How to stay motivated when it becomes too difficult to relieve your back pain

Updated March 2016

keeping motivation when in pain

Whether you are looking for a treatment, learning one, or using one to maintain your health, motivation is paramount.  It in order to keep up your motivation you must adopt proper reasons in which to stay motivated.  Regardless of the choice that you make to stay motivated,  it is up to you and only you to keep your commitment.  You know your body and its limitations better than anyone else.

Initial Motivators to Overcome Back Pain

There are many ways to motivate yourself to overcome your pain, some ways will benefit you more than others.  Here are some considerations to take into account.


Pain is initially a very good motivator in order to overcome lower back problems.  It is certainly the most prevalent issue that cannot be ignored.  It is a reason to overcome back issues but because it varies with yourdisc bulgelevel of injury, it is not a trustworthy source to follow.

When you have days where you are either in severe pain or a milder form, your effort WILL vary.  This is  similar to the effect of completing your course of antibiotics well after your symptoms of infection have subsided.

Because exercising always takes effort, the tendency to perform it less as you become better is natural.   You should complete your exercise program with the same comparison to following a course of antibiotics, that is even beyond when are better.  This is because pain symptoms usually decrease before adequate healing and reconditioning has occurred.

You may feel better, but injury to the disc, inflammation and damage to the muscles and joints are not healed yet.   If you discontinue your treatment,  the method that you are using to treat your pain is not completed and your pain will return.

Family and Friends

It is very important to have family members or friends as part of your treatment plan.  They are some of the best motivators.  It is imperative that you request their support to keep you motivated at times when you yourself are not.  Sometimes when you are even discouraged, they are of great importance.

Where the issue lies in needing them as a prime source of motivation, is that they themselves have lives of their own also.  Their ability to help is limited and really should be.  No teacher, coach or motivational source outside of yourself will be able to consistently help you.  You will find yourself reminded by them disc conditionsthemselves that they will only want to help you if your drive is as great, if not greater than theirs.  Their initial desire to motivate you comes from your willingness to have them help you.

Negative Aversions

What this means is that you are willing to only help treat your pain mainly out of pride or arrogance.  You don’t want to appear weak or helpless to others so you motivate yourself to avoid the discomfort of failure.

As much as we all want to remain self sufficient, healthy and independent, the drive to do so should not be out of a self competing nature. Not is not a philosophical issue, it is a health issue.

Competition is important when there is a specific goal.  Without one, it is becomes self consuming and self destructive.  This is a primary reason some of us have back issues in the first place.  Are you simply trying to avoid failure?  Your goal is to preserve the integrity of your spine.  You can still be very competitive if your activities share this goal.

External Concerns

Your Career, Employment, Finances, Love of Physical Activity, Dependents, Etc., are all important, external, motivational factors.  This goes without saying.  There really is no debate as to whether or not they are important.

There is another factor that is important to include when using these motivators.  They must NOT directly add any undue risk of injury to your lumbar spine.  To be motivated by something which is also causing you harm is contradictory, risky and somewhat masochistic.   Yes, there are times where our careers and activities do add risk, but by becoming more aware of the risks, you should not let it cause harm.

The Motivational Factor Needed

All of the sources of motivation mentioned although important, do have their limitations.  Even though they are powerful motivators, it is the flaws that sabotage them in the long term.  It is also likely that these flaws will become the excuse or reason that the motivation is lost.

One of the best motivator to treat and overcome lower back pain is this.

Respect for Your Body

To be more specific, respectfully caring for your lumbar spine.

This may not seem like the magic bullet or beautiful answer that we may have wanted to hear but it is true.

It vertebraeis neither a lecture nor a criticism either.  We don’t deliberate disrespect our bodies either.  We are all trying to find the best possible solution to help our back issues with the best intentions.

We all have back pain for many different reasons.  Some well beyond our control.  So this motivational factor may not be sufficient to some.

The reason behind this motivational factor is that regardless of what has happened to you to lead you to your current situation of lower back pain,  you most likely have reached a point or will reach a point in your life where your focus and commitment to caring for back is deeply motivated by your unselfish concern of it.

The ONLY way that your body can bring this to your attention is by sending pain signals.  The mildest and temporary forms being the most crucial to pay attention to.   Any signals after that are usually from damage that has already occurred.

A New Perspective

If you knew of someone very close to you performing something you know to be risky where they could injury themselves, would you not step in to help them?  If they did not respect your advice to protect themselves Overcoming Lower Back Painand merely gave excuses such as those mentioned above, would you not be MORE concerned for them?

Because you are aware that their actions or motivations may be harmful, and that you care about them, would you not be motivated to help them?   What would be your advice to them before they harm themselves?

Why not see yourself from this perspective?

You are not simply motivating yourself to overcome your current pain, but everything that is causing you to remain in pain, both in the present and in the future.  This perspective sets a new standard that you cannot help but to follow and uphold.  Not out of fear, pride or selfishness.  But out of genuine respect for your body.

For more help on motivation and obstacles to effective relief, see:

Questions to Ask Yourself

The Lazy Stretcher

Concerns About Exercise for Lower Back Pain