As summer turns into fall and then winter, we start to see people having back pain from yard clean up and shoveling. Our joints and muscles may just not be up to the challenges of the weekend. Nearly everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their life. The low back supports the weight of the body and is subject to a lot of stress and strain especially during normal movements like lifting the groceries or laundry or doing yard or household chores. It is common for golfers to get back pain due to the twisting needed to swing the golf club and cyclists as they lean forward when peddling.
The low back is also called the lumbar region and low back pain can start as early as the 20’s and continue through your entire life span. Studies have shown that 80% of the population will suffer from low back pain sometime during your life. Low back pain is generally caused by a sudden injury or from the wear and tear of normal life. No matter what the cause of your low back pain, here are 7 recommendations to help prevent future problems.
Posture: Slouching when sitting increases exponentially the stress to the low back. In fact, over the road truck drivers have the highest risk for back pain due to the prolonged sitting they do. Make sure when you are sitting you have proper back support to decrease your chances of injury/pain
Lifting: Keep good posture when lifting. Slouching when lifting will over double the amount of force placed on the back and can easily contribute to low back pain.
Stretching: Stretching will help relieve lower back pain and prevent future problems. The most important muscles to stretch are the hamstrings, hip flexors, hip add, quadratus, pecs and lateral hip muscles/ITB. If you want to get into a good stretching program our Physical Therapists or personal trainers here at Innovative can assist you.
Wear proper footwear: Make sure to wear the correct footwear for the activity you are performing. I see a lot of people taking walks in flip flops. Flip flops cause your toes to hold onto the shoe which changes the whole dynamic of your feet, hips and back contributing to tightness and absorption of shock when walking. Many people think the more supportive the shoe the better, but that is not always the case. Our Physical Therapy team can take a look at how you walk in your shoes and suggest shoes that will work better for your body.
Maintain a healthy weight: Walking puts 4 x your bodyweight pressure up through the feet, legs and back. The heavier you are the more strength you have to maintain to prevent injury to the back. Innovative health and fitness has programs and classes to help you achieve a healthy weight for you.
Stay active: Bedrest is one of the worst things you can do for back pain. Think the opposite and use graded movement. In other words, keep moving as long it does not increase your pain level. Our Physical Therapy team can help with giving you the appropriate stretches and exercises to get back to all your normal activities.
Sleeping on a good quality bed: Generally a medium-firm mattress is recommended, but your preferred sleeping position should be taken into consideration. What you want from the mattress is to support you in such a way that your back stays in alignment whether you sleep on your back or sides. Sometimes putting a pillow between your legs will help keep your pelvis in a neutral position and prevent your spine from twisting while you sleep.
If you are suffering from low back pain and it is preventing you from experiencing life to the fullest. You are also wondering what will happen if the pain continues to get worse – will you be able to continue to work, play your sport, take care of your children or grandchildren? You may be sticking your head in the sand hoping that things will get better. You are worried if you will need surgery in the future but not sure how to fix the problem and get rid of the pain.
Here at Innovative Physical Therapy we have helped thousands of patients to feel better and live better allowing them to move freely and return to their full life
If you want to get some personalized advice please call 414-235-3660 for your appointment to talk to our physical therapy team.