Oy! My Achin’ Back

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 | Posted under Health + Fitness

I don’t understand. I’m 27-years-old and for the second time this year, I have thrown my back out.

I’ve had lower back problems for a long time. When I was in college, I started developing a deep chronic pain in my lower back that made it almost impossible to bend forward. It was like my spine had fused shut and it wouldn’t stretch. Eventually I went to see a physical therapist, who told me that I had an issue with my spine, and that was putting a lot stress and tension on my lower back. So not only was my spine kind of whacked, but the lower back muscles were bad too. My doctor gave me a list of core exercises to do, and it really helped.

But like most things, as soon as the problem was gone, I stopped doing the exercises.

My lower back still hurt when I would go for long walks around the city, but I blamed bad shoes and pavement. But then in March, while at my niece’s wedding, it happened again. It was sudden and it hurt. Even more than it did in college. I couldn’t bend at all. Not forward, not backward, or side-to-side. Breathing hurt. We used heating pads, muscle rub, and painkillers to get me through the weekend, and for the most part I was okay, even with all the pain. It last for a few days, and then it was gone.

Then yesterday, it happened again. Like March, there was no real reason. I didn’t do some unusual move, but it just slowly came on. I actually noticed it right before a run, but I thought maybe it was just because I needed to stretch and move a little. My run wasn’t very good, but my back didn’t really hurt so I couldn’t tell.

When I came home, I could barely move. Throughout the evening, it got worse. I tried a heating pad, I tried icing, I tried the muscle rub, I tried painkillers. Ugh. Nothing’s working.  I know it can take time to recover from throwing your back out, but seriously? I’m too young for this!

I’m not sure if this is a recurring problem or if it’s just a different lower back problem. Either way, I need to do something about it. I know core exercises are helpful, but I’m not quite sure what to do. I’ve heard yoga can help, but I’m not sure if it will make my back better or worse. I don’t want to overexert myself and then create a new problem.


Any suggestions for treating lower back problems?

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Comments on this post

  1. Liz says:

    Hey Allison,

    Sorry to hear about your back pain. I threw my back out in college while doing some crazy Pilates class and I know how painful it can be. I couldn’t sit, stand or lie down comfortably for 2 weeks.

    My mom has dealt with chronic back pain since she was in her early 20′s after a car accident, and even though you don’t know what’s causing your back pain per se, the answer is probably going to be the same: core exercises. This is going to have to be a lifetime thing (kind of like checking BG and taking insulin). Just add it to the routine. My mom does her core exercises as well as some yoga (nothing too crazy since that could harm her back more than help it) every single night while watching the news or some other TV show. She also walks about 3-4 miles a day which she said helps her a lot.

    For right now, while you are in pain, I would suggest taking it easy on your back. Heating pads, Advil- that sort of thing with some light light stretching if it doesn’t hurt too bad. Once the pain eases up, really start focusing on your core and doing some yoga to help strengthen and strength. And don’t stop because once you stop, the muscles weaken again and you’re back at square one.

    Good luck and I hope you aren’t in pain for too much longer!

    1. Erica says:

      I know that I get a lot of lower-back pain just from working at a desk all day and I’ve found that doing yoga really, really helps alleviate that because it opens up the spine and creates space between your vertebre. However, I don’t have any diagnosed issues with my spine, so I’m not sure I can recommend yoga to you safely. Perhaps ask your doctor or chiropractor?

      1. Ren says:

        My cousin has lower back problems, and she goes to a masseuse. My dad does stretches to loosen up his back. If you go to a chiropractor or massage place, they could probably tell you what stretches would work best for your back, especially if you actually go in for an appointment with them and they can feel what’s wrong.

        1. Scott E says:

          I would seriously recommend trying the chiropractic route. I had a case once when my back hurt so much that the pain spread to my legs and I could barely stand. Rather than prescribe something to hide the pain, he figured out the cause and eventually I felt better (it takes time!) Chiropractic has also worked wonders on my wife too.

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