How to prevent back pain

It’s an unfortunate statistic that the majority of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. As a woman, it’s more likely than not, you will experience it while you are pregnant or at some stage during the post-natal period. And when you think about it, it’s not all that surprising! Our ligaments are stretched to the point where they can no longer help to support us, we’re carrying extra weight, especially around our middle, and we are putting the baby first which makes us less likely to remember to look after ourselves!

 

Once the injury occurs, it’s even more difficult to look after both yourself and your baby. So todays blog is talking about how PREVENTION is the best TREATMENT when it comes to back pain. All you need to do is implement a few small habits into your daily routine, to decrease the load on your back, and you will significantly decrease your risk of developing back pain.

 

Number 1 - Never twist and bend your back at the same time! Easy to do when you are distracted or in a rush and just want to pick up something quickly. But this combination movement puts a lot of stress through your back. Instead, make sure to directly face the object you are lifting or moving, so there is NO twisting through your back. The easiest way to do this is to have your toes pointing towards the object. Then, remember to bend your KNEES, not your BACK. This will ensure that the load goes through the big strong muscles of your legs, rather than the small vulnerable muscles in your back.

 

Number 2 - Posture, posture, posture! It is SO easy to flop into the sofa at night and forget all the advice you’ve been given about your posture. But, if you’re anything like me, and end up watching a couple of hours of Netflix, then this is a long time for your body to be in a poor position that places a lot of strain on your back and causes the ligaments to stretch over time. It won’t happen overnight, but if you regularly slump on the sofa, then the ligaments will eventually stretch too far, and be unable to support your back. If I ever have a client say, ‘I pulled my back while putting on my socks’, this is often the background cause of the injury.

 

Number 3 - Keep moving! The body doesn’t like being in one position for too long, and this is especially true of your back. These days, the majority of people spend most of their time in SITTING - at work, at home, in the car, on public transport. So it’s important to break this up with periods of STANDING and WALKING throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be for long - it can be to get a cup of tea, fill up your water bottle, or go to the bathroom, but it’s important to change your body position briefly EVERY HOUR, to give your body the stretch it needs and prevent you from becoming too stiff and prone to injury.

 

Number 4 - Provide your back with the stability it needs! It’s a common trap to focus on your big, visible muscles, like your biceps, hamstrings, or wanting a six pack. Yes, these big muscles can make you strong, but they don’t provide you with control and stability. The small deep core muscles around your lower abdomen and your back are often forgotten, but they should be your best friend, as they are the key to a pain free life! SIMPLE EXERCISES activating these muscles can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. It only takes a few minutes, but it can make a huge difference to your life, both NOW and in the FUTURE.

 

I hope you find these tips useful! Please email me if you have any questions, and remember to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more weekly tips and inspirations!

 

katherine@futurephysiotherapy.co.uk

@future physiotherapy