A lower back injury is not the only cause of lower back pain. Repetitive stress and poor posture can be detrimental to the spine by inducing muscle strain and problems with the soft tissue. The lower spine has only five motion segments, so it’s no surprise that over time, they get worn down.
What are some habits you can practice to avoid lower back pain? Let’s take a look.
- Be wary when traveling. Traveling long distances in cramped little settings is everything but comfortable. The body starts to ache and complain when it’s been stationary for too long. Pay attention to these cues! You’re not weak, your body is trying to signal discomfort and potential injury. If you’re on a road trip, make stops to get out and walk or do some lunges. If you’re on the plane, be that passenger who takes frequent strolls down the aisle- you’ll thank yourself later.
- Correct posture. Incorrect posture requires the back to do more work, as it has to protect itself from the lack of support you are providing. Keep your shoulders back, set and your core tightened. Check yourself out when you walk my windows- can you look a little straighter?
- Exercise your core. This is so important! The world works to achieve equilibrium, and the body compensates when one muscle group is weaker than another. A strong core combats an overworking back. Think of the entire middle section being utilized to lift, to twist, to keep your organs nestled inside nice and safe. They must work in tandem. If your core is weak, the back does all the heavy lifting. So help your lower back’s muscle groups and get that six pack. If that’s too lofty a goal, no need to worry. Any exercise is good for your lower spine- going up and down the stairs, walking outside, or sitting on an exercise ball (more difficult than it sounds).
- Keep general health in tip-top condition. Health is the best defense against all aging setbacks and injuries. Make lifestyle adjustments and health improvements whenever possible. Drink plenty of water, move often and eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Lift heavy objects correctly. If and when you have to lift remember- use your legs! Don’t dump all the weight and strain into the lower back. Let your legs that have so diligently carried you through your life provide some additional support.
- Practice athletic integrity. It doesn’t matter how strong or fit you are, new activities and physical forms jeopardize the body if not done correctly. Even if you are a triathlete and think a yoga class will be a synch, be careful moving into each posture. Correct form- no matter how easy it looks- is the only way to practice athletics safely.
- Stretch the hamstrings
Tight hamstrings leave little wiggle room for the lower back to solicit help when moving, lifting, twisting or bending. Flexible hamstrings provide additional support to the lower back muscles. If you are already experiencing lower back pain, be careful with which hamstring stretches you choose. It’s best to consult your physician, PT or chiropractor on which stretches to practice.
A preventative measure can make a world of a difference when it comes to back treatment. Whether you struggle with sciatica or face no symptoms of pain, do yourself a favor and take these cautionary measures. If you need more intensive care and treatment for your pain, come see us at BackFit Health + Spine.