Back Pain. Two words that most of us know all too well. If you’ve never experienced back pain you are one of the lucky ones.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 8 of 10 people will have an episode of back pain over the course of their lifetime.
I know what you are thinking– “Thanks for that great news, Hope.” Well, there IS a silver lining, I promise. While preventing back pain completely may not be possible, there ARE things that you can do to help to reduce your risk.
Check out these five simple but effective back pain prevention and relief tips.
1. Stretch It Out
Addressing your hip flexors is vital to getting to the bottom of lower back pain. Hip flexors are an area of the body that is often misused and misunderstood. Hip flexors are a skeletal muscle group that allows us to move our thighs up and down. Of this group, the largest is the psoas (so-az). The psoas is a muscle that runs from the inside of the upper femur through the inner hip, passes through the abdomen, and attaches to the last rib and to the lower vertebrae. Spanning 16 inches in length, this guy is the longest and thickest muscle in the body.
Try this deep-release stretch to help restore the tone and function in the psoas.
2. Strengthen Your Core
Your core strength is vital in maintaining back support and reducing back pain. One of the primary aims of core exercise training is to prevent injuries that can occur if you don’t properly support the spine. Among the key benefits of core strength is the ability to reduce back pain. In fact, it is weak and unbalanced core muscles that are linked to low back pain. However, not many people truly understand where their core is, how to access it and how to safely use it. Join me for 7 minutes to a better, stronger, more functional core!
3. Try Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body therapy that’s often recommended to treat not only back pain but the stress that accompanies it. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found that yoga was as effective as standard physical therapy for treating moderate to severe chronic low back pain in people in underserved communities. Learn How To Safely and Functionally heal the pain in your lower back, upper back, neck & shoulder with this Follow Along, Instructional Yoga Video.
4. Stop Crunching Your Vertebrae
And I mean exactly that. As a yoga teacher and educator in core health, I have seen huge success and headway for those who change their approach to back bending. Most of us lean back and call it a backbend, only to leave the back, particularly the lower lumbar and sacrum to suffer. Now that suffering may not be felt today or even in the next year, but that build-up of negative compression over time will eventually lead to an unexpected pain or injury. Utilizing your pelvic floor and leading with your pelvis can allow you to feel a more complete spinal opening and also receive a release in the groin, an area we have muscles attaching in and locating their opposite ends at our lower back and ribs. So stand up, find neutral, activate your pelvic floor and torso circuit and inhale raise your arms and leading with your pelvis lean back. Let your spine, neck and head follow in the action of the pelvis rather than the neck and head flailing back as a means to go deeper.
5. Shift Your Mindset
We as a society (this is just a generalization, not everyone) have a: give it to me now, quick-fix attitude. And that attitude will reflect in our bodies’ responses to healing. If you want to improve flexibility, strength, or heal an injury, we need to start understanding and addressing that those things take time, both as the student and as the teacher to develop and maintain. A little goes a long way. Be detailed in what you are teaching and ask questions as a student. Just getting the movement done is not enough and just because something is hard or you are moving quickly doesn’t mean it’s healthy. So if your back could talk, what would it say to you?
Following these simple tips can help you alleviate or prevent back pain. However, if you should experience back pain, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign of a more serious condition. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what you should do to find and treat the cause.
Stress. When you become stressed, your body instantly reacts by tensing up. We hold most of that tension in our face, jaw, and shoulders. It keeps us up at night and literally gives us a headache! Taking time to counteract stress is essential to your overall health and well-being.
Most people live hectic, unbalanced lifestyles. It’s hard to make wellness and relaxation a priority when you are running around in a million different directions. I get it. I used to be that person. However, I realized that if I don’t take care of MY wellness, I’m useless to everyone that depends on me.
Thanks to Dr. Cohen, I was able to find my absolute FAVORITE wellness tool ever–and the best part is that it goes where I go. Let me introduce you to the acuBack! It is 100% a game-changer. This self-care foam roller is able to help release tension in your lower back, mid-back, shoulder blade, legs and/or head.
In less than six minutes, I’m walking you through how to use the acuBack to help release the tension in your jaw, temporal lobes, third eye point, and crown.
Six Minutes. That’s it. Who doesn’t have six, short minutes?? I’m waiting….
I guarantee you will see why I LOVE the acuBack as much as I do. I encourage you to make this simple tool and these quick moves a part of your daily routine! After all, your wellness depends on it.
Have you ever suffered from a stiff neck? You know, the area above your shoulders that holds all of your stress, frustration and tension? Yeah, that’s the spot.
For many people, the neck and shoulders are a chronic area of discomfort and nagging pain. Stretching your neck once or twice a day is one of the easiest prevention techniques to keep your neck tension manageable.
So, if you’re like me and are used to dealing with neck pain or stiffness, try these simple exercises and stretches to help to reduce and control that unwanted tension.
Occipital Release with the acuBall is an effective way to relieve muscle pain naturally. I can’t and won’t live without it
The acuBall can be used to provide effective relief from neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, and more. Developed by Dr. Cohen, the acuBall stimulates blood flow helping to ‘flush out’ built-up toxins that accumulate in tight muscles causing pain. The acuBall works by utilizing your own bodyweight.
- Lie down, on your back, on a hard surface and/or yoga mat.
- Place the acuBall at the bottom (lip) of your skull (Occipital Bone). Heating the acuBall in the microwave beforehand also feels great!
- Fully release body weight for 3 minutes or more taking deep, full breathes to relax.
- Nod your head up and down for several rounds.
- Next, gently turn the head side to side for several rounds.
- Continue to breathe. Tight areas will initially feel tender, then resolve over 1-2 minutes. Areas of chronic discomfort will take time to release.
Practicing Occipital Release with the acuBall is a staple in my daily routine.
Side Neck Stretch
- While sitting in a comfortable position, lengthen the spine and relax your chin level with the floor.
- Exhale and tip the right ear to the right shoulder; work to feel space between your ear and shoulder.
- Continue to draw the left shoulder down from the left ear and flex the left palm, reaching through the heel of the hand toward the floor.
- With long, calm deep breaths, feel and visualize space in the tightness of the neck. Being gentle, experiment moving the left arm forward or back to help change the sensation to meet your needs.
- To heighten the sensation, take the right hand and gently draw the left side of the head away from the shoulder even more.
- Continue to breathe and explore moving the jaw and mindfully moving the chin, up or down, to change the sensation of the stretch from the side of the neck to the front or back of the neck.
The suggested time to hold these stretches is 10 breaths. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side, and repeat both several times a day.
Focused Muscle Groups
- Scalene Muscles (These muscles are on the sides of the neck)
- Trapezius (This muscle is located in the upper back, feeding into the base of the skull)
- Levator Scapulae (This muscle runs from cervical vertebrae 1-4 to the inner scapulae, one on each side)
Back of the Neck and Spine Stretch
- Sitting comfortably, interlace the fingers behind the base of the skull.
- Keeping the shoulders relaxed, exhale and drop the chin to the chest.
- Breathing calmly, resist the head into the clasped hands, working to broaden the upper back and draw the shoulder blades away from the spine.
- Continue to resist the head, keeping the chin to the chest; feel the shoulders drop away from the ears.
- Experiment rounding the upper back or moving the elbows up or down to shift the sensation from the neck to the mid-upper back.
The suggested time to hold this stretch is 10 breaths.
Focused Muscle Group
- Trapezius and Rhomboids (The muscles attach at thoracic vertebrae 2-5, run to each inner shoulder blade.)
Life is stressful. Taking time each day to stretch and relax will help you keep that 10-pound head of yours upright with a little less tension and pain.
As you may or may not know, I’ve spent most of my life struggling. Struggling to survive. I survived an eating disorder, a laundry list of addictions, and the loss of a child. My journey to reach the place where I am at today hasn’t been easy. It took a lot of hard work and I met some amazing people that helped me to find a purpose in my everyday life. Thanks to the people who helped me, I am blessed to now be able to help others by offering a coaching program, Practices for a Positive and Productive Life.
I am SO excited to OFFICIALLY launch my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, this virtual coaching opportunity and online course will help you get crystal clear on your life priorities, health needs, and how to achieve your goals.
The beta launch starts on JANUARY 15, 2020.SIGN UP RIGHT NOW
The best part? Sign up before January 10, 2020 and receive $1,000 off to participate in the Beta Launch of this program!
You will get access to the entire Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass for only $497 (a $1,497 value)!! I know how VALUABLE this class is. Which is why I want as many people as possible to have access to it. The Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass will without a doubt help you jumpstart the new shift in your life!
This Beta Launch is offered to you at a SIGNIFICANT DISCOUNT in exchange for your participation and feedback.
By signing up for this course and coaching program, you will get:
- Group coaching calls every week to ask questions, deepen your understanding, and connect with others.
- Email support from me, whenever you need it!
- Weekly videos including meditations, affirmations, and journaling
- Private Facebook Group Access
- Free $10 Starbucks Giftcard and Leather-bound journal, sent directly to you!
If I can go from a walking corpse, stricken with a deadly eating disorder, to a healthy mom of four, I can only imagine what is in store for you.