Beware of back pain warning signs. Back pain and it’s co-star villain, burning sciatica, will take you by surprise and ruin your week! Discover the story of a reluctant healthcare professional who explored acupuncture to finally stop back pain and burning sciatica. This patient’s journey to FirstHealth of Andover is told in her bold, brilliant and honest fashion, while allowing us all to learn how she searched for ways to relieve the chronic pain that was making a stressful situation worse.
Back Pain is a Three Legged Stool
Back pain often occurs with predictable patterns that I’ve observed over treating patients for over twenty-five years of acupuncture practice. I’m a visual learner, so I express ideas with patients in pictures. The three legged stool is one of my favorite analogies to help us all understand how a condition, such as back pain with sciatica, can suddenly take over our lives, with all the ferocity of a powerful dictator. Are you about to go over the waterfall? Two out of three means you’re headed for trouble.
• 1st Leg: General Fatigue. You’ve been working long hours and are exhausted! It’s right before a holiday or a scheduled vacation, so if you can just put in a few extra hours you’ll get some of this heavy stuff off your plate and enjoy a sun soaked get-a-way. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this same scenario. When your body is depleted, a warning flag should be flying! Tired, exhausted bodies are primed for punishment. You have now set the stage for your body to lose some of its ability to heal and back pain to ruin your vacation.
• 2nd Leg: Specific Fatigue. “I just had to finish raking the yard. I was almost done.” How about this one, “I wanted to clean the garage on such a nice day” or “My proposal needed to meet the deadline, so I just pushed through.” Once you have overused a muscle or a group of muscles doing a specific task, they and you are now unable to recover quickly enough to avoid impending doom. Specific fatigue of the muscles in the back and hip are common during moving out of a home, yard work and shoveling after snow storms. Back pain can also be aggravated from prolonged sitting, while at a desk or driving for long hours. Does this sound like you? As one of my favorite TV quotes from the robot in Lost in Space, “Warning Will Robinson, warning!”
• 3rd Leg: Stress. We live our lives in a swirling sea of stress, so what’s the big deal? High or prolonged makes everything worse. It’s on all the naughty lists of what to avoid for staying healthy. Some stress we experience as enjoyable, such as getting ready for a night out or finishing a project or not. These could be fun for some and incredibly challenging for others. Stress is personal. What sends you over the edge? When you are exhausted with a tired and achy back and stress begins to chase you down then back pain is now threatening to ambush you on the trail like a sneaky villain in an old western movie. Reach out for help. Even The Lone Ranger had Tonto!
Avoid Back Pain and The Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones, the adventurous archeologist from the long running film series, finds ways to get in and out of trouble. Just like in movie magic, we can preview back pain without succumbing to the gravitational pull of pain. Take a moment to self-reflect on your own situation and see how many legs are on your back pain stool. I have used acupuncture therapy or Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM to assist patients once they have crossed the line of self-help recovery. Staying healthy and avoiding the paralyzing pitfalls of back pain is still the best medicine.
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Leadership trainer and keynote speaker