Back Pain at a Young Age – BPL25

by | May 4, 2019

You know the stereotype – back pain is for old people and couch potatoes.

It’s kind of embarrassing to complain of back pain at a young age; to feel stiff and fragile in your twenties or 30s.

Okay, so you may not be doing the Iron Man Challenge any time soon.

You’re in pretty good shape though. Certainly no worse than your contemporaries.

Why is your back stiff and sore while everyone around you seems, well, normal?

(Even the ones who actually are carrying a few extra pounds.)

This is an update of a post which was first published in February 2017. It is now also available in audio format on the Back Pain Liberation Podcast – episode number 25.

Click the play button to listen to this episode now

Is it always going to be like this? Pain and restriction, your whole life?

If you already have back pain at a young age, will it get worse as you get older? Will you end up disabled?

Even more frustrating is that you can’t get a firm diagnosis from your doctor.

Is Your Mindset Making It Worse?

Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to think about it in a different way.

This can be difficult though.

Especially if we have to re-examine some of our basic assumptions about how stuff works; as well as habits that have developed over time.

This post’s about three young, fit people who overcame serious back problems.

Despite their active lifestyles, all 3 developed back pain at a young age.

The common theme in their success stories is that they stopped relying on doctors or therapists and took charge of their own well-being.

Understandably, back pain sufferers often struggle with this way of thinking.

The idea is widely accepted, however, in the medical profession.

According to the Australian Dept. of Health site painHEALTH:

“It’s smart not to rely too much on people doing things ‘to you’. Its much better to find things that you can do yourself to control your pain and get your life back.”

 

More Episodes

of the

Back Pain Liberation

Podcast

BPL12: Live Pain-Free with Lee Albert
SHOW NOTES Live Pain-Free: Eliminate Chronic Pain without Drugs or Surgery.   Find more episodes here Lee Albert was a newly-qualified massage therapist when, over 30 years ago, a car accident left him suffering frequent migraine headaches. For 3 years he sought help...
BPL7: How Cathryn Jakobson Ramin Trains to Beat Back Pain

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin talks about core training myths and mistakes to avoid. Find out her approach to training a strong, functional core and beating back pain. Podcast links and show notes.

Healing Visualization [2 Easy Wins for your Inner Game]

Discover 2 visual hacks to motivate and inspire you in your journey out of chronic pain. With Heather Pearson, creator of the Pearson method

Active Release Technique [ART]

Active Release Technique [ART] Tight hip flexor release for lower back pain. Root cause of piriformis syndrome. BPL28 with Heather Pearson

Natural Vagus Nerve Stimulation

How to stimulate your vagus nerve naturally, Instant relaxation. With practice develop better vagal tone and greater resilience to stress and chronic pain | Podcast BPL32

Tense Back? Here’s a Quick Way to Relax Tight Back Muscles | BPL24

Learn a simple way to relax your tight back muscles. Find out the 8 steps to the ‘Relaxation Response’ in the blog post or accompanying podcast episode.

Introvert vs Extrovert [Why Your Personality Type Matters]

Find out why your personality type is important. Introvert vs extrovert. Recognise and cope with demands of your social environment | Podcast episode BPL33

BPL17: What Does a Chiropractor Do?

What does a chiropractor do? Find out what a chiropractor can do for your back pain. Overcoming anxiety to beat back pain. Podcast show notes.

BPL16: Back Pain Trigger Points

Find out about back pain trigger points with Dr. Jeremy James. Win a copy of The Younger Next Year Back Book. Podcast show notes.

Anxiety and Back Pain [Book Giveaway]

Anxiety and Back Pain. How to improve your emotional state. Gut health, chronic pain and depression – Heather Pearsons go-to recipe. Book Giveaway | BPL29

BPL9: Lack of Motivation to Exercise

Lack of Motivation to Exercise. Tips and tricks to get motivated and get training from the creator of Moving Stretch, Suzanne Wylde and host, Iain Barker. Also back pain prevention, mind-body connection and resistance stretching.

BPL20: When “Correcting” Posture Causes Pain

When “correcting” posture causes pain with Dr. Sebastian Gonzales. Win an audiobook copy of ‘I Will Beat Back Pain’. Podcast show notes.

BPL22: Can a Rib out of Place Cause Back Pain?

Can a rib out of place cause back pain? Listen to Vienna Dunham Schmidt explain release of tight muscles around the ribs. Podcast show notes.

BPL:10 Listen to Your Body with Suzanne Wylde

Listen to your body. Keep an open mind and try things. Whatever works for you has got to be good. So says the founder of Moving Stretch, Suzanne Wylde in episode 10 of the Back Pain Liberation podcast. Find podcast links and show notes here.

BPL3: Myofascial Release Exercises with Chris Kidawski

Find out how to end back pain forever, second half of the podcast interview with Chris Kidawski. In his new book he explains his myofascial release process.

Back Pain at Work [Don’t Overlook This Common Cause]

Back pain at work. Don’t overlook major cause of work related back pain. Tips and tricks to reduce work stress | Podcast BPL34

BPL2: End Back Pain Forever with Chris Kidawski

Find out how to end back pain forever in this podcast interview with Chris Kidawski. In his new book he explains his myofascial release process.

How to Handle Stress [for Back Pain Relief]

How to handle unavoidable stress and get out of chronic stress-related back pain. Mindset to break the chronic pain cycle has 3 essential characteristics.

BPL18: Lower Back Pain after Deadlifting

How to avoid lower back pain after deadlifting with Dr Sebastian Gonzales•Morning Back Pain•Tight Lower Back Muscles•Movement Is Medicine•Podcast show notes

BPL19: MRI for Back Pain

MRI for Back Pain. Dr. Sebastian Gonzales explains the merits and limitations of MRI scans for back pain diagnosis. Podcast show notes.

BPL6: Outwitting the Crooked Back Pain Industry

Find out how to outwit the crooked back pain industry and take control of your own well-being with Cathryn Jakobson Ramin.

BPL13: Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome Explained with James Tang

Upper and lower cross syndrome – the two basic postural dysfunctions according to James Tang. Find out how to deal with recurring back pain. Podcast episode show notes.

Intentional Living

How to live a more intentional life to break the cycle of chronic pain | Healing power of dogs | Relax tight back muscles audio download | Podcast BPL31

BPL1: Pilates for Back Pain with Gillian Greenwood

Find out about the benefits of Pilates for back pain in this podcast episode with Gillian Greenwood. Gillian has been teaching Pilates for 17 years

BPL4: Sacroiliac Joint Release with Karen Gabler

According to Karen Gabler, most back pain is from a misaligned or stuck sacroiliac joint at the base of the spine. Find out about sacroiliac joint release.

BPL11: Should I Go to the Doctor for Back Pain

Should I go to the doctor for back pain? Should we treat back pain as a medical problem, to be dealt with by medical professionals? Alternatively, should we try to tackle the problem ourselves? Avoid frustration by having a more concrete idea of what your doctor can actually do for you.

BPL15: Creep and Back Pain

Creep and back pain with Dr. Jeremy James. Sitting still for 20 minutes or longer puts your back at risk. Find out how to avoid creep. Podcast show notes.

BPL14: How to Fix a Thrown out Back with Dr Jeremy James

How to Fix a Thrown out Back. Dr Jeremy James says it’s better to get moving straight away. Hear how to fix your thrown out back faster! Podcast show notes.

BPL8: Moving Stretch with Suzanne Wylde

Moving Stretch creator Suzanne Wylde on back pain self care and stretching for less flexible people, A must-listen if you have an inflexible back. Can emotional stress cause back pain?

Back Pain after a Car Accident [Podcast BPL26]

What to do about back pain after a car accident with respected therapist and author of Back Pain Free, Heather Pearson. [Podcast BPL26]

BPL21: Ortho-Bionomy with Vienna Dunham Schmidt

Ortho-Bionomy explained by Vienna Dunham Schmidt•Tight Muscles and Chronic Pain•Ortho-Bionomy Therapy•Stress Mindfulness and Breathing•Podcast show notes

Back Pain from Driving

Back pain from driving with Abby Beauchamp author of Reverse Button. Download free guide: How to Avoid Back Pain from Driving | Podcast BPL30

BPL5: Back Pain from Sitting Too Much

Back pain from sitting too much. Listen to Karen Gabler on the iliopsoas,movement, core training, posture habits and the mind body connection

BPL23: Back Pain and Horse Riding

BPL23: Back pain and horse riding. Listen to Dr. Jim Warson, author of The Rider’s Pain-Free Back on back strengthening exercises, the right horse + tack.

One Simple Tip That Makes a World of Difference

Yachts and margaritas, now there’s a cool combination.

At 25 years old, Hugh Howey threw his back out – moving the margarita machine on a yacht.

Not so cool – crippling back pain at a young age.

The rest of the cruise was agony.

Unfortunately for Hugh, this was just the beginning of a decade of back problems. Some episodes were so bad that he couldn’t get up and out of bed.

Having your back muscles locked up in spasm is frightening. And debilitating.

It’s extremely painful and puts you flat on your back for days – or longer.

In this acute phase, the spine will often be bent out of shape. Literally.

But here’s the thing….

Back pain at a young age is unlikely to mean something like disc degeneration or arthritis.

What feels like a serious injury is, in most cases¹, a protection mechanism kicking in.

After a strain or sprain, the system locks down to prevent serious damage.

This (very normal and natural) perception of serious harm brings it’s own problems.

Long after any real injury has healed, our sub-conscious protection systems factor in this exaggerated danger assessment.

The protective pain/lock down response is triggered more easily. It’s more likely that you will you throw your back out again.

Once this pattern is established, chronic pain can develop.

According to pain specialist Professor Lorimer Moseley, persistent pain is ‘very unhelpful’ and is generally a malfunction in the pain sensing system rather than an accurate reflection of damage.

 

Prof. Moseley is a very funny guy…he has the crowd eating out of his hand in this TED talk.

Again, for most people, back pain doesn’t mean serious damage.

Accepting that your back isn’t broken, just sore, is an important step in getting better.

According to Hugh:

“Researchers have found that back pain plagues those who think of their backs as fragile and easily injured. Those who think of their backs as okay and resilient to injury avoid pain. The miracle is that those in the former group can simply decide to be in the latter group….that’s what I did”

This was part of a complete change of mindset for Hugh. He decided to take control of his own well-being and tackle the problem head-on by:

  • reducing stress
  • exercising ‘more intelligently’

Why Do Some People Get Back Pain at a Young Age – Even Though They Train Regularly?

We are used to conventional training methods and ways of thinking.

Our attention is focused on how fast or how heavy or how many reps.

Often there is loud music or TV to distract us still further from the experience of moving and being; to make us feel pumped and push through the pain.

Perhaps this way of working just isn’t for you.

Allison was a “weight-lifting, boot-camping, marathoning, personal trainer”.

The problem with this goal-oriented mindset was that, despite being super fit, she had chronic back pain.

After three back surgeries, the pain returned yet again. Her usual workouts became impossible.

Against her better judgement, Allison, tried yoga classes.

She was so impressed with the results that she implemented some major changes. The exercise routines she had practiced for years were dropped.

Consider other types of exercise with a completely open mind.

Maybe one of the styles that you’ve always dismissed will be the one that actually helps you ditch the pain.

People often notice drastic improvement when they change to a different way of training; something that’s more focused on well-being and less interested in arbitrary external goals.

 

Hi, I’m Iain Barker creator of Back Pain Liberation.

I got back pain young and it got worse over time. Like many others in this situation, I saw plenty of doctors and therapists – all to no avail.

In the end self-help worked best – it often does for bad backs. Now I train regularly, focus on what works, and don’t get back pain.

My goal is to share what I learned. To help you find a more effective way when treatment doesn’t hit the spot.

 

How to Exercise for Back Pain Relief

The most effective training methods for back pain focus on relaxation

This is kind of obvious; your back muscles are tight, it’s going to help to relax them.

The problem is most people don’t know how.

We think of relaxation as lounging in front of the TV or hanging out with friends; maybe something to do after the gym.

To beat back pain, we need an active process of relaxation while we train. To learn more efficient ways, both to move and to be still, instead of fighting against tension.

Fortunately, there are many ways to train that help you to let go of tension and properly relax.

It’s a matter of finding the one that suits you best.

Luckily for Allison, she had stumbled upon a new way to train that made her feel better, healthier. For her, this was Bikram Yoga:

“I was getting the strength training, cardio and agility……all the while healing me instead of tearing me down”

She stopped using pain medication. Her range of movement returned to normal and a 4th back operation was cancelled.

Another key focus area is posture

Good posture goes way deeper than just standing up straight.

In fact it is intimately linked to relaxation.

Whereas an upright posture is ideal, there is a risk that you can try too hard. Too much tension is going to make back pain worse.

Good posture starts with standing tall, whilst also being properly relaxed.

The magic really starts to happen when you can stand, sit and do all the activities that you want with good alignment and relaxed efficiency.

Dave Kirschner’s a sports guy with his own cheerleading training business.

I learned a few things about cheerleading from Dave’s back pain success story.  Apparently, when cheerleader teams do stuff like build pyramids, this is called stunting.

‘Bases’ are the athletes on the ground. They have to be fit and strong enough to hold up the ‘flyers’ while they do their thing.

Back in college, Dave was ‘throwing cheerleaders all over the place’ for these stunts.

Unfortunately for Dave, he started to suffer from back pain at a young age.

Three doctors told him he needed surgery to fix herniated discs²

Luckily, he decided to seek yet another opinion. Dave followed the recommendation of this 4th doctor and tried Pilates.

With regular training he was able to relax and felt his back “loosen up”.

In time the pain was gone completely and he can continue to work in sport pain free.

Inner focus and postural awareness is another key area if you want to improve your back pain.

Dave describes the benefit of improved posture and proper relaxation he developed from Pilates training:

“You feel way more flexible, not tight or constricted and really understand how to move your body the right way.”

Don’t Make This Mistake….

All of us are subject to stress. Some of us experience a barrage of stressors every day.

Your twenties and thirties can be stressful times.

Establishing a career, buying your first home or starting a family.

That’s a whole lot of pressure right there.

And yet…many of us dissmiss the idea that stress affects us.

Maybe we think it’s a kind of weakness.

To ignore stress is a mistake, it can be bad for your general health –  and bad for your back.

According to spine-health.com:

“Muscle tension is typically caused by the physiological effects of stress and can lead to episodes of back pain”

Dr. William Deardorff explores other mechanisms for stress related back pain here.

Is stress causing you back pain at a young age?

Of course, it’s not possible to remove stress from your life.

It’s a good idea, though, to figure out how stress figures in your back problems:

  1. Recognise your own reactions to the stressors you face, (e.g. does your back feel more tense after a tough day at work)
  2. Decide whether this is a significant problem for you and, if so
  3. Take steps to minimise stressors, and
  4. Develop strategies that help you to manage your stress reactions

For Hugh, this meant a major overhaul of his work and his life:

“I set up an auto-responder on my email account and stopped trying to reply to every single thing. I spent less time staring at my computer and more time with family, more time taking pictures and breathing deeply.”

Hobbies and activities are commonly recommended as stress-busters. Particularly exercise.

Often the very same methods that focus on relaxed posture, also help dissipate emotional tension and stress.

Allison credits yoga practice with helping her to find peace and clarity, where previously there had been stress and anxiety.

It’s no coincidence that her physical health improved in conjunction with her improved emotional state.

Conclusion

These are the accounts of three fit, active people who suffered with back pain at a young age.

They are very different people and each found their own way to reach the goal.

Despite these differences, there are some common threads in their success stories. Themes that come out time and again when people talk about how they finally beat back pain.

Most important is how you think about the problem.

 

  • Decide to take control –  find the best way for you then make it happen
  • Keep an open mind and be ready to make changes
  • Exercise is good
  • Review your training style and consider other options – think relaxation and posture
  • Pain does not ususally equal damage
  • Don’t ignore stress

Thanks for listening to the Back Pain Liberation Podcast (and/or reading the blog).

Don’t forget to rate, review and share!

Do you have back pain at young age? How old were you when it started? What was going on in your life then?

Maybe you had back problems when you were younger but figured out a way to get better. What worked for you?

Add you comments below. This is how to help each other make sense of it.

All the best

Iain

 

 

More Episodes

of the

Back Pain Liberation

Podcast

BPL14: How to Fix a Thrown out Back with Dr Jeremy James

How to Fix a Thrown out Back. Dr Jeremy James says it’s better to get moving straight away. Hear how to fix your thrown out back faster! Podcast show notes.

BPL7: How Cathryn Jakobson Ramin Trains to Beat Back Pain

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin talks about core training myths and mistakes to avoid. Find out her approach to training a strong, functional core and beating back pain. Podcast links and show notes.

BPL:10 Listen to Your Body with Suzanne Wylde

Listen to your body. Keep an open mind and try things. Whatever works for you has got to be good. So says the founder of Moving Stretch, Suzanne Wylde in episode 10 of the Back Pain Liberation podcast. Find podcast links and show notes here.

BPL21: Ortho-Bionomy with Vienna Dunham Schmidt

Ortho-Bionomy explained by Vienna Dunham Schmidt•Tight Muscles and Chronic Pain•Ortho-Bionomy Therapy•Stress Mindfulness and Breathing•Podcast show notes

Intentional Living

How to live a more intentional life to break the cycle of chronic pain | Healing power of dogs | Relax tight back muscles audio download | Podcast BPL31

BPL19: MRI for Back Pain

MRI for Back Pain. Dr. Sebastian Gonzales explains the merits and limitations of MRI scans for back pain diagnosis. Podcast show notes.

BPL9: Lack of Motivation to Exercise

Lack of Motivation to Exercise. Tips and tricks to get motivated and get training from the creator of Moving Stretch, Suzanne Wylde and host, Iain Barker. Also back pain prevention, mind-body connection and resistance stretching.

How to Handle Stress [for Back Pain Relief]

How to handle unavoidable stress and get out of chronic stress-related back pain. Mindset to break the chronic pain cycle has 3 essential characteristics.

BPL4: Sacroiliac Joint Release with Karen Gabler

According to Karen Gabler, most back pain is from a misaligned or stuck sacroiliac joint at the base of the spine. Find out about sacroiliac joint release.

BPL8: Moving Stretch with Suzanne Wylde

Moving Stretch creator Suzanne Wylde on back pain self care and stretching for less flexible people, A must-listen if you have an inflexible back. Can emotional stress cause back pain?

Tense Back? Here’s a Quick Way to Relax Tight Back Muscles | BPL24

Learn a simple way to relax your tight back muscles. Find out the 8 steps to the ‘Relaxation Response’ in the blog post or accompanying podcast episode.

BPL17: What Does a Chiropractor Do?

What does a chiropractor do? Find out what a chiropractor can do for your back pain. Overcoming anxiety to beat back pain. Podcast show notes.

BPL5: Back Pain from Sitting Too Much

Back pain from sitting too much. Listen to Karen Gabler on the iliopsoas,movement, core training, posture habits and the mind body connection

BPL2: End Back Pain Forever with Chris Kidawski

Find out how to end back pain forever in this podcast interview with Chris Kidawski. In his new book he explains his myofascial release process.

BPL22: Can a Rib out of Place Cause Back Pain?

Can a rib out of place cause back pain? Listen to Vienna Dunham Schmidt explain release of tight muscles around the ribs. Podcast show notes.

BPL3: Myofascial Release Exercises with Chris Kidawski

Find out how to end back pain forever, second half of the podcast interview with Chris Kidawski. In his new book he explains his myofascial release process.

Back Pain after a Car Accident [Podcast BPL26]

What to do about back pain after a car accident with respected therapist and author of Back Pain Free, Heather Pearson. [Podcast BPL26]

Anxiety and Back Pain [Book Giveaway]

Anxiety and Back Pain. How to improve your emotional state. Gut health, chronic pain and depression – Heather Pearsons go-to recipe. Book Giveaway | BPL29

BPL15: Creep and Back Pain

Creep and back pain with Dr. Jeremy James. Sitting still for 20 minutes or longer puts your back at risk. Find out how to avoid creep. Podcast show notes.

BPL6: Outwitting the Crooked Back Pain Industry

Find out how to outwit the crooked back pain industry and take control of your own well-being with Cathryn Jakobson Ramin.

BPL18: Lower Back Pain after Deadlifting

How to avoid lower back pain after deadlifting with Dr Sebastian Gonzales•Morning Back Pain•Tight Lower Back Muscles•Movement Is Medicine•Podcast show notes

Healing Visualization [2 Easy Wins for your Inner Game]

Discover 2 visual hacks to motivate and inspire you in your journey out of chronic pain. With Heather Pearson, creator of the Pearson method

BPL20: When “Correcting” Posture Causes Pain

When “correcting” posture causes pain with Dr. Sebastian Gonzales. Win an audiobook copy of ‘I Will Beat Back Pain’. Podcast show notes.

BPL12: Live Pain-Free with Lee Albert
SHOW NOTES Live Pain-Free: Eliminate Chronic Pain without Drugs or Surgery.   Find more episodes here Lee Albert was a newly-qualified massage therapist when, over 30 years ago, a car accident left him suffering frequent migraine headaches. For 3 years he sought help...
BPL16: Back Pain Trigger Points

Find out about back pain trigger points with Dr. Jeremy James. Win a copy of The Younger Next Year Back Book. Podcast show notes.

BPL13: Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome Explained with James Tang

Upper and lower cross syndrome – the two basic postural dysfunctions according to James Tang. Find out how to deal with recurring back pain. Podcast episode show notes.

Natural Vagus Nerve Stimulation

How to stimulate your vagus nerve naturally, Instant relaxation. With practice develop better vagal tone and greater resilience to stress and chronic pain | Podcast BPL32

BPL11: Should I Go to the Doctor for Back Pain

Should I go to the doctor for back pain? Should we treat back pain as a medical problem, to be dealt with by medical professionals? Alternatively, should we try to tackle the problem ourselves? Avoid frustration by having a more concrete idea of what your doctor can actually do for you.

Introvert vs Extrovert [Why Your Personality Type Matters]

Find out why your personality type is important. Introvert vs extrovert. Recognise and cope with demands of your social environment | Podcast episode BPL33

Active Release Technique [ART]

Active Release Technique [ART] Tight hip flexor release for lower back pain. Root cause of piriformis syndrome. BPL28 with Heather Pearson

BPL1: Pilates for Back Pain with Gillian Greenwood

Find out about the benefits of Pilates for back pain in this podcast episode with Gillian Greenwood. Gillian has been teaching Pilates for 17 years

Back Pain from Driving

Back pain from driving with Abby Beauchamp author of Reverse Button. Download free guide: How to Avoid Back Pain from Driving | Podcast BPL30

Back Pain at Work [Don’t Overlook This Common Cause]

Back pain at work. Don’t overlook major cause of work related back pain. Tips and tricks to reduce work stress | Podcast BPL34

BPL23: Back Pain and Horse Riding

BPL23: Back pain and horse riding. Listen to Dr. Jim Warson, author of The Rider’s Pain-Free Back on back strengthening exercises, the right horse + tack.

1always seek medical advice

2disc herniation is also found in people who never suffer back pain!

Image Credits: picjumbo, Chris Karidis on Unsplash

Back Pain at a Young Age – BPL25

by | May 4, 2019

You know the stereotype – back pain is for old people and couch potatoes.

It’s kind of embarrassing to complain of back pain at a young age; to feel stiff and fragile in your twenties or 30s.

Okay, so you may not be doing the Iron Man Challenge any time soon.

More Episodes

of the

Back Pain Liberation

Podcast

Back Pain after a Car Accident [Podcast BPL26]

What to do about back pain after a car accident with respected therapist and author of Back Pain Free, Heather Pearson. [Podcast BPL26]

BPL13: Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome Explained with James Tang

Upper and lower cross syndrome – the two basic postural dysfunctions according to James Tang. Find out how to deal with recurring back pain. Podcast episode show notes.

BPL14: How to Fix a Thrown out Back with Dr Jeremy James

How to Fix a Thrown out Back. Dr Jeremy James says it’s better to get moving straight away. Hear how to fix your thrown out back faster! Podcast show notes.

BPL16: Back Pain Trigger Points

Find out about back pain trigger points with Dr. Jeremy James. Win a copy of The Younger Next Year Back Book. Podcast show notes.

BPL:10 Listen to Your Body with Suzanne Wylde

Listen to your body. Keep an open mind and try things. Whatever works for you has got to be good. So says the founder of Moving Stretch, Suzanne Wylde in episode 10 of the Back Pain Liberation podcast. Find podcast links and show notes here.

BPL5: Back Pain from Sitting Too Much

Back pain from sitting too much. Listen to Karen Gabler on the iliopsoas,movement, core training, posture habits and the mind body connection

BPL17: What Does a Chiropractor Do?

What does a chiropractor do? Find out what a chiropractor can do for your back pain. Overcoming anxiety to beat back pain. Podcast show notes.

BPL2: End Back Pain Forever with Chris Kidawski

Find out how to end back pain forever in this podcast interview with Chris Kidawski. In his new book he explains his myofascial release process.

BPL19: MRI for Back Pain

MRI for Back Pain. Dr. Sebastian Gonzales explains the merits and limitations of MRI scans for back pain diagnosis. Podcast show notes.

Tense Back? Here’s a Quick Way to Relax Tight Back Muscles | BPL24

Learn a simple way to relax your tight back muscles. Find out the 8 steps to the ‘Relaxation Response’ in the blog post or accompanying podcast episode.

BPL23: Back Pain and Horse Riding

BPL23: Back pain and horse riding. Listen to Dr. Jim Warson, author of The Rider’s Pain-Free Back on back strengthening exercises, the right horse + tack.

Healing Visualization [2 Easy Wins for your Inner Game]

Discover 2 visual hacks to motivate and inspire you in your journey out of chronic pain. With Heather Pearson, creator of the Pearson method

Anxiety and Back Pain [Book Giveaway]

Anxiety and Back Pain. How to improve your emotional state. Gut health, chronic pain and depression – Heather Pearsons go-to recipe. Book Giveaway | BPL29

Back Pain from Driving

Back pain from driving with Abby Beauchamp author of Reverse Button. Download free guide: How to Avoid Back Pain from Driving | Podcast BPL30

BPL11: Should I Go to the Doctor for Back Pain

Should I go to the doctor for back pain? Should we treat back pain as a medical problem, to be dealt with by medical professionals? Alternatively, should we try to tackle the problem ourselves? Avoid frustration by having a more concrete idea of what your doctor can actually do for you.

BPL12: Live Pain-Free with Lee Albert

SHOW NOTES Live Pain-Free: Eliminate Chronic Pain without Drugs or Surgery.   Find more episodes here Lee Albert was a newly-qualified massage therapist when, over 30 years ago, a car accident left him suffering frequent migraine headaches. For 3 years he sought help...

Active Release Technique [ART]

Active Release Technique [ART] Tight hip flexor release for lower back pain. Root cause of piriformis syndrome. BPL28 with Heather Pearson

BPL3: Myofascial Release Exercises with Chris Kidawski

Find out how to end back pain forever, second half of the podcast interview with Chris Kidawski. In his new book he explains his myofascial release process.

BPL6: Outwitting the Crooked Back Pain Industry

Find out how to outwit the crooked back pain industry and take control of your own well-being with Cathryn Jakobson Ramin.

BPL15: Creep and Back Pain

Creep and back pain with Dr. Jeremy James. Sitting still for 20 minutes or longer puts your back at risk. Find out how to avoid creep. Podcast show notes.

BPL4: Sacroiliac Joint Release with Karen Gabler

According to Karen Gabler, most back pain is from a misaligned or stuck sacroiliac joint at the base of the spine. Find out about sacroiliac joint release.

Natural Vagus Nerve Stimulation

How to stimulate your vagus nerve naturally, Instant relaxation. With practice develop better vagal tone and greater resilience to stress and chronic pain | Podcast BPL32

BPL8: Moving Stretch with Suzanne Wylde

Moving Stretch creator Suzanne Wylde on back pain self care and stretching for less flexible people, A must-listen if you have an inflexible back. Can emotional stress cause back pain?

Introvert vs Extrovert [Why Your Personality Type Matters]

Find out why your personality type is important. Introvert vs extrovert. Recognise and cope with demands of your social environment | Podcast episode BPL33

Intentional Living

How to live a more intentional life to break the cycle of chronic pain | Healing power of dogs | Relax tight back muscles audio download | Podcast BPL31

Back Pain at Work [Don’t Overlook This Common Cause]

Back pain at work. Don’t overlook major cause of work related back pain. Tips and tricks to reduce work stress | Podcast BPL34

BPL18: Lower Back Pain after Deadlifting

How to avoid lower back pain after deadlifting with Dr Sebastian Gonzales•Morning Back Pain•Tight Lower Back Muscles•Movement Is Medicine•Podcast show notes

BPL22: Can a Rib out of Place Cause Back Pain?

Can a rib out of place cause back pain? Listen to Vienna Dunham Schmidt explain release of tight muscles around the ribs. Podcast show notes.

BPL7: How Cathryn Jakobson Ramin Trains to Beat Back Pain

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin talks about core training myths and mistakes to avoid. Find out her approach to training a strong, functional core and beating back pain. Podcast links and show notes.

BPL9: Lack of Motivation to Exercise

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You’re in pretty good shape though. Certainly no worse than your contemporaries.

Why is your back stiff and sore while everyone around you seems, well, normal?

(Even the ones who actually are carrying a few extra pounds.)

This is an update of a post which was first published in February 2017. It is now also available in audio format on the Back Pain Liberation Podcast – episode number 25:

Click the play button to listen to this episode now

Is it always going to be like this? Pain and restriction, your whole life?

If you already have back pain at a young age, will it get worse as you get older? Will you end up disabled?

Even more frustrating is that you can’t get a firm diagnosis from your doctor.

Is Your Mindset Making It Worse?

Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to think about it in a different way.

This can be difficult though.

 

Hi, I’m Iain Barker creator of Back Pain Liberation.

I got back pain young and it got worse over time. Like many others in this situation, I saw plenty of doctors and therapists – all to no avail.

In the end self-help worked best – it often does for bad backs. Now I train regularly, focus on what works, and don’t get back pain.

My goal is to share what I learned. To help you find a more effective way when treatment doesn’t hit the spot.

 

Especially if we have to re-examine some of our basic assumptions about how stuff works; as well as habits that have developed over time.

This post’s about three young, fit people who overcame serious back problems.

Despite their active lifestyles, all 3 developed back pain at a young age.

The common theme in their success stories is that they stopped relying on doctors or therapists and took charge of their own well-being.

Understandably, back pain sufferers often struggle with this way of thinking.

The idea is widely accepted, however, in the medical profession.

According to the Australian Dept. of Health site painHEALTH:

“It’s smart not to rely too much on people doing things ‘to you’. Its much better to find things that you can do yourself to control your pain and get your life back.”

 

One Simple Tip That Makes a World of Difference

Yachts and margaritas, now there’s a cool combination.

At 25 years old, Hugh Howey threw his back out – moving the margarita machine on a yacht.

Not so cool – crippling back pain at a young age.

The rest of the cruise was agony.

Unfortunately for Hugh, this was just the beginning of a decade of back problems. Some episodes were so bad that he couldn’t get up and out of bed.

Having your back muscles locked up in spasm is frightening. And debilitating.

It’s extremely painful and puts you flat on your back for days – or longer.

In this acute phase, the spine will often be bent out of shape. Literally.

But here’s the thing….

Back pain at a young age is unlikely to mean something like disc degeneration or arthritis.

What feels like a serious injury is, in most cases¹, a protection mechanism kicking in.

After a strain or sprain, the system locks down to prevent serious damage.

This (very normal and natural) perception of serious harm brings it’s own problems.

Long after any real injury has healed, our sub-conscious protection systems factor in this exaggerated danger assessment.

The protective pain/lock down response is triggered more easily. It’s more likely that you will you throw your back out again.

Once this pattern is established, chronic pain can develop.

According to pain specialist Professor Lorimer Moseley, persistent pain is ‘very unhelpful’ and is generally a malfunction in the pain sensing system rather than an accurate reflection of damage.

 

Prof. Moseley is a very funny guy…he has the crowd eating out of his hand in this TED talk.

Again, for most people, back pain doesn’t mean serious damage.

Accepting that your back isn’t broken, just sore, is an important step in getting better.

According to Hugh:

“Researchers have found that back pain plagues those who think of their backs as fragile and easily injured. Those who think of their backs as okay and resilient to injury avoid pain. The miracle is that those in the former group can simply decide to be in the latter group….that’s what I did”

This was part of a complete change of mindset for Hugh. He decided to take control of his own well-being and tackle the problem head-on by:

  • reducing stress
  • exercising ‘more intelligently’

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Why Do Some People Get Back Pain at a Young Age – Even Though They Train Regularly?

We are used to conventional training methods and ways of thinking.

Our attention is focused on how fast or how heavy or how many reps.

Often there is loud music or TV to distract us still further from the experience of moving and being; to make us feel pumped and push through the pain.

Perhaps this way of working just isn’t for you.

Allison was a “weight-lifting, boot-camping, marathoning, personal trainer”.

The problem with this goal-oriented mindset was that, despite being super fit, she had chronic back pain.

After three back surgeries, the pain returned yet again. Her usual workouts became impossible.

Against her better judgement, Allison, tried yoga classes.

She was so impressed with the results that she implemented some major changes. The exercise routines she had practiced for years were dropped.

Consider other types of exercise with a completely open mind.

Maybe one of the styles that you’ve always dismissed will be the one that actually helps you ditch the pain.

People often notice drastic improvement when they change to a different way of training; something that’s more focused on well-being and less interested in arbitrary external goals.

How to Exercise for Back Pain Relief

The most effective training methods for back pain focus on relaxation

This is kind of obvious; your back muscles are tight, it’s going to help to relax them.

The problem is that most people don’t know how.

We think of relaxation as lounging in front of the TV or hanging out with friends; maybe something to do after the gym.

To beat back pain, we need an active process of relaxation while we train. To learn more efficient ways, both to move and to be still, instead of fighting against tension.

Fortunately, there are many ways to train that help you to let go of tension and properly relax.

It’s a matter of finding the one that suits you best.

Luckily for Allison, she had stumbled upon a new way to train that made her feel better, healthier. For her, this was Bikram Yoga:

“I was getting the strength training, cardio and agility……all the while healing me instead of tearing me down”

She stopped using pain medication. Her range of movement returned to normal and a 4th back operation was cancelled.

Another key focus area is posture

Good posture goes way deeper than just standing up straight.

In fact it is intimately linked to relaxation.

Whereas an upright posture is ideal, there is a risk that you can try too hard. Too much tension is going to make back pain worse.

Good posture starts with standing tall, whilst also being properly relaxed.

The magic really starts to happen when you can stand, sit and do all the activities that you want with good alignment and relaxed efficiency.

Dave Kirschner’s a sports guy with his own cheerleading training business.

I learned a few things about cheerleading from Dave’s back pain success story.  Apparently, when cheerleader teams do stuff like build pyramids, this is called stunting.

‘Bases’ are the athletes on the ground. They have to be fit and strong enough to hold up the ‘flyers’ while they do their thing.

Back in college, Dave was ‘throwing cheerleaders all over the place’ for these stunts.

Unfortunately for Dave, he started to suffer from back pain at a young age.

Three doctors told him he needed surgery to fix herniated discs²

Luckily, he decided to seek yet another opinion. Dave followed the recommendation of this 4th doctor and tried Pilates.

With regular training he was able to relax and felt his back “loosen up”.

In time the pain was gone completely and he can continue to work in sport pain free.

Inner focus and postural awareness is another key area if you want to improve your back pain.

Dave describes the benefit of improved posture and proper relaxation he developed from Pilates training:

“You feel way more flexible, not tight or constricted and really understand how to move your body the right way.”

Don’t Make This Mistake….

All of us are subject to stress. Some of us experience a barrage of stressors every day.

Your twenties and thirties can be stressful times.

Establishing a career, buying your first home or starting a family.

That’s a whole lot of pressure right there.

And yet…many of us dissmiss the idea that stress affects us.

Maybe we think it’s a kind of weakness.

To ignore stress is a mistake, it can be bad for your general health –  and bad for your back.

According to spine-health.com:

“Muscle tension is typically caused by the physiological effects of stress and can lead to episodes of back pain”

Dr. William Deardorff explores other mechanisms for stress related back pain here.

Is stress causing you back pain at a young age?

Of course, it’s not possible to remove stress from your life.

It’s a good idea, though, to figure out how stress figures in your back problems:

  1. Recognise your own reactions to the stressors you face, (e.g. does your back feel more tense after a tough day at work)
  2. Decide whether this is a significant problem for you and, if so
  3. Take steps to minimise stressors, and
  4. Develop strategies that help you to manage your stress reactions

For Hugh, this meant a major overhaul of his work and his life:

“I set up an auto-responder on my email account and stopped trying to reply to every single thing. I spent less time staring at my computer and more time with family, more time taking pictures and breathing deeply.”

Hobbies and activities are commonly recommended as stress-busters. Particularly exercise.

Often the very same methods that focus on relaxed posture, also help dissipate emotional tension and stress.

Allison credits yoga practice with helping her to find peace and clarity, where previously there had been stress and anxiety.

It’s no coincidence that her physical health improved in conjunction with her improved emotional state.

 

Conclusion

These are the accounts of three fit, active people who suffered with back pain at a young age.

They are very different people and each found their own way to reach the goal.

Despite these differences, there are some common threads in their success stories. Themes that come out time and again when people talk about how they finally beat back pain.

Most important is how you think about the problem.

 

  • Decide to take control –  find the best way for you then make it happen
  • Keep an open mind and be ready to make changes
  • Exercise is good
  • Review your training style and consider other options – think relaxation and posture
  • Pain does not ususally equal damage
  • Don’t ignore stress

Thanks for listening to the Back Pain Liberation Podcast (and/or reading the blog).

Don’t forget to rate, review and share!

Do you have back pain at young age? How old were you when it started? What was going on in your life then?

Maybe you had back problems when you were younger but figured out a way to get better. What worked for you?

Add you comments below. This is how to help each other make sense of it.

All the best

Iain

1always seek medical advice

2disc herniation is also found in people who never suffer back pain!

Image Credits: picjumbo, Chris Karidis on Unsplash

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