Health and Fitness – Chronic Back Pain

2014-06-06_15-02-48Common Causes of Back Pain:
• Sedentary lifestyle: exercising less than 30 minutes a day three to five days per week is considered sedentary.
• Sitting: hips, shoulders, and back are basically immobile. Remember the old saying “if you don’t use it you lose it.”
• Age: stress from bad posture, a poor workplace set-up, and the wrong sleeping habits over the years all add up. Aging also causes degenerative changes in the spine, such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis.
• Prone sleeping (lying on your stomach): in this position, the laws of gravity and the give in the bed will encourage your back to arch down towards your stomach.
2014-06-06_15-03-11• Anterior weight (big belly or pregnancy): this increases the daily load your spine carries. Increased weight causes the soft tissues and muscles surrounding the spine to work extra hard. Extra weight throws off your spine’s natural alignment
• High heel shoes: this causes the body’s weight to be centered forward, on or in the toes. This goes against gravity and nature. It causes stress on the muscles and on the vertebrae of the spine.
• Congenital or developed anomalies: something we are born with, that is not within normal limits. An anomaly can be found in many area such as bone, muscle, ligament, tissue or organ. Very often congenital anomalies can be an inherited trait.
• Postural deviations: these include excessive anterior pelvis tilt causing lumbar lordosis (swayback), excessive posterior pelvis tilt (lack of adequate lumbar curve), kyphosis (rounded upper back and shoulders), forward head, or scoliosis.
• Lifting technique: start with a wide base, squat bending hips and knees only, maintain good posture, lift slowly by straightening hips and knees, and hold the object lifted close to your body.
• Muscle strain: usually caused by lifting incorrectly or twisting in an unusual way.
• Muscle imbalances: strong hamstrings and very weak abdominal muscles.
Recommendations to reduce chronic low back pain
• Regular exercise including strengthening of the Rectus Abdominus (commonly known as “abs”) and oblique muscles (“lovehandles”). Stretching the Erector Spinae (muscles that allow you to move your lower back), hamstrings (backside of thighs), and hip flexors (muscles around the hip region) regularly.
• Spend less time sitting. For every hour seated, spend 5 to 10 minutes walking, stretching, etc. (More than a walk to the refrigerator or the copy machine.) This is an important in addition to the regular daily exercise that you need.
• Wear high heel shoes less often, or better not at all.
• Sleep on your side or on your back with knees supported to encourage a pelvic tilt.
• Lose weight if needed. Join a Weight Watchers™ group, talk to a certified Health Coach, or a Registered Dietician.
• Use proper lifting techniques. If you do not know these or need a refresher, check out various available Youtube videos.

For additional information about exercise and weight loss for chronic back pain, contact Janet Hunt. Janet is a certified Health Coach and certified Personal Trainer.
By: Janet Hunt