Back pain now affects 80% of the population at some point their life. It is debilitating and can greatly affect quality of life if it is not treated properly. 90% of back pain comes from one of the structures of the spine such as the disc, facet joints or sacroiliac joint. Dysfunction within these structures causes the muscles to tighten and cause more discomfort.
The top tips for preventing low back pain are:
1. Keep Active
The spine thrives on movement. Movement within the spine promotes healthy discs and healthy joints. Exercise such as walking is good for your whole body however mobility exercises are vital to preventing back pain. These can consist of pilates, yoga or a well prescribed gym program.
2. Keep Your Core Strong
The core muscles work together to provide stability for the spine. Working on the deep core stabilising muscles is incredibly important and can make all the difference when preventing low back pain. It is important to not build up the superficial core muscles too much as this actually leads to compression within the spine. The superficial muscles are your ‘six pack’ muscles which are technical called the rectus abdominus muscles.
3. Keep Your Deep Spinal Muscles Strong
The multifidus muscle is a very important muscle group that provides stability between the segments of the spine. It is not worked in traditional back strengthening exercises such as back extensions. The way to get this muscle group strong is by rolling down to touch your toes and then unfurling back up keeping the core muscles switched on.
4. Avoid Sitting for longer than 1 hour at a time
Sitting causes compression of the spine. In between every vertebrae is a intervertebral disc. These discs are like soft centred chocolates. They are filled with fluid which allows the disc to act as a cushion between the vertebrae, absorbing impact and allowing comfortable movement of the spine. With sitting causing compression on the spine the fluid slowly leaks out leaving the disc dehydrated and loss of disc height. This leads to spinal degeneration over time.
By getting up every hour and moving around you are decreasing the pressure on the disc and allowing it to reabsorb
5. Keep Your Inflammation Levels Low
Inflammation levels within the body can have a large effect on back pain. Due to the world we live in inflammatory levels generally are quite high in the majority of the population. Curcumin which is an extract of turmeric is a wonderful natural anti-inflammatory that can be taken regularly with out the side effects of pharmaceutical anti-infammatories.
Fish oil is also another one of my favourite natural anti-infammatories. When choosing a fish oil make sure you choose one that has been mercury filtered.