How can I avoid back pain this Spring?

Winter is gone, spring is here!, the time for new life, flowers blooming, the smell of fresh-cut grass and for those unlucky few… time for back pain, unless you listen close!.

The main activities we find that cause back pain at this time of year are Gardening, Spring cleaning and DIY. You know the usual chores, “the garden is overgrown and needs a good looking after”, “the gutters are full up with leaves left from last autumn”, “the attic, shed and garage all need a good sort out”. Classic situations that can lead to back pain, in this post I am going to give you some really helpful tips to help you prevent injury.

Tip 1.- Be sensible and know your limits!.
I am sorry to sound like a nag but this is definitely one for those of you that have suffered from previous episodes of back pain or have had previous operations that may limit your ability. Start any job by first thinking ‘is it really worth causing all that pain and potential loss of earnings for the sake of doing something a much fitter, possibly more experienced and capable person could do?’. Remember, assess the job that needs doing and make a sensible decision about it, it is your body, look after it, ask yourself, ‘is it capable?’ and ‘is it really worth the risk?’

Tip 2.- Co-Contraction.
Sounds funny doesn’t it?, don’t worry, its sooo simple! and sooo effective!. Co-contraction is simply tucking in or contracting the lower part of you belly by just 10-20%, your belly button should tuck in a little when you do this. Holding this contraction will cause a belt of support around your waist and spine, its like those belts weight lifters use but its built-in!, great hey?. Hold this whenever you are attempting to bend over or pick up anything (i.e lifting boxes, mowing the lawn, using the vacuum cleaner, climbing a ladder, pretty much all the time if you can!). It is great, the best part is, that if you keep doing this for 2 weeks constantly it becomes automatic. So what I tell my patients is “co-contract, co-contract, co-contract!!”, the more you think about using it now, the less you will have to in the future.

Tip 3.- Bend from your hips, not from your back!.
I know, I know, someone has told you something similar already but its time to mop up the nonsense and explain exactly how and why everyone needs to do this. If you need to lean forward (i.e mowing grass or working at a workbench) or bend down (picking up a box or some leaves) then use your hips and knees to lean forward or get lower and keep your back as straight as possible, remember to co-contract!! :D. You have been blessed with hips and knees, so use them!, your back is not designed to lift loads while flexed, your hips and knees are. Another way you can get lower is opening up your stance so your legs are further apart and then bend from your hips. Also, try keeping your head up once you have a good grip as this helps you keep your back straight.
Look at you body, have you ever wondered why your bum is so big? (sorry to those offended 😛 ), it is designed to keep your top half upright and help you and your hips in lifting weight. Bending from the hips will take off a huge amount of strain from your back which will lead to an increase in back support and decrease the risk of getting back pain.

One last piece of advice, your spine is weakest when it is flexed and rotated, so please, remember not to bend and twist your back this spring!, enjoy the sun everybody.

I hope this has helped you understand a bit more about your body and Chiropractic, If you have any questions on this topic send me an e-mail at danny@longlevenschiro.com

If you live in Gloucester or surrounding areas and are interested my Chiropractic services and what I can do to help you, then book an appointment to see Danny at the Longlevens Chiropractic and Sports Injury Clinic on 01452 309372

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