Back pain is the best…said no guy ever. With four out of five Canadians suffering from severe back pain at some point in their lives, and with it flaring up most often in guys between the ages of 30 and 50, easy tips for nixing it are sorely needed (pun intended).
So how’s this for easy: send back pain packing by sitting or standing! Back pain and posture are closely linked because the pain tends to stem from doing the same things over and over again at home and at work: lifting heavy boxes, carrying lumber, toiling at a desk, you know the drill. Since nixing these tasks isn’t really an option for hard-working guys like you, another solution involves improving your posture, or how you hold your body. We’ve got your back — pun intended yet again — with these stretches to help your posture and ease back pain:
Picture your posture
Stop what you’re doing for a minute and imagine a straight line passing through your body from ceiling to floor (your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be even and line up vertically).
Now picture a strong cord attached to the top of your head, pulling you upward, making you taller. (Feel free to dunk an imaginary basketball while you’re at it.)
Try to hold your pelvis level — don’t allow your lower back to sway — and resist the urge to stand on tiptoe. Instead, think of stretching your head toward the ceiling, increasing the space between your rib cage and pelvis.
Now, try to maintain this posture throughout your day. Even a few minutes helps, and by turning good posture into a habit, you can make back pain fade away like Michael Jordan’s jump shot.
Stretch it out
These quick and easy stretches will help you have better posture:
Shoulder blade squeeze
Step 1: Sit up straight in a chair with your hands resting on your thighs. Keep your shoulders down and your chin level.
Step 2: Slowly draw your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Step 3: Hold for a count of five; relax.
Step 4: Repeat three or four times.
Step 1: Stand facing a corner with your arms raised, hands flat against the walls, elbows at shoulder height.
Step 2: Place one foot ahead of the other.
Step 3: Bending your forward knee, exhale as you lean your body toward the corner. Keep your back straight and your chest and head up. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Relax.
Step 1: Raise your right arm to shoulder level in front of you and bend the arm at the elbow, keeping the forearm parallel to the floor.
Step 2: Grasp the right elbow with your left hand and gently pull it across your chest so that you feel a stretch in the upper arm and shoulder on the right side.
Step 3: Hold for 20 seconds; relax both arms.
Step 4: Repeat to the other side.
Step 5: Repeat three times on each side.
Yup, it’s no stretch to say that back pain can be defeated. Now, what to do about these painful puns?
Have you found something else that helps with back pain? Share the scoop with your buds in the comments below!
This blog is part of a 3-part series on health tips to relieve back pain:
If you’re thinking about fitting easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.
Download “The 10 Minute Man Workout” ebook right now.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two who has been covering men’s health for more than 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines such as Explore, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN and Toronto.com. Visit Adam’s website for more information on what he does.