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Beat Back Pain!

  Practical stuff you can do at home to help ease discomfort, as recommended by coach, Annie Deadman.

Looking at how much time we spend sitting in cars, at laptops and on the sofa, it’s no wonder that back pain is the single biggest cause of work absence. God, I sound like my mother. Hold on, let me start that again. Daily back pain is a debilitating condition that can lead to a referred pain popping up somewhere else, causing low mood, anxiety and a thoroughly ratty disposition. This affects quality of life for you and your family. So, let’s see what we can do for ourselves, with regards to the come-and-go sort of everyday low-level ache (rather than specific injuries caused by accidents).

  Firstly, we need to adopt a mindset of respect and awareness for our bodies. Sounds a bit la-la, but consider how the spine holds us upright all day. It’s a stack of 33 bones (vertebrae), which, with its network of muscles, ligaments and tendons, permits movement in all directions, while protecting the spinal cord. The lower (lumbar) region absorbs the force of our lifting and carrying, and the upper (thoracic) area has to tolerate our terrible posture slouching over laptops and phones.

  Without standing on the toes of chiropractors, osteopaths and physios, here is a Deadman-to-do list of positive steps you can take towards regaining a more comfortable back.

1 Movement

  We are designed not to sit still, but to move. It nourishes our soul, oils our joints and keeps muscles strong. ‘Active bodies are likely to recover quicker,’ to quote my chiropractor, who suggests walking as a good place to start. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, fi ve times a week. Cycling and swimming are also good low-impact choices.

2 Strengthen

  These three are key areas that you need to work on regularly. Build the exercises into your life to add support to your back.

A-The Core  

  That’s all your abdominal and back muscles supports your spine. Try the Plank, with knees on the fl oor at fi rst. Then there’s the Superman move or Superwoman! a terrific move for posture and balance. Think navel to spine all the time for 30 to 60 seconds.

B-Glutes  

  Strong ones are vital for an effi cient body, and the Glute Bridge helps them fi re properly. Raise hips up and down, squeezing hard at the top of the move. Do two to three sets of 20 reps.

C-Lower Body  

  Compound exercises such as squats involve the core as well as our lower half, and contribute to body strengthening. Do two to three sets of 12 slowly.

3 Stretch

  Tight hamstrings are another likely cause of lower back pain, as, over time, they can pull on the pelvis and lumbar region. Make it a real habit (like the Netflix one we all have) and stretch them for a minimum of 30 to 60 seconds on each leg twice daily. Also, see the picture below for a lovely mobilising back stretch that you can do every day.

4 Turn Up The Heat

  After a period of particularly severe pain, an ice pack applied to the area will decrease any inflammation, but only for the first few days. After that, heat packs and hot baths may be your saviour. You could really embrace the whole body therapy thing and sling in some Epsom salts, though the jury is out whether they actually contribute much, or whether it’s the heat that stimulates blood circulation and brings goodies to your sore bits. A hot-water bottle works well too.

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