Back Pain 101
- Switch to pumps and never ever wear 3-inch (or higher) heels.
- Do a daily bag edit. When you get home for the day, search through for the extra things you picked up and won't need the next day. Keep your bag's weight to a few pounds and switch your carrying shoulder often. If you must bring a heavy bag on some days, balance it with another bag on your other shoulder. Consider purchasing a back-friendly backpack or messenger bag.
- Keep your wallet under 1/4 inches thick. Edit receipts weekly, carry only your crucial cards, and avoid having wads of small bills.
- Take driving breaks every 1 and a half hours and stretch.
- Get up and move. If you work at a desk all day, get up and stretch every 20-30 minutes. Try putting your hands on your hips and bending backward until you feel a stretch.
- Set up a healthy workstation. Most office chairs are designed for men around 5 feet 10 inches tall who weigh 180 pounds. The rest of us have to customize chairs to give us the proper back support. Purchase a lumbar roll or try using a partially inflated beach ball behind your lower back for support. Make sure your feet are planted on the ground with your knees at hip level or slightly lower. Keep your arms relaxed at your sides with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Have your computer monitor an arm's length in front of you with the mouse at easy reaching distance. If you talk frequently on the phone at work, purchase a head set or ask your employer to purchase one for you.
- Lift with your knees and keep your back straight when you have to pick up something heavy.
- Stretch it out. To keep your spine able to flex and extend, try doing the butterfly stretch regularly. Lay face down with your stomach resting on a pillow. Put your forehead on a rolled towel to keep your neck in a comfortable neutral position. Bring your arms out to your sides with elbows bent to 90 degrees. With your lower body relaxed, squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your chest off the mat. Hold for 3-6 seconds and release. Work up to 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions.