Catching the Earliest Pain Warning Signs

As I announced to my email list last week, my first series of reviews focuses on pain fixes for the lower back.

Lower back, neck, and shoulders are by far the most common complaints both for normal aches and disabling pains…  Over 50% of adults (NIH) have had pain in the last 3 months!

One of my earlier emails shared how I jumped back to full functioning after I threw my back out again.  Since then, it’s doing pretty well.  I’m aware of the earliest signs of stiffness and aches, so I try to head off worse pain within a few days…

Some of the earliest, subtlest warning signs of the lower back needing hands-on attention include:

  • Getting tiny twinges of pain, then it’s fine
  • When sitting, I have to move my hips more to pick things up
  • It’s harder to reach and tie my shoes
  • When standing, feeling like I have to squeeze the lower back muscle to stay upright
  • At night, catching myself slump-walking, which is walking and standing with knees deeply bent
  • It’s tiring to stay bent over in the kitchen
  • It hurts more than usual to press my fists into the lower back
  • I find myself shying away from fun physical activities like dancing or racing the dog
  • At the gym, I feel overly cautious about picking up heavier weights off the ground
  • Having a nagging instinct that I just want to lie down or even hang from a ledge or bar!

Think about what your own earliest warning signs are for your recurring aches and pains.

Sometimes they’re observations you’ve learned to notice, like shoe-tying getting harder.  Other times, they’re often instincts, hunches, and even hesitations — your body is trying to warn you!

Catching stiffness or weakness early before it becomes full-blown pain is a life skill!  The area is often just tense from stress, stagnation, or overuse and needs some circulation or relaxation to recover.  Without recovery, it might worsen.  Early detection can save you from preventable strains + injuries, improve work productivity, and keep you more active without worrying.

Many of you feel warning signs like this all the time, which means it’s worth taking care of!  Of course, you can get a massage or chiropractic adjustment if you have the means.  If you suspect a medical condition, see a physician or physical therapist to instruct on care and self-care.

Most of you can empower yourself, though, by using foam rollers, massage balls, stretching (learn which types!), or those exercises you got from “that physical therapist…” once upon a time 😉

An elastic wrap or sleeve may be a good idea, too.  Light compression reminds you not to suddenly over-exert the at-risk body part, and provides gentle stabilization if there’s a joint involved.

Go forth and enjoy your lives as able, but don’t forget to catch the earliest warning signs.  Earliest is easiest!  The sooner you restore healthy structure and function, the happier you’ll be.


Warm regards,

Alex Gwozda, CMT/LMP

Posted in General, Lower Back.