Are you tired of making the same resolutions year after new year, only to give up a few months in because they’re kind of unreasonable? In today’s blog post we discuss back pain resolutions that are a little more manageable, and can improve your quality of life. Let 2018 be the year you make a resolution to reduce back pain!
Back Pain Resolution #1: Don’t sit for more than 45 minutes at a time
Our increasingly sedentary life is killing us. During caveman times, life was about constant movement – up and down. In our modern lives, it’s more chair to couch. Moderate daily exercise doesn’t even help as much as you think it does. A recent study by Cornell suggests that the hours spent sitting are the major indicators of mortality, not how many days a week you go to your Pilates class.
When your body is in a stagnant position for more than 45 minutes, your brain recognizes that position as the one to hold. Sitting causes your muscles to shorten, and if that posture becomes locked, it can make your whole alignment shift into a crooked mess once you’re standing.
What’s the best way to get moving every 45 minutes? Set a timer on your phone or fitness tracker, and use the opportunity to get a glass of water!
Back Pain Resolution #2: Strengthen your pelvic floor
That Pilates class from the last resolution? You’re going to want to keep that up, because Pilates targets a lot of the muscles that make up your pelvic floor at the base of your spine. Strengthening your core is the most effective way to keep your spine in proper alignment. If you are experiencing stiffness and back pain, it may be a good time to look up your local Pilates class.
Back Pain Resolution #3: Sleep on your back
Not all sleep positions are created equal. Stomach sleepers have the worst time of it, with gravity pulling down on their spines. Side sleepers are slightly better, but nothing compares to sleeping on your back, in terms of spinal alignment. Bonus points if you put a pillow beneath your knees. Sleeping on your back may take some getting used to if you are typically a stomach sleeper, but your back will thank you!
Back Pain Resolution #4: De-Stress & Breathe
This one is so simple, but also the hardest to implement. Our muscles tighten when we are stressed. Our shoulders become rigid, our necks become stiff . . . and our back muscles tense up. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, try focusing on your breathing. When we are stressed, we often take shallow breaths. Be mindful to take slow, deep breaths, and it can help to reduce the amount of stress you are feeling.
Back Pain Resolution #5: Get a Diagnosis
As we discussed in our Thanksgiving Back Pain blog post, it’s not unusual to be a little sore after frantic holiday house cleaning, hours of cooking or hauling that Christmas tree to the curb. You may have over done it, or you may have early symptoms of a more serious condition. Allowing back pain to remain un-diagnosed may allow a condition like a herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease to deteriorate into a more serious problem. See your doctor if back pain persists and explore your treatment options.
To sum up, there are simple solutions t the most common types of back pain – standing more often, strengthening your core, sleeping on your back, and eliminating stress. But if simple changes don’t turn things around, it’s time to get serious and see your doctor.
We hope these resolutions keep you pain free in 2018! If you or someone you know suffers with chronic back pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment one of the board certified, Fellowship trained spine specialists at DISC of Louisiana.
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