I’ve got a weak
There is nothing like comfortably walking straight as a ramrod, proud to be bipedal. There are two ways that I can experience this. One is via a visit to a good chiropractor. The other is to use the techniques below.
(Important caution: Common sense dictates the need of genuine care in dealing with any back problem. Consult a medical, osteopathic or chiropractic doctor before proceeding with these, or any other self-care approaches.)
First, you can try some bed stretches. Here’s how I do them:
Both of these techniques work best if you done first thing in the morning and last thing before going to sleep at night.
And when you sleep, do so on a good, firm (but not hard) mattress. If you cannot afford a good mattress, consider asking Santa for a futon (a thick floor mat). You can also try putting a board under your lousy mattress for the time being.
Try regular (or even irregular) practice of hatha yoga postures. Especially helpful are the ones known as the “plow” and the hurdle-stretch.
The “plow” begins with a shoulder-stand on a well-carpeted floor. That’s just a head stand with your arms supporting you. I cannot do a real headstand, but I can do this. From the shoulder stand, let the weight of your legs pull your feet to the ground. You will look and feel like the number “6” tipping over that way -> ->.
Hurdle stretches are easy to do. Sit cross legged wearing loose fitting clothing. Extend one leg out at a natural 45 degree angle from your hips. Reach down that leg as far as you are able, drop your head, and reach a bit further. If you manage to reach your ankles, grab them and relax. If you can’t, grab what part of your leg that you can, and relax. Hold with a slight stretch for the count of 25. Repeat with the other leg.
Lose excess weight. If you are 22 pounds (10 kg) overweight, that is like carrying a big economy-sized bag of dog food around with you all day. 44 pounds is two big bags of dog food. All that weight pulls on your back and sits on your sacroiliac. Be realistic; it has to go. If you cut down your daily calorie intake by just 120 calories (a puny amount and you know it), you will lose a pound a month. If you do any exercise at all, you will triple the loss easily. Do not scoff at a monthly 3 pound weight loss. That’s 36 pounds in a year.
Really want to feel great? Do these back-building, soreness-squelchin’ weight-liftin’ exercises:
(More on exercise at
Use a “MA” roller
Ladies, stop wearing high heels. Nothing wrecks your posture and all the muscles and bones associated with it like walking around on your toes all day.
Lift, shovel or rake with your “other”
side. This really
works. I learned it watching my Dad, who one day picked up a large TV
set with his left hand. His back went “out” and he was in
considerable discomfort until he reached down and picked up the same TV with
the other hand and put his back “in” again. I used to get a
backache after snow shoveling, a common event around these parts (I live just
Wear that purse or backpack on the “other” shoulder. Same idea as above.
Make a point to periodically notice your sitting posture, whether working, reading or watching TV. Can you improve it? Of course you can, once you become aware of it.
FUTURE TO THE BACK
You can take this considerably further if you want to. 25 years ago, I learned a gentle first-aid technique, Spontaneous Release by Positioning, developed by Lawrence Hugh Jones, D. O. (Step-by-step instructions at http://doctoryourself.com/spontaneous_rel.html ).
Backache surely is a common ailment, perhaps one of the most common of all chronic health problems. It is certainly one of the chief on-the-job time-loss injuries. Most persons will suffer backache at least some time in their lives. But the procedures described above are powerful steps you can take to prevent, and to relieve, backache.
I used to have back trouble. Now I
Copyright 2001 and prior years by Andrew W. Saul.
Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )
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AN IMPORTANT NOTE: This page is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition. Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise. Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician. Consult your doctor before making any health decision.
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