 repetitions increasing the counts if you can.
  • Then relax the back with Bhujangasana, raising your upper body keeping the lower half firmly on the floor. Hold the pose with arms straightened at the elbow for 5-10 counts. Repeat 3 times.
  • Then go into Dhanurasana for a lovely stretch holding the pose for as long as you can.
  • Straighten out and go into an Adhomukhshvanasan which you should hold for a bit.
  • Come out of the pose and go into Marjariasan. After a few minutes sit back on your heels with arms extended over head and head down and relax for a bit.
  • A few minutes later move into Uttanasana slowly bringing yourself to a normal standing pose.
  • A few minutes of Tadasana helps stretch the spine out before going into 2×3 repetitions of Trikonasana
  • Wind down then with a few minutes of Shavasana before ending your sequence.

I find these exercises work for me and aim to add more once the back gets stronger but what I forgot to tell you, in the beginning, is that the only real cure for backache is an optimum body weight. Most of us forget that it is the excess weight that is putting pressure on our bodies. But till you get to the optimum weight you could try any or all of these techniques to ease the pain.

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Image for Unishta

Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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6 Responses

  1. Chiropractic care can benefit many people with a great number of health conditions. Even those with few, if any, health conditions can benefit from chiropractic maintenance care.

  2. I’ve been dealing with back pain for around 2 years and I have to say that the ordeal has been quite frustrating. Maybe these exercises will work for me as well. I also use an inversion table but I am sure incorporating some additional workouts will help a great deal. I haven’t tried out the BackBuddy orthopedic support but maybe it’s time I tried it. Thank you very much for the informative post.

  3. Michael says:

    This article has valuable points thank you so much for sharing. it’s very helpful.

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