Lower back spasms and strains are common injuries that can occur at any time. You may not be able to stand up straight or sit down properly due to discomfort after throwing your back out. Below are 7 tips to help prevent back pain and also aid in your recovery after an injury. Please keep in mind if you are experiencing severe back pain, it may require more, such as seeing a specialist (orthopedic doctor or chiropractor).
1. Ice It
Most of you already know this, but it’s worth repeating. Icing works wonders anytime there’s inflammation in the body. I’d recommend multiple ice applications for the first 24-48 hours following a back injury to ease pain and reduce inflammation.
2. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Consume adequate amounts of water and water-based fruits and vegetables to keep the spinal disks hydrated. Back stiffness and pain will persist when the disks are dehydrated. How do you know you’re adequately hydrated? Take note of your urine color. If it’s the clear-pale lemonade color you’re getting the job done.
3. Keep Moving
Logic may tell you that sitting or lying down (rest) would be smart if you have a low back issue. However, prolonged sitting or standing will actually make the situation worse by causing additional hamstring and hip tightness. This is one reason why standing desks have become so popular in the workplace. Walking and moving around are always better options than sitting.
4. Massage Therapy
A licensed massage therapist can help eliminate trigger points and knots that may cause low back issues. Daily self-massage using a tennis ball or foam roller over the low back, hamstrings and hips to relieve muscle tension and soreness is a great preventative strategy for bigger problems down the road.
5. Hip Mobility
The human body is meant to be stable in the low back region and mobile in the hips. However, when the hips become very tight, a surrounding muscle group will attempt to provide the movement necessary for daily tasks. Many times the low back is called upon but NOT designed mechanically or neurologically to carry out this task. Injury is usually knocking at your door when this happens.
6. Use an Extra Pillow
Placing and extra pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back or between your knees if you sleep on your side will help support the spine so you’re less likely to wake up with stiffness.
7. Technique, Technique, Technique
When lifting anything off the floor, whether it be weights, furniture, etc., make sure your back is not rounded, the object being lifted is close to you, and the legs and hips do the work, not your low back. Always begin the lift with the knees and hips flexed and your back straight.
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Everybody’s gym team