Even moderate back pain can put limits on your mobility and affect your confidence. These simple tips are designed to help you manage and reduce the impact of back pain on your day-to-day life.
- Take it easy. At the first sign of pain take things gently, but just for a day or two. Try to avoid staying in one position for a long time. Extended rest slows down recovery and can cause new problems
- Keep moving while staying as comfortable as possible. Take advice from a physiotherapist, or a qualified exercise professional, yoga or Pilates teacher on simple exercises that will help you stay mobile, flexible and strong
- Pace yourself. Listen to your body and be prepared to adapt how you approach day-to-day tasks. Plan a combination of spine movements in each day’s activities. For example, rather than tackle all the weeding, spread it over a few days and mix it up with some sweeping and pruning
- Practise mindfulness, meditation, breathing techniques, tai chi or yoga. Stress intensifies pain and studies show that relaxation and stress reduction techniques can help to ease pain, aches and discomfort
- Upgrade your diet. Choose foods that reduce inflammation including antioxidant-packed vegetables and fruit, nuts, healthy fats like olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon or mackerel. Avoid inflammation-promoting processed food and sugar
Learn the foundations of mindfulness and how it can improve your health and wellbeing with our free online course. Visit caba.org.uk/online-courses/mindfulness-beginners to get started.
Walk for wellbeing
Pain can make you frightened to move, but prolonged inactivity only makes the situation worse. Regular, gentle movement can break the cycle, giving you back a sense of control over your body. Walking is a free and manageable way to move more every day.
Step out 3 times a day
In The Truth about Getting Fit, medical journalist Michael Mosely discovered that 10 minutes brisk walking, 3 times a day was enough to improve health and fitness. Brisk is the key word. For most people that means you should be able to talk, but singing would be a struggle.
Walk this way
You wouldn’t drive your car with misaligned wheels, so make sure you walk with your feet parallel. Push off backwards from the ball of your foot and toes for a stronger, balanced step that strengthens the back of your legs and buttocks. Let your arms swing in a natural spiralling movement to improve lymph drainage and support your immune system.