This season can be hard on the low back…especially if you don’t have a snow blower. I’ve already shoveled more snow this year than all of last year combined. Utah is having a stellar snow year!
If your low back is irritated and inflamed, here are some timely tips to keep your back feeling strong and healthy.
- Maintain equivalency. In other words, if you do an activity using one side of the body, balance it out by doing it on the other. For instance, when snow shoveling, shovel and throw the snow over your right side and then repeat to the left. Balance. Shift which hand you hold the phone in or which leg you put more weight on while standing. Notice how you move in your day to pick up clues as to why the low back is in pain. Often when the motion is countered the low back pain goes away.
Manage repetitive motion. There are some occupations that repeat motion on one side over and over again, like dentists and golfers. If that is a requirement for you at work, it can be difficult to maintain equivalency. Your job depends on repetitive motion to one side (like a right handed golf swing or leaning over a patient in the same direction). To counter this, take periodic breaks while working to counter the movement by stretching in the opposite direction. There are also exercises that you should do at the gym or in yoga that can counter the stress of repetitive motion. See your local yoga instructor for suggestions.
Stretch Tight Muscles. Tight quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips all contribute to low back pain. Sitting for long periods of time can cause stiffness in the hips and hamstrings and pull the low back into over stretch. Take a break from your desk and walk to loosen tight muscles. A regular yoga practice can keep you limber and alleviate stiffness that comes from repetitive motion or inactivity. Bottom line? Keep moving! Here are a couple of asanas to open the hips and stretch the low back: Hip and Low Back Stretches.
- Strengthen Postural Muscles. Do you get that sagging sit back, relax and slump in your chair posture towards the end of the day? Maybe sooner? A strong back can help. Try this sequence of postures: Back Strengthening.
- Take an office Break! Sit up tall. Here’s a video to help: Yoga Office Break