Many people believe that their bodies are (in the words of the recently departed Anthony Bourdain) “amusement parks”. OK. I get that. But our bodies are how we move through the world. Like cars, they require a certain amount of maintenance, so that they can be effective amusement parks.
Don’t get your car tuned up regularly? That thing is not going to get you very far, then.
The same is true of your lower back. Prone to all manner of injury, your lower back needs you to feed it with some good habits to keep it feeling fresh, frisky and ready for action.
Good habits are just as easy to develop as bad ones, truth be told, so I’m going to share some lower back maintenance tips with you. Your lower back will thank you if you do these 3 easy things. Trust me!
1. Variety is the spice of work
Sitting at work for extended periods is one of the worst things you can do, as far as your lower back is concerned. If it’s trying to get your attention by sending pain signals to the brain, this could be part of the problem.
If you sit at work, consider requisitioning a stand/sit work station. Standing for part of your working day takes the pressures off your spine. Combining sitting and standing postures is a more natural way of using your body, also, as it wasn’t meant to stay in one position for long periods.
You should get up and walk around and stretch regularly too. Walk a little further to pick up that sandwich at lunch time.
2. Hamstrings – attention please!
People don’t often associate the hamstrings (large muscles extending down the back of your thighs) with lower back pain. But they can get tight if you’re not stretching them regularly and that can lead to lower back pain.
Add simple hamstring stretches to your daily routine. They only take a few minutes to do and the effect this activity can have on lower back health is huge.
3. How did you sleep?
Sleep position is a big one, where the lower back is concerned. People can get into bad habits which have serious effects on the wellbeing of their lower backs.
Consider elevating your knees while you sleep. Doing this creates a curve in the lower back, reducing tension. This moderate fetal position is excellent for sleeping and helps your back rest and rejuvenate in the absence of any pressure on the lower back.
You may even want to try an adjustable bed which allows you to do this by setting it to elevate your legs.
But if you don’t find it comfortable to sleep this way, resting with your knees slightly bent and relaxed over a pair of cushions is also helpful. You can do this while you’re reading in bed, or watching television before turning in.
These 3 tweaks can help you keep your back happy, so try them. Got lower back pain? Contact me.