The lower back is a strong and flexible part of the body and staying healthy in this area is essential to your wellbeing. Unfortunately, certain lifestyle traits can leave your lower back prone to problems, and because the spine protects the key part of the nervous system, problems in this region can cause a variety of issues from neck pain to back pain and sciatica.
A sports massage or a thorough osteopathic assessment can help once you have identified problems in this area, and there are many methods of obtaining lower back pain relief. But any good osteopath will also advise that prevention is often better than cure. Here are some useful hints on how to look after your lower back and keep yourself injury-free.
Strengthen core muscles
When you strengthen your core muscles, you are helping your body to protect your spine. This doesn’t require intensive gym work either. Low-impact exercise, such as walking, can help increase blood flow and stretch the relevant muscles, helping your back muscles to heal and hydrate. Water-based exercise can also be a good way to build up your core strength.
Use the right chair
One of the major contributors to lower back problems is poor posture. Whether you work from home or an office, chances are you will be sitting at a desk for long periods, and sitting incorrectly can put pressure on your lower back, leading to disc degeneration and other problems. Opt for an ergonomic chair that will help you to sit in the correct position. It is also a good idea to take regular breaks from sitting, every hour or so, to give you the chance to stretch your leg muscles and your lower back.
Protect your back when you lift
Lifting heavy items can put stress on your back. Whether this is lifting a child or unloading your shopping, if you lift with the wrong technique, you can cause damage to your lower back that can become chronic. When you lift, make sure that you bend your knees, not your lower back, and use your hips and feet to pivot, rather than twisting your back. If your job is likely to involve any lifting at all, your workplace should provide advice on safe lifting.
Rest after prolonged bending
Every time you bend your back for any significant length of time, such as when gardening, for example, pressure is placed on your discs and the ligaments and muscles in your lower back. Temporary stiffness is also common at these times, when your back is particularly susceptible to injury. So after any period of prolonged bending, it is a good idea to stand upright and stretch a little, allowing your spine and associated tissues to fully recover from their exertions.
Tight hamstrings are not something that you might immediately associate with lower back pain, but they can put pressure on your pelvis and your lower back. By performing simple hamstring stretches regularly, you can help to avoid the strain caused by tight hamstrings. You may also find that some stretches can help ease existing lower back problems, however, it is always a good idea to check with a good osteopath or medical professional to be sure that a particular exercise is appropriate for you.
Your lower back is a crucial part of your body and keeping it healthy, strong and stable is the best protection against a host of physical problems that osteopaths deal with. Following these five tips could help you to look after your lower back, so it can support you effectively.
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