I have a long history of back problems, dating back to 1999. In this post, I want to talk about ways you can help yourself with back pain. This is something I have NOT done a good job of over the years. I have spent a lot of time in doctors’ offices and pain clinics, only to mostly have them give me painkillers and tell me I need to have surgery. There have been no real recommendations on how to fix the source of the pain and move on.
October 1999 I had back surgery, this is something that I regret to this day. I was a very active 27-year-old man and aside from a few sprained ankles as a kid, I had never suffered any kind of severe injury that would require surgery. Back surgery was not a long-term fix for me.
I know that hindsight is 20/20, and looking back is so easy to do. Had I known in 1999 what I know now, I would not have had back surgery. I have had a lot of time to reflect and determine how to make changes going forward. I think as I get older, I have gained more perspective as well.
I have had many more back problems over the years even after having surgery, and I think making changes to my lifestyle would have served me well. Most of my back problems were brought on by the activities I was doing and the movements I was making.
In 2007, I was running a lot and did some minor disc damage. In 2009 I was lifting heavy at the gym and blew a disc. There was the time in 2011 when I blew a disc when I was putting a new roof on my patio. In 2015 I blew a disc and sprained my pelvis as a result of stupid things I was doing at the gym (there is a theme here).
Things I wish I would have done differently
As I mentioned, I have always been a very active person, and I didn’t want to let a lousy back slow me down. That said after I had surgery I was not about to let that slow me down either. I always viewed slowing down or limiting my activities as a sign of weakness, or getting old. So, I continued doing all of the things I had enjoyed in my life, regardless of what it was doing to my back.
One of the things I really wish I would have done more of was asking for help from other people. What I mean here is asking for help lifting or moving heavy objects. This was my fault for letting my ego get in the way. I always wanted to prove that I was capable and didn’t need anybody’s help. This is something I do now, but I wish had I done this more in the past.
I wish I would have been better about working my core muscles to help protect my spine. Working out my core used to mean just doing a bunch of crunches. I used to hate working core muscles because it was so boring. I know now that there are much more “back-friendly” ways to work out my core. This is something I wish I would have researched more.
In general, I should have been better about doing more research about working out with a bad back; I probably could have saved myself some misery. I should have read some books, or asked more questions of my doctors, instead of just doing what I was told.
I never really had any good advice about limiting my activities, or maybe I just didn’t listen, that is a very strong possibility too.
Do your own research
Of course in this day and age, information is readily available anywhere and everywhere. Some of the places I turn to for information on back pain are:
- Quora – There is a lot of great information on this question and answer forum. You can sign up and search for topics like “Back Pain,” “Lower Back Pain,” “Chronic Low Back Pain,” You can ask questions, or answer questions. I have seen a lot of great information on this site.
- Spine-health – This is a great place with a TON of information about all things to do with back pain. This site has been developed by medical professionals. In addition to a lot of great articles published here, you can also find a doctor or spine center. There is also a forum where you can engage with others.
- backfitpro.com – I have recently discovered Dr. Stuart McGill’s site from one of his books I have read. On this website, there are links for clinicians as well as the back pained individual. Dr. McGill has written quite a few books including Back Mechanic and Ultimate Back Fitness and Low Back Disorders to name a few.
This site is loaded with great information, including podcasts, and DVD’s you can buy. Dr. McGill’s philosophy is to find the source of the pain and help you find pain-free movements so you can live an active life.
These are just a few of the many resources available for people with back pain. The more research I do, the more I find. Of course, there are sites like WebMD that also have a lot of great information.
If you suffer from back pain and feel like there must be a better way to help yourself, I encourage you to do what I have done and start doing your own research. There is no one size fits all for back pain, so every one is unique.
Also, by doing your own research, you will be better prepared when you do visit your doctor when back pain strikes.
Thank you for stopping by today. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.