Interview with Carol Judd
LOW BACK PAIN is something most people assume has a specific cause, such as lifting something too heavy or an automobile accident. What we do not think about is that our body is very much like a car. If we drive a car that is poorly aligned, there will be wear on certain parts of the tires. If this is not corrected, and the car is continuously driven, eventually one of the tires will wear so much that it will blow. The same is true of your back. If your posture is poor, or if you have muscle imbalances over a period of time, one day you may all of the sudden experience back pain.
Carol Judd, 41, suffered from a back injury approximately 10 years ago. She has shown dogs, is a bird hobbiest, and exercises 5 - 6 times a week. Her exercise program includes advanced jazz and tap dancing, walking, stretching, and core fitness classes. Get to the Core interviewed Carol about how she dealt with her back pain, and was able to return to all of the activities she enjoys doing.
GTC: Carol, how did you injure your back?
CJ: I don’t really recall any specific incident that brought on the injury. I just woke up one day with the worst pain imaginable in my back. I honestly think it was poor posture. I never really held my abdominals in when I moved around; they were always very weak.
GTC: What sort of limitations did you have when you injured your back?
CJ: (Laughing)- Everything. It took all the strength I had just to get out of bed and go to the bathroom. It was like that for a few weeks.
GTC: What did the doctor say?
CJ: I never went to see a doctor. My husband also suffered from severe back pain and the doctor recommended every treatment you can think ofchiropractics, pain medicine, etc. The only thing that really helped him long term was exercises he learned from a physical therapist. I started doing those exercises on a regular basis, and they helped me tremendously. I was able to resume my regular activities without pain.
GTC: Did you ever have a reoccurrence of the back pain?
CJ: Once, not so long after my original injury. I had stopped doing the exercises. After that, I performed the exercises on a regular basis. Since then, I may have had a few instances where I experience slight pain, but never as terrible as the first incidence.
GTC: What kind of exercises do you do?
CJ: Most of them involve strengthening my abdominal muscles. Although I had always done abdominal exercises, I never did them with the correct form. Now I have a good understanding of how to really isolate them. Not only do I not have pain, I feel stronger, and notice an improvement in my physique.
GTC: What advice would you give to those that suffer from low back pain?
CJ: Learn how to strengthen your abdominals the correct way, and stick to a permanent program. By doing this, you are enabling yourself to return to the things you really enjoy doing. When I injured myself, the thought never crossed my mind that I might have to stop dancing and doing aerobics. I believe the abdominal strengthening was what allowed me to return to my activities.
Author’s Commentary: The above advice should be applied to all, even those that presently do not suffer from back pain. Treat your body like you do your car- "keep it aligned regularly." By taking preventative measures and strengthening your core muscles, low back pain, which is too common a household term, can be avoided.