Before you read this article, try to consider that there could be multiple things contributing to your back pain as well as multiple ways to get rid of it. We are used to thinking so black and white, looking for just one cause and one magic bullet to cure things but that’s not really how our complex body and interacting systems work. So let’s take a candid look at common factors in your daily life that can truly contribute to chronic back pain. Hopefully this one article will be life changing and empowering for you!
The human was not meant to be sedentary for ten hours per day. For the majority of the time we have been a species, we have been moving as hunter gatherers. If our entire time as a species on the planet was condensed into a day, the amount of time we’ve been domesticated is only one minute! That means our bodies have been evolving to be moving for millions of years. Sitting is not natural and we need to be aware of how our sedentary lifestyles are contributing to our chronic pain. We sit to eat, work and relax at home but the percentage of moving in our day is so low! Get up as often as you can and move, stretch, walk and breathe deeply. This will help get the electricity that your body conducts along it’s meridians to move and properly operate your body. Your digestion and metabolism will not halt and you won’t get the toxic build up associated with stunted digestion. Join a yoga studio or check out some of the incredible online memberships available for classes such as www.rama-tv.com.
Besides being sedentary, we have terrible form people! We reach for our file cabinet without engaging our core, we hold the phone in our neck, we look down at our computer screens and we slouch over all day! We have to be careful with repetitive motions that pull the spine in one direction without counteracting those motions. We also shouldn’t be lifting heavy boxes of paper from our car or from the floor while in heels. If you are going to lift, you shouldn’t be wearing heels and you should keep your back straight and use your legs. While awkward movements are a contributing factor, by far the biggest factor is our mind.
Focusing on Your Pain
If you are always thinking about your pain, talking about your pain and in a negative state of mind, it’s likely to get worse and stick around longer. If you cultivate a positive state of mind with simple mental techniques, your body can begin to feel better. Affirmations are a great place to start. One I like to use is, “I am pain free right now.” Say this to yourself and try to feel that awesome feeling in your body. It’s a way to retrain your brain to actually be pain free. This is a process of neurological training. Your brain can’t tell the difference between a visualization and a real experience so doing this will tell your pain signals to stop. Do it throughout the day. Another technique I like is focusing on twelve things I’m grateful for when I notice my mind is in a negative state. It’s a fast way to shift the mind. Finally, use a very positive affirmation to charge your emotional state such as, “today is the best day of my life!”
Smoking has been shown to cause back pain because it’s affects the circulation and the disks. Smoking reduces the blood’s ability to deliver adequate nutrient and oxygen supply to the disks in the spine and this can cause chronic inflammation. This is a major issue that is just now being brought to the public’s attention. Besides cancer, smoking is now a major culprit of chronic pain. They should be adding this to the warning label as well.
Not Dealing with Anxiety
Pushing things that are bothering you off to deal with until later, can create a state of subconscious stress in your body. What are you afraid of? What is the real reason you are angry? If you sit with your emotions instead of run from them, you can usually dissolve them. In meditation circles, they talk about not resisting your experiences and emotions. It’s been said that just allowing our feelings and honoring them will allow them to not fester in our body. We can experience them without being attached to them. Furthermore, it’s been said that fear is just excitement without the breath. Often our body starts to feel anxious when our fight or flight response is triggered and our hormones shift the chemistry in the body. The nervous system goes into alert and starts to send signals to the brain that something is wrong. When we start taking deep breaths, it brings oxygen to the entire body and allows the nervous system to relax. It’s a simple technique that should be a regular part of your day to manage chronic pain.
Technology Use Posture
We are talking about looking down at your cellphones and computers. Walk into a room and see how many people, even at a restaurant or on the street are looking down at their phones. This is horrible posture. Try to minimize phone time to help your back pain or if you can’t, pick your screens up to eye level!
Many people report their back pain is diminished from sleeping on a more firm surface. If your mattress is too soft, it can let your spine bend for 8 hours straight, especially if you lay on your side. This will put the spine out of alignment and cause pain for sure. Notice your sleeping habits and try to sleep with a straight spine. It can help to consciously relax all the muscles in your body before going to bed so you don’t sleep with residual muscle tension.
Acidic and Inflammation Causing Diet
This is probably the second biggest contributing factor after the mind. The third is probably sedentary lifestyles. Remember, you’ll need to work on all of these to help your pain, not just one. Drinking two liters of alkaline water can help reduce inflammation caused by acid buildup in your body. Coffee, alcohol and processed foods are all acidic and people don’t realize that most cooked foods and beverages are increasing their back pain. Try to follow an anti-inflammatory diet with live plants and greens every single day. Use anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger, turmeric and cinnamon to help reduce inflammation as well.
Now you have some ideas to work with that are preventive and holistic in nature. We are used to getting a pill to fix our problems but those are just bandaids and if we don’t switch our lifestyle, often even a surgery will be highly ineffective at curing our back pain. Yoga, meditation and a healthy diet will be your best friends once you realize how much better you feel! You can do it!