Back pain can present itself with a variety of symptoms, but it is the number one physical complaint in the United States. These are not end all solutions, but in my experience these are the top 3 interventions that will play a role in a treatment strategy at some point. Disclaimer: if you are experiencing numbness in the legs, weakness, or bowel/bladder issues as well please consult your healthcare provider directly. If your symptoms are not as severe, but a nagging part of your life try the 3 tips below and take control of your back pain.
1. Work On Your Posture!
It seems like an obvious solution, but so many of these complaints come from an era of chronic sitting and poor spinal alignment in your chair. The emphasis should not be sitting on your tailbone (or sacral sitting) which is a natural tendency in “lazy posture”, but instead thinking of lengthening your spine and drawing your deep abdominals “in and up” while still maintaining your breathing. The pressure should be more on the “sits bones” or bones under the fleshy part of your butt and keeping the muscles in the front of your hips relaxed. Poor posture over time causes increased stress on your ligaments and discs in your back, which requires proper muscle support and stability to prevent breakdown.
2. Move More Often
Set a timer at your desk for 20 min max, this will be a reminder that when you are in your work zone that you need to either do a few squats (sit to stand motion from your chair) or get up and walk to get a glass of water or stop at the restroom. This will provide increased blood flow and circulation, redistribute the excess load on the joints in your back, and allow for decreased muscle tension.
3. Get On An Efficient Exercise Program
Maybe you are not sure which exercises to do or you are on a program that you like, but unsure of the reason your back hurts. Get assessed by a professional! Consult with an expert physical therapist, as they can do a movement assessment and guide you in the right direction. Maybe you have been relying on a massage to make you feel better, but finding the root of the problem with a solution to address your issue is going to require a skilled movement assessment by a physical therapist. Find one in your area!
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