No matter what age range you fall into, lower back pain does not discriminate, and I can personally vouch for that. I am in my early twenties and still mentally dealing with the fact that my back goes out a lot more than it should. As some of you may know, once your back goes out, it’s not going to be back up to par anytime soon. You are limited to either waiting with ice and/or heat or making a date with your doctor. Here are some ways to proactively reduce the risk of your back acting up on you.
***If you are having back pain please schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions. ***
Muscles are meant to be used! So, if you don’t activate them intentionally and regularly they will get weak and lose the ability to do their job (They also get weaker with age).The muscles in the back help to stabilize, lift objects, and maintain good posture If these muscles start to weaken, this leaves the spine susceptible and not properly protected, which can cause major problems down the road (aka major back pain).
Fortunately, there are many easy at home exercises you can do to support the muscles in your back. Watch the video below to learn more!
- Alternating Superman (4 sets of 10)
- Glute Bridge (4 sets of 10)
Sleep with pillow under your knees
This was a game changer for me! When I sleep my lower spine naturally sits in an over exaggerated arched position putting a lot of pressure in my lower back. I started using a pillow to elevate my knees when I slept and immediately felt a difference in my overall comfort level. If you’re anything like me, I almost never sleep on my back because I feel too much like a stiff board. It’s too hard to relax usually, but the increase of comfort on my back made switching my sleeping pattern seem like a small price to pay. This specific position helped for me, but you can also try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.
Your lower spine naturally sits in a slightly curved position causing the back portion of your pelvis to sit slightly higher than the front. The hamstring muscle group (3 muscles) is attached at its origin to a bottom portion on the pelvis called the ischial tuberosity. When those muscles get tight, they start to create tension and pull the pelvis, moving the spine out of ideal alignment. This can cause strain on the hamstrings as well as low back muscles. It also causes unwanted tension on the vertebrae themselves. Not too worry, there are ideal active hamstrings stretches that can help reduce the risk of these low back issues. See the pictures below for instruction.
Hamstring Chair Stretch
- Grab a sturdy chair.
- Use the chair to put your heel on.
- Starting in a standing position slowly bend at your hips keeping your back flat. Bring body toward your leg.
- STOP if you feel pain.
- Get to the point where you feel a slight stretch.
- Hold for 60 seconds.
- Repeat through 2x each leg.
- If your hamstring flexibility is limited, stick to the chair stretch.
- For those who are a little more limber, you can move to a standing forward fold.
- Start by standing up tall and hinging at the hips keeping a flat back all the way down until you touch the floor.
- If you cannot touch the floor, rest your hands on your ankles or shins.
- STOP if you feel any pain.
I hope some of these tips will give you relief! I can vouch that they have worked for me. I sleep better, work better, and just feel more comfortable in general. If you have any tips that have worked for you, please email them to me, and I will post an update! Unfortunately, it is not a one size fits all remedy.
*Again, if you are having any back pain, I absolutely suggest bringing it up with your doctor to rule out any other serious diagnosis.*