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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

Freelance Writer helping businesses and people to thrive.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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