I wanted to bring to your attention the new guidelines released by the American College of Physicians for doctors as it relates to managing back pain. These guidelines have been all over the news and social media so maybe you're already familiar with the findings but to many of us they come as no surprise. I've attached the link to this report but to summarize: the guidelines are formulated in response to the millions of Americans who look to their doctors for advice upon the onset of back pain. In the past, many doctors have been quick to prescribe rest, pain medications and cortisone shots, but these new guidelines recommend just the opposite. Instead, the guidelines suggest that individuals with back pain keep moving!! Instead of drugs and rest, they are prescribing yoga, massage and acupuncture!! My response, as you can imagine, is Hallelujah!!! I am elated that the American College of Physicians has recognized what the practice of yoga has demonstrated to its practitioners for the past 5000 years.
I have experienced this scenario 1000's of times since owning Body Language and, in fact, most recently with my own mom. She was struggling with severe back pain the last couple of weeks and called me for advice. I gave her some yoga stretches to do and suggested she try to come down and join me for one of Steve's therapeutic back classes. Her doctor, on the other hand, told her to be as sedentary as possible, gave her cortisone, muscle relaxants and pain medications. Not only did the pain persist but she expressed to me a couple of sentiments that I commonly hear from those suffering from back pain which is 1) I'm afraid of moving for fear of breaking myself and 2) I'm afraid this pain will never go away. The article addresses these concerns as well to say 1) keep moving...get on your yoga mat...you are NOT going to break yourself and 2) don't' lose hope..it will get better...it just might take a little time.
In addition to the above, whether you are currently dealing with back pain or trying to prevent it, know that taking one better backs yoga class lowers your cortisol levels by 20%. Cortisol is our main fight or flight hormone released when we are stressed out. It causes muscular tension to get us away from whatever is our perceived threat...whatever we are worried about. The relaxing of our muscles in yoga can help negate this muscular tension thereby alleviating and, even better, prevent back pain. Also, the fact that every yoga class we offer at Body Language moves your spine in 6 different directions helps to restore range of motion to our spine. Keeping our spine strong and bendy helps to prevent back pain in the first place.
So the next time your friend calls and says he/she's suffering from back pain, encourage him/her to join you on your yoga mat...book a massage...keep moving...and most of all to be hopeful...IT WILL GET BETTER!!