Learning from back pain

For the last 4 days I have been struggling with back pain. Back pain is no stranger to me. Having suffered since the age of 14 with lower back issues I have learned what triggers my pain and know how to manage it. Spending years learning and understanding my body the flares ups are now far and few between.

This occurrence of pain has come unexpectedly and not the same as I’ve had in the past. My usual rehabilitation techniques are not quite cutting it this time. When my back flares up, a heat pack, Voltaren, using a tennis ball and gentle stretching usually fixes my back in a day or two.

So why is this pain different? I believe it’s 2 reasons:

  1. I have my PERIOD!
  2. The Universe

As women we tend not to talk about our periods. I don’t know why. It’s a normal bodily function that happens to every single woman. If we can talk about our periods freely, openly and without embarrassment we may get a better understanding of our own bodies.

So without embarrassment and knowing my body here is why I think I am suffering with this back pain now.

Normally leading up to my period my lower back can get tight. I get hungry more, my breasts are tender, I have the occasional menstrual headache, sometimes bloating and often period pain. These symptoms usually occur anywhere up to a week before menstruation. So why was this time different. Why am I in pain now?

The week leading up to this back pain I was having some pelvic floor issues, really bad to the point of having to wear a pad to protect my self from wetting my pains. It wasn’t only when exercising but simple things like picking up a yoga mat or block. This is not normal for me. I’m usually pretty good with my pelvic floor muscles. I advocate pelvic floor strengthening to my clients all the time, and I make sure I practice what I preach. So this feeling was strange for me. I couldn’t understand why this was happening. As the week went on the pelvic floor issue resolved itself and then days later my back started hurting, not much, but enough to let me know my period was coming. But before I knew it the little back pain, had turned into debilitating pain, painful to stand, sit, walk, basically to do anything. Struggling to teach the remainder of my classes for the week I had to cancel a few sessions, which I really hate doing. I tried my rehab exercises and voltaren with no relief.

With the knowledge I have learned in my 18 years of being a PT (and of course being a women) and about menstruation and what happens to the female body during this time I knew my back was vulnerable to injury.

When my back is tight I usually ease of on my training, increase my pelvic floor exercises and go easy in my yoga sessions. But this time the pain came suddenly and unexpectedly.

And here’s the second reason.

The second: The Universe.

The Universe always has a way of telling you something. Often times we miss the signs and then blame someone or something else. This week was suppose to be a massive week for me. My trainer Rhianna was away on holidays which meant I was doing every single session. I knew it was going to be a big week so I deliberately didn’t put any classes on Monday the public holiday to have a break. Laying flat on my back for 3 days was not the way I wanted to spend my days off, obviously the universe had other plans for me. This was its way of telling me to slow down, I’m taking on too much and need to slow down.

I’ve read a book called ‘Your Body speaks your Mind’, by Deb Shapiro. It helps you understand how your emotions and thoughts affect you physically.

Here is what the book says about the lower back.

‘The lower back expresses all the weight and responsibility of being human. It supports the weight from above, just as you carry the weight of responsibility of your world. If there is no one to help with the load, no sense of being supported, this part of the back may give way’

Heeelllllooo! Sounds right.

So, what have I learned from spending 4 days doing nothing other than feeling sorry for myself?

1. I need to pay more attention to my body (signs & symptoms of my period)

2. It’s time to have a check up (hormone wise, I’m at ‘that age’ now)

3. Don’t overload myself, get another instructor if needed.

4. My health is just as important as the health of my clients. Look after me more so I can better serve my clients more.

So if you suffer from lower back problem and it’s not a result from an accident first have a look at what’s going on in your world. Ask yourself a few questions…. Are you taking on too much? Are you lacking support? Do you need help? And then check in with your body. Am I getting my period? Did I lift something the wrong way. Is this my reoccurring pain or something different?

I can certainly recommend strengthening and stretching exercises for your back. If you need help reach out. Leave a comment below and let me know what has helped you.

Sending Light & Love