Top 5 Tips to Minimise Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is an extremely common problem in today’s society with the widely accepted statistic from sources such as the NHS stating that 80% of all adults will experience some form of symptoms in their lifetime.
There are many causes and reasons why your back could become painful and some forms of back pain are more serious than others, but for the most part, back pain is typically non serious and can be easily managed in a short time frame.
Common problems that can cause back pain can include:
- Overuse injuries
- Poor sitting habits
- Lack of physical activity
- Complex Medical Conditions
When the lower back becomes sore, it is a collection of tissues which become symptomatic including bones, discs, ligaments, tendons and muscles. All of these tissues heal at different rates and need the treatments and exercises in assisting them back to full recovery.
Here are the top 5 tips for helping to reduce your risk of getting lower back pain:
1. Mobility Work
Keeping your back mobile is extremely important for minimising the chances of lower back pain developing, if your back has reduced movement in its bending, leaning back twisting or side bending functions then it means its capability is reducing. Once your back tightness or stiffens up this can lead to its tissues becoming sore and pain developing.
An easy fix for this is to perform gentle back stretches in a morning when you wake up. This can include gentle hugging of the knees, twisting your knees from side to side and gentle arching of your back before you get up for the day. This helps to promote more movement in the back and a healthy foundation for your daily activity. Foam rollers and myofascial release balls can be added to perform your own sports massage which can help to loosen tissues and keep them relaxed.
2. Avoid Sitting for Too Long
Our bodies were meant to move! It’s a shame that most jobs and lifestyles these days include excessive sitting times. If we sit for too long this can have many effects on the body such as reducing our backs strength, limiting its flexibility and increasing the chances of developing pain.
If you work in a sitting role – stand up every 30 minutes to gently stretch or walk and at your breaks take time out of the day to walk. If you find that you are sitting a lot at home – try and be more active with household tasks or take regular breaks from sitting – your back will thank you!
3. Massage Therapy
Regular body maintenance treatments are also ideal for keeping your lower back healthy. There are many different types of massage to choose from, but sports massage is an effective soft tissue treatment which can help keep the muscles of the lower back in good condition. If our backs become overly tight and restricted this can place too much pressure on other tissues in the back, causing pain.
Manipulation of the soft tissue to reduce tightness, improve flexibility and increase blood flow to the area can help to maintain your lower backs condition. For best results and to get the most out of massage sessions, planning them into your routine on a regular basis such as once per month can be an effective way to manage your lower back health.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is the most powerful recovery tool on the market today – however possibly the most under appreciated and used. Our lifestyles are very busy and stressful and can lead to poor amounts of time in bed and early starts.
Sleep is where your recovery and repair are performed – aiming for between 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night will allow your back to rest and repair more effectively. If you aren’t sleeping well look at meditation, ear plugs and eye masks to help improve your bedtime routine and achieve a more restful sleep.
5. Strength Training
In the current evidence – strength training and weightlifting is the best type of exercise for reducing back pain. When the lower back becomes painful it often acquires a weakness – when you strengthen the back up again, the pain goes! So, it makes sense to stop the chances of pain starting that you incorporate some regular resistive exercise.
Exercises such as dead lifting, squatting and other weight training are a great way to promote a stronger more resilient back. Its not all weights however – things like yoga and Pilates have a good strengthening effect on the back with positive results!
In summary, keeping your back healthy and happy is simple – move frequently, vary your exercise, get a good sleep and take care of yourself with massage.
Mark Poolan is the Clinic Director of MSK Sports Injury Clinic in Westerhope, Newcastle.
Mark’s practice follows the philosophy that therapy is most successful when people are treated as whole human beings, not as individual parts, and his work is focused on finding and treating the root causes to live a pain free life.
Mark is an experienced therapist working with the general public and professional athletes to achieve their goals. If you require sports massage in Newcastle – visit https://msksportsinjuryclinic.co.uk/ to book an appointment.