It throbs. It aches. It sends sharp pains to your legs. Does any of this sound familiar? Back pain is experienced by millions of Americans. It does not discriminate either. Whether you have an office job or a warehouse job, you may have experienced acute or chronic lower back pain. We all know chiropractic can improve your body mechanics, easing your pain. But what should you be doing in between those visits? Read on and we will explain what tweaks you should be making…
The pain can be a result of one or more components of the body that are not functioning as they should – the disc, the nerves, the ligaments, the muscles, the joints, or the bones.
What Could Be Causing You Back Pain?
Do you sit in a chair for eight hours a day at work? Do you have the proper seat cushion to provide lower back and abdominal support? Do you carry your heavy laptop bag on one shoulder? Does your child’s backpack weigh them down from a heavy load? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your daily habits may be wreaking havoc on your spine without you realizing it.
When I was in school I would carry my robust backpack on just my right shoulder instead of properly on my back. There was so much stuff in it that I figured it was better for my back if I held it as such. Then, on a cyclic basis, I was experiencing upper back and neck pain. It wasn’t until I visited a chiropractor that I realized this everyday habit was causing me spinal misalignment. This was causing my bones to dig into my muscles causing the burning pain that I felt regularly. Something that you do mindlessly can be the root cause of your pain!
Tweaks To Improve Your Sitting Position
Do you have a job that requires you to sit for hours in a day? That’s not doing your back any favors. If your job allows it, switch out that old chair for one that allows your knees to go below your hips. When your knees are at the same level as your hips then the body has a natural reaction to slouch. Another great option is a medicine ball substituted for a chair. This will engage your back, legs, and core muscles at all times. Try it – it’s not as tiring as you may think. If you are unable to change your chair, then purchase a wedge to sit on. This is a comfortable option that will also do the trick of moving your hips higher than your knees.
Stretch It Out – Every Hour
Now that you have the proper seating, it’s wise to know that you need to get out of it every so often! Sitting compresses the body, so you will want to extend and stretch throughout the day. Set yourself little reminders to “Get moving!” every hour that you are sitting down. These are stretching exercises that you can perform discretely at work:
- Stand up and sit down – without using your hands for assistance
You can do this while you’re on the phone. This will help engage your core, get the blood flowing to your legs, and ease any slouching you may not realize you are doing.
- Shrug your shoulders to release tension build up
Start with a deep breath in and then shrug your shoulders. Lift them as high as you can, aiming for the bottom of your ears. Hold for five seconds. Release your hold and let them drop. Repeat this five times.
- Get a look around the office with a torso twist
Inhale first and on the exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your left hand. Grab the chair firmly and twist your torso as far around as you can, keeping your eyes level. Hold for a few seconds – embrace the hurt! Slowly come back to your starting position. Repeat on the other side.
- Cross your arms to stretch the upper body
Pull back from your desk a little and extend your right arm straight out in front of you. With the left hand, grab the elbow of your right arm and pull it across your chest. You should feel a good stretch in your shoulder and upper back area. Hold for five seconds. Release and repeat with the left arm.
- Give your legs a big hug!
Sit on the edge on your chair. Make sure the wheels are locked if they roll. Place your feet together, flat on the floor. Lean over and let arms dangle loosely towards the floor. Relax your neck as well. Now, bring your hands behind your legs and grab your elbows. You should feel a nice stretch in your back, shoulders, and neck. Hold for the few seconds.
- Reach for the sky to stretch your back
Sit up straight in your chair. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms to the ceiling and lift your chin, tilt your head back, and gaze up to the ceiling. Inhale, exhale, and release your stretch. Repeat three times.
Stop immediately if your pain gets worse and especially if it lingers after doing any of these stretches. Consult with your chiropractor before beginning any exercise regimen. Now you have the tools to ease your back pain and get back to enjoying your daily life without pain!
Have questions or interested in seeing a chiropractor? Please give our Santa Clara office a call at (408) 426-4936 to schedule your appointment. We thank you sincerely for choosing Restoring Health & Wellness Center!