TIPS FOR PREVENTING BACK PAIN
Suffering from back pain? Live pain-free using exercise and movement
PREVENTING BACK PAIN HINGES ON TWO MAIN THINGS: 1. Consistency.
Back pain often arises from habitual problems, such as poor posture (particularly seated posture) and lack of mobility. Successfully preventing back pain means finding solutions and staying consistent.
2. My mantra on back pain – keep moving.
We are made to move and when we don’t problems emerge. Research confirms that less movement, such as bed rest, is the worst possible thing for back pain. We know that moving a little as often as possible, is key to treating the pain. Once pain subsides, it’s important to keep moving and increase
your range of movement, which becomes a preventative measure.
SOME OTHER KEY POINTS FOR PREVENTING BACK PAIN THAT ALL CENTRE AROUND CONSISTENCY AND MOBILITY INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: 1. Maintain an exercise program.
Exercise brings the most powerful benefits when combining low, medium and high intensity exercise. Low intensity exercise like walking should be done most days of the week. When considering the intensity involved, I consider walking to be two or three out of 10. Moderate intensity exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling or going to the gym, when you’re pushing yourself, is regarded as about five or six out of 10, ideally two or three times a week.
High intensity program is regarded as eight out of 10 for a short period and research shows that results are possible just twice a week. Exercise keeps your joints lubricated, including your spine and prevents your muscles from stiffening. It improves your range of movement, your biomechanics, strengthens your core and helps keep weight down – all critical for back pain prevention.
Please note, that I recommend being checked by a medical professional before engaging in any exercises programs particularly high intensity exercise, if you have a heart condition or any health problems.
2. Flow movement through your day.
Many of us are desk-bound at work. People who ensure they get up from their desk every 45 minutes, even just for a minute or two, do their back a big favour. But move whenever you can – take the stairs, walk up the escalator, walk instead of driving wherever possible.
3. Watch your posture.
Particularly seated posture; ensure your seat is the correct height, that your feet are on the floor, your computer screen is the right height and that you are the correct distance from the desk.
4. Watch out for stress.
This can be hard to avoid but understanding that stress plays a key role in back pain is a start and will hopefully enable you to avoid big stress factors.
5. Lift with your knees.
A bad lift can undo all your best efforts even if the object isn’t overly heavy. Always lift with your knees using the strong muscles in your thighs and not your back.
6. Ensure your bed is providing rest.
The wrong mattress or pillow can play havoc on your back pain.
7. Understand your trigger points.
Hopefully after going through diagnosis and recovery, you understand the trigger points that set off your back pain. It may be a combination of issues, such as poor posture and stress.
8. Use stretches as preventative exercises.
You may have used stretches and exercises to treat previous back pain; they can then become powerful prevention exercises.
9. Avoid reaching for drugs when pain does flare up.
Reaching for drugs such as anti-inflammatories has a limited effect, as revealed by a recent study by the George Institute for Global Health, which found drugs for back pain provide little benefit but cause side effects. Drugs may become a substitute for other preventative solutions such as movement, to your detriment. Avoiding the vicious cycle of pain and relief via drugs, is an important preventative measure.
• back pain prevention requires consistency
• movement is key, including regular exercises
• understand your key triggers
• drugs are no substitute for preventative measures, such as movement.
Kusal Goonewardena is an experienced physiotherapist who consults via his clinic, Elite Akademy Sports Medicine. He believes passionately that physiotherapy patients should see positive results in three sessions or less. Kusal has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free and 3 Minute Workouts, currently available via Wilkinson Publishing. When not consulting, Kusal is is a lecturer, author, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiotherapy students around the world. www.eliteakademy.com