Back pain is among the leading causes of disability across all age groups and is only second to ‘dizziness’ as the most commonly seen complaint at the doctor’s office.
Back pain doesn’t discriminate. It impacts everyone from expectant or new Moms, recreational to professional athletes, busy executives, and increasingly, even young children. This pain can range from mild to debilitating and can definitely decrease your mobility and overall quality of life.
Luckily there are few simple rules to follow to prevent back pain from playing a role in your day to day.
1. Sit up. Remember when your Mother told you to stop slouching? She knew how your posture impacts your back health. Just being conscious of sitting up straight throughout your day can significantly decrease your pain and other symptoms that result from what we in the physical therapy world call “poor postural awareness”.
2. Ergonomics at work and play. Ergonomics is a fancy word for your posture and body position. An easy way to help you out with Rule #1 is to take a close look at how you sit at work or at home. Is your chair helping or hurting you? We recommend that you support your lower back while seated using a towel roll, pillow or other type of lumbar support to make sure your lower back has a nice healthy forward curve. Also be sure to keep your work close to you. If your arms are reaching forward excessively your lower back is more likely to arch in the wrong direction.
3. Use your legs. Are you using good lifting technique around your home or when playing with your children? Most of us struggle with this but correcting this goes a very long way to decreasing pain.
4. Be strong. A regular exercise program designed to strengthen your core, hips and legs is one of the most important pieces of this puzzle. Improving your trunk and lower body strength can improve your postural awareness without you even knowing it. This is apparent when patients and clients of ours come back to us saying, “I notice that I slouch from time to time”. We love hearing this because before they never even realized it. Becoming aware of it is a huge step in the right direction.
5. Already have pain? It is widely recognized that conservative treatment for any spinal or pelvic restrictions, combined with a structured strengthening program, is the most effective way to regain your pain free mobility. Consult your physician or an orthopedic physical therapist to get started on a plan of care to rid you of pain for good.