Last month I completed an intensive care period at the chiropractor and graduated from three sessions a week to just two. I hope that in the coming months I’ll be able to drop down to once a week, and eventually to once a month. For now though, I’m keeping up my appointments because I know only too well how different life could be for me right now. To be told, at the age of 39, that without chiropractic care I could be just five years away from a hip replacement was scary enough. To see my x-rays lit up before me was worse. The degree to which my spine was curving as I stood there in September was genuinely distressing. All those years of neck pain, disturbed sleep, numb arms, shoulder aches… it all made sense all in that one moment. And I cannot stress this enough. If you have a bad back please please please get it seen to NOW. And, if you don’t have a bad back (because I didn’t- I never did and still don’t suffer from back pain) please get it checked out anyway. You can never be too careful and we all need help with our posture seeing as our generation spends more time than ever sitting.
Since seeing my chiropractor I’ve learnt a lot about my own body and I’ve worked with him and my PT to really improve my strength and to rehabilitate my back. I’m so impressed with the progress I’ve made so I thought I’d share three easy ways to strengthen your back after injury or stress.
Speak to a profesional
Before I get into my three tips for strengthening your back after injury or stress, please PLEASE get some medical advice before you take any of them on. I am NOT a doctor, and I am not trained to give out advice. These tips are what have worked for me, and I have done them under strict supervision. I’m not taking any chances and I really don’t want you to either. If you’ve suffered an accident it’s more important than ever that you seek professional advice on exactly what the issues are and how you can cover from them. Back injuries are very common and lots of people suffer from pain as a result. Many people seek compensation for accidents and injuries, and this might be something you want to do too- another reason why medical advice is vital.
My chiropractor and PT both agreed that gentle pilates classes would be great for me because it would give me a chance to really focus on strengthening my core and to pay attention to my posture. I spoke to the class teacher before I began and her piece of advice for me was to listen to my body. After years of ignoring niggles and twinges and just carrying on, this has been invaluable advice. Any move or posture that I found painful or difficult, I just didn’t do. My teacher was able to give me alternate exercises, and some stretches that I was able to do at home too. The important part about doing pilates when you have a bad back is to attend a class, speak to the teacher and to listen to your body. Don’t try to do this at home because there may be some moves that just aren’t suitable for you just yet. Get some direction and be as safe as you can be.
* Visit a chiropractor*
Ok, so driving into the city three times a week on top of a busy work schedule, four children and a house to look after has definitely NOT been easy. There have been times during that initial three month intensive are period where I have seriously doubted what I was doing. My chiropractor is lovely, but it’s been a right pain in the neck seeing him. And when you’re putting so much faith into something that the NHS isn’t really investing in it’s easy to start to have doubts over it’s effectiveness. Believe me. I’ve cursed. I’ve been in pain.I’ve been inconvenienced. But at the end of November I had a progress check up and the results spoke for themselves.
I went from being 12kg heavier on one side of my body (the side that my spine was leaning towards) to just 4kg heavier. My spine has moved to a straighter position and while there is still work to be done, the results have far outweighed by chiropractor’s expectations. I sleep better, I feel better. My overall posture and balance is so much better too. It HAS been worth it, and I will continue with this treatment for the rest of my life because it really works.
*Adapt your lifestyle*
This is a rather broad tip, so it’s up to you to asapt it how you see fit. Basically, you are going to need to adapt your lifestyle to do all that you can to strengthen your back. This might be working with a PT on specific strengthening exercises, joining a pilates class, or improving your diet. In my case, I’ve been told that my already healthy and active lifestyle has limited the damage to my spine and contributed towards my recovery. So if you know there are ways that you can make things better by being proactive and taking control, then please do so. Your back is so important, and your spine is at the centre of so much when it comes to health, happiness and staying on your feet.