How to deal with back pain?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby martinfrank » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:43 pm

bodom wrote:I hope this advice from Ash in Tejaniya is helpful to you:

PAIN / UNPLEASANT SENSATIONS / EMOTIONS


http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/

:anjali:


Really wonderful instructions for all of us. Thank you very much!
:goodpost:
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.
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Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby atipattoh » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:19 am

martinfrank wrote:
bodom wrote:I hope this advice from Ash in Tejaniya is helpful to you:

PAIN / UNPLEASANT SENSATIONS / EMOTIONS


http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/

:anjali:


Really wonderful instructions for all of us. Thank you very much!
:goodpost:


Yes, wonderful approach indeed! :reading: :clap:
But, base on the OP description, it is more likely to be physical problem.

Btw, one may feel the pain even when he is not sitting, that means you should already be able to feel that lump with your hand. Try to search with your hand if your hand is flexible enough, from the area close to the bottom of the blade, slowly moving upwards. The location should be at between 30~40% area of the blade curve. It may be a small lump like the size of green bean. That means your blood vein already started to bend seriously. At this stage the pain is slightly felt even when you are not sitting. When it grow to the size of a peanut, the pain will be more obvious as long as you are awake. Don’t worry, it is not a tumor. If the lump develops to such stage, stop meditating. Get a massage ‘sifu’ to release the ‘knot’, 2~3 session will do. Then take precaution of your hand posture when you meditate. When you are used to the new hand position, it will become natural.

Too many monks take psychological approach when they are suppose to take physiological approach with this kind of issue; and teaching their student to follow their path, just to find themselves and the student suffer the pain at the later stage and calling it karmic result; as though the present suffering is the cause of the past kamma. They are corrects, it is karmic effect, but the karmic effect cause by current ignorant.

One unfortunate part in anapanasati is there is not mention of the hand posture. You can put it anyway you like as long as you feel comfortable and relax. Most meditation teacher will tell their student to relax their shoulder. And some may ‘purposely’ sagging the shoulder to feel ‘complete’ relax, not knowing they are doing the wrong way.
You may purposely sagging the shoulder and watch what is happening at the shoulder blade; both moving toward each other!

Actually; it is the elbow that you have to look into. Make sure it is not close to your body. If a small kitten can go through the space between your elbow and the body; that will be just fine! And pick up yoga will be good!

:buddha2: Wrong hand posture!
:buddha1: Correct hand posture!

May there be NO more monks and meditators suffer from such pain!
Last edited by atipattoh on Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby Zom » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:07 am

Does anyone else have the same problem ? How do you deal with it? Any specific exercise for this particular muscle?


Just lean on something. This is how I do it now, because I can no longer seat without a support precisely because of this kind of pain. Also, back and side strechings help a lot if we talk about physical exercises that can help in this case.
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Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby bodom » Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:09 pm

Zom wrote:
Does anyone else have the same problem ? How do you deal with it? Any specific exercise for this particular muscle?


Just lean on something. This is how I do it now, because I can no longer seat without a support precisely because of this kind of pain. Also, back and side strechings help a lot if we talk about physical exercises that can help in this case.


Sorry but this reminded me of this story:

Ajahn Chah Remembered

We used to sit for long hours at times, and the meditation hall for the monks was a stone platform -they don't use cushions in Asia. You have a square cloth, like a handkerchief, that you put down on the stone to sit on. I remember when I started, because sitting on the floor was so painful, I would arrive early at the hall and get a place where I could sit next to one of the pillars and lean against it. After about a week of being with Ajahn Chah, he gathered the monks together for an evening talk after the sitting and he began to talk about how the true practice of Dhamma was to become independent in any circumstance; to not need to lean on things. And then he looked at me. - Jack Kornfield


http://www.fsnewsletter.amaravati.org/html/27/27.htm

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby Mkoll » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:17 pm

This is an excerpt from the transcript of Dr. Michael Greger's most recent year-in-review presentation about nutrition. I recommend reading the whole transcript or better yet, watching the whole presentation. Click here.

I've talked about COPD as a leading killer, what about, low back pain, like sciatica.

Low back pain, became one of the biggest problems for public health systems, in the western world, during the second half, of the 20th century. Chronic low back pain now affects about 1 in 5, disabling over 30 million Americans-it's an epidemic. Are people just lifting more heavy stuff? no. Mechanical factors, such as lifting and carrying, probably do not have a major role in this disease. Well then what causes it? I've touched on it before, Atherosclerosis can obstruct the arteries that feed the spine and it's this diminished blood flow that can cause back problems. This can be seen on angiography, showing normal spinal arteries on the left and clogged on the right, or on autopsy, where you can see how the openings to the spinal arteries can get squeezed shut by these cholesterol filled plaques on the right.
Autopsy, because back pain may predict fatal heart disease, just like clogs in the penile arteries-erectile dysfunction, can precede heart attacks, because it's the same disease-inflamed clogged crippled arteries throughout our body.
Now we have MRI imaging, that can show the occlusion of spinal arteries in people with back pain, and the degeneration of the disks-all linked to high cholesterol. Those with narrowed arteries appear about 8 and a half times more likely to suffer from chronic low back pain.
This makes sense. The disks in our lower back are the largest avascular tissue in the body, meaning our disks don't have any blood vessels. Thus, their nutrition just kinds of diffuses in from the margins, making them especially vulnerable to deprivation. Using MRIs you can measure the effects of impaired blood flow on that diffusion, and see how this can turn into that. By age 49, 97%, of the disks of those eating the standard American diet show at least grade 2 degradation.
Starting, in our teens, our disks are already starting to degenerate... starting, around age 11... As I've talked about, nearly all kids have the beginnings of atherosclerosis by age 10 in this country.

And sadly, low back pain is now common in children and adolescents, And it's getting worse. Just like kids now getting adult-onset diabetes, teenagers starting their lives out with a chronic disease. That's why it's never too early to start eating healthier to clean out the arteries in our heart, our spine, and throughout our bodies. To get you back into circulation, you need to get circulation, to your back.
Peace,
James
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Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby martinfrank » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:38 pm

I know back pain too. Who doesn't?

As Buddhists we should follow a Middle Way between believing that everything depends on matter and believing that everything depends on mind. We have MRIs of the crooked backs of amateur meditators and we have Buddhist nuns with backs straight as sticks.

I recommend to look at back problems from both views, the doctor's and the holistic psychologist's. What does your back want to tell you? Do you feel under pressure? Did you load too much on your shoulders? Do you force yourself to do sitting meditation beyond your motivation? Are you meditating in a competitive group? What happens if you meditate without a pillow and change from sitting to walking when you feel no more comfortable?

To make meditation a breeze, invest more in Morality and Understanding!
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.
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Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby Kumara » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:33 am

bodom wrote:
Ajahn Chah Remembered

We used to sit for long hours at times, and the meditation hall for the monks was a stone platform -they don't use cushions in Asia. You have a square cloth, like a handkerchief, that you put down on the stone to sit on. I remember when I started, because sitting on the floor was so painful, I would arrive early at the hall and get a place where I could sit next to one of the pillars and lean against it. After about a week of being with Ajahn Chah, he gathered the monks together for an evening talk after the sitting and he began to talk about how the true practice of Dhamma was to become independent in any circumstance; to not need to lean on things. And then he looked at me. - Jack Kornfield

I recall reading that, at a much later time, AC admitted that all those tough training didn't do much good.
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Re: How to deal with back pain?

Postby Kumara » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:36 am

martinfrank wrote:I recommend to look at back problems from both views, the doctor's and the holistic psychologist's. What does your back want to tell you? Do you feel under pressure? Did you load too much on your shoulders? Do you force yourself to do sitting meditation beyond your motivation? Are you meditating in a competitive group? What happens if you meditate without a pillow and change from sitting to walking when you feel no more comfortable?

To make meditation a breeze, invest more in Morality and Understanding!

Agree, no need to be attached to any posture. As my teacher often say, meditation is mind work, not body work.
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