View Full Version : tai chi for back injury

Pages : [1] 2

9/26/2009 10:27pm,
Hello everyone. I recently injured my back quite seriously and can now barely walk with walking stick. I am 56 years old and studied martial arts for the past 40 years but now am unable to practice. I live in Chiang Mai and there is free tai chi class in the morning at municipal stadiums. My question is do you guys think this would be beneficial for back injury. At this time I am more interested in physical rehabilitation than whether or not this is useful for self defense. If anyone has experience or knowledge in this area I would really appreciate advice. Thank you.

9/27/2009 4:17am,
Go along and watch, see what their chi gung sets are like.
During their forms see if the head, and spine are kept inline, it helps develop good posture.

On a similar note to yours, when I got whiplash from a car crash I learned how to stretch each muscle in my back and shoulders properly.
Learn how to feel when the muscle is just under tension in a stretch, wait about 10 seconds at that point till the muscle starts to relax in that position then add just a bit more tension for another 10 seconds.

After the accident it took me about 3 weeks to go from maximum of 30 degrees tilting my head to the side to being able to touch my shoulder with my ear.
that was from doing a stretching routine about 4 times a day.

9/27/2009 6:57am,
I know some people who have had positive results with back pain. However, I don't know what is wrong with your back, nor the best things to treat it. Naturally, you should ask a physician and go slowly.

billy sol hurok
9/27/2009 7:58am,
All kinds of tai chi, all kinds of back injuries.

Yang style (CMC short form) was very good for my back, though I had some generic compressed disc stuff rather than an injury per se. Improved my posture as well, which has also been helpful.


Tom Kagan
9/27/2009 11:34am,
My question is do you guys think this would be beneficial for back injury.

If it gets you out of the house and active and forces you to not use the cane while you perform low impact stretching, posture, etc, the answer is yes absolutely.

You don't need our permission. Go try it. It doens't have to be Tai Chi. It could be a number of different activities. They won't make things worse and you'll be able to answer the question for yourself in a few weeks.

9/28/2009 9:50am,
Thanks everyone. Nordoff I tried your stretching advice and it is very good. Today I was able to tie my shoelaces for first time since injury. Thanks. Meataxe I will see physician again for sure if nothing improves. Billy I do not know much about tai chi and am not sure what style they practice at the stadium. Tom I have been walking a lot even though it is painful and today I walked to Maejo and back which is 14 miles. I didnt use walking stick and took 5 hours but my back is much less painful right now than yesterday. Thanks again everyone.

9/28/2009 3:06pm,
Make sure you don't overdo it though. Cannot comment on the Tai Chi bit, but I had some nasty muscular injury in my lower back, resulting in a week being not able to walk and two months not being able to work at a desk.
I has osteopathic treatment, but also started doing core strength and yoga type postures and stretches that I found on youtube actually. Helped a lot.
As soon as I could I'd go up to my normal wing chun training and do my exercises on a yoga mat there, watching the other folks train. Really helped me to get myself motivated to get better.
Oh yeah, the yoga lady on youtube is really fit!

YouTube - Yoga for Lower Back Pain : Cat Cow Yoga Pose for Lower Back Pain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LodlEH6TluM)

9/28/2009 8:56pm,
Thank you peeowee. Luckily my daughter is yoga instructor and she also gave me some advice about exercises like one shown in photo. Unfortunately she lives in US so cannot help me here but she still gives me advice on internet. For some reason I cannot do youtube video on my computer though.

9/28/2009 9:26pm,
Personally I have fought with a back injury/back spasms on and off for the last couple of years. When it was at its worst I could barely sit for the time required to do my job. I am 40.

With my experience, most of the physical therapy I had involved trying to relax the muscles, which also seemed to be making the muscles weaker (and causing more problems). I didn't really improve until my chiropractor suggested I started wearing a weight vest to help build the muscles back up.

I largely relay this because, had I found a way to strengthen my back muscles earlier on, I would have recovered a lot faster. I don't know what your particular issues are, but if it is muscular and not something such as a bad disc or a pinched nerve, you may find a lot of benefit from tai chi. Something that may also help is a weight bearing exercise like walking with a backpack containing a few books or a bag of groceries.

Best of luck to you, I hope you heal soon.

9/28/2009 10:26pm,
it is so specific to your injury. A dear friend paralyzed himself years ago, the lead surgeon noted that he's been doing this for 30-odd years and there are no two alike injuries. The spine is so complicated and relates to everything in your body that it is impossible to reduce to "do this, but not that" kind of advise.

One universal is swimming. I basically say swimming to anyone who asks me about anything, including headaches, insomnia etc. But there isn't a safer, more comprehensive activity you could do (unless, of course, you can't swim which means you'd drown!)

9/28/2009 10:44pm,
I'm swear I don't mean to sound as smartass as this reply can be taken, but what about physical rehabilitation for your injury? Are your already in rehab? Are you just considering Tai Chi as something extra to aid in your rehab? Or, are you looking at Tai Chi as the only means of rehab from your back injury? Physical therapy would obviously be your best bet for an injury but I realize it can be expensive as opposed to a free class. Still it's your body and you must decide your level of pain and the value of making it go away. I think specific physician designed therapy and rehab programs would be best, even if it is only a few sessions you may learn enough to help yourself for months. Did you say you walked 14 miles? That is impressive if your injury is as bad as I'm picturing it to be, may even be overdoing it. Tai Chi may not hurt anything but I doub't it's the best solution for your problem, depends on what your looking for I guess.

9/30/2009 1:40am,
Thanks a lot everybody. Serge, for some reason swimming really hurts my back more than walking. There is a mineral water pool at san kampaeng hot springs where I go and it is helpful from the heat but it hurts to swim if I do the crawl stroke but I can swim underwater okay. I am a lousy swimmer anyway so that is the problem.
Sik, I have thought about walking with backpack and maybe that is the next thing I try. JS, the problem with medical treatment is partly the cost, as health insurance does not cover medical expenses in Thailand and though medical treatment is much, much cheaper than in US, I just bought a new house and am short of money. Also the quality of medical care is not always the best here either. As far as all the walking, perhaps I did overdo it but it seems walking is only thing which makes back feel better. I always walked a lot anyway wth mountain rescue team and also I like to hike in the jungle, so I am used to walking. However, I do not go very fast now as I cannot straighten my right leg and it is also painful in lower back at first but generally gets better after I walk for awhile. Some days I need walking stick, and other days I do not. The problem comes when I sit down or lay down. Then I have hard time getting up again. However, I think every day is a little better than the day before. I am 56 years old so nothing heals that quick anymore. One thing I try to keep in mind is that many people are much worse off. Years ago I had a job taking care of disabled college kids and when I think of what they had to endure and what they were able to accomplish, my problem seems pretty minor. Also there are many people here who have lost limbs from landmines and so I cannot feel too sorry for myself. I will let everyone know if tai chi is helpful and perhaps others will also benefit from this. Thanks again.

9/30/2009 11:28pm,
Walking through the jungle! I'd love to walk through a damn jungle. That sounds badass. All I have here in Florida is the swapmy woods we have around here, it might actually be kind of like a jungle as I picture it but it still dosen't sound as cool.

So money's the problem, well that sucks. Money is a huge problem for me too being a college student and all. Still if I wanted, I could probably forego some fun/drinking/moves/good eating or what have you for a few months if I absolutely had to in order to take care of myself. I don't konw your situation but I assume if you say you can't afford medical care you probably mean it. Maybe try youtubing back rehab exercises? I started working out with a good friend of mine after a month of doing reverse situps he claimed that his back pain went away. I'd hate to recommend anything without any professional knwoledge but it sounds like a free tai chi course would at least do some help for you.

10/01/2009 2:27am,
JS, I have been to Florida and Everglades is as much jungle as is Chiang Mai. Both have snakes and heat and mud except Florida has alligators and here has crocodiles but same-same as they say here. Yes you are right JS, if I have to I can make sacrifice to afford doctor but the truth I am ashamed to say is I am afraid of doctors and hospitals so much you can say it is like a phobia. However I have been to doctors before and perhaps I cannot avoid it. However slowly it is improving, mainly I believe due to walking every day. But if things remain the same I will give in and see docotr.

10/06/2009 4:39pm,
I had MRI and it turns out I have herniated disk. Doctor has prescribed I stay in bed for a month but I would go crazy. However I am not doing anything physical except back exercises for injury, some isometrics and a little walking. At this point I believe tai chi would not be advisable as it involves twisting and turning body which I am not supposed to do. However if I recover sufficiently I still may give it a try. Thanks.

billy sol hurok
10/06/2009 5:04pm,
FWIW, the form that I learned was downright obsessive about NOT torquing the spine: hips and shoulders were to be aligned at all times.

Hope you're feeling better soon.