New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

March 27, 2014

Lori Brothers: Who’s got your back? You do!

NEW CASTLE — How would you like to stop your lower back pain or that recurring stiff neck?

How would you like to feel better? Did you ever consider remodeling your back and spine?

Is that like remodeling your kitchen?  Sort of.

Wait, you say that you don’t have back pain — well not yet, anyway. The questions, is who’s got your back?  In this case you do.

How does it feel?

Statistics predict that almost everyone can suffer from some back pain at some time in their life. Between 60 and 80 percent of the U.S. adult population has low back pain at some point, according to arthritistoday.com.

Acute back pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks and gets better without any treatment. Back pain that lasts more than three months is considered chronic, but can usually be treated without surgery.

Let me repeat the old yoga adage, “If you don’t hear the whispers, you’ll hear the screams.” This yoga philosophy applied to back and spine health is equal to Benjamin Franklin’s observance, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

In the treatment of back pain, when you can take the pressure off your spine, you make the spine more durable. Strengthening the muscles around the spine can protect your back from injuries and strain. Focus on muscle strength will naturally improve your posture and your core.

“Low back pain is the fifth-most-common reason for all doctor visits in the United States, with direct health care costs estimated to top $26 billion,” according to a joint study by the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society.

Experts recommend the use of self-care when there is no serious underlying condition. Self-care includes stretching your hamstrings, getting enough sleep, focusing on good nutrition to help the healing process. Gain strength and flexibility of the back and spine with therapeutic stretching from yoga or similar modalities.

Also consider including meditation to reduce stress.

If you have back pain, give yourself the permission to allow that pain to offer you a time to learn self-care, and an opportunity to build towarda lifetime of health and well-being. This is the time, whether you are experiencing back pain or not, to learn and to practice the tools to protect your back andspine.

Doctors, physical therapists and yoga teachers specializing in back pain are all good resources for youto learn the techniques you will need to create flexibility and strength. Tissue remodeling takes time and patience.

Dedicate yourself to supporting the back and spine that supports you. Just like other remodeling projects, it takes time.

Studies have shown that those who practice yoga for as little as twice a week for eight weeks make significant gains in strength, flexibility and endurance, which is a basic goal of most rehabilitation programs for back pain or neck pain, according to spine-health.com.

Therapeutic exercises practiced consistently can begin to establish new healthy patterns, and reduce pain. Gentle yoga is best, and safe for everyone. Find a teacher who can adapt stretching to meet your health issue.

Besides learning a back-strengthening stretch routine, pattern yourself to sit and stand up straight, lose weight to reduce the load and strain on your back, stay active and avoid heavy lifting or lift objects mindfully.

Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “The older I get, the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first, a process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.”

Whether or not you are experiencing back pain, developing your self-care program in a “manageable proportion” is wise advice. Be willing to take the small steps toward the strengthening of your back and spine. Take action. Preventing back pain is better than treating it!

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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