Over 75% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lifetime. For many it becomes so intense they can’t work or focus on anything else. For most people it is transient and can be relieved and prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes. Here are a few suggestions.
Before you do anything on your own see a specialist, especially if you are experiencing any numbness or tingling down your legs.
- If you are overweight, lose weight. It will help not only your back but your overall health and energy level.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time if you can. If you have to sit, take breaks often and be sure you have a good chair.
- Maintain good posture as much as possible while standing and sitting.
- Use proper lifting technique. Bend your knees and use your legs to lift.
- Keep moving, lying down may seem appealing if you are uncomfortable but can actually cause your muscles to become tighter which only makes the pain worse. Walking and mild activity can help to loosen muscles and alleviate pain.
- Strengthen your core. Strong abdominal and torso muscles mean a stronger back.
- Improve flexibility. You don’t have to take a full yoga class if you don’t want to but even a few 5 or 10 stretching breaks throughout the day can make a big difference.
- Make sure you have a good mattress. This is tough to define because it can vary by individual but try judging your mattress quality by how much you change position, how much you wake up and how you feel upon first waking up. If you find you are restless, waking up often to move or alleviate discomfort and or feeling sore and tight in the morning, you may want to consider a new mattress. There are a lot of great guides online as to which one is best for you.
- Relaxation Techniques. Relaxing activities like meditation, tai chi, deep breathing, and certain types of yoga can relax the mind and the body.
- Exercises: (I would like to put some key exercises here but I think we need pictures???)
Supine hamstring stretch
Two knee twist