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Suffering From Back Pain Again? These Two Tips May Help You

Suffering From Back Pain Again? These Two Tips May Help You

Back pain can be one of the most debilitating and frustrating ailments. When acute, back pain can stop us from walking, exercising – and even enjoying life.

If you work in an office, you may have noticed some people choose to work while standing at height-adjustable desks. While this is shown to be a good thing in general,[1] talk to the people standing, and often they will tell you that due to back pain, sitting for prolonged periods is just too painful for them.

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Fortunately, recent research has revealed two things that you can do to help ensure your back remains pain free. (Or if you’re already suffering back pain, the tips will prevent you from causing further damage and pain to your back.)

1. There’s a perfect angle for leaning back

Were you aware that leaning back on a chair can be a cause of back strain? It’s true. Helpfully, however, a study in 1999[2]determined that sitting at an angle of 110-130 degrees was optimal for spine comfort. A further study in 2007,[3]showed that leaning back at 135 degrees was the ideal angle for preventing back strain.

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You may be asking yourself: “What angle am I currently sitting at?” It’s a fair question, as it’s probably not something you’ve considered before.

While you could manually check the angle you’re sitting at, an innovative consumer device developed by Lumo Bodytech can make this process easy and automatic. The company offers a product called Lumo Lift that uses angle displacement to track and alert you to times when you are slouching or have poor body posture. The company claims that by improving your posture, you’ll reduce back pain, lower your stress levels – and become more productive. Positive benefits that we’d all welcome in our lives.

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2. Doing sit-ups badly is a surefire route to back pain

While we all want to be as fit as possible, some basic exercises (when done wrongly) can be detrimental to our spine. A common cause of back problems is sit-ups.[4]The issue is not with the exercise itself, but by the mistakes most people do when performing sit-ups. Frequently, people use their hands behind their head as leverage. As we’ll see, this can be a recipe for disaster.

By using the hands as leverage while performing sit-ups, unnecessary strain is placed on the sensitive vertebrae in the neck and all the way down the spine. Furthermore, by performing sit-ups in this way, the abdominal muscles aren’t exercised as thoroughly as they should be. In other words, you think you’re building up your fitness, when, in reality, you may be contributing to its demise.

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Here’s how to perform sit-ups correctly:[5]

  1. Lie on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Put your finger tips behind your ears (but don’t use your hands as leverage).
  3. Put your elbows to your side, with shoulder blades back.
  4. Using your abdominal muscles, raise your body towards your knees (head should always be looking straight).
  5. Gently roll back down, and commence the exercise.

As you may know, back pain is notoriously difficult to eliminate. It has a tendency to flare up at unexpected times, causing misery to sufferers. As a consequence, many people spend thousands of dollars on expensive pharmaceutical pain treatment, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and specialized massages. While these treatments can certainly help, avoiding back injury in the first place is ideal.

By following the two tips above, you can help to reduce your risk of back injuries. This could free you from unnecessary pain, discomfort and immobility. By looking after your spine, your body can be flexible, healthy and pain free.

Reference

[1] Smithsonian.com: Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks
[2] Wall Street Journal: Burning Question: Why Sit Up Straight?
[3] Wall Street Journal: Burning Question: Why Sit Up Straight?
[4] LIVESTRONG: Do Sit-Ups Cause Back Pain?
[5] 30 Day Fitness Challenges: How To Do A Sit Up

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Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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