Low Back Pain? 3 Things You Need To Avoid.

Chances are, either you or someone you know have suffered from back pain. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Low back pain is a leading cause of disability.

It occurs in similar proportions in all cultures, interferes with quality of life and work performance, and is the most common reason for medical consultations.”

As a physical therapist, I work with people with some degree of low back pain on a daily basis. As we get older, low back pain seems to become more and more common. What most people don’t realize though is that this is NOT a normal response to aging.

While low back pain is common, there are often times a few simple things we can do to avoid it.

Like anything else, back pain has several causes, and some times medical professionals just don’t know what causes it. However, we do know that there are a few things we can all do to help ourselves avoid or improve back pain…

1. Stop wearing unsupportive shoes.

Wearing heels or flats can be stylish, but also can lead to small changes in body position which may lead to an increase in back pain. High heels, for example, push your leg and hip position forward which causes your upper body to move backward in an effort to counterbalance your lower body.

By doing this, your lower back is placed in an extended position which leads to excessive pressure being placed on the spinal joints in your lower back.

Instead, wear shoes that supports your natural foot and ankle position, and your low back will thank you. Nowadays, there are multiple choices for dress shoes that still provide the necessary support your back is begging you for.

2. Avoid sitting so much.

There is an old saying in the world of Physical Therapy, “motion is lotion,” meaning you need to keep your joints moving in order to keep them lubricated. When we stay in one position for extended periods of time, we don’t keep those joints lubricated and the result can be pain.

While this saying certainly is an oversimplifies many complex issues into a catchy phrase, it still has some value. The human body was not created to sit all day. When we sit (often in poor postural positions) we greatly increase the strain on our back muscles (called core muscles).

Even if we sit in a good postural position, staying in one position too long can often cause just as much irritation as maintaining poor posture. Try getting up from your chair and take a short walk every 20-30 minutes.

Walking is a great way to loosen tight core muscles and lubricate the small joints in your spine. This in return can reduce stiffness, aches, and pains in your low back.

3. Quit slouching… yeah you…

We all do it right? Especially these days when so much of our lives happen on screens. I’m sure some of you can still hear echoes from your mother telling you to, “sit up straight!” Posture, or more specifically good posture, has been promoted for decades.

This begs the question…What is ‘good’ posture anyway?

Well, ‘good’ posture means maintaining the position your body was intended to be in.

This can be in sitting, standing, walking or doing anything really. Many of us when sitting tend to slouch, which leads to increased pressure in your low back. This is harmful because your body was not designed to sustain this pressure for prolonged periods of time.

Now let’s also take into consideration that you’re sitting for hours at a time, week after week, year after year. It’s not hard to see why sitting with poor posture can lead to such discomfort/pain in your low back.

While sitting for prolonged periods of time certainly is not recommended, it is at times unavoidable (especially at work). In order to manage the stress on your low back during these prolonged periods of sitting, maintaining ‘good’ posture is imperative.

Good posture while sitting looks something like this: sitting in a chair with feet flat on the floor, knees and hips at about 90 degrees, shoulders over hips, and ears in line with shoulders.

Do NOT try to overextend your back as this can also lead to increased stress on your low back joints.

BONUS TIP… Don’t go it alone.

There is a lot of low back pain treatments out there now. It is likely you’ve seen some of this, and may have even tried a few things. What they don’t tell you is that the information available is generic and may or may not meet you specific needs.

That’s why we recommend you Get Moving with Physical Therapy. There isn’t a faster way to end YOUR low back pain than by working one on one with a physical therapist!

Working with a physical therapist, receiving one-on-one care, means you’re going to get the quickest available results in loosening tight, aching muscles, lubricate and loosen stiff, painful joints in your back, and strengthen your core muscles that are designed to support and protect your spine in order to return to the things you love to do with less pain.

Working with a good physical therapist can ease your concerns and reduce your physical pain in less than an hour!

Combine the tips in this post and see a physical therapist with one-on-one care to see a dramatic reduction in the low back pain you’re currently suffering from.

Note: Did you know that in Idaho, you DON’T need a doctor’s referral to go see your physical therapist? Physical therapy is an excellent way to reduce pain, improve mobility, and return to your normal activities without taking medication or having surgery!!!

I hope this helps. If you have questions or you would like to learn more about how we can help you reduce your low back pain, contact us today and ask about our FREE Discovery Visit!


Dr. Tyler Burke

DPT, Owner and Founder of Switchback Direct PT

We help injured outdoor enthusiasts to stop hurting and start adventuring.

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