Back Pain and Modern Lifestyles

Back Pain and Modern Lifestyles

It is estimated that a sixth of the UK population suffers from back pain at any one time.

According to the National Office of Statistics, a staggering 31 million days of work were lost last year [2016] due to back, neck and muscles problems.

These huge numbers of back and neck related complaints have been linked to our modern lifestyles and lack of steps taken by many of us to prevent the problems before they become too serious.

Our modern lifestyles are putting a considerable amount of strain on both our necks and backs which is leading to an increased source of tension and pain amongst many of us. Even if we lead hectic lifestyles it is important to take time to look after our spine health and ourselves. Incorporating simple steps into our everyday lifestyle can make a real difference to maintaining a healthy posture and our general back health, before it starts to have a serious effect on people’s daily lives. People are often surprised at the great positive impact even simple changes can have on their overall health.

Sitting for long periods of time lessens blood flow to the discs that cushion your spine and thus places more pressure on it than walking or standing. It is therefore crucial that you have a good posture while sitting at your desk. Make sure you head is straight and not tilted down when you are reading or typing. Avoid slouching and if it is possible, tilt your chair back slightly to help alleviate and excess pressure on your spine and make sure your feet are placed firmly hip width apart on the floor. No matter how good your posture, if you are sitting for prolonged periods of time, taking regular breaks to stand up, stretch and walk around will have a real positive effect on your back and help increase the blood flow to your lower back and legs.

To increase your daily exercise you can also make changes to your commute and help you get in the extra steps. It is advised that we take 10,000 steps a day most of us normally only manage to get between 3,000 and 4,000. If possible park further away from your destination or get off the tube a few stops before you normally would and walk the rest of the way.

As walking is a good, low impact exercise, it can not only help to relieve back pain but also prevent it without putting too much strain on your body. Even walking for just 30 minutes a day 3 – 5 times a week can have real benefits for you back health and your overall wellbeing.

The best exercises for Arthritis Sufferers

The best exercises for Arthritis Sufferers

If you suffer from arthritis, or very stiff joints, exercise may be the last things you want do, however getting out into the fresh air and doing some low intensity, aerobic exercise can be extremely beneficial and help to prevent stiff joints.

Sports such a yoga and Pilates can help to build up your core muscles, and the muscles which support your joints, and also reduce joint inflammation. Opt for gentle movements and light stretches and build up slowly, the gentle stretching involved in each exercise can help you to maintain mobility and movement. However try and avoid any hot or power yoga as this can end up putting excessive pressure on your joints.

Aerobic exercises including walking, cycling and swimming are also great for those suffering from arthritis. Swimming can be particularly good as the buoyancy of the water can help relieve any pressure on your joints while you exercise, giving you that extra supportive barrier which will help cushion any inflamed joints. Cycling also acts in a similarly supportive manner as is helps you avoid the pounding of high-impact aerobic activities. Like Yoga and Pilates it can also help to strengthen your leg muscles that support your joints. So whether its on an exercise bike or in the great outdoors, cycling can be an effective way of staying fit while making sure your joints aren’t placed under too much pressure.

If you are experiencing a severe flare up it is best to rest for a couple of days before par taking in any kind of physical activity. If you feel like it you could simply go for a walk, but make sure not to push yourself too much if you are in pain. The best thing you can do is to listen to your body. Remember pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop, so always go at your own pace.

Stepping it up!

Stepping it up!

It’s recommended that we take 10,000 steps a day. However, a recent study conducted at Stanford University found that the global average for steps taken per day is 4,961. Though the UK’s average is above this stat, it’s a far cry from the suggested amount.

There are many benefits of walking, from reducing the risk of heart disease to helping you sleep better. Swapping walking on pavements for paths in green spaces, you’re likely to improve your mood, get the creative juices flowing and reduce feelings of depression. With so many lovely green areas in and around Dorchester, a little change in your daily routine can do wonders for your wellbeing!

“A good walking technique is key to ensure your back is properly supported. Tighten your stomach muscles to engage your core and support your entire body weight. Spinal alignment is vital; try to stand up straight and keep your chin parallel to the ground. Let your arms swing naturally and roll through your foot from heel to toe.”

“As you move your body weight from heel to toe try and make a slight rolling motion inwards. This will help you when you push off with your foot and will give you a faster stride. Speed walking can burn as many calories as jogging especially if your posture is correct. Try and hold your ribcage up and your tummy muscles in.”

It’s also a good idea to shorten your strides; this will reduce the strain on your knees, calves and shins. Make sure you get the right technique as you start off so that bad habits don’t develop! Getting the right footwear is key to ensuring you establish a good walking method. When buying shoes you’re going to walk in make sure you go at the end of the day as your feet will be a little swollen meaning you’ll purchase the right size. It’s important that your toes have room to move and that your heel doesn’t slip. This will give you ample support both in your ankle and further up in your lower back.

We encourage incorporating a walk into your daily routine. By releasing endorphins and boosting vitamin D levels, walking’s benefits are sure to leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

Avoid Back Pain whilst on the Road

Avoid Back Pain whilst on the Road

Many drivers don’t realise that the back pain or a stiff neck may primarily be caused by bad driving habits, although you might not always feel it while you’re on the road!

Most of us spend a good couple of hours a day in our cars, commuting to and from work or running errands. This may cause us to suffer from aches and pains known as Repetitive Driver Injury.

According to the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), 40% of people say that simply sitting down for long periods of time exacerbates neck and back pain.

Did you know… Drivers commonly suffer from pain and stiffness in their lower back and neck due to irritation of the spinal joints. Long periods of time on the road puts extra strain on the vertebrae and discs and we lose the lumbar curves in our backs.

Remember… Avoiding back problems while driving may not require anything drastic, such as, buying a new car, however, taking practical measures should help drivers feel comfortable behind the wheel.

Did you know… After a long journey muscles can become very stiff, therefore, simple exercises, such as, side bends and seat braces, are very effective. Most importantly, remain relaxed whilst driving and take breaks.

Remember… If you have any issues you should book in for a checkup. These types of problems are more easily treated if dealt with promptly.