Once you’ve followed the BACKCoach process, learned the reasons your back hurts, addressed the contributing factors, and achieved relief from chronic back pain, the focus then shifts to maintaining your health and getting back to life. You will transition from recovery to a maintenance phase, adding the practice of “Extreme Self-Care”.
After understanding the true reasons your back hurts and then addressing them, you may find that you occasionally find yourself in pain again. I like to think of this as the “Weebles” phase of recovery, as in, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” from the old toy commercial.
When this happens, when you begin to feel that the pain is reemerging, when your neck muscles feel tight from the effects of stress building in your body, or when your posture fails and your back aches, you can simply go back to the basics, recollect the risk factors and what made you better, and make self-care a priority.
You see, when you don’t take care of your body, it will tell you. At first, it may whisper by, for example, giving you an achy feeling at the end of the day. Then, if you don’t listen and you don’t respond, it will speak to you, this time louder: the pain will increase. If you still do not listen, the pain will continue to increase until you change what you are doing and take better care of yourself.
Use the BACKCoach Model of Chronic Back Pain as a guide to what may have slipped over time. Perhaps you are not moving enough, or you are under a lot of stress and not addressing the cause of the stress or its physiological response. Or maybe you have stopped paying attention to your mechanics and are falling into old postural habits. You may not be fueling yourself properly, relying on pseudostressors such as caffeine instead, are overworking, or you’ve stopped applying ergonomic principles.
Or, in some overall sense, you are simply not taking very good care of yourself. If this is the case, shift your focus to practicing extreme self-care. Make your own self-care your primary focus, beginning by asking yourself the following questions.
What message do you send when you don’t take care of yourself, when you put yourself last? How can you expect your body to respond when you consistently don’t give it what it needs?
Then, assess the ways that you may not be meeting your own needs physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in your relationships.
Instead of looking at pain as something to combat or eliminate, consider it a message from you to you, and then listen. Assess the contributing factors for back pain and fill in any gaps that may have appeared. Then, give an honest, objective look at how well you are taking care of yourself and then find ways to provide yourself with extreme self-care.
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Copyright ©2015-present, Mary A. Williams/Corporate Health Alliance, LLC/BACKCoach™. All rights reserved.
When it comes to the holidays, it can be difficult to keep up with any health-related progress we may have made during the year. However, while our schedules may vary from predictable routines, we can still stay on track – or at least not get too far off track – during the holidays. Allow me to share some simple tips, based on the three primary contributing factors for back pain.
- Movement. While getting to the gym or going out for your regular run may be challenging during the holidays, you can still find time for movement by thinking ahead and making a plan. Keep in mind that, while regular exercise is great for your overall health, it is regular movement of any kind that is important for warding off back pain.
- Try to keep things simple or substitute a more basic routine for your usual one.
- Consider using some of your family time to take a walk after dinner, or see if any of your family members would like to sign up for a fun run.
- With a simple yoga mat, you can begin your day with sun salutations or another basic yoga routine.
- Fit in strength training in 5-10 minutes with some quick lunges, squats and push-ups, or once a day take the stairs rather than the elevator.
- If you are used to a full exercise schedule, it’s ok to reduce the amount of activity, but be sure to do something active 3-5 times each week.
There’s nothing like a catchy slogan to succinctly convey a complex concept, and “Sitting is the New Smoking” has done just that. More meaningful than the original “<Blank> is the New Black”, it’s become evident over years of research that the ease of information creation and flow brought about by technology has come at a cost to our overall health.
Prolonged sitting has been associated with pronounced increases in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Further, early research is showing that even regular exercise does little to counteract the effects of too many hours spent in a chair.
The good news is that there are many ways to make big changes in the amount of time you spend sitting each day, both at work and after hours, leading not only to reducing your health risk, but gaining improvements in creativity, focus, and energy. (more…)
Nearly all of us began our lives with naturally balanced posture. Yet, along the way, we modeled the posture of others, spent our days inactive and, over time, transformed our beautifully designed musculoskeletal systems into an imbalanced, overworked, and often-painful body framework. If we want to be healthy as we age, learning how to balance our postures and mechanics is essential.
When our bodies are not properly balanced, there are several consequences:
- Our joints don’t move fluidly, may lose some of their natural range of motion and suffer needless wear and tear because our bones don’t track properly. This can contribute to both a reduction in function as well as pain or debilitating conditions such as osteoarthritis (more…)