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Backache?

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A friend mentioned to me having chronic low back pain so I thought instead of just sharing suggestions with my friend, I’d share with all of you. Please note: I was thinking this would be obvious but I’ll say it anyway just in case: if you have severe or acute back pain, you need to see a doctor. But if you’ve just started noticing achiness, I have some suggestions. We are each responsible for our own lives and the quality of our lives, so it behooves you to start taking note of how you internalize stress. (I’ve just been dying to use “behooves you” in a sentence!)

So, low back pain – here’s a few things to consider:

How’s your posture? Maybe you haven’t noticed. Take a day, or a few days and occasionally notice how your posture is. Are you slouching? Of course you are! For God’s sakes, Igor, how can you ever possibly expect to feel centered? To find your proper alignment, lie on the floor (not a cushy bed!) and bend at your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Find a good placement of your feet so they are not too close to your body or so far away that you’re engaging your tummy muscles or thighs to hold your knees up. Just allow yourself to relax in this position. Don’t try to push your back completely flat on the floor; you should have a small pocket at your low back that is the natural curve of the spine. In this position, your spine will find its way back “home.”

In addition to properly aligned posture is strength. Does your torso constantly collapse into your pelvis because it’s too much work to stand tall? A translation for the non-technical – do your boobs normally hang around your belly button? You’ve got internal muscles in your low belly. Squeeze them. That’s right – feel that? (This will be easier to do if you’re standing, by the way.) Maybe you even feel newfound energy reserves when squeezing these muscles. If the lower section of your belly is mush, it doesn’t provide good protection or support for the delicate lumbar spine. Lift your rib cage up out of your hips, lengthening your spine. Aaaahh. Space. Practice making this space throughout your day whenever you think of it. Also, a good yoga pose for strengthening the low back is Chair Pose. On an inhale bend your knees and bring your arms overhead, keeping hips aligned over your ankles. Look up at your hands (Don’t if you have neck pain). Stay here, inhaling and exhaling, squeezing those low belly muscles on your exhales.Utkatasana2

Another way to look at low back pain is via the chakras. If you’re not familiar with chakras, they are energy centers that correspond to areas on the physical body, as is understood in Eastern medicine. The low back sits right at the Sacral Chakra – the chakra of personal power. What is your relationship to POWER? Always feel defeated? Feel like you’re not in charge of your own life? Or that you have no control over your life? Or that whatever you do you’re never good enough? What is your relationship to money? Worried that no matter how hard you work you’ll never be secure? If this resonates with you, you may need to give yourself an intervention from negative thinking. Strong emotions can alter our physical body just as issues in the physical body can illicit certain emotions.

Another consideration is – Are you constipated? Yep, I just went “Dr. Oz.” If you’re frequently constipated that can give you low back pain. And in that case, eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains. But you already knew that, didn’t you? *wink*

Let me know if any of these help! Take care!

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