How to Prevent Back Pain ~ TPM Townsville

Posted on: May 22nd, 2024 by Belinda Brown | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

Pro-activity is Preventative

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Spine

Taking a preventative approach to health is key to overall well-being. Instead of waiting for issues to arise, proactive care can help maintain your health and prevent problems before they start. This principle applies to all aspects of our health, including our diet, movement and exercise, social interactions, and even sun protection. So why not apply the same philosophy to spinal health? By incorporating certain habits into your daily routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing back pain. Here’s how to get started:

Keep Moving to help your spine

We often hear that sitting too much is bad for us, but it’s prolonged postures that are the real issue. Whether you’re sitting or standing, staying in one position for extended periods can lead to spinal problems. Our bodies are designed for movement. Regularly changing your position helps relieve tension in joints, supports tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, and prevents muscle shortening.

Historically, we’ve been advised to avoid sitting for too long and to lift with our knees instead of our backs. While these tips have their merits, the core issue is not necessarily the act of sitting or bending, but the duration for which these positions are held. For example, sitting for an hour or two is generally fine. However, when you extend that to twelve or more hours a day, which is common when you factor in a desk job, commuting, meals, and leisure activities like watching TV, it becomes detrimental to spinal health. The same goes for standing in one spot for long periods.

Incorporate regular breaks into your day. Every 30 to 60 minutes, stand up, stretch, and walk around. Consider using a sit-stand desk to vary your position throughout the day. Engaging in regular physical activities, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can also help keep your spine in good shape.

Strengthen the Right Areas

A strong core is essential for spinal health, but it’s not just about the abdominal muscles. Strengthening the glutes and muscles around the hips and pelvis is also crucial. Weakness in these areas can put undue stress on the lower back. Incorporate exercises like squats, lunges, and bridges into your routine to build strength and support your spine.

Low back pain can sometimes be linked to your core. While many people equate a weak core with weak abdominal muscles, the reality is that the core encompasses a broader range of muscles, including those in the back, pelvis, and hips. Insufficient strength in these areas can lead to poor posture and increased strain on the lower back.

To effectively strengthen your core and surrounding muscles, consider a balanced exercise regimen that targets all these areas. Planks and variations like side planks can strengthen the abdominal muscles. Glute bridges and hip thrusts are excellent for the glutes and hips. Lunges and squats, whether performed with body weight or added resistance, help build overall lower body strength.

Consistency is key. Aim to incorporate these exercises into your routine at least three times a week. As you build strength, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Not only will this help prevent back pain, but it will also enhance your overall physical fitness.

Consult a Professional

If you’re unsure where to start with your spinal health, seeking professional advice is a great step. At TPM our Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists, Chiropractors, and strength and conditioning coaches can provide valuable guidance even if you’re not currently injured. They can assess your lifestyle, activities, and goals, and suggest modifications to help you achieve optimal spinal health. Whether you need a new workstation setup, better shoes, or a more varied exercise routine, a professional can help you make the right changes.

Enlisting the help of a professional can be particularly beneficial if you have a history of back pain or other related issues. They can perform a thorough physical assessment to identify any weaknesses or imbalances that may be contributing to your discomfort. Based on their findings, they can develop a personalised plan that addresses your specific needs.

For example, a physiotherapist might recommend ergonomic adjustments to your workstation, such as using a supportive chair, adjusting the height of your monitor, and ensuring your keyboard and mouse are positioned correctly. They might also suggest specific stretches and exercises to improve your posture and flexibility.

If you’re active in sports or exercise regularly, a strength and conditioning coach can help you optimise your training regimen to prevent injury and improve performance. They can guide proper form, technique, and progression to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts while protecting your spine.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to movement and strength training, maintaining a healthy lifestyle plays a significant role in spinal health. A balanced diet, rich in nutrients, supports overall health and well-being, including the health of your spine. Staying hydrated helps maintain the elasticity and fluidity of the intervertebral discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae.

Adequate sleep is also crucial. During sleep, your body repairs and regenerates tissues, including those in the spine. Ensure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow that support your spine’s natural alignment. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night to allow your body to recover and rejuvenate.

Reducing stress is another important aspect. Chronic stress can lead to muscle tension, particularly in the back and neck. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies that bring you joy.

By adopting these proactive habits, you can maintain a healthy spine and reduce your risk of back pain, allowing you to enjoy a more active and pain-free life. Regular movement, targeted strength training, professional guidance, and a healthy lifestyle all contribute to spinal health. Remember, taking care of your spine today can prevent problems tomorrow, ensuring you stay active and healthy for years to come.

Book Now with TPM to begin living your best pain-free life! 

Physiotherapy Townsville - The Physio Movement


     517 Flinders Street
Townsville City Qld 4810
     1300 TPM FIT or 4740 4516
Book Now
Book Now