How to deal with a back pain flare-up

Back painHow to deal with a back pain flare up

I love using my fireplace in Orlando. I throw some wood in the fire, even though my carelessness causes my back pain to flare up. I have to make sure I always have wood. I am too cheap to buy wood.

Last year, I asked my lawn guy to bring me some wood because I know he offers tree cutting service, he gladly said yes because he is always looking for a way to get rid of the wood when he cuts someone’s tree.  He brought me too much and they were not cut properly.  Very few pieces were short enough to just throw in the fire.  I put a listing for free wood and my neighbors were happy to pick up most of it.  I cut some to use.  I saved some to cut later.

To separate what I was giving away from what I was keeping, I moved what I was keeping closer to my house and what I was giving away closer to the street.  Over the past year, the pile of wood became a bit of an eye sore because I didn’t use most of it.

After hurricane Irma destroyed a lot of trees, a lot people cut down their trees.  A lot of them were considerate enough to stack them into fire place burning pieces.  I went around over a couple of weeks to collect over two hundred pieces, without flaring up my back pain.

Now, the pile leaning against my house because uglier and unnecessary.  I can’t give it away because everyone who needed wood already have plenty.

I asked my lazy twenty year old to move them closer to the street so they can pick them up as Irma’s debris.  He agreed but he didn’t do it.

Yesterday, I noticed they started to pick up the debris and my son had gone to Miami. I decided to move the wood myself. I could not finish because my back pain returned.  There was no sudden move, no specific time when I felt it coming, I just could not continue.

The back pain was unbearable for the rest of the day.  I tried some stretches, some yoga position and some ice. They help I was able to do function, albeit slower, during the day.

A flare up of your back pain is what your doctor is talking about when he/she says “acute back pain” Click to Tweet

No pills.

I slept ok. Every morning I walk two or three miles, I expected to take a couple of days off, as to not make my back pain worse. I woke up on time to go in case I felt better. I didn’t feel any worse so I decided to go for my walk.

I questioned the wisdom of my decision I could feel I was walking a little hunched forward, most people would not have noticed it. I figured I would not go too far or too fast but I went.  I had some text messages to reply to, I did that.

As I walked, my upper thigh and buttocks started to strength and I was able to walk straighter. The back pain was less.  A little further, my stomach was tightening and I was walking my normal gate and faster.

By the time I got to a little park, that is a quarter of a mile away from house, the back pain didn’t completely go away, but it was not bothering me.  I tested it by doing some step ups on a park bench. Twenty with each leg.  Then I walked around the park and I repeated the step ups again and fifteen push-ups to strength more muscles.  Push-ups also strengthen muscles of the upper abdomen.

By the time I left the park I was walking as straight as a soldier. No more back pain. Some tightness in the back but the sharp pain I was feeling yesterday was gone.  I was able to complete my regular three miles, most of it with no pain.

The cure for a back pain flare up is:

  1. Ice (the first 24hrs)
  2. Stretch

  3. Strengthening of the muscles supporting your back.  Particularly your abs, your legs and buttocks.
  4. Some heat (After 24hrs)

When I got home from the park, I saw some of the wood I dragged but didn’t quite get to the sidewalk. I felt so good, I even thought of completing the task, but my son came back last night.  I decided, instead, to save my strength to yell at him.

3 thoughts on “How to deal with a back pain flare-up

  1. Hi Joel,
    Your article gave me ideas on where to find fire wood as I’m always buying and I’d like to save a few dollars.

    But more than that was the No Pills section I’ve suffered from back pain for over 15 years. All the doctors ever offer are muscle relaxants. I would have never thought walking would help.. Its now a goal to walk every day. How far do you recommend? I’m a little over weight walking will probably do me more good than harm.

    Thank you so much for the back pain flare up tips. I cant wait to try them out. I’ll keep you posted

    1. One mile to start with will help, it may feel like nothing unless you to it fast, but no need to tire out. You will find walking either meditative (giving you time to think about things), or a good exercise to do with a partner, or you can use the time to learn, I am learning Spanish during my walks (I listen to audio) or motivational like Earl Nightingale, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy.  If you feel any pain, take the time to stretch. Have Fun.

  2. What a shame about your back 🙁 I hope you’re on the mend now! I suffer from back pain frequently as my job involves spending all day on my feet – my lower back really takes the hit. I usually find that a warm compress and essential oils can do a lot to relieve the pain, but wasn’t aware that heat should be applied post 24 hours, and Ice prior to that – so thanks for the tip!

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