Do Be Mindful Of How You Get In And Out Of Bed
Jerking yourself out of bed quickly or getting in too fast can exacerbate lower back pain, so make sure youre careful about doing each:
When getting into bed, first sit down near the place where you want to sleep. Then, using your hands as support, bend your knees and slowly lie down on your side. Take care to keep your torso straight.
When getting out of bed, you basically want to do the opposite. Roll onto your side first towards the edge of the bed, bend your knees, then use your arms to help push yourself up and swing your legs over the side. This will help you keep from bending at your waist, which can engage your back.
Stretch Your Hip Flexors
Tight hip flexors cause your pelvis to tilt forward, tightening the muscles of your lower back. Stretch the hip flexors once or twice a day with a kneeling hip flexor stretch for relief.
Back Wrecker #: Poor Lifting Technique
“Improper bending and lifting causes back injury that’s all there is to it,” says Dan McMackin, a spokesman for UPS.
Prevent it: Engage your abs to help support your back. Here are the basic principles that UPS uses for safe lifting, according to McMackin:
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Don’t bend at your waist.
- Keep the object close to you. The farther away you hold it from your body, the more it stresses your back.
- Never hold an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.
- Don’t move something that weighs more than 20% of your body weight.
- Don’t pivot, twist, or turn while lifting. Point your feet at the item you’re lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist.
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Remember: Alignment Is Key
No matter what position you choose, keeping proper alignment of your spine is the most important part of the equation. Focus specifically on aligning your ears, shoulders, and hips.
You may notice gaps between your body and the bed that strain your muscles and spine. You can reduce this stress by using pillows to fill the gaps.
Be careful while turning in bed. You can get out of alignment during twisting and turning motions as well. Always move your entire body together, keeping your core tight and pulled in. You may even find it helpful to bring your knees toward your chest as you roll over.
What Type Of Mattress Is Best For People With Low Back Pain
If you are like most people, you spend roughly one-third of your life in bed. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to think about whether your mattress is giving you, and your back, the support you need.
There hasn’t been a great deal of research on this topic, yet a few studies offer some guidance. In the past, doctors often recommended very firm mattresses. But in one study, in which 313 people slept on a medium-firm or firm mattress for three months, those with the medium-firm mattresses reported less pain when lying in bed as well as less pain-related disability compared with those with the firm mattresses. Another report, based on a waiting-room survey of 268 patients with low back pain, found that people who slept on orthopedic mattresses had the poorest sleep quality, while there was no difference in sleep quality between medium and firm mattresses.
While a softer mattress that conforms to your body’s natural curves may help your joints align favorably, you might also sink in so deeply that your joints twist and become painful during the night.
One way to find your dream mattress is to try out different ones. If you spend a night at a hotel or in someone else’s house, make note of how you feel after sleeping on the “new” bed. You can also try putting a plywood board under your current mattress or sleep for a few nights with your mattress on the floor .
For more on healing your aching back, buyLow Back Pain by Harvard Medical School.
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Pain Relief: Try Partial Crunches
One of the classic core-strengthening workouts is the partial stomach crunch. Partial crunches build strength in both your lower back and related stomach muscles, making this an ideal exercise for people with spondylosis.
Here’s how to get the most out of partial crunches:
- Lie back, and keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent.
- With your hands behind your head or with arms crossed around your chest, raise your shoulders from the floor. Make sure to keep your stomach muscles tight.
- Breath out while raising your shoulders. Avoid leading with your elbows .
- Hold for one second. Next, lower yourself back down to the floor in a controlled manner.
- Repeat with between eight and 12 repetitions.Remember to follow proper form, which prevents excessive spine stress. Keep your feet, tailbone, and lower back against the floor throughout the exercise.
Sleeping And Lower Back Pain
Regular low back pain can cause a person to sleep more lightly than they normally would and wake up more frequently during the night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Thankfully, by learning the best sleeping positions for your back, you can feel immediate relief.
To make things simple, lets start with the biggest dos of how to sleep with lower back pain
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Upper Back Pain When Sitting
Many people experience pain in their necks and upper backs as a result of craning forward while sitting to look at a computer monitor or phone display. Although its tempting to sprawl out and watch television for hours, this can also easily throw your back out of alignment.
That uncomfortable feeling of stiffness when you finally do move or stand up is telling you something.
Better posture makes a difference.
Its likely your parents or teachers cautioned you to sit up straight when you were a child, and with good reason.
Sitting in one position too long isnt healthy. Doing it with your back rounded forward, slumped to one side, or leaning too far back can put stress on parts of your spine for an extended period. This can lead to pain, as well as other issues.
To help you sit straighter, position your body along an imaginary straight line extending the length of your back, out of your head, and up to the ceiling. Keep your shoulders level and dont let your pelvis rotate forward. Doing so causes a curve in your lower back.
If you sit up perfectly straight, youll feel the small of your back stretch and lengthen.
What Are The Warning Signs Of A Serious Problem
Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- loss of control of your bowels
- numbness around your back passage or your genitals
- serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult
- severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.
The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.
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With Back Pain Getting Out Of Bed Can Help
If you have back pain, bed rest can be useful, especially if you are in severe pain while sitting and standing. But it’s best to limit bed rest during the day to a few hours at a time, for no more than a couple of days. That’s because too much time in bed can do more harm than good.
If you need to be horizontal, lie down on a bed or sofa, in any comfortable position. To ease the strain on your back, try putting pillows under your head and between your knees when lying on your side, under your knees when lying on your back, or under your hips when lying on your stomach. These positions reduce the forces that sitting or standing impose on the back especially on the disks, ligaments, and muscles.
Bed rest is no longer the go-to treatment for moderate back strain. Although it does minimize stress on the lower spine, it can also create other problems. Too much time in bed weakens muscles, including those needed to support the back. Some people develop gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation. Inactivity also boosts the chances of developing a blood clot in the veins of your pelvis and legs. This can hurt, and damage the affected vein. If a piece of the clot breaks away, it can lodge in the lungs. This condition, called pulmonary embolism, can be deadly.
So What Can You Do About An Anterior Pelvic Tilt
First, off, dont freak out! can absolutely be corrected through targeted stretching and exercises, says De Jesus. Exercises like planks and side planks, bird dog and bridgingall of which emphasize proper spinal alignmentcan help address the issue. De Jesus suggests doing these daily, or at least a few times a week.
In addition to these regular strength exercises, consider how you warm up for your ride. If you just grab your bike and head out the door, its time to, instead, prep your body for the work its about to do so you can focus on better spinal alignment and sidestep aches.
Think of it this way: You want to make sure your muscles are relaxed and your bones are aligned before you start using them, says Koth. Because cyclists do have such a high risk of development of an anterior tilt, any cyclists preparation routine should involve addressing or preventing an anterior tilt, says Koth. I would recommend releasing tension in the iliacus prior to every ride. It would make such a big difference in how you feel on the bike and how much you enjoy your experience.
As with most things, correcting an anterior pelvic tilt and preventing the low back pain that comes with it is a long game. The practice of postural balance and righting it is a lifelong endeavor to self-correct our bad postural habits, says De Jesus. You get out what you put in.
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Dont Bend Lift Or Twist
“Once you are upright and stabilized, do whatever you can to stay that way so your injury doesnt worsen,” says Keith Puri, a chiropractor based in Arlington, Massachusetts. That means avoiding whats known as BLT bending, lifting, and twisting while youre hurt.
If you need to pick something up off the floor, keep your spine straight and your core engaged, and drop your tailbone toward the floor in a squat. “Looking up to the ceiling can help keep your spine straight,” says Puri, which will help prevent you from leaning forward and putting stress on your back.
When you need to lean forward to brush your teeth or wash dishes, try a hip hinge: Maintain a straight, neutral spine while bending forward from your hips.
To avoid twisting your spinal muscles, think about turning rather than rotating, Puri says. That means turning your whole body to face whatever you need to be reaching for, rather than leaning to the side or reaching around yourself. Puri explains that stability should be a higher priority than convenience, even if that means a multistep process for things like getting into and out of your car. “It is definitely less efficient, but the benefits significantly outweigh the time lost,” he says.
Dont Stay In One Position All Night
You might be afraid of moving from one position to the other during the night, but its actually okay and desired to move some while sleeping. Any sleeping position, even if its a good one, can add up to too much pressure on your back if you stay there all night. Plus, theres a risk of additional pain or muscle imbalance from this.
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How To Sit On A Chair
To sit on a chair safely:
To help your back and make sitting more comfortable:
- Try to get up and change position regularly
- Try to sit right back in the chair
- Put a rolled up towel in the small curve at the bottom of your spine
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You Might: Not Have Sufficient Mobility And Flexibility
If you can’t assume the position you need to get into in order to stand up from the floor, you likely have several joints that need mobility work. It’s also possible that you have stability limitations.
“Getting off the floor relies on good ankle mobility and knee mobility to get from the deep bend to standing,” Hunt says. “Our neck, lower back and knees are meant to be stable, while our upper back, hips and ankles are meant to be mobile. When there’s an imbalance in any of those parts of the body, that’s when a breakdown happens.”
Dont Sleep On Your Stomach
Sleeping on the stomach is really the worst sleep position because it puts too much strain on the muscles of your back.
However, if you must sleep in that position, you can support the position more by sleeping with a pillow beneath your pelvis and lower abdomen. And always make sure the pillow is underneath your head and neck, never under your shoulders.
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Invest In An Ergonomic Office Chair
Slouching forward while working at a desk places excessive pressure on the discs in your lower back and can cause problems, such as disc degeneration to occur or further deteriorate. Support the natural curve in your lower spine by:
- Using an ergonomic chair that helps you align and support your back and thighs correctly
- Placing a small rolled-up towel in the small of your back for additional support
- Using a standup desk, if possible for at least part of the day
It is helpful to set a timer for every 50 minutes to an hour on your phone to remind yourself to check your posture, walk for a few minutes, and stretch your lower back and leg muscles.
Some Conditions Can Be Aggravated By Sitting So After The Initial Pain Subsides Aim To Move More Not Less
Sitting down is supposed to be a way to relax after a long day on your feet. But for many women, sitting for any length of time is painful. It aggravates pain in the back instead of relieving it.
If this sounds like you, the problem could be one of several common conditions, says Dr. Steven J. Atlas, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
One of these conditions is a problem involving one of the discs that act as pads between the vertebrae in your back. In particular, a disc can become herniated, meaning it develops a bulge that can pinch a nearby spinal nerve, causing pain.
“There have been some studies that measured the amount of pressure on the discs,” says Dr. Atlas. “Not surprisingly, the pressure is lowest when you’re lying down.” But there is more pressure on the discs when you’re sitting than when you’re standing. “In fact, if I come into the exam room and a patient is standing, rather than sitting, my suspicion that the person has a disc herniation goes up a lot,” he says.
Disc problems can cause back pain alone, but when the pain moves into the legs, this may be the nerve pain known as sciatica. Sciatica sometimes occurs when a herniated disc pinches one of your sciatic nerves. These are the longest nerves in your body, running from the lower back into each leg. People with sciatica typically report a burning pain that involves the lower back, the leg, and sometimes the foot.
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When To See A Doctor
In most cases, you should be able to manage back pain by yourself. Modify your activity and slowly work toward regaining function, says Dr. Steven J. Atlas, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. However, you should see a doctor if the pain isn’t improving after you’ve modified your activity for a few weeks. You should see a doctor right away if your pain is extremely severe, if it gets better but comes back, or if it occurs after an injury such as falling down a flight of stairs, being in a car accident, or slipping on a patch of ice. That’s different from back pain that begins during the course of regular movements, says Dr. Atlas. In other words, if your back starts to hurt when you lean over to tie your shoe, that’s not an injury.