There is more that you can do to manage your own pain than you may realise…
1. Move, move, move
Sitting at our desks all day exacerbates lower back pain. Make sure that at least once an hour you take a five minute break from your desk. As well as helping your back pain, it may also help you keep your sanity. You’re welcome.
2. Start Pilates
Pilates is a low-impact exercise which is fantastic for promoting spinal strength and mobility
Joseph Pilates once said that “you are only as young as your spine is flexible” and we agree with him. There is a difference between good Pilates and bad Pilates (sounds obvious, but not commonly known). If you suffer from back pain, before you sign up to a lunchtime class at your local gym which has 30 participants, we would encourage you to do a 1:1 class with a certified Pilates instructor or with your physiotherapist. If you are in London, get in touch with Nell at Victory Physio, Ben at Absolute Studios, or Helen at Complete Physio who will be able to put you on the right track. Once you are on the right track, stay on it and religiously attend three classes every week. Think of it as a very reasonably priced insurance against the future.
3. Watch what you eat
Obviously, if you’re carrying excess weight, losing it is good for your overall health, but it’s actually also good for relieving back pain. Imagine carrying around a 10kg backpack all day with your dodgy back. It’s sort of the same thing.
4. Ditch the handbag and heels
Boring, we know. A pencil skirt just doesn’t look the same without 5 inch heels a-la Meghan Markle in her Suits heyday. However wearing heels throws your body weight and pelvis forward, over-extending your lower back which exacerbates lower back pain. Buy a sensible pair of supportive trainers for your morning commute. Fingers crossed that kitten heels come back into fashion.
5. Cut back on the booze and the fags
We don’t need to lecture you on the cancerous dangers of smoking. First things first, smoking increases your sensitivity to pain. Did you know though, that nicotine in cigarettes has been proven to damage the discs (the shock absorbing cushions that sits between each vertebrae) and impair their long
term health and function, thus resulting in back pain.
Excessive intake of alcohol can also contribute to back pain. The impact of a heavy night resulting in poor quality of sleep and recovery, and a heightened sensitivity to pain. And of course the risks of mixing alcohol with pain medication do not need to be explained..
On the days where you do chose to knock the glasses back, take an AlkaSeltzer and drink lots of water before your head hits the pillow.
Every day I would have a Physiotherapy session and reformer Pilates, I had soft tissue therapy 3 times (every other day) and every day I did the 2 optional group classes which where Stretch at 8am and Restore at 5pm. The schedule worked really well allowing time for breakfast and the sessions are usually grouped together giving you either the morning or afternoon to get some sunshine or rest in your room.
The Stretch class was run by Jo who is also the soft tissue therapist. Jo is incredible, she makes you feel very relaxed and really listens to you and what your body needs. The Stretch class really set me up for the day, and also focused on breathing which was something that had really been affected my by my surgery.