Relief of Morning Back Pain

There’s a story I heard about a special family pot roast recipe. And the recipe would include the type of meat required, the ingredients needed, how long to cook the meat and at what temperature.

And one of the steps involved cutting six inches off the end of the roast before placing it in the roaster.

Every family that had a copy of the recipe for this special meal would follow the instructions to a tee. It was such a delicious and memorable meal to enjoy that no one dared making any changes or substitutions.

One year when the family had gathered for a holiday meal the question was posed to grandma, ‘ why do we cut six inches off the end of the roast?’. And grandma’s answer was that otherwise the meat wouldn’t fit into the roasting pan.

There can be other things in life where what we’ve been told or always believed isn’t actually the case. Or sometimes not even necessary.

For example, think about what you’ve been told about low back pain. It used to be we were supposed to spend the day in bed and not move. And once we were able, we were then encouraged to do some stretches to prevent a future occurrence. Neither of these are the best plan to help with low back pain.

More specifically, a number of people may have back pain in the morning. This can happen because we’ve been in bed for up to 8 hours and the vertebral discs are unloaded and not subjected to the same vertical force of gravity. Without the vertical loading on the discs while sleeping the discs can accumulate fluid and swell, increasing their size. A larger disc then has less physical space to the adjacent vertebrae. With less physical space between the disc and vertebrae, normal movements done at this time can result in back pain.

Besides the swelling of the discs other reasons to be cautious with morning movements include:

  • When we don’t move, we have less mobility. The joints where we normally need to move, i.e. ankles, hips and thoracic spine, are less mobile when we’ve been static for a number of hours.
  • If you are a stomach sleeper you may be putting additional stress on the low back.
  • A mattress that is too soft may not be providing the support needed and the body may be sinking into an un-natural position during sleep.

If you do experience low back pain in the morning, give the following a try:

  • Hold off on the toe touches and hurdler stretches first thing in the morning.
  • Go for a walk. This helps get the hips, ankles and t-spine moving, increases circulation and helps dehydrate the discs of the additional water taken on during the night.
  • If your mattress is more than 10 years old, and you have back pain, it may be time to see if a new one would provide some relief.

Once you’ve been awake and loaded (i.e. standing) from some time you can ease into some light activity. The combination of less swollen discs, increased circulation and mobility will allow you to move well and avoid putting undue stress on the low back.

These are just a few of the things to do, and not do, if you experience low back pain to start the day. For more suggestions and solutions specific to your needs and goals make sure to connect with one of our coaches or trainers at the link here.

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