Note to Self:

I could tell you all that stuff but, quite frankly and without wishing to offend, it would be bollocks. There’s no excuse. I am in pain because I did not take my own advice. I knew damn well that the muscles in my lower back were tight and a little inflamed but, having discovered the new challenge of running up all the stairs around here I just ignored it.

“Did you or did you not write a post about the importance of taking rest days?”

“Ummmmmmm………yes?”

“Don’t say another word, I can’t even look at you right now”

ShameI could tell you that, after a few days of non-stop rain, the sun came out and I was determined to make the most of it by getting outside. I could tell you that I didn’t actually intend to take a 5 mile hike involving lots of stairs and hills but I got carried away with the music blah blah blah. I could tell you that my best friend wanted to go to the gym and I couldn’t really say no. I could tell you that I will have to be in my sick bed or on my death bed before I’ll give up my twice weekly Pilates classes.

I could tell you all that stuff but, quite frankly and without wishing to offend, it would be bollocks. There’s no excuse. I am in pain because I did not take my own advice. I knew damn well that the muscles in my lower back were tight and a little inflamed but, having discovered the new challenge of running up all the stairs around here I just ignored it. I also knew that my adductor  muscle (inner thigh) in my right leg were playing up and that would exacerbate the lower back pain. So, did I gently stretch my adductors which I know is the right thing to do or did I demonstrate to my best friend how to use the adductor machine in the gym using too much weight just because I was showing off? I think you can guess..

Back painThe result was 2 days of hardly being able to straighten up because the muscles in my lower back were in spasm, 200 euros spent on massages and ibuprofen and paracetamol every few hours to make the pain bearable. One week on and I’m still in pain and still on a restricted exercise programme, I’ve also had to restrict my diet because I can’t exercise like I normally do. (On the upside I did get some good quality sunbathing in before it started raining again and I finally got to watch Fight Club which turned out to be a brilliant, if somewhat strange violent film)

The moral of this story is don’t give advice to other people if you’re not prepared to take it yourself…..lesson learned (hangs head in shame)

Lisa

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If It’s Rigid All the Time, It’s Gonna Hurt!

I won’t say that I never have back pain now – I work out a lot and occasionally get aches and pains as a result but I know now how to deal with it and it’s not by reaching for a pill bottle or taking to my bed for a few days.

Do you suffer from a bad back? Do you find yourself half scared to move in case you bring on another ‘twinge’? Have you found that, if you stay rigid and in one position your back doesn’t feel so bad….for a few minutes and then it gets worse and you have to find a new position? How long is it before you reach for the pain killers?

If you have a muscle spasm then an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen can work well but a pain killer will only mask your symptoms for a while, enabling you to carry on working but also allowing you to exacerbate the problem if you’re not careful.  You will also find that pain killers will have less and less of an effect over time as your body becomes tolerant to them and so, to keep the same amount of pain relief, you have to up the dosage or opt for a stronger product.

I suffered from back pain for years after being in two car crashes and several horse riding accidents and I was told, at the time, stay in bed for a few days and you’ll be fine. Did this advice help? No. I wasn’t sick, I didn’t need to sleep for hours on end during the day so just lying about in bed meant that I focused more on the pain which got worse as the muscles around the affected area tensed up as well. After one particularly horrendous episode, almost all the muscles in my back went violently into spasm and I was prescribed Diazepam and co-codamol and more bed rest. On this occasion the spasms eased off because the Diazepam relaxed my body to the point that I was completely away with the fairies. After that I had numerous appointments with Chiropractors and then the doctor again, who gave me more pills and told me to rest and then, thank God, I discovered Yoga.

I won’t say that I never have back pain now – I work out a lot and occasionally get aches and pains as a result but I know now how to deal with it and it’s not by reaching for a pill bottle or taking to my bed for a few days. I simply perform these stretches, each one for a few minutes at a time:

knees one side yoga
This pose will stretch your lower back; if you find that the position is too strong, you can keep both knees bent and roll them first to one side and then the other

catandcow poses_550x131
Cat stretch and cow stretch is a wonderful combination of stretch and extension and will give you increased spinal flexibility. Start in a neutral position and then alternately arch and round your back nice and slowly

knees to chest
Lying flat on your back and then hugging your knees to your chest is a fantastic way to release tension in your lower back. Breathe throughout, keeping your back flat to the floor and slowly and gently bring your knees closer and closer to your chest

childs pose
Child’s pose will gently stretch the muscles in your back and sides and is wonderfully relaxing. Start in a kneeling position and then gradually ease your arms forward with fingers outstretched until your forehead is resting on the floor and then just breathe

I’m not a doctor and, if you have back pain you need to get a diagnosis from a professional but my personal experience has taught me that movement is far more beneficial than rigidity!

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