Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How I am Living Free From Back Pain (with Scoliosis)

First, I want to apologize for my absence. The last three weeks my computer sort of had a big break down and I was in and out of town a whole bunch. It wasn't until a few days ago that my computer got back to its self and got my data loaded back on, but I'm sure you missed me on social media too. Right?? Yeah, this is how hard it's been to get back to my consistent posting schedule. Anyways, now that my whole system is newly updated and got programs restored, I'm finally in business again! Feels good to be. So, I wanted to start off with a post I know you'd benefit from reading. 

Within the last year, I've dealt with severe back pain associated with an S curve scoliosis. My back pain would get so severely debilitating to the point of immobility or until I couldn't function or move. I have an S curve scoliosis, and while I haven't been vocal about it, I want to share with all of you that may have back problems that pain doesn't have to control your life. They (being doctors and physicians) say you can't correct a curvature of the spine after you are done growing. While this is true, you can live your life with scoliosis and have your back feel so amazingly good! You can do a fitness routine that's geared specifically towards balancing your muscles and building strength on both sides of your back.

In the beginning of March (2016) I was searching for ways to gain more strength and muscle in my back. One thing I've always wanted to do was swimming because a couple of members in my family raved about it in the past. They said it got them in good shape, quickly! So, in early May I signed up for a gym membership and began swimming regularly and on top of that, I do Yoga stretches each night and first thing in the morning moments after waking up.

For a whole year straight, I've been doing this incredible Yoga that has seriously eased my back discomforts. With swimming included in this equation, I felt beyond relieved from back pain. I was more flexible even after three weeks straight of swimming. Even in the first two weeks of consecutively swimming every two days, my back pain eased off a lot. When I went one whole week not swimming because of a bad cold that came upon me while traveling, and I developed a giant knot (like half the size of a tennis ball) on my upper left shoulder. The pain was so bad, it radiated through my collarbones and rib cage. Ouch! Did it hurt. I suspected that might happen because I couldn't work out while not feeling well. 

The pain was so intense I had to apply ice and heat on and off, hoping to shrink down the inflammation. If you know me though, you know, I am not so patient when dealing with health stuff. So, I read an article (several) that all said the same thing; "When your back and muscles are feeling sore, tight and knotted up, exercise. Just exercise and move!" Now, when I am tight, I hop into a pool and do my swim routine.

For three consecutive days straight, I did my exercise regimen and after those three days, the giant knot on my upper shoulder disappeared. I felt like a new woman, or like somebody gave me a new back. No joke. There's something I really find therapeutic about feeling the resistance of water and pushing through it. With swimming, you are moving every single one of your muscles and each movement provides balance on both sides of your back (and full body). Think about this, you are stretching your muscles and building strength simultaneously, on both sides. Now, my posture is better every day and it doesn't hurt (anymore) to maintain the posture.

The combination of swimming and Yoga for me has had profound effects. As part of my wind down activities before bed, I swim in the 5, 6 or 7 PM hours, and by 8:30 P.M, I am doing my evening Yoga routine. Those routines make my back feel so, so, so good, it always astounds me. In the mornings, I do power walks up to 40 minutes before my work day or in early afternoons if I sense exhaustion from working so much. My back makes these popping sounds a lot and I can feel the stress leaving my back. I carry the weight of everything on my shoulders (metaphorically speaking) and my shoulders would pile up with knots and pain points that radiate through my whole body.

Now, with my new exercise regimen, I've been feeling like a new woman. You don't have to spend your life suffering from scoliosis back pain. The upper part of my S curve (backwards S) measured 45 degrees and this alarmed me. Every day, I do some form of exercise. Each morning, I lay on a giant foam roller with my back and neck flat on it for fifteen to twenty minutes straight, and also early, early in the morning, I do a strengthening Yoga specific for back (shoulders) and my hips and legs. I am just not the type to sit and settle for pain of any kind. 

I found ways to boost my back strength and overall muscles and now, I'm gettin' ripped and in shape pretty fast. Every chance I get to jump in a pool, I take. Living just minutes away from my gym, I am in the water almost every day swimming to better health, physical strength and flexibility. Also, if you are reading this and have heart disease (like me, yep, got that too) swimming and doing cardio friendly exercises beats heart disease. Your heart is also a muscle and exercise works wonders. Yoga and swimming simultaneously have transformed my back, eliminated my pain, and I am able to accomplish a lot more. Other benefits I've noticed and results I've seen include improvements in my fatigue, my stress is better managed, and my head is clearer.

If you want a successful, active lifestyle, it takes a lot of determination, dedication and motivation to get to the desired place you want to be. If you want to be pain free, you can be. The kind of back pain I have endured was so bad that it paralyzed me, caused overwhelming fatigue, and now, I never allow it to get to that point of intensity. You don't have to settle or endure the pain. The second I'd notice my back tightening up, I'd jump in the water or go for a long power walk and move! Thanks so much for reading the post, and if you liked it, do subscribe to this blog so you don't miss these beneficial posts.

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