How I Fix My Lower Back Pain
By Melissa Brandon | January 27, 2022
Many people have had episodes with lower back pain, and I include myself in this group. It comes out of nowhere and it feels like something really horrible is happening! But usually nothing traumatic has caused the pain, like you haven’t had an obvious injury. You are usually doing something normal, like tying your shoes, or you bend down to pick something up. I have even heard of people simply putting their pants on and suddenly they can’t move because their back is seized and they are in instantaneous pain. I have had maybe 6 episodes of lower back pain in my life, but they all are the same. Following are some of the ways I defeat this pain and get back to my life.
I read a book by Dr. John Sarno, MD, called “Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection” and it introduced me to a possibility that I had never considered before. This possibility was that the brain wants to protect itself from emotional suffering and so it “creates” pain in the body to distract you. It would rather deal with physical pain than emotional pain. Don’t get me wrong, this is not imagined pain, the physical pain is real. It usually targets a spot that has been “injured” in the past. If you consider this is possible, it will save you a lot of time and money chasing down physical ailments that could be the culprit and almost certainly are not.
When I have a back episode, after I get myself settled, I begin to think about what is going on in my life at the moment. Almost always, there is something stressful happening or I’m overextended in some way. If I identify something that is obviously (and sometimes not that obvious) stressful in my life, I acknowledge that it could be bothering me more than I realized. I take some deep, cleansing breaths and tell myself that I can handle whatever is happening in my life and that my brain does not have to protect me from emotional pain. I instruct my brain to allow oxygen to enter all of the cells in my body and tell it that I’m fine and I can handle everything that is happening.
Next, I will use a massager on my trigger point (mine is in my upper right glute) and try to work the knot out. I should explain that often the pain is coming from a location that is different from where the pain is expressing itself, this is the trigger point. So even though my lower back is seizing, that isn’t where the pain is originating. My pain is actually starting from my right glute. This is why I suggest working on the glutes (aka your butt) with the massager. Move the massager around your glutes until you find a sensitive spot. You will know it when you find it. I don’t massage more than a couple of times per day, for a few minutes and only for a couple of days. Massaging the trigger point too much will cause the pain to last longer.
Next, I incorporate stretching into my daily routine and may even stretch more than one time per day. I will stretch until I feel “normal” again. I do a variety of easy, yoga stretches focusing on the back, hips, glutes and legs. Stretches such as happy baby, cat/cow, thread the needle, and child’s pose, to name a few.
Finally, when my body is fully recovered, I incorporate more exercises into my strength training routines that focus on the glutes, particularly median and minimus. If you are not strength training, you need to start. Many people who experience lower back pain are worried that exercise will hurt their back more, but that is not true. Strength training will improve the quality of your life in ways you can’t even imagine, including reducing stress. Instead of going to a doctor looking for what is wrong with you, try booking a few sessions with a personal trainer. This money will be so much better spent than visiting a doctor to “find out what’s wrong with you.”
I know this may sound too simple, that there is probably something really wrong with you and maybe you do have a physical problem that needs to be addressed by a doctor. But if you did not do anything to obviously injure yourself and you have faced this issue more than once or twice before, see if what I have suggested helps.