If you’re anything like me (almost 46) your low back doesn’t always cooperate with how old you think you are, or feel you are, or wish you were!
I injured my low back in college (tip: don’t jump off a bunkbed) and that combined with my abysmal hip and hamstring flexibility makes me feel like I’m 100 years old when I wake up in the morning. Some days it takes me a good 20 minutes to be able to move fluidly and not look like I should be living in a bell tower.
Since I’ve lived with a creaky back for a really long time I’ve learned what works to keep my back as functional as possible. If you have a specific injury, please follow your doctor’s recommendations.
- Bed rest rarely works. Staying active is the best thing you can do. Regular movement improves mobility and blood flow. Stretching will keep you moving and strength training will build your back muscles to help you be able to do more. Building up your core strength will also keep your back from hurting as much in the future. When I take time off from my regular workouts, I definitely feel it.
- Stretching. I stretch my back every day. I’m not talking about a lengthy flexibility program (although maybe I should!). Just 30 seconds when I stand up out of bed in the morning. I bend side to side, lean over and reach for my toes, and twist right to left. It isn’t much but it helps me loosen up enough to get to the coffee. When my back gets especially bad, laying prone over an exercise ball so my body is fully supported, helps me stretch and relieves pressure on my back.
- Practicing proper posture. I know this is hard sometimes. Especially when you’re tired but sitting and standing straight will help protect your back and the more you practice it, the easier it will become.
- Not staying in one spot for too long. I spend a lot of time at my desk writing things like this blog and I have a comfortable chair but sitting in one spot all day makes my back tired and achy. I stand up every so often and stretch and move around. Sometimes I use the dictation feature so I can stand at my desk and still work.
I hate that my back injury makes me feel so old but I know I would feel so much worse if I didn’t actively care for it. Check out this page on my site for more specific stretching and strengthening exercises.
P.S. I can help you with a specific program to strengthen your back if you deal with daily pain. Contact me so we can chat.