Experiments in Pain Management

I’m frustrated. At this point, I’m frustrated by the bodily pain I feel every day. I know I’m lucky and that many have it worse than I do. But I consider myself a generally healthy person. I eat well and exercise 2-4 times a week. I know I could increase that, probably, but the chronic pain in my neck and more recently, my low back, discourages high impact aerobic activity and heavy strength training. These are forms of exercise I am naturally drawn to having been a kid athlete, but that I can no longer do for fear of further injury.

So the conundrum is this: in order to manage pain, you have to strike a balance of consistent, continual movement without overdoing it while also getting enough rest, but not to the extent where you lose mobility. Often, when I get zealous with my fitness, I end up injured, typically with a muscle strain that can take weeks to heal. But when I rest too much, I feel tight and stiff. As someone that is proactive and a problem solver, I want to tackle this once and for all, but I’m discovering that there’s no single fix for muscle and joint pain!

What seems to help temporarily is foam rolling. I just purchased a mini one for my apartment that does it’s job, though it’s intense and sometimes painful, especially on my hips, which seem to be the culprit for the low back pain. Additionally, monthly deep tissue massage seems to offer some relief. I also try to stretch and walk regularly in addition to doing low impact cardio like the Stairmaster or reclined stationary bike, mat exercises, and light weights. I have a special cervical pillow and I sleep on my back. I use the Theracane on my trigger points. I put a heating pad on my low back at work and try to get up and stretch as frequently as possible. I do a lot of research online. But still, I wake up in mild to moderate pain.

I’ve seen general doctors and went to physical therapy for four or five months. I’m trying to find solutions that prevent me from having to get any type of surgery in the future as having a father that has had two back surgeries with dubious success is a strong deterrent. My thought is that my mattress, which is not the best, could be a partial culprit in addition to a jet ski accident in 2015 and being rough and tumble playing sports growing up. One thing I haven’t tried is acupuncture, which has been recommended to me by friends and doctors. If I look like a human pin cushion, that’s fine with me (if it helps).

If you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments below to help this young lady trapped into a grandma’s joints!


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4 thoughts on “Experiments in Pain Management”

    1. My core definitely needs work! Pilates is actually a really good idea – I may reintro myself with mat Pilates for now, but do you do the Reformer kind? I never have. Elliptical I can do, my feet just get numb, but that’s also a great idea! Thanks, Monica! ❤

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  1. Meg! I was going to suggest Pilates or barre too! Those types of exercises really work your core and hips which can help with back pain! When your hips are weak, you overcompensate in other areas of your body. I’ve been doing pure barre for over a year now and haven’t had back pain in a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

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