A back diagnosis can feel like a life sentence in hell. This is understandable as your spine is a sensitive structure and can cause very debilitating pain.
80% of Americans have experienced back pain in their lifetime. If you are one of them, you may have heard one of the following from your medical provider:
"This is the worst spine I've ever seen."
"Your spine is bone-on-bone, and nothing but surgery will help."
"Injections, drugs, or surgery are the only options to alleviate your pinched nerve."
"You've inherited your mom's bad back and are full of arthritis."
I've heard all of these (and more!) horribly negative and life-altering statements from my clients. They've stepped into my office hoping to find some positive solutions for their doomed diagnosis. Once I do my best to convince them that their active life doesn't have to be over, I share the following natural alternatives with them.
Get a Stronger Core & Butt - A strong core helps stabilize your spine's joints, while a strong butt stabilizes your pelvis and hips. Together they move your body while protecting your spine. The timing of this matters, and everything works great when they are strong, in sync, and able to perform their primary roles.
Keep Your Hips Mobile - Your hips are built to move. Their ball-and-socket design gives them freedom of movement in multiple directions, provided all the attached soft tissues are pliable and strong. If your hips are stiff and do not move well, your lower back and spine often take the brunt of the movement. Your body listens to your brain to "get the job done" and chooses to move the spinal joints more than intended.
Move Your Mid Back More - Your mid-back, the thoracic spine, was constructed to rotate well and flex and extend more than your lower back. However, our often slumped postures create stiffness in this region, and once again, your lower back picks up the slack. This extra work causes stress to your lumbar spine, which prefers to be more stable.
Get Stronger Legs - Your thicker "meatier" leg muscles are built to store and release energy and lift your body up against a load. In contrast, your long and lean spinal muscles protect your spine during movement. They aren't built to lift. Suppose your leg muscles are deconditioned and weak. In that case, your spinal muscles have to do the heavy lifting. This causes stress and doesn't enable them to do their primary role of protecting your spinal joints and structures.
Find Movement Balance - The way you live your daily life matters. Many of us have jobs requiring us to sit or stand for several hours. Spending too much time in either of these positions can create muscular imbalance throughout our body, causing stress or strain to our lower back. The key is to vary the situation or task your body must endure throughout your day.
These 5 suggestions aren't easy. They take time, attention, and work. However, with just over 50% success rate for spinal surgery, the dedication to these alternatives is definitely worth the effort.
Most of the sayings about hard work paying off hold true when it comes to our bodies. If we want to feel our best now and in our older years, we need to remember this:
"Hard work compounds like interest, and the earlier you do it, the more time you have for the benefits to pay off." - Sam Altman
If you are ready to invest in your body now, I challenge you to try this "Happy Back" routine every day for the next 7 days. Tag me on Instagram @doclizpt to let me know how it is going for you!
PS - Remember, it is critical that you listen to your body and follow any and all guidelines set in place from your MD or therapist before trying any of these suggestions.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.