Dealing with a bad back

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When your back goes, it makes you feel about a hundred…

On a personal note, I am feeling utterly fed up today, on account of being at the end of day three of a bad back.

As ever, with a bad back, it took a long time to create the problem (two weeks of not doing my yoga after my boob procedure), but only the slightest thing to tip it over the edge — lifting the laundry basket, which wasn’t even heavy, and shaking the contents out onto the floor in front of me. I joined them immediately afterwards. 

Back problems of this nature (mine is in the coccyx and sacrum) are usually muscular in origin, though they may be due to a ligament tearing, and the intense pain you feel usually rights itself in about four days, though it can take about 4-6 weeks before full healing occurs.

It used to be thought that resting up was the best thing for a bad back, but it’s now known that 24-48 hours is ample, and after that you need to get moving. So painkillers are in order too, to make this a little more bearable, though not so many that you overdo things. 

I follow a set regime when my back goes: ice packs for 15 minutes at a time; heat from an electric heated pad, hot baths, and heat rub such as Ralgex; a metal-boned back brace, more for security than anything else; a walking stick where required; painkillers; anti-inflammatory gel; a night-time muscle relaxant such as Tetrazepam; and yoga. Other than the yoga, all of these should be discontinued after four days, or sooner if you can tolerate it.

There is an excellent book called Rebuild Your Back, available to download from which I highly recommend for an exercise regime. If I had not reglected my daily back exercises for the past two weeks, this latest injury wouldn’t have happened, but now that it has, the exercises are more crucial than ever. 

These basically involve lying face down with your arms by your sides for a count of about 20 deep breaths. Then you raise the front part of your body into the ‘Lion’ pose, with your forearms resting in front of you, your head up and your lower back relaxed. Again, about 20 deep breaths, keeping your back relaxed and taking care not to clench your buttocks. 

If the pain allows, you should now rear up into the ‘Cobra‘ position and afterwards, turn over and perform the ‘Apanasana’ pose, followed by a full set of sciatic nerve stretches, hamstring stretches and then relax in the ‘Child’ pose. 

This is my normal morning routine, along with Mountain, Dog and Cat poses and if I’d been less of a bloody idiot recently, I wouldn’t now be hobbling about like this, unable to achieve the most basic of tasks. A lesson there somewhere if I was bright enough to learn it.

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