Beat Lower Back Pain & Improve Your Days
What worked for me.
Yes, we all get it and we all know how debilitating pain in your lower back can be to a desk-bound worker. But I took steps to release my lower back muscles and get back on track in my workflow.
My back pain was such that it was a distraction during working hours. If I sat for too long in my office chair and had to stand up, my lower back felt like it could go into spasms at any moment. If I was sitting on a stool during lunch at my favorite ramen spot, I could feel my lower back weakening under the strain of keeping my upper half upright and immobile. During my gym time, I would feel my lower back straining as I sat on the weight bench, clenching and seizing with each rep. To surmise, I was in near-constant pain — and I was sick of taking over the counter anti-inflammatories and waking up fearing my day due to the spot right above my buttocks feeling as if it were being hit by a brick over and over.
Finally, about three months ago, I got fed up with the pain and decided to take the matter into hand. I found three things which helped to ease my pain and eliminate the tension, shared with you below:
1. I TRIED YOGA
Although working out at a gym with weights and cardio machines is a great way to get and stay in shape, when it comes to easing lower back pain, yoga is really tops. The yoga practice teaches you movements and positions your body can do anywhere and at any time to ease your pain and take pressure of your lumbar. I’m a huge, devout fan of supta matsyendrasana, roughly translated to the supine student of Shiva pose, or, the two knee spinal twist pose. This pose stretches multiple parts of your body including the chest, shoulders and hips, but it has the amazing benefit of relieving pain and stiffness in the lower back. Trust me, try this just once and instantaneously feel the relief it brings. Check out this how-to on the supta matsyendrasana, but please — check with your primary care physician before beginning any new types of exercise, even yoga!
2. I TRIED STANDING AT WORK
Since so many of us lower back pain sufferers are desk job workers, it comes as no surprise that sitting in an office chair is a main culprit for pain un the lower back. Sitting increases stress and pressure on the back muscles and spinal discs, which causes us to slouch down and start poor posture habits. Standing at work is a great way to alleviate this, and I’ve been using the FluidStance Level ($389) to make doing that a little more interesting. Made in the good old USA out of recycled bamboo and die-cast aluminum, you simply (and carefully) step up onto the Level’s 2.5” platform and let your body’s natural ability to balance take over. FluidStance claims their decks increases your range of motion, increases your heart rate by an impressive 15% and improves posture overall.
I’ve noticed that I enjoy standing on the Level more than I would enjoy standing normally on the (comparably boring) ground. Also, my body seems to be in a naturally more upright position when I am walking or sitting, and my leg muscles seem to be a bit stronger from the almost-subconscious act of balancing on the deck.
However, utilizing a standing desk can be just as beneficial, and I strongly recommend either getting one or, at the very least, taking standing-breaks throughout your work day.
3. I TRIED STAYING HYDRATED
Simply put, I’ve noticed by muscles — especially my back muscles — feel stronger and more flexible when I am well hydrated. Most doctors recommend at least eight cups of water a day, but I know it can be hard during a busy work day to remember to keep drinking… but do it. Don’t be ashamed of getting up multiple times to get to your water cooler and refill your glass, or of going back and forth to the restroom to urinate — this is your well-being on the line! You can also pick up a S’Well Water Bottle — I suggest our own Thrive Global version in Teakwood! S’Well is an amazing reusable water bottle which keeps your water cold for 24 hours — plus, the company has planted over 500,000 trees through their partnership with the American Forests Foundation.
Now that I’m free from constant lower back pain, I am more focused throughout my day, I fall asleep faster and I wake up feeling stronger. Combatting pain in your lower back can feel like fighting an uphill battle, but it’s simpler than you think to win and thrive!