Should I get a cortisone injection?
When we have back pain, and we can often extend this to include shoulder pain and hip pain (because these are both heavily influenced by spinal alignment), it’s a common practice to want a quick fix like a cortisone injection or pain medicine. Sometimes we opt for a nerve block or surgery that we think will fix the problem... anything to deaden the sensation of pain.
What is my back pain telling me?
Back or joint pain is certainly no fun, but it gives us a lot of information, if we’ll listen to it. It tells us where we are out of balance. What muscles are too tight and which are too loose? Am I compressing the front, back or sides of my spine, and at which level? What’s over-efforting? What’s under-efforting? Are my legs and core helping me enough? (See my previous blog on appropriate core work for back pain.) Are my shoulders overworking because my core is underworking? How should I alter my approach to working out because of back pain?
Make sure you understand your imaging report.
I believe there are no shortcuts. We can enlist aid, but we have to take the long view of what’s creating the problem. We need to educate ourselves about our imaging report. Don't place your blind trust in a doctor to fix you. Master neutral spine and body positions. (In almost 100% of cases, stop doing cat/cow!) And do the appropriate physical work to resolve the misalignments, structural imbalances, and weaknesses that fail to support your joints. This is the only real way to take pressure off the nerve that is sending the pain signals.
A quick fix is not a permanent solution.
A quick ‘fix’ will mask the underlying problem and allow the misalignments to continue so the pain will show up again...and probably worse. Take time. Gather information. Look at a dermatome map. That will tell you which nerve is compressed by the body part that is affected.
Correct your alignment for a real solution to back pain.
Decompression (taking body weight and pressure off the nerve), postural correction, and targeted positional exercise to strengthen your weaknesses to be able to hold the corrected alignment, is the only solution. There are no shortcuts.
If you need help understanding your imaging report, or productive ways to exercise for your condition, I can help you!
The author, Jane DoCampo, M.A., E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, is a yoga therapist certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and specializes in improving back pain, scoliosis, and postural problems.
She works with students privately (in person or online), and in small groups teaching Backcare Essentials, Backcare Essentials and the Pelvic Floor, and Backcare Essentials and Scoliosis classes at her studio, My Back and Body Clinic, in Woodcliff Lake, NJ.
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