I see at least one person with lower back pain in clinic every day and we are all likely to experience it at some point in our lives.
Lower back pain can have a range of causes and whilst it can be very uncomfortable and worrying for people, it’s important to remember that pain and discomfort in the lower back is rarely caused by anything serious.
If you are experiencing lower back pain then you can come and see us in clinic for immediate relief and treatment, but it’s important to know that there are proactive steps you can take to stop lower back pain before it starts.
Here are my four top tips for maintaining a healthy lower back…
1. Keep moving
It sounds simple, but if you have a desk based job or travel a lot for work, you would be surprised how much strain all that sitting can have on your spine.
Doing regular exercise and breaking up long periods of sitting down by standing up and moving around is important. Something as simple as walking part of the way to work or getting up on your lunch break instead of sitting down can make a big difference.
2. Posture awareness
Correcting your posture and being aware of how you hold yourself throughout the day will prevent tension from building up in your muscles.
I could talk about posture all day, but as a general rule getting into the habit of sitting and standing correctly is a good place to start.
Avoid leaning sideways on one leg when you stand or sticking your bottom out creating an over-pronounced curve in your lower spine. Imagine that there’s a string pulling you upwards and keeping you in one straight line.
3. Strengthen your core
Strengthening the muscles in your lower back and core region can reduce pain and stop back pain before it starts.
If you take exercise classes and go to the gym then great, but you can also strengthen your core at classes like Yoga or build simple strengthening exercises into your daily routine at home.
We prescribe bespoke exercises to our patients in clinic, but a knee roll is a good exercise for moving the lower back and activating the deep core muscles that most people can start with - lie on your back with your knees bent and together and roll gently from side to side 10 times.
It’s surprising how much tension we can hold in our muscles and back. If you’ve had a stressful day then this exercise can help to stop tension before it builds up.
1. Lie down comfortably on your back in a quiet location and place a pillow under your knees if you find this makes you more comfortable.
2. Tense each body part for 3-5 seconds by contracting the muscle, then let go all at once and relax.
3. Work through the muscles in your body one at a time, starting with your toes and moving up your body, to your feet, calves, legs etc.
4. Try repeating this throughout the body for a few minutes at a time.