“Why does he keep putting them into us Pat if they give so much trouble”, shouted a neighbour from the confines of his kitchen floor as my dear ole grandfather headed out to finish the poor man’s duties on the farm. Our good Lord got the blame for his restrictions that day and on every other occasion, so the story goes. Well, that was in the 60’s and in my opinion, not a whole lot has changed when it comes to us preventing lower back pain. The proof is in the figures. 85 percent of us will experience serious lower back pain at some stage and that number is increasing. So how can we prevent this? For me, health care is all about self-care. Below are some helpful tips I give to my patients.
Don’t Lift Anything Heavy in the Morning
For gym-goers keep your session light and avoid spine-compressing exercises like the deadlift. Spend at least three hours awake and moving around before doing exercises that have you picking things up from the floor. Our bodies need time to warm up and get the juices flowing.
Our lives are becoming increasingly sedentary. Take advantage of the lovely weather and get out and start walking, take up a sport or use your lunch break to do some exercise instead of sitting in the canteen. Walking for just a half hour daily over a regular period is the best form of defence against heart disease.
Take Breaks from Your Phones and Screens
Working at a computer for long periods of time or texting on your mobile can often create a lot of strain on your neck, leading to both neck and back pain. Text neck is the new catch phrase used to describe injuries and pain caused by looking down at wireless devices for too long. Move around every 20 minutes. Also, make sure your desk is ergonomically set up correctly. That is, have everything at right angles. Knees, lower back, and arms on the desk. Don’t lean forward and make sure the PC is at eye level and in front of you.
Eat Right and Watch Your Weight
If you maintain good eating habits, you will maintain a healthy weight, and not put unnecessary stress on your body. Conversely, a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains will keep your digestive tract on track. If your intestines are working and functioning properly, that will maintain your spine because your inside and your outside relate to one another. I have found that many people who come to me complaining of low back pain also have irritated bowels. Further dietary advice can be sought here at the clinic.
Avoid High Heels
Wearing high heels can shift your centre of gravity and strain your lower back. Stick to a one-inch heel. If you have to go higher, bring along a pair of low-heeled shoes and use them if you become uncomfortable.
Stress causes you to tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Any activity that helps you reduce stress will help prevent back pain. Maybe there is someone or something in your life who is a ‘pain in the neck’. Osteopathy combined with talk therapy is a very powerful way of gaining control of your life again.
Sleep in the Best Position for Your Spine
Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly towards your chest is probably the best position. Prefer to sleep on your back? Put one pillow between your knees and another under your lower back. I don’t recommend sleeping on your stomach. If you can’t sleep any other way, place a small pillow under your hips. Do yourself a favour and change that old mattress.
Teach Your Kids About Spinal Health Now
It’s important to teach your children good posture and how to look after their backs from a young age so that they can avoid back pain later on in life. It pains me to see kids lugging huge bags to school on their backs. Ask the teachers if they can reduce the number of books needed in the evenings. Also, make sure the bag is tight to your child’s back and not hanging down causing them to lean forward to maintain balance.
So take control now and don’t end up on the floor like they did a lifetime ago. If you do suffer from back pain Osteopathy is the gold standard when it comes to giving you relief. Please contact me today for further information.