If you suffer from low back pain, you may be unconsciously aggravating your symptoms daily. Our spines were built to rotate especially in the neck and low back. But we need to be careful and avoid mindless twisting and bending. In the following everyday situations, we may bend and twist unknowingly thus straining the lower back.
1. In the bathroom: Twisting to reach for toilet paper? Try preparing the toilet paper before you sit down or have a toilet paper stand positioned so that you don’t have to twist. Rounding the back while bending to brush our teeth and rinse our mouths puts undue strain on the smaller muscles of our low back. Try staggering your stance, using the bigger quadriceps muscles of your legs, and leaning your abdomen against the counter or sink. Place a hand on the counter to decrease strain on the back. Open the below sink cabinet door to further allow your knee to bend while in your staggered stance.
2. Cleaning house: Whether you’re dusting, sweeping or vacuuming, avoid performing side-to-side or twisting motions. Stagger your stance, keeping your elbows close to the sides of your body and use your legs to move your body- thus moving the cleaning device forward and back. Keep your feet moving rather than being stationary. Move your feet first in the direction you want to go rather than rotating your chest. This helps avoid twisting. Any activity that requires repetitive motion requires a heightened amount of posture awareness to prevent undue strain on the back.
3. In the kitchen: We inadvertently bend and twist the back often while in the kitchen. We may reach for platters, utensils, ingredients while twisting our backs rather than turning our feet first to face the item we want. We do the same putting dishes away or reaching for items on a shelf. If you tend to use an item frequently, make sure to store it at chest or waist height. When using a dishwasher, make sure to use the big muscles of your legs and face the direction of activity. When carrying items, hold them close to your body as the further an object is held away from your body, the more it weighs.
There are many other activities during the day which warrant discussion. Such activities include making a bed, lifting pets or children, getting items in or out of a car, getting clothes out of the washer or dryer, getting items out from low drawers, reaching for items on the nightstand while in bed and reaching for items in back seat of the car from the front seat.
Low back pain is usually not just one event but the culmination of strains put on the back over the years. Increasing awareness of one’s posture and how to move certainly helps. When treating low back pain, it is also important to address the biomechanical, soft tissue and muscle imbalances through hands-on therapy. Education gives you knowledge of how your injury occurred, how to heal and how to prevent re-occurrence through proper body mechanics. Modifying your workstation can work wonders. For recreational and sporting activities, instruction on how to temporarily modify your program while you heal allows you to enjoy your recreational activity for years to come.
If you have concerns about your own or your loved one’s back pains and seek guidance, please contact us. We got your “back”!