“Oh my aching back!”
“Oh just live with it”, she snapped.
“Back Pain, it’s the McKay curse”, he mumbled.
And I wondered why, yet again.
I heard this many times while growing up but could not figure out what the McKay Curse was. But then, in my late teens, I noticed it in my own back.
I fancied myself a runner, but after only a mile or so, I had to lie down to recover from my own aching back.
Not so cool when you’re 19 years old.
Most people are not like me. Even though stats say 80% of adults will experience significant back pain some time in their adulthood, most people will never need surgery. I was born with a birth defect where the facets in my lower lumbar did not develop properly in the first place. It was only a matter of time when surgery was going to be necessary.
I’m not a victim. What has saved me from additional surgeries was developing a self-care strategy – a combination of effective exercise and effective rest and recovery.
When facing back pain we need both an exercise strategy and a rest strategy and we should talk about them both.
If you have back pain, doctors will tell you to rest and, when you feel able, to then engage in modest exercise.
I am convinced that even a little bit of exercise can help back pain. My observation is that most folks recover from moderate or intermittent back pain within a few days or weeks using modest exercise.
Just simple walking can be excellent. Get out there! Just do something – so many things can help!
I do a lot of different things. My favorite is light bouldering, which is like rock climbing except you do it sideways along a wall – no ropes and no falling. It engages my core (very important for back support) and gives my back a stretch at the same time.
My top priority – I want quality rest in the shortest possible time frame.
Here is my rest strategy checklist:
1. Takes very little time – only 1 to 3 minutes
2. Conveniently fits into my schedule
3. Immediately and positively impacts my body
4. I feel very refreshed immediately afterward
5. Helps me prepare for exercise and also quickly helps me recover from exercise.
A valuable self-care strategy for dealing with back pain requires both: effective exercise that you will do and effective rest and recovery – so we can get on with life and living.