Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic, Islington, London

Our Top 5 Tips on How to Avoid Back Pain

1. Walking is not Enough

Many people think that they are relatively fit if they do regular walking. While this is good for your cardiovascular fitness, it is generally not good enough on its own for your back health – especially if you have a desk-based job or are sedentary. Keeping your back flexible and strong requires a mix of stretching and strengthening exercises. Your back needs protection by your core muscles and gluts. Good forms of exercise to achieve this are Swimming and Pilates, also free-weights and body-resistance exercises in the gym.

2. Keep an Eye on your Posture at Work and at Home

Having the right chair at work, using cushions to help support your back in deep comfy sofas at home, keeping things that you use regularly within easy reach, all can help reduce the likelihood of you building up symptoms to an episode of back pain.

3. Take Care with Your Smartphone

Using mobiles for emails, texting and reading is an increasing trigger for episodes of back and especially neck pain. Texting especially while sitting has been shown to greatly increase your neck flexion (bend) creating more load and strain on your neck muscles. Lifting your phone closer to your eyes, supporting your arms on your bag to raise your phone when commuting, and if you’re a heavy user and/or having problems, upgrading to a bigger phone can all help avoid problems.

4. Maintain your Back Movement

It’s quite easy to get stiff in your back – most of our daily activity involves bending forwards and twisting. Don’t forget side-bending and bending backwards! Yoga can be useful if you generally feel stiff but if you are more disposed to being flexible, Pilates can be a better option to strengthen as well as stretch.

5. Plan and Pace Heavier Activity

It is no coincidence that we see more incidences of back pain at certain times of year –Spring with gardening activities, holiday-time with luggage and long-haul travel and Xmas with lugging heavy trees and shopping. Even a change in routine such as a different commute for a new job or a new baby in the home can mean a sudden change in loading for your back and potential problems. For heavier lifting, try and test the weight first, bend your knees and use your stronger leg muscles. Also, plan your movement direction first to avoid any sudden twisting with movement.

For further information on any of these tips or if you would like us to review your posture or exercise programme, please get in touch.

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Established in 1998