Back Pain, Neck Pain, ‘Lotta Pain
– Here’s a stupid question. Do you suffer from low back pain, or know someone suffering from low back pain, or any kind of back or neck pain for that matter? One study showed that one in three people here in the US suffer from back and/or neck pain1, so I’m not really surprised that I see it so prevalent. With all the gimmicks and hooplas out there, sometimes it’s hard to find a good treatment for your back troubles.
This is an issue that I deal with on a daily basis, because almost everyone I know has experienced some type of back pain, especially in the lower back area. It’s time to look at the way you sit, the way you stand, your daily habits, and all the other signs around you saying hey, it’s time to make some changes! Here are some areas that you may need to address to knock out that back pain.
1. Increase Your Range of Motion
There’s a saying I’ve adopted from one of my favorite acupuncture clinician supervisors back in the day that went “increase range of motion, decrease pain”. There are many benefits to increasing your flexibility, including an increase in blood circulation, lessened chances of injury, and more freedom in range of motion and ability to move, which is a quality that all people enjoy possessing. Stretching has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects, or help with the reduction of swelling and scarring2.
2. Look At How You’re Sitting
How is your posture when you’re sitting at a table or a desk? Do you slouch? Are your shoulders and neck learning forward as you’re reading this? No I’m not trying to nit pick every little thing you do….Actually I am, that’s why I’m here. As I think the internet is a great medium for sharing information, I do not think it’s the best method for correcting your posture while seated.
There are many health care providers or fitness professionals that can help you correct your posture. I always evaluate my patient’s posture on their initial intake, and other acupuncturist do as well but may have different methods of evaluation. However, chiropractors, physical therapist, osteopaths, massage therapists, and personal trainers can all help you to improve. As a general rule of thumb, you should take small walk breaks every hour and try to maintain the natural curvature of your spine while seated, chin tucked in just slightly.
Also, if you’re feeling uncomfortable with some of you workplace equipment, make a request to your human resources department. They should provide you with items such as back supports, better supported chairs, or any other ergonomic support item that will help reduce injury. The company should provide these items as it will keep their employee healthcare costs down in the future.
3. Look At How You’re Standing
Are you the type to walk with your feet pointed outwards at extreme angles? This can cause muscles such as the Piriformis and the Gluteus Medius to become tight, leading to pain. Also leaning too much on one leg, walking with a limp on purpose like an old school gangster or pimp, or standing too long on our feet can all be contributing factors to back pain. Ladies, I know you enjoy looking good in those high heals, and I think you look great in those high heals, but they may cause your back to use more energy and keeps the muscles active which may cause muscle overuse and lead to low back problems3. On top of that, the harmful effects of wearing high healed shoes may be more pronounced with aging4. So take a look at what your doing to push your posture out of alignment and see if making small adjustments will help overtime. Continue Reading —>