Do you suffer from lower back pain? If so, you’re not alone. Up to 80% of Australians will experience some form of lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. Sometimes this back pain is acute, meaning that it appears for a short time and is resolved with treatment or rest, or it could be chronic meaning that the pain lasts for a long period of time and is managed to reduce the negative impact on one’s daily life.
Most of the time back pain is referred to as “nonspecific low back pain”. A term that describes back pain without a firm diagnosis. The good news is nonspecific low back pain is avoidable if we take some healthy steps to look after our body.
Below we have listed three basic tips that you can implement today to reduce your likelihood of suffering from back pain. If you do suffer from back pain we recommend that you seek medical advice and physiotherapy as part of your treatment plan and perhaps other forms of allied health care too, including chiropractic care and perhaps dietetic treatment is weight loss may reduce your lower back pain. It’s also important to rule out any potentially serious causes of back pain, via medical assessment, before commencing treatment.
Lower back complaints often increase in the winter months. This may be, in part due to the cooler weather, but it is usually due to a reduction in exercise or physical activity in general. Exercise is a great way to keep muscles moving and maintain adequate range of motion and muscle length. As the cooler weather starts to set in, make a conscious effort to keep moving. If, for you, the cold weather is a major barrier to exercise, try an indoor gym class, pilates, yoga or perhaps even indoor sports.
A decrease in gluteal strength is strongly associated with lower back pain. Your “glutes” (backside muscles) play a big role in stabilising the pelvis. Exercises such as step ups and bridges are a good way to keep the glutes and lower back happy. Ask you physiotherapist to show you correct technique for these glute strengthening exercises.
Winter is often a time we rug up on the couch, slouch in bean bags or lie in bed for extended periods of time. Which can be exactly what our mind needs but exactly not what our body needs! Be mindful of the amount of time you spend in positions that don’t offer much support. Get up, have a stretch and a walk around to ensure you lengthen your spine. The key is movement.