Updated: Mar 8
I wasn’t surprised to read that about 80% of people suffer from lower back pain. But did you know that it's the biggest cause of long term sickness at work? Often because the cause isn’t that easy to diagnose, many people self-diagnose on the internet and take pain killers for too long.
Lower back pain can be mechanical or non-specific where there is no obvious cause. Mechanical back pain stems from the joints, bones and soft tissue around the spine. Both types of pain can be caused by bad posture, wrong lifting technique, a minor injury and most of all, not being active enough.
We all know that our sedentary lifestyle is exacerbating our lower back problems. We’re sitting at desks, in the car or on the sofa for hours a day without moving enough. Research shows that people sitting for too long are twice as likely to suffer with back pain, which often then leads to them sitting even more.
Doctors often say that we should continue to exercise and stay mobile with back pain but for lots of people that’s just not possible, they’re worried about causing more damage and pain. Stopping exercise because of back ache can also have a detrimental effect on our mental health, leading to anxiety and depression for some.
Here are my top tips for looking after your back:
1. Take regular short breaks from your desk. Every 30 minutes, get up and go for a little walk to the loo or coffee machine or do some stretches at your desk. If you’re driving for long periods, take proper, regular breaks.
2. Make sure your desk is set up correctly for your body – there are ideal positions for your chair, monitor, keyboard, phone and mouse.
3. If you’re working from home, try to use the table but if you’re on the sofa, put a small cushion or towel at your lower back and support your laptop on a cushion.
4. Strengthen your core (tummy) muscles, a strong trunk will support your back. Pilates is the perfect exercise for this.
5. If an exercise class seems too hard, set smaller goals – use the stairs or go for a walk around the park at lunchtime.
6. Book in for a sports massage with our wonderful Claire Routledge, a fully trained Sports & Remedial Massage Therapist. Sports massage isn’t just for sports people, it’s about getting people back to being pain-free and feeling their best. Claire offers a 10% discount to Gemma Pearce Fitness members.
Whether you have a persistent ache, are recovering from an injury or just want to maintain a strong core to stay healthy and flexible, Pilates is the exercise for you.
So popular and effective is Pilates that we run nine Gemma Pearce Fitness Pilates classes per week in the Abingdon and Didcot area. All the classes are for all abilities and ages, we strengthen the abs, the back, the hips and the shoulders with the exercises progressing as you get stronger week by week.
Find out more and book yourself on a Pilates class at www.gemmapearcefitness.co.uk/pilates