Over 80% of people will experience debilitating back pain at one point in their lifetime. Over 1 Billion dollars is spent on back pain yearly, which shows we put more time and money into caring for our backs during those times when we are feeling bad, verses spending a little time on our back care when we are feeling good.
So often when a patient finally finds our office, they have gone through MRI costs, Medication costs, different types of physical therapy costs, acupuncture costs, chiropractors cost, injection cost and sometimes surgery cost, yet their pain will return. The costs will start to add up. For this reason, lets look at 4 simple tips to prevent back pain from stopping your life.
1. Stand up to work
For the majority of our lives we are sitting. Most of our jobs are sitting jobs, then we come home and sit and watch TV. We might get an hour of working out here and there, but we are sitting more than ever now. Our bodies were designed to be moving, standing, walking, crawling, kneeling, bending. We were meant to move, our joints like motion. We were never designed to sit for prolonged periods of the day, day after day. Sitting leads to bulging discs and weak muscles that are prone to damage.
What is the solution? Limit your sitting to 30 minutes at a time. Get a standing desk to work, so you can stand for part of the day and sit for part of the day. If that is not an option, then just get up every 30 min to 1 hour and stand or walk so you can reduce the uni-directional forces of your spine. This is one of the easiest ways the average person can prevent back injury (and healing your back faster if you already have an injury).
2. Use a Lumbar roll when sitting
We have a natural curve in our spine that help us handle the stress and loads. If you notice your back as a natural arch and that is it’s normal resting position. Whether we sit or stand it is important to maintain the natural arch. When standing it is easier to maintain that natural spinal curve, but when we sit we tend to slouch and that curve will reverse putting more stress on the spine over time as we are in these positions for long periods of time, day after day, year after year. This leads to degenerative changes in the spine over time. Even if you have a strong core, this will not help you if you maintain a prolonged poor posture while sitting over the years.
There is a solution! A simple rolled up towel or a lumbar roll will help maintain your spine in a good position. You will place it between your chair or car seat in the small of your back (just above your belt line). You do not need an expensive chair; a well designed lumbar roll is my favorite choice and is what I use when I have to sit. (if you want to know the one I use that is inexpensive, just email at email@example.com and title the email lumbar roll)
3. Extend, don’t bend
The human spine, in fact the entire body, craves balance. This means if we do too much of one motion, we need to balance that motion. Like I said above, we spend a lot of time bending forward with sitting, bending, cleaning, driving, cooking, putting on clothes and shoes, etc. We need to off set this bending by extending backwards. It is safe to say that 99% of us need a little more extension in our life. There is research showing that if people just extended backwards 10 x 2 x a day that this can prevent something like 80% of recurrences of back pain that we have. To start out, just do 10 back bends each day. If you have not done this before, your back may be stiff or may even hurt a little bit. So start our gradually and increase the frequency and range of motion over time. It will start to feel less stiff and more natural over the course of a few days. If it doesn’t or your back becomes troublesome for you, stop and consult with a qualified physical therapist who specializes in back pain.
4. Get moving
Like I said earlier, our joints like movement. I like the saying, “Motion is Lotion.” So make sure you are exercising. Get into a pilates class, yoga class, running, cycling, walking or a combo of activities. So something that will keep you moving and strong. While strength does not help if you have a bout of back pain (you need to get to the source of the problem first, provide self mobilizations specific to your body to reduce the pain, then finish with strength training- not start with it, it won’t work), it can help keep it away if you do the other 3 steps above.
Remember how I said our body likes balance? Well remember this for your exercises too. For example, while in yoga, if they do a lot of bending exercises and do not balance the bending with extension, this can be a problem. Or if you only run and do not balance your running with other strengthening activities, this is also bad. Try to think of balance with movements and activities when you are working out.
If you like these tips and want to learn even more ways to prevent debilitating back episode, check out this FREE report on How To Fix Lower Back Pain right HERE! It reveals 5 easy ways (plus a bonus tip!) that are PROVEN to help ease your back pain quickly- without pain pills, injections surgery, and frequent doctor’s visits. Feel free to share with anyone else who has been suffering with back pain and are not getting any results.