or How I Exercise With A Bad Back
I have a bad back, which I’ve written about before on this blog. I was immobilized with pain for many years, but with patience and perseverance and the right treatments, I am finally getting to exercise again.
Several years ago I took a Spinercise program, to learn how to isolate and work the special muscles of the pelvic floor and the abdomen and lower spine, so that I could activate my core properly. I had to take the course twice though, because I have a number of atrophied muscles close to my torn discs and I couldn’t quite get them to activate for me.
In the workbook that came with the course, there was a diagram that likened the process of activating your core muscles to that of tightening a corset around your body. You were supposed to visualize this corset as you tightened each successive muscle group – pulling the imaginary corset strings in to support your spine.
I used this image for years when I needed to engage my core to lift groceries or do anything that required that I support my spine.
There was an inherent problem with this image, however, because of my atrophied muscles. Instead of activating all the muscles (including the atrophied ones), the imaginary corset forced the healthy muscles to take on an extra strain and overcompensate for the damaged muscles. This strain caused extra inflammation and muscular tightness in the hip and spine area, and ultimately caused weakness and instability.
So even though there was something racy about wearing an imaginary corset – it wasn’t working for me.
The idea of titanium being so strong and so light inspired me to think about wrapping my lower spine in titanium.
Then the image of the 1970s Wonder Woman, the 1950’s Superman, and the 1960’s Batman sprang to mind – all of them wore quite spectacular underpants.
Thus the idea of having titanium underwear that fit like the costume Wonder Woman wore, was born. And that image really helps me hold my core in the right place when I am moving, and particularly when I’m exercising.
Its not only an image of a nicely muscular and lean tummy and butt, but its an image of strength and power. Yes, I can conquer anything in my titanium underwear!
The power of the mind and using visualization as a tool has been studied and proven for decades, and I’ve gone through phases when I’ve spent a lot of time visualizing myself to be whole and well. Yet, this is the first time that its really helped me in a physical sense.
So I’m sharing my secret to success – when you need to support a damaged spine and build strength, just try visualizing yourself as a super hero with titanium shorts on and maybe you’ll find that with time it will help you like its helped me.
I find that instead of pulling all those muscles too tightly, I visualize engaging the appropriate muscle groups, and then add in my visualization of metal pants. They hold me upright and straight and really help me maintain the correct posture without overdoing it. So when I am weight lifting, doing core work, or on my exercise bike I can hold the right position without straining myself. My atrophied muscles are even starting to work again.
Of course there is still pain from the damaged discs and my muscles are weak and tired, and working out makes them ache. So, I spend a lot of time on my foam roller (which can hurt like Hell), and stretching, and doing a short form of yoga to keep things from seizing up.
The important thing is that there is progress. I’m standing taller again and feeling kinda super hero like.
…Every day in every way I am getting better and better… repeat... every day in every way I am getting better and better…