Try our 7 easy ways to im­prove your back

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1 Try Yoga

Even if you’ve never been flex­i­ble, stud­ies show yo­gic stretches can help im­prove back pain by loos­en­ing tight mus­cles, build­ing strength and range of mo­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, the fo­cus on breath­ing with yoga helps you achieve deep re­lax­ation which can trig­ger chem­i­cal changes that can help your per­cep­tion of pain, eas­ing dis­com­fort. 2 Ad­vice To Pick Up On

Con­sul­tant spinal Sur­geon Am­jad Shad ad­vises lift­ing young grand­chil­dren with care.

“I see a lot of pa­tients who have hurt their backs af­ter lift­ing up lit­tle ones. Al­ways try to lower your­self to their height in­stead, even if it means go­ing down on one knee – you’ll get your wel­come kiss and hug with­out dam­ag­ing your back.” 3 Pil­low Talk

Sleep is sup­posed to be rest­ful, but if you have a poor sleep­ing po­si­tion it can ag­gra­vate a bad back. Try us­ing an ex­tra pil­low at bed­time to find the per­fect po­si­tion. If you sleep on your back, tuck a pil­low un­der your knees; stom­ach sleep­ers can place it un­der their pelvis, and those who sleep on their side can slip the pil­low be­tween the knees. 4 Hot And Cold

A cold pack (which you keep in the freezer) can help ease in­flam­ma­tion and swelling, but some peo­ple pre­fer to ap­ply heat (in the form of a hot-water bot­tle or a heat­ing pad you briefly warm through in the mi­crowave), which can re­duce ten­sion, cramp­ing and mus­cle spasms. Try al­ter­nat­ing be­tween the two to find what works best for you.

5 Rub It In

Ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent creams and gels to find one that best eases your pain. A pain-re­liev­ing gel (such as Voltarol Pain-eze Emul­gel, £13.49) can pen­e­trate ar­eas where the skin is thin (over the spine, for in­stance), whereas a com­bi­na­tion prod­uct (such as Glu­cosamine & Mag­ne­sium Gel from www. healthspan.co.uk, £14.95 for 150ml) can pen­e­trate the skin to help re­duce mus­cle spasm and pain in­ten­sity. 6 Roll With It

Tuck a small towel in your hand­bag. Long jour­neys, un­fa­mil­iar beds and sun-loungers can wreak havoc on your back when you are away from home, but a rolled-up hand towel could make all the dif­fer­ence. Phys­io­ther­a­pist Clare Lewey says, “Tuck it in the small of your back to give sup­port and main­tain the cor­rect cur­va­ture of your spine.” 7 Keep Mov­ing

Avoid stay­ing in any one po­si­tion (at your com­puter, in front of the TV or ly­ing down) for longer than 20 to 30 min­utes at a time. Even if your back hurts, keep mov­ing, pick­ing up the pace as the pain eases. Move­ment pumps blood into dam­aged tis­sues and helps build the sup­port­ive mus­cles that pro­tect your spine.

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