New Year - New You, With No Back Pain!06/01/2021, Alex Coleman, Movement Specialist
Is one of your New Year resolutions to finally get on top of your back pain? If so here are some tools that I’ve seen and experienced to work time and time again! If you do these well, not only do you improve your back pain, you also improve your relationship with your body. Which actually is the most important part.
But first let’s understand why so many of us suffer from back pain. To put it simply, tension over time equals pain! But a slightly more scientific way of explaining it would be; pain is due a lack of force distribution throughout the spine. We loose the ability to distribute force through various reasons such as:
- Sitting still for long periods of time, this compresses the trunk
- Constant repetitive movements that cause an imbalance in strength
- Living in the sympathetic nervous system which is your flight or flight response (stress), this increases tension and over time inhibits movement and leads to pain.
But there is a great way to help your spine distribute forces without pain, as you go about your daily tasks. That is to improve your spine articulation!
Articulation means moving smoothly and evenly. If you think of the spine like a whip, you want it to ripple and expel energy so that it doesn’t get stuck along the way and leading to tightness, tension and back pain. Spinal articulation also means activating the muscles at the back and front of the spine (your core) in a really deep, controlled way.
Exercises that encourage this sort of movement and activation of the core muscles are the best for eradicating your back pain. The following is a great playlist of exercises that my clients follow for homework. I call it ‘The Breakdowns’ because they are the individual exercises broken down, so you can begin to understand how to execute them perfectly. It’s here where you really start to tune in and get to know your body. Doing these exercises daily for at 3 weeks will give you and your spine push in the right direction for getting on top of the pain.
If you feel strong & whip-like enough you could move onto the next level, really securing that your pack pain is a thing of the past. The Breakdowns for Improved Posture is next. This is a 10-15 minute playlist best done in the mornings before you begin your day. Getting your core activated and your spine decompressed, elongated and moving well before you start our daily tasks will ensure there is no stuck-ness in your back as you move about. Below are the links to both playlists but read on for a couple more pointers before you start.
I really have to say the best way to get on top of back pain is to keep moving! I’ve had to practice what I preach over this past 4 weeks as Covid-19 forced me to work at a desk for the first time ever in my life. This resulted in back pain, something I haven’t had for a long time. My method for freeing up the pain was to do exactly what I’ve described above plus some extras. They are:
- Stretch out anything that feels tight, once a day on top of doing my Back Pain playlist (that takes me to 2 small movements sessions a day)
- Start deep breathing exercises, placing hands on lower belly and breathing down past diaphragm and into belly filling up the lower trunk. This brings me back to my parasympathetic nervous system calming unnecessary stress
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day, this brings hydration back to the spinal disks
- No sitting for more than 10 minutes at a time.
I’d like to caveat this by saying if you have sharp shooting pain it would be advised that you see a trusty physiotherapist or osteopath before you start any exercise. However, these are my key tools for improving back pain not only for myself but for my clients as well and I hope you too can now benefit from them.
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|About The Author|
With a degree in Sports Science and over 10 years working as a physical therapist Alex’s passion and truth is to heal people through movement. She often says “the ability to heal is within ourselves, sometimes we just need guidance”. She’s aiming to make this guidance more accessible for anyone who is ready. From videos on her YouTube channel to her curated app programs, to 1:1 private training, there is an array to choose from any where you are in the world!