I know my blog is all about posting ways to give secondhand treasures a second chance at life, but I figure this post is about how I was able to eliminate lower back pain and give my body a second chance! First of all, I must say that I am not a health professional and this is only a story of what worked for me. It may or may not help you, but it might give you more ideas to share with your healthcare professional when discussing your own lower back pain. Warning: This is a long post. If your back can't handle sitting for long periods of time, or you don't want to read my story (no hard feelings!) I'll sum it up in one word...Iliopsoas...google it! But, if you're game, here's my story...
For years I had suffered with lower back pain. It was always there, some days worse than others, but nonetheless, always there. It was a constant deep nagging that never went away. I tried to figure out what was causing it. This past summer, after going on a 20 mile, four day hike and sleeping on the hard ground with, surprisingly, no back pain, I thought the culprit might be my bed.
Being a naturally thrifty person, I wasn't sure if I want to put a large chunk of money into a Sleep Number bed. So I tried to stiffen my side of the bed by placing a thin sheet of masonite between some of the upper layers of my pillow top mattress. It firmed up the bed, but I didn't see any real results.
I thought another cause might have been carrying and giving birth to eight children over a span of twenty five years. Maybe my back was just tired, and if that was the case, what was I to do?
And then there was the recent work that we've been doing on a piece of property that we purchased. There are no shortage of rocks on the property and we have used them for many projects. Of course, these rocks don't pick themselves up, and rock gathering is mainly my job. And, just to clarify, its my job because I'm fond of the rocks and like to use them in landscaping. My husband has plenty of other heavy lifting jobs to do on the property!
So maybe I've spent too much time in this position...
...and placing too many rocks along seasonal creek beds, yes, they continue all the way to that blue barrel in the distance...
...to finally enjoy this...
(Disclaimer: The whole family built the bridge, not just me! You can see the full post here.)
And, there are many other rock projects on the property...trust me!
It was out on the property one day that caused the high point of my back pain. I was at one end of a heavy roll of road felt trying to lift it into place when it really tweaked my back. I instantly had to drop my end (sorry to my husband.) I tried to shrug off the spike in pain and went back to work on the tractor. By the end of the day, I could barely move. It was all I could do to climb off the tractor and up into the dump truck. I could no longer sit up and had to lay across the seat on the way home...with tears streaming down my face. It hurt so bad. Once home, I needed help getting out of my work clothes and into bed. I placed a heating pad on my back which I thought would help...wrong choice BTW, and just laid there trying not to move.
The next day my husband suggested that I go see the chiropractor. The last time I went to see him, he was having me come in 3x a week, 2 for adjustments and one for massage therapy. Now, I loved the massage therapy, but all the appointments added up to about $700 a month. I didn't see any real improvement and, with no insurance, couldn't afford to keep going. I was a little lacking in faith that he could do anything, but I was also in a lot of pain and felt it couldn't hurt. So, I limped my way to the car and braved the 15 minute drive across town. When I reached his office, the waiting room was eerily quiet. The receptionist greeted us with, "Oh, I've trying to get a hold of you all day and none of your numbers are working. The doctor was sick and went home early. I'm sorry." Sorry, was not want I wanted to hear. I was so disappointed! Come to find out, she was looking at someone else's chart when calling, hence the wrong numbers! She did offer a glimmer of hope, though. There was another chiropractor close by that would sometimes take my doctor's patients. She gave him a call and he said to come right over. I was relieved that he could see me, and that he was only a block away!
Once there, he did some resistance testing on me and diagnosed right away that the Iliopsoas muscle group was inflamed. This muscle group runs from the lower vertebrae to the top of the femur (see the picture below). Now I had taken Anatomy and Physiology in college, but I don't recall ever hearing of this muscle group. And, BTW, the "p" is silent.
He iced it, did an ultrasound treatment on it and then sent me away with instructions to ice it for 20 minutes each hour, rest it, and take Ibuprofen. My husband bought me an ice pack that looks similar to this...
I followed the doctor's instructions and by the fourth day I was feeling much better. Since then I have researched the Iliopsoas and found various stretches to keep the muscles from shortening again. Apparently, the muscles shorten when we sit for extended periods of time, or when we stoop over a lot, lifting heavy things....hmmm, maybe rocks! When the muscle group becomes inflamed, the surrounding muscles overcompensate. Eventually, this causes things to get tweaked out alignment, thus causing back pain. I have also set a goal to strengthen my core muscles. My new favorite is the plank. And, I don't mean the kind of planking that my crazy boys do! I do my planks in the privacy of my home...and without laying on top of a group of people!
To sum it all up, I am a very spiritual person and believe that things happen for a reason. I have been searching for a way to eliminate my back pain for years. It was only when the pain became so severe (and I had lifted those rolls of road felt many times before without injury) that I was prompted to seek medical attention. I don't think it was chance that led my doctor to go home early (seriously, he's the model of good health so it must have been bad), or the receptionist to call the wrong numbers, or that I was directed to a doctor that could diagnose the problem in one short visit, considering I still have no health insurance! I truly believe in miracles and that's what this was to me. I'm not saying that it's the answer for everyone, but if this information could help even one person, I would be thrilled! Good luck and be strong!
I like to link to these great parties!