ON THE ROCKS WITH A TWIST
If you’ve ever experienced back spasm, you know it is impossible to think of anything else but making the pain go away. I had this experience on a leisurely rafting trip, I decided was a little too leisurely. So, myself always wanting to make the most of my daily movements, reasoned I needed to add a little “twist” to my paddling technique. I know. I should know better. And there it was, shooting pain from an involuntary contraction in the center to my lower back. My angry back reminding me that “leisurely” was actually an awesome idea. This back spasm was excruciating and overwhelming. At the moment, I’m sure I was exclaiming dramatically that I was paralyzed.
Well at least it wasn’t a strain, and if I was ten years older it might have been. I was really twisting big and incorrectly, and it could’ve been more serious if my back wasn’t used to me taking care of it. We stopped for lunch on the rocks, and while the normal, leisurely people ate, I found a flat rock and did this stretch. Much to my husband’s embarrassment, I’m sure.
BOTTOMS UP: UP AND OVER STRETCH
I strongly suggest people practice getting in this stretch in their life before experiencing back pain. It hugely preventative at the first sign of pain, but can be dangerous to try if you already have back or hip maladies. If you get a spasm without an injury, keep calm and do this great back spasm stretch.
- On a mat, you can roll like a ball to use some momentum to get here. With no mat, you have to have enough ab and arm strength and back flexibility to get in this position. Just engage your abs and roll over
- Spread shoulder blades on surface, lengthen neck, René’s Tip: Your voice should sound normal if you speak
- It’s all about this: BREATHE TO INFLATE YOURSELF, fill up the entire rib cage, slow deep inhales until there is good pressure from the inside out. This will help “iron out” the muscles and lighten up your joints in the torso and hips.
- Flex and relax feet for 30 second intervals
- If you have good balance on your shoulder girdle, grab toes
This position harnesses gravity and uses it to spread those back muscles out. If you can’t get in this position, get a workout ball and lay on it like this with the same breathing. This works great, too.
Stay here until the pain goes away. Have faith that if it’s only a back spasm, it will go away and don’t panic. In my incident, and others in the past, my pain was gone in less than 8 minutes. Really.
In the meantime, the principles taught in Corkscrew in Pilates come into play for everyday movement. Don’t twist unless your hips are in good symmetry, shoulders relaxed and in symmetry, engage abs and focus on the twisting of the center vertabrae. So the moral of the story is use your Corkscrew and go bottoms up often, and you won’t wind up on the rocks with a twist!