I made a lot of lower back pain relief mistakes during the 6+ years that I suffered from chronic low back pain. It was a very frustrating and unproductive season of my life where everything was consumed by searching for a relief strategy that actually worked.
In the 2020 variation of this post, I am going to break down the 8 biggest mistakes I made when searching for lasting relief.
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My 8 Major Lower Back Pain Relief Mistakes 2020 Edition
Low Back Pain Relief Mistake #1: Doing The Wrong Thing For Too Long
As humans, there are aspects of our lives that we have to hand over to other people to trust for their wisdom and guidance to get us through things we have never experienced. This is something that I would say 90% of chronic back pain sufferers have to go through.
This trust can oftentimes lead us down paths that aren’t right for us and because of that trust we just stay on that same path for years and years thinking it will eventually work.
Our bodies are primed and created to heal when necessary. If you were to break your femur right now almost instantly your body would start preparing itself to begin the healing process.
This is applied to any situation we may go through. So if you’re given a stretching routine from a doctor or therapist and after 6 months of doing it you’re seeing zero change or your pain is getting worse then abandon that provider and strategy.
It’s not working.
Don’t be afraid to try new things but if you’re not seeing results after a few month’s time you need to be willing to adjust and move on.
Lower Back Pain Relief #2: Relying Too Much On Googles First Page Of Results
If you are a DIY kind of person and don’t feel doctors and therapists need to be your instant reaction every time something happens to you then odds are you have done a Google search or two.
There is SO much content out there on the topic of low back pain you end up being more conflicted and confused due to not having any real solid guidance.
So you do what normal people will do and start with the first couple of things you find in your search for lower back pain relief.
There are pros and cons to this but in my experience due to what the front page of Google provides the majority of it is actually bad advice for the chronic back pain sufferer.
You have to be willing to dig deeper, network, get on social media and follow some people for a while before reaching out for advice. See what they are about and educate yourself on the topic of low back pain relief.
If you don’t you will end up with more wasted time and money.
Lower Back Pain Relief Mistake #3: Thinking Stretching More Was My Solution
Stretching for low back pain was definitely one of my biggest lower back pain mistakes I made for a long time. This is probably something you’re doing now. Stretching to the average person just makes sense.
My lower back feels tight which means the muscles are probably short and stiff so in order to break this up I need to stretch it.
There is something called your protection mechanism (I may have made that word up but it will make sense in a minute) this is where your body naturally creates stiffness and tightness out of fear and desire to protect the injured area.
So this becomes more of the “sensation of tightness” rather than actual tightness. Chasing this sensation is a one-way ticket to staying on what I call your pain cycle.
Lower Back Pain Relief Mistake #4: Reacting To My Pain Instead Of Preventing
This is probably one of the most frustrating things about the health and fitness industry compared to others.
People will literally spend 5-10 thousand dollars a month to learn how to make more money but will hesitate to spend $200 once on a proven strategy to help them overcome years of chronic back pain.
Even though their chronic back pain is one of the biggest reasons they are:
- Unfocused and unproductive at work.
- Always frustrated and edgy.
- Becoming more and more inactive with hobbies and things they love.
- More and more distant from friends, family and loved ones.
- Unfulfilled in life
- Becoming more and more overweight
This list could go on and on and you know what, more money won’t solve any of them but working on the toxic out of control pain you live with will.
You have to take time to prioritize the way you move, the strength you’re building and the mindset around your pain. I personally call this the Smart Strength Method and you can learn about the exercise portion of it here.
Ways you can work on prevention would be:
- Taking time to exercise/move 3x a week for 30-45 minutes despite how you feel. I provide these types of workouts for my clients all the time
- Take away all the “extra stuff” like chiro’s, massage therapists, cupping, needling, inversion tables, etc. and start with simply taking more walks.
- Learn to move better to promote a healing environment in your body.
- Study the mind-body connection and how our brain processes pain.
Lower Back Pain Relief Mistake #5: Collecting Short Term Fixes
As a chronic back pain sufferer, you don’t have any idea what you need to do to see long term relief from your random flair-ups, pain, tightness, and fear of exercise so you focus on short term fixes.
The stretch that helps
The Ice Packs
The heating packs
The creams, balms, posture braces and contraptions
All of these things can help and be a tool but they become a crutch and the biggest focus because of the illusion of fast relief. These lead to years of chronic pain and a never-ending cycle of unpredictable flair-ups and uncontrollable pain.
You deserve to progress, you deserve to have more freedom in your life and get back to doing the things you love.
Lower Back Pain Relief Mistake #6: Selling Out To Chiropractors
This is my personal opinion and I realize that some chiro’s have done wonders for people. So take this with a grain of salt.
I think the majority of them are a waste of time and money. They focus too much on body alignment and not enough on strength. Their patients grow to believe that in order to “feel right” or “feel good” they need to go see their chiro for weekly adjustments for “maintenance”.
This is absolute garbage.
Your body will never be perfectly in align and if you allow this doc to convince you that better alignment will lead to less pain then you will never be able to break free from the feeling of having to “get your fix”.
I have had numerous clients start strength training with me who go from seeing a chiro multiple times a week to maybe once a month. That’s more money in your pocket, less time sitting in a doctor’s office and more time to spend focusing on strengthening your body around a better posture.
If you have been seeing your chiro for years and feel you are addicted to the feeling of being adjusted (but still suffer from pain) I would highly suggest you sit down and talk about what they are actually doing for you.
Lower Back Pain Relief Mistake #7: Too Much Core Strength Not Enough Coordination
Way too much emphasis is placed on having a “stronger core”. From a vocabulary standpoint, this makes sense. I have just been operated on or I have never really worked out a day in my life and sit at a desk all day so “strengthening my core for relief” makes sense.
And you’re not wrong.
But when it comes down to it simply having a stronger core isn’t enough. Being able to marry breathing and bracing with movement is critical and what I call cor coordination.
A great example of this is what I call Core Locking. It’s the first step in putting the deep core, breathing and bracing together. You can check out how to do it below!
Lower Back Pain Relief Mistake #8: Not Realizing How Much Time It Takes To Beat Chronic Back Pain.
Another big mistake I made during my battle with chronic low back pain was always rushing results and thinking I should be further along than I was.
It was really hard for me (along with a lot of my students) to scale their activities back to allow their body to heal and get stronger. As tough as it is, it’s essential to long-term relief.
For some of you, back pain has been on your radar for 5, 10 maybe 25+ years and now that you want to really address it you have to adjust your thinking.
The strategies that my students get the most results with do not work like taking a Tylenol for a headache. A lot of headaches can be fixed as fast as your stomach can digest an over the counter pain killer.
Back pain doesn’t work like that. It’s a mental thing just as much as it is a physical thing and if you’re not addressing both you will only win half the battle.
What mistake do you find yourself making the most when it comes to your own recovery! Leave me a number in the comment section below!