5 Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain
Experiencing lower back pain is a common problem, and it’s a condition that can stem from anything from accidents and injuries to poor posture and sitting for long periods, to your weight and stress levels.
With so many different reasons for back pain, it’s no wonder most of us will have experienced lower back pain from time to time. It can be frustrating and painful, though, and in some cases even debilitating, which is why taking steps to prevent it is paramount. Here are five easy measures you can take to help prevent lower back pain impinging on your life…
1 Maintain suitable posture
Slouching while sitting down or walking around with your shoulders hunched both put excessive pressure on your back muscles and can pull your spine out of its natural alignment. That’s why aiming to both sit and stand with a good posture is important in the fight against lower back pain. To sit correctly, ensure your back is straight (your ears, shoulders and hips should be in alignment) and that your shoulders are relaxed and down. Your knees should be at a right angle, with your feet flat on the floor. When standing, you should be able to draw a straight line between your ear, shoulder, hip, and knee, finishing just in front of the ankle. Your hips should also be level with one another. However, being completely upright for long periods can be uncomfortable too, so strike a balance.
2 Move more
As humans, we’re not designed to be inactive for long periods of time. And yet according to the NHS, the average adult in the UK now spends around nine hours a day sitting down. As well as increasing our risk of developing lower back pain, a sedentary lifestyle brings with it a host of other risk factors too, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. So getting up and moving more is a good idea! Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and stretch for at least five minutes every hour and take measures to get in your target 10,000 steps each day: everything from walking instead of hopping on the bus, and taking the stairs instead of the lift, will add up.
3 Stretch and strengthen
Supporting your lower back by incorporating a short stretching and strengthening routine into your week is a great preventative measure. Strengthening your core muscles will help to take the pressure off your spine and can also result in a better posture. Great core-strengthening exercises include planks, side planks and glute raises/bridges. To stretch and release any tension in your lower back, try some yoga poses, including cat-cow, downward-facing dog, standing forward fold and child’s pose.
4 Sort your sleep position
Your sleep position can impact the health of your lower back. Making sure you’re comfortable and supported can not only ensure a better night’s sleep but can also help you move through the following day pain-free. Adding support while you sleep can be helpful: for example, if you sleep on your side, placing a pillow or rolled-up towel between your knees can relieve pressure on your lower back.
5 Lower your stress levels
If you’re experiencing stress, there can be very real physiological symptoms, of which back pain is one. It’s well known that stress can cause muscle tension, and if your muscles are constantly tense, it can result in chronic lower back pain. To help ease the pain, it’s important to identify and then address the cause of your stress. Workload, financial worries, relationship problems and feeling overburdened can all contribute. Often, some small lifestyle tweaks can help. Building more relaxation into your lifestyle can also be beneficial: try activities such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga and breathing exercises.
If you are suffering with lower back pain, our team can really help you. Call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online using the link in the menu to see one of our great osteopaths or physiotherapists.