Have you been dealing with back pain off and on for awhile now and are ready to end back pain for good? Has your back pain been keeping you from the activities you enjoy doing the most? I want you to know that you are not alone with your back pain! Research says that 80% of people will deal with back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is also the leading cause of disability so it can create severe limitations if not dealt with properly.
There are many causes of back pain and often times it is a culmination of several factors over time. For example, poor posture during your work day along with weakness in the core, tightness in the hips and poor lifting mechanics. All of these factors slowly start to break down over the years until one day, you bend over to pick up a pencil and “throw your back out.” Because there are several different causes, it is not a one-size fits all approach to end back pain. The best thing you can do to end back pain for good, is to have it assessed by a trained physical therapist and get to the root of the issue. They are able to determine the cause of the back pain and the appropriate strategy to end back pain.
With that being said, here are some general guidelines to help you end back pain (or even protect against back pain). Try these out to decrease your pain and improve your function.
- Stretch regularly. Stretching can loosen up tight muscles that could be pulling on the spine and limiting your movement and contributing to your pain. Typically, people tend to have tightness around their hips including the hip flexors and hamstrings. This can be worsened with prolonged sitting or a more sedentary job. It’s a good idea to stretch both the hip flexors and hamstrings to avoid pulling on the pelvis and spine. Another great stretch is Child’s Pose to help loosen the back muscles that run along the spine. This is performed by sitting back onto your heels and reaching your arms out in front of you.
- Avoid twisting and bending. If your back pain is recent, chances are twisting and bending may not feel real great for you and will increase your pain. That is because these movements put increased stress on the back. When the pain is recent, you want to avoid painful movements in order to end back pain quickly. If you’ve been dealing with this issue for awhile, you also want to avoid improper movements. Twisting and bending are normal movements for us to perform and would be almost impossible for us to avoid completely. However, you want to make sure you are performing these movements with a solid core and good body mechanics so that the spine is protected. It is also important that you don’t twist or bend while lifting any weighted object because this puts extreme amount of pressure on the spine and can create injuries or worsen them. We work with all of our patients to train them to perform these movements safely so that they are able to return to their prior level of function without back pain or risk for re-injury.
- Adjust your sleeping position. Sleeping on your stomach isn’t the best position for your spine but if that’s the most comfortable position for you, it’s not worth trying to change to another position that you won’t be comfortable in. Sidelying and back sleeping put the spine in a better alignment but can also be uncomfortable for people. If your back pain is keeping you awake at night, try placing a pillow between the knees when lying on your side or a pillow under your knees when on your back. This can alleviate pressure and place the spine in a more neutral position. Sometimes making these slight modifications to your sleeping position can help end back pain and allow you to get a good night’s rest.
If you find that your back pain is keeping you from playing with your kids or grandkids, activities you enjoy or ability to perform your job, it is time to have it evaluated by a physical therapist so you can end back pain for good. Wouldn’t it be nice to get back to doing the things you enjoy the most without having to deal with pain? If you’re ready to take that next step, contact us to schedule a time to meet with our physical therapists and get some answers.