Small Things We Can Do Every Day To Improve Our Back Pain

By Olivia Harrison 8 months ago

Strengthen your core muscles

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One of the very best tricks to alleviating back pain is to strengthen your core muscles. This can mean doing crunches, Russian twists, and planks, whatever you need to do to tighten up the muscles in your core, to better support your back. And it's not a bad look for summer either!

Try yoga

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Yoga has so many amazing benefits, not just strengthening your back. It leads to increased flexibility, improved respiration, increased energy, cardio and circulatory health, as well as alleviating lower back pain. Make sure you have a thick mat to support you, and get training!

Don't lie in

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We've all been there; it's Sunday morning, responsibilities are out of the window and you were having a rather lovely dream about Hugh Jackman... I hate to say it but studies have shown that lie ins are not good for back health. The more time you spend laid down, the less the muscles are worked.

Try physiotherapy

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Booking in an appointment with a physiotherapist may seem like a hassle but it is vital to ensuring you're getting the help you need to alleviate pain. You only have to go once and you will come away with a variety of exercises and stretches that you can do everyday to feel a little better.

Stretch daily

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Stretching everyday is something we should all do regardless of back pain. It is integral in waking our bodies up and being ready for the day. Like yoga, stretching can increase flexibility and release the pressure build up your body has acquired during sleep.

Go for a massage (or teach your partner)

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We all deserve a treat, and a massage is certainly one to covet. Whether you choose to go see a professional, grab a nifty gadget from Target, or ask your partner to learn (tell them you'll be less grouchy and they'll definitely be up for it!), a massage works out the kinks of your back pain.

Try manual therapy

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Unlike physiotherapy, manual therapy is a specific type of professional guidance where an expert can provide hands-on therapy, lessening pain and working to improve the mobility of joints and nerves. This advice is especially for those who suffer with sciatica or trapped nerves.

Give CBT a go

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CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is typically associated with alleviating the symptoms of mental health issues like anxiety and depression. However, it has been shown to help with back pain, especially if your pain could be linked to some kind to emotional distress.

Work on your posture

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It may take conscious effort, but it is imperative that you work on your posture. Try imagining that there is a piece of thread coming from the top of your head that is constantly being pulled. Push your shoulders back, pull your hips slightly forward and point your chin folder. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it does work!

Sleep with a pillow between your knees

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It can be as easy and as inexpensive as placing a pillow between your knees. According to Casper, this simple gesture can improve spinal alignment, alleviate lower back pain, improve sleep posture and reduces the pressure we place on our hips as we rest.

Increase calcium intake

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Drinking milk or even buying calcium tablets can help in a myriad of ways, not just to relieve back pain. It can help maintain body strength, assist in the movement of muscles, strengthen nerve messaging between the brain and body system and even help blood flow through your body.

Change your shoes

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Though your Converse and your ballet flats can make an outfit, they can cause huge issues in the long run. The thinner the sole, the more likely you are to damage your ankles, heel and worse, your back, and remove the support you need on a day to day basis. Invest in something a little more substantial like some Dr. Martens or Sketchers.

Don't slump

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Posture isn't just an issue when you stand. It's something you need to keep a steady eye on even when you're working at your desk. You're sat in a chair sometimes for hours on end, which, while it may help your bank account, can hurt your back. Sit up straight and make sure to take frequent breaks.

Go on walks

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Walks are a definitive way to improve your stamina, your mental health, and your pedometer score, of course, but they are also the gentle exercise you need to slowly increase your back's strength. Slow and steady definitely wins the race with this one. Try a short walk everyday, and gently build up your time as you go.

Sit in a different chair

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Who could guess that your choice of chair could have such a colossal impact on your back?! Make sure you invest in a chair that supports you, ensures your hips are set nicely, parallel to each other, and is comfortable. Again, this is especially prevalent if you have sciatica, so make sure you don't just buy the cheapest option at IKEA.

Go and talk to people!

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When we're sat in a chair all day, especially when we're in the office, we can be prone to damaging our back. The best thing to do is to make sure you're getting up and out! Make sure that at least once every couple of hours, you're stretching your legs and checking in on your colleagues. It will help improve your back and your relationships!

Increase vitamin D intake

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Just like calcium, vitamin D has a laundry list of benefits. It can improve your immunity to disease, helps for healthy teeth and is integral at helping the body absorb and retain calcium. By taking a daily dose, you can insure you are retaining all the benefits possible.

Practice lifting correctly

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We're taught it the second we pick up anything heavy, but it's a tip we so often forget: anytime you are picking something up, make sure to bend and lift with your knees and not with your back. Our leg muscles are incredibly strong and were built to carry a load. Avoid straining your back even further by keeping your back straight.

Carry less

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I love a tote bag, or a Kate Spade number, but they can be incredibly detrimental to your back. All the weight you are carrying is brought down on one side and can create an increase of pressure. Try to find a cute backpack to distribute the weight across your entire back.

Stop looking at your screen

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It could be your phone screen, your TV, your laptop: all of these devices are working against your back. While it's important to rest, a screen tends to mean you're sitting or lying down for long periods of time, which we need to avoid at all costs. Go for a walk, meet for a coffee or even dancing - whatever it takes!

Go for a run

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A walk is perfect for if you're a beginner in back health and you need to improve your stability and fitness, but a run can be magic for back pain. Just half an hour and you will work to build muscles in your legs, which can help you carry your weight easier, and means you're not sat down too!

Look at how you sleep

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Unconscious you is not doing conscious you any favours. Are you sleeping more on one side? Are you sleeping on your front? Consider a sleep tracker to see how you are spreading your weight as you rest and consider trying a new position. Sleeping on your back can keep you aligned, improve your breathing and leads to a deeper sleep.

Swim!

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Much like walking, swimming is excellent for back pain. It is a gentle way of increasing your exercise, stretching you back out and helping alleviate some of the pressure that can build throughout the day. Try going with a friend just for half an hour. You may even get into water aerobics!

Drink some ginger tea

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It's cheap and it may already be in your cupboard! Ginger is great for variety of reasons, but it helps specifically with inflammation, especially in regards to your back. Grab a teapot, ginger and honey and you'll experience a warming experience with lasting effects.

Meditate

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Sitting on the sofa, lying in bed, scrunching over in a chair, all harmful to your back. Take a breather, find a soft space on the ground (if you can, or sit up straight on a chair) and find a moment of meditation. It allows you to realign your back, increase your oxygen and has been proven to help pain.

Watch your weight

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It goes without saying that watching our weight is a tricky thing and not possible for everyone to change if they have back pain. However, if you have the means and the ability, taking some of the weight off can help remove pressure build up in your back. Definitely check in with your doctor first, but it's something to bear in mind.

Warm up

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First thing you should do every morning, if you're not into stretching, is warming up your body for the day ahead. Jumping jacks, high knees, maybe even push-ups, whatever you need to do to let your back get ready for any lifting, walking or activity that could put your back under any strain.

Try tai chi

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An odd piece of advice for sure, Tai Chi has been proven (by the Arthritis Association) to have amazing results on improving your back pain. The slow, focussed movements, paired with deep breathing, strengthen your muscles in the abdomen and pelvic area, helping to improve the lower back for the future.

Quit smoking

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Smoking has become something of the past and has been shown to damage your arteries in the discs and joints in your back. Equally, it increases the likelihood of osteoporosis, a disease with can thin your bones, which can lead to back pain. Not smoking everyday will see your back pain decrease, even if it makes you a little grouchy at first.

Speak to your doctor

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The absolute best thing you can do is speak to your doctor. They will have options and outlets that are built to help you with your back pain. Try the advice above, see what works and what doesn't, and then reach out to your doctor. It's better to fix it now, than to let it fester for later.

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