by Nicole Conser
Back pain. The ailment almost everyone has to deal with at least once in their lifetime.
How can we fix it?
Beyond sports injuries, most backs become strained because of more innocuous reasons: prolonged sitting, carrying heavy purses or backpacks, and our poor posture while texting, driving, playing video games and watching TV.
All this sitting means that most of us also aren’t exercising enough – leading to weak supporting muscles, poor posture and eventually, pain. It’s a vicious cycle.
The iBand was designed with back pain sufferers in mind, so we decided to put together some tips for relieving and preventing back pain. Comment below with your own!
- Use a foam roller.
A foam roller can be a cost-effective alternative to professional deep tissue massages. It can release tight muscles, decrease soreness, release tension and get you back on track to having full range of motion.Simply roll onto your tender areas or trigger points, controlling the intensity with the weight of your own body. You can position the roller in a parallel or perpendicular direction, or even at a 45-degree angle depending on which muscle you’re targeting.The cylindrical foam roller will smooth out your trigger points, increase blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues, and help break down adhesions and scar tissue in the soft tissues of the muscles.
- Take an epsom salt bath.
While the effectiveness of an epsom salt bath hasn’t been scientifically proven, we do know that soaking in warm water can help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints. Epsom salts break down into magnesium and sulfate, and it’s believed by many that when you soak in an Epsom salt bath, these get into your body through your skin.Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation and prevent artery hardening, while sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins, and ease migraine headaches. Pro tip: Get a massage before you soak in your bath.
- Make your work space more ergonomic.
Take a look at your monitor. Is it 2-3 inches above your seated eye level? Are you sitting at least an arm’s length away from the screen? Most of us spend the majority of our days sitting at a desk, so having an ergonomic setup is crucial to easing back pain.Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees equal to (or slightly lower than) your hips. If you have armrests, adjust them so your shoulders are relaxed (this may also mean removing them). Lastly, make sure your elbows are in a slightly open position and your wrists are straight.
Strengthening your core and lower back muscles is key to reducing back pain. Strengthen these muscles with Pilates or yoga and you’ll improve your posture and decrease pressure on your back.After you finish exercising, make sure to stretch! This will keep your muscles loose and limber and prevent them from tightening up – a common source of back pain.
- Invest in a better mattress.
The average person lives to be 75 years old. That’s 9,125 days, or 25 years spent asleep. Your spine and vertebrae are directly affected by the mattress you sleep on, so we strongly suggest investing in a high quality mattress.A good mattress has an ergonomic design that provides ample support to your back. It will cost considerably more, but will last you much longer than a mediocre one, ultimately saving you money.
Of course, the perfect mattress is different for each body type – we recommend stores that allow you to test out a mattress for 30 days and return it at no cost if it doesn’t work out.
- Get a standing desk.
The average office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes at their desk each day. And researchers have proved that just as jogging and orange juice don’t make up for a night of smoking and drinking, evening exercise doesn’t erase the physical damage done by prolonged sitting at your desk all day.Studies have shown that the best option may actually be a hybrid sit-stand workstation: these offer all the benefits of standing, but avoid some of the muscle aches you may feel from standing all day.New desk not in your company’s budget? Invest in an exercise ball and rotate using your chair and the ball every hour. And of course, get up and stretch or walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.
- Ditch the heavy handbag and get yourself an iBand.
Carrying a heavy shoulder bag places an uneven strain on your spine, core and legs. It forces you to brace yourself in order to remain upright and maintain balance.You’re engaging muscles in your core that are involved with maintaining an upright posture, which can lead to soreness in the short-term – and an imbalance in the long-term.
The iBand is ergonomically designed to keep the weight of your essentials distributed evenly on all sides. Learn more about the iBand.
Comment below to let us know your own tips!