Last week it suddenly occurred to me that I don’t suffer from back pain anymore. That this realisation had so quietly crept up on me was a surprise. For years back pain had been a huge thing in my life. It reached its peak level about 10 years ago when I’d wake up every morning with a terribly stiff back. I couldn’t bend over to tie up my shoe laces. Sitting at a chair for long periods was impossible. Driving a car was uncomfortable. The constant background pain and awareness of this problem caused stress, fatigue and anxiety. I’m pretty sure I know why I had these problems with my back. A weak core and, most importantly, poor posture during hours and hours sitting in front of a computer. I’d resigned myself to just having to live with back pain and figured it was only going to get worse.
But I was completely wrong. The pain has gone. Upon reflection I can only think of two factors that have caused this unexpected and happy circumstance. Yoga is the first factor. Over the past 3 years I’ve done a lot of yoga. I’d have averaged proper hour long practices 3-4 days a week. Even during lockdowns. I’ve gone from barely being able to follow the teachers moves, to being in a situation now where I could easily complete a 200 hour teacher training course. It’s built strength in all the places that my back needs for stability and strength. Rather than tightening up as I’ve grown older, the reverse has happened. I’ve become more flexible.
Secondly, because I don’t work in an 9-5 office job anymore I don’t have the need to spend week days sitting at a desk, hunched over a screen. Of course I still work on the computer but it’s often done sitting on the floor seated in a half lotus position, whilst taking lots of breaks and just generally spending far less time in a poor posture. I guess this is a benefit of working from home. There isn’t the pressure to be seen to be working at a desk so it’s easier to take breaks and stretch the back.
I thought I’d share this because I know back pain is a problem for a lot of people and the internet is swamped with magic cures. What worked for me is simple and certainly isn’t mysterious. Regularly exercise (yoga) and avoiding long periods at a desk. That’s all it took.