Preventing back pain is not just about having a good sitting or lifting posture. We commonly have patients who wake up from bed with severe back pain for no apparent reason. You see, the secret to preventing back pain is to recognize there are many back pain causes. I like to share with you some of the back pain prevention methods and habits that have worked for my patients and me.
Below is a listing describing a cause and recommendation to prevent back pain. I will add to this list as I find more in the other article on back pain causes.
Back Pain from Poor Lifting Technique
You may have experienced a back pain injury from lifting awkward sized objects. Lift correctly by bending your back without bending your knees and back slightly arched backward.
You should bend at the knees slightly to activate your thigh (quadriceps) muscles and then lift with your legs. Avoid twisting your body while lifting. When moving heavy objects, considering pushing rather than pulling to generate more force.
Back Pain from Weak Back Muscles
Our muscles were not meant to be stagnant and merely sitting at the desk for hours. When muscles stop working, they atrophy and shrink! If your job involves sitting for long periods, it is vital to get up and move around regularly at least every 60 minutes.
If driving for long periods, take the time to stop and get out of your vehicle. I like to suggest walking for about 20 minutes, swim for about 30 minutes or cycle for about 15 minutes for a start during your back pain recovery. Once your body gets conditioned, you can scale up the intensity if you wish.
Back Pain from Tight/Shortened Muscles
As the use of Personal Mobility Device (PMD) increase for both adults and young teens in Singapore, people are using their muscles even lesser! Nowadays, people don’t need to get out to buy food or groceries now. These items can be delivered to your doorstep, literally with just the touch on the screen.
The new form of inactive lifestyle will not only lead to weak muscles but tight and shortened muscles that cause postural distortion.
Yes, and I predict a future with more musculoskeletal pain syndromes and an uphill climb to fight diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that getting more active does not need a lot of effort and time. In fact most of the rehab exercises I recommend to my patients only take one minute a day.
Let me share with you a stretch you can start right now to prevent back pain. You can do it anywhere you are seated, (yes, even on the toilet bowl) or when you are having a cup of coffee. It is called the Seated Piriformis Stretch.
Prevent Back Pain - Seated Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis is a small muscle deep in each side of the buttock. When it shortens and tightens, it causes trapped the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica.
Stretch Instructions and Video Demo:
✔ Start with crossing your left leg, so your left ankle rests on the right knee.
✔ Lean your body forward, pointing your nose toward the left knee. (If you don't feel the stretch yet, then using the left forearm, contact the medial (inside) left knee and push down toward the floor for 30 seconds to one minute. GENTLY.)
✔ You should feel the piriformis stretch at this point, somewhere deep in the buttock.
✔ Do this at least one time and up to three times per day. More if it's acting up. Watch the video demonstration.