How do you feel about making New Year’s Resolutions? For many it can be an energizing thing to do as it activates feelings of optimism, hope and excitement, however, for others it can feel like a dreaded chore that fills them with overwhelm and disappointment.
In 2021, the UK’s leading resolution was to lose weight, followed by taking up more exercise and opting for a healthier diet. In a nutshell, the overall aim for 23 million Brits was to make last year healthier and happier.
What does a happier and healthier 2022 look like for you?
Whether you love or love to hate New Year’s resolutions, if you plan them carefully, they can guide and encourage you to do better and feel better.
Whilst goals centred around weight loss and diet are usually the most prominent resolutions within the UK, for the 20 million people living with musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis and lower back pain, looking for ways to resolve these issues in 2022 might make the top of their lists instead.
What are some of the common causes of back pain?
The back, especially the lower back, bears much of your body’s weight during walking, running, lifting and other activities which is why strains and sprains are so common. They can be caused by:
- Lifting something that’s too heavy
- Not bracing before lifting an item
- Twisting or bending awkwardly
- Standing or sitting for too long
- Sleeping on a mattress, or using pillows that aren’t properly supporting your body.
There are also many medical conditions that can cause back pain, such as a slipped disc or Sciatica.
What resolutions can you put in place in 2022 to help ease your back pain?
Exercise and stretch more often
Frequently exercising the back will reduce stiffness by keeping the connective fibers of ligaments and tendons flexible. By improving your back mobility, you will help to prevent the connective fibers from tearing under stress, which in turn prevents injury and back pain. Taking time to perform gentle stretches will reduce the tension in the muscles supporting your spine, it will also improve your range of motion. Activities like Yoga and Pilates promote spinal flexibility and release muscular tension.
This knee-to-chest stretch is fantastic for relaxing your hips, thighs, and glutes while promoting overall relaxation.
- Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
- Keep your left knee bent or extend it straight out along the floor
- Draw your right knee into your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone
- Lengthen your spine all the way down to your tailbone, and avoid lifting your hips
- Breathe deeply, releasing any tension
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute
- Repeat with the other leg.
Schedule in time to focus on your posture
How often do you assess your posture? Bad posture can play a big role in causing your back pain. If you have a desk-job, ensure you’re using a supportive chair, and that your keyboard and mouse are located in the most appropriate places. Be mindful to keep your shoulders relaxed with your elbows close to your sides.
Schedule in regular breaks. These breaks can be brief and should include stretches for optimal results. If possible, take a 1 or 2 minute break every 15 to 20 minutes, or a 5 minute break every hour.
Untangle Your Stresses
Never underestimate the power of your mind. For those who suffer with frequent Anxiety, stress or even Depression, over time your negative emotions will start showing up as physical ailments. Stress can feed your back pain by creating more tension and inflammation. Meditation and mindfulness are two very popular ways you can combat the pain. Another avenue is therapy. This type of support will help you to build self-esteem, reduce your anxiety, strengthen your coping mechanisms, and improve your social and community functioning. As you work through the issues causing you stress, you will find that your body relaxes as well as your mind.
How can Osteopathic treatment ease your back pain?
As well as sticking to the 3 resolutions above, it is also recommended that you see an Osteopath to get a full assessment of your body. Osteopaths use various gentle hands-on techniques to help to reduce your pain and prevent it from coming back. These aim to release tension and improve how your body moves. An Osteopath can offer this type of treatment for short-term or long-term general lower back pain.
If you are ready to resolve your back pain this year, please get in touch to book in your complimentary consultation at the Enfield Osteopathic Clinic.
We will be able to assess your body and provide you with mobility exercises you can incorporate into your everyday life. We will work together to ensure 2022 is a happy and pain-free year for you.
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