Back pain is very common these days thanks to our busy, desk bound lives. Luckily, Mr.Back is here to get you and your back ready for the warmer weather.
Written by Mr.Back
In this article, I will go over 3 effective, yet easy-to-implement ways to prepare your back for a pain-free summer! Sometimes the sheer knowledge of how the back works can be enough, and sometimes developing good habits can not only be good for your physical health, but it will make you seem like a more confident person.
Invest in knowledge
The trunk of the body plays an important role in making movements you do every day possible. If you have a weak or injured back, you will feel a discomfort in back-related movements and other muscles in your body will try to compensate.
Approximately 8 out of 10 Americans suffer from back pain, the most common being lower back pain. 54% of those sufferers are desk-workers, so not those who spend all day on their feet!
It’s heart-warming for a physical therapist to see that both physical activity and healthier eating (sometimes almost like an obsession) has been implemented in our modern society. Maybe not as a focus on core health itself but a way to keep up with a social appearance. The knowledge in health has been well supported by the incentive for people to share their own knowledge on social platforms, resulting in a better awareness of the matter at hand.
How to not develop bad back habits
The far most common, but easily overlooked, habit is not actually a unconscious habit. It’s the body’s own habit of adjusting the distribution of exertion of your body parts. If you have a weak or injured back, the body will unconsciously try to compensate the weakness by assisting with other muscles. This creates a slippery slope and makes for a poor-functioning everyday life.
Sitting at a desk, on a couch or in a chair can lead to poor posture that can weaken the back and core muscles, This means it is also important to know one’s limits and to make yourself aware of your current posture. No matter if it’s reading a book, scrolling Instagram or sitting in the couch. A key rule that I like to use is to pretend that you always should imagine that you are putting your shoulder blades in your back pocket. It can also be a good idea to read about tips for back pain at a desk job to develop a good working environment habit.
How to keep your back healthy with small measures
There is some really easy way to keep your back healthy with small measures.
It may have been possible to do 100 crunches ten years ago, but that is most likely not realistic right now. Start small and work back up to the 100. ALWAYS listen to your body, if there is pain that lasts longer than 15 minutes, do not just “push through the pain”. Stop and assess your body’s needs.
Have a 4 minute bedtime routine.
Put in your earbuds, have a reoccurring song that you always play when doing this routine. That way you know that you always end up doing the routine the appropriate length. The routine involves very light stretching to prepare your body for the night.
It’s not important what you do but that you do something that works for you. I like to stretch out my lower back and my lats, since those are the muscles that I tend to feel discomfort in when laying in bed. Some light yoga can also work, if that is something you like!
Make a deal with your friend/spouse
Whenever you see each other doing something with your back that looks unnatural and bad for the back, give them a heads up.
Strengthen your core
This way of strengthening the core is so easy that it is ridiculous. No more 60 mins of core workout every day. (I am no opponent of core exercises though, even though they more often than not hurt the core more than it strengthen it).
Do this: Just imagine that you’re going into a pool or ocean where the water is really cold. What is your first reflex? To tighten the core! If you remind yourself to keep this position in your everyday life, the amazing adaptation of the body will soon make this posture natural.
Invest (knowledge) in mindfulness!
Anxiety, depression, and tension are all known to cause physical pain and for many, this pain can appear in the back, neck and shoulders. It may be difficult to pinpoint the exact area of the pain; back, neck and shoulder ailments like these tend to be generalized – or encompassing the entire back. It is also possible to be unaware of the cause of an anxiety attack or a bout of depression, in these situations back pain may be the result of unattended emotions or even unknown triggers.
An alternative reason the mind can cause pain is to distract. As a defense mechanism, the body may signal a source of pain to keep one’s mind away from difficult thoughts, feelings or emotions. All the more reason to be aware of one’s body.
But how can the mind help with back pain? This is just a too broad of a topic to not give full attention to. But keep in mind that our thoughts create our version of reality, and if it is the mind that has caused pain, it is the mind that must combat it.