Originally written for The Whole Family/EcoParent Magazine
It’s a real pain and quite common to have a sore low back. According to one study, within a six month period, 50 percent of participants experienced low back pain! It is by far the most frequent issue I treat as a chiropractor.
A sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, joint dysfunction, arthritis, disc issues, and your daily activities are all contributing factors in back pain. Your feet can also be to blame. Fallen arches and joint issues in the feet might affect the way you walk and cause increased stress on the joints in the back. Wearing flat shoes without any arch support might also make the back feel worse. With all these conditions playing a role in back pain, it’s no wonder so many suffer from it—so how can you prevent it or get your poor aching back, back on track?
WALK IT BACK
Even if you are one of the lucky ones who hasn’t experienced back pain before, keeping your back strong can help to reduce the chances of injury in the future. Movement and exercise are the best way to help relieve back soreness or pain, both of which can be done in the comfort of your home and around your busy schedule. No fancy equipment or gym membership needed! Do it as a family and start healthy habits early with your kids.
Getting in any kind of movement in your day can be beneficial, including walking. Many people sit at desks and commute for long periods of time. Adding just 15–30 minutes of walking a day can be helpful. As well, if you must sit at a desk at work, make sure that you’re comfortable and that your chair has lumbar support if you are in severe pain. Take frequent breaks, at least once per hour, to get up and stretch for a minute or take a short walk.
Learning proper movement through the spine is important before you start doing intense workouts or lifting weights. Mobility exercises and yoga poses like cat-cow, downward dog, child’s pose, sphinx pose, hip hinge, and lumbar twist are helpful for encouraging slower and better movements through the joints.
Core strengthening exercises are some of the most important things you can do to relieve low back symptoms. Planks, lunges, squats, glute bridges, and bird-dog pose are all excellent core strengthening moves to try.
Low Back-to-Back Pointers:
Take a Breather: Being able to take full breaths while doing exercises is key for avoiding injury. If something is too painful to perform, try adjusting your form or doing modifications, do fewer repetitions or sets, take a break, or stop altogether. Exercises may feel uncomfortable to perform but should never be painful or cause you to hold your breath.
Perfect Your Posture: While doing any exercises, it’s important to keep your back in neutral position and your core engaged. To find neutral position, find the middle between the cat and cow yoga poses. To engage the core, pretend as though someone were about to punch you in the stomach – the reaction you have is similar to how it will feel.
That’s a Stretch: While stretching feels good in the moment, there’s little evidence to support that it actually helps with pain long-term.
BACK TO HEALTH
Along with movement and exercise, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet ensures you are getting all the nutrients your body needs in order to perform optimally. A primarily plant-based, anti-inflammatory diet can help support reducing pain symptoms. Make sure to include: lots of veggies, fruits, legumes, garlic, ginger, turmeric and other herbs and spices. Click here for anti-inflammatory recipe inspo!
Remedy for relief
When you’re suffering from back pain, you may find it beneficial to supplement with anti-inflammatory magnesium. Managing or reducing stress, using heat, and meditation may also help reduce inflammation, relieve tight muscles, and bring about relaxation.
Call on your chiropractor
It’s a good idea to get checked by your chiropractor and get a proper diagnosis so you know exactly what is causing the pain. In some cases, it may not actually be coming from the back and can be referred pain coming from elsewhere in the body, requiring a different treatment. Click here to learn more about working with me.
Note: If you are experiencing numbness or tingling in the groin area or are having trouble going to the washroom, call 911 as it may require urgent medical attention. As always, consult your healthcare provider before making changes to your health.