10 Top Tips to Beat Back Pain
- Sitting is the number one enemy of bad backs. “Too much sitting; too much standing; not enough walking and not enough lying”. This is the magic formula we tell our patients. Follow this golden rule and your back will smile at you. This is our Top Tip!
- If your pain has struck suddenly “for no known reason” – try and work out what was different in the last month or so. Our golden tip is to look for anything different you might have done, something out of your normal routine – even a holiday! Or to see if you have been working longer hours than normal – fatigue physical (& emotional) are know trouble makers. Understanding your pain will help you cope and fight it.
- Avoid sleeping on the side that hurts and generally avoid sleeping on the stomach or half twisted with the arms thrown over your head. These all weaken your spine in different ways.
- Using a cold pack invariably works out better than a hot water bottle. This is because ice is a natural anti-inflammatory and works much in the same way as ibuprofen or Neurofen (obviously with any of the side effects!). By contrast heat does the opposite. That said, heat generally helps to relieve the pain of muscle spams. So sometimes we recommend both in alternation.
- Exercises can be helpful, but please check with your healthcare professional before trying any, as each back pain if different. One of the best all around exercises is simple walking, but it must not be “Saturday morning shopping speed”. Slow, stop/start walking will often aggravate pain. If it hurts to walk, or pain arises shortly after a walk. Stop and don’t do that again. Seek professional help. Walk on grass and use proper walking shoes.
- When you have to carry something keep it as close to the chest as possible and pick it up with bent knees. Certainly avoid lifting after a long period of sitting, ie taking suitcases out of a boot after a long car journey, after a flight, the weekly grocery shop, etc
- Take regular exercise. 30 minutes each day is ideal. Exercises that increase your heart are best (check with your doctor first). However exercises that stretch you (ie yoga) or those which improve your core strength (ie Pilates) are also great. We recommend you do both types if possible.
- Try to avoid “comfy” chairs and settees, specially if you think you are developing bad back. As anyone who has ever had a bad back will tell you, they always suffer more pain in these types of chairs, as it is known to weaken the spine.
- Keep an eye on your posture. Slumping or slouching will weaken the spine. Stand tall as if the top of your head has a string attached to it and you are being suspended from this string. Imagine the posture that would be created by this action. That’s what you have to aim for.
- My best tip ever … Go to bed early! I mean that. Try a week of early nights (its miles better than waking up an hour later). With over 30 years of experience this is the cheapest and best remedy I have witnessed as a professional osteopath. Sleep. My patients know it as “Vitamin S” (for sleep). Once you see the amazing effects, you will always want to do this again and again.
As on Osteopath Vispi Jamooji is a specialist in back pain relief with over 30 years experience. He heads the osteopathy team at the Living Centre Clinic. Please send in your questions (option 2) and he will do his best to help. The advice will be free. Better@LivingCentreClinic.com