Wave Goodbye To Back Pain With These Posture Improving Moves

Bad posture habits can soon become a real pain. If you fail to sit in the right position throughout the day, you risk doing your back some serious harm and over time, you can really start to feel the consequences. Fixing your back starts with your fitness routine and once you start to make a few changes to your routine, you can seriously notice the difference. Improving your posture all starts with building up your strength. By focusing your attention on certain daily habits, you can start to hold yourself up higher and feel all the benefits. These toning tips are for more than just looking good and once you make them a part of your daily routine, you might wonder how you ever did without them in the first place.

Stretch and Go

The state of your physical health plays a huge role in the health of your emotional wellbeing. Taking proper care of your body feeds into every part of your normal life, helping to make even the most mundane of tasks a whole lot more easy. If going to the gym to workout doesn’t appeal to you, there are hundred of other choices out there, targeted towards different areas of your fitness. If you’re starting off with focusing on your posture, there are a number of simple routines that you can get under your belt in order to make the task a whole lot more easy. Shoulder rolls, chest releases and side bends will all help to tone up your core muscle groups and make holding yourself tall that bit easier. You can improve your health in baby steps and see all the positive effects it can have.

Turn To Technology

We’re a generation of slouchers. Never before have some many people had so many back and neck problems and the issue comes largely down to the fact that so few of us are able to hold our bodies in the right way. Slouching has been described as the smoking of our generation and if you do it for too long, you might start to notice adverse side effects. If you’re struggling to hold yourself up straight in the office, however, there are a number of ways to get around the problem. You can try to make the move to a standing desk like so many others, making it easier to elongate the spine. You might also like to try your hand at muscle stimulation technology, which is designed to monitor your sitting posture. Used alongside exercise, these tools can help you to understand more about the way you hold yourself and how you can improve it.

Sit Up Straight

Practicing good working posture can make all the difference to how you feel at the end of the day. Getting into the habit of holding yourself up straight will make perfecting your posture a whole lot easier, improving the strength of your muscles at the same time. Your natural sitting pose is the best for your back, helping to keep your spine and joints pressure free over stretches of time. You should hold yourself in a position that is straight but comfortable to keep up for some time. Try and maintain a 90 degree angle between your arms and your keyboard so that you don’t have to lean forwards in order to work. Your screen should also be at the right height so that you avoid craning upwards to read what you’re writing. Experiment with the angling of your equipment and lock things in place.

Breathe Deeply

Practicing meditation can work wonders for both your physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re practicing bad posture, you’re more likely to suffer from shallow, insufficient breathing as your body lacks the space in which to take really deep breaths. Bad posture and bad breathing are interconnected and over time, they can take a toll on your general health. Breathing practices and meditation can seriously help to turn things around, however. Sitting on a yoga mat, place both of your hands on your diaphragm, in the center below your lungs. Using your hands as a guide, breathe in to extend the diaphragm, feeling it move as you do so. As you exhale, your diaphragm should become move inwards, expelling the air from your body. Holding your body straight will allow you to breathe deeply like this, making it simpler to extend the diaphragm. Practicing this technique once a day can help you to get into better posture practices, making it easier to hold yourself in the right way.

Want To Get Healthy? Take Your Habits From The Best

Staying healthy starts with you. The types of habits that you pick up in your younger years can make all the difference as you get older and for that reason, it pays to think about what you’re doing before it’s too late. The trouble is, with so much information out there, knowing where to start can be the biggest struggle of all. Not so fast. By looking at the healthiest people out there and taking cues from them, you can implement a few basic changes in your lifestyle that will see you well into the future. Picking up these daily habits could be all that it takes to give your life the change up it really needs!

Start Your Day With Hot Water and Lemon

The kinds of things that you put inside your body before you’ve even started your day can make all the difference to how it plays out. Drinking lemon juice is a great way to get your digestive system into gear and cut down on any bloating that might come your way. Hydrating yourself can help to wake up your brain, get your body moving into gear and shed that sleepy feeling. If you’re feeling a little under the weather, this drink can work wonders, too, so make sure you’re getting your daily fill each morning.

Take Time Out To Meditate

If your mornings pass you by in the blink of an eye, it could be worth taking your time a little more on your daily routine. Getting up a little earlier might feel that bit more painful but it can give you the chance to dedicate yourself to a slower and more meaningful routine. If your mornings are a point of stress, try taking a little extra time after you wake up in order to quietly meditate. Sitting without any distractions can help you to streamline your thoughts and set an intention for the day ahead. After a few weeks of meditating, you might be feeling all the more refreshed and focused.

Get Out and Exercise

While it might not be something you had ever considered, fitting in a workout over the course of the morning can make all the difference in your day. Getting your workout in after you’ve woken up can give you a burst of energy to get going, making your subsequent tasks all the more easy. Better yet, exercising first thing in the morning means that the task is out of the way before you’ve even started your day, giving you the time you need to really focus on the important jobs that need to be done.

Keep Your Snacks Handy

Are you the type of person that eats on the go, picking up whatever is closest to you? It’s time to make a change. By planning ahead and taking your snacks with you, you can control the types of foods you’re putting in your body and boost your health in the right direction. Whipping up a batch of granola at the start of the week can help to keep you going whenever hunger calls. Just pack an individual bag of the stuff in your work bag and dip into it if you feel yourself flagging. Hunger, solved!

Detox From Your Devices

In our digital world, many of us find ourselves to be constantly connected. While checking in with work and friends can help us to stay on top of things, spending too much time online can soon begin to interfere with our levels of stress. If you really want to commit to a healthier lifestyle, it might be worth scheduling in time away from your phone and computer. Giving yourself at least an hour each night in which to wind down can make falling asleep all the more easy, allowing you to get a rich and fulfilling night’s sleep. In the morning, you will be ready to take on anything the day throws your way!

Mind-Body Practices May Ease Low Back Pain

Have you ever had an achy low back? If so, you’re not alone. 80 percent of Americans will experience pain in their low back at some point in their lives. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 25% of adults responding to a large survey said they had experienced low back pain in the past three months.

You might be tempted to reach for painkillers for relief from low back pain. Unfortunately many drugs may interact with other drugs, cause unwanted side effects, or lead to dangerous conditions like liver damage, ulcers, or gastrointestinal bleeding.

Luckily, new research has revealed a non-drug alternative to treat lower back pain – mind-body therapy. Researchers at the Group Health Research Institute set out to explore ways to treat low back pain without resorting to medication. They examined a type of mindfulness meditation called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and a type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to see how each technique affected low back pain.

Study leader Daniel Cherkin, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute, was encouraged by the results. “We’re constantly looking for new and innovative ways to help our patients,” he said in a news release. “The research suggests that training the brain to respond differently to pain signals may be more effective–and last longer–than traditional physical therapy and medication.”

MBSR and CBT are both mind-body practices. MBSR is a technique developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD that emphasizes paying attention to feelings, thoughts and reactions from moment to moment. It also encourages awareness of the body through the practice of simple yoga poses. The goal of CBT training is to change pain-related thoughts and behaviors.

342 Group Health patients aged 20 to 70 enrolled in the study. Each patient had experienced low back pain for at least three months and was unsure of the cause of their pain. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Two of the groups participated in eight weekly two-hour training sessions. One of these groups was trained in MBSR, the other in CBT. The third group received just their usual care.

Compared with the group receiving only usual care and no training, the MBSR and CBT groups were more likely to experience at least a 30% improvement in their low back pain.

“Our findings are important because they add to the growing evidence that pain and other forms of suffering involve the mind as well as the body,” Cherkin said. “Greater understanding and acceptance of the mind-body connection will provide patients and clinicians with new opportunities for improving the lives of persons with chronic back pain and other challenging conditions that are not always effectively managed with physical treatments alone.”

The research team will continue to study the effects of MBSR and CBT on low back pain. They plan to examine whether the pain-relieving effects of the therapies persist for more than a year. They will also examine whether mindfulness and CBT impact pain through similar or distinct processes.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

 

Article sources:

Cherkin, Daniel. “Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain.” JAMA. 2016; 315(12):1240-1249.

National Institutes of Health – “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet”

News release, Group Health Research Institute