‘Tis the season for joint pain- especially low back pain. With all the business of the holidays we inherently spend more time rushing to and fro, sitting and visiting, and taking less care of ourselves.
It’s the time of year where I start to get more complaints from my clients and patients about nagging back pain, and/or “throwing” their backs out.
It’s a common complaint no matter what time of the year, but in the cold, slippery months that accompany the beginning of winter- it becomes more and more frequent. Whether it’s from slipping on ice, lifting heavy boxes, spending too many hours driving or standing, sleeping in different places, or just stress and tension. The last thing we want during the holidays is to be laid up with pain.
So- what do you do when you experience that pain, or that incident that causes the back complaints?
If you’ve fallen or had an incident that results in new back pain- see a licensed musculoskeletal professional (athletic therapist, sport med doc/or ortho doc, physio, etc) to check you out and make sure you get on the right track to recovery. Ice for the first few days, and then heat… and gentle movement when you feel ready to do so (walking is the best rememdy for back pain, often, but your body will tell you when it’s ready to proceed) followed by a more prescribed plan from your healthcare and movement professional.
If you have a history of back pain that comes back like the grinch- then follow these few tips to get yourself movement and feeling better. Easily fit into your daily life and holiday schedule- they’ll save you from ongoing pain for longer then just the holiday season!
- Wall Slides: I give the exercise A LOT. In fact, I think it’s probably the most featured exercise on this blog and in my chart notes. That just adds to the proof that is one of the most beneficial ones for us all to be doing! Getting your back flat against the wall (it helps to have the feet in front of you just a bit so you can tilt that pelvis back), bring your arms to the wall as well (or in front of you at 90deg), slowly slide them up and down KEEPING THE BACK ON THE WALL. Do this in sets of 10-15, as many times as you’d like through the day. Not only does this strengthen to the upper postural muscles, it stretches the low back and maintains an optimal spine posture.
- McGill Curl: Another favourite. Bracing/pushing out with the core muscles, get in the position shown below and curl up and down- focusing on keeping the core active active active! Repeat on both sides in sets of 10-15. This exercise reminds the brain how to use the core, which is integral to spine health.
- Spine Twists: Only pursue this if it feels right for your body! A lovely mobilization for the low back and stretch for the hips.
- Hydration: Water is SO important for us. Especially this time of year. If you have any sort of chronic pain, anywhere, increasing your hydration will benefit you. The 8 glasses a day rule isn’t that far off, but I know for myself I feel my best when I go through 3ish L a day. Yes, it takes getting used to. But adding lemon, or infusing fruits/herbs in the water can help. Tea counts too!
- Walking: This is possibly the BEST thing for low back pain. Brisk walking either outdoors or on a treadmill, with arms swinging naturally, and the core active. Try 10-20min a few times a day and feel the difference it makes!
As always, if you have any questions about your low back pain.. or any issue, don’t hesitate to contact me!