With the majority of us living lives that are growing more sedentary– sitting during our commute to work, at our office desk for hours, and then sitting in front of our computers or TVs in the evenings– is it surprising low back pain is so common in our western lives? Its a disaster! Second most common reason for days off work and costing the health budget many billions of dollars.
Low back pain is often mechanical in nature, ie coming from the joints and muscles, but its vital you see someone that has the appropriate training in diagnosing, and treating this issue. Osteopaths spend approximately five years undergoing training primarily to diagnose and treat body pains, in particular spinal pain. We are in essence experts in this field, completing many more hours of University training specifically for back pain compared to most health practitioners, including your doctor.
Our experienced team of Canterbury osteopaths are always available for you to book an appointment with, to get specific advice and a more tailored treatment plan, but if you’re after some tips to prevent back pain, we’ve compiled a short list below.
- BEDS, SLEEP, & SLEEPING POSITION – It’s not uncommon to isolate the source of back pain to a poor sleeping environment. This ranges from the mattress itself providing inadequate spinal support, to the quality of sleep you’re managing to get each night, to the actual position you’re sleeping in. Put simply, you want a quality mattress that provides good back support, and to get a refreshing night’s sleep (6-8 hours is ideal). We recommend you consider a memory foam mattress, many Europeans use this set up, its very comfortable and supportive, and also can be cheap. Ikea believe it has good memory foam mattresses, we have one!
- TAKE FREQUENT ‘SITTING BREAKS’ – If you work in an environment that has you sitting for extended periods of time, ensure that you take frequent breaks. Take walks, stand and stretch, or if it’s possible, consider working standing up for periods.
- STOP SMOKING and EXERCISE MORE IN GENERAL – Smoking can relate to back pain and spinal issues. Studies have shown that the effects of nicotine in the bloodstream can upset the way cells function in regards to transmitting and processing pain. This can result in increased spinal sensitivity and back pain.
- IMPROVE YOUR DIET – Like smoking, back pain can also be the result of poor overall health. Ensure that your diet is full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Hydration is also key! So make sure you’re drinking lots of water throughout the day. Our Blackburn Osteopathy clinics can provide you with more personalized recommendations for health and nutrition changes.
- YOGA, PILATES & STRETCHING – Incorporating yoga or stretching into your exercise regimen can be a beneficial tool in preventing or healing back pain. Pilates is a fantastic way to remedy back pain as well. There are many good Blackburn Pilates practitioners we could recommend.
- ASSESS YOUR GYM OR LIFTING TECHNIQUE – It’s important to ensure you’re using safe lifting technique. Make sure your spine is not put under unnecessary stress by lifting objects from a squatting position, rather than simply bending over at the torso. If you weightlift, get a trainer at the gym to assess your lifting technique to spot any issues that you can correct.