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5 Ways To Relieve Your Runner’s Back pain

By on Aug 10, 2014
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While it may not be the most common running injury, back pain is a major scourge for quite a few runners. Thankfully, though, there are some practical steps you can take to speed your recovery.

That’s the focus of today’s guest article by Robyn Porteous. Below you’ll find five quick tips to help you on your way to recovery – and back to enjoying running in full.

Back pain relief for runners

Lower back pain can be a difficult condition to live with – particularly if you have a day job where you have to sit at a desk all day, which may very well play a major role in the lower back pain you’ve been experiencing in the first place! As second only to headaches, lower back pain is one of most common reasons people miss work and a persistent condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. In addition to getting much needed rest, stretching and doing strengthening exercises, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make at home and at work to help you to continue recovering once you’ve returned to your day-to-day life. We’ve taken a look at some of the simplest ways that can help you recover long after you’ve left the doctor’s office.

Back pain relief tip #1: Manage your back pain anxiety

As with most injuries, the anxiety and fear of re-injury can inhibit us from regaining normal muscle function. The psychological reaction to lower back pain comes from the central nervous system, which conditions the muscles around the injured area to tense up so as to avoid further injury. While this reaction is instinctual, it can inhibit your recovery time once you’ve returned to work. Try to exercise these muscles as recommended by your physiotherapist to improve their function so you can return to normal muscle function quickly.

Back pain relief tip #2: Eat properly

Appropriate nutrition plays a vital role in the healing process, which requires an adequate intake of calories. Ingesting too many calories will result in them being converted into fat rather than energy. As a result, this can slow down the healing process. By sticking to a balanced diet consisting of protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, your body will be full of all the elements it needs for effective healing.

Back pain relief tip #3: Stop smoking

As if you really needed more reasons to quit smoking, studies have shown that there’s a relationship between the development of lower back pain and smoking. This is because smoking, due to it inhibiting the vital organs such as lungs, deprives the spine of nutrients, particularly oxygen. By stopping smoking, you improve the t flow of oxygen to the injured area of your back and improve the outcome of the rehabilitation process.

Back pain relief tip #4: Control medication

While medication can play an important role in the management of lower back pain, abusing any form of medical drug can be detrimental. As with most pills and potions, sedatives and muscle relaxants may have severe side effects such as depression, which means that they should be used as sparingly as possible. While anti-inflammatory medications can also be useful, there is no evidence that proves that they do anything to speed the healing process. Rather try to manage your pain through the use of heat and cold therapy, physiotherapy massage, and lifestyle alterations.

Back pain relief tip #5: Optimise your workspace

If your lower back pain has come from the way you work, it’s important you consult someone with an ergonomic background about your condition. If you are forced to work in front of a laptop all day, invest in a stand-up desk that will let you break the hours of sitting with regular periods of standing throughout the day. Not only can this improve your lower back pain and prevent your injury from worsening, you will also reap the rewards of a variety of positive health benefits such as improved concentration, increased metabolism and better work ethic.

If you can’t invest in a stand up desk, there are other ways by which you can recover from lower back pain while at work. Adjust your office chair to a height that allows you to keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle and your feet to rest flat on the floor. Your bottom should be pressed against the back of your chair and, if needs be, place a cushion on the backrest so that your back can be arched slightly and you don’t end up slumping forward. Remember that no matter how comfortable your office chair may be, holding a static posture for a prolonged period of time is not good for the back. Make a point of standing, stretching and walking to the office water cooler for at least a minute every half hour. Keeping active helps to promote healthy blood flow that will bring important nutrients to the spine and prevent your back injury from getting worse over time.

Robyn Porteous is adept in the skill of turning coffee into content. She works as a freelance writer for Varidesk, an adjustable height desk that sits on top of your existing desk and allows you to switch from a seated to standing position in 3 seconds. More of her writing can be found on her Google+ page.Source: Image by drweisgerber

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