Have you ever bought a gym subscription or purchased a piece of exercise equipment, only to rarely use them?
Even though you may start an exercise routine with the best of intentions, that doesn’t mean you will stay with it. When it comes to exercises for back pain, you may need to work diligently for weeks, months, or for a lifetime to gain and maintain freedom from pain.
Here are some ways to stay motivated so that you can have the best chance of succeeding.
Even though you know you want to get rid of back pain and regain mobility and strength, getting there may not be as easy as it sounds. If you are faced with a goal that seems impossible to reach, it is all to easy to give up on exercising for back pain before you see tangible results. It is very important to set smaller goals that you can achieve so that you remain motivated and moving forward with your plans.
Here are some things you can do to make goal setting more effective and useful:
- Do not put a time table on achieving a particular goal. For example, if you want to be able to bend over and touch your knees, don’t restrict yourself to achieving that goal in one month. If you know that you can make that goal, just do your best each day. Don’t worry about time because you are not in a race.
- Include a reward just for doing exercises each day. This is often overlooked because many people feel that increased strength or reduction in pain should be reward enough. Others say that the endorphins generated by exercise should also be enough to keep anyone on task. Unfortunately, millions of people give up on exercise programs every day even though physical activity has many rewards. It doesn’t matter if you choose to have a special snack or put money side to spend on something you want. Even a small reward that means something to you may be just enough to get you working out every day.
- If you find a goal is not achievable, don’t give up. Instead, look for a smaller step that will keep you moving forward and make that your goal. Let’s say you set a goal to do 5 repetitions of an exercise, but find you can barely do 1. Instead of giving up and despairing over not being able to reach your goal, revise it to just 2 repetitions. Once you achieve that goal, just keep gradually moving forward.
Integrating With Your Life
Exercising for back pain isn’t like a 9 – 5 job at a factory. If you do your routine, and then forget about back wellness for the rest of the day, it won’t be of much help to you. In addition, taking this approach to any kind of exercise can lead to a reduction in motivation.
Making exercises for back pain part of other areas of your life is very important. For example, you may want to look into simple self back massages, hand reflexology, or foot reflexology to find things you can do to relieve back pain during the rest of the day. At the very least, when you feel that you are putting idle, spare, or low priority blocks of time to good use, you will feel better about the more active parts of the exercise program.
Have you ever wanted to get started on building something or achieving a goal that will take some time to accomplish? If so, you may believe that you are a procrastinator because you can never seem to get started or stay with your plans long enough to complete them. These problems can be overcome, but you may need to do some work before you even begin the exercise program itself.
While you can use many forms of meditation, binaural music may be your best option. Basically, binaural beats re-synchronize different parts of your brain to improve efficiency. They can also be used to help you focus better on specific tasks or goals.
The easiest way to use binaural music is to listen to it while you are sleeping. If you have problems staying focused during mediation, tend to fall asleep, or simply don’t feel comfortable with it, binaurals can give you the improved focus without having to “meditate”.
When using binaurals for motivation, it is very important to find ones you are comfortable with. This includes the overlying music as well as the underlying sounds that you may nor may not be fully aware of. If the music makes you feel uncomfortable, it is best to look for something else. There are many free videos available via Youtube and other channels.
Aside from that, as long as you have stereo headphones or ear buds, you will be able get the full effect of the binaurals. You do not need to look at the imagery to use the music itself.
Today, many people think that binaurals are like hypnosis, or something they only need to listen to once and then never again. Developing mental focus and associated motivation skills takes time. You may get benefit from day to day using binaurals, and even extend that to a week or more without listening to them. Invariably, you will need to go back to them, or continue listening to them for maximum benefit.
There are very few things in life that are better done alone. While you may feel more comfortable exercising in the privacy of your own home, staying motivated is an entirely different matter. Here are some ways a support group can help you stay motivated:
- You will have a chance to talk to others embracing the same challenges. This can help you feel good about your progress as well as challenge you to do better.
- Even though you should never replace sound medical advice with group support, knowing there are other people to compare notes with can give you peace of mind. At the very least, if you feel something may not be working for you, the validation or invalidation supplied by others may help you make a better decision for your situation.
- People that have encountered similar obstacles may have some good advice on how to overcome them
- when you interact with other people, there is a subtle interest in remaining accountable.
Both online and local groups can help you stay motivated while pursuing an exercise program to relieve back pain. Local groups may also have a number of additional advantages. In particular, you always get more out of social interactions when you meet people face to face.
It does not matter whether you meet up and play a card game or go on a picnic together. The important thing is to be with a group of people that share a common goal and a path to achieving it. There may be times when others in the group will help you stay motivated and focused on your objectives, and other times when you will do the same for others.
Learning and Trying New Things
As I’ve mentioned in a number of articles, many medical researchers wind up admitting they don’t know as much as they thought they did. Not so long ago, doctors called using maggots to heal flesh wounds quackery. Today, doctors have to admit maggots are one of the better ways to debride dead flesh in deep wounds.
Not so long ago, opiates were also the gold standard for treating chronic pain. Today, we are finding out that these drugs cause far more problems than they solve. Sadly, there are many areas of medical care where advice that was “gold standard” just a few years ago has been dismissed as useless, of insufficient benefit, or outright harmful.
This is just one of many reasons why it is very important to keep an open mind when pursuing back pain exercises. Things that may seem like a good idea today may be dismissed as harmful tomorrow. At the very least, if you try new exercises, you will have a chance to see if they work for you.
Embracing new exercises or new approaches will also help you stay motivated. There is nothing worse than doing the same thing day in and day out when it comes to maintaining your interest in any given task. Just remember to take things slowly and pay attention to how your body feels.
Losing motivation can happen suddenly or over a period of time. Depending on the causes of your back pain, you may need to do these exercises for the rest of your life in order to gain relief and maintain good back health. Staying motivated for months or years on end can be very challenging unless you take steps outside of the actual exercise program. Support groups, binaurals, goal setting, and integrative approaches are just a few things you can try. Regardless of what winds up working for you, the important thing is that lack of motivation won’t be the reason you fail to achieve back pain relief.
Survivormann99 | August 27, 2019
Around 1995, my car was rear-ended by a drunk driver. I developed low back pain. I suffered from that back pain for 6 months or so, never wanting to take the time to sit in a doctor or chiropractor’s office and miss work. Although I experienced the back pain daily, it was obviously not completely debilitating or I would have sought treatment. I simply expected that the pain would eventually go away.
At about the six month mark, I attended an event at which I rode my horse. I was able to struggle up and into the saddle and ride that first day. At the end of that day, I just lay on the grass for awhile, given how much pain I was experiencing.
The next day, I actually felt somewhat better. Three days later, my back pain was completely gone. I have never suffered any low back pain since then. Period.
Since that time, I have read two articles in the LA Times about back pain in which individuals claimed that riding a horse helped their low back pain. I suppose that the rocking motion in the low back while riding in a saddle works as a chiropractic substitute, but I am only speculating.
Access to a horse is not a reality for most people, and knowing how to ride is a problem, too. I only know what worked for me, but I thought that some people might benefit from hearing my story.