Exercising for Back Issues
1. Check Your Sit Time – Though our attentions may be fully directed to the task at hand, we have (even if you have to set an alarm clock) to remind ourselves to get up, take a walk or stretch for 10 minutes of every hour. Too much sitting can become potentially hazardous and living a sedentary life should be avoided as early as possible. A few years ago, Bloomberg.com published an article detailing how your office chair is killing you. Research in the fields of epidemiology, molecular biology, biomechanics, and physiology is converging toward a startling conclusion: sitting is absolutely a public-health risk. And exercising doesn’t offset it. When we sit, the muscles are relaxed and enzyme activity de-clines by 90% to 95%, resulting in fat camping out in the bloodstream, the Bloomberg piece noted. Within a couple hours of sitting, healthy cholesterol plummets by 20%. Eventually this causes problems in other parts of the body, like our backs. Long sit-ting also further adds pressure to the problem area, and can setback the healing process.
2. Gain Posture Consciousness– Our posture says a lot about the status of our spinal health. It’s easy to drift into the horrible habit of slouching, but with practice it’s just as simple to adjust. My chiropractor recommends standing straight, shoulders back, against a wall twice a day. Since posture often finds its way to the furthest part of our minds, when you’re on the go or partaking in everyday activities there are plenty of trackers and wearables to invest in for lumber-based slouch correction. Consider get-ting a posture and muscle tension exam annually. This has helped me take greater notice of the alignment and curving of my spine.
3. Relax Your Muscles – Massages are as much a necessity as they are a luxury. Studies conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association reveal that massages can be truly effective in reducing lower back pain. Each type of massage (Swedish or relaxation, deep tissue, or hot stone) has it’s own benefits so before booking one, be sure to discuss your back pain with the massage therapist beforehand. If you can, aim for massages once a week or if financially restricted, once a month will make all the difference.
4. Shock Therapy – Almost all medical practitioners will recommend cold/heat therapy for back pain. While ice packs and heating pads may do the trick, consistency is key, as there is great relief in shocking your body this way. Ice is proven to re-duce inflammation over time, and heat has the power to relax and warm up strained muscles. If you suffer from sciatica or chronic back pain like me, your piriformis muscle goes into spasms that require the use of both methods to shock the body and shut down the nerves that fire pain signals.
5. Stretch Beyond Relief – Everyday should begin and end with stretching. The shower can wait, and we may have to awaken a few minutes earlier, but those first 10 minutes in the morning should be solely dedicated to targeted stretches. Everyone can benefit from stretching the soft tissues – muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back, legs, buttocks and spinal area, but to us back pain suffers, this is mandatory. No days off! Don’t give up or undermine your stretching routine if you don’t feel automatic relief – I’ve had to learn this the hard way. If we can commit to stretching the correct way, then the initial pain and injury that required the stretch, will subside and the muscle and joints will learn to respond better.