Four ways to ease and eliminate back pain

Everyone has had back pain at least once in their life and we all know that it is not a fun thing to experience. Do you find yourself wondering when and why this aching pain started and how you can get it to finally stop? Have you had to sit out a basketball game or need a break from playing with the kids because your back ached so bad? If so, you are not alone.

Our back pain can start from a wide variety of culprits: excessive sitting, lack of core strength, tight muscles, inflamed muscles, spinal injuries and poor posture (most common).

While some of the causes of back pain are serious and require medical care, most back pain can be relieved with simple lifestyle changes and a few simple exercises.

Here are some easy, quick ways to help you reduce, ease and hopefully eliminate back pain.

Hydration

You may not think that just water alone can help you with your back pain, but it works and works well. The majority of the population is dehydrated and doesn’t get enough water in throughout the day. They are not kidding around when they say that water is the “elixir of life”. Water helps with so many bodily functions and is the first step to being pain free.

Getting enough water will help reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation in our muscles and help you get rid of toxins that are building up around your tight, sore muscles.

Try and shoot for three litres of water (six to eight big glasses) a day and it will help reduce back pain.

Lose weight

Now, this may sound silly and a no brainer but it’s true and the fact is that losing weight doesn’t get the attention it deserves when it comes to reducing back pain. Imagine how bad your back would feel if I gave you a 50lb backpack full of rocks and told you to go climb a mountain? Not good, huh? Our spine takes quite a beating everyday if you are overweight, especially if you carry a lot of abdominal weight. This makes the spine arch more than it should and shifts your balance forward, tiring your lower back and tightening your muscles until pain hits.

The thing about losing weight is that a lot of people are in the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Either they want to lose 50lbs or else they don’t want to waste their time with the little stuff. That is where we can go really wrong we need to start small. You can take a lot of stress of your spine even with five or 10lbs off.

Posture at work

More and more of us are entering into a sedentary style at work each day. We are needed in chairs behind desks in front of a computer. Heck, I am doing that right now as I write this article and my back is already throbbing.

The battle of correcting your posture at work is to just be aware of a bad posture and bad spinal position. It is easy to hunch your shoulders and round your back, but we have to change our ways if we want our body to change and feel better.

Always try and keep both feet on the floor with your chest up and your shoulders down as much as possible. Start by bring the keyboard closer to you and by upgrading your chair to a more ergonomic version — even better than that is to sit on an exercise ball while at the desk if you can. Society and workplaces are changing and becoming more health conscious all the time, so don’t worry about the ball not looking professional — it will make you look more knowledgeable, practical, innovative and health smart.

Stretch

This may seem like another no brainer yet again, but it is definitely overlooked and underrated as a cure for back pain. When our muscles get tight, they become inflamed and together that can wreak havoc on the lower back and your spine. A tight muscle will also begin to pull the spine out of place and cause big time damage and soreness. The first step to putting that spine back in place is to release the muscle that making it go off in the first place.

A stretched and overall loose muscle will be less inflamed, much more comfortable and will hold fewer toxins. It’s a win-win situation.

Start by stretching your back muscles (search Google/YouTube for some) five to 10 minutes every day and your muscles will slowly release and work themselves back into proper position and that equals less stress on the region and ultimately, less pain.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer. He can be reached at 403-347-1707 or check out www.360fitness.ca for more information.

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