A life Without Back Pain - A Journey
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
So, to say it's been an interesting couple of weeks would be a vast understatement. From what I can tell the media blitz is still in full effect. So, in accordance with the CDC request I have relegated myself to almost total lockdown. Aside from the occasional stroll with the girls and my dad, when the rain finally lets up, and a basic trip to the store, with a ton of post-trip hand sanitizer, I have stayed on lockdown. After the initial lack of sunlight on your skin depression wore off I started to become more aware of a severe back pain flare up that was becoming quite nagging. Now, mind you, I've been dealing with chronic back pain off and on for the past 10 years or so. As a hockey player, you generally commit to knowing that at some point in life you're going to pay the price for constantly being in a half bent over to get in a position suitable for a stronger skating stride. And even more damning is the time after when you're real life starts to take the primary focus and you spend the better part of your life sitting in a chair weakening all of those muscles that once kept your body in peak positioning and in great condition. But, it doesn't take long before the body forgets the old ways and things for a lack of a better term - get out of whack. And so the days of NSAIDs (Ibuprofen and Aleve), ice packs, heating pads, muscle relaxers and chiropractor visits begin to find regularity in your life. I do try to work out consistently and have even tried to strengthen some of the weak points on my body to help.....but a lot of damage has been done. It has at times become cumbersome to even play sports with my kiddos or to simply bend over to pick something up.
Let's fast forward to Saturday night. It's about 8:30 pm and I'm in my recliner scrolling through social media while my daughter watches a movie for the 15th or 16th time in a row, it's hard to keep track. I'm scrolling through Facebook and the ads are popping up on my feed from searching for information about the percussion massagers that have become quite popular by athletes and dad bods alike (mine will get here next week) when an ad for a gentleman named Dr. Ryan Peebles popped up. Dr. Peebles is a physical therapist by trade but now works in a slightly different fashion where he actually coaches individuals on identifying the causes for degenerative disk syndrome and works to allow the individual to re-establish their strength through Core Balance Training. The reason I'm writing this here is that I have decided to join in this journey with Dr. Peebles and Remember My Life Before Back Pain! This will not be a simple process and will take an initial daily dedication for about 2-3 months to really get the basics down and re-establish a new pattern of balance in my core. I will be chronicling this journey here on my blog to 1. Keep me accountable and 2. Allow others to see that even though you have lived a life of pain and discouragement that there is always hope.
So with no more pomp and circumstance I will tell you about day one for me. I will preface this by saying my intention isn't so much to dialogue about the exercises themselves (don't want to give away the trade secrets) but to talk more about the psychological, spiritual and physical adaptations and evolution that will take place on the way. The idea is to spend about 15-30 minutes a day (preferably in the morning when I'm fresh) to set a new pattern of core strength. I receive a daily email in the morning to give me the "lesson" for the day and will normally have 1 short video. Day 1 had two, but both were fairly short and have very detailed information about fundamental exercises to build a solid foundation from which to work. I was gung-ho this morning. While my daughter chatted on a video with her teacher and other classmates to introduce the new online presentation of her curriculum I simply plugged in my Airpods and watched the videos on my yoga mat and got to it. I found it to be like any new introduction. I was totally not used to breathing these ways and using these muscles and it was fairly uncomfortable, lol. But, I immediately saw things that made sense to why my back has gotten so out of shape and how these exercises will be of great benefit. Initial buy in, check. Spent the allotted time, check. It was a small moral victory. I am very familiar with the strain and pain of starting a new workout routine so I feel like I may have been reasonably prepared. And, actually throughout the day, I found myself working and focusing on the breathing techniques, but of course not all day. Subconscious reprogramming takes time. Now, for those of you who like to do yoga or have tried your hand at meditation, then this will make sense. I have used meditation as a tool to help combat anxiety over the years but I've been no yogi master. To say I've been inconsistent would be on the up side. I have however been more focused with my new found time on this school hiatus (I am a middle school teacher) so I've had less of an excuse to set aside 10 minutes to focus on my breathing. Now, I have two reasons to focus on soley breathing. Which oddly is harder than you'd think until you practice at it. Later this evening, I sat aside another 15 minutes to be an overachiever and work my techniques. And even though I did sadly break a sweat doing so, I made it through successfully again . Two victories in the first day, hell of a start! Tune in tomorrow to see how day 2 goes. I'll need all the help I can get.