10 Tricks to Improve Low Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) is very likely to affect all of us at some point in life. The question is, do you control IT or does IT control you? Here are ten “tricks” for staying in control of low back pain.

1)     STRETCH: When you’re in one position for a long time (like sitting at your desk), set a reminder for yourself to get moving and stretch every 30-60 minutes! Mornings are a great time to stretch.

2)     BE SMART: Do not place your computer monitor anywhere other than directly in front of you. Shop carefully for a good supportive office chair that is comfortable and a good fit.

3)     POSTURE: For sitting, sit as upright and as comfortably as possible keeping your chin tucked in so the head stays back over the shoulders.

4)     SHOES: Avoid wearing heels greater than one-inch-high. A supportive shoe that can be worn comfortably for several hours is ideal.

5)     SMOKING: Carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke competes with oxygen at each cell in the body literally suffocating them, which makes the healing process more difficult.

6)     WEIGHT: Your body mass index (BMI) should be between 18.5 and 25. Plug in your height and weight into the BMI calculator below to figure out yours.

7)     ANTI-INFLAMMATION: Common over the counter (OTC) medications include ibuprofen and naproxen. However, recent studies show these types of medications (NSAIDS) may delay the healing process. A healthier choice is ginger, turmeric, and bioflavonoids, which are commonly bundled together in a supplement. Eat fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats, and food rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin D, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10 are also smart choices. AVOID FAST FOOD as they tend to be rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation.

8)     ICE:  Ice reduces swelling while heat promotes it. Try rotations of ice every 15-20 minutes for about an hour three times a day to “pump” out the swelling!

9)     STAY ACTIVE: Balance and rest with physical activity like exercise or going for a walk. The most important thing is keep your body moving.

10)  STRENGTHEN: Core stabilizing exercises (sit-ups, planks) and balance exercises are VERY important!