My Not-So-Great Anniversary...Life with that Pain!
So, November was my anniversary month....Anniversary of my wedding? Gosh no. Anniversary of the start at some job? Nope. This is my not-so-great anniversary. It is the anniversary month of my back injury. It now has been 13 long painful years of chronic back problems. I know I am not alone in this affliction. In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. And low back (lumbar) pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010. Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some point in their lives. So yes, I know I am far from alone.
When I look back 13 years, and think about all the physical therapy, chiropractic sessions, pain medications, MRI's and other things that I have been through and things I tried to help minimize pain, it really makes me cringe. The time and money spent on all this, can be endless. I figured I would write a quick post about some things that help, and don't help with back pain. Since it is obvious a number of you (my lovely readers) may suffer from it yourselves.
The Lumbar Pillow/Cushion- If you suffer from lower back pain, and you have to sit for extended periods of time, this can be very beneficial. It helps support the natural curve of your back. I love to use this if I am going to be driving for a long period of time. Long drives can be one of the worst things for someone with back pain, this can really help! These lumbar support pillows/cushions are pretty inexpensive and are definitely worth the money!
The Acupressure Mat- When this product arrived, at first, I wasn't sure what to think...and I'll admit, I was a little nervous to try it! It feels a little weird at first, but you have to give it a few minutes. It's not painful at all. I find it to be very relaxing actually. Acupressure has been proven to be therapeutic and beneficial for back pain sufferers. With over 7000 nail-like plastic spikes on these mats, and over 2000 points on the pillow, there are many points of contact. When used together they can relieve stress, neck, back and other pain and even help insomnia. You can get in touch with the body's parasympathetic nervous system through these pressure points. If my pain is only mild to moderate, this does offer relief. Therapeutic relief at home, without having to take a ton of pain pills!
|(a close up of the plastic "spikes" on this acupressure mat)|
Tens Unit- I have mixed feelings on the tens (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units. It is a non-invasive nerve stimulation, intended to reduce both acute and chronic pain. It can be used to treat pain in many places on the body, not only back pain. I have had this done in physical therapy, during a chiropractor appointment, and at home on my own device. (I actually have had two at home devices I have used over the last 13 years) For me personally, if I am having a lot of back pain and soreness, a tens unit will help while it is on you. However, once you stop using it, I never felt any long term pain relief. So, I still keep one handy but I could live without it I guess you could say.
|(this is not an actual model I've used, |
just an example of what a tens unit looks like)
The M.E.L.T. Method- Chances are you have not heard of this, am I right? I hadn't either until a few months ago. It basically revolves around the use of a foam roller (as pictured below). According to the MELT Method, this type of roller hits certain points in your back allowing for whole-body communication, rebalance the nervous system, rehydrate the connective tissue, and release compression in joints. I use mine for ten minutes, 3-4 times a week, as recommended. Now, if you look up the MELT method, you will see they sell their own, much more expensive version of this. I did not want to spend so much, so I looked for cheaper alternatives. The pink one you see below is the exact one I have. However, I included the link to the MELT Method site as well, if anyone cares to check out their products. I can't comment on the one through the MELT Method site one way or the other, since I have not personally tried any of them. I have only used this pink one you see here, and I have been happy with it. If you are into pilates or yoga, chances are you would like using this...perhaps even if you do not suffer from back pain.
Support Belt- I find support belts to be helpful when I have a lot of pain. I have been told by doctors however to limit use of these. Reason being as you want your core muscles (stomach) to be strong to help support your spine, and prolonged use of a back brace or support belt can have negative effects. So, I only use this when I feel I really need it. And just because I don't like looking weird, I only wear one if I am in the comfort of my own home lol.
I hope that maybe some of these things that I have tried can help some of you that suffer with similar issues. It is no fun living with back pain, and after 13 years of this, I have often felt like screaming! It can be frustrating, life changing, and can rob you of even the simplest joys in life. I have to sometimes force myself just to get up out of bed and face the day. I have pain medications, as I mentioned, but I do not like living on pills all the time. It is a never ending battle for me. I know most of us suffer from one problem or another...this is mine. Thanks for allowing me to share it with you and please feel free to share any thoughts or comments below. If you suffer from back pain and have some pain relieving methods, feel free to share those too!
Acupressure Mat http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W1SQZBW?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title
MELT Method site https://www.meltmethod.com/
Disclaimer; This is not a sponsored post, however some (not all) of the products shown here have been prior review products, but this is not a product review in any way...only my own personal list of things I have tried to elevate back pain. Please consult with your health care provider before starting any at-home treatments.