Is back pain your constant companion? Have you accepted this pain as a sign that you’re getting older, and therefore it’s normal? What if I told you it doesn’t have to be that way?
When I turned thirty, I thought that waking up with back pain was a normal part of the aging process. I didn’t find out how wrong I was until I pulled a back muscle while bending to grab a few plants, which forced me to visit a chiropractor.
If you’ve injured your back, you know the treatment is painful and expensive, not to mention time-consuming as well. However, I learned helpful techniques to strengthen my back and prevent future injuries, such as daily stretching and yoga.
It took over two months before I could bend over to pick up light objects, and another six months before my body felt well enough to lift my youngest child comfortably. This season of my life was difficult for me, but it was worse for my family. I promised myself I’d never subject my body to that ever again.
According to my chiropractor, one of the factors that contributed to my back pain and the eventual back injury was poor posture. This made perfect sense since my job requires hours of sitting, and I confess I was usually hunched over my desk. Even when standing, my shoulders were often hunched.
After I hurt my back, I could hear my mother’s voice from my teen years saying, “Straighten up. Do you want to get a hunched back?” She repeated this so often, but rather than listening to I tuned her out.
As with most things, I should’ve listened to Mother.
So I searched online for ways to improve my posture. Simply telling myself to stand up or sit straight with shoulders back didn’t consistently work because I often forgot. I needed something else to force my body to do the right thing.
I found a site that provided information on a back brace for women’s posture. I didn’t even know devices like that existed. There was a variety of braces for different pain issues, and many of them were available in various colors and sizes. And the reviews for these braces were extremely helpful.
I went with a neoprene back brace that was thin enough to be worn underneath my clothes so that I could wear it to work. It was also adjustable so that as my posture improved I could continue wearing it. This was the perfect solution for work.
At first I didn’t enjoy wearing the back brace. My back muscles felt so sore because I wasn’t used to using them to support my body. However, the site I just mentioned told me to expect this, and that soreness was a good thing.
I was also self-conscious at first. I kept imagining my co-workers teasing me about wearing body armor to work, but you know what? No one did. In fact, not even the nosy gossip in the cubicle beside me knew I was wearing a back brace until I told her about it when she complained of back pain.
When our company encouraged us to take better care of our health by providing a gym in the building, I wore my back brace to exercise there as well. Again, no one knew.
Soon enough, my posture improved, and so did my confidence. My family, friends, and coworkers noticed. They kept asking if I had done something differently. They didn’t believe me when I told them about wearing a back brace, but when I mentioned working out they accepted that reason.
Between you and me, let’s just say that the back brace was the catalyst for all the other lifestyle changes that improved my quality of life. I think back to the time I hurt my back, and I can honestly say I’m glad it happened. I needed to learn to take care of my body. Do I plan on pulling my back again? Of course not. Some lessons are so life changing you only need one experience.
And now I’m encouraging and reminding my family and friends to be mindful of their posture. Some of my friends have even started wearing a back brace to improve their posture.
So I hope you’ve learned from my story. Back pain in your thirties is not normal, nor should you accept it. Figure out a solution, and take steps to care for your body.