Category Archives: Best Exercise

Do THIS When Bending to Prevent Back Pain!

prevent back painHere’s how my clumsiness reminded me of a super little tip you can do that makes a big difference if you do it every time you need to bend down, so you can protect your back.

I broke a glass this morning in the kitchen. What a clumsy clutz!

So I did the old glass breaking ritual. You know the one:

  • Put some footwear on!
  • Tell the dog to stay in the living room
  • Get emergency newspaper
  • sweep up the glass into a dustpan
  • vaccuum the area
  • vaccuum the sweeping brush!  – etc, etc…

It was when I was bent down to sweep the glass into the dustpan (with my bum in the air!) that I was aware I was tightening my tummy.

This was a great tip I found worked a treat when I was really suffering with back pain. No matter how much we avoid bending down, we can’t avoid it sometimes, can we?

But you can take some of the pressure off you back by tightening your abdominals, so your tummy is doing all the work. When I lifted myself back up, I found my gluteals and thighs were also tightened. I’d got so used to doing this a few years ago, I have probably done it ever since.

I know I do it when I put the dog’s collar on, and when I scoop her poop too!

Not that it does any harm to continue it. It’s important to do everything you can to prevent back pain in the future, so what better time than when you are not in pain? It’s also a great trick to try when lifting is unavoidable too.

For more great tips on how to strengthen your core and back muscles and utlimitely protect your back permanently, have a look at the back pain exercises pages up at the top.

Have a great day – and don’t break stuff!

Paula

 

Photo by .Larry Page

Is it Hard to Stick to a Routine for Back Pain?

pain relief schedule-routineCombatting back pain needs to have a regular routine, and consistency. But the hardest part is getting started. As I have said previously, you only need to do a few minutes of exercise every day. But when you time this exercise is crucial. It should preferably be before any kind of physical activity. The chances are, your household and daily jobs are not necessarily what our bodies are designed for, so you need to give yourself a warm-up in order to loosen the muscles, so that they are better prepared for what life throws at them.

And gently moving about every day will build up strength in your muscles over time. You’ll be surprised just how quickly this happens if you stick to a consistent routine and do it every day.

A friend of mine recently painted her house. This involved reaching up to the ceiling, and bending down to paint the skirting boards. The only breaks she gave herself were to eat meals. She then had back pain. If she had gone for a short walk and/or done 5-10 minutes of low impact aerobics before the painting AND taken regular breaks, she would not have suffered back pain.

You can apply this advice, no matter what you have been told your back pain’s cause is (apart from severe recent trauma).

Image by ASurroca on Flickr

5 Tips to Relieve Back Pain

5 back pain tipsBack pain, lower back pain and sciatica are some of the biggest concerns of employers, as they keep millions of people off work every day around the globe. In fact most adults will suffer some type of back pain at some point during their lives.

If you suffer from back pain, you may not realize it but you can alleviate a lot of the pain yourself easily. Even if you have received, or are currently receiving treatment, you can still help your recovery along with these 5 simple steps.

Tip 1
prevent back painDistribute your weight evenly. When standing, don’t put your weight more on one leg than the other, as you would normally when standing with a hand on one hip for example. Also if you must carry anything for any considerable length of time, choose a backpack style bag, rather than a shoulder bag. And wear it properly! How many times have you seen backpacks thrown over one shoulder? It completely defeats the purpose! You can buy lots of purses and handbags that come in the backpack style – you don’t have to look like you’re going camping.

Tip 2
Relax! I learned this one when learning to drive. Often, I was so anxious, my shoulders were almost up to my ears! And I wondered why my back pain was worse than ever, when driving. Relax your whole body, and move in a fluid, rather than a ridged way. You may have to remind yourself to lower your shoulders, but once you get used to it, you will be able to do it automatically.

Tip 3
Improve your posture. Some people will think that this tip contradicts the last one, but you can still maintain good posture, while staying relaxed. It is when we are sitting that we tend to slump, and adopt poor posture. But a lot of chairs do not help either. Make sure your chair has a full back to it, and if it is not an ergonomic chair, add a cushion or lumbar support to keep your lower spine in the correct position. Keep your shoulders back and your head straight. You should also have your thighs parallel to the floor and your feet flat on the floor, or on a foot rest.

Tip 4
Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water in order to keep your muscles hydrated. Hydrated muscles are happy muscles because they are more flexible and stretchy, and less likely to go into spasm or get pulled or damaged.

Tip 5
Do gentle cardiovascular exercise as often as possible. Walking for around 20 minutes is the best type of low impact cardio exercise, as it is easy to incorporate into your day, and still gets the heart pumping. It gets you moving and warms up the back muscles, and if you walk slightly faster than you would normally, you will breathe better, which gets oxygenated blood to your muscles too. In fact you can still achieve this from walking at your normal pace, and simply breathing deeply.

Try using these tips regularly and you should notice a reduction in your pain. The most important thing is consistency and organization.

photo by cambodia4kidsorg

Top 10 Ways To Prevent Back Pain When Sitting

Top 10 back pain tips when sittingSome employers are waking up to the fact that their employees need to be kept comfortable while working, in order to reduce the number of sickness days due to chronic pain; most notably Back Pain.

The Oman Observer reports that staff at Omantel are being asked “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” as part of a new campaign to reduce the number of back pain incidents and promote better posture so that they look after their backs and stay healthy.
The Omantel Human Resources Unit know that encouraging people to sit properly with the correct posture was vital in acheiving better health and safety standards at work.

Employees are also being given individual questionnaires that help them judge if their backs are healthy and give them practical advice on what to do to make sure their backs stay pain free and injury free. See the full story Here.

More companies need to follow suit. It’s fine to provide them with ergonomic chairs, but many people don’t sit correctly in them, or make the biggest mistake of all; they stay in the same position for too long.

It’s essential to change position regularly, and to stretch and exercise while sitting down for long periods of time. You can achieve this by doing the following exercises; all of which can be done while sitting:

  • Shoulder rolls
  • Shoulders up (for two seconds at a time)
  • Head rolls
  • Arm Stretches
  • Elbow rolls (similar to the funky chicken, but circular)
  • Buttock clenches
  • Thigh clenches
  • Back stretch (arms back, arch the back and face the ceiling – ONLY for a few seconds)
  • Hand stretches (spread the finger out, together with regular making of fists – NO punching people!!)
  • Abdominal clenches  (while rolling your back forward for a few seconds – chin on chest)

posture at workDo these every 20 minutes if possible. No fewer than every 60 minutes. You might want to TELL people beforehand, so they understand what you are doing! In fact why not do a presentation on this for everyone to use?

Some companies don’t even supply their staff with ergonomic chairs, which is a FALSE economy, when they end up losing their staff to back problems.

My personal favorite ergonomic chair is the Kinnarps PLUS 6000 series, and it MUST have arm rests. See one Here. They come in hundreds of different colors and fabrics. And they’re very solid and durable. I have had mine since 2003 and it’s still going strong.

But the best advice to reduce back pain when sitting is to move about when on your breaks. So many people just continue to sit at their desks and look at their emails, or browse the internet. Get up and go for a walk, even if only for five minutes, and it will make all the difference to your back.

 

 

 

Climbing Therapy for Low Back Pain

climbing for back painChronic Low Back Pain has been said to improve after climbing therapy, compared with non-climbing, standard exercise, a new study claims. May 15’s issue of Spine journal, published that Munich, Germany’s Technical University’s Kai Engbert, Ph.D. and Michaela Weber, tested the effects of therapeutic climbing, and they assessed how it compared to other types of exercise for chronic lower back pain sufferers.

Twenty-eight patients were tested over 4 weeks with a therapeutic climbing and standard exercise program. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires before and after the excercise, which assessed their physical and psychological well-being.

The authors state; “This finding demonstrates that therapeutic climbing is equivalent and partly superior to standard exercise therapy for patients with chronic low back pain.”

I know that climbing involves much more intensive toning exercise than regular exercise, and has been proven to improve strength in the upper body, thighs and buttocks; all of which support and take some of the load from the back. I’m certain 4 weeks was more than enough time to confirm these results.

I would not recommended however that beginners to exercise  rush out and start climbing to instantly treat their back pain. I’m sure the participants in this study were all at relatively good fitness levels. After all, extremely fit athletes can still suffer from chronic pain.

But once people have built up considerable strength in their core muscles; arms, legs, abs and buttocks,  more intesive toning exercise (such as climbing) is certainly recommended to further increase the rate of improvement.

Photo by Twistermc on Flickr

Callanetics for Chronic Back Pain

Callanetics for back painI have been doing my Beginner’s Callanetics for years, which is an hour long video of special intensive exercises devised by Callan Pinckney. I would not recommend them without a warm-up beforehand. Just do the Mom-Dancing for a week or two before doing any Callanetics.

Callan Pinckney is somewhat of a miracle lady. She was a disabled child with curvature of the spine, but that didn’t stop her completely banishing her disability, traveling the world and becoming a fitness instructor with top selling books and videos.

But again, everyone who complains that Callanetics doesn’t work for bad backs, has overdone it the first or first few times. It is so easy to overdo it in the beginning. And it’s basic psychology. It takes so much mental effort just to get started, that once we have started, we tend to think “Well I’m up now – might as well carry on.”

Don’t!

And please start with the beginners DVD. Sounds obvious, but some people I know have thought the beginner ones are only for the first few weeks, and attempted the advanced ones before they were ready. I still use the Beginner one after many years I still have the VHS in fact! But also now the DVD. And I missed out the exercises I couldn’t do for several months.

Also, don’t make the mistake of doing Callanetics more than twice a week. I did them every day for nine days to begin with (especially after I saw those photos showing how much the butt had tightened after only 19 hours of exercise!), soldiering on through the pain, but Callan Pinkney herself says only 2 – 3 times a week is needed for optimum improvement. She was right. I ended in up in too much pain and then wouldn’t do them again for several weeks. Totally stupid.

But used correctly Callanetics is a fantastic set of exercises. I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to touch my toes with ease if it wasn’t for Callanetics. The perfect tool to have in your arsenal against pain.