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Dealing with Back Pain

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Everyday Back Pain

Whether it's sleeping in an awkward position, carrying a baby (in the womb and on the hip), or a sustained injury, most of us have to deal with back pain at some point. For most, it's lower back pain, and we often erroneously assume that there's little we can besides treating it with medicine. Actually, just adjusting your everyday habits can have an amazing impact (or lack of impact as the case may be) on your poor back.

Consider the following options for less back pain:

  • Lift with your legs, not your back. You've heard it before, but whenever it's possible (and your knees allow it), squat down to pick something up, instead of bending down and putting strain on your back.
  • Stretch before and after all forms of exercise and sport.
  • Take stretch breaks during long periods of sitting, including while you work. They don't take long and will help you refocus. Plus, to avoid eye strain, you need to rest your eyes anyway. Two birds, one stone.
  • I know it's hard to put into practice, but avoid quick, sudden movements, especially those that would twist your back.
  • If you're a mom or care taker of a baby or toddler, here are some great carriers/slings I can personally recommend because no matter your parenting style, you need to protect your back: Ergo & Hip Hammock. I like Ergo for kids up to a year and the Hip Hammock for "hip babies"- those that are big enough to sit on your hip but not yet walking. I also like backpack carriers with a strong waist band- these are great for hiking and walking tours.
  • Your mom may have slapped your hands until you sat straight, but now it's time to sit "neutrally." This means a sitting posture where no part of your body is strained, cocked, or bent awkwardly.
  • Invest in a good ergonomic chair, or back support for your current chair at the very least. Sitting the right way is key for your back.
  • If you use a lap top, make sure you employ good ergonomic posture on the couch, too.

The most important thing to remember is to keep your back neutrally positioned, and if you feel any pain or discomfort, try to avoid repeating what led to the soreness.