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5 Things Your Diet Can’t Be Missing To Get Rid Of Lower Back Pain

5 Things Your Diet Can’t Be Missing To Get Rid Of Lower Back Pain

If you have ever suffered from lower back pain, you will know just how painful and debilitating this can be. You may also have tried a host of reactive measures to alleviate lower back pain, from gentle muscle exercises to practicing yoga.

What you may not be aware of, however, is that there are also numerous preventative methods of avoiding back pain. Absorbing the right nutrients from your diet is crucial, for example, as this aids muscular strength and flexibility while ensuring that you maintain a healthy weight.

5 Nutrients That Will Help you to Alleviate Lower Back Pain

The following nutrients also enable your body to repair itself after an injury, which can also negate the risk of long-term complaints and alleviate lower back pain:

1. Calcium

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broccoli

    Let’s start with calcium, which has proven qualities that enable muscles to contract and relax properly (including those that surround your heart and other organs). This can be found in numerous food items, including citrus fruits, soybeans, tofu, salmon and sardines. Leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli are also viable natural sources, although similar items such as Swiss chard and have a negative impact on consumption rates.

    Both men and women should aim for an average intake of 1,200 milligrams each day, which the body’s utilization of calcium can also be enhanced by the consumption of Vitamin D.

    2. Potassium

    potato

      Potassium is another key nutrient and one that serves the pivotal role of communicating nerve impulses to individual muscle groups (allowing them to stretch and relax as required). Although this is present in meat, grains and dairy products, it remains a seminal component of fruit and vegetables and these should play a central function in your diet. Both men and women also need to consume an estimated 4,700 milligrams each day, so items like bananas and potatoes should be eaten regularly.

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      For preventative care, parents should also encourage the consumption of potassium in their children from an early age. After all, nations like the US and the UK have disproportionately high rates of back pain and among the lowest, recommended quota of fruit and vegetables per day, while schools are already partnering with outlets such as Premier Polytunnels to empower healthier diets among youngsters.

      3. Protein

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        While it is proven that a lack of protein can restrict your ability to build muscle mass, it also hinders the body’s capacity for maintaining and repairing damaged tissues. Conversely, a protein-rich diet improves your energy levels and enables muscles to contract properly, so it is important to consume food items such as chicken, fish, beef, eggs and milk. The recommended consumption levels only differ slightly between athletes and everyday citizens, with two or three servings of lean protein enough to maintain functionality.

        If you are a vegetarian or a vegan and cannot consume meat or dairy, consider introducing legumes, seeds, grains and dark, leafy vegetables into your diet.

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        4. Vitamin C

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          We have already touched on the importance of Vitamin D in your diet, but Vitamin C is also a vital component. This nutrient produces collagen, which is a connective tissue that makes up a staggering 90% of all muscle mass in the human form. It can also be found in most fruits, particularly citrus items such as oranges and lemons.

          Once again, vegetables are also a rich source of Vitamin C, with bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, spinach, tomatoes and potatoes all key dietary components. If you are a man, aim for an average consumption level of 90 milligrams each day, while women should target a slightly lower intake of 75 milligrams.

          5. Iron

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            The relationship between iron and muscle has been well-researched, with the former enabling red blood cells to oxygenate the latter. An iron-rich diet can ensure that your muscle cells supply the required level of oxygen to the core tissues and fibres, enabling them to function well under stress and over a prolonged period of time. This is key to reducing injury, particularly for those who work in physically demanding jobs.

            Iron can be found in red meat, poultry, eggs, fruits and fortified grain products, while it is also a key component of green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. The recommended, daily consumption level for men and women aged under 51 is 8 milligrams, and this rises to 18 milligrams for women who are older than this.

            The Last Word

            Make no mistake; back pain is a debilitating condition that is thought to cost $34,000 per 100 employees annually in the US alone. It is also considered to be a key contributor to a lack of employee engagement across the globe, so eliminating it can improve your quality of life and improve your career prospects.

            So, if you do find yourself struggling with lower back pain, seek out professional guidance and shape your diet accordingly. If you are pain-free for now, focusing on incorporating these nutrients into your diet and preventing problems in the future.

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            Last Updated on September 28, 2020

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

            At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

            Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

            One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

            When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

            So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

            Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

            This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

            Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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            When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

            Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

            One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

            Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

            An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

            When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

            Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

            Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

            We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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            By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

            Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

            While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

            I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

            You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

            Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

            When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

            Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

            Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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            Con #2: Less Human Interaction

            One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

            Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

            Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

            This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

            While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

            Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

            Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

            This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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            For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

            Con #4: Unique Distractions

            Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

            For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

            To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

            Final Thoughts

            Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

            We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

            More About Working From Home

            Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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