I originally posted this in "WD Increasing Existing Injuries," but thought someone might find it useful for back pain that often occurs from withdrawal related spasms:
Sounds like withdrawals definitely ramp up preexisting injury sites. Nerves around those sites seem to be on red alert, transmitting pain signals much more intensely than before. Makes sense, since our nervous systems are hypersensitive now.
Another factor would be the muscle spasms. When muscles seize up, they put pressure on the underlying joints and connective tissue, therefore causing an increase in pain.
Finally a third thing to consider is that we probably tend to fixate on things going on in our bodies. I know I'm acutely aware of every little sensation. Not to say that the psychosomatic element is a major cause of pain, but I can definitely attest to mind's power to ratchet up anything I'm already feeling. I don't know how many times I've felt a little pulse of pain and thought, "oh sh*t! What was that? Is my spine gonna collapse!?!"
You add up these three factors up and you have the perfect recipe of pain spikes in and around our injuries. That make any sense to you all?
I was very active, right up until the day I detoxed. I was lifting weights pretty heavy, body surfing, playing basketball. But in withdrawals I'm lucky if I can walk for 45 minutes. I find myself "guarding" my lower back by moving gingerly. This can bring about more pain or stiffness due to unnatural muscle firing patterns and compensation.
For those with back pain, I do a routine that seems to be helping me:
• Hot shower first, going pretty hot on the back for about 5 minutes
• Following the shower is when I do my deepest stretching. For lower back pain, stretching one's hamstrings is key. When they are tight, they yank on your lumbar spine. Other muscles that act upon your lower back and should be stretched are; the piriformis (located under the glutes), and the psoas (located on the front side of the torso.) These are the "fight or flight muscles." When one is in distress, as during withdrawals, these muscles get extremely tight, and apply pressure to the lumberspine. Post shower is a good time to stretch these muscles, as they are warmed up and will have more elasticity.
• Self massage with a foam roller. I mow out my hamstrings at least once a day. This has really helped unlock them, and allows me to get better stretches. You can get a density form roller from Amazon for about 30 bucks. Well worth it. You can essentially perform release on yourself. There is a great way to open up your middle back on the roller as well. I can't really say enough about these simple cylinders.
• Inversion table. I got one for about 120 bucks, again from the convenience of Amazon. I usually chase my stretches with a 15 minute inversion. I don't go all the way upside-down, instead I'm probably at a 45 degree angle. Inverting decompresses the spine by opening up intervertebral space and allowing the discs to 'breathe.' One note; it's not recommended for fusion patients. The stretching and roller will still be very helpful however.
• McKenzie extensions. These are used in almost all herniated disc physical therapy programs. You start by lying facedown on the floor, and push your torso up, using your arms while keeping your hips and lower body down. The extension this creates is great for the back. Most do about 10 - 20 slow reps. It's similar to the yoga pose "Corbra." Lots of examples on youtube of Mckenzie extensions.
• Walking and swimming. Aside from doing a specific PT style core routine, walking and swimming are both great low/no impact exercises that work your spinal stabilizing muscles.
I've rehabbed several injuries with a doctorate-level therapist over the years, and would be happy to help anyone who is looking to ease shoulder or back pain. Also, if you have any questions about things like the foam roller, or the stretches I mentioned, feel free to ask.