Four ways to avoid low back pain

posted by Kellie Hoover, DC on 10/9/2018 in Blog

Most of you reading this have experienced low back pain at some point in your life. Here are some tips for avoiding low back issues, and for alleviating pain.

Driving:

Driving posture matters! Especially for those of you who have a long commute to work or drive as a part of your job. One of the most important steps to take is immediately when you get in the car – pick up your rear and plant it evenly in the seat. Most of us are hurried and backing out as we buckle – STOP! Take a moment and readjust your hips and pelvis. This is your foundation, and if it is crooked, nothing else matters.

If you have adjustable seats, pump up the lumbar support and keep the back upright – don’t lean it back! Instead of 10-2 hand position, keep your hands on the wheel at 7 and 5, or 8-4 at most. Holding your hands lower allows your shoulders to relax and stay back vs. rounding forward. Focus on keeping your shoulder blades against the back of the seat – this will ensure good posture.

DO DRIVE LIKE THIS!
do drive like this


Sitting:

Don’t. Stand instead.

But, if this isn’t an option, use these tricks and guidelines J

In an ideal world, you would sit on a ball or wobble stool. See if this is okay with your employer, and if not, use the below tips for any other type of chair.

Your chair should be raised to the level of the keyboard if it sits on your desk. You may need a block or box under your feet if you are petite. Otherwise, if you have a pull out tray, your seat should be at a level where your feet are placed on the floor and your knee is bent slightly more than 90 degrees. If your chair has armrests, either remove them or lower them so they hit underneath your elbow when your arm hangs loose.

Use a lumbar support add-on if your chair does not provide enough. Roll your pelvis forward like you are sticking your belly button out, putting a curve in your lower back. Don’t cross your knees or ankles, because this makes your back roll forward. Keep your shoulders balanced over your hips, and your ear over your shoulder.

Your monitor should be placed so your eyes are level with the top 1/3 of the screen. Use a box or phone book (do people still have those?) to elevate it if needed.

If you’re working from home, avoid using a laptop or working on the couch.

DO SIT LIKE THIS!
do drive like this


Standing:

When in a standing position, keep your center of gravity right between both feet. Avoid leaning to one side or shifting your weight to one leg, as this puts an uneven amount of pressure on the joints of the low back and pelvis.

DON'T STAND LIKE THIS! DO STAND LIKE THIS!
Don't stand like this do stand like this

Ladies who have had babies, this is an important one! Don’t push your chest forward. Pregnancy increases the curve in your low back, and baby makes your ribs widen. Think about pulling your bottom rib toward your pelvis and tucking your tummy in, but do not allow your shoulders to roll forward. This takes practice.

DON'T STAND LIKE THIS! DO STAND LIKE THIS!
Don't stand like this do stand like this

Sleeping:

Your mattress and pillow play a big role in how sleeping affects your back. If you are in the market for a new mattress, go for something on the firm side. If laying on your back is painful, try putting a large pillow or rolled up blanket under your knees to take the pressure off of your low back. When laying on your side, use a pillow to put under your top leg. This will keep your pelvis even and your spine straight.

DON'T SLEEP LIKE THIS! DO SLEEP LIKE THIS!
Don't sleep like this do sleep like this
DON'T SLEEP LIKE THIS! DO SLEEP LIKE THIS!
Don't sleep like this do sleep like this

About The Author

Kellie Hoover, DC

Dr. Kellie is a family wellness chiropractor and the owner of Iowa Family Chiropractic and Iowa Family Chiropractic Ames

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