According to the NHS, roughly 10 million (yes million) people in the UK suffer from some sort of back pain and it is one of the leading causes of disability in our country.
Although it’s an alarming number, the way we live in this day and age can (and does) have a big impact on this. To highlight the “mistakes” we’re making every day that can cause back issues and long term back pain problems, I’m going to show you where we’re all going wrong and what can be done to fix everything from a sore shoulder to cramp that just won’t budge.
Problem No.1: We sit too much
If you don’t exercise much, the majority of your day will be spent doing nothing but sitting or lying down. If you get a good average of 8 hours of sleep per night, spend 7-ish hours a day at your desk, an hour commuting home on the bus or train every day and your evening on the sofa watching TV, you could be spending over 16 hours of your day on your bum.
When we sit too much, and do so poorly, our bodies naturally try to compensate by subtlety changing. In this case the muscles in our back shorten while the muscles around our stomach widen. This ends up putting stress on the back more than is needed and as a result gives you really bad back pain.
The Solution: Lie down more!
Now this might sound counter-intuitive but when you’re spending all day sitting and facing one way the simple solution is to face another. A very easy way to improve and restore your back is to lie face down on the floor and learn a few stretches that pull your thoracolumbar fascia and let your obliques find space to breathe.
Problem No.2: We stare down at our phones
Have you ever seen someone walking down a street with their arm outstretched and a phone in their hand? It’s a bit silly looking, but it should be the way we all use our phones.
Because we’re not like that though, we tend to hold our privacy quite close to our chest both figuratively and literally. Holding our phones down and close means looking at it has to involve craning your neck back and straight down.
Pulling on the posterior triangle of your traps can create problems for your neck and the rhomboid minor muscle that connects your neck, back muscles and helps align the spine.
The Solution: Go See a Chiropractor
A permanently strained neck is no laughing matter and visiting an expert is the difference between a sore back for a day and waking up one day to find you’re a hump back. Chiropractors in London are now using back scans to internally find any nagging errors and can help alleviate with minimal effort, while some are using TRX exercise ropes you’d see in the gym to get a deeper stretch of shoulder muscles.
For anyone who has nagging pains anywhere around the back, a visit to a chiropractor can help those tights pockets of pressure to alleviate much better than using a foam roller on your living room floor ever will.
Problem No 3: We’re sleeping wrong
Wake up in the morning and wonder why your back might be sore? There’s a very good chance it’s because you’ve just spent the night sleeping wrong. Yes there are ways you can sleep incorrectly and do damage to your back. Going back to our phones, many people will now lie on their side looking at their phones in bed. And when you end up sleeping on your side, your putting more pressure on one side of your body to stay up right.
The Solution: Tuck Yourself In
To take the pressure off your back when you sleep, the easiest solution is to lie flat on your back facing up. But if you’re prone like me to lying on your side, then lifting your legs up towards your chest and placing a pillow between your legs will take a lot of strain away. And for anyone who sleeps on their stomach, put a pillow just under your hips so your back doesn’t spend all night curved at the bottom.