Backpain Crowned The Leading Cause Of Workplace Disability
In 2017 a Global Health Data Exchange study found that back pain was the “leading cause of disability worldwide and prevents people from not only working, but from doing everyday simple activities.”
Back pain is a seemingly unavoidable problem. 80% of workers will encounter at some point in their lives. It can be provoked by stress, lack of exercise, or poor posture, among other things. It’s more promising to stay proactive with your pain vs. reactive. Stretching frequently can help keep your back pain at bay. This article will provide essential information on back pain relief and preventative stretches.
Maintaining consistency is essential
Simply stretching once may ease severe or chronic pain; however, this will not help your main issue and, in turn, leave you in the same discomfort you experienced before! Therefore, developing a stretching routine (as discussed in our video below) is key to your continued, pain-free success.
Think about it like working out or eating healthy. Doing it once is a great start. But it will not give you the outcome you may be targeting.
Slow it down, speedster!
We live in a world where you have a million tasks on your plate, and the due dates were yesterday! Yes, we are all busy in our ways, but don’t cut it short regarding stretching. Static stretching (stretching in a still position) is some of the most beneficial stretching styles for your back pain from work. These stretches must be held for a recommended one minute for your body to relax and truly reap the benefit of the work you are putting forth. By rushing through the stretches, you are only wasting your own time, and we already don’t have enough of that.
The Science Behind 60 Seconds
It’s not until you are timing yourself for one minute that you realize it is a long time to hold a stretch.
So why one minute? Twenty seconds isn’t good enough if I feel it?
Well, the short answer is no. When working out or engaging in regular daily activities, our muscles are in an active state. Muscle spindles (detectors that tell how fast your body is moving) move fast to ensure that we do not injure ourselves. Achieving an optimal static stretch is scientifically impossible when our muscle spindles move fast. That is why our one-minute hold times are required. We tell our bodies (specifically our Golgi tendon organ) that relaxing (and slowing down our muscle spindles) is okay. Only during that point are we getting that maximal benefit of our static back stretches.
I get it. I’ve been there.
People may say they get it. But trust me. I do. I have been in the same agonizing pain as you may be right now. I was waking up in the morning only to roll out of bed and slowly lift my body while wincing in pain. I would walk with a slight arch forward for the first few hours of the day because standing straight up just hurt too much. I even remember hearing a joke from a friend and my back clenching in pain from a slight chuckle. I thought I would tear up. The suffering continued for almost seven months until I finally decided it was time to get things back on track.
How did I do it? Stretching. There isn’t a magic pill I took to take it all away. No weekly appointments seemed to fix it all. But, consistent and disciplined stretching is what truly saved my back. I hope I can do the same for you.
Progress isn’t overnight
It can get discouraging when we don’t see the results of our disciplined work. However, this is entirely normal with stretching. Your body requires time, patience, and care to relieve tension and genuinely adapt to your new routines. Don’t get discouraged if you are not seeing immediate flexibility, mobility, or pain relief when stretching. Be patient and build the habit for the long haul. Remember, your pain didn’t develop overnight. It isn’t going to go away overnight, either!
Stretches We Recommend For Back Pain at Work
Chronic back pain can cause an immediate decrease in mobility and flexibility. Therefore, these stretches are in order of complexity, one being a beginner and five being a bit more advanced. Remember, each of these stretches is included in our follow-along video, and provided is a timer to keep you on track.
1. Knee To Chest Stretch
Gently pull one knee up to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Bring the knee as close to your chest as comfortably possible. Keep the opposite leg relaxed in a comfortable position, either with your knee bent or with your leg extended.
2. Child’s Pose Stretch
Kneel and sit on your knees. Lean forward, keeping your buttocks on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor.
3. Cobra Stretch (2 Variations Available In Video)
Lying flat on your stomach. Point your toes behind you and place your hands under your shoulders. Keep your elbows close to your ribs. Inhale and press your palms into the floor as you lift your chest off the ground.
4. Piriformis Stretch (2 Variations Available In Video)
Lie on your back with your legs straight. Lift one leg and bend your knee. With your opposite hand, reach across your body, and gently pull your knee toward your opposite shoulder.
5. Supine Spine Stretch (3 Variations Available In Video)
Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Bring your knees to one side of the body and extend your arms to the sides.
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