{ WELL BEING }

THE RIGHT MOVES

7 ways to protect your lower back

1. EXERCISE CORE MUSCLES DAILY
A stable body core (abdomen, hips, back, and chest) helps support the body and allows it to function properly. If the core is not strong enough, the back must work harder and can easily be strained, so be sure to include some core work in your daily routine. If you’re not currently following a fitness regimen, it’s a good idea to meet with a personal trainer or physical therapist to learn about crunches, planks, bridge poses, supine toe taps, and other movements to help strengthen your core.

2. USE AN ERGONOMIC DESK CHAIR
Any chair that you sit at regularly for more than thirty-minute stretches should give your back good support. The backrest should be comfortable, adhere to the natural curve of your spine, and provide good support for your head and upper and lower back. Be mindful of your posture when sitting at your desk and keep your feet on the floor with your ankles in front of your knees.

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3. THINK BEFORE YOU LIFT
Don’t lift something that’s too heavy for you. Stand squarely with your feet positioned directly below your shoulders. Keep your chest forward and back straight (but not flexed) as you bend your knees to lift the object. Pivot your feet and hips without twisting your lower back and hold the object close to your body as you return to an upright position. 

4. KEEP YOUR BACK IN MIND
Over time, small amounts of stress on the intricate structures in your lower back can lead to degeneration and pain. Be mindful as you do everyday activities such as opening doors, using a vacuum cleaner, lifting luggage, and working in the garden to maintain a straight spine. Avoid twisting your trunk, which can injure spinal ligaments.

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5. GIVE IT A REST
When bending forward for long periods, the position of your spinal discs and ligaments shift. It can take several minutes after you straighten up for the spine to stabilize. If you exert stress on your back too quickly, you risk sustaining an injury, so take it easy when you straighten your spine and allow it to regroup.

6. RISE AND SHINE SLOWLY
The pressure within the lumbar disc rises significantly as you sleep at night because it swells with the absorbtion of water. If upon rising, you feel soreness or tightness in lower back, stand upright for a few minutes. This should help the spinal tissues recover and reshape before you do any bending or lifting.

7. STRETCH YOUR HAMSTRINGS
Tight hamstrings can cause lower back pain and performing the right hamstring stretches can help by reducing pressure on the pelvis and providing relief to the lower back. Since not all hamstring stretches work well for everyone, it’s important to check with a personal trainer or physical therapist about which stretches are best for your body.