How to Reduce Back Pain

July 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness

 how to help with back painIf you are constantly troubled by back pain and muscles spasms, you need to make some changes to avoid damaging your back. It may be that your posture is terrible or you’re putting too much strain on your back muscles. Reducing back pain can make your life much easier and much more enjoyable – here’s how.

Stop Lifting

If your back is troubling you day after day, your first step is to stop making it worse by lifting incorrectly, twisting oddly and carrying heavy weights. If you normally carry your toddler, have him walk for a few days. If you’re carrying a baby, invest in a hip shelf that can help save your back. Groceries wearing you down? Try folding carts or take one bag at a time. By reducing the work your back muscles are doing, you will be well on your way to reducing pain.

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Build Muscle

If you’re plagued by constant back pain, it is likely that you don’t have enough muscle to properly support your midsection. You need to build muscle in both your back and your abdominals as these muscles properly support your back. Visit with a personal trainer or begin a series of crunches and other midsection toning exercises to start building muscle. You’ll find the muscle builds slowly, but you’ll immediately notice a difference in how you stand and possibly your energy level. Every little bit of muscle helps, so start crunching!

Stand Up Straight

Often posture is the number one cause of back pain. Do you slouch? Try and catch yourself slouching and force yourself to stand up straight. Hours spend seated behind computers can hurt your back as well, so invest in a ergonomic chair or at the very least an ergonomic chair pad to help support your back – then sit in it correctly with your feet on the floor.

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Stretch and Walk

Going for a walk while standing up straight and taking deep breathes can have a huge impact on back pain. Raise your arms over your head to stretch your back and, without hurting yourself, try and touch your toes. Lay on your back and draw your knees up to your chest to help stretch your back as well. Then hop up from the floor, and start walking. The exercise will relax all of your muscles and get the blood moving.

Apply Heat

If your back still needs a bit more TLC, apply a heating pad or sit against a heated massage chair. The heat will help to soften and relax the muscle making knots loosen and spasms cease. A hot tub or even a hot shower can help to relax the muscle as well, especially if your able to stand in the shower with the hot spray focused on the area in need.

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How to Strengthen Your Back

July 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness

how to increase back stengthIf you want to strengthen your back, you really need to be working on your abdominal muscles or abs in addition to the large trapezius muscle that covers the top of your back. To strengthen your back, you should combine a variety of muscle building exercises with excellent posture so that you’re not undermining your efforts.

Build Muscle

The first step to strengthening your back is to get approval from your doctor to begin a weight lifting routine – especially if you have prior back pain. Then, with your doctor’s approval, begin by working each set of muscles separately. You’ll need to increase strength throughout your trunk to fully support your back, so start at the top and work down.

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Rowing

Rowing and shoulder presses can help to strengthen the trapezius muscle. This is a large triangular muscle that extends from the back of your neck and shoulders tapering down your spine. To build this muscle, you can work it vigorously with intense activities with a great deal of repetition.

Abdominal Work

The same can not be said for muscles in the lower back. These muscles are not as thick and strong as the trapezius, so you should be careful to not overexert your efforts. Your lower back is supported by bands of muscle that wrap around your back and sides. Start with basic crunches and crunches across the body touching your elbow to your knee to build the large ab muscle and work a bit on the sides.

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Then use a machine or the guidance of a personal trainer to twist while holding weights effectively using the side bands of muscle. Side bends with light weights will also help to strengthen the sides of the abdomen. Finally, dead lifts or carefully lifting weights from the floor to your knees will strengthen the muscles of your lower back.

Posture

The muscle work will help to increase your posture, and better posture will help your muscles support your trunk more effectively.

Other Strengthening Ideas

You can also use supplements to build muscle more quickly, but be sure to read supplement reviews to find the most suitable program for your needs. Also, if you are not comfortable with weights or lack a gym and proper supervision, a Pilates program or video can do a great deal of work strengthening your back and midsection.

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