Suffering from low back pain can leave you immobile. Besides being in physical pain, energetically you may feel drained. Even so, make movement priority one. Failing to do so sooner or later can leave your completely incapable of moving at all!
Lack Of Movement
Lack of movement is another major contributor to low back pain. After all the body is not meant to sit. That is to say the human body is designed to stand and move about. Today’s stagnant computer lifestyle is not at all what we are designed for. Ask yourself, how long did a caveman sit? Not long at all is the correct answer. Now don’t be confused. Certainly I’m not saying you have to get a gym membership or anything like that. Basically just get up and walk around. Take longer strides when you walk. As you walk think about relaxing your low back and allowing your legs to work freely. When you relax and focus on walking correctly you will find will be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
How Often Should I Walk Or Move Around?
As often as possible. Once a day is not good enough. I’ll just be honest with you. You should have a focused relaxed walk at least 2-3 times a day. Roughly 15 – 30 minutes or more each time. The idea is to get mobility and relaxation to relieve your low back pain. See the “Lateral Rotation” section below for tips on walking correctly to stop low back pain.
Make Movement Priority One Daily
There were days that crippling low back pain kept down however my goal was to minimize those days. No matter what I tried to make movement priority one daily. You should too. Despite what you may be thinking I am not telling you to run a mile. Certainly for some of my readers walking will be difficult while running will be impossible. On the contrary, any movement will do. Even if you can only make snow angels in your bed, do it. You will get significantly more benefit from moving your arms than nothing at all.
Do The Maximum Movement You Are Capable Of
Regardless of what the movement is do the maximum amount of movement you are capable of every day. To put it another way, if you can move your arms straight above your head then do it. Do it multiple times too. In the same fashion if you can walk around the block 10 times do that also. Ultimately your goal is to retain the maximum amount of movement you have at the current moment. Do not let low back pain stop you from moving the rest of your body.
Move It Or Loose It
Chances are you have heard the phrase “Move It or Loose It”. This phrase refers applies to your body too. Undeniably when you stop moving to your maximum Range Of Motion your range of motion will decrease. Additionally, prolonged periods of sedentary lifestyle can lead to Atrophy. Atrophy is a medical term for the decrease in muscle tone or mass. An example of this is a person that has had a cast on a broken arm or leg. If you have seen them when the cast is removed you will notice that the casted arm or leg will be smaller that it was before the broken bone. The reduction you see in muscle size is called Atrophy. In like manner when you don’t move for a long period of time all of your muscles are subject to Atrophy. For this reason I say make movement priority one!
If You Can, Walk!
Most effective recoveries happen when back pain suffers make movement priority one. To that end walking correctly can be instrumental to a speedy recovery. Mall walking or street walking, the choice is yours but get up and get out. A walking exercise that I do commonly is I will walk as far as I can away from my house. Then when I get too tired I get in a taxi and go home. This exercise works great if you are in an urban area however, this may not work for everyone. An alternative is to arrange a taxi to pick you up or have a friend meet you at a specified destination, like your favorite restaurant. Use your ending destination as a reward. Pick some place good. Like an ice cream shop!
Movement Is Good But Do It Correctly
To emphasize, movement is good but do it correctly. Especially if you are in a heightened state of pain. An example would be lifting with your legs. In fact, if you have low back pain you may want to practice proper lifting. A great exercise is picking up a piece of paper. There is only the weight of your body so when you squat down you only have to focus on your posture, not potential weight. Similarly walking correctly. Make sure your feet face forward with every step. If your feet turn in or out you are not moving correctly. Slowly make adjustments and get your feet to point straight ahead. Likewise, if your movement is snow angels in your bed do some with your palms together and some with your palms facing out.
Recommended Reading For Movement
Unquestionably there are hundreds of books on movement and stretching however a few of them really stand out. Among the best is “Stretching” by Bob Anderson. With simple illustrations in a large format, every stretch you’ll ever need is in this book, ironically called Stretching.
Second is “Life After Pain” by Dr Jonathan Kuttner. In this book Dr. Kuttner guides you along the path to eliminating chronic pain of all kinds. Dr. Kuttner explains what causes your pain and offers outstanding techniques to help you back to health. Most notable techniques are Dr. Kuttner’s breathing exercises.
The third book I recommend is “Mobility: A Step-by-Step Guide to Treating Musculoskeletal Pain Yourself” by Dr. Nick Chretien. Dr. Chretien writes from a perspective of crossfit/weight training however the techniques he teaches in the book are outstanding. Dr. Chretien takes you through understanding myofascial pain which is a key factor in all types of pain.
I added the recommended reading above in the hope that you continue on the path and make movement priority one everyday. Moreover, please share this with friends and loved ones who live with pain. Friendly love and support is sometimes the second best medicine … second only to laughter 🙂