We receive lots of questions on how to avoid back pain when doing specific tasks or hobbies they enjoy. It can certainly be a worry that you’re going to re-injure your back, especially in those early stages of recovery when you’re starting to make good progress. There are ways and means of getting through your daily activities without injuring your back, so we’re going to talk through some principles you should keep in mind when you’re going about your day! What’s important to remember is that if you do end up reinjuring your back and you are going through the right rehabilitation, you’re not the same person you were when you first started this process. It’s very easy for your mind to jump straight into believing you’re back at square one, but your body will be stronger from the rehabilitation so it will bounce back quicker each time.
Recognising The Strain On Your Back
When going through your day-to-day life, any activity that puts your spine under load is going to create strain on your back. If your spine has a maintained alignment or your body is strong, you’re not going to notice this at all. But if you are walking about the house, this is even more strenuous than the exercises we recommend for you to do in Phase 2 of the Back In Shape program. Think about what you’re doing throughout the day and take note at the time of how you position your back during these activities. Things like gardening, putting your children in the car or putting your food shopping away are all going to put strain on your back.
Try To Do The Activity Safely
As we mentioned, there are ways and means of doing things that can make it easier on your back, especially if you are in the early stages of recovery. These adaptations may take you longer to get the job done, but it’ll save you from potentially re-injuring yourself along the way. The first tip is to maintain the lumbar lordosis. It’s all too common that we end up flopping ourselves over to reach something off the floor, to do the gardening or put your shoes on. Instead maintain the natural lordosis and use your knees or hips to get down to the ground or to reach down. If you like gardening and you find this strenuous on the knees, there are pads out there that you can rest your knees on to help make this easier. Anytime when you need to get closer to the floor, even to unload the washing machine or dishwasher, use your knees or hips and keep that lower back curve intact – without sticking your bum out. Engaging your core as you bend during the activity as well will help to protect your back, as this switches on the muscles to form that protective corset around the lumbar spine.
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When you’re doing any activity, you also want to make sure you’re as squared on to the task as much as possible. The purpose of this is really to avoid any twisting motion, as this can put your spine in a more vulnerable position. If you’re bending down, try to turn to face the task that you need to switch to rather than twist. You also need to be aware of your limits when it comes to time spent doing an activity or the strain it has on your body. If you’re in the early stages of recovery, trying to take all the shopping bags from the car in one trip is probably not going to be helpful for you. Instead, take your time and go back a couple of times. This tip transfers across any activity where you can identify a potential risk by lifting too much. If you’re in a store and need to get something heavy from the floor or from above, ask a sales advisor to help you. If there’s anyone around in the house to help with any strenuous tasks, do so. If you want to do something that is more time consuming, like gardening for example, or going on a long shopping trip, try to break up the activity as much as possible. If you know you’ve got a lot to do in the garden, split it up during the day into manageable chunks so that you’re not doing the whole job in one go. Perhaps also consider taking a chair outside with you to rest things on to help you as much as possible. If you’re going on a long shopping trip, try to regularly take bags back to the car, or split up the day with resting in cafes or stopping to have some lunch. If you need to put your children in the car, choose car parking spaces that give you enough space, open the door wide and take your time. You can get car seats now that swivel to face the door, to make it much easier to strap them in if your back is particularly vulnerable. When driving or working at a desk, try to make sure your lower back is supported. Often there will be lumbar support in the chairs, but these may make you slump more into them depending on where they are on the seat so just bear this in mind. Finally, if you do enjoy cooking or spend a lot of time cooking during the day, remember you can always take your chopping to do at the kitchen table rather than at a counter if you do find yourself rounding over the counter.
Remember, in our Back In Shape membership area, the Phase 1 is completely free. This section is specifically for anyone in the first stages of an injury or a relapse and is ideal if you think you have overdone it with a particular activity. If you’ve done more than you think you should have done, do the entire Phase 1 protocol as soon as possible. This should help immediately with relieving the strain from your back and reduce inflammation. Adding in extra rounds of the towel and ice combo over the hours to follow should help if you have done anything particularly strenuous as well.
We hope you found today’s topic helpful! If you have any questions at all on today’s article or you have a hobby that you’d like to query with us as to how you can do it safely, please do get in touch with us as we’d be more than happy to help. You can reach out to us through our social channels, by emailing us at email@example.com or by tuning in to our daily livestreams every weekday morning on our Facebook and YouTube channels. If you’re not yet signed up to our Back In Shape program, we provide a guided rehabilitation program on here put together by our back pain experts. You can sign up for free by visiting www.backinshapeapp.com and start today!
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