5 Tips to Better Back Care
Dr Michael Santamaria
Low back pain, is by far the most common complaint we see. It is so prevalent in our society that almost every Australian will experience back pain in their lifetime. Many of these pain episodes are avoidable. Here are simple tips to get you into better habits to reduce your risk of a flare-up and keep you out of our clinic!
1. Stop Sitting. The more you sit, the less your core muscles are switched on and that means less back support. When this happens your joints and discs are asked to carry the burden and do a lot more of the work and often these strain as a result. So get up, walk around, walk at lunchtime or even better, get a Stand-Up Desk.
2. Strong Gluts. Its not very Osteopathic to single out one muscle to save us all, but the gluteal muscles are so important for pelvic and low back stability. Simple “bridges” or “clams” are so effective in strengthening your gluts.
3. Exercise. This is obvious, and it will vary for different people. But if you exercise, your core muscles are engaged and this is key to supporting your low back. Walking or gentle exercise such as swimming or bike riding are brilliant. Many patients do Pilates or Yoga, which is great, but many of us don’t have the money or the time to keep doing that, so just get out and walk for 20 minutes every night instead.
4. Avoid heavy lifting. It is amazing how many people come into us saying, “I know I shouldn’t have but… I just needed to move that chest of drawers/carton of wine/huge pot plant…” Just get someone to help you. Get friendly with your neighbours, ask them to help out for 2 minutes. You can end up getting months of treatment for one silly lifting injury.
5. Avoid crazy one-off clean-ups! IF you have a big household job that needs doing, then do it in stages. The other most common reason for patients visiting us is because they “just needed to” weed the whole garden in one day or they “just had to” paint the whole house in a weekend. It’s almost a guarantee to see you in here for 4-5 treatments. Space it out, be sensible.