Be patient with pain
Aug 28 2014
Back pains can range anywhere from tingling sensation, soreness, dull constant pain across the back area to intense pain. The other question is: when did the pain start? Was it all of a sudden or it happened gradually? Is it localised or does it radiate? Does it hurt all the time or post certain activities or movements?
Answering all these questions will help narrow down on the causes of the pains (strains, sprains, and herniated discs, among others) and will determine the best course of action. The rule of the thumb when dealing with pain is to rest. This can be accompanied with pain management therapy, cold and/or heat packs and/or physiotherapy devices ranging from TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units, IFT (interferential current therapy) and ultrasound, among others, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not self diagnose and self medicate.
Another important point is not to ignore the initial “warning” signs. Most people I know who ended up with major back issues have done so gradually, progressively getting worse until they could not carry on anymore and had to finally deal with the problem when it began to severely affect their lifestyle. I am not talking about people who get injured or get into back spasms from a sudden movement here, I am talking about each and every one of us who accepts the discomfort in the back as part and parcel of our lives and don’t take active interest until there is no other option.
When rehabilitating the back it is important to keep in mind that it is a slow and gradual process that can take time and can be accompanied with a few setbacks. So arm yourself with patience and mentally prepare yourself that sometimes it can get worse before getting better.
Having said that, trust your instincts and listen to your body as there is a fine line between the above-mentioned discomfort and doing the wrong movements that actually create more damage. When it comes to exercises they should be performed slowly in the shorter range of motion while continuously stabilising the pelvis.
Two very good methods to start with are lumbar spine stabilisation exercises, which are basically a combination of pelvic bridge, side leg extensions, and hamstring stretches; and the second being McKenzie method, which is one of the best and the most comprehensive methods to evaluate, assess and treat various back conditions. It focuses on stabilisation, mobility and flexibility of spine, as well as surrounding structures and tissues.
Pilates is another excellent way to recover and rehabilitate your back and can be easily modified to suit any condition in the hands of a skilled teacher. It also looks at the body imbalances enabling the practitioner to deal with the issues at the root as often back problems are a consequence of poor posture accompanied by muscular imbalances.
(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)