With changes in the aging spine, occasional backaches may grow more frequent and blossom into a chronic and disabling pain condition. It doesn't have to happen to you. To maintain the best back health possible, you must address both the body and the mind.
Cardiovascular and strength training are good basic prevention to keep your back healthy, Because of the brain's involvement with back pain, maintaining a good sleep cycle and good emotional state are also very important."
1 Don't baby your back
It's important to respond to back pain constructively. Acute back pain flare-ups are so painful that most people start to baby their backs. If people tend to shrink too much from their daily activity level, they get deconditioned.
In turn, deconditioning can lead to worse pain and disability. "Neurological changes happen that sensitize you to the pain. That feeds into a cycle of more avoidance of activity and more deconditioning.
When you have a sore back, avoid extended bed rest. Slowly transition back to your usual activities. "It's important to maintain normalcy. Get up and walk around the house. Try to do light tasks. Maintain moderate activity."
2 Strengthen your core
Strengthen the muscles that support the lower spine as an insurance policy. "Moderate exercise is very helpful. Many people who are moderate exercisers have fewer musculoskeletal problems.
Ask your doctor to suggest daily back exercises appropriate to your condition or ask for a referral to a physical therapist to teach you the most effective exercises to prevent back pain.
3 Stay limber
If the muscles that support the lower spine become tight, it can make pain worse. Trouble generally develops in the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic girdle, which allow you to bend and twist at the waist. "When the hip girdle is unbalanced, you have more flare-ups of back pain.
Learn some stretches to keep your pelvic girdle limber. Some of the same exercises often recommended for routine back pain will help, but
a physical therapist can carefully assess your specific musculoskeletal issues and prescribe stretches to release the tension.
4 Straighten up
Poor posture can put stress on the back and trigger back pain. Don't slouch when you sit. If you are slouching or leaning because of ongoing pain, loosening the hip girdle with stretching exercises may help. "That allows you to stand more upright and put less mechanical strain on the low back.
5 Get some sleep
Getting restful sleep is essential for anyone with back problems because sleep deprivation sensitizes you to pain. When you have poor sleep, it also alters brain chemistry and you are more prone to developing a chronic pain state.
6 Stay positive and relax
People who are depressed and anxious tend to have worse back problems. And of course, back pain itself can get you down. Like sleep deprivation, blue moods and anxiety can make you more sensitive to pain.
Relaxing deep-breathing exercises can help to relieve the stress of a back-pain flare-up. If you are getting depressed, anxious, or hopeless about your condition, ask for more help from your doctor. Think of the flare-up as a temporary setback and focus on what you will be able to do in the future to make back pain a less frequent companion in your life.
Tips: Exercise is still one of the best method to heal back pain, when done correctly; and with the right guidance.
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.