Focus on: back pain | Help relieve a sore back with these lifestyle tips

Back pain and posture

Poor posture can make back pain worse, especially if you sit for long periods. Be conscious of your posture: sit upright, with your shoulders relaxed and your body supported against the back of your chair. Try putting a pillow or a rolled towel between your lower back and your seat, and keep your feet flat on the floor. If you suffer from back pain, it might be a good idea to invest in an ergonomic chair.

Stay active

It may feel counterintuitive, but bed rest or staying still is one of the worst things you can do for a sore back. It’s important to move, no matter how slowly. Gentle exercise has been found to be one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain quickly. Don’t rest for more than a day or two. Swimming, walking and yoga are all great ways to get moving again. 

Stretch it out

Studies show that yoga can help alleviate neck and back pain. Regularly stretching the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the spine is an important element of all back exercise programs.  Stretching can reduce tension in muscles supporting the spine; tension in these muscles can worsen pain from any number of back pain conditions. It also helps improve range of motion and overall mobility.

Strengthen your core

Strong back and abdominal muscles can help heal most types of back pain, especially the most common form of back pain caused by soft tissue injury or back muscle strain. Back and abdominal muscles, referred to as core muscles, tend to weaken with age unless specifically exercised. The abdominal muscles and back muscles provide the strength to keep the body upright and for movement. When these core muscles are in poor condition, additional stress is applied to the spine as it supports the body, and back injury or back pain is more likely. Exercises that strengthen these core muscles should be a part of a balanced back/abdominal exercise program. Pilates is great for core strengthening.

Lose the luggage

Carrying an overstuffed handbag or heavy backpack slung over one shoulder can force your spine into a rotated position and cause an asymmetrical posture. It makes the muscles on one side of your back work much harder to maintain balance, which puts you at greater risk of back pain and injury. Backpack wearers, use both straps – distributing weight evenly helps to protect against back strain.

Stress less (or at least try to)

Work, home life and everyday worries – these days, there’s more than a few of them – can leave you stressed. Add that to the frustration of back pain, and it’s not uncommon to feel tense. Which in turn can make pain feel worse, and diminish motivation to stay active – which again, doesn’t help your mood. It’s a vicious cycle. Positive thinking, and relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises can help. 

Start physiotherapy

Physiotherapists can teach you how to sit, stand, and move in a way that keeps your spine in proper alignment and alleviates strain on your back. They’re also experts in specialised exercises that strengthen the core muscles that support your back. A strong core is one of the best ways to prevent more back pain in the future. Studies show that when you increase your strength, flexibility, and endurance, back pain decreases — but it takes time. The Healthfix team benefits from being led by our director Sean Cooney, who studied Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney and is completing his Masters in Sports Physiotherapy at LaTrobe University. He’s also worked extensively as a personal trainer . Sean’s approach blends both performance and injury management. Book in to see how he and the team can help with your back pain.