Have you had back pain before?

Does it keep coming back when you least expect it?

Back pain is FRUSTRATING, and really gets in the way of so many things. It interrupts work, puts you off exercising and can even ruin your sleep!

Back pain is one of the most common compaints we treat in the clinic, and there’s a couple of common habits we see that keep holding back progress when recovering from a back injury.

If you’re truly ready and committed to overcoming your back pain, try to kick the following habits:

1) Staying in one position for too long

We all have different physical demands in our day, and you get good at whatever you do regularly, but if you do a lot of something again and again, your body will start to show the strain.

e.g. an accountant who sits all week, gets very good at sitting, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for his (or her) body

e.g. a hairdresser who stands all week, gets very good at standing, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for her (or his) body

e.g. a bricklayer who hunches over all week ….. you get the idea

How to kick the habit: Whatever your work/life demands, try to keep moving in a variety of different positions throughout your day. Make sure you change positions every 15 minutes, and ‘reverse your posture’ to stretch, so if you hunch over to do your work, stand up and arch in the opposite direction. If you reach up overhead a lot (e.g. electrician), reach down to ‘balance out’ your movements.

2) Not moving enough

Many of us sit too long and don’t move enough every single day. Over time this really adds up, and we lose fitness, agility, balance and strength. The spine is a very strong, resilient structure, but it does need to be supported by strong, balanced, healthy muscles and joints.

Do you exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week? If not, that could be a part of your ongoing back problem.

How to kick the habit: To get started, walk for 10 minutes, 3 times a day. As you build fitness over a few weeks, you can progress to 15 minutes twice/day, then a 30 minute walk until you can comfortably walk for an hour.

3) Loss of flexibility

Our bodies are designed to move, as we reach, lean, bend and twist in normal day to day activities. With the help of comfy seats and very clever technology, our bodies do a lot less of this reaching, leaning, bending and twisting, leaving us stiff and tight, and more at risk of ‘overdoing it’.

How to kick the habit: If you don’t use it, you lose it, so to maintain (or regain) flexibility, it’s safest to start small, with gentle stretches twice a day. I recommend stretching the main muscles of your legs and arms, then a gentle stretch for your spine. If you don’t know how to do this, start with the following exercises twice per day:

– Standing: March on the spot lifting your knees high x10

– Standing: Lift your heels to your bottom x10

– Standing: Swing your arms gently forwards/back x10

– Sitting: Hunch your spine gently, then sit up as tall as you can x10 (posture reversals)

Disclaimer: Every back injury is different, so please seek individual, professional advice to manage your body.

Click here if you would like to book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists regarding your back pain, or any other concerns you may have.

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