It’s Hard to Escape Back Pain!
The most common reason people visit their G.P. in the United States is lower back pain. Approximately 85% of us will experience one or more episodes of lower back pain at some stage in our lives. This is due in part to the fact that most of us spend significant amounts of our time in positions and postures with our backs bent forward – i.e. driving, computing, and watching TV. Our spines are not designed to be flexed forward like this for prolong periods and the result is predominantly ligaments or joints that get over-stretched and weakened, which results in our aches and pains.
Exercise is Prevention, and Part of the Cure
For simple, day-to-day back aches and pains, aerobic exercise goes a long way. Brisk walking or jogging gets your body (and spine) into an upright position, which can very quickly ease your back discomfort. Exercising for a sustained period of time (30-40 minutes) increases your blood flow and releases Endorphins into your blood stream, which have the effect of lessening pain and elevating your mood (this is why you feel so fantastic after a good workout!). These exercises, when done to a high enough intensity, also strengthen your thigh and bum muscles which will serve to ease some of the burden on your spine.
A Flexible Back is a Pain-Free Back
Incorporating a couple of key stretches into your daily routine and/or your exercise routine can also help keep your back loose and pain-free. The type of stretch you need depends on which part of your back is feeling stiff or sore. For lower back pain, hamstring stretches will often give you relief – because tight hamstrings pull too strongly on your pelvis, which in turn is attached to your spine. Cobra stretches (see picture) are also helpful for his type of discomfort.
For problems in the upper back, thoracic rotation stretches (see picture) can be of benefit, and help to keep your thoracic spine loose every day.
Here at Flynn Medical Exercise, we design personalised exercise therapy programmes for our patients which takes account of individual issues like lower or upper back pain. We incorporate exercises that won’t aggravate your aches and pains, and introduce stretches that will help loosen you up where and when you need it. To get into an exercise routine that meets your individual needs, look no further than Flynn Medical Exercise.
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Seán Flynn is the Lead Clinician with Flynn Medical Exercise, and takes patients in their Sandyford clinic.