Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ouch My Back Hurts!

Dealing with Aches and Pains

If you make $8.15 an hour, chances are pretty good that a lot of those hours are on your feet. You might be bending, lifting, or just standing on a hard surface for a long period of time. Once upon a time I could afford visits to the chiropractor. He wanted to see me three times a week. Even at my highest paying jobs, that was pushing the envelope on what I could afford and what my insurance was willing to pay. I settled for once a week or once every two weeks depending on my schedule. I also made sure to visit the massage therapist once a month. Those days are over. I've had to come up with ways to help with the general aches and pains and my really nasty shoulder problem. I've got four different ways to help with these problems in four different price ranges. Hopefully one or more of them will help you.


Go buy a tennis ball or a racket ball and a pair of tube socks. Fill the tube socks with uncooked rice. Keep one in the freezer. Keep the other near the microwave. When you have a pain area nuke the sock near the microwave for about two minutes and then place it on the pain area--don't put it directly on your skin--it will be too hot--I wear a T shirt. After 15 or 20 minutes remove the heat and use the tennis ball against the wall to roll out the knot. Then grab the sock from the freezer and apply cold for another 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat as necessary.


I have an acupressure mat. You can find them on Amazon ranging in price from $20-$60. It's a foam mat covered in metal circles that have metal spikes sticking out. Sounds painful? Well it is a little bit when you start out--so start with five minutes laying on the mat. Increase the time as your tolerance goes up. You may eventually find that you can sleep on it. It stimulates blood flow to the back, hips, or wherever you are using it. It doesn't really do much for leg issues--so skip this one if your calves are the problem. 


I bought a home TENS unit. That stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. It's a little electronic shock machine. They use them in chiropractic offices, but I bought a home unit. I got mine on sale for $20, but they regularly run $40-$100, depending on the unit. It has little gel pads, which have to be replaced fairly regularly, that you attach to the pain site and then you determine what type of electronic pulse you would like and at what intensity level. You can use it just about anywhere on your body--I've found it particularly effective for my lower back and calves. 

Not so Cheap

I joined Massage Envy. It's just like joining a gym. They charge me $59 every month and I get one massage. Additional massages are $39. This does require a one year subscription--so don't just dive in unless you know you can make the payments. They do allow you to put a hold on the account if you need to, but the frozen months don't count towards your year commitment. The prices vary by market, so if you live in a big city you may find that the monthly charge is higher. You may also be able to find better deals on local massage therapy on sites like Groupon, but they aren't consistent so I went with a sure thing. It's one of the things I look forward to every month. An hour, relaxing, with someone else working on my "problem areas."

Completely Free

Stretch! At my last massage I was in pain everywhere. I couldn't figure out why I was hurting so badly. My therapist informed me that I wasn't stretching enough before or during work. Take the time and stretch all your muscles before you start your work day. That means legs, arms, shoulders, back and neck! Just do it--you'll feel better all day because of it. Now I have to go get some icy hot for my shoulder!  

1 comment:

  1. Those are some pretty great tips on staying fit and avoiding muscle or bone problems, especially for people who are trying to lay low on spending money. But visiting the chiropractor has a lot of other perks. It wouldn’t be bad to visit them once in a while. Thanks for sharing!

    Mark Wallace @ Chiropractic Memphis