How you could be making your back pain worse!

Does your back hurt? Sometimes mine does. And if you do any of these things, you could be hurting your back even more –

1. Do you carry a heavy shoulder bag? Is your purse dragging you down on one side? Do you have so much in your bag that you grunt every time you pick it up? It may be time to clean it out…

Or switch sides. If you alternate sides, it changes the strain on your spine. I can’t switch sides, though. Carrying stuff on my right shoulder just feels wrong. How about you?

Or switch to a backpack. There are some cute ones out there!

Performing other repetitive physical activities the same way can also make your back pain worse.

2. Do you bend over and pick up a heavy load? Don’t do that! It puts pressure on your spine and may push out disks in your lower back.

Instead, squat with your back straight and your chest up to pick something up. Let your legs do the work! Now, I’ll grant you – picking a dog up this way is a little tough. That’s one of the reasons I taught my Tango to jump up so that I can catch him!

3. Do you sit for long periods of time without a break? Or stand in the same position? And then when you move your back feels stiff?

Get up and move around! Take a little walk! Change positions and move at least once an hour!

4. Do you think crunches are the only ab or core exercise worth doing and you hate them?

Think again – there are lots of core exercises that will help your back as well as your abs!

Don’t neglect your core. Your back will thank you!

I’ll give you some great core strengtheners a little later, but to start, try the plank. It’s a great core booster. Start on your hands and knees – hands directly under the shoulders. Now walk your feet back so that your body is in a perfectly straight line. Your rear isn’t sticking up or sagging down. Pull in your stomach and tighten your butt. And hold. Don’t go crazy here. If you can hold plank for a minute, that’s great!

5. Do you feel a twinge when you twist or move funny? If, when you move, anything feels wrong – STOP! Don’t do that! Don’t go any further. Come back slowly to where you started. If anything feels funny, it probably is. If you’re trying to lift or move something big or heavy, get help!

You know your back best. Don’t do anything that feels funny or weird.

Effortless movement

Play with your dog to relieve stress!Is effortless movement a goal for you? Do remember fondly when you were able to go from here to there without even thinking about it? Do you want to get back down on the floor and play with your dog or the grandkids?

What’s holding you back? Are your joints bothering you? Your back hurting? Knees? If a doctor hasn’t told you to limit your movement, then chances are you should start moving!

It used to be that when you hurt your back, bed rest was prescribed. Now the medical community is in favor or movement!

And the last thing I wanted to do when my knees hurt was get up and walk.

And when my back and hips were in spasms, I could barely get out of a chair without a heating pad.

But I hung onto a table and stood up, holding that heating pad on my back, and took a couple of steps. Then I put the heating pad down and took a couple more steps. Hunched over, leaning onto my thighs at first. And then I sat down again on that heating pad. But an hour later I made myself do it again. And then next day the pain wasn’t quite as bad. So I moved some more. And the day after that I could go a little further. And a couple days later I didn’t need the heating pad.

You get the idea. That old adage, “use it or lose it” applies! The more you move, the easier it is to move.

I’ve told you that I started running on the treadmill a couple days a week to increase my speed and endurance for agility competition? I still hate it, but I’m getting better at it. And I am getting a little faster. And my knees don’t hurt.

I also learned to strengthen my core and improve my balance to strengthen my back. And I haven’t had spasm (knock on wood!) in a couple of years. If you’d like to improve your balance and strength, a great first step is doing the Week of Balance. Click on the box to the right for your free, downloadable .pdf for your copy.