About 65 million — that’s the number of people in the United States who’ve had a recent run-in with back pain. On top of this already alarming number, about 16 million adults suffer from ongoing and persistent back pain.
Whether your back pain is acute, chronic, or you’re simply not sure at the moment, there are a few things you should avoid if you want to protect your back against further discomfort.
1. Sitting isn’t taking a load off
Sitting and taking the pressure off your achy back may seem like a relief, but too much sitting accomplishes quite the opposite. Sitting places far more pressure on your lumbar spine or lower back, where most people experience problems.
Whether you’re in your car, at your desk, or on your couch, it’s important to find ways to take the load off your lower back. Getting up and moving at least once an hour to stretch your back is important, and you should also use lumbar support pillows when seated.
2. No more slouching
We’re separating slouching from sitting, as you can have poor posture when you sit or stand. Your spine functions best when it’s in a neutral position, which means it’s straight — not overly arched or hunched.
When you slouch or hunch, you’re creating more pressure on your already painful back, and you can overstress already-tight muscles.
To get your spine neutral, keep your back and neck straight and aligned, with your head up and your shoulders back.
3. Lift the right way
When lifting something from the ground, don’t simply bend over and grab it. Instead, crouch down with your knees bent and lift the object with your entire lower body — your legs, hips, buttocks, and back.
4. Not all exercise is equal
We applaud all your efforts to stay active, but when you have back pain, you may need to adjust your exercises to protect your back. For example, going out to golf or playing tennis isn’t great when you have back pain. Instead, go for a walk to loosen your back without stressing it.
5. Weak core = weak back
If you don’t spend some time strengthening your core muscles, you’re at far greater risk for back pain. Even if you’re in the midst of a bout with back pain, it’s important to do what you can to beef up the muscles that support your spine, which include your:
- Abdominal muscles
- Erector spinae and multifidus, which are next to your spine
- Pelvic floor muscles
- Hip muscles
By strengthening these muscles, your back is better stabilized and supported, which can go a very long way toward combating back pain.
6. Waiting it out
If you think you’ll just grit your teeth and soldier through your back pain, you do so at your own risk. It’s important to have us figure out what you’re up against, so you can make sure you’re doing the right things for your back. For example, a herniated disc is far different from a muscle strain, and each benefits from a different standard of care.
To make sure that you’re doing everything you can to support your back, we suggest you start with a diagnostic visit with us. To get started, please contact one of our four offices in Lexington, Cynthiana, Maysville, or Danville, Kentucky, to schedule an appointment, or use our online booking feature.