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The ONE Thing to Do Immediately After You Hurt Your Lower Back

Lower back pain is an epidemic that used to be known only to afflict the elder population and manual labor workers. However, more lately it has been spreading through the American population to affect even people in their 20s and even those still in adolescence. For those who have or is currently experiencing chronic lower back pain, you know how debilitating it can be and how much of an impact it can make on your mental well-being and self-confidence. A lot, if not most people who experience lower back pain immediately go into the bed-ridden mentality, where they stay in their bed or chair to let their back “heal”. In this state of acuity, the individual fears movement and limits activity. However, it is also true that their flare-up lasts for several hours to days. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this severe.

Now, before I begin, here is a foreword. What I’m about to tell you is not medical advice and does not replace consulting your physician or physical therapist. What I am about to tell you is simply a combination of things I learned in physical therapy assistant school, the experiences of elite-level strength athletes, and my own experience.

Here’s my back story. I’m currently a 25-year old male who was obsessed with powerlifting between 2013-2015 and got decently strong from it. (I was just shy of a 1145 gym total at 183 pounds of body weight). However, in May of 2015 I had a minor lower back strain after a day of heavy deadlifts that got worse and worse over time as I tried to make multiple comebacks. I began to sink into depression as my hobby, youth, and all hopes of being a competitive powerlifter was flushed down the toilet. It wasn’t until nearly two years later that I gave up the notion of having a strong deadlift and focused on listening to my body. Since hurting my back in May 2015 until early 2017, I hadn’t gone more than 3 days without having at least a 6/10 pain and having the sensation that my lower back was going to snap each time I bent over to tie my shoes.

Then in 2017, things started to look up for me..

How did I manage my symptoms? How did I go from excruciating pain on the daily and not being able to get out of bed to being pain-free? It was simple. I walked. I WALKED. As soon as I got a flare-up, I would take a minute or two for the initial jolt of pain to subside and then I would go for a walk. My last flare-up was August 5. I was doing heavy dumbbell rows at the gym when my lower back spasmed violently, causing me to drop the weight and collapse to the floor. The difference this time was that I knew the exact order how things go during a flare-up, so I was mentally prepared. So I did exactly as I explained: after the jolt of pain, I crawled to the nearest bench and stayed there and waited for the pain to become bearable. Then, I immediately got up and limped to a treadmill and began to walk. That’s when I began to feel the improvement. Where my pain normally would have slowly began to increase, my back would have become hypersensitive to movement, and would have become extremely stiff, it was instead controlled and reduced. Instead of having extreme difficulty moving, I was able to have full range of motion with minimal pain. The results were even more pronounced the next day –  where stiffness would typically be at its peak. I was almost asymptomatic. I almost felt as if I didn’t have a flare-up in the first place.

As of today, I have been flare-up free since August 5th, 2017. The worst my pain has been in those three months was a 1 or 2/10, and it was likely me being overly cautious. So my main message to you is that if you’ve been reflexively resting and protecting your back after a flare-up without success, try to change your approach and go for a walk. You may end up wishing you’ve been doing this since day one.

Best of luck,

Robert

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