Back pain will affect most of us at some point in our lives. For most people, with the right exercise and management, the pain will disappear over a relatively short period of time. For some, like me, the pain is longer lasting.
Here is what I have learnt over the years of managing my back pain.
Before I drop my eggs of wisdom on your eyeballs, I want to take you back to the summer of 2015. I had just returned to England after having lived in Italy for a while, unsure of what to do next with my life. One afternoon, while playing tennis, I went for an easy volley at the net and very suddenly and quite violently felt my back “go”. My back went, and I’m not sure it ever fully returned. Anyway, I could barely walk, had no chance of bending, and twisting was an absolute no-go.
Over the next few months, I saw doctors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths who all gave me slightly different reasons as to why my back was hurting. I also accumulated a long list of exercises I was supposed to be doing every day.
Don’t play tennis, don’t do sit-ups, don’t sit for too long, stand up straight, go swimming, go walking, do these stretches they’re good for you.
Not having a job or anything to get up for during this period I spent a lot of time resting in bed. Looking back now I realise I was suffering a rather prolonged bout of depression (something that has accompanied me since childhood), being in constant pain and feeling purposeless are not a good combination. I did spend the time becoming fluent in Italian, so it wasn’t an entire waste of time. I did manage to drag myself to the swimming pool and out walking every so often and I began to find that, the more active I was, the better I felt. Who’d have thought it eh?!
It took me about three years before I felt confident enough to go back to tennis. Tennis, cycling, badminton, walking, yoga – no problem. I know my body and its limits intimately now, when to push them and when to relax. I know that when I have back pain its most likely because my hips/glutes are tight. I know that perhaps counterintuitively, resting is the worst thing for a bad back. I know that the core is king when it comes to controlling the position of the spine. I know that, for me, running is not conducive to a pain-free back. I know that I will not let back pain rule my life ever again.
Since starting yoga with Martina, I have noticed a considerable improvement in my overall strength and flexibility and my back pain has been even less than it was before. She takes the utmost care to
ensure we push ourselves safely and sensibly. My particular favourite asanas for my back are upward and downward-facing dog, pigeon, and triangle pose.
Pete& Yogabatics Team.