Written By: Bethaney Wallace
Today, comfort is all the rage. Folks sleep in fuzzy pajamas, they heat their homes until they're toasty and warm, they sit on cozy couches each evening, as well as whatever other habits that lend itself to a pillow-coated surrounding. And why not? After hours of hard work each day, it’s a welcome perk.
But such privileges weren't always the case. Centuries, even decades ago, the same products weren't available to reduce pains, increase comfort, and provoke a more relaxed lifestyle. Add that lack of modern convenience, and our generations past had an ongoing recipe for severe back pains.
Reasons they likely suffered from frequent ailments:
From wrangling livestock, to dressing up in a three-piece suit every day, there was a series of back pain inducing tasks for every class. Farmers didn’t have the use of modern tractors or machinery, while workers needed heavy paperwork to perform their daily functions.
Houses had to be built, stoves lifted and moved, animals trained and pinned – all without modern helpers. This meant heavy, painful work during all hours of the day.
Skinny waists were all the rage, and achieving them meant a hardened device to hold everything in place. Girdles not only cut down on breathing functions, they reduced circulation, made simple movements more difficult, and created a less-than-comfortable wardrobe situation.
Most chairs were wooden, while mattress and cushioned seats were held in place by springs and stuffing. While they easily held their shape, the format did little in the way of spinal and rear support.
Shoes were made by locals, and leather was one of the only available materials. There was no extra cushion or arch support other than what came built inside the shoe.
Tylenol and Ibuprofen had yet to exist; they weren’t available to get back pain sufferers through the day. Instead they relied on old-time methods to manage any aches that may have arrived.
Slipped discs or inflamed spinal areas couldn’t be cured through surgeries, instead folks had to deal with the discomforts on their own. Because of the danger and lack of today’s abilities, going under the knife was saved for rare occasions.
Going on a short trip meant a carriage, boat, or horse ride. It also meant it’d take you much longer to get to a destination than it would in today’s time. None offered a great option for back support, especially horse and/or carriage rides, which were bumpy even on the flattest of terrain.
Unlike today’s standards, where heat automatically pumps in through the vents, stoves had to be used to produce hot air. This meant chopping wood by hand, then stacking and storing it for later use.
Though the pains and the triggers were the same, historic doctors had yet to come across many of today’s diagnoses. And while they knew their patients were experiencing discomfort, they couldn’t identify exact causes or treatments.
From lifestyle changes to new inventions that help make daily life easier, today back pains are a much more manageable condition. The next time you have a flare up, talk to your doctor, and be glad you live in the 21st century … and all it’s pain-fighting glory.