Tips to Avoid Back Pain
January 26, 2016
- Get more exercise. If your back is hurting, you may think the best way to get relief is to limit exercise and to rest. A day or two of rest may help, but more than that may not help the pain. Physiotherapists know that regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.
- Watch your weight. Extra kilos, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse by shifting your centre of gravity and putting strain on your lower back. Staying within 2-3 kilos of your ideal weight may help control back pain.
- Sleeping position. If you’re prone to back pain, talk with your Physiotherapist about the best sleeping position. Sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up slightly toward your chest is sometimes suggested. Prefer to sleep on your back? Put one pillow under your knees and another under your lower back. Sleeping on your stomach can be especially hard on your back. If you can’t sleep any other way, place a pillow under your stomach.
- Pay attention to your posture. The best chair for preventing back pain is one with a straight back with low-back support. Keep your knees in line your hips while seated, your feet on a stool if you need to. If you must stand for a prolonged period, keep your head up and your stomach pulled in. If your back is not coping, rest one foot on a stool — and switch feet every five to 15 minutes.
- Be careful how you lift. Don’t bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. Don’t twist your body while lifting. If you can, push rather than pull heavy objects. Pushing is easier on the back.
- Avoid high heels. They can shift your centre of gravity and strain your lower back. A low heel works best. If you have to go higher, bring along a pair of low-heeled shoes and slip into them if you become uncomfortable or need to do extra walking.
- Stash the skinny jeans. Clothing so tight that it interferes with bending, sitting, or walking can aggravate back pain.
- Lighten your wallet. Sitting on a large wallet may cause discomfort and back pain. If you’re going to be sitting for a prolonged period — while driving, for example, take your wallet out of your back pocket.
- Pick the right handbag or briefcase. Buy a bag or briefcase with a wide, adjustable strap that’s long enough to reach over your head. A messenger bag (like the ones bike messengers wear) is made to wear this way. Having the strap on the opposite shoulder of the bag distributes the weight more evenly and helps keep your shoulders even and your back pain-free. When carrying a heavy bag or case without straps, switch hands frequently to avoid putting all the stress on one side of the body. To lighten the load, periodically purge bags, cases, backpacks, and other carriers of things you don’t need.
Please call your Physiotherapist at Sydney Hills Physiotherapy on 02 9686 3296 or visit our clinic at Suite 5, 35 Old Northern Road in Baulkham Hills for more information.