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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Simple Steps to Reduce and Prevent Low-Back Pain

By: Alex Liska
Low back pain is ranked second most frequent cause of missed work following the common cold.
There are a few tricks/tips to managing lower back pain. Considering that we spend 24hours a day with our back, we should be taking better care of it and low-back pain should not be as common as it is. When followed regularly, these simple steps can really reduce the severity of symptoms caused by low back pain and help alleviate the problem:



-START EACH DAY WITH A LIGHT BACK STRETCH:
Lay on your back and gently pull one knee toward your chest, while relaxing your back muscles as you pull. Hold 3-5 seconds, and then pull the other knee toward the chest, and hold for 3-5 seconds. Place your hands at the top of your shins and gently pull your knees toward your chest. Again, hold for 3-5 seconds. Relax, and repeat this stretch 4-8 times before you get up for breakfast each morning. This helps improve the alignment of your back and increase mobility.


-LAY DOWN FOR 2-3 MINUTES A FEW TIMES EACH DAY:
Especially at night time. If you have been sitting all day, then running around doing groceries, running errands, cooking, surfing the net on your laptop in an uncomfortable position; take a break! Lay down with your arms legs extended and take a few deep breaths! Relax as you allow your back to decompress. This is very simple and it helps!

-REDUCE INFLAMMATION:
When nerves, joints, tissues of the back become irritated and swollen, inflammation occurs and causes a fiery/burning pain in your low back. Try placing crushed ice in a zip-lock bag, making sure the ice is finely mashed so that you don't feel like you're lying on rocks! Apply the ice-pack to your lower lumbar (low back) for 15-20 minutes and do not cover the ice-pack with a towel because it will not penetrate enough to alleviate pain. You can now try to do the "knee-to-chest" stretches lightly to help increase blood flow and mobility.


-FOCUS ON INCREASING HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY:
It is very important to stretch the lower back as well as hamstring muscles first thing in the morning! You can do so by doing a few knee-to-chest stretches while laying down and standing and reaching forward to touch your toes (don't lock your knees). If your hamstrings are tight this will affect your low back by inhibiting your ability to bend forward or flex and placing an increased load on your lower back. So make sure you work on stretching those hams!

-PERFORM A FEW LIGHT STRETCHING SESSIONS SEVERAL TIMES A DAY:
Instead of doing one 15 minute stretching session once every day, start your day with a few light back stretches and follow up with a few more 2-minute stretch sessions during the day/in the evening.


-IMPROVE OVERALL POSTURE- Sitting, standing and sleeping are the most common positions we experience:
-Do not sit for too long without taking a short break and moving around a bit. If your job requires for you to sit at a desk all day try to get up and walk around a bit, whether it be around the office, going to grab a coffee, taking the stairs instead of the elevator when going down for lunch, getting up and doing a few light stretches.


-When you are standing do not lock your knees, try to spread your legs and press forward with an arch in your lower back to help take some pressure off of the back muscles. Wear comfortable shoes if you are going to be standing for a long period of time. Make sure to relax your shoulders and slightly retract the scapula (bring your shoulder-blades closer towards each other) to reduce pressure in the trapezius muscles.


-Try not to sleep on your belly. Low back joints tend to jam together due to the prolonged hyperextension from sleeping on your tummy. If you can, try to sleep on your back with the knees slightly bent and if you sleep on your side, use a pillow under your waist if you have a small waist OR place a pillow between your knees to help alleviate pressure on the spine by improving its alignment.


-TRY TO KEEP YOUR ABDOMINAL MUSCLES TIGHT DURING THE DAY:
Pull in your belly-button towards your spine (pull in your stomach) to activate the core muscles and reduce pressure in the low back. Strengthening the core musculature really makes a big difference in alleviating the load placed on the lower part of the spine and it can also help you tighten your midsection :)


THESE ARE JUST A FEW TIPS/TRICKS THAT I CAN THINK OF THAT HAVE HELPED ME IN THE PAST WHEN I WORKED MORE SEDENTARY JOBS, OR WOULD EXPERIENCE A TIGHT LOWER BACK FROM STANDING ALL DAY AT WORK. REMEMBER THAT WEIGHT MANAGEMENT AND PROPER NUTRITION PLAY A HUGE ROLE IN OVERALL HEALTH INCLUDING GOOD SPINAL HEALTH. EATING A SOUND NUTRITIOUS DIET AND STAYING ACTIVE ARE KEY IN IMPROVING AND MAINTAINING OVERALL HEALTH.
IN MORE EXTREME CASES OF LOWER-BACK PAIN IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN AND PERHAPS LOOK INTO SOME FORM OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATION TO HELP YOU HEAL FASTER.

HAVE A HEALTHY WEEK!
 
Alex L. :)

3 comments:

  1. Thnx for hints,i have just such pain in my lower back. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Come to think of it; how fit you are,and still exercise, it's awesome I love this stuff and I LOVE YOU

    Fantastics site, needs a health nomination in canada. How can I nominate you?

    ReplyDelete