Tai Chi and Back Pain

Fahim and I. I’m having a high pain day, so collapsed on the bed.

Fahim and I started doing Tai Chi when we were in Perpignan, France. The videos we were following — because, yes, we used videos rather than in-person instructors since we are, after all, hermit introverts — were the full deal including footwork. That footwork was difficult to do in the very small space we had, but we did our best. With all the turns and such, we were sometimes facing away from the TV, so couldn’t actually see very well what we were supposed to do.

Ironically, now that we have more space, we’ve started doing a simplified version of Tai Chi, one that involved very little in the way of footwork. This one is much friendlier for old folks and disabled folks. Well, I’m disabled, so this is perfect for me.

We started out with this 9 minute video. It has decent instructions on what to do. We followed it for about a month, and once I worked up to being able to consistently do all nine minutes, we switched to his longer one that has more movements:

Ironically, since we started the longer one, I haven’t been able to do even nine minutes consistently. I ended up rather ill and more tired than usual thanks to our AirBnB neighbors, and I’m still recovering two weeks later. Although, to be fair, part of this recovery might be due to COVID — the huge number of party neighbors overwhelming failed to wear masks while shouting in the hallways. We don’t go out much at all to the point that I can look at my calendar and point out which exact dates I actually did go out, so we think that whatever we have, we got from them. Anyway…

The point of all this Tai Chi talk is this.

I’m sleeping better.

Prior to Tai Chi, I would generally wake up two or three times a night from back pain. My back would be seized and I’d have to stretch it for at least a half hour each time to work out the kinks and for the pain to go away. My sleep quality was not, as you can imagine, good.

Doing Tai Chi, I could feel the effects in my shoulders and upper back. I could feel them strengthening. And my sleep has improved dramatically.

I still wake up in the middle of the night. I still have night time back pain. But it’s no longer excruciating and now, a five minute stretch does the trick for the milder back pain. No, most of my bad back pain wakeups happen now not after two or three hours of sleep, but after six. Hopefully, over time, this will improve. I would love to not have to wake up from back pain at all.

But I’ll take the win.

1 thought on “Tai Chi and Back Pain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *