About three years back during this time of the year I went to Rishikesh for a bungee jumping experience. After much anticipation, I did jump, and it had two outcomes—1. I overcame my fear of heights; the experience was life-altering, I felt free and content; 2. I invited lower back pain issues that stayed with me for good (I jumped the wrong way; my posture was incorrect and it resulted in bad muscle pull).
The back pain did change my life a lot; sometimes I ignored it and sometimes, when the pain was unbearable, I found solace in self-prescribed pain-killers; they worked just fine on my body until November 26, 2015. It was Thursday afternoon at work, around noon; I had gone to the washroom. It was just like any other normal day, until an excruciating pain triggered in my lower back and I became completely immobile. I lost balance, fell on the ground and remained in that same uncomfortable position for a while until the sanitary-maintenance lady walked in to rescue me.
It’s been a month now; I can walk, sit and loiter around. However, this one month has changed my life completely. Turns out, I had injured my lower vertebrae (some doctors also feel, I have developed acute reactive arthritis, passed on to me by my parents). Now I was told, this was surely my first attack but not the last one; this is something I have to accept as part of my life—I need to lead a healthy lifestyle now, knock off around 20 kilos and inculcate some physical activities like walking to avoid frequent outbreak of this dreadful episode.
I am willing to do it all; for the first time in my life, I feel motivated and very angry at myself for letting pain overrule my body. I kept lying on my bed for days, my legs and back wouldn’t even help me walk till the washroom; and during this time my husband replaced the strength that I needed from my own body. It is for him, I will push myself to change my lifestyle; I don’t want to put myself or him through this again.
So dear friends, there is mostly no single or certain cure for back pain; however, you need to figure out what works best for your body. Traditionally prescribed medicines will keep the problem at bay but this is surely not a permanent or holistic solution. Here are few things that could be done to cure back pain for good.
Release your happy hormones:
Endorphins (feel-good hormones) help block pain signals from registering with the brain. They also help relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, which are all related to chronic back pain and often make the pain worse. Mild aerobic exercise, slow walking, massage therapy and deep relaxation meditation are some such activities that help release endorphins.
Get enough recuperative sleep:
Most people with chronic back pain find difficulty in falling asleep or having deep, sound sleep. Ironically, insufficient sleep can make your back pain worse. This spiteful cycle makes it ineffectual to treat just the pain. So if you have sleep disorders, you need to get the sleep problems addressed too. Try drinking a hot cup of milk before bedtime or listen to sleep meditation music (there are plenty available on YouTube for free).
Workouts for your core:
The muscles in our abs and back play a vital role in supporting the lower spine. If you have a sedentary lifestyle like mine, you need to do specific exercises for core muscles. Daily 20 minutes of core workout can work wonders in the long run. Ask your physician, which workout will suit your body the best.
Cold packs & hot packs:
These packs have helped me sail through my pain-laden days; apply cold or hot packs regularly to fasten the healing process.
Cold therapy- cold packs help reduce inflammation, which is usually the malefactor in any type of back pain. It slows down nerve impulses, which stops nerves from spasm-ing and causing pain.
Heat therapy- heat application kindles blood flow, which brings healing nutrients to the affected area. It prevents pain messages from being sent to the brain. Heat therapy can be experienced in many ways—hot bath, soaking in a hot tub, using a heating pad, hot water bottle, and heat wraps that provide continuous, low-level heat are all great ways to convey healing warmth to your lower back.
Spend time doing things you love:
Enduring pain can wreak havoc on your life, disturbing your relationships, savings, and your capability to get any kind of work done. It can also take a toll on your sleep and mood. Also, chronic back pain can lead to a series of other health problems; so try to engage yourself in stuff that makes you happy—it’s a natural anti-depressant.
I indulged in a lot of online shopping; I watched about four movies a day; I reconnected with old friends and most importantly, I watched a lot of inspiring videos of people who have overcome back pain. These kept me happy and smiling.
In spite of going through severe, nerve-wrecking pain and extensive treatment, I found strength in my loved ones support. I am stronger than this and I have promised myself a better lifestyle henceforth.