My journey with back pain started many years ago. I have terrible posture, I clench my jaw, and I carry all my stress in my back and shoulders. But after having kids, oh man, did it get worse. Nine years of pregnancies, nursing, holding babies, wrangling toddlers, bending over car seats, and endlessly picking items off the floor have taken their toll.
I have now labeled this constant back pain “mom back.”
For years I have been told to go to physical therapy or get massages to help, but I honestly do not have the time to commit to therapy and/or the budget to get a weekly massage. As a stay-at-home mom, it can be difficult to coordinate the childcare required for physical therapy, just like most working moms cannot take the day off for these appointments.
I figured I would just have to wait until my kids got older and the physical demand they put on me got better before I was going to seriously fix my back. But then I started having a really hard time falling asleep. My back was so rock hard and tensed up that I could not relax my back muscles, and I would toss and turn for hours in frustration.
While getting my yearly birthday massage, my massage therapist told me that my upper back was one of the worst backs she had massaged in her career. I confided in her that I was not sleeping well and was taking daily ibuprofen to get through most days. In desperation I asked her what I could do to improve things, knowing that my mom duties would continue to affect my back. She suggested an acupressure mat. I could buy it on Amazon, and it was a very safe, effective, and low-cost item that could really help.
I went home that day and bought one. When it arrived a few days later, I will admit it scared me. It is basically a foam mat with spikes that you lay on. Yes, I lie on a bed of spikes!
But the result was amazing for me and for my sleep.
It took me about a week to adjust to the mat. At first, I was like, “No way I am lying on these spikes every night!” I committed to trying it for two weeks to see if I could get used to it. And I did!
At first I only laid on the mat for five minutes, and with a shirt on. However, I now lay on it up to 20 minutes and shirtless. I have even dozed off while lying on it, and my husband had to nudge me to get off my mat and go to bed.
This simple tool has been a game changer. After doing a little research, I discovered there are many uses and benefits to using an acupressure mat beyond back pain and insomnia. I am addicted to it in the best way. I look forward to lying on my mat and meditating or unwinding from a busy day. I also now stand on my mat (with socks on) to fold laundry. Even my husband now uses an acupressure mat. I understand that this mat will not solve all my underlying back issues, but I can honestly say it is helping.
Bottom line, an acupressure mat is an inexpensive, convenient, realistic, and safe solution for me. Give it a try.