My back was strong all my life and never gave me any problems. I was proud to have such a strong back. I could lift just about anything I set my mind to – within reason, obviously I couldn't lift a car! I should shove a refrigerator into place bracing my body against it and not give a second thought. When I was 21 years old, I could lift a 70 pound tank of gas onto the back of a forklift. That was pretty impressive for a 5'4″ 125 pound young woman.
And then one day in 2014 for no good reason my back started to hurt. Real bad.
And I did what I had always done with pain. Of course I powered through.
When it comes to back pain, I discovered that was the WRONG tactic. That evening I was in an extreme amount of pain, so much that I was unable to find a comfortable position to sleep. It took another time or two of my back “going out” to learn to NEVER power through with a back that's “gone out”.
I first blogged about my back “going out” in conjunction with sharing about my current chiropractor experience which continues to be a very positive experience. Today I want to elaborate a bit more on this whole back pain situation as I've had a few more experiences that are helping me to get a more in-depth understanding of what's going on with me.
Stress – A Factor in Back Pain
I have read that stress can be a factor in back pain, and I know from recent personal experience that it is a factor in my own back problems. July was a very stressful month for me. We have our annual dance for clients at my job and I also had decided to go to a line dancing convention at the end of the month. (What was I thinking? Actually take a vacation?!) Between my normal tasks, the preparations for the dance and working overtime trying to make up in advance for missing five days at work I was very stressed out. I was waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety. I started each day feeling panic that the day was already getting away from me.
My back had been hurting for a few days and it had been getting progressively worse. And then, the morning of the dance I woke up with my back hurting really bad. I was terrified that something internally was in trouble, like my liver or a kidney. I decided to see if my chiropractor could fit me in and thankfully (of course) she was able to put my mind at ease by telling me exactly where those organs are located (duh).
Anytime my back starts to hurt I can't help but feeling scared that it might “go out” to the point where I'll be incapacitated. On this particular day, I worried because there was no one to take my place as the coordinator of the event. My back has gone out to the point where I can't sit or drive, let alone walk or stand so that had me feeling very concerned.
Massage Therapy Alleviates Back Pain
I decided to get a massage before the adjustment and thankfully the massage therapist had an opening.
I was very surprised afterward to discover that the pain had almost completely disappeared.
I was a little nervous for the remainder of the day that my back would erupt with full blown pain, and “go out” but it didn't. I felt extremely grateful that I had been spared, and happy to learn that a massage can relax me enough to prevent worse pain.
The next week I went on my vacation, and I lined danced and had a great time and my back was pretty good but still a little cranky. I had been worried it might go out while I was gone! I don't know what I would have done!
Now when I say my back was cranky, I mean that it was still bothering me. The pain was concentrated mostly around my hips. It felt like cramps and hurt more on the left side than the right. It wasn't real bad, but there have been times when my back was hurting just a little and the next thing you know, it would go out. So, I'm paranoid now that any little pain could blow up into full blown pain and being basically crippled. I hate feeling paranoid like that, because I worry that I am bringing it on myself, you know?
The last time my back went out I was taking a shower getting ready for work and I promise you I did nothing out of the ordinary and BAM. My back went out. I knew better than to power through, but usually I can sit and drive. This time, I not only couldn't sit and drive, I could barely walk. It just so happened that day I was scheduled to drive the van to pick up clients at my job and someone else had to take my place. Later that day my husband drove me in to see my chiropractor (50 miles away) and I had to lay in the back seat because I couldn't tolerate being in an upright position. I don't even know how I managed to get into the back seat. That is the last time my back went out – November 30, 2016. Wow, I've almost made it an entire year this time! That's fantastic! I can't help but wonder if drinking broth almost every day of this year has been a factor?
Worn Shoes Cause Back Pain
A couple of weeks ago one of my coworkers asked me if I could look for a pair of sandals that she likes online (she is an older woman and doesn't shop online) so we were looking at Amazon. We were talking about shoes in general and she mentioned that her shoes were getting worn on the heels and she was sure her back pain was related. I took a look at my sandals and they were worn in the heels, too! Not too badly though. I bought this pair last year in July.
So I decided right then and there to stop wearing these shoes.
It only took a day for my back to start feeling a lot better. Thank goodness. Now this is one of those things that I need to pay attention to in the future. If my back starts hurting across the hips, it could be my shoes.
In reading Mark Sisson's Amazing Feets, I came to a deeper understanding of why my back begins to hurt when my shoes wear out. It totally makes sense!
Here's a pertinent quote, “Barefoot enthusiasts also report relief from all manner of pain and chronic injuries to the lower extremities, particularly conditions that respond poorly to conventional treatments and even seemingly unrelated conditions such as lower back pain.”
Mark says, “The human foot is a sensitive, capable, highly mobile appendage packed with an intricate network of nerve endings, muscles, tendons, ligaments, 52 bones and fascia that respond and react to the environment in order to help you walk, stand and run gracefully. The alignment and function of your knees, pelvis, spine, and upper body are all heavily reliant on the effect balance, stability, impact absorption, weight transfer, and propulsion provided by your feet.”
If the shoes I'm wearing have worn out, my alignment is going to automatically be thrown off balance. This makes so much sense!
Do you need to stop wearing your current pair of shoes?