Back pain is so common that almost everyone would have experienced it once in their lifetime or would experience it. How big a problem is back pain? As per the Global Burden of Disease 2010, it is the single top cause of disability across the globe. The aching, throbbing pain is frequently felt just as the morning starts, especially when a person changes position from lying in bed to standing.
The majority of lower back pain issues usually improve within a few weeks or even within a few days without the need for surgical intervention.
What Causes Those Aches and Stabs?
Here is a list of possible causes of back pain:
- Improper sitting posture
- Incorrect sleeping position
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Being overweight
- Spinal stenosis
And here are 9 top ways to help keep that bothersome morning backache away!
- Reposition your Body Before Sleep
Refrain from sleeping on your back! The ideal sleeping position is the fetal position. This involves first sleeping on your side. Secondly, while in that position, your knees should be bent and positioned upwards near your chest. In addition to helping your back, the fetal position reduces injury to the chest and neck.
If you absolutely want to sleep on your stomach, better keep a pillow beneath your lower abdomen to keep stress away from your back.
- Time to Inspect that Mattress
Generally, a mattress should be neither too soft nor too firm to suit your back. However, you might want to get a professional recommendation. Alternatively, try different kinds and see how they suit your back. The aim is to achieve appropriate posture – your body should be suitably supported, your spine straight, and your shoulders and buttock weight also well-supported. Use lower back pain relief products like cushions and lumbar pillows.
Has your mattress been serving you for too long? As per a 2009 study, changing a 9+- year old mattress provides real benefits in terms of less back discomfort, better sleep quality and decreased stress.
- Change the way you stand and sit
For a lot of back pain troubles to go away all it takes is some change in the way, you stand or sit.
Correct Standing Posture
- Whenever you stand, keep your back straight and head facing forward. To be precise, your head should be positioned in the middle top of your shoulders and in line with them.
- Relax your shoulders to the back and down.
- Ensure that your chin and bottom are tucked in.
- The knees should be slightly bent.
- Also, ensure that your legs are straight, the feet a little apart and that there is an equal balancing of weight on both feet.
Correct Seated Posture – Whether your job calls for you to spend hours at your desk, or you’re sitting at home and handling paperwork you need to pay serious heed to maintain proper seated posture.
- When sitting, keep your back straight with the shoulders pushed back.
- Position your buttocks so that they touch the chair.
- Make sure your body weight is evenly distributed on both the hips.
- There should be a curve in your lower back when you sit, as shown in the picture.
- Your hips, knees, and ankles should form a right angle.
- Your feet should be flat and touching the ground. If not touching, you may use a footrest to help.
- Finally, as you would do when standing, ensure that the head is in the middle top of your shoulders and in line with them with your chin tucked in.
- Watch how you lift
It is common for people to bend down from the waist to pick up a heavy object. Don’t do it! Instead, sit on your knees, getting into a squatting position. Pull your stomach muscles inside and as you rise to the standing position, keep the item you are lifting close to your body. In the process of lifting, make sure you don’t twist your body.
Some other pointers:
- Pushing puts less stress on the back. Prefer pushing to the pulling of heavy objects.
- Don’t lift anything heavier than your capacity. Take help when you should.
- When carrying shopping bags, ensure that you have equal weight on either side of your body.
- Use a waist trainer
A waist trainer doesn’t just help shape your waist, it also helps keep your core and spine in line. It ensures good posture when you work out which in turn keeps strain and injury away.
- Bid goodbye to those cigars
Research shows a connection between smoking and back pain. The study found back pain to be present in approximately 40 percent of
then-current smokers, 33 percent of former smokers and only 23.5 of those who never smoked.
One possible cause of the smoking-back pain connection could be that the former narrows the blood vessels. Constricted blood vessels cause a reduction in the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the spine receives. This, in turn, increases spine susceptibility to injury and slow healing thereafter. The solution: quit smoking!
- Maintain healthy body weight and diet
A heavy body, especially around the midsection, can aggravate back pain by changing the center of gravity and straining the lower back. Aim to be no more than 10 pounds above your ideal weight which you can calculate with the help of a BMI calculator.
Maintaining a healthy weight is not enough. Your spine needs appropriate nutrition to strengthen it and encourage bone growth.
Including best bcca supplements in your daily routine can further help you maintain good overall health. Avoid fast and spicy food as far as possible, trading it for fresh fruits, whole grains, dairy products, organic vegetables and lean protein.
- Weaken the Ties with Stress
Stress is not something that affects just the mind; when too much, it can take its toll on your body too. Stress induces muscle tension. So if you’re that kind of person who’s always tense or anxious, engage in activities that will help to ease your mind. Some suggestions: yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery and/or biofeedback.
- Get Moving
Contrary to what you may believe, exercise can actually be good for your back. Just consult your doctor before you do it.
Try walking or swimming to strengthen your back muscles without the sudden jolt, or any kind of strain.
Household chores such as lifting, vacuuming or gardening may injure your back. To reduce the possibility for injury, engage your back in some gentle stretching before starting such a chore. This would give your back the necessary warm up it needs.
Yoga to Alleviate Lower Back Pain
Engaging in yoga stretches is a wonderful way to strengthen core stability and flexibility, and correct breathing and posture. All these, in turn, will contribute to a healthier back. Here are 4 suggestions for yoga poses to help with your lower back pain. Correct those tight hamstrings and glutes starting from today!
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This pose is ideal for a lower back pain that starts in the spinal column.
- Lie on your back, head down with both feet apart at hip width distance.
- Put your palms down near your rib cage with elbows tucked tightly to the sides and pubic bone tightly pressing the floor.
- While inhaling, let your palms press firmly onto the mat and gently bring your chest and upper belly up from the ground. Only lift up to the height which feels comfortable. Do not strain.
- Try to raise your neck higher while rolling your shoulders to the back. Make sure to lift your ears at a distance from the shoulders.
- Slowly breathe in for 5 seconds and hold it. Then breathe out for 5 seconds.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The child’s pose aligns and lengthens the spine, thereby decompressing it and reducing pressure on the lower back.
Kneel down on your yoga mat with your knees apart at a hip-width distance. Your feet should be together. Inhale deeply and then with your exhalation, position your torso over your thighs.
Attempt to elongate your neck and spine by pushing your ribs a distance from your tailbone and drawing the crown of your head a distance away from your shoulders.
Let your forehead rest on the ground, keeping your arms extended forward and to your front.
Remain in the pose for 1 to 3 minutes.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
This is a good pose to give your strained hamstrings a much-needed stretch.
- Stand straight with hands by the side of your hips (mountain pose or Tadasana) and feet together
- As you inhale, try to extend the crown of your head upwards and lengthen the spine.
- With your exhalation, start hinging at the hips, making a forward fold over the legs and taking your torso over your legs.
- Bend your knees as much as required to remove tension from low back and to permit the head to droop heavy.
- Allow your arms to softly hang. If you are comfortable with it, extend your fingertips downwards to touch the ground. Alternatively, push the palms against the calves to take the pose deeper.
- Lightly shift your weight forward so as to enter the balls of your feet.
- Gradually come out of the pose by slightly bending the knees and positioning the hands on the hips. Engage the core, then inhale to make your back flat and finally exhale as you rise up to standing position.
Bridge Pose (Sethu Bandhasana)
Good for the lower back, the bridge pose can strengthen the muscles utilized in hip extension. It also encourages better posture.
- Lie on your back with feet flat but knees bent. Keep the feet parallel but at hip width distance apart.
- Let the pelvis stay neutral – your pubic bone should be in line with the head of your hip bones.
- Press your feet onto the floor to stimulate the glutes and gradually raise your legs up aiming to the ceiling. As the bottom of your rib cage moves off the floor, concentrate on keeping the torso stationary as you open your body out through the hips’ front.
- Having reached the top, take a pause and then gradually let loose the glutes as you bring your hips down to the ground.
Other Exercises to Help your Lower Back
See what you prefer and which works better for you, whether yoga or the following simple exercises.
- Lie on your back with a small and flat book or cushion positioned under your head. With your feet straight and apart at hip width length, bend your knees. Your chin should be tucked in with your upper body relaxed.
- Carefully straighten your lower back over the floor and tighten your stomach muscles. Next, direct your pelvis in the direction of your heels till you start to feel a gentle arch forming in your lower back. Come back to your original position.
- Repeat the exercise about 15 times, slowly pushing your pelvis back and forth as though in a rocking motion.
Lateral Leg Raises
Lateral leg raises work the gluteus medius muscles, a gluteal muscle situated on the pelvis’ outer surface.
- Lie on one side and slightly bend your lower leg on the ground. Keep your core engaged by pulling your belly button towards your spine.
- Raise the upper leg leaving the rest of the body supine.
- Hold the upper leg at the top position for 2 seconds.
- Repeat the process 10 times then do on the other side, again repeating 10 times.
- Complete 3 sets per side.
Lie on your back keeping one knee bent.
Loop a towel or resistance band just under the ball of the other leg’s foot.
Straighten the bent knee and gradually pull on the towel/band. You would feel a mild stretch radiating down at the back of your leg.
Remain in the position for between 15 to 30 seconds.
Repeat 2 to 4 times per leg.
- This exercise encourages the achievement of lower back stability when arms and legs are in motion.
Sit on your knees and with your palms flat on the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles.
- Raise one leg and extend it behind you. Make sure the hips are level.
- Stay in the position for 5 seconds before repeating with the other leg.
- Do this exercise 8 to 12 times for each leg.
- Try to hold each leg lift for a longer time. Also, attempt to raise and extend your opposite arm per repetition.
- Ensure that the muscles in the lower back do not sag when performing the exercise.
Other ways to keep morning back pain away include replacing high heels with flat soles, ice, and heat therapy, using essential oils with the right essential oils diffusers, and a doctor consultation for suitable back pain medication.
You don’t have to live with morning back pain. With the application of the right techniques, it can be managed successfully.
She is a blogger who loves to write in different verticals. She co-authored Supercharge Organic Traffic: A popular course focusing on Organic Traffic for E-commerce.. Her hobbies are traveling and reading.