Recently, strong lower back pain has returned. The kind I experienced back in 2014 when they diagnosed me with a herniated disc in the lumbar region, and the reason I went on a journey of personal transformation. While I’m working on psychological reasons behind the recurrence of pain, I reflect on what I changed in the past to alleviate the pain and continue dancing, despite the discouraging prognosis from the specialist doctor. One thing I know for sure is this: if I managed to overcome the pain once, I can do it again.

In today’s post, I want to share with you the steps that helped me in the past: partly to remember them if the situation arises again in the future, but mainly to help you if you’re dealing with a back pain (especially if you are not too keen on medicine, surgeries, painkillers, etc.).

Step #1: MOVEMENT

I began with targeting exercises to strengthen and stretch my body simultaneously. We are so neglectful and ignorant of our bodies. We expect superpowers from them, yet we do nothing in return. You have a headache, you take a pill. You’re feeling unwell, but you keep working and medicate yourself. You experience pain and you visit the doctor for an injection, and once the pain subsides, resume your activities as if nothing happened.

We address the pain but not its root causes. If we treated our bodies like cars, never servicing them, filling them with poor fuel, and driving them relentlessly on rough roads, they would soon fail us. I decided on regular body servicing instead😊

A) MORNING EXERCISES:
To start, I found some wonderful exercises addressing imbalances in my body. I performed them regularly, initially EVERY day, later 4-5 times a week. At first, it took me 45 minutes every day, meaning I had to wake up at 6 am instead of 7 am to get to work on time. At first it was incredibly challenging; many times, I dragged myself out of bed like a zombie, with anger and hatred towards the whole world and myself. Over time, I realized that exercises were not a magic wand that would miraculously heal my back, allowing me to live “happily ever after”, but a lifelong investment that would accompany me. Whether I liked it or not, they became part of my daily routine if I wanted to live with less pain. Today, I am grateful for them because with age (and wisdom), I see that they are a step towards a more vital life and will support my dance and other hobbies for years to come. I recorded a my morning exercises, and you can find here for free: 

B) CORE-STRENGTHENING EXERCISES:
The most important realization was the need to address the core muscles, which represent our frame. They are responsible for allowing us to stand, walk, sit, and so on. The more we strengthen these muscles, the stronger our bones become, the more support we provide to our skeleton, the less pain we experience, and the more active life we can lead (even in old age!). In this video, I have gathered exercises specifically designed to relieve back pain.

Along the journey of exploring and alleviating pain, I stumbled upon another wonderful treasure trove of knowledge: pilates. The founder, Joseph Pilates, developed the exercises in the early 20th century with the aim of relieving pain and developing a more vital body. Dancers discovered the exercises, using them to heal their injuries and spread pilates worldwide. I also began using it in my work, and you can find the video addressing the muscles of your core here.

C) STRETCHING EXERCISES:
In addition to morning exercises and strength-building exercises for the core muscles, I started stretching. What happens when there’s pain is that the body adopts a forced posture, leading to stiffness. In my case, particularly, the hamstring and chest muscles began losing flexibility. Classical stretching didn’t help in the long run, and in my exploration, I came across passive stretching, based on yoga concepts. I buried myself in study, cursed all poses after 1 minute, quickly noticed that my body was becoming more flexible and pliable. I also recorded exercises for this in the form of a free five-day online challenge, which you can sign up for here.

Step #2: THERAPIES

I sought out a therapist. It was a long process; I tried many, and after a year of searching, I found two that I still visit to today and helped me get back on my dance track. Regularly, once a month, I visited both for therapies to address imbalances in the body. If you are from Slovenia, write to me if you want their contacts. Otherwise, find someone in your area who can address your pain and help alleviate it.

Step #3: SELF-WORK

I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the toughest task in the world: myself. We accumulate a lot of old grudges, unsupportive beliefs, pent-up emotions, worries, and stress in our bodies. Since I wasn’t a fan of self-help & personal growth books in the past, I didn’t have much information on how to reframe my mind, so I turned to a psychotherapist. I visited her once a week for two years straight. We addressed many things and peeled the past out of my body, yet I still felt like we only touched the tip of the iceberg. With her help, I gained a strong foundation for further self-exploration, leading me through numerous programs, coaching, therapies, and eventually to meditation. To touch the depths and address the subconscious, it is not enough to work only with the mind. I took away another hour of sleep and started intense meditations, initially lasting an hour or more; today, I also use shorter ones 😊

Step #4: SUPPORTING THE BODY

To this day I try to support my body with quality food (unprocessed, plant-based; I removed most dairy products, meat, and eggs). In reality, HOW you eat is more important than WHAT you eat. Because you can eat the healthiest meal in the world, but if you accompany it with low-vibrational emotions, the meal will turn into low-vibrational energy.

One more thing I support my body with: magnesium. I seek out pure powder (magnesium citrate, which doesn’t kill my spirit with a bad taste) and drink it once a day. This is by far the best support for my muscles and bones.

I started communicating with my body, observing it. I ask it how I can support it. I’ve begun to connect with it, offering it love, attention, and energy. I’ve started appreciating it, becoming grateful for it, praising it, and showing it affection daily. The most surprising thing was that I established the strongest connection with it through dancing. Why surprising? Because I’ve been dancing my whole life, but it was only recently that I started using dance as a therapeutic technique to accept my body and myself. I no longer judge myself for how I dance; instead, I focus on how dance feels when I connect with my body… It’s one of the most important things you can do. Your body is like a vehicle that runs on love. Fill it with positive energy, and it will serve you well!

 

After ten intense years of self-work, when theory finally became practice, I understand that self-work has become my way of life, which will accompany me until the end. What was the key realization I encountered on my journey of exploration that forever marked me? That I am completely responsible for my life and that as I decide it to be, so it shall be.

Here is tough love for you: stop shifting responsibility onto others, complaining, seeking quick fixes, and reasons for pain outside of yourself. It’s time to take control of your life, reclaim your power, take action, and put your body in motion. Everything is possible if you decide to change. All the tools are available to you – just grab them in your hands.

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