Posts In: how to stretch

How I got out of back pain.

January 14, 2019

You wouldn’t know this by looking at me but I have had low back pain most of my life.  Most of the time it didn’t bother me too much.  Just when I did too much or stood around a lot.  My family went on long car trips which was too much sitting and we visited lots of museums which was too much standing and those floors are hard!

Some days were better than others.  Some days I was ok and others I could hardly get out of bed and I would have to do stretches under the covers just to get my feet on the floor.  There was the constantly fiddle-ling with my hips, pushing them around twisting, shifting, anything to get relief.  When I did too much it hurt more, and when I did too little it hurt more.  But I never really took it too seriously.  I’m an active person and figured it was par for the course. Until the winter of 2015.  I believe when we got a snow storm every Monday and I took that time to sit and do my accounting for the business.  Boy was that a bad idea!

I hardly ever sit. And sitting that long repeatedly resulted in one day not being able to put my arm behind my back and feeling some serious numbness and tingling down my arm into my forefinger.  I went to the doctor, got an MRI saw some things going on to look out for in the future but it wasn’t until I saw the good people at Chiropractic Health Center of Glastonbury until I started to understand what was gong on.

First, I was loosing the cervical curve in my neck so my neck was flattening out; not good. And second, I found out I was born with a lumbosacral fusion and an additional fusion on the transverse process to the sacrum.  This was kind of a big deal and so many things started to make sense.  Now I understood why the left side of my back hurt more than the right.  Why I was constantly manipulating my left hip and why the left leg dominated when I was a young gymnast.

I also adjusted my yoga and Pilates practice a lot.  I started to scale back on stretching my hamstrings too much which was beginning to de-stabilize my pelvis and work at strengthen my glutes and stretching my quads and hip flexors.  And in addition to starting chiropractic care which helped a lot.  I coupled that with massage and using The MELT Method and the Yoga Ropes Wall before before an adjustment.

I’m fortunate that I understand the body and know how to navigate around pain and spinal issues.  In the end my best advice is to tell you it’s a process. And be consider the following:

-Get an x-ray first and have someone knowledgeable explain it to you.. Manipulating the spine without knowing what is going on underneath the hood is not the best use of our time or money.

-Find yoga, Pilates and fitness professionals who truly understand the body and if they have worked through injuries themselves, then even better.

-Get chiropractic care and be pro-active around your appointments.  Stretch before hand or get a massage.  Even still learn The MELT Method.  These small practices can really advance your care as they tell the muscles that have been pulling on your bones to stop what they have been doing and relax so your adjustment can really take hold and get your spine back in alignment.

-Reduce your stress.  Take walks out in nature and remember this is a process.  Breathe In and Breathe Out. And finally…

-Never Give Up!

Now, I can honestly say I am in less pain than I have been in in my whole life.  Sure there are moments that are not so good but they are far and few between.  Plus, when I start going down that slippery slope I know what to do.  Stretch, strengthen, MELT, massage and make an appointment with the chiropractor and do my practice!

To book a private session with one of our certified instructors please email: hello@fulleryoga.com or book at https://BookWithFullerYoga.as.me/Pilates

We look forward to working with you and help facilitate your journey our of pain.

How are your hips?  Do you feel stiff in your hips and low back?  Like they just don’t sway like they used to?  If you sit in a desk most of the day or stand on your feet you might be tight in your hips and low back that can cause a lot of pain.  Below you will find a simple stretch that can be done in stationary chair (no wheels please) that will alleviate aches and pains due to inactivity.  So pull up a chair.

Pigeon in chair hip stretch

Sit on the edge of the chair with your feet planted firmly in front of you and sit up tall.  Now cross your left ankle over your right knee, like a man would typically cross his legs.  If you are really tight your knee crossed over will point towards the ceiling and it will feel very awkward.  In that case put books, blankets or a higher chair underneath you so your knee of the foot on the floor is 90º, in this case the right knee.  Lift up through your spine to be as high on your sit bones as possible creating a flat back.  You may feel some stretching in your hip just by being in this position and if so just hang out there for at least 30-60 sec.

If you don’t get much sensation place your hands up a wall as high as you can,  or find something to pull on like a yoga ropes wall or a bar and lean forward keeping the spine straight until you begin to feel a stretch in the hip of the leg that is crossed over.  After 30-60 seconds change to the other side.  Repeat each side at least three times.  After you are done stand up and gently bend at the waist reaching forward towards your toes.  Then come back to a standing position and take a walk.  See if your hips have a little more swing to them.  Now put an alarm clock at your desk or workstation to help remind you to do this again at least two more times throughout the day.

You will find this stretch, when repeated often, will be very helpful in alleviating all sorts of hip and lower back pain.  As always, let me know how it goes.

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

Write to Justine at hello@fulleryoga.com or find on Facebook

This week we are going to learn how to stretch our neck.  Seems easy enough but there are lots of small movements we can do to make the stretches more effective and long lasting.  Again you can do this seated or standing.  (Hint: I recommend doing this with a friend who can read the instructions to you as you do them.) Start by centering yourself using the Durga Breath we learned last week.  Go ahead I will wait……

Ok to begin, gently lower your chin to your chest.  Make sure you do not let your shoulders slump forward though.  It’s important to keep your spine long and just stretch the neck.  Your head is anywhere from 12 to 14 lbs. and more if you’re stubborn; so let the weight of your head hang forward.  You should feel a gentle pulling on the back of your neck.  Breathe.  Now roll your right ear to your right shoulder NOT your shoulder up to your ear!  Keep your ear in line with the shoulder you should be looking forward not down to the floor or up to the ceiling. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths.  Feel how the left side stretches?  Each time you exhale focus on releasing tight muscles; whatever that means to you.  If you have to imagine a puppy or a happy baby to think light then do so until you understand what it means and feels like to relax.  Now to release roll your chin back to your chest.  There are lots of small muscles in the neck and we do not want to strain them after having taken such a deep stretch.

Lift your head up from center and look straight ahead.  Close your eyes and feel the difference between the right and left sides of your neck.  Pretty cool huh?  Now repeat on the other side.

If you feel tightness in any area of the movement from chin to your chest to ear to your shoulder go ahead and stop where it feels tight, breath and allow your neck to relax.  Be kind to your neck, it has to hold up all that wisdom, intelligence and maybe a little stubbornness. 

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram