Back pain is a common issue that affects nearly 80% of adults at some point in their lives. But just because back pain is common, doesn’t mean you need to be fearful of it. Fortunately, there are many different ways that you can keep your spine mobile and healthy – and we’re here to help. As a physical therapy practice with decades of experience, we’ve seen many patients who suffer with back pain, but we’ve also helped them to improve their function, decrease their pain levels, and get back to the activities they love. You’ve probably heard us say it before- movement is medicine.
Education is key
First and foremost, it’s important to educate yourself on how the human body works. Understanding the mechanics of the spine and the muscles that support it will make it easier to identify potential issues before they start. Many factors can contribute to developing back pain. Seek a physical therapist who will take the time to help you understand how your body works, understand your lifestyle and develop a plan individualized for you.
Stretch and Strengthen Regularly
Stretching and strengthening exercises are essential to maintain a healthy back. Movement is medicine. When you exercise, particularly prior to performing physical activities, it helps to condition the muscles for the work to come in following movements. Additionally, incorporating strength training into your routine also helps fortify the muscles that support your spine. Try these 6 Stretches to Prevent Back Pain.
You’ve probably heard us say these things before: “Motion is Lotion” or “Movement is Medicine” – it’s true! The benefits of physical activity are immediate and reach into the long term as well. An active body is more likely to be strong and resilient against injury, specifically back injuries. Remaining physically active at all ages and stages in life truly enables you to live, work and play at your best. There are many misconceptions about activity and injury, but one thing is for certain: remaining inactive due to fear of injury is more likely to set you up for injury or developing chronic conditions in the future. Stay active, stay healthy!
Improper lifting techniques are a big cause of back issues. It’s essential to use the right method for lifting heavy loads, or even lighter items too, to prevent back problems. Always bend your knees and lift with your legs, keeping your back straight with heavy objects close to your body. This helps to reduce the amount of strain on your back and decrease the likelihood of injury.
Watch Your Posture
Poor posture is common nowadays, particularly since so many of us need to work at a desk or computer or use technology, such as tablets and cell phones (Have you heard of Tech Neck?) We need to remind ourselves to maintain good posture throughout the day as much as possible. Your neck, shoulders, spine, and pelvis should remain aligned. This helps to minimize the load on the structures of the neck and musculature of the neck and shoulders. It takes a conscious and regular effort to keep your posture in check. We have a lot of content on posture. For example, this post by Mary Smith, PT connects poor posture to shoulder pain and even provides some exercises to perform at home: How Your Posture is Affecting Your Shoulder Pain
Seek Help Early On
If you do experience any pain in your back or chronic pain that lasts for more than a week, it’s important to seek professional help from a physical therapist. They will help you understand the cause of your pain, develop a plan to get rid of it and teach you about your body and its mechanics in the meantime.
Back pain can be annoying, worrisome and really get in the way of enjoying your favorite activities. However, with a little bit of knowledge and effort, you can stay active without back pain slowing you down. As always, remember that movement and prevention are both “medicine” and they go hand-in-hand!