5 Tips To Help Prevent Back Pain

You are far from alone if you are experiencing back pain, in fact nearly 80% of Americans report feeling pain in their back.  Your back is an intricately constructed machine composed of ligaments, bones, muscles, and the spinal cord holding your body up right while protecting your nerves.  Any type of stress can negatively impact the components that make up your back. From obesity, poor posture, and psychological stress to sports injuries and accidents.  No matter what particularly is causing your pain the one thing you want to know is, how in the world can I get it to stop! Here are some tips and tricks to decrease your risk of back pain.

1. Posture

The harsh truth is that stress, a change from our bodies normal way of functioning, can even mean slouching on the couch while watching TV.  After a long day at work the last thing you want to do is focus on sitting upright but slouching is throwing your body off alignment.  Your body is heavy! Go grab a gallon of liquid and hang it with your arm at your side.  Okay, now hold it out in front of you.  Holding the weight closer to the center of your body is much easier than holding that weight away from you. Slouching forces your weight away from your body, forcing the weight on areas of your spine that should not be experiencing that stress.  Imagine that there is a string pulling from the top of your head up whenever you are sitting or standing.  This is what you should be doing all day long. Good posture is key!

2. Get up

Your body is meant to move, not sit still for hours!  Moving around gets your muscles working and your blood flowing.  Every 30 minutes of sitting you should get up, move around, and stretch.  Staying in one position for a long period of time causes your body to become stiff and has even been linked to a shorter lifespan.  

3. Proper Body Mechanics

If your back is prone to flare ups it is better to avoid any heavy lifting, but some of us need to get things done around the house or have jobs that are labor intensive.  Using the correct body mechanics can be extremely helpful in avoiding injury.  Always remember to lift bending your knees and using your leg muscles to lift not your back, and try to push or pull an object before trying to lift it.

4. Rest and Ice

When your pain is beginning to flare up STOP and rest.  Pain is your body’s check engine light, don’t ignore the signal just take a break.  When the body is experiencing pain it is probably inflamed in that area, meaning that there is swelling.  During the natural healing process your body increases the temperature and blood flow to the injury.  It’s goal is to clear out dead tissue and prevent any possible infection.  To help decrease the excessing swelling grab an ice pack, place a layer between the skin and the ice pack, and hold it there for 10mins at a time, several times a day.  Decreasing the temperature can help relieve the pressure that can be pressing on nerves that are triggering the pain.  

5. Soft Foam Rollers

Firm or hard foam rollers are very common but many have not considered owning a soft foam roller.  Soft foam rollers help to loosen the areas that you feel have tightness.  So many people have the idea that a hard foam roller is fixing the problem because it is causing a lot of pain.  Pain does not always equal gain, again don’t ignore your body’s check engine light! This pain could actually be causing more damage to healthy surrounding tissue and to the already injured area.  The use of soft foam rollers allows for people to decrease tightness and increase flexibility in their muscles and may decrease your pain.