How I Ended Periodic Back Pain for Good!

I accepted lower back pain as a natural consequence of aging. I was wrong!

The first “wrong” assumption I made was that since I do 30 plough-pose stretches nearly every day, I was sure I was doing everything possible to strengthen and condition my back.

Me doing plough pose stretch

So, when I experienced the inevitable lower back pain every spring after a weekend of yard work, I assumed that that was just the result of aging and using muscles that had been dormant since the previous spring.

I was wrong.

Kayaking Nearly Broke My Back

I found the solution to ending my periodic back pain quite by accident last April when my wife and I were in Florida.

We decided to go on a kayaking excursion in hopes of experiencing the thrill of paddling among the alligators, manatees and wildlife just as the promotional pamphlets suggested would happen. 😉

By Asad Photo from Pexels

It started as a great day, until about five minutes after getting into the kayak, when I began to experience searing lower back pain.

The river had a strong current, so turning around and paddling back wasn’t an option.

So, for the next 2.5 hours, my only mission was endurance.

I tried lying back, sitting up, and propping lifejackets under my back and legs in every conceivable way imaginable, but the best I could manage was the odd minute of relief before another stab of excruciating pain.

My wife, however, was perfectly comfortable. It made no sense … she works out and stretches five times a week, but so do I!

I never paid any attention to her routine other than being aware that she’s been following the same three exercise videos for more than 10 years. She’s always claimed that following my routine would kill her, but clearly, she was doing something much better than me.

Through my torment down that endless river, I asked my wife to take me through every routine she does.

Listening as carefully as the pain would allow, I mentally ticked off everything she did with what I did.

Although our routines were different in form, we perfectly aligned our stretching and resistance exercises to all our major muscles … except for one thing:

She regularly did a forward-toe touch that stretched her hamstrings and lower back. The crazy thing was that I used to do this exercise “religiously” until I read about how the plough pose was simply the best for stretching the lower back.

So, I stopped doing the toe-touch stretch and switched to plough poses.

The Toe Touch Stretch was Nothing Short of Miraculous

As soon as we returned from our holiday, I began the toe-touch exercise again.

Although I continued to do it for the next year, to be quite honest, I had forgotten all about why I was doing it since I don’t usually experience back pain unless I do something unusual – like spring yard work.

Our annual spring yard work is more strenuous than weeding a garden and raking the lawn.

In fact, this year was particularly arduous.

Over the course of a three-day weekend, we re-sealed our concrete driveway and the deck around the pool, spread 2 yards of topsoil on the lawn, and put 3 yards of mulch in the garden beds. I cut the extraneous branches off of a giant maple tree—which put me in some precarious positions.

We also brought down two 35-foot pine trees, dug out the stumps, and then I pick-axed a 40-foot trench through hard soil to plant eight new emerald cedars.

So, after the first day, I was anticipating going to sleep and waking up needing traction, but there was nothing, no pain.

Day two was just as strenuous, but no pain.

In fact, I never experienced so much as a twinge of back pain for that entire weekend, and to this day – three weeks later – I’ve been absolutely back-pain-free!

Toe Touches – The Miracle Stretch

Since that crazy long weekend, I have been in situations where I would typically experience acute pain, such as working under stairs and doing some chore or another under cramped conditions, but incredibly enough, I’ve been completely pain-free.

Now that I’m fully aware and focusing on what I’m actually feeling when doing a toe touch, I feel a subtle pull and a gentle stretch in my lower back and hamstrings that I never felt from a plough pose … and that I suspect was the difference.

So here’s the thing: if you experience acute or chronic lower back pain, you may want to work your way into doing a seated toe touch stretch.

Caution: If you’re not used to stretching, it may take a few weeks or even months to touch your toes, but keep at it; one day, you may end the debilitating effects of lower back pain, and then you’ll look forward to doing it every day.

Will it work for you? Maybe, maybe not, but it was miraculous for me, so I wanted to share my experience in hopes that it might help alleviate any back pain that you may be experiencing.