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Back Care Basics

Back pain is common, frustrating, tedious and often expensive. Here are some quick and simple tools for easing the pain.

When things are really bad, be nice to your self! For inflammation, ice can help. So can eating hot peppers (the capsacin is a pain killer). Avoid caffeine, it increases back tension.Walk barefoot on gravel for quick relief. Get somehwere quiet if you can, preferably in nature.

If you can’t get outdoors, lie down on the floor. Put your lower legs on a chair of sofa. Put a hardback book behind your head as a pillow. Breathe. Often this will bring major relief in less than ten minutes. If you have ongoing pain, repeat this every 2 hours. You will definitely get some rest, and most probably ease the muscle tension enough to improve how you are standing and walking.

If you have to sit, sit tall. Get forward on the seat of your chair. Don’t lean back, don’t touch anything but the seat. Put both feet flat on the floor. Let your belly round forward. Do not tuck your tail! This applies to all people in any sitting. Low sofas, big soft chairs, and car seats are really challenging. It may feel nice to sink back into a soft seat, but you will pay big time in a short while.

Walk backwards up hill. It ‘s a classic mountain climbing trick. It will stretch and tone your hip flexors, giving your low back a break. Great for sciatica, sacral pain and heavy lordosis (sway back).

Practice walking with a pillow on your head. This is great functional posture training. The pillow will be moderately easy to keep atop your head, and won’t hurt or make a loud noise when it slips off. Doing this teaches you to relax some muscles, and tone others.  You can quickly learn to walk  very differently from the “normal” way of walking we see around us.

Go barefoot as much as possible. Wear very soft shoes the rest of the time. Feet are shock absorbers, and they are pressure sensors that allow us to arrange our spine. Shoes deaden us, and they change the mechanics of our feet, making our back compensate. Walk on natural ground to stimulate your feet. That is what they are designed to work with! For those of you who wear orthotics, remember that they are essentially casts. You wouldn’t wear a cast on your arm for years, and you shouldn’t need a brace under your arch forever either.

Watch out for tight clothes. A tight waistband can cause significant back pain quickly. Any restriction makes a difference. An irritating collar or tie can cause us to shift our neck leading to pain and headaches. Even tags and rough seams create tension and can contribute to back pain.

Some final points: Sitting is hard. Standing still is a bit better. Walking is probably best for most back pain. Lying down on a firm surface is the best way to rest. Stay off the sofa and out of the recliner!

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September 13, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. We are working on the pillow technique. The kids love this. I’m having a hard time not walking into things 🙂

    Comment by Stephanie Davis | October 28, 2009 | Reply


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