My back injury re-hab
It happens a few times every year – I re-strain my low back. My injury is completely unpredictable. Once I finally stopped trying to figure out why it kept happening, I finally felt less frustrated by it.
My back injury is a muscle injury as opposed to an issue with my vertebrae (well technically, it’s affected, but that’s too complex for a rookie). Ironically, the only thing that really seemed to help was pregnancy – seriously.
Here’s my theory about my injury: It stems from a lifelong posture and imbalance issue. I have a dramatic low back curve. I do a lot of work to strengthen my feet, my deep abdominal muscles and I have to be very careful to engage my abs in extension.
I re-injured my back this week so I’m all about TLC. I still need to be a parent and an employee – two very hard tasks when you can barely get off the floor. I wanted to share my process of re-habing my back.
Note: Back injuries are like snowflakes – no two are exactly alike so please be careful. These injuries can also get better for a short time and then return with a vengeance so make sure you’re consulting experts (I am not an expert).
- ICE ICE ICE – heat does not help me at all. I need to get that inflammation out of my body and fast so I ice for 20 minutes a few times a day.
- Ibuprofen – this also helps with inflammation, even though I hate taking it.
- Keep your spine in neutral – when my back is spasming or close to it, I stay in a neutral spine. I do the same for my clients.
- Back brace – these are a bit controversial, but I like my back brace. It feels like it triggers my abs to engage more when I’m sitting for long periods of time. It is rubber and velcro’s around my waist.
- Move when out of spasm – once my muscles aren’t freaking out, then I move. Here are my go-to exercises:
- Cat/Cow: on hands and knees, I round and arch my back. I keep my range of motion small and my abs pulled in tight.
- Pelvic tilts: On my back with my knees bent, I press my low back into the floor and then arch it over and over and over again. Again, I keep my abs in toward my spine so it’s a very small movement.
- Leg lifts: I try to fire my deepest ab muscles quickly. I lie on my back with my legs up towards the ceiling and squeezed together. I lift my head, neck and shoulders and lower and lift my legs a few inches (this can also be done with bent knees).
- Leg Pushes & Pulls: On my back, I lift my head, neck and shoulders with my knees bent into my chest. Then I press my legs out (to where I can control keeping my hips and tailbone down) and pull my legs back in. If that’s too much, start with one leg.
I repeat this system until I finally feel better. I know to listen to my experience rather than my body. My body always thinks it needs lots of stretching and heat, but that always makes it worse.
There are way too many of us with back pain. If you’re like me, I hope those reoccurrences are few and far between.