A lot of back pain is avoidable – but some isn’t.
It can happen from a random injury or the most trivial daily activity.
Additionally, it can be hard to get under control once you have it. That’s why it’s good to take preventative measures to ensure that your back has a fighting chance if anything were to happen.
Here are some preventative steps you can take to help avoid back pain.
1. The Psoas
Firstly, let’s take a look at where a lot of common back pain can originate from. The Psoas is a muscle in your back. It is a deep-seated core muscle that sits in your lower back, supporting the spinal cord. It is the most significant muscle in your back because it attaches your lowermost vertebrae to the femur.
The contraction of this muscle pulls your legs up towards your stomach. It is a vital muscle in your lower back. This means that when you injure or strain it, you will be in for a world of hurt. However, the stronger this muscle is, the less likely you are to harm it in daily life. It’s easy to forget about it until it starts to hurt, but taking preventative steps to lower the risk of injury could mean the difference between a severe injury and a healthy lower spine.
Posture is an essential aspect of a healthy, pain-free back. With office jobs, it can be hard to maintain good posture throughout the day, and if you spend eight hours a day in a compromising position, you can bring on various forms of back pain.
Jonathan Fitzgordon explains to Veritas Health that posture contributes to a high functioning psoas muscle. He says that when we practice good posture, the psoas muscle helps to keep the spine balanced on top of the pelvis. It acts like a pulley – operating leg and hip movement.
So, if your posture is good and your spine is balanced, you will have a healthy psoas muscle and be less likely to develop any back pain.
3. Strengthening and Stretching
You don’t even have to be doing anything rigorous to injure your Psoas – simple daily activities like sitting down for too long or bicycling a lot can also cause this muscle to strain. Strengthening and stretching are effective ways to prevent potential injury if you are somebody who sits in an office all day, or rides their bike to work. Julie Gudmestad of Yoga International explains the benefits of this measure. She says to lie on your back and wrap a long piece of fabric around your foot.
Holding onto the ends of this, pull your leg up towards your torso while keeping it stiff and straight. Gudmestad says another effective stretch is the Navasana, where you sit on the edge of a chair with your back straight and arms stretched out in front of you. Slowly lean back in the chair but don’t touch it. You will feel your Psoas contracting as your pelvis is pulled towards the ground.
4. Keeping Stress Low
Everything in the body is connected. This means that if you suffer from high blood pressure, or have a demanding job that stresses you out, you could be doing more damage than you realize.
If you are stressed, this could be the reason for your lower back pain. Stewart G. Eidelson, MD, suggests keeping your stress levels low to avoid preventable issues like lower back pain caused by your psoas. He recommends having a basic medical check-up of those vital signs. This can lead to your doctor suggesting different ways of preventing potential damage with physical therapy, or even talking to a counselor about managing your stress levels.
Eidelson also advises adding exercise into your life if you don’t already, and learning how to break up your life into smaller, more manageable increments. Stress in a professional setting is often caused by having too much on your plate. Breaking your work and personal goals into smaller achievements means you can compartmentalize and avoid getting overwhelmed.
5. Healthy Lifestyle
Speaking of keeping stress low, working to achieve this balance goes hand in hand with having a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are both critical factors in looking after your mind and body. Eidelson continues his recommendations around these crucial facets by explaining that your diet is vital in helping to avoid common back problems like pain caused by your psoas muscle. He says to choose nourishing foods and eat slowly, savoring each mouthful.
He also suggests avoiding caffeinated drinks like coffee and coca cola when you can. If you endeavor to look after your body by making wise choices when it comes to what you put in it, you will inevitably assist your body by providing it with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong.
Once you have back pain, it can be a long and painful road to good health again. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to cause back pain sometimes, but the suffering caused by it can be insurmountable.
While there are some effective ways of treating back pain causes by psoas, it’s much better to try and prevent it occurring in the first place. Consider educating yourself with a few books and take cautious preventative measures that benefit your body in other ways as well can only do more harm than good, and will strengthen those muscles around the lower spine, giving them the best chance they have at working well.