“Oh, my aching back!”, may be a common phrase that you find yourself repeating when you get out of bed in the morning while sitting at your desk, or even bending over to tie your shoes. You are not alone.
Chronic low back pain is experienced by sedentary people as well as highly-trained athletes. The lumbar region of your spine supports the majority of your body. Back pain is the second most common reason Canadians visit the doctors, second only to the common cold. Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, with the majority hurting their lower back. Unfortunately, many people don’t seek pain relief until the problem has advanced to a point where serious damage is done. Fortunately, by strengthening and stretching the muscles in your back, you can relieve and prevent pain. Reduce the chances of injury with these five tips to strengthening your lower back.
1. Pay a Visit to Your Physiotherapist
If you are suffering from acute lower back pain, book a pain relieving appointment with one of our cutting edge physiotherapists. Don’t wait when it comes to your health. Research shows that physiotherapy works! The sooner you seek therapy after an injury, the shorter the recovery period and the less likely chronic pain will develop. Serving both the St. Albert and Edmonton communities, at pt Health Sturgeon Valley, we provide a unique circle of care approach to supporting you in your journey towards rehabilitation, injury prevention and achieving optimal health. With a hands on one-on-one personalized approach, we combine the expertise of your physiotherapist, your kinesiologist, your chiropractor and your massage therapist to help you achieve your goals and get back to your life as quick as possible. Our circle of care approach uses a combination of solutions to help you heal in the best possible way.
2. Sit Less. Stand More!
We all know that being a couch potato is bad. But why? Our bodies aren’t made to sit all day. If you are like most Canadians, you spend a bulk of your waking hours sitting on the couch, sitting in an office chair, or sitting in a car. All this sitting is slowly killing you! Sitting takes a toll on your muscles and joints. Not surprisingly, you feel like a mess after hours of sitting in compromised positions all day. Sitting for extended periods of time can degenerate lower back muscles over time.
- DO get a sit/stand desk in your office. Alternate between sitting and standing through the day.
- DO invest in a stability fit chair in your office (if standing is not an option at the office). Work your posture, core and back strength while working away at your desk.
- DON’T sit for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Take a break! Get up at least every 30 minutes and walk around, get a coffee, or take a bathroom break.
3. Walk Your Way to A Stronger Back
Buy a pedometer, or download a pedometer app on your Smartphone and track the number of steps you walk every day. Walk at least 10,000 steps each day. Studies indicate that walking is one of the simplest things for pain relief. Walk around the block, stroll the mall, or start off on a treadmill. Always walk on a flat surface while you’re healing because walking at an incline forces you to lean forward and strain the lower back.
4. Swim Away From Back Pains
Did you know that swimming is an effective way to relieve back pain? In addition to being a fun way to spend an afternoon, swimming is an excellent low impact exercise that builds and strengthens muscles in your back, shoulders, arms, legs and neck while improving your heart health. This is all achieved by:
- Active Stretching: Swimming ensures a full range of motion movements for all your different body parts.
- Resistance: The natural viscosity of water provides enough friction to sustain an aerobic condition, allowing a muscle building/strengthening workout and rehabilitation at the same time.
Swim for 20 to 30 minutes three days a week. Both the crawl and backstroke will strengthen your entire back while reducing back pains. Remember, before you jump into the pool, consult with your physiotherapist and doctor first.
5. The Pool Isn’t Just For Swimming
Walking or jogging in water, known as aquatic therapy is an effective treatment for back pain, more specifically lower back pain. Walking and jogging in a waist-high pool provides resistance that helps to strengthen your mid-back, lower back, and legs. This is far less jarring to the spine and joints in the body than walking or jogging on land or other land therapy exercises. The resistance provided in the water offers a safe, weightless environment that addresses strength, balance, and postural problems. Furthermore, those who can’t swim will be pleased to know that swimming skills aren’t needed to exercise in the water.