“I do not pray for a lighter load, but a stronger back.”
(Who ended up in the emergency room with a sciatica crisis, Ed.)
Hello, Young Padawan
Today we are going to take an interest in our foundation, our framework, without which we would crawl sneakily to move forward, like an anaconda or a politician: our back.
Have you noticed that sometimes when your back is sore, you have nausea? You can’t breathe properly, you can’t walk, we do not even talk about sitting or getting up from your car because this is really Sci-Fi. Even the sexiest man looks ridiculous, even the most athletic babe looks fragile (yes, yes, I gave these examples in the right order, ed).
Imagine that your faithful servant had backaches for years. There were little episodes of pain during my teenage years here and there; then it started to be tricky around 2006 after a false move at a dance workout, I felt that something had moved inside. Not necessarily painful, but I felt like a disc had moved in my spine. And that turned out to be the case, literally. In L4-L5 for the curious.
I lived like this for about ten years, with episodes of sciatica crisis, sometimes just lumbago and sometimes it went, and the pain was forgotten. In 2014 it started to be more complicated, these painful episodes became more frequent to the point that it was starting to hit me on the nerves, to my mood, and the worst came in 2015 where I finished the year completely bedridden. This period lasted four months and a half, waiting for surgery because of paralyzing sciatica, I no longer felt my foot except in electric shocks, the impression of having a kind of stump instead of toes so I did not feel anything and finally the surgery of my herniated disc in April 2016. It went well despite the complication.
But it is not because we have had a surgery that the game is won, quite the opposite. We must be more vigilant than ever. So I started to do some research, on the Net on specific websites but also with my surgeon and especially my physiotherapist and my osteopath to make sure to put all the odds on my side.
And I naturally thought that it would be a good idea to tell you about my little experience …
– Sitting, you are straight and not slouched. It seems stupid, but it is a priority. First, sit down with your back straight, then squeeze your abs a little to contract the abdominal strap. And then maintain the posture during this time. It’s your abs that keeps you straight and strong, you’re not a marshmallow.
You’re not muscular enough to not get your elbows on the table when you’re working? Replace your office chair by a Pilates balloon. It will be your new seat and incidentally your new best friend. That’s how I got better after my surgery. I use it every day since at my office. To choose it is very simple, once sitting on, your leg should make a right angle.
Colleagues make derogatory remarks because you are sitting on a balloon? It’s up to you to determine your priorities: your health or their bullshit lol. But that can also create links … maybe you have a volleyball player in your office.
A small bonus for information: two years sitting on a ball for several hours a day and when I stand (and if I contract a little bit) you can see my abs! Yes, sir. And I am very far from being Stallone or Schwarzenegger (thanks google for the spelling help of our dear Terminator lol). That’s it if it can terminat(e)or to convince you …
– When you are standing still, waiting for the train (or your wife who has not finished getting ready), tighten the abs. Just a little, to lock your position and protect yourself from any false move (From yourself, or, you know, this moment when you’re alone on a large platform with another congener, and the guy still finds a way to dislocate your shoulder by passing along? !! But hey, we talk about the back, we said …).
– You do have to carry a heavy object? If it weighs only a few pounds, use your abdominal strap and crouch with your thighs, the back should stay straight and the load closest to the body. If it’s a more massive object, know that you’re still a sexy and manly man, even if you ask a friend for help. Because a man will always remain more male and erotic in good health by carrying stuff with a friend, than all alone crying in pain on the couch in the recovery position. Yes, I swear to you, sweetheart.
You will have understood: you have only one health, just one back, and you will not be able to buy a new one if you mess with it, so the motto is: preserve yourself a maximum.
-You have a long journey by train, plane, car, in short: all those places where you have long been badly seated? Take breaks, walk, think always to contract the abdominal strap, and get up and re-walk regularly.
– When you cook, tinker, garden: you stay upright, you do not bend down. Radishes will not grow faster if they can see your décolletage.
We contract the abs continuously for any activity: to screw (I can see you smile), fix, drill, plant, cut, saw, tear, eviscerate, … you must have your back well in place, straight and robust lumbar and abs, especially if you are a serial killer because your victim could escape #humor.
The posture is essential, moreover, good news, after about two months all these reflexes will be integrated by your brain, and you will do them automatically.
When you buy a car, you find it normal to wash it, to pour oil or washer fluid on it, to change the tires and take it to the mechanic as soon as a light flashes on the dashboard. Curiously, for your body, it’s well established that the thing has to work by itself, it has to manage by its own, like magic; except that it does not work like that.
And a little scoop: You will look like a moron inside your brand new Mercedes if you have back pain (you may not even be able to drive it). Indeed, you’d better take meticulously care of your own mount, before worrying about the number of horsepowers your beautiful German has under the hood (yes I still talk about cars, ed).
How do we do it?
– Walking. As long as you can, as soon as you can, as much as possible. Get off at a bus stop or metro stop before your workplace, park far away from your shopping place or sightseeing, if you are in a shop complex, do not pick up your car anytime: go from a store to the other while walking. When you are working, go see your colleague rather than calling him.
– Stretching. If you do a job where you are very often standing, it will concern you too. Find a quiet little spot and squat by trying to get your knees in your arms to stretch your spine and then drop the arms to the ground naturally.
Standing straight legs, bend your bust to the side, one hand pulling the opposite arm stretched to stretch each large dorsal.
If you do a job where you lie down, it is not my business (you do what you want, after all, everybody has different talents).
– Swimming. Yes, this activity that you have not practiced since 6th grade, where you hardly dared to leave the locker room for fear that your speedo is less full than your classmate’s one. Know that your little roommate had borrowed a nylon stocking to his mother and that he put it in his swimming suit, I know it because I saw the stocking floated after a dive once, so you see there is no reason to complex in life my little Padawan.
So now that you feel more comfortable in your speedo, you will be able to hear the scoop of the century: backstroke is the best activity possible if you have regular back pain. You’re going to work your abdominal strap, dorsal, lumbar, to be as strong as Hulk the day he sees green. And without tearing the shirt.
If you are a girl, do not be afraid to muscle your shoulders to the point of not going through doors, other than in profile. You would need intensive training coupled with a few injections of growth hormones and other illicit substances for that. So go swimming without worry (for your information speedo and other brands make swimming suits that no longer flatten the tits. I slide this here in case of. #nomoreexcuses).
Thanks to the backstroke you will forge an armor of all power against back pain that even Superman will be jealous 😉
– Anti-inflammatory diet. What did you think, that I was going to let you go like this, considering that pizza every day is right for your back? No, of course.
The more your diet is in line with what you are born for, created for, with your intrinsic nature (running naked in the woods), and at best will be your health in general and your lumbar health in particular. I refer you to this one if you did not have this interstellar happiness yet to read my article on the subject #Iliketooverdoit
Remedies in case of crisis situations
– To do the egg. And not the chicken. If you’re into back pain, you know that stretching is your best friend. So this exercise is about lying on a comfortable flat surface like a bed, a couch unless it is old because it will be more harmful than anything else, pay attention to the yoga mat because if you are in a period of acute pain, you may have problems getting up. For my part, I prefer a good bed from which I can eventually roll to the ground to get up #glamour.
Lying on your back, try, according to your flexibility, to catch your knees with your hands without taking off your head from the ground. If you are flexible enough, you can wrap your knees with your arms, but without forcing, the goal is to stretch, not to make you a muscle strain. Finally, if your flexibility allows it and if you feel no pain, you can try to touch your knees with your head by gently blowing from your mouth #kâmasûtra. Stay several breaths, the time needed.
It is finally possible to do the egg upside down, kneeling on the ground:
Still lying on your back, after doing the egg, right leg folded against the chest, left leg lying, right hand extended at right angles to the body like “Jesus”, you put your left hand on your right knee and rolls knees and hips on the left side taking care not to take off the shoulders from the ground. Once again, according to your flexibility, the goal is to stretch. After three or five nice long breaths, do the same thing on the other side, then do the egg again. You can turn your head on the opposite side (“arm like Jesus” side) to stretch a little more or leave it straight.
– To move. Except for an exceptional contraindication (such as my paralyzing sciatica crisis with no reflex for example), your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you that the best cure for back pain is walking. The less you move, staying on your couch, and the more you worsen the general situation by weakening even more and therefore putting your back in danger. It has long been believed the opposite is true, but all studies conducted for 30 years prove that in the case of sciatica or lumbago, the best cure is walking. Walking at your pace, not 30 miles a day, we are not preparing the Olympics.
I’m against it
And to tell you the truth, all professionals to whom I asked the question had the same opinion: All new stuff like daily lumbar support belt, t-shirts equipped with a technology that helps you to stand up straight will be more deleterious than anything else. Indeed, not only will you weaken your muscles but you will be increasingly fragile especially when you do not wear them. Worse, it will cause your body to become more lazier.
Nothing beats swimming and walking, true healthy allies for your back; there are other sports of course such as bodybuilding, yoga, Pilates …, but any miracle accessory is pure bullshit.
There you are, my little padawan. If with all this you don’t have Hercules’ lumbar during his twelve labors at the moment when he chained poor Cerberus, I run in the streets of Detroit for next New year’s eve, naked.
Muscular greetings 💪🏻