Simple Changes Ease Away Nagging Back Pain

Posted in: Mobility · Injury

Susan Ohtake, CPT

Chronic back pain keeps millions of people sidelined...avoiding workouts, exercise, and healthy activity. If you feel like back pain is holding you back from greatness, then I have a few suggestions for you. And guess what it? It doesn't involve taking more medication!

Decide To Stand Instead of Sit

I don't think there's been any other time in history where we sit as much as we do now. Just take a moment to think about all the times and places you sit. You more than likely sit at work, at home, at the movies, in the car, and even at school.

However, us humans are simply not meant to sit down as much as we do. When we do sit regularly and for prolonged periods of time, we begin to have these issues:

  • Stretching of the cartilage and ligaments, which keeps our joints tight and in place. Sitting down stretches these body parts, resulting in weakened and deformed joints.
  • Shortening of the hip flexor muscles, which are attached onto your lower back bones. When this is shortened, we end up pulling more on the lower back and putting stress on our vertebral joints. This leads to discomfort and pain.
  • Poor bio-mechanics and inability to perform normal movements. Sitting down too much can make it difficult to perform movements like standing, walking, and running. One might suffer from poor balance because the lower back is weakened.

Activities To Help Your Lower Back Pain

If you're ready to take control of your back pain, then consider doing these three things:

  1. Try to move more. Invest in an adjustable standing desk that you can use at work or at home. Give yourself a break every hour or two and just walk. Do light stretches too!
  2. If you don't exercise often, then now is a great time to start. Exercise will not only help your lower back, but your other bones too.
  3. For those that already exercise and experience back problems, bad posture or poor form might be to blame.

Here is a quick mobility routine you can use to ease away lower back pain by stretching & mobilizing lower back muscles (all you will need is a foam roller):

  1. Foam roll your quads up and down for 2-3 passes, holding for 10 to 20 seconds.
  2. Foam roll your ITB for 2 - 3 passes. If you find a hot spot, roll through it 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. After the foam rolling, begin stretching your hip flexors and your quads. You can hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
  4. After the above stretch, you can stretch out your ITB and hold each for 30 seconds. You'll need to hold against a wall for this step.
  5. Following the stretches, you'll need to lay on the floor for a bridge exercise. Put your hip on the floor, squeeze your glutes, and then bring it up. Be sure to keep your abdominal area tight. You can then transition into one legged bridges.

Take Care Of Your Body

Now that you know a little more about why back pain usually occurs and how you can ease it, you can stop letting it hold you back. The above exercises can be done in five minutes or less and can even be done at work during breaks. Sitting may seem like a relief but doing too much is linked to several chronic conditions so get up and get moving!

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