Tips for Back Pain

Good morning! As I was walking this morning I started thinking about how many people I know who are currently dealing with pesky backs. Three of my friends are having back pain and I know that it is a very common complaint. I thought I’d share some tips that I use to keep my back from bothering me. I hope they help you out!

1. Buy a memory foam mattress topper 

Memory-Foam-Mattress-Topper-picxI found one on Overstock.com for 150 dollars. It may seem pricey, but I was waking up every morning with a stiff back and the first night I slept on this that problem disappeared. I’d say that’s worth a lot!

2. Sleep on your side with a flat pillow between your knees 

Fig_4This keeps your spine in a neutral alignment all night so that it can relax from the stress of the day. Sleeping on your stomach arches the spine backward all night and often leads to back pain so if you sleep on your stomach I’d recommend switching. It will take some time but eventually this will become a super comfy way to sleep.

3. Wear good quality shoes 

imagesDanskos, Clark’s, and Aasics are three of my favorite brands. I notice my back getting achy when I wear cheap sandals or flats that offer no support.

4. Stretch 

stretchingStretching out my legs, abs, and hips is the number one thing that keeps my back feeling good. All those tight muscles can really pull on your back and cause pain or discomfort. Stretch for at least 10 minutes after every workout, and get a massage every once in a while to work out pesky knots.

I hope these tips help you out!

Breakfast

IMG_2360_2 IMG_2359_2Whole wheat organic blueberry pancakes. YUM. Speaking of pancakes, this morning I read an article about the best places to get pancakes in the nation and Kerbey Lane Cafe was on there and so was Paul’s Pancake Parlour! Kerbey Lane is in Austin and Paul’s is in Missoula. I guess I picked some awesome places to live 😀

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Spine anyone?

Good evening! I was out and about a lot today which felt fantastic. After breakfast I got ready and was out the door by around 10:45. You can thank my mom’s camera for the nicer pictures I’ve had the last few days! I really think it improves the look of the blog and I might buy it from her. Or use the one in Montana. Ah.

IMG_2341_2I drove to the Barnes and Noble that is super close to my house to study for several hours and it’s a beautiful location! The cafe is large and has the perfect amount of background noise for schoolwork that isn’t too challenging. While I was there I also had a light lunch.

IMG_3717It was pretty good, but kind of a rip off. It’s hard to tell but that cup of soup is very tiny and all the sandwich had on it was two tomato slices and some pesto. For 7 dollars I certainly could have gotten more for my money elsewhere, but I didn’t feel like leaving!

When I got home it was time to meal plan and then head to HEB with the family to get groceries for this week!

IMG_3718Looooove me some healthy, colorful veggies :D. When we got home I was super hungry and I whipped up a mixture of strawberry greek yogurt and organic honey grams. Sweet tooth= satisfied!

IMG_2350_2A couple hours of scrabble later, it was time to start cooking dinner! We had planned to make the salmon burgers from last week since we had some fresh dill leftover and we really liked them. When we were at the store we found canned salmon for a dollar instead of four dollars! Wowza! What a bargain.

I cracked open the salmon to start making the patties, and quickly realized why it was so cheap.

IMG_2352_2 IMG_2356_2SKIN AND BONES EVERYWHERE. MASS CARNAGE. RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!!!!

tumblr_m100whYVT81qboouyo1_250I’m all about not wasting food, but there was no way in heck that I was going to eat that stuff. Why would they even offer that as a product?? Who eats spine?? Madness!

Organic spinach sausages, peppers, and caesar salad saved the day. You don’t get a picture of that though because my computer is being silly. Good ol technology.

Have a great night!!

 

 

 

Lightning Fast

That’s how today felt, but it was one of the best days I’ve had so far this week. I didn’t have work OR class so I was able to sleep in until 8am and I haven’t felt so rested in a long time! I also got a TON of stuff done.

I have to write a research paper for my Latin American Studies class and I chose to explore medical care in Cuba. I read through 200 pages worth of articles and speeches today, and already feel like I’ve learned so much. Research projects are the bomb.com.

nerdalert_091412I also tackled all my chem homework and went to a long biology review session. I’ve studied a crazy amount for my test tomorrow so I’m just over it. I’m going to get a good night’s sleep, eat a big breakfast, read through the test slowly, and hope for the best. If I’m not prepared by now, there’s nothing else I can do!

tumblr_m7sbv8rzP61rv7wg5o1_500Also, I hit a HUGE milestone today! At least it feels huge to me. I can finally do ab exercises where I extend my legs out in front of me (like V-ups) without it hurting my back! I don’t mention my back injury on here very much anymore because it’s essentially healed, but there were still a few things I couldn’t do. I thought it was as good as it was going to get, but today when I did those ab exercises I realized it’s going to keep improving!

On a side note, it feels like a ripped all my ab muscles to shreds. OW.

7a97be3b8f4513ef02d0dd8323c28c28I laid down and when I tried to get back up I literally could not do it. I had to roll over on my side and scoot my way up like a little baby. It was pretty sad. I think I killed some muscles that haven’t been worked in a loooong time.

Food and Exercise 

PicMonkey Collage

 

Breakfast: toast with peanut butter and jelly. Lunch: grilled turkey and cheese with a spinach salad. Snack: Yogurt with some corn flakes stirred in for crunch. Dinner: most of a taco meal from the dining hall while I studied.

I redid the Nike “competitor” workout today to see if I’d be able to push myself a little harder and I definitely did!

Sleep

This past year I’ve really grown to love and appreciate sleep even more than I ever had before. When my back injury as its most painful I didn’t get more than a few hours of sleep every night for months and it really affects you both mentally and physically.

tumblr_madeynE4sX1r9xjxoo1_500I was constantly nauseous and depressed without any energy. Then, when my back got a little better and I could sleep through the night, I still wasn’t falling into a wonderful deep slumber. I didn’t do anything all day so when I laid down I had nothing to be tired from! So I laid down and my mind was just like:

tumblr_meo7fu3okZ1rakg1rBut these last few weeks sleep and I have gotten a wonderful relationship back! I’m super busy and active all day, I have an incredibly comfortable mattress (thanks Ikea), and my room is the perfect temperature. I crawl under those sheets and within minutes I am sacked out like a log.

tumblr_m6frs3XwVc1rwcc6bo1_500When my alarm goes off in the morning I feel refreshed and ready to tackle another day. I can also sleep through anything and I can usually sleep anywhere. Especially cars, trains, or buses. Yeah, you could just say t’s my special talent.

tumblr_lyqyzaiNhD1qhnr1lo1_500

 

Do you sleep well? Do you get enough sleep?

Early daze of Texas

The last few days have felt kind of surreal. Did I really move to Texas three days ago? Did I really set my time forward an hour without any notion of the next time I’ll set it back? I did! And it’s awesome. We’ve been furniture shopping (so far unsuccessfully), eating delicious food, and just hanging out.

IMG_2557 IMG_2558My back is feeling fantastic. It gets somewhat tight if I walk or sit for a long time without stretching, but that’s the only symptom I’ve really noticed. Yes!

IMG_2562I have only met one of my roommates, Paige, and she is a total sweetheart. I can’t wait to meet the rest of them! She’s been crazy busy but we have plans to hang out on Tuesday evening which will be great!

It’s been such a blessing having Halley and David here the last few days. They’ve been a huge help and I don’t feel like a little lost child set in a big city. haha!

IMG_2573Like the toilet? Sexayyyy. I have to run to orientation after a big french toast breakfast. I am excited to tackle today and really become a longhorn 🙂

12/12/12

Isn’t it pretty cool that today is the last repeating date of our lifetimes? Well, of your lifetimes. I fully plan to live until the year 3000. That’s impossible you say?

tumblr_m2ufjvf9qC1ql5yr7o1_r2_400Now. About these laps I keep talking about…I swear they are actually going to happen today. I promise on my honor. Yesterday my back felt mostly fine but there were a couple times where it locked up a little on me so I didn’t want to risk it. This morning it’s feeling quite chipper and I will be shuttling my butt to the pool no matter what happens.

tumblr_m32mu5MdxR1rtg76ko1_400Last night was not one of the most shining moments in my life. My back was feeling a little tight so I thought I’d sit down with the heating pad to warm it up and let those muscles relax a bit. So far so good, right? So I cranked up that sucker to high, put it against my back, and sat down to watch Mariska Hargitay kick some butt on Law and Order.

tumblr_mee0nuVcml1qg2137o3_250Two episodes later, I realized I couldn’t really feel the heating pad anymore. I reached back to adjust it and the leather of my chair was scalding hot. Turning off the heat on the pad I went to check and see if my back was okay. It was cherry red and mottled and the skin felt incredibly tight! I rubbed some aloe all over it but all night the skin hurt and my muscles were twitching and yelling, “Too hot! Too hot!” So basically…I’m an idiot.

292v4slI just don’t know, Emma. Despite my best efforts to give myself third-degree burns, the skin on my back is fine this morning. I’ll put some more aloe on it just to be sure and stay away from heating pads from now on.

I must go swim laps now. I MUST I MUST.

Have you ever done anything really stupid that almost hurt you? 

At a bonfire a couple summers ago I tried to split a log of wood. I swung the axe down hard, completely missed, and it landed in the ground about an inch away from my foot. That was the start and end of my wood cutting career.

Right to bare arms

I’ve been coming up with a lot of great arm workouts lately that don’t bother my back but really get my abs and arms burning! Here’s one I did the other day that I really liked. Doing plank in between each set made my heart rate go up and warmed me more than just resting would.

Pink-wallpaper-pink-color-10579451-1152-864Since I’ve been losing some weight and toning my muscles again, I am really liking the results I’m seeing! I have a long ways to go and I know that I have to be very careful but it’s still so motivational. If you’re trying to reach a weight loss or fitness goal keep going until you can see some results! Then you won’t want to stop.

On my agenda for today are some updates on the blog (!!!!!!!), lap swimming, and tutoring. Oh and finishing up my Christmas shopping! I hope your schedule includes trying out this workout 🙂 you’ll be glad you did!

What’s your favorite muscle to tone?

I have two! Abs and shoulders. Abs because, well, who doesn’t want awesome abs? And shoulders because when you have buff shoulders you get that cut in your upper arm that looks so good!