After lasts weeks email about the biggest health challenge that my other “email subscribers” are facing, I have taken the time to review the answers with great care.
And here are two of the many questions I got asked :
“Paul… How do you continue to try and stay fit (gym, work, golf etc…) when a long standing, persistent back injury keeps recurring? It seems that during the course of Physio things are fine, but as soon as it stops my problems return. I know the obvious answer is more physio, but I feel this only masks the problem.
– AND –
“Because of lower back problems I have been unable to do any exercise and have consequently put on weight which I struggle to get off.
I have a quite healthy diet but really could do with some exercise. I’m sure the extra weight I carry isn’t helping my back problem. In fairness, the weight gain wasn’t due to inactivity but a thyroid problem. Any thoughts?
– Frances, Bishop Auckland.
…So, let me try and answer both of these similar questions which, in a roundabout way, I hear a lot of.
And I’ll start with Neil’s worry about why his back problem keeps happening.
I note that he mentions that Physio “masks” the problem… And I’d have to agree… to an extent… because it’s like this:
Physio can never be a full blown cure where you’re not going to suffer again.
Sure, it makes a HUGE difference to the quality of your life and can help you steer clear of pain and stiffness for significant periods…
It lowers the risk, and gives you a better shot at avoiding things like too early arthritis, but it’s not going to be a full cure.
It’s a bit like cleaning your teeth…
You do it twice per day and you even visit the dentist every six months to get ’em checked, but I bet you still get toot pain now and again, right?
And that’s because it’s just normal for mechanical things like teeth (and lower backs) to suffer everyday “wear and tear” as a consequence of “living”.
Now, physio, like the dentist does a great job of keeping you on the right track — meaning less time in pain, more time out of pain.
But the real long term success at fighting things like back pain is in what YOU do.
As in, the lifestyle changes you make, the exercise classes you attend (…or set up in your home), the type of exercise that you do or don’t do, right down to the length of time you spend sitting (even how you do it).
Neil tells me he is a teacher…
Now I bet that his day is consumed with a lot of sitting at a desk or in important meetings etc.
And that means chronic back pain is more likely because “backs” aren’t made to sit.
(It’s true… sitting is the chief cause of most chronic back pain)
The long term solution?
Regular posture style exercises to INCREASE muscle control using PILATES routines AND mixed with lots of YOGA style exercises to make the muscles and joints more supple and flexible.
One thing I must point out – “exercising” (running, swimming, golf etc) rarely makes backs stronger… and there is a HUGE difference between exercising and doing exercises.
(Like Pilates and Yoga — which are exercises that get you in good enough shape to be able to “exercise”)
Pilates style exercises are also perfect for “Frances” (who asked the second question), and she is right… back pain is made worse by the amount of weight any lower back has to carry.
But the issue is the same…
Constant pressure added to the lower back… which makes it even MORE vital to do strength and control exercises to support her back on a DAILY basis.
(The same as brushing your teeth…)
Physio works perfect alongside lower back problems to help get you out of pain and put the joints back into place… then it’s over to the long term exercises to help keep it that way.
And is that a guarantee of staying 100% fixed?
It gives you a great shot at being active and healthy for a LOT longer than had you chose not to do those exercises or take that trip to the Physio.
So, the answer to both of these questions is to be found in LONG term, pig headed commitment and discipline to doing the right exercises.
To help you learn more, I’ve dug up some articles that I’ve written in the past and put them for you here:
Click to read:
>> The Health Benefits Of Yoga << >> 4 Things You Must Stop If You Want To Avoid Back Pain << >> Pilates – You A Bum Like Pippa << ...And *THANK YOU* for all the responses... Have a great day ;=) Paul P.S And if something similar is happening to you... And you would like to know which exercises to do for the best, click here to arrange to talk to a physio about your specific exercises: Ask to talk to Sammy... She's the TOP North East Pilates instructor and will be able to help you out with the right exercises routines to work on in the long term. And by long term... I'm talking at least 3 months BEFORE you even notice ANY difference... so you gotta' keep at them to feel the benefits ;=) for more tips on ways to ease back pain, click here: www.paulgoughphysio.com/back-pain