The Best Exercises For Lower Back Pain

I’ve suffered from lower back pain since I was 14, I developed problems from carrying a heavy school bag. The problems would come and go for a number of years, it got so bad I visited an osteopath for 1 year after an episode had me in spasms for 1 month where I couldn’t stand straight. It was horrible.

After numerous GP visits, all they would prescribe me were muscle relaxers, which only put me to sleep and masked the issue rather than fixing it. I found the osteopath sessions too expensive for me to keep up, even though they really did help me and the lovely lady diagnosed me with having a dis-aligned hip that gave me connecting issues with the little bones in one foot (apparently all to do with a weak core).

Along with the at-home exercises I was instructed to do, I was also advised to take up one-2-one Pilates, walking and using an exercise bike. I attempted a Pilates DVD I had as I just couldn’t afford the private one-2-one classes, I ended up injuring myself further and I have been scared to do Pilates since, but I tried something else and after 1 month I did find a method that completely alleviated my pains.

The Plan That Cured Me

A few years ago I decided to purchase a magnetic exercise bike for around £100, I’ve always preferred to work out at home rather than the gym so I felt this was a really good investment as I have always been a fan of circuit training and cardio equipment. After 1 month of using my bike I noticed that when I woke up in the morning I had no stiffness in my lower back and there was no ‘stuck’ feeling I often suffered with. My spasms had also disappeared, so had the ‘clicking’ of my bone in my foot. I completely put this down to the cycling I was doing (as I had also noticed other health changes too: lighter and shorter periods, zero PMS, more energy…).

I wasn’t particularly doing anything difficult or inventive on the bike, I just rode everyday for 1 hour at my own pace, burning between 400-500 calories and that was that, some days I would go for a 1 mile walk too but this wasn’t a regular thing like the cycling. I then began to do interval training on the bike as my fitness levels were improving and I was actually getting a big buzz out of working out. Without realising I had lost weight and toned up too, even though this wasn’t the initial focus – it was an added bonus though!

I followed this regime religiously for about 18 months – 2 years, until I moved homes and my whole routine got totally messed up and I have never been able to get back into it since. It took a while, I’d say a good 3 months, but pretty soon everything that improved had reverted back to their original status – my back twinges (even though not nearly as bad), my hormones, my energy levels and my general wellbeing.

For the past 2 weeks, the intense pain I got 5 years ago has returned so I have been really trying to get back on my bike again. I’m on day 3 right now and I’m hoping that I can continue for as long as possible, even with all the goings-on around me with the packing and the move. I am having interrupted sleep because the pains wake me up every time I try to switch positions and turn, my lower back ‘locks’ and I have to grab the bed posts to pull myself as an aid. I thought I’d share this here as I know so many people have this problem and I’d love to help others out.

I have been told I will always and forever suffer with this because of the natural shape of my spine, I can delay the time in between the back attacks but I can never get rid of them, so the trick is for me is to get into a habitual routine no matter what. This is the bit that is difficult for me. I find that I fall out of routines fast as soon as I travel/get sick/relocate.

Do any of you suffer with lower back pain? Do you agree with me that exercise is the only thing to really help? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, thanks for reading 🙂





Confessions of an ex-Smoker

I quit smoking about 4 years ago. I stopped buying cigarettes and even socially I wouldn’t even have a little. I’d been smoking ‘properly’ since I was 15, but at 14 I would have cigarettes twice a week when I met up with my best friend. The funny thing is I always had a love/hate relationship with it, I was one of those smokers who loved the holding and having something in my hand, the inhaling, I even liked the smell, but I would suffer stomach pains and nausea every time I had one (because of ibs/digestive issues I suffer with).

So, I actually weirdly found it easy quitting, after the 3rd day which was the hardest, I did it cold turkey, just stayed at home and slept a lot! I followed a scientifically proven diet to help with the cravings and practiced psychological methods that apparently are supposed to help.

Fast forward to the past year and I have found in times of extreme stress and personal crisis the only thing to calm me down is a cigarette, even though I absolutely hate them now, it is the only bloody thing that works, even just half of one.

This has happened twice in the past year: When I was bullied in a new job and had to leave otherwise I would have suffered a mental breakdown and recently in the past few weeks – more rejections from job applications and our landlords are selling the rented home we live in, forcing us out, coinciding this with feeling like my life is in limbo (I lost my job, my husband lost his and his current job is 10k less a year, living with family because we can’t even afford a studio, being 34 and still haven’t had a child…yep I feel like shit pretty much)

It just got too much for me last week and I was shaking, I imagine it was adrenaline or cortisol or one of those stress/fight or flight type hormones, I had drank chamomile/lavender/done breathing exercises/taken some valerian and nothing. So I took myself to the local corner shop and bought a box and a lighter, it was revolting, made me feel sick but it calmed me down. I had 2 more and threw the rest out (they were really cheap don’t worry).

I haven’t had any since, nor have I even craved one, it is obviously my weak capabilities of managing my stress that is resorting to me doing this, I probably won’t have one again for another 5 years, but I just find it odd that it’s the only thing that calms me down…even after all these years. It can’t still be a physiological thing surely..?