5 Top Tips for Preventing Lower Back Pain.
Not only will lower back pain effect 70% of us at some point in our lives but the World Health Organisation has named it in their list of the top ten injuries causing disability. So what can we do for ourselves to minimise the risk of suffering? Here are our top tips!
1. Keep it moving!
Simple advice but effective; a healthy spine is one that is constantly changing position. Prolonged postures, such as sitting at a desk, give the muscles in the lower back time to tighten up. Small lifestyle changes such as incorporating a 15 minute gentle walk into your day can be enough to keep the muscles of the lower back supple and healthy, allowing them to support the spine more effectively.
2. Sleeping position
We are advised to sleep for between 7 – 9 hours per night. That is a long time for us to remain in one position, especially if the position is unfavourable for our back. Maintaining a ‘neutral’ spine while sleeping reduces the risk of injury. For those of us who sleep on our side, placing a pillow between the knees takes unwanted pressure off the spine. If you are more comfortable sleeping on your back, placing a pillow under the knees also helps. At all costs avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping in this position not only flattens the natural curvatures of the spine but requires over-rotation of the neck. Changing your sleeping position now will pay dividends in the future.
3. Avoid back braces
Using a back support can seem tempting, especially if you’ve suffered in the past. However, you may actually be increasing the risk of back pain in the future. A spinal brace artificially supports the spine, a job which is usually performed by the muscles of the lower back. Relying on a brace can weaken these muscles, so that when you remove the brace there is less protection from injury.
4. Be aware of the first 30 minutes of the day
Overnight the muscles stiffen and don’t offer as much protection to the discs of the spine. In the first few minutes after waking, small bending movements such as putting on your socks, washing your face in the sink and even brushing your teeth can lead to painful injuries. Gradually beginning your morning and gently stretching those sleepy muscles can significantly reduce the chance of a disc injury or bulge.
Interestingly, the average person is ½ a cm taller in the morning than last thing at night. This is due to the disc rehydrating overnight to recover the fluid lost from compression throughout the day.
5. Don’t slouch
We’ve all been told ‘Sit up straight - if you don’t you’ll suffer in later life!’ There is a truth to this. When we sit or stand up straight, we are actually promoting natural, protective curvatures of the spine. These curvatures allow the spine to effectively adapt to the stresses of daily life. A great way to keep yourself from slouching is to place a pillow or rolled up towel in the small of your back.
If you have any questions regarding your spinal health please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Cedar Tree Chiropractic – Burton.