Low back pain. For so many people, it’s a pain in the.... back. And as boring as it is, low back pain is a red flag that says your mechanics are out of whack and need re-tuning like a piano that’s out of key. And it’s something you should DEFINITELY pay attention to before you start smashing out the reps you have committed to for your New Year’s Resolution.
It can be as mild as a twinge when you lean over to pick up your toothbrush or as major as keeping you bedridden and dosed up on painkillers. Either way, low back pain can get in the way of living life (and exercising!), but most of the time you can beat it with stretches and strengthening. Not exciting stuff, but it can really make the difference to your quality of life. Here are four basic tips to preventing or relieving your next flare up, and making sure your resolutions don’t cause you more harm than good.
1. Stretch your glutes. Sit up straight in a chair and put your right ankle on top of your left knee. Sit up really tall and let your right knee drop towards the floor. If this is enough, stay here for 30 seconds and breathe. If not, gently lean forward and push down on your right knee to intensify the stretch, then hold. From here, sit as tall as you can and hug your right knee up towards your left shoulder, rotating your body slightly to meet your knee. This will change where you feel the stretch; again hold for 30 seconds. Repeat both stretches on the left side.
2. Stretch your hip flexors. Standing upright, take a step forward with your left leg. Squeeze your bum and put a slight bend in your left knee, this will push your pelvis forward. Then, think about your whole pelvis as a cup full of water – try to tip it backwards so the water runs down the back of your legs. Reach your right arm up and try to touch the ceiling, keeping your hips pointing straight ahead. You should feel a stretch in the front of your right hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
3. Strengthen your pelvic stabilisers. Standing facing the back of a chair, put your weight on your left leg. Hold your pelvis steady and slowly lift your right leg straight out to the right. Raise it as far as you can before your pelvis/back/torso moves – everything should stay still except your right leg. Lift your leg 10 times, then swap to your left and do three sets on each side. Jane Fonda, eat your heart out!
4. Heat, heat, heat. Invest in a good wheat bag and you won’t go wrong. I recommend lying in a Yoga ‘Child’s Pose’ for as long as you are comfortable with a heat pack on your back, then swapping to lying on your back with the heat pack under your low back and sacrum so your pelvis is lifted slightly, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. No heat pack? Turn the shower on super hot and lean down to touch the floor with your knees slightly bent. Ahhh, bliss!
If all these don't get you 100% pain relief, it's time to get the professionals involved. Don't make it worse for yourself by waiting - usually your massage therapist (I mean, me) can get you sorted in just a couple of sessions. Click below to book in now!