Alex O'Brien


Beat lower back pain

Beat lower back pain

Muscle strain, twinges, aches. These are the common problems associated with pesky lower back pain. Here are some effective ways to reduce your risk of developing a chronic condition.

Between 70 to 80 per cent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives with weight, posture, activity and footwear all common triggers.

When you sit, lift, carry things or even cook, you probably don’t consciously think about your back, even though it’s the support structure to your head, neck, shoulders, arms, pelvis and rib cage.

Holding in place about 30 bones – or vertebrae – that are cushioned by spongy discs attached to muscles, tendons and ligaments, your back houses your spinal column that keeps your upright. Over time, injury-related issues or constant strain can lead to annoying twinges, chronic aches or pain that interferes with everyday life.

Stand up straight

Train yourself to become aware of your posture throughout the day. From sitting to standing, there are techniques to improve your stance. For standing, keep your weight evenly balanced between both feet and your shoulders back without straining them. When you’re sitting, again keep your shoulders back in line with your hips with you feet flat on the floor. You can also try a foot stool if that’s more comfortable.

Lighten the load

Reduce what you carry – meaning you should not be lugging around heavy handbags or backpacks. These will not only strain your muscles but they can also contribute to slumped posture and cause lower back pain if the things you carry are too heavy. Consider getting groceries delivered or asking a family member for help.

Lower the heel

Ladies, unfortunately it’s not good news. High heels tilt your pelvis forward throwing your centre gravity out of alignment, which in turn forces your back muscles to work harder to maintain stability. Opt for a flat wide heel that’s no higher than 2.5cm – especially if you already suffer lower back pain. Gentlemen who suffer from lower back pain, you should avoid thongs and loafers – both don’t provide the necessary support.

Fighting fit

Studies show that people who regularly exercise suffer less back pain. But choose your exercise wisely, especially if you already experience some lower back pain. For example swimming will be much better than running in not exacerbating any pain as swimming supports your back as you exercise. Aerobics, yoga and Pilates under the guidance of an experience teacher can also be great for back pain.