The Dark Period
It was one of those warm evenings of June 2016, when I had gone to the gym to hit legs workout. Weight-lifting was something new to me, and despite following a strict routine under the guidance of a professional trainer, I used to make several mistakes that got me severe scold-worthy doses from him time and again. That particular day, I went straight to the squats rack, did some repetitions, and came back to home. Everything went well for the remaining duration of the day, but the next morning, I couldn’t get up from my bed.
Reason: I did the squats with the wrong form, and got myself a deadly back pain. Somehow, I managed to get a hold of my mobile phone that laid on the bed-rack and googled some remedies to fix my back pain. The first link suggested to put a hot bag on the back, the second link advised to use the cold bag instead, the third link propagated mild stretching exercises, and the fourth offered a Spine clinic advertisement near my area. Google left me frustrated and furious. I felt anger inside me since I had been putting my heart in following the Keto diet since a fortnight and was in no mood to miss the gym at all.
Somehow, I managed to get up from my bed and called up the nearby medical store to deliver some painkillers, and an electric heat pad. After popping in a painkiller, and using the heat pad, I got some relief from the backache and decided to go to the gym. Since it was the day marked for the chest workout, my back did not hurt at all, and I thought that everything will be fine in a day or two. Mistake, Mistake! As I went to do my leg curls on the following day at the gym, I felt a sudden gut-wrenching pain on the same spot at my back; it was so acutely painful that I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I screamed I could not move, I called for help. My trainer helped me to get up from the machine, helped me with the hot bag thing, and I managed to go back home safe and sound. I slept for the remaining part of the day only to wake up to experience hell the next morning. I used my electric heat pad again, popped in more painkillers and fixed an appointment with a physiotherapist. My therapist advised me to take 14 sessions at her centre which cost me nearly 5,000 INR. But it did not help much and the backache continued to ruin my mornings. I was also asked:
To avoid any leg or lower back workout
To not sit for more than 20 minutes in a single stretch
To change my mattress frequently
To take medicines
To not stand for longer periods
to avoid any additional stress on the back
My diet suffered. My gym workout suffered. I felt miserable and experienced borderline anxiety issues. I almost felt like a handicapped person dealing with pain every time I had to change my body posture. No lower body workout changed my form as well that led to chicken legs and self-image issues. For the whole eight months, I suffered physical and mental torture due to this one thing- one lower back pain! But today, things are pretty different. Want to see how? Check out the following video of me doing 150kg dead-lifts that I shot a few days ago:
Towards the Light from the Dark
Well, I fixed my back. There are hardly any instances when I feel pain in my back now. I feel active and rejuvenated more than ever, and can perform any form of workout and cross-fit activity. I can stand for hours and sit for hours (not advisable though), and change my postures as many times as possible without any difficulty. The mornings feel bright and beautiful now. How did I manage to achieve it? Follow up:
- Replace Heat Pad with Ice Pack: Internet is both a boon as well as a bane; at times it can make your doubts clear, but at other times, it can also drop you into more deep and dark periods of difficulties. I followed the first link on the Google Search that advised me to use the heat pad for the relief from backache. It surely gave me instant relief but also led to the inflammation of muscles. My physiotherapist, on the other hand, advised me to apply the ice pack twice a day and to follow R.I.C.E (click here to know what it is). Though there is still an ongoing debate on whether the heat is better or the ice, yet for me ICE worked perfectly well for long term relief from physical pain.
- I changed my mattress: The mattress which we generally use during our bachelor days are of no use. I am talking about these cotton mattresses. (link). I replaced mine with Sleepwell hard mattress. Too soft mattresses, like the ones we find in hotel rooms, are good for nothing; they only harm your body in the long run. Moreover, nowadays, there are many gel mattresses available in the market, which are the most beneficial.
- I did not rest on the bed for extra hours: The first thing your doctor would recommend you is to rest as much as possible in order to reduce backache, but I personally don’t think so. Resting beyond a point makes backache worse. You must move your body constantly in order to maintain the healthy circulation of blood in the muscles. 8 hours of sleep in a day is more than enough.
- I started sleeping with a pillow under my knees: Avoid sleeping on your stomach and start sleeping with a pillow under your knees. It helps in keeping your spine straight and provides great relief to the back.
- This yoga healed me: When I was searching through forums on the Internet, I came across this video. I started doing this 10 min. yoga routine every day before my workout, It helped in strengthening my hamstrings so well that my lower back pain vanished. Yes, strong hamstring = less back pain. I highly recommend it: 12 minutes of Foundation Training
- I used the following supplements:
Vitamin D3: GET IT CHECKED! If you have vitamin D deficiency, there are high changes of backache and/or pain in the joints. Start supplementing it. I do three months course twice a year and for maintenance, I take this: https://amzn.to/2niVgYx
Animal FLEX: This product has hyaluronic acid which apparently helps in providing lubrication to the joints. This one particular thing healed my backache and wrist injury magically. I take it once a year. : https://amzn.to/2ASOv9b
Glucosamine: You can consult your physician before taking this one. I take 1000mg. It helps me to keep my joints stronger.
- Dead-lifts: Yes! Believe it or not, dead-lifts- both sumo and conventional, with proper form, help a lot in fixing your lower back pain. Begin with the lightweight and gradually push your limits. Dead-lifts helps in strengthening hamstrings, and you know how hamstrings are connected with the back. (though use belts and other protective gear when you are lifting heavy)
- Camel and Cat stretch: I perform these two days before the actual workout. Most of the physiotherapists recommend these exercises.
- Healthy Diet: Fixing up your protein intake helps a lot. There is a reason why they are considered as the building blocks of life.
Let me know if these tips work for you. See ya!