Editor’s note: Dana Santas, known as the “Mobility maker“, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and mind-body coach in professional sports, and is the author of “Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief“.
(CNN) — For many people, back pain can make it difficult to function in daily life. It affects the way you move, feel and think, leaving you with no choice but to take some kind of measure to alleviate the pain.
But what if, instead of reacting, you took small daily steps to avoid back pain altogether?
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the everyday actions that contribute to back pain, or the steps that can be taken to prevent it. If you suffer from back pain, read on for six simple solutions you can implement on a daily basis.
Our body needs adequate movement throughout the day to keep joints mobile and blood flowing through muscles, thus avoiding stiffness that contributes to pain. This is especially true of the vertebrae and muscles of the back.
It sounds cliché, but if time permits, don’t look for the closest parking spot to the entrance; don’t take the elevator when you have the option of going up one or two flights of stairs. When you have to sit for long periods of time, set a timer to get up every hour and be active for a few minutes.
More minutes of movement have big health benefits over time. In addition to promoting back health, actively moving for just 11 minutes a day increases life expectancy, according to research. To add more movement to your day-to-day, consider taking a daily walk. You can also try this 10 minute exercise with the weight of the body or the five-minute yoga routine that you will find here.
When we overuse our dominant side, we create muscle patterns of weakness and tension that increase pain and the likelihood of injury, especially in the back. Think about the actions you do repeatedly throughout the day that shift your weight to one side: opening doors, carrying a bag, holding a leash to walk the dog, etc.
In my career as a mobility coach in professional sports, I have observed that many of the least injury-prone athletes were ambidextrous in some way: for example, NHL or MLB players who play golf recreationally left-handed. , but who practice their respective sports with the dominant right hand.
Since most people are not naturally ambidextrous, I create movement programs for athletes that address and counter repetitive patterns on the dominant side to help restore alignment and decrease susceptibility to pain and associated injuries. You can apply the same approach in your daily life by switching sides when carrying things, like your computer case or your bag; using the opposite hand from time to time for basic activities, such as opening doors; and not always sitting on the same side of the sofa.
Just as you switch sides to balance your body, you also need to be aware of imbalances in symmetrical movements and correct them. For example, walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc. Our body is designed to carry out these activities in a balanced, alternating and reciprocal way.
When we deviate from that symmetry by using one side more or keeping our weight shifted, we can overload the back muscles on one side of our body and create spinal tension that leads to back pain and increased potential for injury.
To learn more about how to recognize and correct imbalances in your gait, watch this video.
improve your posture
It may seem like all you have to do to avoid sloping your shoulders is to realize that you’re doing it, but what matters is how to correct that slop.
Don’t just roll your shoulders back to avoid slouching; Posture and breathing are closely related, so you should control your breathing while sitting upright, taking deep, long breaths and moving your ribs down to help place your ribcage in a more suitable position to maintain posture and avoid pain. unnecessary back.
Regularly practicing the postural correction exercises in the following video will help you.
Psychological stress is a notable risk factor for back pain, according to research. Since most mental stress is caused by concentrating on either the past or the future, being aware of the present moment reduces stress.
A few minutes a day of mindfulness can go a long way in minimizing the impact of stress. Additionally, practices such as meditation, tai chi, and qigong have been shown to reduce back pain.
Breathing is our deepest connection to the present moment, as it always happens in the here and now. Taking “breathing breaks” throughout the day is an easy way to add mindfulness practice to your routine.
Every day you do things to take care of yourself, like taking a shower or brushing your teeth. If you are a person who suffers from back pain regularly, you should also assume the health of your back as a responsibility, creating a plan of daily activities to take care of it.
This should include some of the tips listed above, but since back pain can have many causes, it’s important to learn more about the cause of your pain to determine the best course of action. For example, if your pain is sciatic, you can better control it with some of the exercises that appear in this video.
If your back hurts at the end of the day, don’t just say it was a “bad” day. Ask yourself if you practiced the activities that you know help you avoid the stress and tension that bother you. Taking a proactive approach to daily life to cultivate a healthy body is the key to keeping back pain at bay.
Source: CNN Espanol