Exercise plays a central role in building the muscles that support the back. This helps prevent back pain. At some point or other in our lives, most of us get back pain. While the cause for a majority of us can be upper or lower back pain during the course of day to day life, it can also be triggered by an accident, a sports-related injury or a congenital condition.
Also, if you happen to work at a computer, or lift and carry weights or do repetitive activities at home or work, it can cause tension and muscle tightness leading to a backache.
A simple solution to prevent backache is to work on improving posture. Of course, along with this, it is also important to work on overall fitness and healthy weight. But improving posture can really help.
What is posture?
Posture is the way we hold our body when we stand, sit or do tasks such as lifting, bending, pulling, etc. With good posture, the bones of the spine, the vertebrae, are properly aligned.
How to improve posture to prevent back pain?
Here are four easy ways to do this.
1. Using imagery
Now imagine there’s a straight line passing through your body from the ceiling to floor. Your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles must be even and line up vertically. Next, visualize a strong cord attached to the top of your head. This is pulling you upward, as if stretching you to make you taller. Keep your pelvis level. Don’t let your lower back sway. Don’t stand on tiptoe. Imagine stretching your head towards the ceiling, increasing the space between your rib cage and pelvis. Go ahead and fantasize being a ballerina or ice skater. Do this mini exercise whenever you can.
2. Doing the shoulder blade squeeze
Sit up straight in your chair, hands resting on thighs. Keep shoulders down and chin, level. Now slow draw your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Count from 1 to 5, holding this position. Then relax. Repeat 3-4 times.
3. Upper body stretch
Stand facing a corner, arms raised, hands flat on the walls with elbows at shoulder height. Place one food ahead of the other. Bending your forward knee, exhale, leaning your body towards the corner. Your back should be straight. Keep chest and head up. As you do this exercise, you’ll feel a nice stretch across the chest. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then relax.
4. Arm across chest stretch
Raise your right arm to shoulder level in front of you. Bend the arm at the elbow with the forearm parallel to the floor. Grab the right elbow with your left hand. Gently pull it across your chest. You will feel a stretch in the right upper arm and shoulder. Hold this for 20 seconds. Relax both arms. Repeat this on the other side. Do three times on each side.
You can practice these exercises throughout the day to prevent back pain and improve your posture. Do them when you get up from your desk or before you have lunch or when you take a break. Get into the habit. As your posture improves, so will your back pain.