PROTECT YOUR LOWER BACK
I am one of those who like to pass on, to those interested, important practical lessons to learn based from actual experiences.
This is written more for the impulsive youths in their early 20s or late teens who think they are indestructible and that nothing is impossible.
I was once that youth in my mid-20s and as I went to my 60s, I had been paying quite a price for my recklessness all the years that my lower back problem started plaguing me.
If there are those in their 30s, 40s, and 50s that could, somehow, relate to the kind of injury I had had with my lower back and the pain suffered and endured in later years and still be able to learn something new from my experience, then it pleases me to know that I am of help.
Lower back pain, as we all know, is one of the most common ailments man has been subjected to. And my reason for writing this article, as a layman, is so you would start thinking more about your lower back and giving it better care and proper attention.
There are many causes of low back pain. My particular injury happened when I improperly lifted a heavy weight. Instead of lifting it with bended knees, I lifted it bending over with my legs straight. As soon as I pulled the heavy weight up, I could feel my lower back’s muscles/ ligaments s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.
I felt an excruciating pain. I blacked out and a medic had to be called. I was made to lie on my back with pain killers to take and needed complete rest for a couple of days more.
I realized then that in the process of improperly lifting the heavy object, I strained my lower back muscles/ ligaments that support the spine.
It did not take long before I started doing my job again of driving, moving, loading and/or piling heavy things. But at the back of my mind I kept reminding myself that, sooner or later, as we age, the agonizing pain will recur.
True enough, when I was in my mid-30s trying to smash hard a ball in a game of tennis, my lower back snapped and a terrible pain ensued that left my body in S-shaped form. The muscle spasm was severe that you can’t do without pain relievers and I was back flat on my back in bed resting.
It was during these times that I got terrified, for even in brushing my teeth I could not do without either bending my knees or putting my left arm up front against the wall to help prop me up or put my left hand upon my bended left knee to support my upper body. The latter is what I am used to doing now.
Since then it has been a learning process of awareness and coordination of your body parts. You become more observant and perceptive of what is necessary for your body to avoid unnecessary lower back pains. You start paying more attention to the do’s and don’ts.
You learn not to wear hard-soled shoes. You keep reminding yourself not to make sudden movement or reflexes. You get conscious about your walking, sitting and your sleeping posture. Almost always you need to have a support behind your back when sitting or driving for a long time. You are watchful of what you eat so you won’t gain that much weight that could stress further your lower back.
For years I was sleeping on a hard surface and this helped me a lot. There is nothing worse than a soft, sagging, non-supporting mattresses or cushions for one who has a lower back problem.
With a lower back problem your activities are curtailed and this becomes very frustrating. You can’t even think, much less enjoy having sex until the pain is gone. Tell me that it isn’t so!
More than seeking the assistance of a medical doctor now, I have learned to go out of my way to look for exercises suitable for my back.
Consulting a physical therapist is even better as they are trained to evaluate rehabilitative program needed not only to treat a particular back problem but also to build strong supporting abdominal, leg, and back muscles.
What has been helping me a lot are the stretches that I make as soon as I wake up and before starting the day. Among other exercises, the hamstring stretch, knee-to-chest raise, lower back rotation and half sit-up are doing me good.
This may be odd, but one sure thing that helps is following the way a cat stretches by curving its back upwards then bringing it downward with your hands and knees on the floor. While still in the same position, try moving your body backward and stretch with knees bending a little.
All of these exercises help limber up our stiff back and hips.
There is no simple solution to back pain. The doctor can guide you on some steps to recovery, but for a durable pain-free back the solution is almost always up to you.