Nearly everyone will experience some form of lower back pain at some point in their lifetime.
Lower back pain is a major cause of missed work. How many of you suffered from lower back pain during lockdown when you started working from home?
That’s because the lower back supports the weight of the upper body and is subject to a lot of stress and strain – especially during regular, everyday movements like lifting and twisting.
Sitting at the kitchen table with your laptop wasn’t a comfortable option. The table is meant for eating, not working. It’s a different height and level to a computer desk, hence the endless aches and pains.
It’s a common concern for golfers, as they twist and turn their lower body to swing the club. It can affect cyclists as they lean forward when pedalling.
The lower back is the area behind the belly from the rib cage to the pelvis and is also called the lumbar region.
Lower back pain can start in the early 20s and continue throughout adulthood. Studies have shown that up to 80% of the general population are affected by low back pain at some time during their lives. Learn to prevent lower back pain by knowing what activities could be putting you at risk.
One of two things typically causes lower back pain: a sudden injury or the wear and tear of ageing. No matter the cause of your lower back pain, here are 9 recommendations that can help you relieve it and prevent future problems.
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #1 – Maintain Correct Posture
To precent lower back pain and prevent lower back injury, it’s important to maintain proper posture when performing physical activities, particularly if you play sports or have a job that requires repetitive motions.
Avoid slouching as much as possible and aim to keep your spine straight.
When lifting, bend and straighten from the knees, and not the waist.
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #2 -Maintain Correct Posture When Sitting
You can avoid lower back pain by maintaining proper posture when sitting. If you have a desk job, keep your feet planted on the floor and use a chair that provides lower back support.
A foot rest is a positive idea.
Avoid hunching forward to see your computer screen and reaching far in front of you to use your mouse or keyboard.
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #3 – Use Ice Or Heat
If you’ve experienced lower back pain, applying ice within the first 24-72 hours can help ease pain and reduce swelling. After that, switch to heat to help relax tight muscles.
Heat – a hot water bottle is used by many – is useful for chronic lower back pain that isn’t related to an acute injury. Regardless of whether you’re using heat or ice, you shouldn’t use it for more than 20 minutes at a time to help prevent skin damage.
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #4 – Stretch Your Muscles
Stretching is a great way to relieve lower back pain and also prevent future lower back problems. The muscles in the back extend in many different directions, so it’s important to do a variety of stretches.
Basic lower back stretches include:
- Lying flat on your back and pulling your knees to your chest.
- Lying flat on your back with your arms outstretched in a T position, bending one knee and twisting in the direction of your straight leg while trying to touch your bent knee to the floor (called a spinal twist).
- Lying on your stomach with your arms stretched overhead and lifting your chest and/or legs off the floor (think Superman’s pose when flying!).
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #5 – Wear Proper Footwear
Supportive footwear can improve your posture, increase stability and decrease your risk of suffering from lower back pain. Make sure you wear the correct footwear for the activity you are performing.
Although occasionally wearing unsupportive shoes such as flip flops or high heels is unlikely to cause lower back problems, prolonged or frequent wear can put increased pressure on your lower spine.
Orthotics – on sale here at the Paul Gough Physio Rooms – are a tool many people suffering from lower back pain make the most of. They are proven to help your posture, easy to use and extremely beneficial for pain relief.
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #6 – Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight increases the strain on your lower back, especially as you get older.
Follow guidelines and recommendations for diet and exercise and aim to keep your weight within a healthy range for your height.
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #7 – Stay Active
If you’re suffering from lower back pain, resist the temptation to stay in bed. Think of the complete opposite: moving around and engaging in gentle stretching can help your lower back muscles heal faster.
However, be wary and careful to move within your comfort zone and avoid strenuous activities that cause more pain.
If you are in retirement and struggling to stay active, read our blog: How To Stay Independent In Retirement
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #8 – Get A Massage
In addition to stretching, massage is another way to help lengthen shortened muscles and relieve tension in the lower back. Healthy lower back muscles lead to increased overall stability, which can help prevent future lower back problems. Visit Paul Gough Physio Rooms to discover just how effective a massage can be.
Avoid Lower Back Pain – Tip #9 – Sleep On A Good Quality Mattress
Lower back pain sufferers usually benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. However, your preferred sleep position also should influence your mattress selection.
To maintain good posture, side sleepers should select a softer mattress. Back and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. If you have lower back pain, it’s a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether.
Many people suffering from lower back pain sleep with a pillow between their legs. This keeps your pelvis neutral and prevents your spine from rotating during the night.
If you are suffering with lower back pain, or it is preventing you from doing the things you really love to do, then you are probably worrying about what might happen if things continue to get worse…
You may be hoping that things fix themselves, but you are very aware of the risk of surgery in your future, but you aren’t sure what to do to fix the problem.
If this sounds like you, and you don’t want to feel anxious about the prospect of going into hospital – let alone the currently extremely extended waiting lists, then now is the time to get the support you really need.
At Paul Gough Physio Rooms, we have helped thousands of patients, and helped hundreds of people just like you who are experiencing daily lower back pain and unable to move freely.
If you want to get some personalised advice, we offer you the opportunity to speak to a member of our physio team on a 1-1 basis in one of our four clinics…
In this FREE Taster Consultation, we will discuss your foot pain, and identify the underlying cause, as well as outlining what you natural, drug-free solutions are available to you.
Click Here To Arrange Your Free Taster Consultation
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