Living with chronic back pain is not pleasant, and these past few months haven’t been helping with prolonged sitting at different spots of the house from working at home. Chiropractors have reported a “surge” in musculoskeletal issues since the pandemic began, mostly because many people don’t have dedicated offices in their houses. In turn, this has led them to work on sofas, beds, or the occasional kitchen counter — which isn’t good for the back. But the experience is much worse for those with a chronic condition.
Addressing back pain and discomfort early on is a great way to prevent injuries, here are some self-care tips for your back.
One of the reasons why yoga is so popular is its vast array of benefits for those suffering from back pain. Poses such as the cat and cow, standing forward bend, and reclined pigeon pose helps stretch the back muscles and mitigating the pain. Take time to hold the poses with a slow deep breath to feel the tension release wherever you feel tightness. Daily stretching is more important now than ever with all the sitting in front of the screen. You can also have a dedicated yoga routine before you sleep or after you wake up. After all, yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation. This Healthline article explains the evidence-based benefits of yoga with the support of science.
Get a Proper Chair
If your back pain creeps up on you in the middle of a workday, it’ll be challenging to concentrate on for the rest of the day with an agitated mind. Instead of sitting on your regular dining room chair or kitchen stool, invest in a proper office ergonomic chair to help keep it from happening. Many ergonomic manufacturers will allow you to customize the chair to your body height and sitting habits to make the sitting arrangement more ideal for your hips and spine. If investing in a new chair is not in your budget, you can look into lumbar support pillows instead. The best lumbar support pillows usually are made of memory or orthopedic foam, which adapt to your back’s shape to ensures comfortability no matter how you sit.
Get Up and Stretch
Aside from the best ergonomic seat, stretching now and then to dissolve the tension in your back is smart self-care. Hold and feel a gentle pull as you inhale and exhale slowly with each stretch. Don’t bounce. A stretch works well if you hold it for 15 seconds. If you are more flexible, you can keep it for a minute and repeat it two to four times on each side. Go easy on yourself and create length as you stretch and notice the sensation arise. A few variations of upper body stretches such as tricep and chest stretch can alleviate the pressure on your upper back. To improve flexibility and mobility in your hips, glutes, and piriformis, lay on your back and gently adding some twist into cross leg stretch to target those areas.
Lower back pain relief with affordable at-home heat therapy is another excellent way for back pain management. Heat therapy increases oxygen and nutrients to the lower back muscles by dilating the blood vessels. Heat boosts blood circulation, facilitates the stretching of the connective tissues, and helps with stiffness and injury, increasing flexibility and overall comfort. Flexibility is vital for a healthy back. Heating pads setting at the ideal “warm” temperature can produce a tremendous desired effect for the heat to penetrate the muscles and not burn the skin. For minor back tension, short amounts of heat therapy may be sufficient (such as 15 to 20 minutes).
Like any other muscle in the body, back muscles require adequate exercise and care to maintain strength and tone. Back muscles tend to weaken with age, so do take time to incorporate different self-care methods to support a healthy back.
By Cathy Aliana Klein
March 4, 2021