Everyone with Back Pain wants to Move Forward. But! Moving Backward Might Work Better!
The number of people who will develop back pain at some point in their lives that is debiliating is about 80%. When people begin with back pain or it is prolonged for months or in a lot of cases, years, they just want to move on, move forward and get rid of it.
One of the biggest problems we see with people with back pain is that they move forward too much. You see..humans bend over in a forward direction over 3,000 times each day. That puts a great deal of stress on the structures of the spine in very small increments so often that the statistic above is no longer surprising. If you are one of the 4 out of 5 people with debilitating back pain, there are some things you can do. The secret to most of them is that we need to do them consistently and daily AND if it's not too late, we need to start thinking of preventing back pain by taking care of ourselves. All too often, we wait for something to go wrong before we try to address it...and that's the biggest flaw in healthcare today.
Here are 3 things you can do on a daily basis to foster a healthy back.
1. Lean back (extend) instead of bend. Our spines need a steady balance of all the different movements that we have available but as noted above, things like brushing teeth, yard work, sitting slumped in a chair or car all involve bending in a forward direction.
So, let's think about what makes logical sense. As long as it doesn't cause pain, stand with your hands places at your low back and lean backward comfortably. Hold it for ten seconds and repeat ten times. It may feel tense or tight and that is ok but we don't want it to be painful. Hopefully after a few days it will start to loosen up for you. If leaning backward causes your pain to get worse, you may be one of the few whose spine prefers bending forward, but consult with a specialist PT to assess you and educate and guide those decisions.
2. Always be aware of your posture. When you stand with good posture, you are supporting the natural curves in your spine which are there naturally. As you get older if you don't use your muscles to support good posture, eventually your spine will adapt and you may even get hunchbacked or another version of a postural abnormality. When you are sitting, try to keep a space between your low back and the chair. You can use a small towel roll to assist. When sitting or standing, keep your shoulder back so that you can feel the muscles between your shoulder blades working...they are your best postural muscles. Stand tall like you are resting a book on your head preparing to walk down the runway!
3. Stop sitting for long periods of time. This is my number one rule for everything. Gravity is never off and when you sit, you just invite gravity to pull your spine into a bent over flexed posture and your muscles, which support your skeletal system get weaker and weaker with every passing hour. We were designed to move.
Get up and take a walk or do an exercise that feels good every 30 minutes. It's one of the easiest ways to keep your body engaged and fit and helps prevent forces on your spine that over the long run can be damaging.
In the end, taking care of your body is just way more important than you think. We see people with back pain every day that just completely robs the joy from their existence. Prevention is easier than you think and way easier than dealing with a back problem when it starts or gets worse.
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Be Well and Do Good!!