It’s hard to understand back pain until you’ve lived it.
Not to be dramatic, but it’s been described as anything from a dull ache to a shooting, burning, or stabbing pain. And the worst part is, it affects your whole body and everything you do, from bending, twisting, and lifting to simply standing, sitting, walking, and sleeping.
So the question is: Can you avoid back pain?
Yes and no. Back pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some in their life. Chances are, you'll have to deal with it eventually. It might be like a common cold for most people - just minimal back pain here and there that can subside without any long-term, lasting damage. Chronic back pain is a whole other issue - it can be a lifelong challenge that can affect just about everything you do.
There are so many reasons for back pain, and according to statistics, 90% of back pain doesn’t have a clear cause. Only about 5-10% of back pain is from herniated discs, and back pain from traumatic injuries is actually pretty rare.
Although it seems like many unknown variables lead to back pain, we know there are many things we CAN do to prevent it. We’ve got some tips to keep you feeling good and back pain-free. Check it out-
What You Can Do to Protect Your Back:
- Get fit. First off, staying fit and keeping weight down is a huge component of keeping your back healthy since weight can strain your back. This is because when the spine is not neutral, problems usually follow. Often added weight in the midsection can cause the spine to tilt and become uneven. The back muscles overcompensate, which contributes to the development of lower back pain.
- Move your body. Just adding a couple of walks around the block is a start! Shoot for 30 minutes a day at first. Added plus: it’s also good for your heart. Consider strength training, too - it’s great for burning calories and preventing your metabolism from slowing down. Grab some barbells and YouTube some simple exercises you can do while you watch TV.
- Of course, watching what you eat is critical. It doesn’t have to be complicated - focus on more healthy protein and vegetables and less refined carbs to start!
- Make back strengthening exercises and stretches part of your routine. Shoot for a couple of times a week. You don’t need any gear for these two favorites.
- For strength: A plank is a great whole-body strengthening exercise. Start by holding it for a goal of just 15 seconds and work your way up. Plank every day; you’ll get stronger in no time. To make sure your form is correct, check out this video.
- For stretching: A simple cat-cow back stretch every day can help relieve back pain and stress on the back while also improving blood circulation between the vertebrae of your spine.
- Avoid heavy lifting. Period! Heavy lifting can lead to big back problems - it can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. Or even worse, it can lead to bulging and ruptured discs.
- When you lift something heavy, bend your knees and squat down, pick up the item and keep it close to your body. Keep your back straight and straighten the legs to lift. Avoid twisting and turning your body while lifting, and never lift a heavy object above shoulder level. Remember: You want your leg muscles doing most of the work!
- Consider back support, especially if your days involve lots of lifting. It can help reduce stress on your spine. Copper Fit’s Advanced Back Pro can be worn over or under clothing allowing for a full range of motion while supporting your lower back. The four built-in stabilizing supports are designed to help reduce lower back stress and strain and improve posture with a secure, double-belt closure for customizable compression.
- Stay in alignment and pay attention to your posture. It’s important! Over time, bad posture can put pressure on your spine, muscles, discs, and joints, leading to pain. It even leads to nerve damage in some cases.
- Check your standing posture: Stand with your heels against a wall. Your calves, buttocks, shoulders, and the back of your head should touch the wall, and you should be able to slip your hand behind the curve of your back. Now, step forward and stand normally. Notice if your posture changes. To help keep yourself in the correct alignment, try Copper Fit Posture Support. It’s a quick and easy gentle reminder that promotes healthy posture and is comfortable and discreet to wear under clothing. The ergonomically correct support reminds you to adjust your neck, shoulder, and back position for proper alignment. It helps alleviate poor posture and slouching-related pains that increase the likelihood of neck, back, and shoulder pain.
- Your sitting posture should be like this: Make sure your feet are flat on the floor or a footrest, and don’t cross your legs, knees, or ankles. Keep a small space between your knees and the seat of the chair, and your knees should be at the same height as your hips or slightly lower. Don’t forget to relax your shoulders!
- Pick the right purse (bag or briefcase). Sounds silly, but anyone that has worn a heavy purse or bag for too long knows! A heavy purse causes the trapezius muscle, which sits on top of your shoulders, to spasm and tighten. This can then affect the muscles that go from your shoulder to the base of your neck and down your back.
- Pick a bag with the strap on the opposite shoulder. The bag distributes the weight more evenly - and make sure it has a wide adjustable strap. This will keep your shoulders even too, and alignment on track.
- Small backpacks and fanny packs are great for alignment - so get shopping!
Here are some simple steps to prevent or help relieve back pain episodes:
- Yoga and Pilates both work to strengthen back muscles and relax the spine.
- Foam rollers are inexpensive and work wonders! Just google how to use them. Wellness Educator Lauren Roxburgh, who has worked with our very own Brand Ambassador, Gwyneth Paltrow, says, “I look at the roller as your own in-home private masseuse and also your private Pilates teacher, personal trainer and yoga teacher because you can use it for so many things."
- Although you might not feel like moving, moving your body in a way that you can handle is good for you. Regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.
- Consider heat and cold therapy. Heat therapy helps relieve muscle tension, pain, and stiffness, and cold therapy may help ease inflammation. Copper Fit’s Rapid Relief Adjustable Back Brace wraps you up whether you need a boost of heat or a blast of cold.
- Always check with your doctor. Get help from professionals if you need it - don’t ignore chronic pain. They can help or maybe point you in the direction of others that can, like a physical therapist.
For a vibrant life, it’s essential to do what you can to keep your back pain-free. Simple daily choices can make a BIG difference!