Pain relief: when all else is lost, move your toes

Foot flexibility is essential to relieve back pain. A stiff unbalanced foot will prevent proper posture, cause compensations, and probably lead to much pain. The body is intricately connected, so an injury that stiffens muscles somewhere else will aso affect the feet. By releasing the strain in the feet you also help the stiff muscles, so by working on the feet you can work on your whole body.

I have chronic lower back pain, two vertebrae are misaligned and rub against each other, I didn’t realise how bad the problem was until now that I’ve been paying attention to it. I have limited mobility in my lower back, so much that I lost the flexibility to stand up straight, I always lean somewhat forward, causing yet more strain on already tight muscles. My back is in such bad shape that there isn’t much I can do directly with my back muscles, I can however, move my feet.

I can flex my feet when I’m in bed, I can flex them in the shower, I can stand and flex my feet, I can flex them when I’m sick, I can flex them when I wait for the bus, I can flex them under my desk at work, just everywhere. I’ve been doing this (and a few other things) for a month now, and I notice a big difference with respect to my tight muscles. Even more interesting, sometimes I stretch my foot and I feel ‘something’ in other places of my body. Sometimes it is movement in my back, or my thighs or my hips; when I’m very tight I feel it all the way to my neck. Don’t resist, it is all connected. I thought I would share this because it is useful for everyone, even if you are bed ridden, or very tired, even if the only thing you can move are your toes, go on and stretch your toes.

I focus on two types of ‘foot work’:

1. Flexibility: Look up ‘foot stretches’ on youtube, I’m sure anyone can find some that they can do.

2. Weight distribution: I stand, move my weight to one foot, and imagine I ‘spiral’ my weight, first lean on the heel, then on the ball of the foot then on the toes and on to the other leg. Don’t hold the body stiff, just let it go where it will as you shift your weight around one foot and then the other. (it is the basic balancing movement from tai chi, but pay attention to the feet, the rest comes by itself once you can master your feet).

And if you can’t move your feet start by massaging them, light rubbing at least 36 times in each area is enough. And if you can’t reach them to massage them (due to a painful back, for example) then rub them on something else, the sheets of your bed, a rug, the grass outside, a tennis ball (sit down for this one), anything with texture. It will take 15 minutes of your day tops. Here a reflexology chart of how the feet are connected to the rest of the body:

P.S.: the same thing could be said for the hands, if you can’t move your feet then move your hands, it is all connected.

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