Having to go to work with back pain takes a lot of effort. Oftentimes, it will bring you to a decision of taking an absence from work and seeking medical attention. Generally, a lot of people are experiencing this kind of pain which can be debilitating when left untreated. It affects people of any age but it is frequently experienced by adults and as they get older, the more they are prone to it.
Yet, without knowing your specific history, I cannot tell you which tip will work best for you. Even if I did know the cause of your back pain, there is no guarantee that every single strategy will work. Some of these tips may require constant and longer periods of physical routines.
Imagine, how great would it be if you try just one of these tips every day? Before you continue reading, I want you to pause for a while and grab this opportunity to ask yourself… Am I ready to take the first step to be free of my back pain?
The current challenge
Evidently, half the world is fighting with what is unseen and formidably deadly. Without partiality the Corona Virus has impacted every nation and household. People are getting sick and some are departing which is the most saddening scenario of this pandemic. The normal rhythm of life has shifted over the past weeks and people are finding themselves caring for children around the clock, occupying their time binge watching Netflix, doing home improvement projects, adopting new exercise routines or none at all, and trying to manage working for home in an often less than ideal set up. Being confined to such close quarters with limited resources poses an additional challenge to stay motivated and positive to practice healthy habits and get wellness services outside the comfort of their homes.
With this pandemic, I want you to try at least one of these strategies each day while being locked down in your homes and the challenge of going at it alone. It won’t cost you anything but a few minutes of your time and some adjusting effort with your ex-routines and out of normal rhythms. The crazy part is how to stay healthy while not getting as much attention or guidance and I think you’ll be surprised by how much better and healthier you will feel for doing so.
What is Back Pain and Stiffness?
Approximately 80% of adults experience back pain during their life. Back pain can have a sudden onset and be a short-term problem, however if left untreated it can develop into a chronic and debilitating issue. It is the leading contributor to missed work days and the most common cause of work-related disability.
MRIs and CT scans do NOT always identify the cause of back pain. Surprisingly, the percentage of people whose MRI or CT scan show “disc bulging” in adults WITHOUT back pain. In other words, just because an MRI or CT scan says you have disc degeneration or disc bulging, this may not be the cause of your back pain.
I often find myself telling my clients, “Fortunately and unfortunately everything in the body is connected”, when they express frustration and fear over their current pain and injuries and wonder “why this is happening now” and “all of the sudden”, which is often followed by “I didn’t even do anything that intense.” Nothing exists in isolation, especially if the problem has gone on for any period of time because other areas of weakness, imbalance or restriction may cause your body to compensate and make the current problem and pain much worse.
Why do you experience back pain?
You did not acquire back pain just because you tweaked your torso a little too much (well, maybe sometimes) but there must be some factors that may have become the root cause of the pain. Such as,
- Muscle imbalances of your hips, back and leg muscles due to prolonged patterns of sitting, posture and repetitive activities and habits
- Soft tissue limitations, “Scar Tissue” buildup and stiffness of the lower back and hip joints from continual inflammation creating pressure and restricting the ability of your nerves to move freely & smoothly
- Current or Past Pregnancy related complications, changes in activity, and limited strength, mobility and stability of the muscles and joints
- Weak core and hip muscles that cannot support and stabilize your back and hips to allow you to maintain good posture and move freely without compressing and overstressing your nerves, joints and muscles
- Weak knee and ankle muscles that cannot support your body and create an unstable foundation for your back and hips
What’s more bothering with the current situation is the limited access to your daily routine that you depended on to maintain the healthy life balance you need, mentally, physically and emotionally. Some of you might be seeing your health and wellness practitioner or visiting the gym which is quite difficult because of the lockdown system. It is challenging to stay motivated or to know exactly what you can and should be doing right now to keep your body, mind and immune system healthy and avoid getting sick or injured.
People are now finding themselves on the floor playing with the kids, bending over kitchen counter tops to work or homeschool, or since the gyms are closed they are ramping up their mileage running, biking which their body isn’t quite prepared for, not to mention all the DIY honey-do projects, all these things done excessively, when the body is not equipped to perform them and for weeks on end is a one way ticket to pain and injury…especially back pain. Not to mention the boredom decreases your drive and mood when you don’t have enough things to do, once you’re done with the household chores there’s nothing more left to do than watch every single season on Netflix on the couch or in bed and unfortunately that is a sure fire way to acquire back pain.
So how can you avoid or end the pain?
Fortunately, there are a lot of effective solutions that can help alleviate back problems and we all know that a trip to the doctor may be quite expensive and extensive(and not really an option right now). However, treatment does not only mean that patients have to go see a doctor.
There is still a way to get the expert help you need right now and safely from the comfort of your home. Please don’t rely on YouTube exercises and self prescribe a routine for yourself you can make it worse. Like I said before everything in the body is connected and what may sound like a tight hamstring muscle may actually be a compressed or restricted nerve and if you google “hamstring stretches” you will definitely find an array of options and risk flaring the nerve up even more.
So be careful when you try to self- diagnose, rely on YouTube or a friend or family member’s advice that “kinda’ had the same problem.” It will be the difference between making a full recovery, landing in the ER or OR (and the last place you want to be is in the hospital and risk getting exposed to the Coronavirus).
Home remedies are now readily available (with proper guidance and execution) and with the help of these 6 simple ways and strategies to help alleviate your back pain and stiffness as your free guide, let me help you get clarity about how to overcome the pain and stiffness without visiting the doctor at all.
Make use of your time away from the outside world and get used to your home desk setup. Get connected with a Movement Specialist virtually and have your Specialist help advise you on how to set up your station, and customize a program that will best fit your situation, body, patterns and needs, because these “makeshift work stations” can lead to poor postures, stiffness and muscle spasms..
- Keep Moving (“S.M.A.R.T.”) and Changing Positions
As you age, your muscles and joints tend to become restricted and stiffer and that can cause back pain. The best cure for stiffness and tightness is movement. “Motion is Lotion to your joints” 🙂
Quick tip: Don’t sit, stand or lie down in one position for more than 15-20 minutes.
Walking in supportive shoes on an even stable surface for short intervals of time can also help reduce the pain. If it is challenging to remember to move, try setting a timer or a task reminder at your desk to motivate you to move and reassess your posture. I tell my client, every time you get up for a glass of water or bathroom break do a simple stretch or two, a few movements to reset your brain and body. Even if it is only for a few brief moments your body and back will breathe a sigh of relief and “yes, thank you!”
- Choose Your Footwear Carefully to Support Your Posture and Activity
Sandals, flip-flops, high-heels and hard-bottom shoes are all proven to INCREASE pressure and stress on your spine. They can also cause your hips and pelvic to become rotated and torque your spine and compress the spinal nerves. Unsupported shoes can lead to the collapse of your arch of your foot which in turn leads to the knees and pelvic to rotate inward and destabilize your hips, pelvis and spine. Now that people are home and the dress code has gone out the window, sandals and slippers are a new norm. Unfortunately, not the best to support the alignment of your body, can stress your Achilles and combined with a new fitness routine can lead to knee, back and Achilles pain and issues.
Quick tip: Wearing comfortable, cushioned shoes can decrease the force through your low back by 20-25%.
Imagine how you would feel with 25 times less stress on your back? Remember that poor footwear choices have a cumulative effect. Pressure builds up over the years eventually causing a weak and stiff back around age 40. Especially when the demand of an activity or surface is challenging the effects can be compounded even more. Try to limit extreme inclines, declines (hills), stairs or uneven surfaces that create added postural and compressive changes on your body. So, try to wear comfortable, cushioned shoes that do not have heels.
- Bend Over Safely
When you bend with your back, you place a lot of stress on your spine and hips, even more so than when slouching in a chair. It also creates increased stress and impingement on your hips, pelvis and the nerves that exist through this joint and causes shooting pains down the legs. Just think of all the DIY projects that require lifting heavy or awkward objects, or force you to be hunched over repeatedly for long periods of time, whether it’s pulling weeds, planting trees or purging the garage your back can only handle so much before something gives.
Quick tip: To get something off the floor, bend with your hips and keep your back straight and stick your buttocks backwards.
The key is to bend at the waist first, pushing the hips backwards, abdominals braced and then bend at the knees. Your legs should be shoulder width apart, while your spine remains vertical throughout the movement as you maintain the contraction of your abdominals. The spine should remain vertical when bending over when cooking, doing laundry, picking something off the floor, leaning over the counter or sink and getting in/out of a chair. When you have mastered this concept you will notice you have less pain throughout the day.
- Sitting Posture Is Very Important
Most of us are challenged with having to sit for long periods of time to get through our day; either commuting, working or performing other daily tasks and the time can add up to 8+ hours every day. Your body was NOT designed to sit all day. Slouching increases the forces transmitted through your low back and hips tenfold. And now that we are locked up at home sitting time is increasing drastically.
When we sit we increase the pressure on our spine, hips and the sciatic nerve and the supportive muscles of the hip are turned off. The position of your low back can cause hip, sciatic and pelvic pain.
Less sitting = 10 times less force on your painful back, hips and pelvis.
Because most of us slouch when we sit, the muscles that support our spine (“core muscles”) are very weak, making it even harder to support our backs. Also, poor posture can cause the muscles of the hips and legs to tighten and stiffen your joints. There are many muscles that interweave and attach to the spine and pelvic and cause a tug-o-war effect when there are restrictions and imbalances.
Quick tip: Try limiting sitting to 20 minutes at a time (then take a break by standing or walking).
Sit upright, preferably with your back supported by a chair and make sure your thighs are below your hips. Sometimes sitting higher on a cushion can open up the angle of your hips to decompress the joint and open up the hips for some relief.
- Sleep Positions
This tip typically gets the QUICKEST results. We spend anywhere from 6-8 hours in bed every night. We spend over one-third of our life sleeping so it is essential to be in the most optimal position to get the full-night, restful and pain-free sleep you want. It’s important to keep your spine and pelvis aligned to decrease stress and pain.
BACK SLEEPER: For individuals that sleep on their back I advise using two pillows. Try a small pillow or towel under the arch of your low back and another under your ankles. Make sure that the pillow under your neck keeps your head in a neutral position and doesn’t cause your head and chin to tilt upward or downward extremely. This will provide the support and alignment your spine, hips and pelvis need while sleeping, so you can wake up less stiff, ache and energized. No more getting out of bed like your decades older!
SIDE SLEEPER: Putting a pillow between your legs improves the positioning of your hips as well as your lower back. The key is to make certain the pillow is vertical not horizontal. .
STOMACH SLEEPERS: AVOID!!!! This position will wreak havoc on your spine, hips and pelvis. It puts all of the joints in the worst position. Even if this position doesn’t hurt now, you are setting yourself up for spine and hip deterioration in the future.
BEAR IN MIND that as you try to train yourself away from this position try placing a pillow under your pelvis and ankles. This is NOT ideal but it can take a little pressure off your spine, hips, pelvic and the sciatic nerve
- Improve the Mobility & Stability (Strength) of Your Spine (Core + Back) and Hips
We can only be as strong as our body if joints have the ability and range to smoothly move. Our hips and spine have the ability to move in different large directions. Whenever there is the opportunity to move so freely it needs to be balanced with stability. Which is why abdominal, back and hip stabilizing exercises are so important. The muscles of the abs and back that I consider your “primary” core and the muscle of your hips and pelvis are your “secondary” core. When they work together and are balanced in strength and flexibility you will discover the KEY to health and a pain-free, unrestricted life.
Since this has been a big concern with our clients over the past weeks, we wanted to make sure you knew that we are offering our services virtually from the comfort of your own home. We can help look at your workstation set up, make adjustments, give you some self massage and stretches to release those “trouble areas” and help keep those nagging aches, stiffness from turning into a serious problem.
To help you train your mind to do those simple steps and achieve a pain-free life, I suggest you try PILATES. It is a low impact, controlled form of exercise which is best in supporting and promoting the proper posture and alignment of your spine, hips and pelvis. This is why we utilize this method with our clients to prevent or find freedom from back and sciatica pain. It is critical to work with an expert instructor in one of our Specialty Pilates classes like; Back and Core Class, Balance and Posture Class, Release and Restore Class. Learn more about our class and sign up here. We even offer a FREE Pilates Taster class to make it easy to get started 🙂
You might be thinking HOW can you get Pilates sessions in the middle of this health crisis?
We would be happy to help you stay healthy, productive and moving better so you can keep active and don’t get injured during this time of hunkering down at home because we are continuing to offer Pilates sessions through our VIRTUAL wellness and fitness services and Specialty Pilates Classes by simply clicking this link to sign up , so you can get the help you need to get a pulse on your desk set-up and if your new “routines” may be overstressing your body, all done in the comfort of your own home and on your schedule.
Start your Online Back Pain Program and see a Back Pain Specialist within the comfort of your homes!
The fastest and BEST way to SOLVE your back pain is to see a Movement Specialist via online that is an expert in this area. Movement Specialists are experts in the body and movement and understand; movement patterns, postural issues, the joint, muscle and nerve restrictions that are contributing to your back pain and keeping you from being active like you want.
They will be able to assess what is actually wrong, what are the options to fix it naturally, how long it will take to fix it and keep it from ever coming back again. They will give you the professional care you need to relax the tight aching muscles with their customized plan and program that will be designed to give you the relief you want quickly and get you back to the activities you love without fear or limitation, and all from the comfort of your own home.
We are now offering a VIRTUAL Discovery Session Consultation, and VIRTUAL Sessions…
Here’s how you can get started:
We greatly encourage you to start a conversation to get some of your concerns or questions answered by our Back Pain Specialists. We will take all the time needed. It is complementary and without any obligation to schedule an appointment- we just want to give you the answers you need to take the right step to getting the relief and outcomes you want. You can follow this link to schedule your FREE Phone Consultation by filling out a quick simple form here: Phone Request Form.
If you are still a little skeptical if we can actually help because maybe you think your case is so complicated and online sessions are not efficient and effective, we completely understand. We have come up with the Free 30-min VIRTUAL Discovery Session Consultations (please follow link) so we can get to know each other, give you the certainty and confidence that we can solve your problem and deliver on the outcomes and goals you want. There are only 3 available sessions per week. Contact us today to talk to a Specialist face to face (online) just click the link below and fill out the quick and easy form so we can learn more about you, how you would like to be helped and if you qualify for the free session.
These are not just a freebie session- your problem will not be solved in a single session or by being given some exercises to do on your own. This session is for the person who needs further clarification and assurance that a Movement Specialist can solve their problem. We are confident in our methods, ability and proven results, and will be honest if we are the best option for you. This is why we guarantee we will make you happy with our services or you do not have to pay for any services you receive from us.
Just so you think that we are done here, let me leave you with these BONUS TIPS:
CHECK YOUR MATTRESS: You spend a third of your life in your bed. Using an old mattress can put a lot of stress on your spine. Without knowing more about you, it’s hard to recommend a specific mattress. However, if your mattress is older than 5 years, it’s time to make a change.
TIP: Invest in a mattress that is comfortable for your spine. Change your mattress out every 5-10 years.
STAY HYDRATED: One of the biggest mistakes that could be contributing to your pain and zapping your energy is being dehydrated. Dehydration can cause muscle aches, pains, fatigue, and dizziness. Try to drink water throughout the day. Avoid excess caffeine, including coffee, tea, alcohol, and energy drinks as these will dehydrate your body even more.
ICE & HEAT: Use heat in the morning to help loosen up stiff muscles and joints. Ice is good after activity or in the evening when your back is aching or painful.
Are you finding yourself afraid to move because of fear of your back pain? You are NOT alone. Most people deal with back, disc, joint degeneration or sciatica pain or discomfort during their lifetime. The problem is that most of them allow the problem to get worse before looking for a solution.
We hope this information has given you some ideas of how to ease your back pain and avoid making it any worse. You can give us a call or text right now at #(805) 698-9178. We would love to hear about your story and how we can help you!
There is a lot we can help with whether that is assessing your current work station set up, helping you with an exercise program, to talk about your current fitness, or to make sure you are not ignoring an ache or pain that can be easily fixed now and most certainly will become a larger issue and take longer to fix later, especially on these trying times that there is a limited access to health professionals and when this all ends the waiting list will seem like eternity, and will only compound your current situation… Isn’t it better getting virtual help than to risk going to the pharmacy for pills or ending up in the germ-factory of the ER, moreso risk exposure?
Stay safe, healthy and positive. Just remember there is always help in time of need.