Back pain is annoying, and it comes around as quickly as a hula hoop and it pounces like a tiger at the most inconvenient of times.
This morning, I was suffering from lower back pain, and it wouldn’t ease up. And as with most things, one thing leads to another. My lower back pain turned into neck pain, and then it turned into a tension headache.
Not the best way to start a day. And then, as I was watching Meet The Fockers in bed, Barbara Streisand’s character said something that made perfect sense to me: We carry our emotions and stress in our backs, and that is why our backs tend to hurt more than anything else. So, we have to move, restore, strengthen, reintegrate, and recognize the emotions that make our backs hurt…and do our best to minimize the stress and effects of those negative emotions.
Now, I don’t think that getting naked, holding a hula hoop, and sitting on a tiger pelt will help your back feel better or ease your negative emotions (can’t speak for the woman in the photo). And besides popping Aspirin or tons of Vitamin I (ibuprofen), there are more ways to help ease back pain. So, here are my favorite ten.
Incidentally, you could probably do most of these while naked, holding a hula hoop, or sitting on a tiger pelt:
1. Keep doing things you would normally do if your back didn’t hurt.
Movement helps. So go for a walk with the dog, clean the floors, or stand up and cook breakfast. The human spine was designed to move, so let it loosen up naturally.
2. Stretch it out.
There is a reason your back is knotted and tight. Sitting at work or on the computer or in the car doesn’t do wonders for our backs; it just compresses vertebrae and makes us more tense. So stretch it out, and you’ll be feeling better…no doubt. Forward fold and downward facing dog, believe it or not, are two very useful poses for back pain!
3. Scurry into the massage therapist.
If you call around, you can usually get in for at least half an hour. Ask the massage therapist to focus on the areas that hurt.
4. Go to the sauna, a hot tub, or take a bath.
The heat helps loosen things up, and the anti-gravity effect of water will help you move (and, in turn, loosen) without pain. Swimming is a great way to get exercise, reintegrate the spine and back muscles, and restore through an active anti-gravity activity.
5. Reflect on reasons why your back hurts.
Perhaps your back hurts because your workspace isn’t ergonomic. Maybe you’ve slumped for hours reading when you should’ve been reclined on your back with a pillow under your hips and head? Maybe you are hurt or upset. Our emotions, stresses, and habits affect our physiology more than we can understand.
6. Stretch hamstrings and strengthen abs.
Surprise! Your body is all connected and everything is integrated. Your hamstrings pull on your back muscles if they are tight, adding pressure and pain. Your abs support your core, which takes pressure off your spine if it is strong enough to hold the weight. So, think of your body in an integrated sense and start working to make it stronger and to make it work as a whole.
7. Heat up some milk, add turmeric and ginger. Simmer for awhile. Drink slowly and sensually.
Milk = calcium and yummy. Turmeric = anti-inflammatory. Ginger = soothing and anti-inflammatory. Magic combination! Enjoy the yummy elixir and think yummy thoughts, too, for optimum results.
8. Drink more water (and chamomile tea).
Hydration usually can cure a lot of problems over time. A lot of the problems we experience come as a result of dehydration. So drink up. Chamomile tea is soothing and relieves stress. Stress is one of the reasons we get headaches and backaches, so the logic chain commands that it’s a good idea to drink chamomile tea.
9. Don’t take a nap.
Especially if your mattress is the reason your back hurts. It’s important to stay moving (or, swimming). Swimming and walking and stretching are good things to do when your back hurts. Laying down may not be the best thing to loosen up tense or sore back muscles or pressure. I mean, if you’re super tired, then maybe a nap would be great. But if you’ve had a great night of sleep, then you don’t need to plop down again. Stay active.
10. Everyone’s favorite: Go to yoga and meditate!
Or find another way to relieve stress. Stress is the number one reason we suffer from aches and pains. So spend some delicious time reflecting, stretching, moving, and laughing with others who are also trying to relieve their hurting backs.
These backbends are great for loosening and strengthening the back. And everyone loves Kino MacGregor:
Now go out and get back to your normal spine and your normal, happy self!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Wikimedia Commons