Stay Back-Healthy this Holiday Season

snow-sled When it comes to the holidays, it can be difficult to keep up with any health-related progress we may have made during the year. However, while our schedules may vary from predictable routines, we can still stay on track – or at least not get too far off track – during the holidays. Allow me to share some simple tips, based on the three primary contributing factors for back pain.

  1. Movement. While getting to the gym or going out for your regular run may be challenging during the holidays, you can still find time for movement by thinking ahead and making a plan. Keep in mind that, while regular exercise is great for your overall health, it is regular movement of any kind that is important for warding off back pain.
  • Try to keep things simple or substitute a more basic routine for your usual one.
  • Consider using some of your family time to take a walk after dinner, or see if any of your family members would like to sign up for a fun run.
  • With a simple yoga mat, you can begin your day with sun salutations or another basic yoga routine.
  • Fit in strength training in 5-10 minutes with some quick lunges, squats and push-ups, or once a day take the stairs rather than the elevator.
  • If you are used to a full exercise schedule, it’s ok to reduce the amount of activity, but be sure to do something active 3-5 times each week.

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Vacation is good for your back

Vacations are good for back pain

If you’re looking for a reason to go on a vacation this year, add this one to the list: it’s good for your back.

Why is vacation good for your back? Because it addresses three of the reasons that your back hurts.

First, one of the most significant contributors to back pain is stress. And not the type of stress that is a major event that causes a big stress response and demands some type of response. No, the way that stress leads to back pain is those daily pain-in-the-neck stressors like commuting to work, getting both you and the family out of the house in a timely manner day after day, or dealing with the daily frustrations of the workplace.

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A Comprehensive, Root-cause Approach to Back Pain

Being free of back pain means doing the things you love

We’ve all heard people talk about how “their back went out”. Something like, I slipped on a wet floor and my back went out, or I bent down to pick up a sock and my back went out. Or maybe there was an event, such as an automobile accident, athletic event, or maybe it started at work. In many – most, actually – cases, the pain just started with no specific triggering event.

It seems intuitive to attribute the pain to the event that occurred at its start. However, with back pain it’s usually more of a “last straw”, in that there were things that you were doing on a regular basis that actually led to the “triggering event”. Primary contributing factors include inadequate movement, imbalanced postural mechanics, and stress; there are also several secondary factors. (more…)

Why does my back really hurt?

Why does my back really hurt?

We’ve all heard people talk about how “their back went out”. Something like, I slipped on a toy and my back went out, or I bent down to pick up a sock and my back went out. Or maybe there was an event, such as an automobile accident, athletic event or maybe it started at work. I think of this not as the “injury”, but as the “triggering event”, meaning that this event did not cause the pain, but designates the time that the pain began.

What many may not understand is that, in most cases, it was not the event that caused the pain, rather the contributing factors that were in play before the initial onset. (more…)

How picking up a sock can lead to chronic back pain

Picking up a sock can lead to back pain

There are multiple factors that contribute to chronic back pain, many of which relate to its underlying cause. However, how we respond after the initial onset can mean the difference between a short episode and chronic pain. This response is referred to as the Cycle of Pain.

Most people who experience back pain report that the pain resolves itself within a few days to a few weeks, regardless of what they do, while for others it persists. When the pain does not resolve quickly, negative thoughts can emerge, thoughts like, “I’m damaged”, “I won’t/can’t do the things that I enjoy”, “I’ll never get better”, or “This must be serious!” (more…)