Last year, I hurt my back – and I used my Taiji form to help me heal it and get back to my normal self within a week or so.. And I thought I should share how I did it.
It’s my own fault really, I had a “me Tarzan, You Jane” moment and was a typical man. I lifted a 45kg chest of drawers from the showroom to the car and then up the stairs to my son’s bedroom. Now, bear in mind that I (Tannage) am a middle-aged 5’4″ midget who weighs in at 65kg.
So, unsurprisingly something had to give, and unfortunately it wasn’t my pride.
Two days later, I wake up unable to really bend at the middle. If anyone of you have ever seen the Cybermen, that’s what I looked like when I walked around, well minus the shiny suit and evilness.
My back had gone into spasm, and a rather unpleasant spasm it was. I get stabbing pain, the sort that feels like hot chopsticks being stuck into your body.
Taiji person, heal thyself
So, having taken this hit to my pride, I resolved to be even more of a man. No painkillers. Stabbing pain? Crippling discomfort? Nah, I will be a man and get through it all!
Well.. Actually there was a method to my madness.
I’ve used Taiji to help me heal my back before, but it’s not quite as straightforward as just running through the form again and again, although that would also help.
Shotgun vs Sniper Rifle
Practising Taiji form heals the whole body, and if you have a bad back it will also help heal it, but this is something of a shotgun approach. A rising tide lifts all boats so they say. Raise the general health of the body and the back will heal itself.
Y’see, for a Taiji person, I was (1) Impatient, (2) in dire need of salvaging some pride.
I prefer Taiji practise for healing to be somewhat more focussed, I prefer it to be like a sniper rifle.
The question then is..
How Can I Practise Specifically To Heal My Back?
First up, I played through the form, paying attention to which postures caused discomfort, and the nature of the discomfort. Yeah I was doing the macho thing without taking painkillers, but there is method to the madness. Painkillers dull your sensations, and by taking them I would have dulled my sensitivity to the pain, and would therefore not have got as good a reading on which postures I needed to work on.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re thinking of doing this, and you ARE in severe pain, maybe take some (but always consult your doctor first). There’s no point in being in so much pain you can’t concentrate on anything.
1) Find the Postures That Hurt
I drew up a list of postures that were uncomfortable or painful, and took some notes on how these postures were different to the normal way I usually practised. Unsurprisingly, these postures were the ones that all had gentle flexing of the back, like cloud hands, snake creeps down, needles at sea bottom and especially grasp swallow’s tail.
2) Play The Form, Focussing On The Postures That Hurt
So what I did next was play the form repeatedly, paying attention to those postures, focussing on the back at those postures and making sure it got some movement and some flexing and circulation during the form. The main focus was in relaxation, as it was my back muscles going into spasm that was causing all the pain. I didn’t push these postures as hard as I normally did, didn’t sink as low, or make the movements too big, as the focus was to help rehabilitate the back.
Well, it’s remarkable what a few days of focussed practise can do.
3) Other things to consider
Now this, in of itself is not the whole story. I was also paying strict attention to how I was holding my body during the day, as bad posture is a major contributor to my back pain, as a bad posture is sure to bend an already hurt back even more out of shape. Give your back the best chance at healing itself is what I say, so even though I’d be practising, I’d still be doing other things that would help too.
It took a week, but my back was well and I had no pain after that time.
It’s worth mentioning that I had strained the muscles in my back, and there was no structural damage like tearing or inflammation. This was a back spasm (which I’m sure many of you will be aware of), so if you have some tissue damage this method may not work and you should see a health professional.
Taiji Form is a Tool
Taiji form is more than just a sequence of healing movements. It’s a tool that has certain properties. Just like you can use a knife to cut vegetables, slice meat and so on, your Taiji form can also be used in a variety of healing ways, it’s a tool that, if used in the right way can yield great results.