Earlier this week, my husband complained his low back was feeling kind of crummy. “What should I do?” he asked.
“Deadlift and plank,” I responded.
I walked in after my bike ride the next morning, and he was deadlifting. Later, after his workout was finished, I asked him how his back was feeling.
“Better,” he said, without hesitation.
What’s interesting about this (at least, to me), is when my low back feels achy, I make it feel better by rolling around on the floor in a mindful way. This encourages bending and flexing in a relaxed manner. He, on the other hand, does really well if he loads the spine. His spine is naturally very bendy; mine is not. When our habits are exaggerated (which is often the case the when the low back is achy), giving the nervous system an input that’s opposite our natural tendencies quiets things down.
Figure out your habits. Know how to exaggerate them and know what it feels like to do the opposite. When things feels cranky, play with your movement patterns. Does moving in your habitual way feel good? If not, can you change it? We have more control over general discomfort than we think.