So you have found out what’s causing the pain? Now, what do we do about it? Hopefully, it is only muscular pain! But even if it is not don’t worry we can beat it!
Did you know?
That on average we are 1.5 to 2 cm shorter by the end of the day. This is due to fluid loss in the discs of the spine. It was found for example that astronauts, who were in a weightless environment for 3 months, had an increased height of 5cm.
The discs in your spine have increased in thickness by the time you wake up. Because when sleeping you lie horizontally which takes the force of gravity off your discs. Discs soak up water like a sponge while you sleep. Then because you stay vertical pretty much most of the day the fluid in the discs is squeezed out due to the effects of gravity (again like a sponge).The biomechanics of the spine changes throughout the day. This is part of the reason why we are stiff when we wake up. After about 30 minutes of getting out of bed you will have lost approximately 50% of the height gained overnight, and after one hour you will have lost about 90%.
Apart from exercise, there are some Dos & Don’ts for back pain.
- Sit as little as possible and only for short periods.
- Place support, such as a towel at your belt line especially in the car.
- When getting up. Keep the normal curves in your back. Move to the front of the seat and stand by straightening your legs. Avoid bending at the waist. If difficult using your arms as leverage.
- When sitting in the car, position your seat so your hips are higher than your knees. ( Very important point. If you have driven for long periods and when you finally stop and get out of the car and had the sensation of numbness in your lower back and thighs? It’s because the blood is not flowing correctly due to seating position)
- Sit on a low couch with a deep seat. It will force you to sit with your hips lower than your knees and will make your back rounded.
- Place your legs straight out in front of you when sitting.
- Adapt work heights to avoid bending.
- If you must stand for a long period, try keeping 1 leg at a time on a footstool.
- If you are standing you can also try bending your knees slightly and tilting your pelvis forward slightly, therefore, straightening the spine.
- Stand in a half-bent position.
Avoid lifting if you can
- Use the correct lifting technique. Keep your back straight when lifting. Don’t stoop or bend forward. Stand close to what you are lifting, have a firm footing, and a stance about shoulder-width apart. Kneel on one knee keeping the back straight. A secure grip on the load and lift by straightening your knees. Do a steady lift. To turn move your feet do not twist your back.
- Jerk when you lift.
- Bend over the object you are lifting.
- Sleep on a good firm surface. If your bed sags, use slats or plywood between the mattress and the base to make it firmer. You can also use the mattress on the floor as a solution.
- You may benefit from using a pillow as support. ( I recommend a memory foam pillow)
- Sleep on your stomach unless advised by a doctor or physio.
Coughing & Sneezing.
- Bend backward slightly to increase the curve of you back whilst coughing or sneezing. Or bend knees slightly
Some more Dos & Don’ts for knees.
- Rest your injury for a period of time, If it does not get better consult a health professional.
- Watch your weight. Excess weight overloads the joints.
- Use a knee strap if needed. Don’t be embarrassed by wearing one particularly during exercise.
- Consider alternative treatments to drugs, such as Acupuncture.
- Talk to your doctor if your pain is not going no matter how small it is. A twinge today could be something more serious later in life.
- Don’t rest for longer than needed. We are nearly all guilty of leading a too sedentary lifestyle
- Forget to stretch. Very important to stretch muscles to maintain elasticity.
- Cause undue wear and tear out your knees. Constantly think about your movements to make sure you are using the correct body mechanics.
- keep wearing the same old shoes. If they are worn at the heel this could lead to postural problems.
- Risk trips or falls. Wear shoes with a low heel and a rubber sole to minimize the risk of slips. ( Leather soled shoes also conduct cold to your legs as well as causing more impact) .
- Run or train on uneven surfaces. ( This is a pet hate of mine, having done X country for many years especially in incorrect footwear)
- Run-on concrete due to the impact between your heel and the surface.