Back pain affects over 80% of people at some stage in their life and it can have wide-reaching effects on physical, mental and social health. Being limited in your ability to stay active, look after your house or children and spend time with friends can be depressing, but that doesn’t need to be the case.
If you experience back pain now or have in the past, try these 5 simple tips to boost your back health and get back to doing the things you enjoy in life.
1 Low back stretches/yoga: The number 1 prescribed stretch for low back pain in Australia is extension. Lie on your tummy, hands flat under each shoulder and push up leving your hips on the ground. Hold for a second and repeat. Try completing 30 of these stretches.
2 Cardiovascular exercise: Look at including two or three 30 minute cardio sessions each week. A good place to start is some gentle swimming, pool walking or regular walking. Studies demonstrate a direct relationship between regular cardiovascular exercise and lower levels of back pain.
3 Inner core work: No, not just sit-ups and the various devices on infomercials aren’t it either. You need to know how to activate the small muscles that support your lower back. To activate these muscles gently pull your lower tummy in while squeezing up like you are trying to stop yourself peeing. This activates your transverse abdomens and pelvic floo. Hold this contraction for 10 seconds, relax and repeat 10 times. If you struggle with this, you are best speaking with your local physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.
4 Bend your knees: As a physio we rarely treat someone who has injured their knees bending to pick something up, but injured backs from lifting are a regular occurrence. Remember when lifting something there are 3 key elements: assess if you should lift it alone, get close to the item being lifted and bend your knees while keeping your spine neutral.
5 Watch your posture: Poor posture not only impacts your neck and shoulders it also increases the pressure on the discs in your lower back. Remember to try and maintain a gentle curve through the lower back rather than slumping down into your chair or car seat. A cheap and simple solution is to place a rolled towel behind your lower back.
Low back pain is not a life sentence. The Physiotherapists at BodyWorx work with you to develop a plan to help you get back to your optimal function and health. We also work with you so that you can independently maintain your pain-free state long term. Take control of your health and be prepared to live pain-free. For more information, you can download Jason’s free E-Book ‘Back pain- what is it and 10 tips to beat it’ from www.bodyworxphysio.com.au under the 'Free Ebooks' tab.