Trying to get rid of back pain – aka I got me a hula hoop!

Digital blue human rubbing highlighted red lower back pain

Research and Dr Google

I’ve been doing all sorts of research into lower back pain. I have plaintively whined at Doc Google for help and the good Doc has given me many options. There’s a lot written about back pain, some good, some fairly useless. You can do various back stretches (mmhmm, doesn’t help a lot for me); buy a new mattress (yup, only arrived yesterday so jury’s still out on that one); exercise (well d’uh!); keep your weight down (extra weight adds pressure to your spine and other joints); and back strengthening exercises.

Flexibility & stretches

I’ve tried yoga and pilates at various times over the years and I’ve realised I’m not particularly stretchy and some of the poses/moves in both disciplines can cause a fair bit of pain. For sure these work for some people and that’s fantastic. However, the rest of us non-bendy types feel like a massive fail for our inability to pretzel. It is definitely one of those things you love or not, unfortunately I’m a not!

Seattle Yoga Love

I have downloaded a guide to back stretches from Harvard Health – I think if I did them every day, they may have a positive impact. And that’s the thing. I’m really good at exercising pretty much every day, I eat healthily most of the time. I stretch after I go for a run and sometimes after the gym. But a routine of daily stretches is just one thing that I start for a while and then give up.

So maybe rather than whining about my laziness, I should just work back stretches into my daily routine! Right? You would think.

Or…

Buy a weighted hula hoop!

My gym has one and I idly picked it up a while back (last time I hooped I was 10 and fairly crap at it), gave it a twirl and away I went, magic! I felt quite proud of myself 😀 So, I researched the benefits of hula hoops and found that they are great for core strength, abdominals, obliques and wait for it – strengthening back muscles!!

me and my new toy!! loving it

You need to hoop between 10-30 minutes per day to gain any real benefit. So of course I started out at 30 minutes – easy! Give it a go, if you don’t quite get the hang of it keep practising. Most gyms have them, so if you belong you can try one out before committing to having one at home. Mine was $35, so it was well within my price range.

I definitely can feel some changes, my abdominals are firming up, my posture has improved (wasn’t expecting that) and I’m hoping the strengthening of my back muscles helps in easing or even better, getting rid of my lower back pain!! I’ll update y’all if it does! 😀

 

I think I’ve been orange-flagged, maybe.

single orange flag CC

Warning flags and dating

After years of dating and some spectacular relationship fails, I think I’m a bit of an expert on red flag behavior. I can pick up on player tactics, commitment phobes, gas-lighters, bitter & twisted-haven’t-gotten-over-their-ex guys and hustlers that want to push you into a full-on relationship before their sketchy façade slips right down. One guy I was seeing earlier this year kicked my dog. Yep, he kicked my dog. So that’s a hell no right there!

I’ve spent many hours with my girlfriends (and guy friends) talking about red-flag behavior. People who lie about their age (men & women are equally guilty of this), that always baffles me, for sure you’ll be found out. For my guy friends their red-flag issues are women who not only lie about their age, but also their appearance – usually pics on dating sites, you know the photo of you that was taken 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Just don’t.

Me – flagged? No. Really?

However, I did not consider that I would be flag-worthy (or should that be un-worthy?). I tend to see myself as a reasonably nice human being, with some (minor) failings, but generally good relationship potential. Seriously, I am so convinced that I would not set off anyone’s flag radar, that it came as a shock on the weekend that maybe I do! Yeah, I know – get my ego back in check. Ouch!

Family of Origin

big sis and I
Big sis and I

And it’s funny (not laugh out loud funny, but peculiar funny) because it’s a flag that I think of as amber/orange too, but had never applied it to myself. It’s not enough to stop seeing the person, but something to keep in mind. And that is family of origin issues.

I have found that guys who have had fraught relationships with their parents and/or siblings can be tricky to deal with, mostly if they have not resolved and moved on from childhood issues. Research (here & here) indicates that family of origin conflict may impact on future relationship behavior.

The guy I started seeing recently did mention early on that he considered women as ‘orange-flag’ if they have issues with their family. That made me prick my ears, pause and think “huh…” So on the weekend I thought I’d talk a little about my family of origin with him (issues abound for sure, well not issues, more like the definition of ‘dysfunctional’ was invented for my family!)

talk about it - don't talk about it

Before starting in on the convo, I did ask him about his ‘orange-flag’ comment. He clarified that in his experience it was definitely a warning flag, however he did not get a “bitter” vibe from me. Nonetheless, I shut down the conversation at that point.

There is no bitter vibe, I’m not even sure that there ever would have been, it’s far deeper than that. Plus, I feel I have dealt with things as much as I can and I have a reasonable amount of self-awareness. However, I thought maybe another time we can talk, but for now and until he knows me better and understands who I am as a person, I’ll keep my orange-flaggedness to myself for a little while longer!

orange flag CC

Need to get stretchy – Yoga or Pilates?

Tell me what you think – yoga, pilates or comment if you have a better idea!

Back pain!

Y’all know I’m into being really active. I run, swim, dance, hike and walk George (my therapy dog). And I’m all for “feelin’ the pain” (actually no, I’m not, but you know that thing – “no pain/no gain” 😛 ) But this is a whole other level of pain! Dislike!

It’s worse in the mornings and it truly is a comical sight watching me try to put my socks on so I can get my joggers on. Luckily, there’s (usually) only George and my cat Blossom around to snigger at my sad attempts at foot sockage.

Seriously, I can’t actually bend first thing in the morning without excruciating lower back pain, so putting on socks has become no small feat (hahahaha feat/feet). I usually put my foot up on my knee and try to lasso the sock over my toes!

Oh and to add injury to insult – here’s a pic of me at my last running event – The Perth Women’s Classic 10k fun run. I literally face planted on the finish line! Cut my chin open, but got free champagne and I still recorded a good time! (check the blood on my nice white event t-shirt! much ouch!)

Running pic
faceplant!

Research on back pain

I’ve done a bunch of research and discovered the following useful (useless?) facts:

  1. My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories and said “arthritis, it’s your age, get used to it” (rude!!)
  2. Google told me I need a new mattress, preferably firm/medium (there’s actually a research study on it and it’s a thing y’all)
  3. Google also told me to do back stretches when I first wake up (didn’t help)
  4. Then Google told me my sleeping position sucks and I need to sleep with a pillow between my legs and sleep on my side (y’ha, I do that – helps a little bit, but not enough to get my socks on!!)
  5. My PT at the gym told me to give up running! (not gonna happen)
  6. My girlfriends tell me to take up yoga or pilates. Trouble is they are all devotees of one or the other, so I’m kinda stuck.

Need your help to make a decision – there’s a poll at the top of this post, so vote your fave stretchy exercise and help me make a decision. Not to bias the poll, but I’m thinking of doing a Yoga Challenge (don’t see the point in just plain ole go to the community hall and getting my stretch on).

This one looks cool Yoga Burn Challenge