Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Easing My Lower Back Pain

Yesterday in a blink of an eye, I felt that twinge.  I was just leaning down on the floor to take a picture of my cat, when all of the sudden, I felt that OUCH in my lower back.  The only thing I could do at that moment was put my camera down, roll over and lay on the floor.  I wanted to cry.  The pain was intense.  I probably did cry!

It was difficult to move at first.  I wasn't sure if I could get up or not.  The panic set in and the fears crowded my mind as I lay on the cold floor, letting the spasms subside just a little.

Its an all too familiar pain for me and not because this happens a lot, but because many years ago, it set off paralysis in me.  I still remember that fateful day of leaving church because my back was hurting so much.  I came home and laid down, only to have my entire world turned upside down.  You can read more about that in my book, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma.

I'm sure for everyone that has these intense moments of lower back pain, they probably goes through the initial query of wondering if they can walk, or can they still walk.  I'm sure the fear of this pain is very intense, but for me, it brings up that old lessen I learned a long time ago.

While I try to stay connected to my body and I try to be proactive in my health, sometimes I push my body beyond its limits.  Lately, I've been under so much stress and for the past month, I've been going almost nonstop.  I knew it was catching up with me.  I knew I was pushing that line of no return, but did I listen to my body?  Nope!

I just kept pushing and being a man by sucking it up and doing what I needed to do.  After all, our corporate society doesn't really honor taking care of yourself.  That's for a sissy, it seems.  I knew I needed to stop, but there was so much to get done that I could not do that.

Last night was excruciating trying to sleep because no matter what I did, I could not find a comfortable position to lay in the bed.  Anytime I tried to move or roll over, the pains increased a thousand fold.

I'm not one to take medication and so I try to do other things to alleviate the pain I'm feeling.  After all, if a drug does for me what I can do for myself, are medications really the best choice.  Believe me, I've almost said the heck with what I believe and no to be true and just popped some muscle relaxers.  I've been driven to that point a few times since this back pain started.

Instead, I'm using the heating pad on my lower back to help ease the pain.  The muscles want to tense up and this helps it relax a little.  I've basically stopped and am not doing anything on my list of things to do because my body needs rest.

In addition, I'm using the breath work that I know to help connect with the pain and fears that arise from my low back.  As I breathe into these areas, I can connect with them and as I feel whatever it is that comes up, I am able to allow it to let go and release and relax.  It isn't a magic pill always, but it works quite well when you learn how to do it.

The last thing I've been doing is trying to do some very light stretching exercises.  Just to stretch my leg out while laying down can be a challenge.  Instead of just pushing into the pain, I go to the edge of the pain and then back off.  Once I've done this a few times, I push into the pain ever so slightly staying connected to all that I am feeling and breathing while doing this.

The stretches that I'm doing are as follows.  These are the ones that work for me and again, I'm doing this as I'm consciously connected to the movements.  You need to do what is best for you and please don't treat this as medical advice.  I'm just sharing what works for me.  I generally lay on the heating pad for several minutes to help soften the muscles and tissue, before doing this.
  1. Laying on a massage table, I bend my legs and lift them towards the ceiling going gently into the edge of the pain.  I then release them and come back to a neutral point where I feel ease and relaxation.  I then alternate between both legs, taking this very slowly and resting in-between.
  2. Laying on the massage table, I bend both legs/knees towards me, grabbing my legs as far down as I can reach and slowly bring them towards my body.  Again, I consciously connect to this and I don't try to do an power stretches.  These are meant to gently connect, feel, and stretch.  You aren't training for the mile high jump here at this moment.
I've been doing the heating pad and stretches every hour or so, depending upon how I feel.  The more twinges I feel and the more tense my muscles are, the more I do this.  It only takes a few minutes and little by little, it helps ease my lower back pain and get me back on track.

More importantly, I need to once again realize where my limits are in life and learn to relax better than I do.  I push myself way too hard at times.  Body pain or back pain are based in the stress and emotions of life.  Yes, there are other physical realities and medical situations that bring this on as well.  If  you are struggling through life or under a tremendous amount of stress, start at that point to deal with the pains in your body.  If you are encountering other medical symptoms, then go to your doctor and have things checked out.

Even though the pain is pretty tough and rough right now, I know it will ease if I give it the attention it needs and I relax and rest.  What happens in our bodies are a window into how we treat them.  I'm no different than anyone else because I have a human body just like every other human.  Even though I've learned how to take care of myself, sometimes I still disregard that which I know and understand.

Blog Post And Images (c) 10/3/14 by Don Shetterly

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