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Take charge by living large

Updated on August 29, 2016
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe had dealt with her lower back pain by lessening it with exercising, new sneakers, and doing yoga at the gym.

This shows you what Scoliosis looks like and a normal spine

A painful reminder

Everybody hates having a pain in their back—lower, middle, on top, and all over your backside. It’s excruciating and drains your energy. Sure, aspirin could help kick it to the curb to elevate the agony for a few hours. Poor posture, improper footwear, and a bad bed are a few reasons why we experience the backache, time and time again. For me, it was a different and personal story.

When I was twelve years old, I was diagnosed with having Scoliosis, which is the curvature of the spine that was shaped like the letter S. From there, I had back surgery, a metal rod inserted to fix it, staples to close it, and wore a back brace for most of my humiliating two years in junior high. Fast forward to last year, after twenty-five years, I experienced a terrible backache last spring and saw my family doctor about it. My neck ached it from well. I had a X-ray, a MRI and a Cat-Scan to see what caused the pain. After they ruled everything out, including a kidney stone, they discovered that the bottom of the rod had wear-and-tear. From there, I was referred to a neurologist, since I had concerns about having Scoliosis again.

With a new Scoliosis X-ray, he determined that since I rated the back pain a 5 back then, I didn’t need surgery. But besides a problem with balance, gait, and posture, he suggested a cortisone shot or doing physical therapy. Of course, those options were expensive at best, when your health insurance paid for it. Instead of spending money and hours in rehab, there’s some other suggestions to help you save cash and feel better fast.

Lower Back Pain poll

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Taking a daily walk will help for back pain by exercising everyday in comfortable sneakers

Reebox tennis shoes offers flexible support for jogging, walking or running outside or at an indoor track at a gym

Walk right and straight with new footwear

If you stand on your feet for a long period of time in shoes, and if you feet cramp up and hurt, it’s time to change your footwear to comfortable ones. That’s what I did. I walked in my Keds for volunteering and to do chores and errands. Tennis or walking sneakers from Reebox or any other company can help you feet feel better any time of the day. It sure helped me out in the long run, since I ditched the old ones last May and wore my new pairs of sneakers.

During the summer, you can still feel the same cushioning in flip-flops and sandals. For winter, pretty much in boots and galoshes as well. If you’re the type to wear shoes, try to find them with cushioning inside the soles and preferably a flat or a low heel-typed of shoe. Within time, you can feel a difference in your posture and also on your feet.

A good sleep will do wonders for your back with a new mattress and memory foam pillows

Sleep well with a good night’s sleep with a memory foam mattress and pillows

How long have it been, since you brought a new pillow or mattress for your bed? Maybe it’s time to ditch them and replace them, without getting a new frame? Whether you sleep with one or two pillows under your head, if they’re flat and lost its fluff, consider buying a new pillow with memory foam or one with cervical support. You can find one that’s perfect for you, if you sleep on your side, back, stomach or both at any store.

If you enjoyed sleeping on a soft bed, try consider getting one that’s stiff to support your back. It would take time to get used to it. If you can’t afford a Tempur-Pedic or Sleep Numbers bed, consider getting one with memory foam instead. It would save you money in the long run.

Here’s some tricks I’d learned from physical therapy last year that you can do at home. If you sleep on your back, insert your pillow under your knees. If you sleep on your side, place the pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your stomach, place your pillow under the lower part of your legs. You can use any small towel for cervical support and place them around your waist.

Try these ideas and see what happens? Are you walking straight with good posture? Sleeping well without pain? If so, you’re on the right track. We’ll move onto sitting next week, and the pros and cons of therapy.

A Memory foam bed help lower back pain with the right mattress and pillows

My Health Update from 2015

Here's my health update. When I went to my neurologist in February, he gave me a clean bill of health. My back pain had decreased bit by bit. I've slept on my new bed for a year-and-a-half, around the same time I've gotten new sneakers for walking and for when I volunteered. It worked like a charm. If you wear new sneakers and get a new mattress or bed set with a stiff board and memory foam pillows and mattress, your sleep will improve. If you stay fit and active by walking, you won't have any repeat episodes of back pain. Overall, since I had back pain for 1.5 years, I've had two physical therapy sessions, one aquatic physical therapy session, and post-therapy sessions at the gym to work out at the pool and at the machines, five times a week, have worked wonders for my back pain. And it can work for you, too!

Taking charge poll

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    • Kristen Howe profile image
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      Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by Flourish. My back pain is minimal these days.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 15 months ago from USA

      Glad to hear your health has improved and that you could do it with simple steps and commitment.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      RT, you poor thing. As long as you're active, no more back pain. Try swimming or other exercises for your back. So glad you're doing better.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 23 months ago from the short journey

      Good shoes are crucial, for sure, but regular exercise really is the key to maintaining back health. A low back injury when quite young has kept me "careful" over the years. Though I stay pretty active I fail in doing my focused back exercises on regular basis because I get busy with other things. A flare up reminds me, though. About 6 weeks ago a flare up did not respond to any of my remedies, it only worsened. I thought I would wind up at a doc last week, but I kept thinking things through. After putting a small wedge under right heel I had almost immediate relief. Have put that in all my shoes for now and am healing up. This is new for me as other remedies have always been good at pulling me out of a flare up, but if it works it works, and I'm thankful!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're welcome. My pleasure.

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 23 months ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Kristen, very useful and practical suggestions. I have tried changing mattress for my bed and improved my sleep. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Vellur. You're welcome. I love my memory foam pillows.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great tips for easing back pain. I have never tried the memory foam pillows and mattress. I must try them out, they sound great. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Emge. That did for me--they should for everyone else!

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Nice suggestions, hope they work!!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks so much for stopping by Chitrangada.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful and informative hub with useful tips and suggestions!

      Wearing the right shoes, maintaining correct posture, sleeping correctly and walking are all very important to avoid any kind of neck or back pain.

      Thanks for sharing and voted up!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Diane. My back's real better than before after 2 years of therapy. I'm still active and do anything to send pain packing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Glad you are much better. I find wearing the right shoes for any activity goes a long way in avoiding injury. Good tips!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Emge, thanks for visiting my hub. Better to be safe than sorry, my friend.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Luckily I never had back pain as yet, but your hub I will keep in mind

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Faythef, five it a go. A new bed and pillow helped my back out with the right mattress. I feel for your granddaughter, since I wore one too during middle school and hated it. Fingers crossed. I wore mine after surgery though.

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 2 years ago from USA

      I will have to try some of these. I just bought a new pillow, will see if that helps..My Grand daughter is now wearing a back brace, she is in middle school and it is hard for her. She is wearing the back brace now so as to avoid surgery..we hope.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You're welcome. It worked when I had physical therapy for three sessions (1.5 years). I hope it helps.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Last year I had a slipped/bulging disk and the pain was unbearable. I still have some residual pain but agree with all of your suggestions. I had totally forgotten about the pillow between the knees. Thanks for the reminder.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Sunshine. I had Scoliosis when I was 12 and hated to wear a back brace. I'm pretty good, since I've been back pain free for almost two months now. I love fluffy pillows.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent advice for folks of all ages. My daughter is 25 and has scoliosis, I have a mild case. Luckily neither of us have constant pain...just temporary aches. Comfy shoes are very important. We both recently discovered Skechers memory foam shoes...they are like walking on air. Actually my husband had the first pair, I bought them for him after his knee replacement surgery. Pillows are so important! I just bought new ones. Flat pillows are useless. Wishing you good health!! :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks so much Patricia for commenting. At least my sharing my hub myself worked a bit. I hope your back's okay. You're welcome. Thanks for the share.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is very helpful information for everyone not just those with back pain issues. I have had many serious injuries to my back and cannot have surgery due to the danger of paralysis.. I employ many of the strategies you mention having learned them from my therapist years ago.

      Thanks for sharing

      Angels are on the way to you.

      voted up++++ and shared ps

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Peach for stopping by and reading my article. It can apply to anybody with it.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      great tips for older folks with back ache