So here’s the bad news: Your experience of pain is real. The good news is: You can reduce your pain.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor’s office, second only to upper respiratory infections. Ninety percent of people suffer from back pain as a result of poor body mechanics, bad posture and lack of core strength. The road to recovery must include movement education, exercise and awareness. Yoga can help.
If you’ve ever suffered from back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Pain as a result of movement will quickly teach us to avoid moving. We begin to limit our range of motion, and when we do move, we reach out for any stable object in an attempt to decrease pain. We lean on furniture, work surfaces, shopping carts — anything that will decrease the workload of the painful site in our backs.
We become our own worst enemy as we shift our center of gravity, causing other muscles to bear the load. Vulnerable and weak, we feel as old as the pain in our backs.
I see clients with back pain every week. Using AIM (Awareness, Integration and Movement) techniques, we gradually decrease pain levels, recover range of motion and discover what movements are actually the root cause of their discomfort.
Some pain resolves very quickly, while some takes more time as we slowly unwind many years of adaptation to less-than-functional movement patterns. The key to resolving pain is to not create it when you move, so any movement must be very small and slow to begin with. Releasing tight compensatory muscles is a major factor, along with reducing the effort involved.
During a private AIM session or group AIM class, I direct attention to how the movement is created: Where does it begin? Once we have established a pain-free range of movement, no matter how small, we begin to build sequences and patterns that remind the brain of different options for functional movement.
Gradually the body and brain are reeducated, and the client can enjoy pain-free movement. Once free of pain, Yoga continues to affirm the retraining as well as strengthen and stabilize the body, preventing the recurrence of pain and increasing the client’s body awareness.
Yoga Nook @ Fifth is holding a FREE workshop called Back Care Basics this Saturday, October 10 from 10:30-12 p.m. In this workshop, we will identify some organic causes of back pain and help improve range of motion using gentle AIM sequences. If you’re interested in attending or would like more information, please call 805-390-8175.
See you there!
Image credit: Michael Dorausch via Flickr (CC)