Part two of the ’10 Reasons’ series on back pain! You can find part one here. In part one I gave you 4 of the biggest reasons you get back pain and simple ways to treat it yourself. Often we do little things that we don’t think about until we reap the benefits of dysfunctional movement. Which is pain. So, if you are in pain, try some of these stretches and tips too.
5. knock knees
All too common and easy to spot – when you know what to look for. Knock-knees are roughly the opposite of being bow-legged. You have knock-knees if your knees ‘cave in’ excessively and point at angles like this:
Have a look in the mirror, do your knees cave in? Then it’s time to stretch your adductors – the muscles on the inside of your leg. You don’t need to be able to do the splits, but a little flexibility there can do wonders for your knees, your hips and ultimately….your back.
6. Bad Lifting Technique
Most places of work have the standard lifting and handling training they make you do, which you inevitably ignore because it’s boring, right? “Don’t bend your back” “Lift with your legs” etc. We all know this, but it amazes me how often people bend down and pick things up with a back like a scared cat. You know it’s wrong. Stop being lazy and just pick it up properly!
But it’s not just at work you need to be careful, oh no. You thought your kids were a pain in the neck, but they’re so much more! Bend your knees to pick up the kiddies too, no matter how small and cute they are.
7. Mouse Arm
Computers are going to keep us therapists in business for a looong time. Thanks Microsoft! Having a laptop and a tracker pad puts your arm in an unusual position, so you compensate higher up – your elbow, your shoulder, your upper back. Pain pain pain. Get a proper mouse, preferably a wireless one, and have it somewhere you can bend your arm at 90 degrees.
8. Bad Sleeping Position
This is a tricky one – I have minimal control over what my body decides to do while I’m asleep, so I always end up in weird positions. My sleeping position is also the main reason I need a treatment. In an ideal world, you’d sleep straight on your back, but I live in the real world and know that doesn’t always happen. If you can, great! Ya show off. If not, you need to try and minimise the damage you’re doing to yourself whilst getting some sleep. Lie straight, arms and legs tucked in, small amount of pillows and head as central as possible. Try not to splay out or starfish too much if you can.
Never-mind back pain, this one’s a killer. Literally. But we’re not here to be morbid. Stress causes your muscles to be permanently tense and tight, and what is a tense and tight muscle? Painful. It can’t work properly, so other things have to compensate, which also get tense, so they’re in need of somewhere else to compensate for them and, well, it ends up a big mess which your therapist needs to unpick. That feeling when you finish something stressful, like an exam, and you go all floaty light? That’s stress related tension leaving your muscles.
Meditate, go for a walk, get a massage, laugh, whatever works for you.
10. Disc hernia
Here’s a biggie, most commonly called a ‘slipped disc’, which is a total misnomer as the disc doesn’t move. Discs are the cushiony bit between the spine and what happens is the inside of the disc ruptures and sticks out, pressing on nerves and giving you pain. Generally what you get is lower back pain and pain down one or both of your legs. Hernias come in all shapes, sizes, severities and degrees of pain. Plenty of people have a disc hernia but don’t know about it because it doesn’t press on their nerves.
What can you do about it? Well, that depends on how bad it is. Surgery is an option, but so is leaving it alone. Get some pain killers from your GP and get to moving as much and as soon as possible. Just be careful with opioids, they work but they’re addictive. For this one, or if you suspect this one, go see your GP, a chiropractor or an osteopath and take their advice.
So there you have it! 10 reasons why your back hurts and what to do about it. Any questions on these, or any other sources of back pain, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me on Facebook. If you like the content and want to be notified when I release more, sign up below.