Updated on 05.04.11

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Back Pain Edition

Trent Hamm

On Sunday, I twisted my back stepping out of the shower, pulling a muscle.

By Tuesday, my back felt mostly better. I’m my son’s soccer team coach and the boy was so excited to play, I went out and jogged all over the field with him and his team during the game, even though I knew I should rest.

Tuesday night, that muscle popped again. Ouch. I’m back to where I was Sunday morning.

It could be a long week. Thank you, Advil.

What’s the point of popular? I agree with him in the sense that “Popular is almost never a measure of impact, or genius, or art. Popular rarely correlates with guts, hard work or a willingness to lead (and be willing to be wrong along the way).” His point isn’t that human relationships aren’t valuable, though. His point is that unaffiliated relationships aren’t valuable enough to worry about. Stop caring what other people think. (@ seth godin)

How to Minimize Interruptions When You’re Working I find these types of tactics key to getting almost anything done. (@ dumb little man)

How I Became an Optimist Tempered optimism is a big key for succeeding at almost anything in life. (@ tony schwartz)

My $100,000 Bet on Chris Rock You’re almost always far better off being honest and shooting from the gut than saying the “correct” thing. (@ i will teach you to be rich)

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  1. Johanna says:

    I don’t know that you’re “almost always” better off shooting from the gut. It depends what your gut has to say.

    The Chris Rock story reminded me of some of the scholarship essays I read and rated back in the day. With some of them, “just being honest” yielded an essay that was trite and cringeworthy, tasteless, and even hateful.

  2. valleycat1 says:

    I took away a completely different message from the Chris Rock story than Trent did, particularly after reading the ‘additional’ Chris Rock story immediately following the one Trent linked to.

    I found the linked post to be more about thinking outside the box and being relevant & believable – not ‘shooting from the gut.’ If the author had gone with his first instinct, the article would have a totally different title – along the lines of ‘how going with my first instinct lost me $100K”.

  3. Kate says:

    Sorry to hear about your back. You’re so great about giving good advice so I thought I’d share a tip: if you find yourself experiencing frequent bouts of back pain do yourself a favor and find a good acupuncturist. No manipulation of your spine,etc., just a few tiny hair-width needles and voila—no more pain. Thanks for all your great work.

  4. AndreaS says:

    I have a pretty great chiropractor. He is great in that he is cheap (follow-up visits are $25), effective, and most importantly doesn’t milk the job. By my second or third visit, he will tell me he has done all he is going to do for me. This in contrast to another in the area who will have you coming back every week for a year or more, with no progress. My daughter does to see my chiropractor as well.
    This guy says avoid sitting, but if you do sit on something hard like a kitchen chair, as opposed to a soft couch. Walking is the best thing. Cold packs immediately after the injury, then hot after a few days. (read up on how to do this properly).
    Recently I had the sort of back injury that hurt so bad, when I wanted to turn over in bed I had to think for several minutes on how to move my legs so moving hurt the least. I was visiting my daughter, and was almost unable to stand up from, ahem, a soft couch, when she told me a tip our chiropractor tells her. What the heck, it had been a week, not getting better, and I was on the verge of phoning for an appointment. I tried the tip that night. I was down to 20% pain in 24 hours. So maybe this is just voodoo that coincided when I was due to get better anyway. I don’t think so, but one never knows. But since this is free and takes little time, it is worth a try.
    Lay on your back and hold your knees to your chest. Hold this position for fifteen seconds. Repeat three times a day. That’s it.
    I know, sounds like voodoo. My daughter works in day care, lifts children a lot, and so often has a sore back. She swears this helps her.

  5. David says:

    How exactly (or perhaps I should ask what exactly) does one shoot from the gut?

  6. KC says:

    I have a pretty strong back from playing lots of tennis, but ironically that tennis sometimes takes a toll on my back. I take Advil, like you are doing. I also apply some heat to keep the muscles loose. If this doesn’t take care of it (and it often does) then I’ll do a little stretching after I apply the heat – generally the stretching is floor exercises – but anything you like to stretch without causing pain is going to be beneficial. Also I don’t sit much – I lie down – preferably on the floor.

    If you are in serious pain – get to the doc – it might be more than a pulled muscle.

  7. Adam P says:

    Every tax season I used to get wicked back pain in my lower back, like it was on fire. I saw a doctor and got anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers, and he said it was stress induced. No kidding :) Hope you feel better Trent.

  8. Jude says:

    I have scoliosis and chronic back pain. Mostly I ignore it. When it gets really bad, I massage it with a tennis ball. I sleep on my side. I do crunches (goal:60 per day). I limit the amount of weight I carry. Tennis balls beat any chiropractor–you totally control the massage. Oh, and by the way, if acupuncture doesn’t work for you, that might be because it’s bunk–see the blog Science Based Medicine. That exercise where you stretch out your back–the one that AndreaS mentions–is a good one. Heat isn’t a good idea, though–in other words, just like everyone else, I feel that my advice is best.

  9. kristine says:

    David- ha! Mixed idioms: shoot from the hip, speak from the gut.

  10. AnnJo says:

    Ice pack for 20 minutes every two hours usually helps me for back pain. (With reasonable care against frostbite.) If the problem is a pulled muscle, heat might feel good but does nothing for the inflammation.

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