In 2011, I was in a pretty bad motorcycle accident only blocks from my home. Maybe I fell victim to the “close to home effect” that asserts most vehicle accidents occur close to home. Racing sports bikes on and off the track has been a hobby of mine for nearly 20 years and that accident was by far the worst.
I was riding my motorcycle down a relatively quiet side street at approximately 30 miles an hour when I approached a vehicle parked in the middle of the road. It hadn’t moved since I spotted it, nor did I see its turn signal activated, so I began passing it. As soon as I was about to pass the vehicle’s rear end, it unexpectedly turned in front of me. Since I hadn’t expected it to move, I was still travelling between 25 to 30 miles per hour.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced an accident on a motorcycle, hitting a vehicle at even those relatively slow speeds feels like getting hit by 10 NFL linebackers. I flew over the car and hit the curb head first (it goes without saying I was wearing my helmet). At the hospital, the doctor said that a witness told the paramedics that when I hit the curb my body folded backwards “like a lawn chair.”
Though no one ever specified the sort of back injury I suffered, I assume I suffered a severe torn lower back ligament, tendon, or muscle (maybe all of the above). Whatever the case, I couldn’t walk for a month with an extremely sore back. Even after my mobility returned to normal, I’d wake up with paralyzing lower back pain. If I sat or lounged around too long, the same excruciating pain made it nearly impossible to stand up for a minute or two.
My sore back got better over the years. However, sleeping the wrong way or sitting for too long irritated my back enough it prevented me from walking completely upright for a few minutes. After my muscles “warmed” up (or rather got the blood flowing back in them again), I felt okay. This part of my story is important to remember because I’ll be touching on the subject of blood flow later.
Finally, I began researching various solutions for unlocking a sore lower back. This blog post intends to provide those suffering from debilitating lower back pain with some options for managing the pain. Hopefully, after trying a few of these options, you’ll find a solution on this list that helps relieve your pain or unlocks your sore back.
Heat Therapy – Temporary
Heat therapy (thermotherapy) has long been a source of muscle pain relief. Though heat therapy may have been around longer, it’s a well-known fact that the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used heat therapy millennia ago.
The earliest physicians had patients lay in the sun for periods as a form of heat therapy, according to a journal published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Even today, doctors and scientists say that healthy amounts of sun exposure are healthy for the body and mind.
How Heat Therapy Relieves Back Pain
Medical experts have long claimed that dry heat therapy is more effective than moist heat therapy. The reason being that dry heat improves vasodilation which is when blood capillaries expand, allowing more blood flow (which—as you should remember—is probably why my back felt better after moving around for a few minutes … the blood started flowing). The increased blood flow delivers more oxygen to the muscles, speeds up biochemical reactions, relaxes the muscles, and offers some therapeutic benefit. Generally speaking, heat therapy is used for chronic back pain.
What About Cold Therapy?
Cold therapy reduces inflammation in the muscles by decreasing blood flow—the opposite of what heat therapy does. Doctors usually advise against cold therapy for chronic, long-lasting back pain. On the other hand, if cold therapy feels better than heat for some reason, go for it. Nevertheless, even if cold therapy feels better, it doesn’t mean it’s good for your specific back condition.
Being that ice massages and ice gel packs constrict blood vessels to decrease swelling, it only makes sense that ice also constricts muscles. When it comes to chronic back pain, the last thing you want is for your blood vessels and muscles to constrict (remember, you want your blood capillaries to expand so the blood flows better). Lastly, cold therapy only affects the surface of the skin (numbs pain) and surface tissue (where most swelling takes place).
Painkillers – Temporary
Some people would love to find a legal reason to be prescribed pain killers. However, the truth is, painkillers are also called opioid pain relievers. Most readers have likely heard of the opioid crisis and the many lives lost because of it. Most medications that actually work have some kind of addictive properties even if they don’t contain opioids.
Plenty of prescription nonsteroidal and nonopioid anti-inflammatory painkillers are available. These painkillers do a great job relieving back pain but can be expensive depending on whether or not you have insurance or if it’s even covered. You have to spend time getting prescriptions from your doctor and picking your meds up from the pharmacy—for years if it’s chronic. In a lot of cases, it is a cop-out by your doctor or physio to suggest pain killers and in some serious cases of Sciatica, this is the first thing a physician will suggest. The first thing you should appreciate is sciatica is not a disease. That’s right.
Allow me to be clear about this because it’s important:
“Sciatica” is not a diagnosis.
If you’re seeing a doctor and they’re telling you that’s what you have, you’re not being told the whole truth.
Let’s put it this way:
Sciatica is a symptom. The doctor is only labelling a symptom. They’re not telling you what is actually wrong!
When they put a label on your pain, I totally get how good that makes you feel in the moment. What happens next? They prescribe pain killers.
As for over the counter “painkillers” like Advil or Motrin, they never did anything to relieve me of my back pain. I’m not saying it doesn’t work for everyone. Nonetheless, most people I’ve spoken to agree that over the counter painkillers barely help back pain if at all.
If I seem a bit anti-painkiller, it’s due to my personal experience with the side effects and borderline dependency good painkillers caused. I’m a strong advocate of trying highly recommended alternatives if they’re available.
Most importantly, Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor for Harvard Health Publishing, wrote that people suffering from back pain should avoid muscle relaxants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Doctor Shmerling wrote that the American College of Physicians (ACP) laid out new guidelines in 2017 advising physicians and patients to seek new methods for back pain relief. We’ll touch on these methods below.
Yoga and Other Physical Therapy-Style Activities – Permanent
My experience with steroidal painkillers led me to start searching for alternatives that not only relieves back pain but reverses it. In the aforementioned article written by Doctor Shmerling, the medical industry has known for years that drugs are a waste of money and that back pain goes away on its own—eventually.
The ACP recommended doing progressive relaxation techniques, yoga, or even tai chi (t’ ai chi ch’üan) for 12 weeks or longer to treat chronic back pain. If you don’t notice a change within that time, you might consider NSAIDs.
Of course, people try to sell us on ideas like purchasing a new expensive mattress or going under the knife—not only do these things not guarantee a better back, they cost as much as a used car. Furthermore, surgery oftentimes causes worse pain later on down the road.
When I found out how much yoga classes cost, I decided to find DIY options.
I tried a few programs including some smartphone apps offering step-by-step guides on progressive relaxation techniques and tai chi. While I found some decent mobile apps that I still use to this day, I came across a site called “My Back Pain Coach” offering to teach people low back pain relief through stretching and other techniques.
Unlike most of the techniques I’ve tried, Back Pain Relief 4 Life only takes me 16 minutes or so to complete. One session is comprised of 8 simple movements for back pain relief. It’s not only for lower back pain—it helps upper back pain as well. Each one of the eight movements takes approximately two minutes to complete, which is why they’re called “two-minute miracle movements” plus it’s an easy solution to unlock a sore back.
Back Pain Relief 4 Life was created by a guy from Serbia named Bojan. If you’re wondering who this guy is and what makes his techniques so special, just know Bojan has an extensive and pretty impressive background.
Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Belgrade
Worked as a member of the coaching staff for the Serbian National Soccer Team
Assistant coach for Olympic athletes in Serbia
When Bojan introduced his revolutionary techniques for relieving back pain, he was awarded the Golden Seal of Approval.
The interesting thing about this My Back Pain Coach story is not that the ACP substantiated Bojan’s method but that Bojan discovered it before Doctor Shmerling wrote his paper for Harvard. I fell in love with Back Pain Relief 4 Life because I can sit in front of my computer for hours these days and barely feel any pain at all.
You Can Help Your Body Unlearn Back Pain
In 2005, I took a nine-month class for massage therapy; I learned a lot in that short, little class.
For example, my instructor taught us about how our muscles “learn” good or bad habits depending on our lifestyles. She said, “If a client comes to you seeking therapy, they must first commit to changing certain habits that most presumably led to their muscle aches.” Basically, it’s similar to removing a virus off your computer only to download the same program that infected your computer in the first place.
Bojan created the Back Pain Relief 4 Life program known also as My Back Pain Coach understanding treatments like massage therapy, chiropractors, acupuncture, surgery, and drugs are merely placebos—a great revenue stream for those who know such things don’t work. They do nothing to restore natural balance back to your muscles—to make them forget all those bad habits such as lifting weights incorrectly.
Speaking of which: I remember when I was a teenager, my father would take me weightlifting—two hours heavy and two hours cardiovascular. However, it seemed as if something was missing … I was strong in some areas and really weak in others as if I never went to the gym. Today, people are discovering that shorter, more focused workouts are healthier.
Ever since I began this Back Pain Relief 4 Life program, I feel stronger, more alert, and healthier all around. It helps you build a stronger core; it helps improve your posture; it helps increase your blood flow which helps oxygen and nutrients spread throughout your body (especially your sore muscles).
All these things are what actually helps unlock your sore back. It’s worth trying this sort of workout even if you don’t suffer from back pain. I know what it’s like to live with chronic back pain, so I hope this article helps.