As we age, we seem to be more susceptible to certain kinds of pain. For me, it’s my back. I’m sure that some of you are experiencing more back pain too. I’m working away, then get up from my desk to check on stock and … POW!!! … that unmistakable twinge in my lower back that tells me that I’m going to have pain for the next few days.
I try to sit properly – not hunched, both feet on the floor, not twisted. I don’t know why I’m prone to back pain. It was never an issue when I was younger. But I am now and have to deal with it.
In my research, I found 5 mistakes to fix to try to alleviate or eliminate back pain. I’m not sure that all of these apply to me, but some do. And they may apply to your situation.
- Performing repetitive physical activities the same way every time. Take a different approach when doing things you do often. For example, if you frequently carry a heavy bag on one shoulder, try switching sides regularly to change the load on your spine.
- Don’t bend from the hips and lift. I’m certainly guilty of this. I frequently just bend at the hips to pick up something. When I empty the dishwasher, I frequently just bend over to get to the bottom rack. Experts recommend that you squat with your back straight and chest up to take pressure off the spine and not push out the disks in your lower back.
- Don’t sit or stand all the time. I try to get up frequently, but sometimes get caught up. Experts say you should move around or take a walk at least once an hour. This will boost your productivity as well. Give you a change of scenery and spark creativity.
- Don’t neglect your core. I’ve said it before – a strong core promotes a strong back. I’d hate to think what my back would be like if I did neglect my core. Experts say we should strengthen the key muscles that support the back – the multifidus which runs along the spine, and the transversus abdominis which wraps around the abdomen. Planks have gotten some bad press, but they’re great for the core.
- Don’t move in ways that feel wrong. Avoid twisting and lifting at the same time. I’m guilty of this at times. That old dishwasher – I bend to stack the plates and then pick them up, twisting to get to the cabinet. Note to self: be more conscious of this! And ask for help with heavy or awkward objects.
And, in general – listen to your body. You know it best, so if something strikes you as wrong, go with that instinct. Otherwise you may pay for your bad judgement later.