Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

My Spine is my Achilles Heel

How I allow a minuscule 1.5 cm organ in my body to periodically dismantle my life

Never allow your life to depend on a single point of failure (SPOF). If you do, be assured that it will undoubtedly fail you at the worst possible moment. — Murphy’s Law revisited

I’m guilty of the same.

What Are The Causes of My Back Pain?

  • Mental state: my general happiness and well-being affect my back pain. This may sound strange but anyone with chronic back pain or disc problems will probably attest to this. When you’re in a negative mental state you tend to put aside your good habits, such as a suitable diet, exercise, correct sitting and sleep posture, and controlling your stress and anxiety. In my case, I have even come to believe that my bank account’s balance is directly correlated to my back pain (I know, that’s ridiculous, or is it?)
  • Lack of exercise: I try to exercise regularly by doing yoga, running, walking, and some kickboxing. It takes a lot of time away from work but since my health has become a priority, I try to allow as much time as possible for exercise. That is until commitments and obligations rear their ugly heads and destroy the schedule I’ve so thoughtfully designed. Yoga classes get canceled, running is put off till tomorrow, and walking becomes sitting behind my laptop at my desk. I simply omit to protect my time.
  • Lack of flexibility: those of us who are constantly sitting at our desks and mindlessly pounding on our keyboards are the most at risk of losing flexibility in our muscles. I usually lose a lot of flexibility in my gluteus and hamstring muscles if I’m not careful and these eventually lead to recurring back pain.
  • Lack of mobility (Sitting too often and for too long): I have a long history of sitting at my desk for long hours in a position that could be considered medieval torture. The more I worked in this position, the more stressed I became and the more my posture became that of a modern-day Quasimodo.
  • Excess Weight: I’m not fat and to most people who see me I even seem rather lean which I believe is because of my height. But I do have excess weight that bothers me when I exercise. I need to lose about 7 to 8 kgs of fat and carrying that much excess weight on a daily basis has its toll on my back.

What to Do Before Back Pain Pays a Visit

  • Reduce your stress: excessive amounts of stress will only make your recovery longer. Your muscles need to relax and you need to have a clear mind in order to get back to an appropriate lifestyle. Meditate, practice mindfulness, read, or watch Netflix; whatever takes your mind off your fears and anxieties. Give your brain and your muscles a short holiday in bliss-land.
  • Sit and sleep correctly There is a wrong and a right way to sit and to sleep. Get used to them and prepare your environment to better accommodate your posture.
  • Exercise regularly: Work your core muscles every day. Even a 15-minute daily session of drills that target the core muscles can be life-saving. I would suggest doing two 15-minute sessions if you have the time and slowly upgrading to more vigorous exercises as you become adept. I’ve included an infographic below to show you some of these exercises:
Inforgraphic courtesy of HealthofBack.com
  • Do yoga: I don’t care if you like it or not. Yoga has been life-saving for me and I forcefully recommend it. Do it even if you hate it. Just blame it on me and do it. You’ll thank me when you’re 97.
  • Be more mobile: Use Pomodoro timers when you work. If you’re anything like me (and you’re probably worse) you won’t notice the time passing and you’ll be sitting at your desk for 11 hours. Do your whole body a favor and get up every 25 minutes or at most 50 minutes and walk around. Do a few stretches while you’re at it. I would recommend doing burpees, planks, and mountain climbers if you’re in a motivated state.
  • Reduce excess weight: I’ve tried a slew of diets in the past to rid my body of some excess weight. I have tried Ketogenic diets, which were difficult but very effective, and also calorie-counting, which has never worked for me. Whichever diet you choose please opt for one that is not detrimental to your health (I would recommend keto and Mediterranean diets but do your own research on the web), not a fad (like only eating Frosties and milk for 6 months, please!!), and that you can follow on a long term.

What to Do If You Have Lower Back Pain

  • Rest: there’s no escaping this one; the more you rest in the beginning, the faster you will get on your feet.
  • See a physician and take anti-inflammatory medication: I’m against taking medication but I’m also against mind-numbing amounts of pain. I do take medication during the first few days in order to reduce the inflammation and the bulging of my disc. Speak to your physician before you take anything.
  • Go to a physiotherapist: This is also a step that is up to your physician but I would highly recommend it. The only downside is the cost but a series of 10 sessions will get you back on your feet much sooner than resting at home can. Your physiotherapist will also give you exercises that you can do at home.
  • Do all the steps in “What to Do Before Back Pain Pays a Visit“

Conclusion:

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Jack of all trades, master of some🤔. Wannabee creative entrepreneur. I write about my experiences, routines, and future experiments. Find me on rezaghobady.com

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Reza Ghobady

Jack of all trades, master of some🤔. Wannabee creative entrepreneur. I write about my experiences, routines, and future experiments. Find me on rezaghobady.com