Finding Relief as a 30-Something with Back Pain

We might impress people with our strengths, but we connect with people through our weaknesses. Craig Groeschel

Do you ever feel as though your body is ready to retire, but didn’t get the memo that you are still a young ‘un? This past year I was diagnosed with a desiccated disc in my lower back and out of work for months working through a myriad of physical therapy treatments, exercises, swim classes, and medicines longer than I can list. (Our back was perfectly crafted with squishy discs in between the vertebrae to keep things from rubbing and grinding in an uncomfortable way. My understanding after MRI, tests and yada yada is that my jelly-filled disc has went totally desiccated dry and it’s not looking to come back.)  It’s wild how once you’ve had a medical issue you seem to find soooo many who empathize right there with you and trade their doctors info and referral card with you like adolescent boys in the baseball bleachers with their trading cards.

I simply share parts of my story in hopes of bringing a little bit of hope, relief and community to others dealing with pain management. It is no fun. You can usually see it in a person’s eyes. My mom usually says to me, “You don’t feel good do you? I can see it in your eyes.” No matter the eyeliner, the mascara or on the lazy days the lack of any of that, can disguise the truth from my momma who sees and knows before I say a word or a single gesture. When your back hurts you hurt all over. Now I hope you hear me loud and clear as not looking for any pity party (I’ve thrown plenty of those this past year and I’m simply tired of attending them…they rarely have any party gifts or good appetizers and usually I feel worse once they are over), but simply sharing what helped to bring me relief and I pray that they help you or someone you know dealing with back pain.

Here is what brought me most relief with back pain:

  1. Swimming at the YMCA. This isn’t a plug for them. I’m not getting any great sponsorship funding from them, it’s simply where the hubby and I went and purchased a family membership the day I saw my spine doctor and he said, “Get in a pool and start swimming laps.” Seriously y’all, swimming laps is a lot of work, but brought me a ton of pain relief and helped my weak core muscles and back muscles to get some stretching and strengthening without impact. I purchased some goggles, swimcap and a few one piece swimsuits and began to fall in love with swimming, knowing it was building a habit that I could keep up with for years to come.
  2. Heat and Ice. I made my very own heat wraps to keep around the house, office, etc from a not-so-fancy sock filled with lavender drops and rice. You can find ton of DIY like this link here and make your own or pick one up from Amazon like this. For me, having a heat wrap to pop in the microwave helped me after exercise, getting to sleep or just the middle of the day after sitting for too long and having that ache creep up my lower back.
  3. Physical Therapy. I cannot say enough good things about physical therapy and the wonders those folks can do for the body. If you live local near Louisville KY I highly recommend these guys and had amazing success with their staff’s plan for me. What I love about PT is that you can set appointments based upon your schedule and also leave with homework exercises to maintain your health and pain relief in between appointments.
  4. Good shoes. I have fallen in love with Asics tennis shoes, most are made with a nice gel cushion inside and really support your feet, hence your legs, your knees and that good ole back. I know a lot of us women want to wear cute heels, our sassy wedge booties and such, but I’m telling you giving my back a break in Asics tennis shoes has done wonders for my overall back health and happiness.

I share all these items in hopes that some of these tips might help you with some back pain relief. Have you found other things to help you? Let’s not pretend to have it all together or to boast our strengths alone, share those weaknesses, ailments and what’s brought you relief and it’s likely to bring someone alongside you, help them out, and bring us together a little more!

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