Discussion » Health & Fitness » Back Pain

  • Pete DeMola
    Pete DeMola wrote:
    Hello, Dear WLIB Community -

    I need some help from you fine folks.

    Lately I've been experiencing really bad back pain. Crippling, as in "Can't sleep and am slowly going insane because of not sleeping" back pain.

    Maybe it comes from sitting upright in a chair 10-12 hours/day, at a computer. Or maybe it's a result of stress. I'm not sure. But, getting a massage and taking hot baths withstanding, I could use some advice:

    1) I've received some advice from our resident health expert on some simple stretching exercises. Does anyone else perform simple stretching exercises and if so, do they help with muscle aches?

    2) Need tips on sleeping. Exercise helps, I know. I usually walk about 40 minutes/day and currently cannot afford a gym membership. (Fuck you, student loans.) Any advice?

    3) Last resort: Sleeping pills. Are they available in local pharmacies? Does anyone have any experience with these? This insomnia is (literally) killing me.

    Other insights/remedies/cures welcome.

  • Joakim Berg Solum
    What kind of pain? Muscle or nerve? My mother had a pinched nerve some time ago and the only thing they really could give her was pain killers for it and physical therapy to loosen up the area until the nerve freed itself.

    Now I'm not sure if it'll make a difference for you or not, part of it may have been psychological, but she had pretty good results using acupuncture (she found some old guy in Chicago who apparently had been doing it a long time), and is completely pain free now... I always tell her that it's because given enough time the nerve probably just slipped out and wasn't being pinched anymore, but she is certain that the acupuncture is what fixed it.

    Also, if you have a large thick wallet and keep it it in your ass pocket, that can contribute quite a bit to back pain because you're sitting at a funny angle all day long without realizing it.
  • Shane
    Shane wrote:

    DO NOT TAKE SLEEPING PILLS. Avoid those at all costs... especially if you have an addictive personality. I have seen a coworker turned into a zombie because of those.

    You may seriously consider shelling out 700 or 1000 RMB to go to a good acupuncturist.... I have heard those guys can work wonders. If you want the name of a good one, I can phone my old boss. The one he went to cured his arthritic knee.

    Yes, be careful of the Kastanza wallet....

    Also, make sure you do a nice slow stretch every morning when you wake up. It is good for your body and it also helps you wake up.

    Wish i could help you more... I had to take care of my mom for a week because she slipped a disc in her back.... i've never seen her in so much pain.
  • Pete DeMola
    Pete DeMola wrote:
    Thanks, guys, for the advice.

    I don't have a Costanza wallet, so that's not the cause of my woes.

    It's just muscle pain: this throbbing ache that manifests itself in my lower back and occasionally, drifts up to the shoulder area and back down again.

    I tried acupuncture a few weeks ago and will probably go again this weekend for another round, as well as to formulate a plan for recovery (i.e., continuing treatment). But Shane, please send me a PM with the details of this miracle worker. I'll give him a shot, too.
  • Åse Marie Strand
    1. Stretching does help a tremendous amount. You need to stretch regularly and also try to keep good posture (sitting up straight and no slouching). Sitting up straight elongates your back and will do a lot for you in the long run.

    2. Exercise is important. My advice for you because of the lack of gym membership is to start running. Running outside and picking a route is fun. You can run outside any time of the year as long as you are dressed properly (this applies to almost anywhere outside of the Arctic). Having music to listen to while you run can help the time pass quickly. If you do not want to run, lengthy hikes are also good. Sit-up, push-ups, and free weights (if you invest in a couple) are also all things you can do at home to burn energy. Yoga does wonders as well.

    3. Absolutely not. No pills. Do some research; they are addictive and dangerous and you will become dependent.

    Some helpful solutions:

    Valerian root is a natural sleep aid. You can take it in tea form or in pill form. If that doesn't work, try melatonin. DO NOT TAKE SLEEPING PILLS.

    I have had chronic back pain since I was 19 because I played football throughout high school and pulled my trap muscle during this time; I then proceeded to play rugby on it without knowing how much I was fucking up my back. There is not an easy fix, but the things I have suggested to you above will help. Massage and hot stone therapy are temporary fixes, but you should seriously consider looking into acupuncture. It can help. Also, there are some liquid salve made from plants that you can buy, these salves have aspirin content in them (naturally) and you can rub that on your back for some immediate relief.

    As far as your sleep issues, I suffered through insomnia through high school and into college. For me, medical marijuana was a fix. I think that plenty of exercise also works for some people. I do not condone the use of drugs. You should not be putting that man-made junk into your body. Stick with the natural remedies if you want to avoid addiction.
  • Shane
    Shane wrote:
    One other very questionable kind of chinese medicine you can try:

    Its called Gao1 Yao4.

    It looks like a home-made food dehydrator fruit roll-up and you tape it to your back. Apparently, the herbs are supposed to seep in through your skin. I haven't seen any amazing results, but a guy i knew used to manufacture it, and I know that Chinese olympic athletes use it for various injuries
  • Malin Aaker
    Malin Aaker wrote:
    I'm just going to repeat what has been said here, I regularly have back pain. I never have it when I go to the gym once or twice a week.

    Can't afford the gym right now, ok, but there should be a swimming pool not far from wherever you are where you can just pay 10rmb to get in. Maybe!
    Or you can try all the gyms next to you and tell them that you're interested but would like to come once for free to really try the equipment they usually agree.


    A massage in a respectable and well known massage center. This will ease a little bit but don't hope for an overnight improvement!
  • Jon Magnus Ro
    Jon Magnus Ro wrote:
    1. massage is good, but be specific where you have pain, if it a knot in the muscles or strained, paying extra attention to it during massage will help.

    for exercise...just stretching is good. when you are at your desk at work, while sitting down simply bend over and try to touch the ground where your toes are (you should feel your lower back stretch). also the following site has some simple things you can do in the morning and night. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stretches.php?MainMuscle=Lower+Back (the ones without props are sufficient)

    make sure to do slow...also ice the area where you feel pain, after icing take a warm bath (this will lossen the muscles) and then ice once again when you get out of the tub...

    have to do this for football all the time ;)

    2. foreign hospital chiropractor...it is expensive but very helpful since they can actually tell you what is wrong, whether muscles or bone and they will adjust you. if you want this, then message me...i can send you the info of the doctor i go to. (btw a chiropractor specializes in the spinal column other disorders that affect the nerves and muscles)

    3. ibuprofen is a muscle relaxer, and helps to relax inflamed muscles. you can pick this up at a pharmacy, might need to look up the chinese name for it. its not a prescription drug, its like Tylenol but for muscles instead of headaches ;)
  • Pete DeMola
    Pete DeMola wrote:
    Thanks for your suggestions, everyone. I'll get started on this as soon as possible and keep you posted.

    And Yes Sir, well, what goes around comes around. And don't bother responding with one of your half-baked raps, either.

    Because they suck. And so do you.
  • Børge Notkevich
    swimming is really good for your back, also reduces neck pains.
    for stretching try yoga
  • Colin Friedman
    Pete, start with simple preventative things things.

    Make sure screen is at right height for eyes, keyboard good for hands, chair had back support - if not buy a lumber roll (Cushion for lower back). Get up from you chair and stretch & walk to the water tap once an hour minimum.

    Swimming is good (and cheap) but gently - not butterfly and not racing style breaststroke.

    Standing exercise: stand straight next to wall, back of shoes touching wall, press you back against the wall.

    Lie down on floor on your front. push up position - do not do push ups- keep bottom half on body floor (ie from waist down do not move) Push up only top half and hold for a few seconds.

    Try also Chinese (blind) massage doctor.
  • Yuki Inés
    Yuki Inés wrote:
    Pete, try yoga, especially the breathing/meditation execises before sleep.

    And Foot massage does help. A more simple and easy way is feet-dipping(make sure the water is hot enough) before go to bed.

    Read Hegel in bed...
  • Malin Aaker
    Malin Aaker wrote:
    Read Hegel? That should work, it'll give you a headache so bad you'll forget about the back pain! Genius! haha
  • R-R
    R-R wrote:
    As the matter of fact a few yoga position could help u out of it.First one moutian position,Sec one baby rest. Tir Dandasana forward band. The key of it u better have a hard bed.Not sure the correct place of ur back if its at lower of ur back u better not to bend ur back too much.If its upper could try a cat postion sometimes.If u want i could give u some pics of those movements.Hope u get better soon
  • Amber
    Amber wrote:
    aha........i now get a backache
  • Siliconfish
    Siliconfish wrote:
    Fire cupping 拔罐子works like magic.I personally gave the therapy to one friend who had long history of back pain,(nerve...I think....cause the position of pain changes...at times upper part of back...at times near tailbone.. )...Before that he tried pills .injections...but the pain always came back like a time bomb...after 3 times (half hour/time) of my treatment ..He became ok..has been pain-free since then ..(8 month already.)
    You can't do this by yourself alone though....So If you have someone there and down for a try at home..Give me a shout I will pass you the tips.
    Or.......skip all , ask your local friends and go see chinese traditional doctors.Make a booking and get treatment asap..
    You will live..☻
  • Hilde Kolkinn
    Hilde Kolkinn wrote:
    1.- no sleeping pills...no way...
    2.- try hot yoga...best for stretching your back...there´s a Bikram studio in Chaoyang...it hurts at the begginning, but after a while is worth...best for back pain...
    3.- if you can´t afford paying a yoga studio...run, sweat and stretch...it keeps you awake and renew your cells...if you can do a routine every morning, before sitting at your desk...say 40 minutes...you´ll be ok to sleep at night. Don´t perform this by night, otherwise you´ll have problems to sleep...any park near from your spot?...i recommend Ritan Park...it´s beautiful, human scaled and central...


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