In this blog post on back pain I share with you 7 simple strategies you can use to ease your back pain – some over time and some almost instantly. They’re in no particular order, and they all have only one thing in common: They all work. Unfortunately, without knowing the exact ins and outs of YOUR back pain, I can’t tell you which of these strategies will work best for you. Even if I did know the exact cause of your back pain, there is no guarantee that any one single strategy will be effective.
How To Reduce Low Back Pain and Stiffness
1. Back Pain When Breathing
In my experience, the vast majority of people with lower back pain have a limited ability to breathe correctly. People in pain tend to start using their lower back, neck and shoulder muscles to help with breathing, instead of using the diaphragm and abdominals. Considering that we humans take upwards of 20,000 breaths per day, that’s a lot of extra work for your cranky lower back. The quickest, easiest way to get your back feeling better is to help it relax by learning how to breathe properly – using your diaphragm and abdominals.
Practice like this: Lie on your belly and rest your forehead on your hands. Breathe in SILENTLY through your nose, trying to fill up an imaginary balloon in your belly – fill up the belly, sides and back. Then exhale gently ALL THE WAY – try to get all of your air out. Repeat for 3-5 minutes once or twice a day to help relax your back!
Your body was NOT designed to sit all day. Slouching increases the forces transmitted through your lower back TENFOLD. When we sit for long periods, the muscles that support our spine get lazy, making it harder to support our backs. So, the back muscles start working harder to help and end up compressing your back all day, every day. Limit sitting to no more than 30 minutes at a time and take a break by standing or walking. When you do sit, sit upright, preferably with your back supported by a chair.
And practice taking a few breaths into your belly, sides and lower back throughout the day to keep those core muscles working. Your body was NOT designed to sit all day. Slouching increases the forces transmitted through your lower back TENFOLD.When we sit for long periods, the muscles that support our spine get lazy, making it harder to support our backs. So, the back muscles start working harder to help and end up compressing your back all day, every day.
Limit sitting to no more than 30 minutes at a time and take a break by standing or walking. When you do sit, sit upright, preferably with your back supported by a chair. And practice taking a few breaths into your belly, sides and lower back throughout the day to keep those core muscles working
3. Low Back Pain Walking
One of the worst things you can do when your lower back hurts is to do nothing at all. When you’re not moving, your core muscles and hip muscles aren’t working, so your back just ends up getting tighter and hurting more. You can mitigate this stress by taking walks throughout your workday as mentioned above, but it’s also a good idea to try and set aside 20-30 minutes, once or twice a day to take a leisurely stroll. Here’s the catch As you’re walking, practice breathing ONLY THROUGH YOUR NOSE.
This will help keep your back muscles as relaxed as possible and your diaphragm doing it’s job. If you have to breathe through your mouth – slow down.
4. How To Sleep With Low Back Pain
One of the quickest ways to self-inflicted lower back pain and stiffness is sleeping on your stomach. Your spine is twisted in all sorts of funky ways. If you sleep like this all night, it’s no surprise you wake up feeling stiff and sore. This puts your back in an over-arched position, causing your lower back muscles to tighten up and work even harder over the course of a full night’s sleep. The best way to support your back while sleeping is by using pillows.
● If you are a BACK SLEEPER: add a pillow under your knees.
● If you are a SIDE SLEEPER: add pillows between knees and ankles. Big, long, fluffy body pillows are pretty great for this!
5. Best Mattress For Low Back and Hip Pain
Unfortunately, without knowing more about you, it’s almost impossible to tell you exactly what type of mattress you should be sleeping on. What I can tell you is that if you haven’t changed your mattress within the last 5-10 years, it’s about time you did! Consider your mattress an investment in your long-term health. If you’re going to spend nearly a third of your life in bed, why not have a mattress that you LOVE sleeping in and helps you wake up feeling great?
Everyone is different. Some will do better with firm mattresses, others will do better with harder mattresses. The key is finding one that works best for you and your spine!
6. Shoes For Low Back Pain
Poor choices of footwear include high-heels, sandals, flip-flops and hard bottom shoes. Why poor? Because these have been proven to ADD to your back pain. These kinds of shoes don’t do a very good job of absorbing shock when you walk. So your lower back ends up taking all of the impact every time your foot hits the ground. Wearing comfortable, cushioned and well-fitted shoes will help to decrease the impact and reduce your back pain by as much as 20-25%.
The fastest way to take care of your back pain is by going to see a therapist. A therapist can listen to your story, assess your back and find out EXACTLY why you are having problems. They can then come up with a plan to fix it so you can get back to working out and tackling your passions! When looking for a therapist, you owe it to yourself to find one who is willing to spend quality, one-on-one time with you for a FULL HOUR.
Do not settle for someone who just stretches you, gives you a massage then hands you a cookie cutter sheet of exercises. Find someone who will give you a full hour of their undivided attention to ensure you are getting the most out of every single minute, so you can get back to the workouts, sports and activities you love as quickly as possible.
Combine all these tips form this special guide with a visit to a hands-on therapist, and you WILL see a dramatic drop in the back pain and stiffness you are currently suffering from.
So there you have it! 7 simple tips you can use TODAY to end your low back pain and improve your health and fitness. There’s obviously much more that you could do too, and I could go much more in-depth with these techniques. There are also others that we use at IMMERSE Modern Massage to end lower back pain, but these fundamentals, if applied consistently, WILL have a positive impact on reducing your lower back pain.
I hope this is the beginning of a great, long-term relationship where myself and my colleagues become the source of leading edge health advice for you and make a real difference to your life
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