Anyone who’s ever experienced lower back pain knows it can be debilitating.
My lower back pain was distracting at work with pain medication, and downright unavoidable without. If I sat for too long in an office chair my lower back would go into spasms as soon as I tried to stand up. If I was sitting on a backless stool during lunch at my favorite ramen spot, I could feel my lower back weakening under the strain. During my gym time, I would feel my lower back straining as I sat on the weight bench, clenching and seizing with each rep. Basically, I was in near-constant pain and sick of taking over the counter pain management, waking up fearing my day, worried that a spot just above my butt cheeks would feel, again, as if it were being hit by a brick over and over.
Finally, three months ago, I got fed up and decided to take matters into hand. I found three things which help ease my pain and eliminate my tension:
Although working out with weights and cardio machines is a great way to get and stay in shape, when it comes to easing lower back pain, yoga can’t be beat. Yoga teaches you movements and positions your body can do anytime, anywhere to ease your pain and take pressure off your lumbar section. I’m a huge fan of supta matsyendrasana, roughly translated to the supine student of Shiva pose, or, the two knee spinal twist pose. This pose stretches multiple parts of your body including the chest, shoulders and hips, but it has the amazing benefit of relieving pain and stiffness in the lower back. Trust me, try this just once and instantaneously feel the relief it brings. Check out this how-to on the supta matsyendrasana, but please — check with your primary care physician before beginning any new types of exercise, even yoga!
2. STANDING AT WORK
Since so many lower back pain sufferers are desk workers, it comes as no surprise that sitting in an office chair is a common culprit for a painful lower back. Sitting increases pressure on the lower back muscles and spinal discs, which causes us to slouch. Standing at work is a great way to alleviate this, and I’ve been using a FluidStance Level to make doing that a little more interesting. Made in the USA from recycled bamboo and die-cast aluminum, you simply (and carefully) step up onto the Level’s 2.5” platform and let your body’s natural ability to balance take over. FluidStance claims their decks increases your range of motion, increase your heart rate by an impressive 15% and improves posture overall.
And if you don’t feel like investing in a Fluidstance or a standing desk, at the very least take walking and standing breaks throughout your day.
3. STAYING HYDRATED
Most doctors recommend at least eight cups of water a day, but I know it can be hard with a busy schedule to remember to drink… but do it. Don’t be ashamed of getting up multiple times to get to your water cooler and refill your glass, or of going back and forth to the restrooms — this is your well-being on the line! You can also pick up a S’Well Water Bottle — I suggest our own Thrive Global version in Teakwood! S’Well is an amazing reusable water bottle which keeps your water cold for 24 hours — plus, the company has planted over 500,000 trees through their partnership with the American Forests Foundation.
Combatting pain in your lower back can feel like fighting an uphill battle, but please know that you’re not alone.
Originally published at medium.com