Have you had a bad back? An osteopath gives their best tips on how to relieve your pain
Feeling a little locked up? Tense and painful? It is not surprising if you really are, given the situation. In addition, many people have plunged into a new world of working from home in the past two weeks – and the sudden speed at which it all happened meant that there was little time to set up a good office.
I’ve seen online images of makeshift desks made from coffee tables, cocktail cabinets, and even ironing boards.
Smart, yes, but also a recipe for a sore back.
Do you feel a little locked up? Tense and painful? Not surprisingly, given the situation, you’re actually writing, writes osteopath Garry Trainer
As an osteopath, I spend a lot of my time unraveling the self-inflicted damage to the body through poor posture.
For starters, I always tell patients that it is important to sit properly.
That doesn’t mean you should always sit upright or invest in an expensive ergonomic office chair.
Just try to be self-aware. If you feel lanky, get up and walk around for about five minutes. Or change position. Being static for too long is a major cause of discomfort.
Try leaning slightly back in your chair, with your feet on the floor so that you have a slight outward curve in your lower back.
This distributes your body weight more evenly and decreases some of the pressure from the spine. It’s also worth sitting with your pelvis slightly higher than your knees, so put a pillow under your buttocks.
Many people come to me when they have an acute episode of back pain.
This happens when painful, strained or compressed back muscles become inflamed and begin to press on the nerves around the spine. It can lead to a small part of the muscle lock – we call this a spasm.
Just try to be self-aware. If you feel lanky, get up and walk around for about five minutes. Or change position. Being static for too long is a major cause of discomfort
This often happens when we least expect it – while brushing your teeth or picking up something off the floor – and it can be excruciatingly painful and debilitating. The good news is that, in about three days, it usually starts to subside.
During this time, it is important not to strain the back by lifting heavily, but try to keep moving. When the pain starts to subside, start with gentle loading movements like twisting, twisting, and reaching.
It goes without saying that a flare-up like this is the last one of us needs during lockdown.
At this point, we are allowed to have a daily dose of outdoor activity if you can. Walking is one of the best activities for preventing back pain.
And to further help you avoid discomfort, I came up with this simple stretch to do every day.
If you’re already a little stiff and in pain, you should find the exercises calming right away.
If your back is a bit wary of exercise, try putting a hot water bottle on the problem area for a few minutes before starting.