Studies show that 80% of people will have low back pain in their lifetime. These are my top 10 tips for easing and preventing low back pain!
1) Limit Bed Rest – Studies show that short term back pain is alleviated by movement and being active. People who rest or limit their mobility end up with increased back pain and have a harder time returning to regular activities.
2) See a Physical Therapist – Physical therapy is essential for managing low back pain. A Physical Therapist will help identify the cause of your pain/injury and provide remedies such as pain management, progressive exercises, and education on proper posture/movement.
3) Keep Exercising – Activity is the best medicine for low back pain. So keep moving. Find activities that are not painful such as swimming or walking. Avoid activities or positions that caused your back pain in the first place. Remember to move in moderation and stay away from strenuous activities such as bending/heavy lifting.
4) Forget about the Brace – Bracing your low back will lead to core weakness which puts you at greater risk of injury or re-injury. A brace should only be used sparingly and for short term strenuous activities such as heavy lifting if needed.
5) Ice and Heat – If you have a recent injury ice should be applied for the first 2-3 days, especially if there is swelling. After 2-3 days heat may be used for pain relief.
6) Focus on Good Posture – Most often people go about their activities with bad posture. Overtime, this bad posture puts a lot of stress onto the low back. Try to maintain proper spinal alignment and curvature throughout the day, which will take pressure of your back and nerves reducing your pain.
7) Focus on Flexibility – Increased tightness throughout your muscles can also lead to back pain as it puts increased load on the spine. The goal is to promote equal load throughout your low back to help minimize risk of injury and decrease pain.
8) Strengthen your Core – Core muscles are essential for low back health. Your muscular core helps decrease load and protect your spine. You are at greater risk for low back pain if your core is weak.
9) Keep Proper Sleep Postures – Sleep is important for healing. 8-10 hours is recommended. Sleeping in the proper position is also important, especially if pain keeps you up at night. To decrease stress onto your low back place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back or place a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
10) Stop Smoking – Studies show that smokers are more likely to suffer from low back pain compared to non-smokers. Smoking leads to unhealthy tissues and puts you at greater risk of injury. Smoking also slows down the healing process.