You have a really, really strong back. Really, you do!
But, sometimes when something happens, like a spasm or a “catch”, you might start to think that your back is frail or fragile. You might think you have to “baby” your back.
When we start to baby our back, or move tentatively, we are setting ourselves up for injury. We start to move stiffly instead of smoothly. And, we are more likely to get hurt when we move stiffly instead of gracefully.
The bones of your spine are called vertebrae. They are built in a way that allows them to bend, twist and move in a variety of ways. The vertebrae in the neck and upper part of the back are smaller but the lower back bones are larger and sturdier.
Very large. Very sturdy. Strong bones.
Pads of tough tissue, called disks, cushion the bones and separate them from each other. The disks give us more ability to move.
Long, strong muscles run the length of our spines. They attach each bone to the rest of the spine bones so that the spine acts as one long unit.
The muscles allow us to move. Muscles move bones. That’s their job.
Sometimes we panic when our back hurts. Sometimes we become afraid it will always hurt. We may make an appointment with a doctor or surgeon hoping they will “fix” our back.
Now, I will admit, occasionally someone does have a back problem which requires surgery. For instance, a chip may have broken off a bone, maybe through an accident. If the bone chip presses on a nerve, it may require surgery to remove it from the nerve. That should correct the pain.
And, thank goodness that doctors and surgeons are available for the times when we truly need them.
But, can your back pain heal naturally? You bet!
Think about it. If you cut your finger, does it heal by itself? If you scrape your knee, does it heal? If you break a bone, will it heal? (If it’s a bad break, it may require repair but the bone will heal with or without repair. The repair will help the bone heal in the correct position.)
Your skin heals itself. Your bones heal themselves. We get germs and get sick and we get better again.
So, please don’t panic. Here are a few natural aids to try.
1. Ice helps muscle spasms. The rule of thumb is ice for the first 48 to 72 hours, and then you can switch to heat, or alternate heat with ice. Ice for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Do this several times, being careful not to overly chill your skin.
2. If there is inflammation, or swelling, in the muscles, an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen is supposed to help reduce the swelling. Reducing the swelling may take pressure off a nerve if you are having nervy pain.
There are experts who advise NOT take this type of medication because it actually might interfere with the natural healing of the body but I’ve felt good experience taking a dose of Aleve (sodium naproxen) when I’ve had muscle injuries.
3. Keep gentle movement going. Move with as much fluidity and grace as you can. Try to be graceful, not lurching. Gentle movement keeps the muscles warm and keep fluids moving through our tissues. Move in as many directions as you can using little, tiny movements.
4. Look into a good self-help program for getting out of back pain like Back Pain Natural Relief for muscle imbalances or Back Pain Freedom for nervy sciatic pain. There is a lot of good information at both of those sites with pictures that will help you understand why you are having pain.
IMPORTANT: If you have extreme pain or lose control of your bowels or bladder see your doctor immediately.
But, even with extreme pain, if you are patient, your body can usually heal by itself.
I had a client who had such pain that he could only kneel on the floor with his upper body supported on the bed for two days!
He crawled to the bathroom and crawled back to his bed. Kneeling helped him feel a little better because, with his belly supported on the bed, it took some pressure off whatever nerve was getting aggravated.
It took several weeks for him to feel well again but it did happen. He had a lot of deep tissue massage on the muscles near the spine that were in spasm. He went the natural route with movement, massage, nutrition and time.
By and by, he started walking. He walked from picnic table to picnic table at the park. Eventually, he could walk farther and farther and now is walking normally again for long distances.
Lots of manual muscle therapy, or therapeutic massage, helped his tight muscles relax and took pressure off his nerve. And he did a lot of self-help therapy with pressure points (trigger point therapy.)
When he was first injured, his doctor said, “Well, you can have surgery if you’d like.”
The problem is, sometimes surgery helps and lots of times it doesn’t. Back surgeries are done less now than they used to be because so often they didn’t help.
Often muscles are the cause of our pain. Really often.
And muscles are really good at going into spasm but they are not so good at releasing their spasm. If you keep moving gently, use ice and maybe an anti-inflammatory on a consistent basis, and get manual muscle therapy if possible, your back can get better naturally.
And did you know that posture plays a big part in back injuries?
If you suspect that your back is not as strong as it should be posture would be a good thing for you to work on.
You can find lots of articles about getting a strong back at http://SimpleStrengthening.com (And sign up for The Simple Pain Relief Newsletter while you’re there.)
Remember, you have a really strong back and it CAN heal itself!