50plus LIFE Article

More than 80% of adults suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

It’s the leading cause of disability worldwide and a condition further aggravated during the coronavirus pandemic as people experience increased stress, have transitioned to working from home in spaces lacking proper ergonomics, and face reduced access to healthcare and fitness.

Today we are moving less and stressing more, and this creates a perfect storm in the development of back pain. We know that exercise can be extremely effective for back pain, but sifting through information online can be challenging, and many people find themselves unsure of whether movement will be helpful or make things worse.

In this article written for 50 Plus Life, I share 6 tips for safely approaching exercise with back pain, supported by the latest research. I have included a summary of these 6 tips below, but you can check out the full article for more details on each of these topics.

1. Learn

There are many myths and misconceptions floating around on how to manage back pain. Education on what causes back pain and how to manage it is one of the most effective tools for healing back pain. This video is a great place to start!

2. Move

We recommend that people begin movement right away, first in an effort to control pain, then with the purpose of increasing strength and stability, and finally with the intention of improving mobility. Try this free 20-minute Yoga for Back Pain class, which features specific poses and modifications that are designed for back pain.

3. Make it a Priority

With full schedules and busy lives, it is easy to put the needs of others before yourself and to place your own well-being on the backburner. Health is created by the choices we make day in and day out, and if yours is consistently being placed last, you will begin to feel the toll it takes on your life.

4. Create a Movement Space at Home

The changes related to the pandemic have made it more difficult to access our usual spaces designed for fitness. Creating a space designated for movement within your home can be a motivator to get you moving. I have created a video on setting up a home movement space that offers some specific tips and tricks for creating a usable space using items you may already have at home.

5. Listen to Your Body

You know your body best. Before you listen to the suggestions provided by a fitness instructor, check in with what feels right for you and your body.

6. Meditate

Meditation and mindfulness practices are incredible tools for shifting the nervous system into a state of rest and relaxation and are used effectively in the management of back pain.

If you have questions on whether an exercise program might be a good fit for you, always consult a healthcare provider — they will be able to provide specific recommendations and guidance as you transition into a movement practice that supports your overall health.

If you are in Guelph and would like to book an appointment with me, give our clinic a call at 519-827-0040 – I would love to play a role in guiding you on your wellness journey!