Millions suffer from back pain, but you don’t have to. You know how??? It’s February and love is in the air!
What does love have to do with it? Well, with all the love in the air, your back deserves some love too. Give your back a little extra love this month and watch your back pain subside.
Think about it, your back does so much for you, day in and day out. So this month, let’s talk about a few ways to give your back a little extra TLC.
Losing Weight Helps With Back Pain
I know, you probably are thinking to yourself that you already know this. However, even if you’re just 10lbs over your ideal weight, that extra pressure on your body’s joints and muscles can throw off your spinal alignment resulting in problems like bulging discs, muscle strains, osteoarthritis, and the obvious back pain. So what do you do when your back already hurts and physical activity is tough? The first thing you should do is a see a chiropractor. From chiropractic care to laser therapy and spinal decompression treatments, we personally can assess for the problem and provide a custom treatment plan providing immediate improvements to get you active again. Secondly, you probably already know that losing weight requires a healthy diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle (i.e. a stress –free life with adequate sleep and motivation). However, there are two things I’d like to point out here:
(1) Losing weight is 80% Diet and 20% Exercise
Therefore, if getting up to exercise is currently too much stress and causing you back pain, then take note that your diet is more important for weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, you need both diet and exercise, but if you have to start with focusing on one, then your diet it is. Why is that? It’s because the key to losing weight is achieving a negative energy balance. In other words, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn. Therefore, since it requires a deficit of 3500 calories to shed a single pound, it is a lot easier to consume 500 fewer calories a day to lose one pound a week than burn an additional 500 calories a day through activity, especially if you’re suffering from back pain. Hence, it’s recommended to burn 80% of it through a healthy diet (i.e. 2800 calories a week or 400 calories a day) and 20% through exercise (i.e. 700 calories a week or 100 calories a day). On a side note, if you do ever across any question regarding diet and nutrition, please let us know as we also do offer nutritional services at Foothill Family Chiropractic.
(2) Exercise Doesn’t Mean Over Exerting Yourself
Again, if you’re suffering from back pain, please make an appointment with our office or your local chiropractor (preferably our office if you’re located in Southern California) to address it before it gets worst. However, in terms of exercise, if you’re going to follow the 80/20 suggestion, then adding a little more activity to burn an additional 100 calories a day can be easy if you find something you enjoy. For instance, going for a moderately paced walk for only 20 minutes can easily scorch those calories to drop those unwanted pounds and lift that unwanted pain off your back. And keep in mind, as you start feeling better and become more active again through the tips I provide and the services I offer at our office, you can incorporate more and more fitness into your life to help you achieve your ultimate fitness goals.
Reduce Your Back Pain By Sleeping Well
Did you know how you sleep can worsen back pain? For instance, if you’re a stomach sleeper, then at nights you’re technically flattening the natural curve of your spine and straining your back muscles. In addition, your neck is most likely rotated causing additional pain between your neck and shoulders. On the other hand, if you’re a back sleeper then you’re placing additional weight onto your back causing you to wake up with back pain. That said…
If you’re a stomach sleeper: Place a pillow under your lower abs and pelvis to ease the strain on your back.
If you’re a back sleeper: Place a pillow under your knees to allow your spine to maintain its natural curve and cut the pressure in half.
If you’re a side sleeper: Draw your legs up slightly towards your chest and place a pillow between your knees.
Also, don’t forget to give your mattress a check-up. While we all have different preferences regarding mattress types, make sure regardless of whether you like your mattress soft or firm, that it still supports your back. Also, don’t forget to flip it periodically.
Stop Sitting, Stop Back Pain
Unfortunately, many spend the majority of their day sitting as opposed to being active. In fact, one report suggests the average US adult spends nine to ten hours each day sitting, which is so much that even 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity can’t counteract its damage. On top of that, the majority don’t even partake in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Based on this, it’s no surprise that so many suffer from back pain. But it’s not only back pain. The more hours you spend sitting in a day, the shorter your lifespan. On the other hand, one study reported that if you reduce the average time you spend sitting to less than three hours a day, you can extend your life by two years. I know, you may be yelling through your screen that if you didn’t suffer from back pain, you’d be able to be more active. But again, if you’re not as active as you should be due to back pain, or any pain in that matter, then come see us so we can treat it.
Now, how do you get up and get moving?
(1) Set a goal to walk 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day. You can easily track this with an inexpensive pedometer or downloading an app onto your smart phone.
(2) Take the stairs or park further away instead of using an elevator or parking close.
(3) If you work at a desk all day, switch out your chair with an exercise ball to engage your core, improve your muscle, and increase your flexibility.
(4) If you have to sit, try sitting with your knees slightly higher than your hips to increase your lower back support.
(5) When sitting or even driving, increase your lower back support and ease discomfort by placing a small pillow or a rolled up towel behind your lower back.
Looking for a little more motivation to get up and stop sitting? Let me leave you with this…sitting for extended periods of time not only causes back pain, but it also increases your chances for heart disease, cancer, digestion problems, slower brain functions, varicose veins, weak bones, and muscle degeneration. Is it worth it???
Now stop reading and walk over to a phone and give us a call: 909-596-1038.