Cure Back Pain with Yoga
This blog is more of a PSA than anything else, so if you have back pain and you are tired of having back pain, it might surprise you to learn that the cure for your back pain could be at your fingertips.
Or at your yoga mat.
I have a lot of right side pain. Anyone with inflammatory illnesses (like arthritis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or just inflammation can experience this kind of thing. If you have a sedentary job (like, say, oh...WRITING), or you don't move around much because it's winter or because the glow of the television screen is too much temptation, then you probably hurt somewhere.
Or a lot of somewheres.
But it's not just a case of "oh, I'm old and I hurt." I mean, yes, there is an element of that, because aging sucks, AMIRITE?, but there is also a lot you can do to decrease the hurt. First off, you can also start paying attention to the reasons you might be hurting.
For example, when my right side starts to go wonky, I notice I sit with my right foot turned on the side and my left foot propped on top of it when I type. This sounds like a really great position to sit in for hours, doesn't it???
Yesterday was the pinnacle of pain for me. I'd spent several days with my fingers on the keyboard and even a break on Sunday didn't help. Since I didn't want to sit any longer, the husband and I went to Whole Foods to do some shopping, because APPARENTLY if you eat nothing but fast food and pizza, you feel like garbage.
While we were shopping, I was getting this horrific tension headache that was making me dizzy, so that made shopping fun. (Not.) I also noticed I wasn't standing up straight, and both my big toes were numb. I concluded that this, along with lower back pain that was epic, was probably due to something pinching something else...
That is a technical term.
So, when we brought our groceries home, I announced to Mr. Lemmony I was doing yoga, and because my husband is a health nut, he decided to join me. If you follow me anywhere, you've heard me tout the benefits of an app called YogaStudio. I have it on my iThings--iPad and iPhone--and it's super inexpensive for what you get. I usually tweet that I've done a session. Sometimes generically, with the verbiage they provide, but sometimes I add how I'm really feeling...like this inventive hashtag.
— Jessica Lemmon (@lemmony) August 10, 2015
So, I fired up my YogaStudio app and looked for classes specializing in back pain--yeah, they have those! Lo and behold, I found one for strengthening your back. It's a 20 minute class and promises to put your spine back in a neutral position. Handy, since mine felt as if an Xray would reveal a squiggly line where my backbone should be.
Wow. Did that class hurt.
Yeah, you heard me. It hurt. Yoga is not supposed to hurt because you're not supposed to push yourself too hard. But I wasn't hurting because I was pushing myself. I was hurting because my alignment was so out of whack, that getting it back in whack took some doing. Midway through the session, I was pretty sure my head was going to explode because my tension headache had tripled in intensity. Then something miraculous happened.
My tension headache went away.
If you have ever had a tension headache, you know Advil won't touch it. So the fact that it was suddenly gone was amazing! Immediately following the yoga, I iced two different parts of my back: just below my neck, and my lower back. Ice should be administered as follows: ice pack wrapped in a thin towel, 20 minutes on 20 minutes off.
Ice reduces inflammation and is better than taking Advil or Tylenol. Heck, sometimes I try ice first and see if I need to pop a pill or two but I don't. It's amazing how that natural fix works.
It also gave me 40 minutes to read.
(Really enjoying this book.)
I went to bed, slept on and off, but for some reason woke relaxed and refreshed. This morning, I didn't quite bounce out of bed, but I didn't lurch (for a change), and I noticed that while my body "hurt" it was more from muscle and stretching than it was from structural damage like I took a hit with a wrecking ball.
So that's my hard sell.
Back pain? Stress? Do yoga.
If for no other reason than to calm down or just unplug. It has the same instant effect as a glass of wine, and likely after you're through, you won't want the wine anymore.